Recipes 2 and 3 – Kik Alicha and Oat and Currant Scones

I cooked up a storm tonight, go me!

I made Kik Alicha based on a recipe I found online: http://www.americanfoodroots.com/recipes/kik-alicha-yellow-split-peas/. This is a recipe for ethiopian yellow split peas, which is always one of my favorite dishes when I eat out at Ethiopian.

I will say that this turned out just OK. I didn’t like how soupy it was, so I think I’d use less water next time. I also would leave in the garlic when it said to take it out. I had to add some cayenne too to give it a kick. Generally, tastes better at a restaurant, but wasn’t a terrible recipe. I’ve never cooked yellow split peas before, and I know no other recipes for them, so I think all in all, I’d try it again. It was VERY easy to make, though, which is a bonus. There aren’t really good photos of it, so no documentation.

I also made Oat and Currant Scones from my roommate’s King Arthur Flour cookbook. I substituted chopped dried cranberries for currants since I had them on hand. This recipe required some specialized ingredients, like oat flour and buttermilk, made a mess (you have to knead the dough on a floured surface), and was time consuming, but it was pretty simple. The results are amazingly delicious, too, so I feel fancy and accomplished. Plus, they’re only about 187 cal and 4g protein/2g fiber, which for an indulgent baked good isn’t bad. I could have easily shortened the cooking time and made smaller scones, which I think I would do next time to make them more portion-healthy.

Photos are out of order because my computer is stupid.

Scones Before Baking

Scones, just before putting some coarse sugar on top and baking.

Freshly Baked

Freshly baked!

Dough Balls

Dough balls! You turn out the dough, knead a few times, form a disk, and cut using a bench knife.

 

2015 Goals

This year, I’m not very motivated to theme my year. I think the best attempt is self-assurance. I want to focus on things that will improve my confidence and help me grow and feel better and more sure of myself. I don’t want to be held back by uncertainty, insecurity, fear, or unhappiness. I’d like to work on making myself vulnerable and leaning into the things that freak me out, rather than avoiding them. I want to do things that build me up.

To do that, I want to do more things that freak me out (going to a movie alone, spin class, universalist service, complicated recipes), continue getting physically stronger and more fit, and work on recovering mentally from the last year (therapist, journalling). My non-concrete goal is to be OK with asking for things I need/want and to understand that asking doesn’t negate the value of what I’m asking for, and to generally care less about other peoples’ opinions and more about doing what pleases me.

Goals:

  • save $5000
  • get at least 2/3 “exceptional”s at work at my 18 and 24 month reviews
  • cook coq au vin
  • cook pancakes, bread, scones
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • attend a universalist service
  • see a therapist (at least once, maybe regularly)
  • go to dr apts – eye dr, obgyn, regular physician, dentist
  • go to a spin class
  • see a movie alone
  • finish Couch to 5K
  • run the Parkway Classic 5K

Local things I’d like to do:

  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Williamsburg
  • Try a few odd fitness classes, such as: Pound, Aerial silk yoga, Capoeira

Things I’d like to continue from 2014:

  • Book Club(s) – foodie and kink-friendly ones
  • Game Nights
  • Gratitude Practice – weekly, focus on one thing in detail and how it impacted me not just a list of happy things, keep public; if do list, can keep private
  • RSS reader
  • Goodreads – read 52 books
  • MyFitnessPal – tracking calories and community of fitness-minded folks
  • Strength training – with a trainer or my own weights
  • Cooking at home/trying new recipes – 1 new recipe a month, blog about it with photos
  • 100 days of happiness on instagram – repeat it

General list of  ‘do more’ things for 2015:

  • Keep up with current events and politics (read a newspaper every week, or The Week/Economist, or check CNN/Google news each day)
  • See more movies in theaters
  • Blog/Journal (try to do some 30 day exercises, or 100 days of 100 words; food blogging once a month, gratitude practice made public)
  • Give back to community/charity
  • Use my stand-up desk for 1hr each day (at least)

2014 Year in Review – Part 2 (Resolution Update)

In 2014, I wanted to continue doing some things from 2013, including:

  • weekly gratitude journal
  • weekly game and dinner nights with best friends
  • blogging regularly
  • using goodreads to track my reading
  • using my RSS reader

I did keep up my gratitude journal, although I often journaled in batches weeks after the original events. I’m happy I continued it, although I think I need to prioritize doing it each week as it happens. I had game nights most weeks, although it wasn’t quite as regular as the previous year. I used goodreads and my RSS reader faithfully. I did not blog regularly at all.

