2014 – Halfway Through…

IMG_0745IMG_0552 IMG_0554 IMG_0565It’s July and we are halfway through the year. I don’t know where the year has gone and it feels like I haven’t accomplished as much as I would have liked. Here are the resolutions I set out for myself back in January:

Life resolutions.

  1. Knit more. I haven’t knit anything. The only time this year I have touched yarn is to make a wreath. When it is already winter it seems silly to start any projects and now that it is hot outside it seems ridiculous to knit. As we get into September, October I will start knitting. I swear. GC’s neck warmer still sits unraveled in a basket somewhere.
  2. Exercise more. Surprisingly enough, this is the one resolution I have been very successful with. I started Couch to 5K and I am currently on week 5 of the program. I have signed up for a run in September at the Toronto Zoo with GC and my friend Claire and I am very excited about it. This is the most active I’ve been in almost 10 years. Grade 9 gym is really the last time I was remotely physical and I use that term very loosely as my high mark in that class is attributed to the health portion of the class. I have been doing a series of ab work outs too: sit-ups, crunches, planks and leg lifts. All of these exercises have made our newest hobby, hiking, easier and much more enjoyable. We are slowly discovering all the trails and waterfalls in the area. In a few weeks, we will be going camping in Bon Echo Park. I am very physically different then I was at the start of the year and I love it.
  3. Read more. I suffered through Sense & Sensibility, trekked through Orenda and now I’m reading something a little lighter, The Phantom Tollbooth. My reading this year hasn’t been great but with the warm weather comes more reading outside on my lunch hour. If you have some book suggestions, please let me know!
  4. Write more. Looking through my old posts it would appear that I have been writing more. I have been including the fun parts of my life (i.e. wedding plan, hiking and city adventures) and writing more generally about food rather then just what I eat. In the immediate future, I have a few posts inspired by summer and I’m already looking forward to the numerous posts related the wedding and our honeymoon. Hopefully you are too!

Food resolutions.

  1. Bake more. I have been baking slightly more. Now that is summer I plan to make tarts and pies on a regular basis and the people who are closest to me will benefit from this.
  2. Use cookbooks more. Most of my cookbooks are still collecting dust on my shelf and have new neighbours… I am going to have to go on a cookbook cooking spree in the second half of the year.
  3. Host more. I have mostly been hosting family but as summer goes on, I hope to have people over more regularly for barbeques, sangria and pops. We are currently debating the idea of hosting our rehearsal dinner in the backyard but keep flipping back and forth due to the fact that October doesn’t always have the nicest weather. And with the wedding comes wedding china and I will be looking for excuses to use that as we approach the holidays at the end of the year.
  4. Try more. So far this year I have tried Cuban food, modern cocktails, proper afternoon tea, blood pudding, kale chips and a Scotch egg. I hope to try some interesting meats (summer is the perfect time to try emu and kangeroo in the form of burgers), infusing my own alcohols and all the delicious foods of Spain and Portugal when we are on our honeymoon.
  5. Read more. Again, I haven’t been reading. I have started reading Food & Drink for the articles and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
  6. Master more. I have my burger recipe down. I learned how to make Ninni’s pasta sauce this past week. I can make a mean big batch cocktail. I can whip you up a feast for beakfast in bed. And I can make a pie crust comparable to my mom’s. As the summer goes on I want to master the following things: ice cream, jam (even if it is just freezer jam) and the mint julep.

Reviewing your goals and resolutions halfway through the year is a great way to refocus and reflect on how much you really have achieved. My cooking, baking and exercising are on track to where I want them to be and I just have to shift some of my efforts on reading and knitting. I think I can do that. Take time to remember what you set out to achieve this year and remember, you are only halfway through.

Happy munching!

Cookie Roundup

January has come and gone and I am proud to say, my New Year’s resolutions have not fallen by the wayside. More accurately, most have not fallen by the wayside.  I am slowly working my way through Martha Stewart’s Cookies, satisfying two resolutions (using cookbooks and baking more). Below are three recipes from her book that I have made so far.

