2011… the year I’m going to stop eating all my meals from the microwave, and the year I’m going to successfully complete a half marathon in under 2 hrs and 30 minutes. In order to complete these goals, I’ve challenged myself to cook at least one thing from scratch and/or go for a run every day in 2011. I’ll be blogging about these activities to keep myself accountable, and hopefully have some fun while doing it!
I’m a fairly mediocre cook. I’m just not very experienced since I cook so rarely. I can follow a recipe, but take me off-recipe and I’m hopeless to make changes. I’m also lazy, and the last thing I usually want to do when I get home from work is take the time to put something together that I’m not sure will even be tasty. So, I tend to live off of frozen meals from Trader Joe’s, or get take-out.
My go-to meal, much to my chagrin, is Go-Go Taquitos from 7-11. It got to the point where the clerk actually handed me my preferred flavor (taco and cheese, if you must know) before I can open my mouth. Trader Joe’s frozen meals aren’t too bad for me, but I’m definitely a little concerned about all the sodium and preservatives I must be getting in my system. Plus, I just need to eat more veggies. So I’m going to make an attempt to start cooking more often, working off of some sort of plan so that groceries don’t go to waste. Hopefully my skills will improve as the year goes on.
Happily, I’m a pretty good baker (although it’s really hard to go wrong with enough sugar, butter and chocolate). I also have an interest in cocktails. So for the purposes of my goals, I’ll allow baking and cocktail shaking to count as “cooking something from scratch.” I just can’t let too many cocktails lead me back to the Taquito siren song…
I have a fairly short running history. I had a short-lived and unmemorable stint on the indoor track team in middle school and didn’t lace up running shoes again until 2007. I signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with a few friends, and then stupidly didn’t train at all. I managed to finish the race, but with a time of 3:09 and had sore legs for days. I figured running just wasn’t for me. Then last year, I signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and made a commitment to train for it. I used the Couch to 5K plan and then the Hal Higdon 10 miler plan, and finished the race in 1:46! I was incredibly proud of myself, but once my goal had been achieved, I promptly quit running again.
This year, I’m signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler again. But more importantly, I also signed up for a half marathon! I decided to run the National Half Marathon, and better yet, I’m doing it through Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a pretty cool program that helps elementary school girls (3rd through 8th grade) train for a 5k, mixed with healthy living programs. It’s supposed to build self esteem, teach them healthy habits, and all that good stuff. In exchange for having my entry fee to the half marathon paid for, I’ve commited to raising at least $262 for Girls on the Run leading up to the half marathon… if I don’t manage to raise it, it’ll be coming out of my own bank account, so I’m definitely motivated! If you would like to donate to my cause, I invite you to check out my Fundraising Page. I promise to bake something for every contributer (and then I can count that as cooking from scratch… 2 birds with 1 stone, here!)
So, what have I done today besides watch the “Worst Cooks in America” marathon on Food Network (at least I’m not as bad as those guys, even if it’s probably played up for television) and set up this blog? I cooked something from scratch!
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese! Hey, what do you expect from me? I had an extremely late night and I’m not exactly firing on all cylinders today. My mom makes a great homemade mac and cheese, but the stuff from the blue box is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s actually one of the first things I ever learned to make myself. Back in the day, when my father was in charge of me and my brother for meals, he’d usually take us to McDonald’s, or make us mac and cheese. Once I got old enough to boil water, he had me start doing it myself. (This is not a knock on my dad’s cooking skills — he makes a mean PB&J sandwich!) I actually made a small tweak to the classic recipe today — I’m out of milk so I used half & half that happened to be in the fridge. I felt totally wild and crazy… and it tasted darn good, too.
Song of the Day
Toby Keith – How Do You Like Me Now? I know, I know. It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure song. Country music isn’t my favorite genre, but I actually saw Toby Keith in concert this past summer w/ some friends, and it was an interesting experience. He’s sponsored by Ford, so there was a giant honkin’ Ford on stage that he actually popped out of… it was pretty ridiculous. However, he’s a good showman, I had fun hanging out on the lawn with my friends, and this song was my favorite out of the bunch. Plus, I kinda like singing “How do you like me now? now that I’m on my waaaay” in my head to psych myself up on the treadmill. I promise that future songs of the day will be edgier (ok, to be honest, they probably won’t).