Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where's the Beef?

Well it's certainly not in 2012, at least for me.

Disclaimer: in this post I have shared my views, thoughts and opinions on why I have decided to stop eating meat. If you feel that you would not care for this information, or to learn about what actually is happening in food production in our country I would discourage you from reading.

So far this year I haven't eaten any meat. I have had seafood though, so I guess you could say that I have become a pescatarian. On December 30th, Mr. Charming and I were staying at a Bed & Breakfast in NC (which I just realized I never posted about...maybe more on that later!), and with no good TV we decided to pick something from Netflix to watch on his iPad. We couldn't agree on any movies so I went to the documentary section and decided on Food Inc.
I had heard a lot about this film and had wanted to watch it for a while. And they were right, I never looked at dinner or any meal the same since. To be perfectly honest I shed quite a few tears that evening, not just at the cruel ways the animals in our meat farms are treated, but at the absolutely horrid rules and regulations that are in place in this country regarding meat production. The "filler" added into ground beef, the fact that our cows eat corn and not grass, and seeing hundreds of chickens crammed into one chicken house just sitting in each other's waste took only mere minutes to remove the taste of meat from my mouth.
The next morning at breakfast I quickly took my sausage and put it on MC's plate. At least he was happy with the results of me watching this film.

Now, why am I still eating seafood? Because I saw nothing about seafood production in this film. Is it probably just as bad? Yes, but I don't know about it yet. The film did show a company (I believe from VA) that locally raised and and produced meat in a small business. If I knew where my meat was coming from, how it was handled and how it was raised, yes I would eat it. Unfortunately I'm a little wary of anything that I would now purchase at the store.

It's been an interesting journey so far learning how to adapt my diet. What I've learned the most is that I almost feel disadvantaged by not eating meat. It's hard to find decent choices in some food places, and I refuse to eat a grilled cheese, pizza or pasta just because I don't want to eat meat. I've been finding new sources of protein and also exploring many fake meat products. So far some of my favorites have been Gardein's crispy tenders, Boca crumbles and Morningstar buffalo wings (which I'll probably break out this Super Bowl Sunday!).

I must say what's been most interesting is the reactions and questions I get from friends, family and even strangers when they find out I am not eating meat.

Q: "Well then what are you eating?"
Ummm food? There's only a million other foods on this earth besides meat. What are you eating? I probably ate that...minus the meat.

Q: "Aren't you hungry all the time?"
No, I consume the same amount of calories as I did when I wasn't eating meat. Trust me, I am someone that will never go hungry...

Q: "What will you eat at Pawley's Front Porch?"
They actually offer a veggie burger, and fish tacos. 

I'm learning how to handle all of the questions. Will I stop eating meat forever? Who knows, maybe, maybe not. If I can find a great place to get meat that I know has been handled in a way that I care for, great. Will I stop eating other things that are processed and probably just as gross? Until I am a millionaire and can either buy all local organic food, or have my own garden and farm, most likely not. Unfortunately in our country that's a difficult feat.

Things I would like to do are to learn more about how to support to change in our food industry. Especially with the policies that let companies get away with doing the most foul things to our meat before shipping it off the local Publix.

For now I'll continue with my seafood and fake meat products. Don't worry I'll have something to eat and won't be hungry all the time. If anyone out there has great sources of information for vegetarian living and recipes please feel free to pass along!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekly Highlights

I find myself taking so many pictures on my iPhone throughout the week, what a great way to look back at the week through those?

To encourage us as we study for comps, all of the second years in my program have a comps buddy that is a first year student. Mine has found out my love for Harry Potter and send me a daily dose of re-mastered HP script. 

My spuddy (buddy in our program) sent me some awesome love through campus mail, and I got to have lunch with the other spuddy this week too!

 Michelle's sister sent her these to the office for her birthday this week, so yummy!

This doesn't need much of an explanation...I love the South

Had to stop and take a pic of my way to run at the Riverwalk, so thankful for great weather and amazing places

My comps buddy completely outdid themselves with this present that I got yesterday at work...so COOL!

