February update: Year of the Dragon Goals

One of my goals this year was to have monthly updates on the progress of my goals for Year of the Dragon and this is my monthly update for February! Check that off the list....

Here are the remaining updates:

Goals for (2012) Year of the Dragon:

Food photo shoot once a month:
So far so good. One photo shoot down in January and I am shooting the February one today! I have tagged all of the posts I do for this goal under Hay Hay Donna.

Lose 5 pounds a month until I complete the 25 pound challenge.
I was doing so well with this until my birthday. Then I sort of stalled out. Why? I know why. First I started eating sugar again and was having a hard time exercising every day like I had hoped too. I recently read a blog post titled How do you not weigh 500 pounds?. It was a great little reminder about eating and got me back on track with the foods I eat. I am going back to the no sugar, dairy, wheat thing, but listening to my body and finding the balance with what I am eating.

I find that a few times a year I lose my exercise motivation. I am trying to pay attention to see if it is the same time each year or if it is when my life gets busy. I personally think it is around the same time every year. Mentally I have a hard time getting up when it is really dark outside to exercise. I find that I still go running with the Middle Sister and my trainer Eddie (the neighbors dog), but I have to really push myself on the days I work out alone.

Just this week I found some motivation to get me back on the track I want to be on in terms of exercising. I will take motivation / inspiration where ever I can find it! First I I started doing the 30 Day Shred again. I really like the 30 Day Shred workout because it takes less than 30 minutes to complete and it is a pretty good workout. I had wanted to do another round of P90X, but was having a really hard time (mentally) finding the hour and fifteen minutes I needed to do it. I am sure I will do the P90X again (I love that workout) but right now the 30 Day Shred is keeping me exercising.

Part of my motivation / inspiration to keep working out is because I mentioned the 30 Day Shred to a co-worker and she went out and bought it that night and started doing it with her daughter. Now I have to at least do 30 days of "the shred" to keep up with her! Her name is Wendy.

My next motivation / inspiration is kind of silly, but I will take anything that keeps me moving forward with my goals. I watched The Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds is very fit (in this movie and in real life) and the next morning when my alarm went off and all I wanted to do was get back in bed my mind said "Wendy and Ryan" and I got up to do the 30 Day Shred. Strange where motivation comes from....

Back to the goals update:
Weigh myself often. CHECK. And it's not fun.... the scale and I argue a lot.

Run 5 miles in an hour.
CHECK! Yesterday I went running with my trainer Eddie (the neighbors dog) and ran 5.01 miles in 59:57! I barely made it in under an hour but I did. It hurt. I felt very out of shape. I got home and napped for 3 hours afterwards. I'm doing it again soon.

Complete Rosetta Stone: Italian
I am not doing well on this goal at all. It is very hard to find the time to do the Rosetta Stone. I get home from work and want to eat dinner and go to bed. I will work on finding a good solution to this goal this month.

There you have it. February update: Year of the Dragon Goals. Look for better news in March!


No place like home

This past weekend was an whirlwind adventure of snowboarding in the Eastern Sierra and driving, driving, driving. And even though I had a lot of fun I have to say "there is no place like home".

A short re-cap of the weekend would start Thursday night with a 5 hour drive to Aberdeen and a 5am wake up call the next day to drive to Mammoth to snowboard. The day ended with a mandatory nap and then dinner with a friend. The next day had a 5am wake up call but my snowboarding that day consisted of one run and then sleeping in the truck for 3 hours. After having lunch at 3 o'clock I found myself in bed at 7pm. The next day was a 5am day again and my snowboarding day ended about noon when I was hit by another snowboarder and landed on an already tender knee. Come to think of it I was hit twice this weekend at Mammoth. Not fun.

Today I bargained with T for an "early" departure and made it home at 3pm.

I have to tell you, there is no place like home. My weekend was crazy and full of me running around, but home feels peaceful, relaxing, and rejuvenating. My irises are just starting to bloom for the first time this year and the sugar snap peas I planted are reaching for the sun. The jasmine was blooming and perfumed the house when I opened a window. I love being home. I love the peace I feel when I get to spend a little time by myself here. It keeps me sane and balanced.

I think Dorthy had it right, "there's no place like home".


Birthday Lunch: 2012

This past weekend I celebrated my 35th birthday. Instead of playing the "what should we do for your birthday game with the family" I said let's just have lunch at my place. It turned out this was a great idea. The menu was Asian themed and I wish I had taken pictures of the food! It was really good. T took all the pictures below:

The only food picture I have is of the Otsu with beef satay. The Otsu is amazing and posted on the 101 Cookbooks blog. I make mine without tofu.

T took these photos and they show how it is every time we get together. It seems like we are always laughing. Case and point:

Middle Sister and Dad (Dad dressed up as usual)

Uncle Joe and the Little Sister (again notice the laughter)

Back to the sofa, Middle Sister, Dad, and Jan

Wine, as usual

I had a great mellow birthday and my sides hurt from laughing when the day was done. Though I am usually "out of town" on my birthday I would defiantly do birthday lunch again! Laughing until you cry is a great reminder that the coming year is going to be amazing.

Happy Birthday to me!


Life gave me lemons....

Actually my mom gave me lemons off her amazing tree that she tried to kill by cutting it to the ground, but it came back and my sisters and I reap the rewards!

LEMONS, Lemons, lemons.... I currently have a lot of lemons.....

It crossed my mind that I should do something with all these lemons so I turned to the internet to look up some recipes. Wouldn't you know it, most of the lemon recipes I came across where dessert recipes. Seeing as I am still doing the no dairy, wheat, and sugar thing (for the most part) I didn't feel the urge to tempt myself with a collection of lemon desserts just waiting for me to eat them.

I did come across two pasta recipes that looked good. With the "no wheat" thing, I might make the Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Asparagus from Jenna at EatLiveRun with gluten free pasta and save the Smitten Kitchen Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil [Spaghetti al Limone] for another day. Both look great and I can't wait to try them.

In the back of my head I was thinking about making Lemon Marmalade, but was not sure what I would find. A little internet surfing later I came across a blog called Food in Jars. My search brought me to the Honey Lemon Marmalade recipe, but I ended up staying there for an hour checking out all the different recipes she had. Heaven!

I don't consider myself a canner, but I do make and can things a few times a year. I blogged about Orange & Vanilla Marmalade here and Pomegranate Jelly here. I even made a jam with figs this summer that was incredible.

Bottom line. I love to preserve things. I love the idea of farm-to-table-to-cupboard. When I was very young my father turned our suburban backyard into an amazing garden and my mom learned to can. I remember the walls of the garage being stacked with the fruits of their labor. That blog, Food in Jars, brought me back to that time. It inspired and encouraged me to try new things.

With all the lemons I have I am going to try the Honey Lemon Marmalade recipe. Then I am going to learn more about canning and see what else I can do!

If I still have lemons I might try Lemon Sponge Pudding and make some Lemon Syrup...
Lemon Honey Marmalade
UPDATE: I made the Lemon Honey Marmalade and have farmed out some jars to friends and family to see what they think. I am in the middle of the road on this one and think I might make Lemon Curd next time. I guess I will see what others say.....