I wanted to focus on being healthy. For the most part, I think I succeeded at that, even if it took me about 6 months to start working on it. I lost 25lbs, went to a personal trainer, ran on a treadmill for the first time, tried a bunch of new fitness classes, and cooked a lot of new things. I didn’t lose it mentally, and I certainly had the factors in my life pushing me in that direction. I need to keep up these things and continue trying to make habits.

Check-in on my goals

Things I did:

  • Gossip less. I still gossip more than I please, but no where near as much as last year.
  • Cook at home more. Plus now I take pride in my cooking! I made swordfish, salmon, curries, moo shu chicken, and a lot of other new things.
  • Don’t get lazy with hair/makeup routines. I regularly side part my hair now :).
  • pay off credit cards and keep them paid off
  • pay off my car
  • read 50 books I read 63!
  • clean out all of my material possessions and organize things better I did that before moving in May, but after my mom’s death and losing weight I need to do it again…
  • get matching towels to replace mismatched current ones
  • learn to cook thai curry (I made Red Curry, Green Curry, and Panang)
  • get a raise at my 6 month and 12 month reviews, as I am supposed to
  • try the church my friend’s visit on Capital Hill, or attend a universalist service.
  • See a show at Ford’s Theater I saw Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • See a show at Shakespeare Theater I saw the Tempest
  • See a concert at 9:30 club I saw Delta Rae

Things I didn’t do:

  • Volunteer or donate time and money to charity – give back.
  • save enough for three months expenses and an extra $1,000 (roughly $5,500)
  • Have better posture.
  • Use mouthwash more regularly.
  • Cook macarons and coq au vin
  • write an erotic story
  • answer texts more promptly
  • write handwritten letters to close friends on their birthdays
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Atlantic City, Ocean City, Virginia Beach, or Williamsburg

Books of 2014

This is just for personal record-keeping. These are the 58 books I read in 2014. Divided by category.

In 2013, I read 56 books: 18 Nonfiction books (3 memoirs), 13 YA books, 8 Misc. fiction books, 12 Erotica books, 3 Re-Reads, and 3 books I didn’t finish.

In 2014, I read 63 books: 16 Nonfiction books (5 [7?] memoirs), 19 YA books, 13 Misc. fiction books, 8 Erotica, 4 Re-Reads, and 5 books I didn’t finish.

Nonfiction:

  1. The Total Money  Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey – finance
  2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – memoir, book club
  3. Eat to Live by Joel Furrman – food/fitness
  4. Yes Please by Amy Poehler – memoir
  5. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler – food/fitness, book club
  6. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self Assurance, What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman – pyschology
  7. Slim for Life: My Insider Secrets to Simple, Fast, and Lasting Weight Loss by Jillian Michaels – food/fitness
  8. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman – finance
  9. American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage – opinion/memoir
  10. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert – pyschology, book club
  11. Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn – opinion/memoir
  12. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney – memoir
  13. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin – self help/memoir
  14. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman – finance
  15. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – memoir
  16. Whip Smart by Melissa Febos – memoir

Young Adult

  1. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller – dystopic
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry – dystopic, book club
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – book club
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  5. Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
  6. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan – dystopic
  7. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  8. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
  9. The One by Kiera Kass – dystopic
  10. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
  11. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
  12. Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
  13. The Good Lie by Robin Brande
  14. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
  15. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan – fantasy
  16. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – fantasy
  17. Minders by Michele Jaffe – dystopic
  18. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  19. No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

Miscellaneous Fiction

  1. Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton – chick lit
  2. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – historical, book club
  3. Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton – chick lit
  4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman – fantasy
  5. Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye – romance
  6. Lexicon by Max Barry – dystopic
  7. The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie – romance
  8. The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie – romance
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – dystopic, book club
  10. Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich – historical, book club
  11. Wool (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey – dystopic
  12. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – fantasy, book club
  13. Mai Tai’d Up by Alice Clayton – chick lit