During a comps (sensing a theme in my life right now?) study session last night we got nostalgic and broke out the Mondos. It definitely helped us retain the history of higher education.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Do More: Week Three

Time for the check-in, lets see how I was able to do more in week three!

Be more creative.
Use my talents to make meaningful gifts for the ones I love. Made cupcakes for Michelle's birthday!

Write more.
Blog more to share life with family and friends. Lots of blogging!
Send more cards and letters to friends and family. Sent birthday, thank you and just because notes to brighten up the week. 

Read more.
Read more books and novels that I enjoy rather than watching TV. Finally picked up the book I began the first week of January...getting a little behind on my lofty goal of 52 books this year.
Stay current on US & world news, take time to learn more about politics. Definitely need to get more into this with all of the current political buzz.

Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. Snickerdoodle cupcakes w/ cinnamon cream cheese icing. Avocado, red pepper & black bean quesadillas.
Make a conscious effort to prepare my meals rather than eating prepackaged food. Cooked myself egg salad, made pizzas with MC
Buy more local food and produce to cook. Bought a Groupon to a market where I can get some of these goods!

Spend more time outside. 
Go for a walk outside at least once a week. Went for a walk/jog on Tuesday and Wednesday. Though the week started out with absolutely awful weather it took a turn for the better!
Walk more on campus instead of taking the shuttle. Once it got a little nicer I definitely took advantage. 

See more.
Find 10 new things to explore in Columbia, SC before graduation. Finally went to World of Beer in the Vista...does that count? I also took the trail to the left at the Riverwalk for the first time this week, I'll be sticking with my original trail. 

Did you go out of your way to do more this week?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Playing Catch Up

52 is a big number for me this year. I've got 52 weeks to do more, and that includes reaching my goal of reading 52 books along with trying out 52 new recipes. Currently I'm making great progress with only the latter. Go figure.

Food >Books
No, but I really do love reading though. I had such high hopes as I piled up books over winter break. I kept saying
"This semester is going to be SO great I'm going to have SO much time to read!
(as I piled up 10-15 books that I thought I could finish by Spring Break)

Um, false. Well I've been doing plenty of reading...of email and job postings. I've also kept up with the light reading I've already had to do for class. With introducing more exercise into my schedule I've been far more tired at night then usual, which is great because I am going to be earlier and am not so tired in the morning. 

I'm going to set myself a goal of reading for just 10 minutes before every evening if not more and hope to finish the book I began by the end of January. Key word: hope. 

While I haven't been reading, I've been doing plenty of cooking! I know I've been racking up the recipes for my 52 in 52 challenge, but haven't had time to let you know about all of the recipes. Welcome to my most recent cooking escapades!

Mac 'n Cheese
The recipe I used was originally from Martha Stewart, however I adapted it a bit based on what I had on hand, and making the dish a little more health conscious. Chi Sigma Alpha, an honor society that I'm in, had a reception after our most recent inductions. We had a ton of cheese left over that I ended up with and I knew I couldn't have that just sitting in my refrigerator for fear I'd eat it all. Here's what I came up with...
1/4 cup flour
4 tbs (half stick) margarine
2 cups milk (or soy, almond, etc. I used almond)
Lots of cheese cubed small or shredded (I'm not sure how much i had but i'd say at least two of the regular size blocks you buy at the store)
1 box whatever shape pasta

1. Preheat to 375*
2. Turn on water to boil the pasta. Cook it while you're doing the following steps... (cook 'til al dente so it doesn't get mushy in oven)
3. Heat milk on medium in a sauce pan.
4. In a large skillet or sauce pan melt butter on medium until it bubbles. Once it bubbles mix in flour and whisk until smooth (about a minute). Then slowly add the milk in while you continue to whisk the mixture.
5. After all milk is added in wait for mixture cook a few minutes and start to bubble. Add in cheese and stir until completely mixed.
6. Mix sauce in pot with cooked, drain pasta.
7. Put into a baking pan (greased for easy serving). If you want sprinkle bread crumbs, extra shredded cheese, etc. on top.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until browned & crispy on top.

