A Year in Review: 2014

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Photo Credit: GC – Praia de Luz, Portugal

2014 is over! This has been one of the craziest, busiest, most amazing year of all time. Between the wedding, honeymoon and everything in between, I don’t even know where to begin with a look-back on the year. Below are the resolutions that I set out for myself for 2014 and how I did with them.

Life resolutions.

  1. Knit more. I literally did not knit anything this year but did acquire some lovely homemade knitted pieces from my uber talented sister Liz. This counts right? It obviously doesn’t but I swear, I will knit in 2015.
  2. Exercise more. I did this! I ran a 5K in September and was doing a series of exercises at home. This was working up until the wedding and then two weeks of eating rich, decadent food in Spain and Portugal threw all this by the wayside. Unfortunately, all progress and evidence of fitness has disappeared. New year, new goals, new exercise.
  3. Read more. My reading has picked up but has been mostly limited to biographies by IWs and food-related things. I am currently working through The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and The Trouble with Brunch. The 2015 reading list is shaping up. Any and all suggestions on reading materials are welcome.
  4. Write more. I was writing more but then of course I didn’t write from July until November. Eek. Next year I plan to be more up-to-date on my writings so when you read about a restaurant it hasn’t closed.

Food resolutions.

  1. Bake more. I did not do this. My Christmas baking was limited to 3 types of cookies instead of the traditional 5 (at least!). Given that I am trying to be slightly healthier in 2015, I will likely be refraining from excessive baking.
  2. Use cookbooks more. Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Instead of referencing the dozens of cookbooks I have, I refer to Pinterest. I am placing a moratorium on the cookbook-buying so please, gift me cookbooks. Or suggest pins from Pinterest.
  3. Host more. We hosted our own rehearsal dinner (horrible idea, I would not recommend this to anyone), our first annual-Christmas party and 2 Christmas brunches. 2015 promises more cocktail parties, craft beer nights and brunches.
  4. Try more. I ate urchin this year. That’s as weird as it gets unfortunately.
  5. Read more. In keeping with food-related reading, a new list I will be working off is the James Beard award-winners list for Best Book: Food and Literature.
  6. Master more. I have made ice cream but haven’t mastered it, I did not make jam and I haven’t made a mint julep. I have however, mastered the homemade brunch, macaroni and cheese and your 15-minute weeknight dinner. Going forward, I have deemed 2015 the year of the cocktail. I recently fell in absolute envy with a bartender at 416 Snack Bar who was able to make any drink on demand with elegance and simplicity. My goal is to master the gimlet, the Manhattan, the Old-Fashioned and the martini in 2015.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and all the best food, drink and celebrations for 2015!

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!

Update: Spring & Summer 2013 To-Do List

Spring is drawing to a close and here is how my to-do list is progressing:

1. Go to a strawberry patch and pick my own berries.
2. Make homemade strawberry jam.
3. Grow an herb garden including cilantro, basil, chives and green onion
4. Tour a brewery
5. Tour a winery
6. Try a new sangria recipe
7. Use the barbecue as a smoker
8. Cook breakfast on the barbecue
9. Finally use my ice cream maker
10. Make ice pops
11. Go on a picnic
12. Make homemade iced tea
13. Eat more salads – beans, green and fruit
14. Eat as much corn on the cob as possible in the month of August
15. Grill asparagus and wrap it in prosciutto
16. Sit on a patio at least once a week
17. Drink beers in the backyard sitting in Muskoka chairs
18. Visit farmer’s markets
19. Try gazpacho
20. Drink a cocktail decorated with an umbrella
21. Pick peaches
22. Decorate cupcakes with edible flowers like pansies
23. Make a vodka watermelon
24. Cook on a bonfire
25. Eat carnival foods: cotton candy, corn dogs and slushies

I really thought I was doing better with this list but the summer is still young! The next items I hope to cross of the list are everything involving strawberries and the ice cream maker.

Spring/Summer 2013

IMG_3526Summer is fast approaching and I want to utilize as much fresh air, fresh produce and sun as I can. My friend Al over at Le Faz created a list of 25 Things to Do This Spring which inspired me to create my own list of food-related activities for spring and summer 2013.

1. Go to a strawberry patch and pick my own berries.
2. Make homemade strawberry jam.
3. Grow an herb garden including cilantro, basil, chives and green onion
4. Tour a brewery
5. Tour a winery
6. Try a new sangria recipe
7. Use the barbecue as a smoker
8. Cook breakfast on the barbecue
9. Finally use my ice cream maker
10. Make ice pops
11. Go on a picnic
12. Make homemade iced tea
13. Eat more salads – beans, green and fruit
14. Eat as much corn on the cob as possible in the month of August
15. Grill asparagus and wrap it in prosciutto
16. Sit on a patio at least once a week
17. Drink beers in the backyard sitting in Muskoka chairs
18. Visit farmer’s markets
19. Try gazpacho
20. Drink a cocktail decorated with an umbrella
21. Pick peaches
22. Decorate cupcakes with edible flowers like pansies
23. Make a vodka watermelon
24. Cook on a bonfire
25. Eat carnival foods: cotton candy, corn dogs and slushies