Erotica

  1. 1001 Dark Nights by Cherise Sinclair
  2. Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch – book club
  3. If Only by Cherise Sinclair
  4. Dear Sir, I’m Yours by Joely Sue Burkhart
  5. Bonds of Hope by Linda Aicher
  6. Compulsion by JB Brooks
  7. Drawn Together by Wendy Zwaduk
  8. Bonds of Desire by Linda Aicher

Didn’t Finish:

  1. From Scratch: Inside the Food Network by Allen Salkin
  2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – book club
  3. Story of O by Pauline Reage – book club
  4. Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan – book club
  5. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sara Manning

Rereads:

  1. Bonds of Hope by Linda Aicher
  2. Renegade by Diana Palmer
  3. Lawless by Diana Palmer
  4. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

2014 Year in Review (Part 1)

This is the first of what will likely be many posts reflecting on the past year and pondering the upcoming one. Last year, saw this survey on a friends’ fetlife page and decided to do it again this year. The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? 

I went to Mexico (Riviera Maya) including to Chichen Itza, I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I went to many new restaurants, I introduced a boyfriend to my family and met his family, I gave a eulogy and went to a funeral, I tried new workout classes (piloxing, kickboxing, hip hop cardio, among others), I lifted heavy weights (deadlifts, yo), paid off my car, and got a deep tissue massage.

2013: I went on a zipline in Vegas, I went to Harry Potter world in Orlando, I had korean barbecue, I learned to grill, I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, I played a bunch of board games I never had played before, and I went to many new restaurants and touristy things.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I kept some of them. It took me half the year to get around to it, but I did end up focusing on health in the latter part of the year. I kept up with goodreads, game nights, my gratitude journal, and RSS feeds over the year. I’m also much better off financially. I didn’t write another short story, I didn’t save up as much as I wanted to, and I didn’t keep track of passwords or write letters to folks.

I kept some of them and didn’t for others. I saved the money I wanted to save, and at one point I had paid off my credit cards (alas, I spent them up again). I got addresses for a bunch of people. I went to a never-before-visited destination, and took a bunch of photos. I watched Secretary and tried wax and fire play. I did not do a 5K, work out enough, compile all my online passwords, try cupping, acquire a flogger, or write an erotic story (although I have extensive notes and could still do that in the next few days…)

Did anyone close to you give birth? 

I don’t think so, at least not anyone in my immediate friend or family circle.

My cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy a few months ago.

Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes, my mom. It was unexpected and the grief still takes my breath away, even though it’s been 4.5 months.

No one immediately near me, thankfully.

What was your favorite TV program? 

Suits, Once Upon a Time, Shark Tank, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones, without a doubt. Shark Tank probably takes a close second.

What countries did you visit? 

Mexico.

Dubai, UAE and Afghanistan. My non-work-related travel was all domestic.

What do you wish you’d done less of? 

I wish I’d kept my feelings to myself less, at least in terms of my needs or being upfront about what people could do to help me when my mom passed.

I wish I’d eaten out less and gossiped less.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

July 31, the day my mom died, February 16, the day of my first date with my dude, and September 18th, when we first said I love you.

That one’s hard. Maybe starting my new job in December, or my friend’s wedding over Columbus Day, or vacation in September with one of my best friends, or work travel in June that had bombings, or my family member’s bout with illness that started in April…

Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Nothing beyond the norm.

Not really, just sinus infections/colds.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 

Confidence…been working on that, am much better than I was a few months back, but still hav ea way to go to be as fearless as I’d like.

Love…as in the true, lasting kind.

What was the best thing you bought? 

My vacation to Mexico :), my car (finished paying it off!), personal training sessions.

My table and chairs for our dining room.

Where did most of your money go? 

Bills (to put myself in a better financial position), and like last year, experiences – travel, restaurants, fitness.

Experiences – eating out, musicals, events, travel, etc. Trying new restaurants probably racked up the most money.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Getting a perfect rating at my job, the report from my last job making the New York Times, losing 30lbs.

Getting promoted twice within 5 months and finding a new job at my promotion’s salary.

What was your biggest failure? 

Calling my mom and being home more before she went septic (and the rest of the downfall) in June…not necessarily a failure, but a regret, which is similar. Otherwise…there haven’t been any huge noticeable failures, which makes me happy. If I’m looking for something, I’d end up back with the whole “wishing I vocalized my needs” more within friendship relationships. I wasn’t great at telling people when I needed them to be there for me (felt like if I had to tell them, didn’t count or was imposing).

