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Adventures in cooking and a big pet peeve

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Since my boyfriend and I have moved in together we've had lots of adventures in cooking while trying to find healthy alternatives to the things we love. A few of the recipes have become staples in our house.

Our favorite, very easy, meal to make is chicken with rice, black beans, and salsa. We throw a few chicken breasts, a can of black beans (drained of course), a jar of salsa, and a cup of brown rice in the crock pot first thing in the morning and it's ready by dinner time.

I've also taken to making my own chicken nuggets. That's easier than I thought it would be. I cut chicken tenderloins up into bit size pieces. I coat them in olive oil and then roll then in a combination of panko, regular bread crumbs, and some parmesan cheese. Then I pop them in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. I usually put them on top of a salad.

Last week I decided I wanted tacos but I really didn't want the super heavy bloated feeling I get after eating them. So I looked around for ways to lighten them up! I cooked up some ground turkey with taco seasoning (did ya know Jenny-O makes it pre-seasoned?). After it was done I put it in some iceburg lettuce leaves and topped it with salsa and cheddar cheese. Super easy, light meal!

I like to try new recipes as often as I can. In my quest for new recipes I end up on a lot of different websites and blogs, including SparkRecipes of course. All the searching has been fun but it's also revealed a major pet peeve for me. Have you ever scrolled down to the comments below recipes? One or two of those comments might be helpful things, like what you can use if you don't have enough of something, but some of them are ridiculous! Here are a few examples:

1. "This recipe was great! But instead of this I used that and instead of that I used this...." You've seen this kind of comment right? And by the time the person is done they've changed the recipe entirely. I can understand changing an ingredient if you're allergic to something or making a substitution if you don't have an ingredient in the house. I can't understand changing almost everything and then still commenting on the recipe.

2. "Oh my god! The photo doesn't represent the recipe at all!" We've all learned form the time we're children not to judge a book by its cover. So the food you make looks different than the photo. Of course it does! The food was made and photographed by a professional. Most of us are not professional chefs. Our food would only look like that if we spent hours and hours working on it.

Moral of this rant? Try the recipe as is once. Then if you don't like it, modify it. Instead of focusing on how the end product looks in the picture compared to in your kitchen, try enjoying the process of making it and knowing that it's your hard work that brought it about. Then enjoy the meal with someone you love.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-NORMA- 7/11/2014 4:03PM

    I admire you for trying new recipes. That's something I find hard to do.

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PANSYMAKEHAY 7/10/2014 5:30PM

    This does seem like a no brainer!
LOL NOTHING I do ever ends up looking picture perfect. If it tastes good, that's all I ask for! :)

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KONRAD695 7/9/2014 10:41PM

    I'll agree with you on this one. Make the recipe, tell me what you thought, and then tell me what you might try next. Telling me what a different recipe taste like doesn't help much. Who knows where half the pictures come from. Keep up the cooking!

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Looking back at 2013

Sunday, January 12, 2014

To say that 2013 was turbulent would be an understatement. Here's a look back at what happened month by month.

January 2013:
My first 5k
Started a regular job as an ESL teacher, loved it

February 2013:
Long term relationship I was in took a downturn. Lots of arguing. He was becoming more and more interested in his video games and less interested in having a life with me.

March 2013:
Relationship ended. Cue feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness.
Started online dating to keep myself busy.

April 2013:
Moved from a cozy little apartment into my grandparents house. Not cozy. Not quiet. Cue lots of anxiety.
Met a few guys from an online dating site.

May 2013:
Had surgery on my sinuses to fix a chronic issue (polyps in my sinuses causing lots of sinus infections)
Started dating a friend from college. Got real serious real quick. Cue the start at the best summer I've had in forever.

June 2013:
More new relationship happiness
More frustrating with living at my grandparents house
My boss at the ESL school got fired, cue the beginning of the end for me at that school

July 2013:
Got my own place for the first time! It was awesome at first....
Work was going downhill fast. Pressure to keep survey results up. Mounting evidence that student progress didn't matter.
Met my boyfriend's parents.
Went kayaking for the first time.

