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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Resolutions’

cooking up a storm

cooking up a storm

Cadie and I got home from Christmas on Boxing Day. She had been with my Mum since December 21, and I got there on December 23, so by the time Christmas night rolled around I was ready for my own bed. I was ready for my own schedule, and also, I was anxious to get home ahead of the snow storm that was due to hit around dinner on the 26. So we woke up bright and early, and we were home by noon.

Cadie, being an adventurer, was ready to head out, to go and sniff the news and leave some gossip of her own, and she danced happily in front of the door while I made my lunch and changed my clothes.

I wanted to do something nice for Cadie. She had been gone nearly a week, and before that I had been working like a Trojan. So I decided that instead of spending Boxing day at the sales, we would spend it on the trails. There’s nothing like clean, cold air filling your lungs to encourage you to walk faster, and the sun…we hadn’t seen the sun in almost a month. So we headed out, with plans to hike through the Brickworks trail and the valley, and then come home through the cemetery. It’s one of our favourite evening walks during the nicer, warmer, lighter months.

But it had been a while since we had really walked, and as I made my way up the gentle incline of the city streets I felt my calf muscles crack, like they had been encased in wax and were just now breaking free. The further I walked the more my calves cracked, until I felt that I was totally free of my doldrums, and I could feel my muscles breathing freely. They expanded and contracted with every step, and with every step I was reminded why I like a healthy, active lifestyle. It was while I was walking my exuberant dog that I decided that I needed a make over. Not a physical make over—I decided to make over my freezer.

December is the perfect time of year to fill our freezers with yummy things like cakes, cookies, and appetizers. After living on this food for most of December I started to feel poisoned, or toxic. So I set about to fix that. I dedicated the last bit of my Christmas holiday to starting the year off with a healthy bang.

Step 1: I emptied the freezer of all of those delicious freezer cookies. This was hard work, but luckily my estimates had been pretty close, and I didn’t have to “dispose” of too much. Then I settled on 3 meals: high-yield recipes that I could make, one day at a time, and fill my freezer with nutritious meals that I could grab and eat without too much fuss.

It looks and tastes so good I couldn't eat just one serving

It looks and tastes so good I couldn’t eat just one serving

First I made Chef Chloe’s macaroni and “cheese.” It took only 45 minutes to prepare and cook, and tasted spectacular. I love mac and cheese, and I was worried that making it without any real cheese the dish would be inedible. I was wrong. I’m new to the plant-based diet thing, but I am constantly amazed at the good that nutritional yeast flakes can do. They gave the meal its cheesy taste, without adding the cheesy texture that I don’t really like. I have since made this meal again, and fed it to carnivores, who also loved it. I was able to get 8 meals out of this.

On the second day I made another of Chef Chloe’s recipes (I’ll give you two guesses at what my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas). This time I made a gorgeous apple, lentil and butternut squash stew. It was the first picture I fell in love with as I sat flipping through the book Christmas morning, and I was so excited to try it out. Lentils are really good for us, being a good source of protein, as well as offering a host of other benefits including lowering cholesterol, and stabilizing blood glucose. It’s hard to ignore food that offers so much goodness, but I needed an appealing delivery system, and this stew fills the need perfectly. It was sweet, warm and filling with an unmistakable earthiness. My stew isn’t nearly as beautiful as the one in the book, but it was oh, so tasty, and I got 7 additional meals.

Apple, lentil and butternut squash stew. My favourite of the three.

Apple, lentil and butternut squash stew. My favourite of the three.

Finally I made a chilli. I love chilli, and I make it all the time, so when I was buying my cooking supplies I made sure to pick up the chilli supplies. There was nothing special about it: onion, veggie round, tomatoes and beans, all simmered together until they become one. Chilli is just the most satisfying winter meal, and I got 6 meals out of it. All of this means that my freezer is just packed to the gills with tasty, vegany goodness, so now I don’t have any excuse not to eat healthy meals throughout January.

It never hurts to have a pot of chilli on hand.

It never hurts to have a pot of chilli on hand.

I’m not really doing resolutions this year; I haven’t found them to be very successful in the past, so I decided not to push myself into the self-punishing exercise of self-improvement. Instead I’m going to focus on doing things that make me stronger and healthier and, most importantly, that make my life easier. So now that I have no excuse not to skip lunches in the caf, I’m hoping that a month of nothing but good, healthy food will leave me feeling like a clean, well-oiled machine.

