Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March Already?

February flew by, as it always does. And, just like the last few years, my resolution waned a bit. I resolved to organize in February. I aimed to tackle a room a week and de-clutter. I did not get through a room a week, but I did organize some things. This is one that will have to hang over into other months. I blame it on February being a short month, and being on vacation and out of the country for the last week of it.

I have been slacking in most areas of this blog this year. I've been a bit preoccupied with other things in my life. While I haven't been running as much, I have been going to the gym and getting back into some strength training and cardio classes. (Body Combat is my current favorite.)

Reading is still happening, but I'm taking a course for work and that has become my "should read" list. I finally got through the text book the other night, and now I have this lovely supplemental reading to do:

Looks interesting, doesn't it? That will be my main source of reading until after I write my exam, hopefully sometime in April. Then, I will be in full time prep mode for my trip to Asia! If you don't know about that, feel free to catch up on my other blog that I've started to chronicle that trip and the preparations at

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cooking From Scratch

So January's resolution was to try to make things from scratch that I would normally buy packaged. The hope was that something would stick, and I would start making it from scratch from now on after discovering how easy/cheap it was. It was worth a shot...

First up, I looked through the cupboards and looked for packages. I found spaghetti and granola. When I was looking for other ideas, I thought "I made naan last month, I bet I could make bread and pie crusts!" That may have been a bit much since I don't really buy much bread or pie crusts. So, neither of those happened. But, I did attempt focaccia rolls. And, I attempted to make yogurt.

First up - pasta! 

The recipe sounded really easy, and it was. It was also pretty tasty. However, I did not have a pasta rolling machine type thing. So, here's the result:

Those noodles were way too big. It was a good experience, though. I chopped up the remaining noodles and they were a little better the next day. I likely won't attempt this again unless I get a machine made for pasta. I was using a rolling pin, and that's as thin as I could get it.

Second attempt - granola!

I eat yogurt and granola for breakfast almost every day. It made sense to attempt my own granola since I kept hearing it was so easy, and I was spending $5 a week on a bag of granola from the grocery store.

Granola was super easy and really yummy. I am going to make my third batch this afternoon. I made chocolate granola, which makes it even yummier! This will definitely be something I will continue to make from scratch.

Third - Focaccia rolls

Who knew that a handful of ingredients left to rise for a day could make such a tasty roll? I ate two of these straight out of the oven. When they first came out, they were the perfect texture - soft, warm, and crunchy on the bottom. I've got four more in the freezer, and they thaw pretty well. Not quite as good texture as they were straight out of the oven, but still really tasty.

Fourth - Yogurt

I kept hearing that you could easily make your own yogurt, and while skeptical, I decided to try since I'm tired of paying $4 for a small tub of Greek yogurt that lasts maybe a week. Maybe, if I scrimp on how much I scoop into my granola.

I attempted a very small batch (only one cup) since I was skeptical. There's a lot of preciseness that is necessary for this recipe (heat to the right temperature, cool to the right temperature, leave sit for such a length of time) that I was doubtful I'd do it right. I prefer estimates, and I may have not been as precise as I could have been for this one. Here's how it looked this morning after a night in the fridge.

I was dubious. I tasted it, and it doesn't taste like my usual yogurt. However, I attempted a small taste, mixed with some (homemade) granola and strawberries about 45 minutes ago.
So far, I'm not sick, so maybe it did work. It didn't taste so bad with the granola and strawberries. And, I hadn't strained it to turn it into a greek-ish yogurt, so maybe that's why it was off. Or, maybe I needed to let it sit longer. I'm not sure, but I'm not so sure I'll attempt that again. I might, however, try straining my own regular yogurt to make a thicker yogurt.

All in all, it was an interesting month of making things from scratch. I still will attempt to make other things in the future from scratch. I'm thinking of bread, pizza crust, tomato sauce, hummus, pie crust, and another attempt at pasta once I have the right tools. It was a fun month of the new resolution. February will include something active, so it will be good for me, but not as much fun, I expect!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reading in 2013

I've started and finished a few books now in 2013, so it's time for me to make a blog post so I can track it for myself. I also use Goodreads, but can't always find my way around that site, so I also want to post a list of books here.

On Goodreads, I set a goal of reading 25 books this year. That shouldn't be an issue, but you never know. Last year, I aimed for 50, and I must admit that it made me choose some shorter, easier reads. This year, I'd like to add some bigger books and not worry about that silly goal of completing so many books. Since I'm including audiobooks again, which I listen to while commuting and doing housework, I should be able to get through 25 no problem, even with some bigger books.

  1. There's Something About Christmas, Debbie Macomber
  2. Your Voice in My Head, Emma Forrest
That's a start... 

Friday, January 4, 2013

What to Resolve 2013?

It always takes me a few days to get into the year to really figure out what I want to do for a resolution. To be truthful, this is only the third year that I've attempted to make realistic resolutions. in 2011, it was to learn about wines. Last year, it was to get out of (non mortgage) debt. This year, I really didn't know what to do.

I was thinking, and a big thing for 2013 will be getting out of my comfort zone and trying lots of new things on my month long trip to Asia. And, the idea of stretching my boundaries and learning new things scares and excites me, so I decided to take that idea and structure it for a resolution for 2013.

Each month, I'll pick something new to do that is either something I've wanted to do, or something that scares me, or a new way of doing something. So, for January, I'm focusing on cooking. I'm going to try to make things from scratch that I would normally buy pre-made. I won't be doing it every day, but likely once a week. Tomorrow, I am going to attempt pasta from scratch! This should be an adventure!