August 2013:
Nice quiet place with nice quiet roommate went away. Second roommate moved in with loads of noise and smoking.
Tried a second teaching job to make some extra money. Bad idea. Cue lots of stress and anxiety.

September 2013:
Ditched second job. Anxiety level way too high. Stuff at the ESL school was terrible.

October 2013:
Serious search for a new job began. First of many interviews....
Got fed up with the situation at my place. Moved in with my boyfriend and his friends.

November 2013:
Excellent living situation. Terrible work situation.
My job ended the day before Thanksgiving.

December 2013:
Resting and recovering from my job. Intense search for a new job.
Realization that I'm 200 pounds again. Frustration. Depression.

So here we are at January 2014. I'm looking at a fresh start in my career. I'm looking into becoming a preschool teacher. I've had 3 interviews in preschools already. I have one more tomorrow. So hopefully the job search will end soon.

As for my weight? My good habits disappeared when all of the stress and anxiety from my job hit. It's time to rebuild them.
Step 1: Log in to Spark People every day.
Step 2: Drink more water. At least 8 glasses a day.
Step 3: Start a fitness streak. How many days in a row can I exercise for at least 10 minutes?

So here we go. A fresh start for 2014. A better job for me. A happy life with the man I love. A happier body so I can enjoy that life.

  


Being Kinder to Myself

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hello! It has been a long time since I've blogged, mainly because a lot has happened and quite frankly I didn't know where to start.

It all started about a month ago. I ended the 3 year relationship between me and my (now ex) boyfriend. It's a long story that still makes me angry but it all boils down to the fact that playing video games with his friends was more important than spending time with me. It left me feeling like he was basically using me for a free place to live while he tried to figure his life out. Except he wasn't trying to figure his life out. He wasn't working towards a future. He was just stagnant. And he was stagnant while playing video games in every free moment he had. I would have given him the world yet he couldn't give up video games for one night every other week to have a date night with me. Makes me feel kind of worthless, to be honest.

Or at least I did feel that way. One night about a week and a half ago I decided I wasn't gonna sit around feeling sorry for myself anymore. So I signed up on a dating website. I had the normal amount of guys who just wanted to see naked pictures, but then I got a message from this guy. Answering that message was probably the best thing I've done for myself in quite a while! He wanted to know all about me, my hobbies, my work, what I like, what I don't like, what books I like to read. Talking on the website lead to texting which lead to nightly phone calls for a few nights. That lead to us making a date to go out and meet each other. If we clicked so well on the phone and email then certainly we'd click in person right?

Oh god you have no idea how right. That first date was last Friday. We've seen each other 5 more times since then. Even after a 12 hour day at work the first thing this guy wants to do is come over and see me. He kind, considerate, generous, good looking, and he's around me I feel like the most important person in the world. Now I know, I know. After a 3 year relationship maybe I should proceed slowly and cautiously. And that is my intention here. But I'm not gonna let a good thing slip through my fingers simply because I'm scared of a repeat of my last relationship.

This is all leading me to want to be kinder to myself again. I took my anger out on my body. Lots of fast food. Too much coffee to help me perk up after nights of terrible sleep. So my promise this week? I'm going to treat myself the way I expect others to treat me. I made some healthy meals and stuck them in the fridge so I can take them to work. That should help avoid the local pizza and sub places. I'm also going to commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise each day.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PANSYMAKEHAY 4/4/2013 3:40PM

    I love this! You deserve to be treated well, and treating yourself kindly is a great first step. Love the sound of this fellow as well. Sounds like he's mature enough to know a good woman when he meets one! yay! :D
Many hugs, my dear. Here is hoping this is the right path. :)


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DRKEYEZ820 4/1/2013 12:12PM

    oh Kathryn, im so sorry bout the breakup, but im so glad you found someone that is gonna wanna spend that quality time with you. That's what dating is all about :) , im married, I don't get that stuff anymore :(
But im glad ur finding inner peace, and ur ready to get healthy again!

