Tag Archives: food

Time to refocus

1 Jan

Happy new year!

Here we are again. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of resolutions. But I know I’m not perfect, by any means, unlike Calvin:


(I love that cartoon.)

So looking back at what I wanted to focus on in 2013 and setting the focus for 2014…

Physical health
I did get back to the gym on a regular basis. I certainly ran more. But then I broke my foot. I was in such great shape prior to that, and it’s been hard to get back into a regular routine with any sort of endurance. But this week has been good. So for 2014 I’ll keep working on going to the gym regularly, building endurance, and running more.

My eating didn’t change much this year, although I somehow got a little sugar addiction lately. Boo on holiday food. So let’s refocus on that for 2014: more veggies!

My writing was definitely done in waves. I had stretches of lots of blog posts, and then nothing. (See: lack of posts in December.) So there’s the focus for 2014: more consistent blogging.

Breaking my foot really made me appreciate dancing. Prior to that, I was going to more groups and practicing on my own. After I broke my foot, I practiced a lot because I was working on checking out. But since then, I’ve struggled to get into a routine. So after the holidays, it’s more group classes, more practicing on my own, and still appreciating it.

Creative hobbies
I stopped baking for a while in the last few months for various reason. I packed my grandma’s recipes, so I can’t go through those until after July. But I’ve baked more this week and will continue to do so. I did learn to crochet but didn’t practice, so now I need a refresher. I certainly knitted more this year and will continue to do so for 2014!

No movement there. Meaning no action taken on my part to have anything happen. Stupid Mr Big still in my brain. But steps have been taken this week…more on that soon.

I’ve made some progress towards my financial goals, although Christmas was not planned for as well as it should have been. Oops. So I’m going to take the first six months of 2014 and refocus on money.

Mental health
This year, I realized that my issues are like a chronic condition. I will always have them; I can only cope with the flare-ups. And I’ve done a better job of that lately. This will always be a focus for me though.

At the end of the day, I still strive for this:


And hope to remember this:

light of your being

I hope 2014 is everything you want it to be. Happy new year!

The family chili

3 Nov

It’s a beautiful fall day here in Minnesota…sunny and a high of 54. I love fall, as I’ve mentioned before. And colder weather means CHILI! So I’ve got a crockpot going of it right now.

My chili is super basic. It’s actually my ex-husband’s family recipe. When we were married, we made it each Christmas Eve for the family gathering. I still love it, so I kept the recipe when we divorced. I like it because it’s basic and you can make it as spicy as you want. I usually make it in a crockpot, but in a pinch I’ve made it on the stove in about an hour.

Tom’s Chili

1lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 family-sized can of tomato soup
1 large can (28oz I think?) of diced tomatoes
3 cans of dark red kidney beans (drain two cans, leave one can undrained)
Chili powder and cumin

Brown ground beef and onions. While they’re browning, in a crockpot mix the tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and beans. Add chili powder and cumin and whatever spices you want. When beef and onions are done, mix them in with the tomato/bean mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Set crockpot to low and cook about 8 hours.


Weekly roundup

8 Jul

Last week, I…

*Had breakfast with a work friend of mine at one of my favorite breakfast places. We’ve been trying to get together for lunch for months now, but something always come up for one of us. So since it was a holiday week and therefore a quieter week, we met for breakfast! What a great way to start the work day. Although with that much coffee, it was hard to concentrate for a while.

*Enjoyed the 4th of July, but the next day, I really wished I had taken the 5th off. There were 4 of us in the office out of 30 or so. Oh well, I got to leave after lunch. And I did get a ton done.

*Had an exchange dance lesson as my teacher was on vacation last week. It was great. Just not as great as a lesson with my regular teacher. But he’s back this week. So bring on the lessons!

*Worked out THREE times! Yay me! I went Tuesday and Saturday, but the gym was closed on the 4th. So that day I went for a bike ride. It was about a mile and a half. Let’s not talk about how it went. Let’s just acknowledge that I haven’t been biking since last fall and I am still out of shape from breaking my foot. But I did run that day too, and that went better. Still not up to where I was pre-break, but I can see progress. (Oh my god, I’m seeing progress! I am actually noting progress. Someone write the date down.)

*Met my parents for breakfast. (See the theme? I LOVE BREAKFAST.) Again, we went to a favorite place of ours that interestingly was where my mom worked in high school when it was a sweet shop. (Yes it was in the ’50s.)

*Magically turned a $50 oil change into a $430 one. Not really, but at the oil change place, they pointed out to me that one of my tires had a bubble in it. Consensus on Facebook was that I needed to deal with it right away because it meant the tire could blow at any moment. So I ended up getting two new tires (thankfully, not four!) that same day. Stupid car expense. When’s the light rail starting?

*Started a list of good coffee shops in Minneapolis and St Paul. Local, non-chain coffee shops. My friend SP and I get together on Saturdays on a pretty regular basis, and we always try to do cheap things. So I want to start a coffee tour with her of these shops! So if you know of any, let me know!

