Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

still at it

February 17, 2011

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day! I’m about to go out and enjoy it, but first I wanted to say that even though I haven’t kept you up to date on my Fitness Together progress, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up! To the contrary, I’ve been plugging away at this fitness thing for 13 months! It’s hard to believe, but I’m still at it (applause please, lol)!

What’s harder to believe, and I’m not proud to say this, is that even though I’ve been at it for over a year, it’s really no easier than it was (ok, maybe it is, a little!) Sticking with something that just doesn’t come naturally is just plain hard. I’ve never been an outdoorsy or athletic person. I think I could’ve been if I’d been brought up that way, but alas, I wasn’t.

We tend toward those things we are most comfortable with, whether or not they are good for us.

So, what I’m saying is, I’d like to tell you that if you stick with an exercise and eating plan, it’ll just become part of your life. Yes and no. If you stay intentional about it, it will. But if you drift back to your old ways, it won’t. Maybe after another year? I’ll let you know! I think the embarrassing truth may be that I’m always a batch of cookies or a bag of chocolate kisses away from blowing it. Hershey’s Kisses aren’t bad, but a whole bag of them is!

I love baking. My family likes it when I bake. I love being appreciated by my family for my baking/cooking. I love eating what I bake! Why would I give all that up!? Giving them up isn’t necessarily the answer – I’ve tried it and it just makes certain people (me) grumpy! A good compromise is doing less baking. I can still bake, just not as often. I can cook all I like, healthy dinners are a good substitute. Exercising to compensate for my goody-love is a wise plan also. I knew a police officer who told me once that the reason he worked out was so that he could eat what he wanted!

It’s sobering to own up to a reality in my life that I’m not proud of. Fitness will always have to be a deliberate choice for me. If I don’t stay focused and intentional, I’ll drift back to finding excuses for not getting to the gym or outside walking or running. I’ll drift back to being out of shape, out of energy, heavy, self-conscious and miserable. Wow, this is a good reminder of how I used to feel. Is it really worth feeling awful to laze back to my old bad habits? Hmmm, this puts everything in perspective. I’d rather have a little discipline daily than live a life of daily regret.

Recently my husband and I were on a week-long vacation where it was warm and sunny. Perfect weather for walking and running! Did I run or walk daily?  No. Did I go to the beautiful fitness room even once? No! The reason is this: for me, working out is still work! When I’m on vacation, I want to forget all work! I want to take a vacation from my problems, like my friend in my favorite movie, “What About Bob?”

The happy vacationing couple!

So, I gave myself permission to not work out. I walked up 275 stairs every morning and down that same number after being at the pool for a while. Sometimes I walked up those stairs two or three times a day. Les and I went for a beach walk one time because it was beautiful, not because I wanted exercise. I did nothing I didn’t want to do. (Isn’t that what makes a vacation so enjoyable anyway?) But I’m bummed that I didn’t want to.

Subconsciously it must have been bothering me. When I got home, I started having disturbing dreams – in them I was gaining weight, growing  bigger and bigger and stressing and stressing, my clothes wouldn’t fit – things like that. (I know I’m in trouble when I go to bed at night with the last thought on my mind being, “If I don’t make some changes tomorrow, I’m going to be in trouble. . . .”  Makes for a fitful night and a stressed out life!)

So, while I vacationed, I had a perfectly lovely time, but now I am home and am “back to work.”

I have to admit, it feels good to work out! Afterwards I’m always glad I went and put out the work. It just doesn’t come easily. I never get up in the morning with my first thought being, “Today, I can’t wait to workout. I think I’ll go right now!”

I guess what I’m trying to say is this, I would’ve thought that after a year of patterning my behavior and eating habits, it’d become natural. Although disappointing, at least I know where I stand and will just have to keep doing what I’m doing because it works, and because I feel terrific!

By the way, I ran more yesterday than I have in 6 years! I felt invigorated and happy! (I also could barely walk last night, but that’s beside the point!)

I’m still at it!