Cookies1. Oatmeal raisin cookies – these cookies were chewy, moist and the perfect snack for work. The batter takes a little work to get used to: my first dozen pancaked out and were not the desired texture. I rolled the batter into tighter balls and lightly pressed them flatter which resulted in soft, moist pillows of oat-filled yums. I am going use this recipe again and again using various dried fruits.
2. Dark chocolate cherry cookies – stop what you are doing and make these cookies now. They are slightly expensive to make as dried cherries are ridiculously priced (at Bulk Barn they are $16/lb!) but they are so worth it. They are super chocolatey, with chunks of soft chocolate embedded in the already chocolate cookie and hints of sweet, souriness from the cherries. I brought most of the cookies to work and they were gone instantly. I made the rookie mistake of bringing the container into the lunch room where I was then forced to share with random coworkers I don’t know. Everyone at work is now pushing for more homemade baked goods.
3. Truffle brownies – these were extremely rich, dense and chocolate filled. I would recommend making them for an extreme chocolate lover and cut them into smaller pieces. The recipe says serves 12 (I cut them into 8 because I have an inability to slice anything round into any amount other than 8) but I would say you could cut the slices even smaller.

Any of these cookies were make the perfect work day snack or a special treat of Valentine’s Day. Happy munching!

 

2014

photo 1 photo 2As 2014 begins, I am thinking about resolutions and goals for the year, both food and life related. My life resolutions list is a small list:

  1. Knit more. Last year, I only completed 3 knitting projects: two infinity scarves: one for me and one for my friend Julianna and a baby blanket for my friends Nicole and Andy’s beautiful new baby girl. I unraveled GC’s neck warmer yesterday in an instance of frustration which I immediately regretted. But this year, I will knit more and learn how to fix mistakes rather than unravel them. I want to make GC a neck warmer, myself a pair of mittens, a head band and a pair of slippers.
  2. Exercise more. I don’t have specific goals of fitting into a specific size or being able to lift a certain amount of weight; I am just trying to be more active and healthy. I have started the 30-Day Plank Challenge and plan to gradually work my way through all the 30-Day fitness challenges (ok, I might avoid the squat challenge).
  3. Read more. I don’t read as much as I should. In 2013, I read between 15-20 books which is good but I want to read more. I will continue my “Best Adapted Screenplay” project and I also want to try and read all of Jane Austen’s books (because that’s something everyone should do, right?).
  4. Write more. I need to get better about writing more and writing regularly. My writing is sporadic at best and when I do write, it’s an overload of posts. Since I am planning on eating out less, I also need to work on other things to write about besides recipes and restaurants reviews but avoiding the mundane drama of my own life.

My food resolutions are:

  1. Bake more. At my old job, I would bake on almost a weekly basis. Between actually having to cook my own meals and travelling on the subway with baked goods, I have let this hobby fall by the wayside. After doing all my Christmas baking, I decided I should bake new things more often: cookies, pies, cakes, whoopie pies, and cupcakes.
  2. Use cookbooks more. I have way too many cookbooks I have never used before. My goal is to cook at least one thing from each of my 51 cookbooks this year.
  3. Host more. The dinner party is something that is dying out with our generation and this is something I want to rectify. I am a good cook, a good baker and I make a pretty mean cocktail. Therefore, people should come over to my house more. My only request: bring wine.
  4. Try more. I want to try more foods. Types of cheese, sauces, spices and cuisines. There are so many foods that I have never tried and I need to change this. I can’t claim to love food if I have never eating a weird type of meat (the weirdest I have eaten is bison? Even my sister who hates food has eaten camel) or even eaten pho.
  5. Read more. Read more about food! I have tons of cookbooks with great types and advice about ingredients and cooking but I have never cracked a spin on them. I have autobiographies of great food writers and chefs and have never peered into the lives of them.
  6. Master more. Every good chef/home cook has an arsenal of go-to recipes and this is something I need to go. I would like to master this list by the time I am 30 – 4 ½ years, I think I can do it.

10 things – I think I can do it! 2014 will be a year of adventures, food, cooking, love and friendship and I am really looking forward to it. If you are looking for more food goals check out this list from the Huffington Post.

Happy munching!