*Realized that I’m not good with free time. I’m so out of the habit of having free time that when I do have free time, I tend to sit and watch TV. And while that’s not a bad thing, it’s not how I want to spend ALL my free time. So I’ve been making a list of things I can do when I have a few free moments, and I’m going to try to force myself to look at it and do something on that list. Although I will still watch TV occasionally; I just need (and want) to limit that. But I am in the middle of yet another awesome BBC show…OK, OK, I’ll pace myself!

Focus on me

14 Apr

Before the holidays, I stopped focusing on food and exercise. OK let’s be honest – it was probably way before the holidays. But right before the holidays, I made a deliberate choice to not put a high priority on those areas. I still tried to follow my meal plan and to workout, but I was putting too much pressure on myself trying to meet my obligations in these areas. I became too concerned about what I “should” be doing, and that caused a lot of guilt. (Hello, Catholic upbringing!)

And I’ve done OK with working out. I’ve run a few 5Ks and have made it to the gym 1-2 times per week.

I didn’t win. I’m just happy I finished them!

But I was noticing that my weight was creeping up. Not much, just 5 pounds. But since I was 5 pounds from my goal, I’m now 10 pounds from my goal. And I wasn’t worried because those 5 pounds were added over like 4 months.

I figured I needed to address those last 10 pounds, partially because if I just focused for a short period of time, I could really make a difference. I have one friend who’s lost about 40 pounds in just under a year through diet and exercise. I have another friend who is trying to lose a lot – maybe a 100? – pounds. If they can do it, what excuse do I have?

Plus, I have the motivation of wanting to be in the best shape possible as a dancer. I want to look good on the dance floor. I’ll never look THIN – I’m too curvy for that. But I want to look GOOD while I’m dancing. And being in great shape will help my dancing. That was my motivation for running and losing weight in the first place – dance.

I had worked with Kelly, an awesome nutritionist before. I love her approach – it’s not just about the number on the scale. For her, it’s what your body fat percentage is. For me, it’s that and how my clothes fit.

So I had a few sessions with Kelly on the books still. So I felt like it was time to focus on this again, so I met with her last Monday.

While I have gained weight, the good news is some of it was muscle mass. My body fat percentage went up only about 1%. Yes! Kelly said if I focus on the food (sticking to the plan) and increase my working out, I could meet my goal in about 6 weeks. Which is right about when Showcase is. So that’s perfect.

I had already made my food for the week, so I knew my food was going to be a bit off that first week. But I could do the working out. The goal is 30 minutes of cardio five times a week. OY. For strength training, I’m aiming for 4 times a week. ZOIKES. And none of that counts dance or yoga. With my schedule, that fifth day of cardio will be tough to fit in. Unless I split it in two and did a short run two mornings a week before work. Hmm.

So last week, here is what I did:

Monday: 20 minutes yoga before work, 30 minute run after work
Tuesday: 20 minutes yoga before work, 45 minute dance practice party
Wednesday: 20 minutes yoga before work, 45 minutes of dance practice, 45 minute dance lesson
Thursday: 20 minutes yoga before work, 30 minute run after work, 20 minute strength training, 45 minute dance group class, 45 minute dance practice party
Friday: 20 minutes yoga before work
Saturday: 30 minute run, 20 minute strength training, 45 minute dance group class
Today: 35 minute bike

I DID IT. And I feel GOOD. I think I’m getting to the point that my body really wants to be moving this much. I’m going to try to keep this pace up.

I need your help though: Keep me accountable on food (no treats!) and exercise. I’ll lay it out for you…right now I’m 139 pounds with a body fat percentage of 25.15%. I want those numbers – in particular the body fat percentage – DOWN even though it’s in the healthy range. My BMI is pretty normal too.

Showcase is May 19. Let’s see how far I can get by then.

Weekly roundup

2 Apr

In the last two (sheesh, I’m behind) weeks, I…

*FINALLY shared some of the amazing recipes I’ve made lately, including a super one for homemade peanut cups.


My friend LG read about them and tried them the very next day and loved them.

*Had a book club meeting where we finished “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It was a loonnnnggg book, and I had the abridged version (by mistake.) I’d like to go back and read the full version someday because I do feel like I missed some details. Someday.

*Went for coffee with my niece LB who was home from college for spring break. So fun to see her!

*Enjoyed a very lovely day off, including a long run outside. Well, long for me…about 2 miles. Slow (about 10:45 per mile), but still, I ran them all!

*Was all fancy and had dinner with my friend SH at a private club in St Paul. So posh.

*Saw the hand surgeon about my wrist. Surgery is scheduled for the end of May.

*Had dinner with my friend SP. And we tried a fantastic place for dessert. SO GOOD. And I could feel the diabetes setting in just walking in the door.

*Practiced at the studio. I do dance homework at home, but some things you just need the studio space for. But I hate practicing at the studio. Which is silly and ridiculous but true. My friend SH feels the exact same way, except I don’t think she practices at home. So we made a pact to meet at the studio once a week to practice. We did it last week for the first time, and it was great. Like having a workout buddy but with dance.

