Thursday, February 14, 2013

Adventures in Cooking | Greek Orzo Salad

Found this recipe for a Greek Orzo Salad over on AllRecipes.com.

Absolutly amazing! I doubled the amount of cherry tomatoes, cucumbres and kalamata olives to really pump of the veggies and bring down the pasta per serving. Soooo good! A great lunch or dinner side.

All this week for class and school I have used this for lunch and dinner along with turkey meatballs (also pre-cooked, I like them cold). Love! And a perfect fit in my bento box!





Friday, February 8, 2013

The story of a bruise

I went for a blood draw so they could test for allergens. Simple enough. Wasn't too bad actually. Tight sweater on that day, so I didn't mess with it, but my arm was sore all day.

Get home and take off the sweater and band aid to find it bruising. Yikes!

That was 8 days ago. It has gotten worse daily. Spreading and changing colors.

Photo evidence:













Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saturday @ 7PM

I have tentatively slated "sleeping" on my calendar for Saturday evening. Until then we shall be nothing more than nodding acquaintances ...



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Different Kind of Adventure

It is 12:30AM Tuesday night. Well, I guess that is really Wednesday morning.
Either way, that time stamp is a testament to the latest adventure in my life.

When I first started this blog, I don't know if I really had a clear focus on point beyond just "this is my life, perhaps you'll find it interesting". To be fair, I still don't have too much of a focus beyond that. It is just me, just who I am and some of the things I do and the things I find interesting and the things I find annoying. My little place in the world. But I did spend a fair amount of time thinking about a name. Gate G6 refers to one of the international departure gates at the airport here, and it is the starting point of many adventures in my life. Travel being such an important part of who I am, the name seemed appropriate. This was (and is) supposed to be a place that describes my adventures. "Adventures" is a loose term however. Travel of course. Museums. MBA classes. Restaurants. Midnight Twilight screenings. Etc. The list goes on.

But if you were following along (which not many people were), I have been quiet and relatively absent as of late. The adventures had slowed down since the late summer and the fall was, for lack of a better word, rough. In many ways. Work was particularly challenging and many a night found me working into the morning hours on things. School was equally challenging. And with those two things spiraling into a black hole of despair (I exaggerate ... but only slightly), the rest of my life felt like it was going along with it. Don't get me wrong, there were still good things here and there. But they felt few and far between and the fall from the high I got off of them (seeing the new Skyfall, waiting in line for the final Twilight, a good play, spending time with family and friends) was difficult since it was so far to fall.

And through this all, everything just compounded. I was eating terrible food, and a lot of it. Eating out a lot, buying convenience items for at home. I wasn't working out, because my schedule was so crazy that I would rather have gotten in an extra hour of sleep/work/school rather than the stress of working out and knowing I should be doing something else. And money was flying out more quickly that I could make it (it felt), particularly with all the eating out. I deserved a starbucks almost everyday during class because my life was hard. Never mind the calories ... or the money.

In all this time, I gained some weight. And my "some", I mean a lot. I won't go into figures because it really doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, but it was significant. But I refused to buy new clothes because I wasn't going to stay there for long. So that didn't help my mood either. I have a massive closet with beautiful clothes, none of which fit. Living in the same limited wardrobe is depressing day after day.

Do you see the spiral here? One thing leads to another. One mood killer begets another. And soon the day/week/month is over and I am just finished.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were great to spend with my family, but also hard because I wasn't feeling great about myself. No photos, please.

I knew something had to change, and that something was me. I had gone through something like this one other time in life and from that experience I know that in order me to have control of one thing, I need to have strict control of everything. I cannot just eat well without exercising or just watch my money closely without eating well. And since I am an all or nothing gal, I went for all.

On the first day of school, I put the past 5 months behind me and just started again at Day 1. I know, I've said it before. And that is why I was hesitant to post anything. What if I failed again? But now it is day 14, and things are going well.

Things at work are going relatively well. And while school is very difficult this semester, I am sticking to a strict reading and homework schedule for the weekends that forces me to do the work. Since I know that once I start a new book or start watching a TV show I really cannot stop, I am avoiding both (re-reading books instead, since I already know what happens next). Since my clothes were depressing me and leading to lack of motivation, I allowed myself two new pieces that made me feel good about where I was at right then. It didn't matter that they hopefully wouldn't fit in two weeks ... I would be happy to set them aside. But I needed them in that moment.

