Cooking Light Annual Challenge Rundown:
Sunday: The Master Hash (we neglected the steak – too expensive for our taste – and boy this recipe took forever, but it was pretty darn good. Not very filling, but dang tasty. Om nom nom)
Monday: Chicken Marsala Casserole (keep an eye out for this recipe on the book this week. My hubby – let’s just call him Chuck – said it needed a little more flavoring, so he complimented it with Tabasco sauce. Good all around)
Tuesday: Pulled Chicken Sandwiched (before this recipe, we’d made a lot of BBQ pulled chicken – usually but poaching the chicken – but I’d never made my own BBQ sauce. Now I can say I have! The spices add a lot of kick to the flavor, but it would have been better with a little less ketchup and a little more sugar. Of course, then it would have lost most of its nutritional value. The almost constant trade off!)
Wednesday: Sick Day (don’t ever eat Progresso’s Chicken Tortilla soup. Ugh. You have been warned!)
Thursday: Celebrate Cheat Day (don’t ever eat at Panera Bread unless you have gift cards to use up. $20 for dinner for me and Chuck and we both left still hungry!)
Friday: Steamed Chicken with Black Bean Salsa (probably my favorite recipe of the week. Keep an eye out on the blog for it coming later this week. Simple to make, delicious to scarf down with a (nonloaded) baked potato. So good!)
Saturday: Fusilli with Green Beans and Oregano (simple to make and simple to prep, but surprisingly tasty. Since it’s the weekend, I got to drink. And since we want to do a wine cork decoration for the kitchen, I got to drink wine. Win, win!)
One of my readers (I don’t know if I’ve told you lately – or at all – but I love you all to pieces ❤ ) suggested I add costs to my recipes. It’s a tricky concept because I keep a heavily stocked pantry (it’s not perfect yet but I think I’m finally getting close) and buy in bulk with Publix’s BOGO deals (you should see me when chicken or pork is BOGO), but it’s a great idea so I’m going to try my best to guestimate from here on out. We are definitely Jewish (no disrespect intended. On the contrary, we mean it in the highest form of flattery) when it comes to budgeting, so we’re always looking for a balance of healthy, tasty, and cheap meals.
This week (after binge watching Alaska: The Last Frontier during our free month of Hulu with no commercials – who wants to pay $12 a month? Not me!) we are going mostly vegetarian, with one crab recipe since I have one crab package left from said BOGOs. Definitely no red meat or chicken though. I already knew my fair share about how disgusting and inhumane the meat industry is, but watching the homesteaders provide for themselves was a nail in the coffin this weekend. We’re also giving tofo another shoot (I am slightly optimistic, but not holding my breath).
Progress on the Trail:
Sunday, 22 January: 7 miles
Monday, 23 January: 7.65 miles
Tuesday, 24 January: 6 miles
Wednesday, 25 January: 0 miles (sick day)
Thursday, 26 January: 0 miles (recovery day)
Friday, 27 January: 12.75 miles
Saturday, 28 January: 10 miles
Week Four Total: 43.4 miles
Distance to Go: 2,006.35 miles (2,190 miles total)
Being sick can really ruin your week (especially if you still have to work. It sucks away all your energy and leaves nothing for exercise). I think I’m finally beginning to realize what an undertaking trying to “bike” the length of the Appalachian Trail truly is. Hiking it is something else entirely, but you get to devote a full six to eight months to the task with nothing else on your schedule (not to make light of the endeavor, because there is nothing light about it). But trying to get in the miles while working a part time job and owning my own company (plus trying to edit a manuscript for publishing by March of this year)? It’s hard to find the time. And after about a month, sometimes my legs – or my knees – just don’t feel up to it. The challenge of the yearly goal is the only thing that keeps me going some days when I want to quit after fifteen minutes but still have 7 more miles to go. But I’m really hoping this challenge – along with my better dietary choices (still a work in progress) and my cut back on sugary and alcoholic beverages – will finally get me into the shape I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve finally almost lost all the holiday weight! I’ve also been trying to add in a few days of Nike Training Club and at least one day of yoga a week as well, but that’s another entire beast. Man, I’m gonna be ripped by the end of this year (hopefully)!
On other news, I got a Fitbit this week. It put a severe dent in my budget for the month (though I got the cheapest one with the sleep tracking), but it was time. My old pedometer took one too many slaps to the thigh during spinning and would randomly restart in the middle of the week, erasing all my steps I hadn’t yet taken the time to upload (causing a lot of stress, yelling, and a wee bit of cursing on my part). After one particular tirade, Chuck relented and let me buy a Fitbit One. I’ve only had it working for a couple days now, but so far I really like it (I just have to get into the habit of remembering to turn it to sleep mode before I pass out). We get incentives with our health insurance to wear it, so it should pay for itself within the next few months (and prevent a lot of aggravated yelling on my behalf).
Oh, and I watched Saw for the first time ever last night. Wow, was it good! I hear the sequels are all terrible, but man. *Whistles* I love me a psychological thriller, and it delivered. Plus, it has the prince from the Princess Bride. Win, win! This is the type of book I want to write. Of course, I had massive night terrors last night, but I dare say it was worth it. Saw is the original escape room dilemma and it was brilliant.
And Starbuck. We haven’t heard from her in a while. She’s not a big fan of “winter” (it’s barely even what I would classify as cold here) but she did get up to some antics yesterday. She went out to pee and chased a cat up the tree instead. Chuck swore the cat would be fine and would get out of the tree itself but after a few hours of the poor cat alternating between sleeping and pacing, I finally convinced him (I didn’t want to get scratched) to go out and usher it down to a lower hanging branch where it could safely jump down. It was terrified. But maybe it will tell its friends of our bully dog and all the homeless cats will stay out of our yard from now on. One can only hope.
I finally crossed one of the items off my Do Do List from New Years today. I fixed the cabinet drawers in the kitchen that were off the track *holds for applause to die down* Actually, it turns out, it wasn’t so much that the drawers were off track as it was the track was not screwed down at all and was just wiggling about all willy nilly. The longer I live in this house (and don’t get me wrong, I still love it), the more I realize the people who lived here before us had absolutely no mechanical sense about them (not only were the tracks not screwed down, but the track mounts in the back are mounted with staples from a staple gun. Oh me, oh my). I take great satisfaction in being able to fix things myself (especially when I don’t have to look it up on Youtube!). It gives me confidence that I will be able to live the homesteading life when we finally get to retire to Wyoming. And it’s just plain fun to work with your hands.