*Caught up with the fabulous KB over coffee. Alas, it was way too short – we didn’t cover everything!

*Took a knitting class with DF. It was great because she had never knit, and I learned some basic things (cough cough cast-on) that I never really learned properly.

*Had Easter dinner with the family.

PB all the way

22 Mar

There has been a trend to my baking lately, without my even trying.


I love peanut butter. Especially with chocolate. You know I’m not much of a sugar person; give me salt! But peanut butter and chocolate…just can’t beat that combination.

A while ago, I made these buckeye brownies from Brown-Eyed Baker. They were amazing. My roommate still talks about them. Sadly, though, they didn’t really last long enough to take pictures of them.

Then a few weeks (months?) ago, my friend KB talked about these homemade peanut butter cups she made. Homemade? With salt? I had to try the recipe. So I got the recipe from the blog she found it on and tried it.

Bite-sized amazingness.

The recipe used full-size muffin liners; I made them mini-muffin size. The chocolate part didn’t quite work for me, I think because I used skim milk. So I remade them and this time just used melted chocolate. I should have added some cream, but they were fine without it.

Then I saw a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction that I had to try. Especially since my roommate pinned the same recipe because she wanted me to make these.


They were great. A huge hit at book club. I made them smaller than the recipe said to, and they worked out great.

Three fantastic recipes that use peanut butter. All of them so very good. And easy too.

Great, now I’m hungry for a Reese’s.

Weekly roundup

18 Mar

Last week, I…

*Got a Kindle Fire!


And it’s awesome.

*Went to the doctor and learned I need to have hand surgery soon to remove a cyst on my wrist. Luckily it shouldn’t interfere with my life too much. But still annoying. I find out more next week.

*Waged war on the mice.


Cotton balls with peppermint oil on them in tea defusers. And dryer sheets. Our house smelled like peppermint linen for a while. Then the smell dissipated, and we saw signs of the mice again. So more peppermint oil, more dryer sheets, and refresh both more often.

*Had dinner with MH and heard about her amazing trip to Belize.

*Saw “Searching for Sugar Man” with SP. It is a great movie – well deserving of the Oscar it received. Go see it. And then go listen to the music.

*Made these…


More on those soon!

*Finished “The Great Gatsby” for book club.

Weekly roundup

11 Mar

So last week, I…

*Ran outside for the first time in a long time to prepare for a 5K. Not as bad as I thought it would be. Except for when the jog interval on the program I used started over halfway through. And I ended up running for 50% longer than I had planned to.

*Babysat for a friend. And learned very interesting things from the oldest child.

*Saw this fantastic picture on the Facebooks and remembered that we’re all awesome in different ways.


*Gave up on online dating.

*Had great dance lessons. So much progress still being made. Did lots of dance homework too.

*Declared war on the non Gus-Gus mice in my house.


*Ran a 5K! In 36 minutes – the exact time of the last one. Except that this means I was faster than before, because we lost about 2 minutes traipsing through a snowbank to walk around a ginormous puddle.

*Did a dance group class and a lesson after the 5K. Yep, met my quota of physical activity that day.

*Had brunch with KC. (No sunshine band, though.) We tried a new restaurant that was so good. So yummy. Must go back soon.

*Made these:


Homemade peanut butter cups. SO GOOD. More on these soon!

*Realized that my body now wants a certain level of physical activity. Whoa, that’s new.

All in all…a very FANTASTIC week!

Football and snacks

4 Feb

Super Bowl Sunday. A great day in America. Good football…and great snacks.

I was planning to stay home this year to watch the game. My roommate is rather indifferent to football, so to appease my guilt in wanting to use the TV for something she wasn’t terribly into, I offered to make snacks. We’re all about the snacks here.

The smart bloggers had been posting game day snacks all month long. I just chose two that seemed awesome.

First up, bacon wrapped water chestnuts from the Girl Who Ate Everything. She’s one of my go-tos for food ideas, and I don’t think she’s ever let me down. These were AMAZING. Water chestnuts that marinated overnight in a garlic, soy sauce, vinegar goodness. Then wrapped in bacon. Then dipped in BROWN SUGAR and baked. Oh man. So good. So easy, and so rewarding.

Next, baked mozzarella sticks from the Comfort of Cooking. These were probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made. Baked not fried, so we didn’t need to feel guilty. Well, any more guilty than we already felt. Cheese dipped in flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs. Baked until golden and oozing. So amazing.


All in all, a great success, even if I do say so myself. And the game was pretty good too.

I got nothin’

28 Jan

It’s been a busy day. And all day, ideas of blog posts kept popping in my head.

And now I can’t remember a single one of them. Damn.

So I’ll leave you with a freakin’ awesome looking recipe my friend KB posted on FB:

Image courtesy of chow.com

Image courtesy of chow.com

lemon ricotta pancakes. MUST TRY.

You know the whole T-Rex-has-short-arms thing makes me laugh out loud.


Yep, still laughing.

And a picture of my dog because I’m missing him tonight.


That is all.

Here’s hoping I remember what those amazeballs blog post ideas were!

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