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This may be the last year for Christmas funland

Hello everyone, we’re back. We decided to take the Christmas break off from blogging; there are a couple of reasons for this:

1) Both Penelope and I were off last week and we both had a never-ending list of household chores to tend to, so we decided that it would be best to live offline for a while and try to get our realities in order. So we spent the break focusing on things like cleaning and organizing, baking and cooking, and of course, travelling and celebrating. In fact, with everything we did last week, neither of us feels very rested, so there was just no time for blogging.

2) I needed to buy myself a little more time. I promised you that I would have some progress to show you by the time we get to our 100th post. I did some counting, and if we had posted through last week we would hit 100 at the end of the first week of February; not posting last week bought me another week. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but I am very appreciative that I have the extra week to work with.

Battenberg Cake...I love marzipan

Either way, we’re back, and I’m looking forward to some quiet time, so that I can focus on my “makeover” for lack of a better word. I’m coming back tired, it’s true, but inspired. This is going to be my year, and I am going to try to focus on achieving many goals.

Mincemeat tarts and shortbread cookies

1) Stay the course. Obviously I am working on losing some weight.

My mother has the funniest salt and pepper shakers!

2) Find inner peace. I would like to learn to meditate. As I’ve told you, I’m having trouble sleeping. My mind is constantly running, and I feel that I need to try to rein it in.

3) Go out on a limb. I would like to try to (gulp) start dating again. This is perhaps the scariest thing on my list of goals, and the one that I am dragging my feet over the most. We’ll see how far I get.

4) Coureur de bois. I need some adventure, to try something new. Right now, I’m committed to learning to ski and snowboard, but that can be expensive, so we’ll see.

5) Get revamped. I need to defrumpify; this means that I have to learn how to shop strategically…hmm, I may need to call for reinforcements.

A year's worth of O, Shape, Chatelaine and Vogue...Not really reinforcements, but it's a start.

6) See the world…or at least see more of the province. Yup, I need to head out on at least 1 weekend trip to destinations yet undiscovered by me at least. Maybe Point Pelee — has anyone been there, is it worth the trip?

7) Skate my brains out. I LOVE skating, I once considered myself to be an ice princess. Unfortunately, I lack balance, talent and skill, so the most I can do is skate around in a circle. But we have some great outside rinks here, and I intend to take full advantage this winter.

8) Take a step in the right direction. I’d like to add a step class to my weekly workout routine.

9) Bite the bullet. January is going to be dedicated to balancing my books, and I think I just have to accept that I will need a dog walker at least twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday). It’s just too much to come out of an exercise class and have to walk Cadie.

10) Edit. I think I need to cut down on this list to something manageable.

How long do you think a year is anyhow?

For right now I am going to focus on goal number 1. I figure that if I try to stay on track with at least 1 goal, it improves my chances of knocking a couple more off that list as well. Though I will need to have my friends push me on goal number 3; talking to and dealing with men doesn’t come easily to me, even now I’m trying to find an excuse to back out of it…anyway, 28 posts to go and counting, progress here I come.

What are your goals for 2011?

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This is the best time of year to try to lose weight. I know, it seems like the worst, but, in reality, there are tons of opportunities out there, and best of all you aren’t on your own, half the world is trying to lose weight following the holidays. So I am starting to lay the ground work for January, when I can take it up like 4 notches, and know that I’m not suffering alone.

I won’t get back to the gym until Thursday this week, and I am starting to feel really blobulous, but I’m also still feeling a little under the weather, so it’s best to stay out of the gym I think.

So, I’ll be amping the workouts back up, and I think I’ll be adding a weekend class to my routine. The biggest hurdle for me will be getting my eating under control. I eat when I’m happy, when I’m sad, and just because (which is the best reason of all). So come January 1 I’m back to the food diary. It’s useful and helpful for denial eaters like me (come on, I don’t eat that much) plus it’s super cute–see you can even colour in each water bottle as you tick them off–plus this means that I still have a little over a week to psych myself up for it.

In other news, Cadie was a nightmare last night; she was jittery, walked like a sled dog, and wouldn’t settle down. I was beside myself. I couldn’t figure out what had gotten into her. Now as I sit at my desk, watching the big, round moon slide behind the horizon, I realize that it was a double whammy: the full moon and the incredibly rare Winter Solstice lunar eclipse. I can’t believe that I missed the first Winter Solstice lunar eclipse in 300 years. And we won’t see another one for 80 years. This is made worse by the fact that I was having trouble sleeping, and chose to watch Conan instead of taking a step outside. Oh well, it happens.

Happy first day of winter (Winter Solstice)–may the knowledge that day will be longer and night will be shorter tomorrow bring you comfort and warmth tonight.

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