Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Like at least half of the Western world, I am going to make some resolutions for 2010.  I would like to make such lofty resolutions like working out everyday, find the love of my life, save enough to buy a house and so on.  But that is not realistic, so here is what I hope to do in 2010:

1. Learn How to Knit

Inspired by the first graders who learn how to knit at my Waldorf School, I have decided it is high time that I learn this age old craft.  Knitting was also something that my dear Grandma Amy tried many times to teach me.  So by learning, I feel like I am holding on to a little piece of her.  Below is what I have created so far.

The picture below is what I actually hope to create.

2. Adhere to the Gluten Free diet
Sticking to the Gluten Free diet over the holidays was ridiculously difficult!  Too many cookies and sweet rolls and candies.  So I sort of fell off the wagon.  However, now when I eat gluten I feel even worse.  So it makes sense, it is just difficult.  So far, the GF baked goods that I have sampled have paled in comparison to the standard wheat products.  Therefore, I am on the hunt for delicious baked goods and for recipes to reproduce those baked goods.  I LOVE cinnamon rolls, and that might be my first GF recipe adventure.  Below is a picture of the recipe I hope to try.

3. Save some money for big purchases
I believe everyone decides to save money and few people end up doing so.  However, I have decided that I want to become a homeowner, so I need to start saving for a down payment.  I need to cut out some of my discretionary spending like lattes, trips to get gelato and impulsive food purchases.  I will not save enough this year, but if I am diligent, perhaps in two years or so I will have enough to qualify for a more favorable mortgage.  In the meantime, I continue to catch online episodes of HGTV's "Property Virgins" and "My First House" and dream.  Of course, when I do purchase a house there many not be anything to put in it besides my bed.  My furniture is mostly on loan from good friends and my condo is too small for much of anything.  One thing at a time I guess. 

4. Continue my lifelong learning
About a month ago, my supervisor at work asked me to set some professional goals for the year.  At the top was a work-life balance.  Bearing that in mind, I am going to cultivate my other interests.  I used to be much better about this, but I feel into a cycle of email-checking and taking work home.  Some of the things that I really enjoy are photography, taking classes and various forms of exercise.  I have done all of these things at one point or another, but I plan on bringing them back this year.  Last year I took a French class and really enjoyed it.  The local community college offers classes in digital photo editing and languages so I am going to look into some classes for next summer when I will have more time.  I also took karate in college, so I might bring that back too.  It sure beats the treadmill at my complex. 

365 days is a long time, but cheers to 2010!  Let's hope I can stick with these resolutions.  I remember what I was doing in 2000, vaguely wondering if the apocalypse would occur as was forecast.  I did not really understand all the hype, but I guess people periodically have to panic about something.  I had no idea whatsoever what would have occurred in the last ten years.  I know that Boulder, Colorado was never on my radar!  But I think everything happens for a reason, and every fork in the road was taken to end up here.  I enjoy my job, love my condo, am thankful that I get to live in close proximity to mountains and a city.  I am also so thankful for the great people in my life and cannot imagine my life without them. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gluten Free and (sort of) loving it

So, just recently I was told that I need to eat a gluten free diet.  This is a lot more difficult than it sounds, as it is not as simple as avoiding bread.  Gluten free means eliminating wheat, barley and rye from one's diet.  Gluten is in everything from cereal to tortillas to beer to most artificial flavorings and processed foods.  I used to think that there was NO WAY that I could avoid gluten, it was just too difficult.  However, I have been impressed at the variety of options that exist.  Plus, having to prepare my food from scratch (canned foods contain additives with gluten and prepared meals do as well) forces me to eat a lot healthier.  I am also impressed at the general awareness surrounding gluten intolerance.  I am thankful for my friends Kylie and Bertrand at school who have provided recipes, advice and lists of restaurants.  I am exceptionally thankful for the wonderful surprise after our faculty meeting: Gluten-free chocolate cake!  I was not expecting to be able to eat Jan's birthday cake and was floored when I found out that it had been baked gluten-free! 

However, since eliminating gluten from my diet I am feeling infinitely better!  I had gotten to the point where I would do just about anything to stop the headaches and major stomach issues.  So, it has been interesting to find out what I CAN eat and what does not work out so well.  Below are pictures of some of my gluten free cooking adventures. 

Quinoa with Black Beans and Curry Sauce

Black Bean Enchiladas with homemade sauce

Gluten-Free (rice) noodles with homemade tomato basil alfredo sauce.