New job… new life.

People view the new year as an opportunity to create goals and resolutions, try to reflect on the past year and move forward, buy whether that be emotionally, personally, physically or professionally. I had one goal for 2016: to find a new job. I had been working for the same company for almost 4 years and I was disinterested, unchallenged and frustrated. In January 2016 I made a concerted effort to take control over my own career and make a change. I fortunately was able to do this fairly quickly, finding a new job by mid-February and starting this job within the first week of March.

IMG_5657As my 2016 new year’s resolution is already complete, I am viewing this new job as an opportunity to create more personal goals to not only achieve in 2016 but to maintain as a new lifestyle change to coincide with this new job:

  1. Write more. Simply put, writing makes me happy. I like having a place that chronicles my thoughts and feelings towards food and my daily life in the city. And this makes for such an easy reference to have on restaurant and recipe ideas. There is a study that indicates that if you take photos of your food prior to eating it, you enjoy it that much more. Imagine the enjoyment in a meal in writing about it after?
  1. Exercise more. If I love food as much as I do, I need to take care of my body more. A few weeks ago when the weather was very briefly tolerable I went for my first run in MONTHS and it was expectedly horrible. But, I know I’ve been there before and can push through it again and make this a part of my routine. Part of pushing back in the initial frustration of exercise is finding new exercises or workouts that are fun. This past weekend I rediscovered skipping (as in rope, not hopscotch) and apparently, skipping rope burns the equivalent calories to that of running an 8-minute mile? Whether or not this is true it is fun and it can’t do any harm. And of course, whenever exercise is discussed, the topic of learning to ride a bike resurfaces.
  1. Eat less bad food. I don’t mean this as eat less food that is bad for me. No. That will clearly never stop. I mean eat less food that is just bad. Fast food, junk food, delivery. Why get fat eating things that don’t even taste that good?
  1. Do more. The idea of doing more encapsulates the three points above and reinforces the idea of being active and engaged in life. In the winter it is easy to fall into the habit of being a lump on the couch, binge watching hours and hours of tv/movies but as the weather improves, there are no excuses. GC and I have agreed to spend more time outside, take walks each evening after dinner and just be more active in the city.

Here’s to 2016 and all the new challenges, opportunities and adventures it has to offer!

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!

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!