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CANDACEMM 3/31/2013 7:29PM

    "I'm going to treat myself the way I expect others to treat me" ... I might have to take this idea from you. emoticon Been feeling really down lately ... and I need to be more positive and nicer to myself.

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TERRY0217 3/31/2013 7:28PM

    sounds like you're getting yourself together...Good luck to you

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JGRAY76 3/31/2013 6:57PM

    Sounds like a good plan. Good luck with your new relationship

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Things are looking up!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Things have gotten much better since my last post. First, I got to speak with the lovely ladies from SparkPeople Radio, Karen and Lily. That was an amazing experience and the start of things getting better for me.

Work got better too! It turns out I really enjoy the class I've been subbing in and they like having me there. So there will be some teacher/class shuffling, but I will get to keep that class! Between that and my Explore Boston group I have a solid 17 hours a week of teaching. That's really good! When I get an elective class back I'll get up to 23 hours a week. Add prep time to that and it will certainly be enough money to get an apartment soon!

I found out what's going on with all these sinus infections too. Turns out there are some polyps in my sinuses that are blocking drainage. Yuck! But I am closer to getting them taken care of. I have a cat scan next week, an appointment with the ENT doc the week after that, and hopefully some surgery to take care of it not long after.

Valentine's Day was amazing. Boyfriend and I had a lovely lunch in the North End of Boston. We found a little Italian restaurant and then found a cafe for coffee and dessert. It was the perfect day.

Now my focus in just on being kinder to my body. I've put a lot of junk into it, especially over the past month or so. I'm back to planning and tracking my food at least until I get into a nice pattern again. After I get into a good eating pattern I'll get back into an exercise routine. For now, I just take extra steps wherever possible. I take the stairs instead of the escalator. I get off the train a stop early and walk the extra 5 minutes. Maybe next week I'll try to get out for a solid half hour walk at least 3 times. Or to get to the gym once. We'll see!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRKEYEZ820 2/20/2013 3:43PM

    :) I knew things would work themselves out. Things always happen for a reason. But I know its harder when its yourself trying to get through the problem to see it that way.
But im so glad everything is finally looking up for u :)

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Fake it til you make it?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Between my current anxiety level and my class getting canceled my confidence level is shot. It's been shot since last week actually and it's starting to show. My boss noticed and offered some encouragement along with telling me that sometimes I just have to pretend I'm confident even if I'm not.

My question to you is this: How do you do that? I have tried and I apparently haven't figured it out yet. I'd love to hear your ideas, especially since it's starting to bleed through into my work.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRKEYEZ820 2/6/2013 11:58AM

    Mmmmmm being silly helps. I know when im being silly im sort of happier then being down and depressed. Brings my spirit up and allows me to stay motivated. I think however that's what got to me the last time, I was trying so hard for so long to be happy and motivated it got to me, because I STILL wasn't seeing the results I wanted to. You have to change your perspective about everything, look for something new for work, and continue to walk and stay healthy. Exercise helps reduce stress. Enjoy a day with a friend, do something u haven't done in a while. All of which will keep your attitude up beat.....
Unfortunately ive been dealing with this all my life..... I know the tricks of the trade. And luckily my attacks or stress related issues don't last more then a day. I wake up and say its a new day, make it happen. The outcome has to be better then the day before!
Love ya girly! Hang in there :) and if u don't smile , I might have to go to your house and tickle u to death! Just saying!

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RRTSMOM 2/5/2013 9:29PM

    The ladies I work with say the same...you have to fake confidence so the patients don't worry lol....Im still working on it...I have no poker face thats for sure!!!! good luck..and if you figure it out...let me know!!

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