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orangette

March 3, 2010

I wanted to share with you a blog that I’ve been enjoying for the last year. I was browsing Amazon.com one day and came across a book that grabbed my attention. I read about the author, Molly Wizenberg, and from there I learned about her blog, Orangette. I absolutely love her site and her book!

The book is entitled, A Homemade Life. I read it in two days and began making some of the recipes just as quickly. There isn’t one thing I’ve made that we didn’t absolutely love!

Molly writes in a down to earth and easy to read manner. I could relate to her story – about her dad’s journey through cancer and about her connections and relationships forged through food. It was the most enjoyable read I’ve experienced in a long time!

I was bummed that I finished reading it so quickly, but I couldn’t help myself! It was captivating! I wish there was another on the horizon. It looks like A Homemade Life will be coming out in paperback this month, so that’ll have to do, but I love my hardbound copy and, alas, it’s already marked up.

When I decide to cook one of her recipes, I jot the date in the margin and then my family’s response to it.  I write down any changes I’ve made, and any ideas for adapting it the next time, I note there as well. It’s become a cooking journal I refer back to often. My daughter has even been adding her own notes! (But she’s going to have to get her own copy when she moves out!)

If you’re like me and enjoy being at home and trying new recipes, then this book will be a delight to you. If not, go ahead and give it a read anyway. You may just find a new side of yourself you didn’t know existed! Bon appetit!

joy in the kitchen

January 21, 2010

There is something very enjoyable about preparing food for people I love. Grant it, sometimes it’s a hassle and other times I’d really like to go out and eat because I’m just too tired to stand in the kitchen. I always have good intentions, but my schedule and/or energy-level don’t always coöperate. On those rare moments when I feel the desire and also have the time and energy to cook and stock up, it’s really satisfying.

Today was one of those days. Actually, yesterday and today. Okay, Monday, Tuesday and today! What’s gotten in to me?! I think I’m just incredibly tired of cooking on the fly, just subsisting, nothing more. I’m also weary of throwing away food that I never got around to fixing before it went bad. I’m really tired of that. Really really tired. Really.

When I see people on television who’d be thrilled to have some of that thrown-away food,  I feel remorse for not paying better attention to my refrigerator and not planning my time better. I abhor wasting food!

Recently I signed up to make a meal for a group of people on Tuesday, so I decided to prepare the meat on Monday to save time.  Since I was going to be making a grease-spattering mess, I figured it’d be a good use of time to prepare a large amount of the meat all at once and freeze it in meal-sized portions for those days when getting food on the table is a challenge, which is most of the time! So, that got the cooking adrenaline pumping! I sautéed chicken in olive oil, batches and batches, and cut it into cubes, reserving enough to feed my friends and still have 5 or 6 meal-size portions to pack into the freezer for later.  Ahhhhh – satisfaction. I’d spent nearly 2 hours just cooking chicken, but I got 7 meals out of the deal!

Tuesday, I spent the morning in my kitchen fixing a spinach salad and homemade fettuccine alfredo with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken. (Yum, if I do say so myself!) I baked some Hello Dollies for dessert and voila! Delivered it and left happily, knowing I’d blessed my friends and their taste buds.

Today I had two huge boxes of fresh spinach to cook as well as a nice supply of ground turkey that was on sale at the grocery.  It seems like it’s been so long since I’ve had more than an hour or two at home that I just couldn’t resist more ‘kitchen time’.  I browned the turkey and seasoned one half for spaghetti and the other for taco soup. Then I steamed mounds of spinach, grated cups of cheese and made 3 spinach and cheese tarts (quishes) – two to freeze and one for dinner. Now I have food for sharing and for pulling a meal together in a flash.

I’m not sure what it is that pleases me most about doing this. Some people hate to cook. I hate to iron.

I love creating food that I know my family savors. I enjoy turning raw materials into something warm and nourishing and delicious. I also relish being home, listening to music as I move around my pleasant kitchen, full of gratitude for the gift of life. Just being here to cook is a joy.

Fragrant aromas, warmth, textures, tastes, colors, conversation around the dinner table; nurturing the ones I love . . . for me, this is life at its best.