GREAT SUCCESS, 2010:
I've finally decided to get serious about cooking. This will probably last about as long as it already has - five days - but so far, so good. Awhile ago, I bought a fancy spice rack and a bunch of big, glass containers to hold all my grains and pastas and flour and everything, in a desperate attempt to inspire myself to move beyond my comfy world of salads and ham/cheese sandwiches. My first step in changing things up was a burrito week, in which my grocery trip comprised of unusual items (for me) like sour cream, avocado, tortillas, some canned chicken breast, and a supersize bag of cheddar cheese...and for one week straight, I enjoyed every meal and felt very pleased with myself for doing something different food-wise. But my stomach suffered, and I probably gained approximately a pound a day (thought that wouldn't be possible running the kind of mileage I have been, but it happened) and so I've moved on and this week, actually managed to do something good for my body.
I spent last Thursday and Friday cooking up a storm - made a bunch of quinoa with mustard greens and tempeh (thanks Kyle for the inspiration!), a green chile egg casserole (thanks Becca for the recipe!), and a big ol' vat of vegan chili (thanks to this awesome cookbook). I'm still enjoying great meals from all of those cooking endeavors! And no, I'm not reverting back to my vegetarian/vegan days, but I do believe that maintaining a largely plant-based diet is generally a good thing...and I'm trying to cut down on gluten consumption in general, too. I find that the more I run/train, the better fuel I put in my body - so it's a productive cycle. Anyway, the idea is that the more I cook ahead of time, the healthier I eat throughout my busy work weeks, rather than reverting to quick, easy, but often nutrient-deficient, meals.
Other successes: finally managed to set up a decent paper-filing system for myself. Coming from someone who tends to throw the majority of my daily mail into a dark corner of my apartment where I don't have to look at it, this was a big step in feeling a little less chaos in my life. And subsequently, no epic fails yet in the newly-developed bill-paying aspect of my life:
Paying bills is AWESOME.
I also managed to "build" five whole pieces of furniture, all by myself. Granted, IKEA does a pretty darn good job with their instructions, but still...
Chloe ponders the odd-sized IKEA box.
Chloe is skeptical of my abilities. Probably for good reason.
But aha, I prevail! Chloe expresses her approval with zombie eyes.
The other four pieces are dining room chairs. No picture, but I'm pleased. So now, someday when I finish the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle I've overzealously begun working on our dining room table, I'll be able to officially host a dinner party!
EPIC FAIL, 2010:
Some of you know my cooking history - and for those who do, you've already had your mind blown by the above section. Some of you, however, probably don't yet grasp just how miserably inept I am when it comes to cooking, and thus here's the real mind-blowing clincher of the year thus far: I failed my second lifetime attempt to make mac 'n cheese. (The first time was winter term, freshman year at Oberlin. Pathetically, it was Easy Mac. I just dumped the noodles in a bowl and put them in the microwave just like that. No water or anything.)
This time around, I boiled a bunch of water, then dumped in not only the macaroni, but all the cheese powder, too - naturally, six cups of cheesy water got drained out at the end, and the result was slightly yellow-tinged, absolutely flavorless macaroni. Awesome.
COMBO EPIC FAIL/GREAT SUCCESS 2010:
Apparently, after Christmas is over, the tree doesn't just magically disappear from your living room one day in early January. I swear, back in the day, it did. But no longer...and so it came to be the second week of February and the Christmas tree was still cowering in a corner, shedding its needles in mass. Yes, I gave getting rid of it some thought here and there...I had researched tree-recycling options in Seattle. I printed out directions to a recycling center. Once the dates passed for that, I sent my landlord a sad little email to the effect of, "Um, I know it's the end of January, but any thoughts on what to do with my Christmas tree at this point?"
She didn't even dignify it with a response.
Thank goodness for friends who like to destroy things. Jess came over this evening with a jeweler's saw, and paired with my serrated bread knife, we made quick work of the little guy. Photo diary of our systematic tree-dismantling:
Yup. I think I'm doing all right at this Life/Real World thing. Not spectacularly...but definitely all right. Next entry: more photos from race weekend, and likely, back to my usual ramblings about running. (Though I have been meaning to do an entry soon about all the books I've read in the last few months. I know I wrote at one point that I'd review books regularly; obviously, that's working out a lot like the mac 'n cheese...but I have been reading, and at some point I'll certainly address those good reads here on my blog.)