And then there is the weight and the food and the exercise. I've managed to lose and gain the same X pounds over the past 5 years. It's terrible. As many other's will say, I roller coaster with my weight and I really struggle. Weight Watchers. Calories. Fat. I've tried all three. But what I am focusing on this time around is a more holistic approach. I need a diet that will 1) help me lose weight fast, 2) help me save money, 3) give me more energy, and 4) help me be healthier overall. (And, cards on the table, I am tracking ALL THREE calories, fat and WW points on two different apps on my phone. It is time intensive but totally works well for me.)

What this means, basically, is that I am making everything myself these days. Not 100% from scratching, but maybe 75%ish. No more cafeteria for lunch everyday (yes, it was literally everyday). No more takeout or Lunds prepared meals for dinner). I am making my own food daily. And bring to eat as "clean" and from the original ingredients as I can, with some exceptions.

It is going well. I feel energized and it is getting easier, thought the 20 minutes spent prepping food for the next day (especially class days when I am prepping breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) is really tiresome. I am eating more vegetables and fruits that I probably did in the last 6 months combined. And I am starting to experiment with cooking and flavors.

I have never been a big cook. Not to say that I can't, but I just haven't really tried. I can make 4 things pretty darn well, but that is where my repertoire ends. So, I have gone pinning crazy with recipes and am starting to explore that world. Yikes. So far ok, I am 1 for 2 of the recipes I have tried. But even little things - like the salad i just finished prepping for lunch tomorrow - are big steps for me. First of all, I had 5 different veggies in the house that I was able to throw in. I grilled a chicken breast and tossed in buffalo sauce for added flavor. I made dressing. Those may not seem like a big deal to most people, but they are to me.

Sad, I know.

On the exercise side, that has never been a big problem. When I get to it ... I GET TO IT! I started slow and have worked my way up in two weeks to my old self. Feeling good and starting to really sweat. I am working on really mixing up my workouts though. I haven't missed a day yet and my goal is to do something every single day. For right now, I am really focusing on heaving up on lots of good cardio to really burn calories and fat and shed the weight quick. I am doing a smattering of weights and toning DVDs like Jillian Michaels for good measure. As the pounds come off, I want to find a better balance there and bring in some pilates for flexibility too. But first ... gotta shed these pounds quick.

So the days are long. Very long. Especially class days. Last week I wasn't home before 9:30 any night of the week, and that didn't include my workouts. So when I got home I changed and went and worked out. Then prepped and packed my food for the next day. Etc.

So here I am. 2 weeks in and feeling good. An adventure to be sure, just a different kind of adventure. Cooking. Finding balance. Losing weight. Saving money. And trying not to get distracted.

Oh ... I am still eating brunch every Sunday. I just take half of it home for dinner ...

And I am taking a lot of vitamins. Those, in combination with the clean eating and workouts, are hopefully going to help with my acne.

Finally, to really make sure I am eating the right foods for my body (and to further help it the acne) I did an allergen blood panel that will tell me what foods are inflammatory for me. Therefore, what foods I should avoid to help fix my acne. The results haven't come in yet, but hopefully soon.


So that's it. To the 2 people that probably read this (my mom included ... Hi Mom), that's what's going on.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My First Ever Pinterest Attempt | Buffalo "Fried" Goat Cheese Balls

I have been on Pinterest from the beginning and I have a fair number of things pinned, but I have never actualy made anything from Pinterest. Keep in mind though, I don't really cook and I don't really craft or prep for parties or redo my home. So ... I just never really attempted anything.

But as part of the "new and improved me" (more to come on that later), I am doing more cooking from scratch and more "clean" cooking. So ... I ventured back on to Pinterest for the first time in months to find some recipies. And I did find some ... (more to come on that later).

Then I came across this recipe for Buffalo "Fried" Goat Cheese over at Half Baked Harvest.

Um ... hello? Goat cheese ... AND buffalo sauce ... AND crunchy panko. Yum! Not the healthiest thing in the world, but still a fun idea!

So then when I recalled I have a girls night on Friday, I thought ... "here is a great idea to try out my new resolution to try new things and work on my cooking skills!"

So I attempted. And they are ok! If nothing else, I honeslty had fun doing it. The novelty of cooking is still new for me. I actually really liked how they turned out just after rolling in panko and baking the first time. I think I could have stopped after that even and just left them without the sauce. I admit ... the sauce may be a bit overpowering. But the crunchy exterior and gooey goat cheese interior is perfect!

The full recipe can be found over at Half Baked Harvest, but here are some of my thoughts:
  • 1 egg is enough ... in my opinion
  • 1 cup of panko is enough ... either that or I REALLY did not coat them enough ... yikes
  • You could just leave them without the buffalo sauce, they taste yummy that way too!
And as they say ... the proof is in the pudding (or in my case ... the pictures!):

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