I had a couple of failed attempted relationships that were upsetting. I also didn’t do a good job at keeping in touch with family/friends that are long-distance, and I utterly failed in my fitness goals.

What did you get really, really excited about? 

My dude, my vacation, fitness and cooking.

My new job and my vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2013? 

Stay with Me by Sam Smith, Say Something by A Great Big World, Happier by Pharrell.

TBD…maybe Lorde’s “Royals” just because it’s super overplayed? Or Paradiso Girls’ Patron Tequila song featuring Lil Jon and Eve.


Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  Sadder…I’m happier about some things, but the loss of my mom lends a dark tint to things. (Happier)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? Thinner, by 30lbs :). (Fatter. I gained about 15-20 pounds this year, which sucks balls.)

…richer or poorer? Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money. (Richer? I have more in savings and more of my car paid off, plus I’m making more. The potential is all there. (If only my student loans would just disappear.))


What do you wish you’d done more of? Connect with friends and family far away. (Sex.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable.)

Whose behavior merited celebration? My boyfriend and best friend, who were absolutely amazing in the midst of the horror of losing my mom. (Two of my best friends, whom I meet every week for dinner and board games. My roommate, for always cheering me up. My old roommate, for finally dumping her boyfriend who treated her poorly.)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My father, in not realizing that his actions have impacts. Some of my friends, in not making time or prioritizing friendships when I needed them most. (My sibling’s breakdown upset me quite a good deal earlier this year. I also was very put off by the kink community’s general shift towards shallow and narcissistic interactions.)

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (In the midwest with my immediate family.)

Did you fall in love in 2014? Yes. (Nope. I was definitely infatuated a few times, but not love.)

How many one night stands? 0. (There was one guy I gave head to at Winter Fire that I never met up with again, so I guess that counts? We didn’t have sex, though, so not sure. Otherwise, I only fooled around with folks I was seeing or have ongoing friendships with.)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? My mom not dying? Taking control of my fitness earlier in the year, maybe. (…That’s hard. I don’t think any one thing would have done it. I guess finding someone to get more serious with, physically and romantically?)

How will you be spending New Years? With my boyfriend and likely with some friends at a house party. (With friends, playing games, doing karaoke, and drinking.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (No. Hate is a strong word.)

What was the best book you read? The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. (The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (Spotify 🙂.)

What did you get and not want? A lot of candy from various people. (Some kitchen utensils? Some gross OkC and Fetlife messages.)

What did you want and not get?  I can’t think of anything. (I wanted flowers from someone and I wanted a flogger, and I didn’t get those.)

What did you want and get? Close friends at my new job, boyfriend, various material goods. (Too many things to count. Furnishings, cookware, clothing, books. A new job. A close friend at work. Renewed friendships with my old roommates. More routines.)

What was your favorite film this year? Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games, and I can’t remember seeing that many others. As for old movies, Pitch Perfect and Frozen. (Frozen.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 26, I went to dinner with a good group of friends downtown, and then went to a bar and went dancing. (I turned 25, and I went out to Tapas dinner with some friends then went dancing at some bars I’d never been to.)

What kept you sane? While I had her in my life, my mom. The rest of the time, my boyfriend, my roommates, my closest friends, and focusing on fitness. (My friends, most especially my roommates and their crazy antics, my work friend, and my weekly game nights with my two close friends.)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much. (No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.)

Whom did you miss? My family, most of all my mom. (My close friends in WI/OH/IN.)

Who was the best new person you met? My boyfriend, two new friends at work, and the couple that hosts my book club. (That’s really difficult. Maybe my work friend, who I’d met but didn’t spend any time with or talk to until this year. That, or a woman who hosts a kinky game group.)

What political issue stirred you the most? I’ve been really removed from politics this year…couldn’t tell you. (Striking down DOMA and Edward Snowden.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Just because you have to ask for something, doesn’t mean the something isn’t worth having or will fulfill you any less. Money isn’t as important as time. Don’t underestimate the place people have in your life. (Learn to say no and slow down. It’s ok to trust others with your feelings. I have the power to make men nervous.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I have absolutely no fucking idea. (I have absolutely no fucking idea. TBD.)

6 Month Check In on Goals

My theme for the year is “Healthy,” and given that we’re approaching the end of 6 months of the year (aka half-way point), it’s time to evaluate on things.

I’ve definitely achieved some professional and financial goals. I’m paying off my car this upcoming weekend, and I’ve moved to a less expensive place which will reduce expenses. I’ve gotten my raise at work and I’ve gotten good reviews at the office. I haven’t been blogging as much as I intended, which I hope to remedy. I also haven’t had game nights in quite some time, and I really notice it – I feel off kilter now that my routine has been mucked with. We start back up again in a week or two, though, so that should go back to normal.

I think I’ve been gossiping less this year, if only because of a change in office environments. I’ve been working hard to respond to texts and such more quickly, although since I’m not the recipient it’s hard to know if that’s working. My posture still sucks, and I haven’t been going to the gym regularly or cooking at home enough.

I want to buy personal training sessions with the trainer in my apartment complex, but can’t afford it quite yet. I intend to save enough for 2-3 months of sessions, and then sit down to come up with a plan with their wellness coach/planner guy. It’s convenient, and I really like their whole-of-health approach, so I’m excited for it. I need the accountability, and I’d like actual training when it comes to circuits and form.

In the meantime, I don’t want to be desperately out of shape in my first sessions, so I’ve agreed with my roommate to wake up extra early to get to the gym before work. This means a 5:30am wakeup, which BLOWS, but I think it’ll be worth it. I’ve been making a playlist tonight and it’s awesome.

Really, I want to feel in better shape, to be able to do  more interesting sex positions (sometimes I feel like I’m not putting in enough work in the sack, so hopefully this would help change that), to be able to do more active things like hiking with friends that are far more athletic than I, and of course, to fit into some cute clothes that don’t work right now. Here’s hoping I can get a handle on it all.

2014 Goal Setting

First, some things I’d like to continue:

  • Keeping a weekly gratitude journal. This year, I’d like to capture Sunday – Saturday, instead of Tuesday – Monday.
  • Weekly game and dinner nights with my best friends.
  • Blogging regularly.
  • Using goodreads to track what I’m reading and how frequently I read.
  • Regularly utilizing my RSS reader to stay up to date on technology, design, politics, cooking, and more.

Second, my overarching theme for the year is going to be “Healthy.” I want to focus on being healthier in spirit, mind, and body.

I’ve done a lot of reading this year on habits and willpower, and it requires too much energy to successfully complete a list of goals. I want to focus on bringing health into every part of my life, and then fundamentally on working out more to get in awesome shape. That’s it – that’s my one goal. In theory, in two months, it should be a habit and then I can move on to other ways to bring health into my life.

I’m still going to make a list of things I hope to do or accomplish, but I’m not going to actively work on those things. I spent a lot of time trying new things, visiting new places, etc. with friends to cross things off lists. I had a great year, but I spent too much money, gained weight, and was at a much higher level of stress.

So, first goal: get fit. Strength train every weeknight for about 10 minutes, and do calisthenics for another 10. Go to the gym at least 3x a week. Try to do more active things with friends.

Other ways to be healthy, should I make the above a habit, or to generally keep in mind:

  • Gossip less.
  • Volunteer or donate time and money to charity – give back.
  • Cook at home more.
  • Have better posture.
  • Don’t get lazy with hair/makeup routines.
  • Use mouthwash more regularly.

Outside my theme, below are things that I’m hoping to do in the next year anyway, but am not going to freak out or constantly work towards.

  • pay off credit cards and keep them paid off
  • save enough for three months expenses and an extra $1,000 (roughly $5,500)
  • pay off my car
  • read 50 books
  • clean out all of my material possessions and organize things better
  • get matching towels to replace mismatched current ones
  • learn to cook macarons, thai curry, and coq au vin/beef (the last using my french oven)
  • get a raise at my 6 month and 12 month reviews, as I am supposed to
  • write an erotic story
  • answer texts more promptly
  • write handwritten letters to close friends on their birthdays
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • try the church my friend’s visit on Capital Hill, or attend a universalist service.

Local things I’d like to do:

  • See a show at Ford’s Theater
  • See a show at Shakespeare Theater
  • See a concert at 9:30 club
  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Atlantic City, Ocean City, Virginia Beach, or Williamsburg