Breakfast Strata
For my friend Lauren's bachelorette weekend, we divided and conquered to prepare meals for everyone. Lauren's sister and I were in charge of breakfast for Saturday morning. Knowing we didn't want to do lots of prep work, but wanted something delicious, I consulted my mom for a recipe she had used to host a brunch a few weeks earlier. The recipe my mom used really only had sausage in the casserole, and I was hoping for a little bit more. As I've stopped eating meat (more to come on that later) I decided we'd go with veggies and do some turkey bacon on the side for those that wanted some.

So I subbed the pound (YIKES!) of sausage and instead used green and yellow bell peppers. We bought an onion and somehow completely forgot about it. I wasn't sure what people cared for but I'd love also including tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, black olives...almost anything into this dish. It would be cool to experiment with making a "Greek" strata that would use feta instead of cheddar. Also, we bought some nicer bread from the bakery section to use for recipe. The dish was a hit and was completely devoured!
 We're all looking absolutely lovely at this point...
Forgot to snap a pic before everyone dug in but as you can see it was quite popular!

Champagne Punch
Over break I was at a Christmas party with Lauren where we had some champagne punch made with cranberry juice that she absolutely loved. I decided to re-create that in a different light to make a fun and fruity drink for the bachelorette. Enter berry champagne punch! I looked up a few recipes and then crafted this off what I found and what we were able to get our hands on.
*Not actually our punch*

2 bottles of champagne (I used regular Andre...it's forever a favorite)
1/2 bottle (2 liter) of diet gingerale
Minute Maid Berry Punch (use to taste, we probably used 1/3 of the carton but this will control the sweetness of the drink)
Frozen berries (we used raspberries & strawberries)

Pour the first three ingredients into a punch bowl. Let the champagne fizz down before adding the gingerale and juice. Afterwards add berries, be careful to not throw the strawberries in or the drink will splash everywhere! Enjoy!

Fajita Chili Soup
To go back to the bachelorette yet again, there was a Harry & David store at the outlets that we went to. They had soup mixes on sale and so I picked up a few. I've been craving some chili with having so many "chilly" days, haha. This one looked perfect!
Naturally, the instructions called for using a pound of ground beef. As I had some Boca crumbles in my freezer I decided to use these instead to keep this chili filling. I also added some diced bell pepper and onions to the "meat" mixture. This was absolutely delicious and I was even able to get Mr. Charming to eat a fake meat product...win for me!

Red Pepper, Avocado & Black Bean Quesadillas
Didn't really need a recipe for this one but got my inspiration from this one that I saw on Pinterest. Since I've stopped eating meat I've been looking for more ways to add protein, and with beans being a good source I found this to be a nice way to add them into a meal. Along with the fat from the avocado it was really filling. I definitely should have diced the peppers and avocado to be much smaller, they ended up falling out everywhere and it was a complete mess to eat. But phenomenal nonetheless! I also didn't have any shredded cheese, but had fresh mozzarella leftover from cooking pizza with MC, so I chopped that up and substituted. 

If you try any of these out let me know how they go. I'd love to hear about different ingredients and substitutions to put your own spin on them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

One of my good friend's birthdays was on Monday and in celebration I decided to bake a some goodies for her! Michelle and I work in the same office at USC and like to call ourselves "life twins" for literally doing most everything the same. Last semester we had the exact same class schedule, though this semester we had one difference. We both have pretty much the same work schedules and are presidents of organizations for our grad program. Upon finding out some of her preferred cupcake flavors, she was ecstatic about anything with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Enter snickerdoodle cupcakes!

Me & Michelle at a USC football game

I first started researching different cupcake flavors that would pair well with this frosting, and decided snickerdoodle was a good fit. I actually found the recipe while searching for frosting recipes, so that worked out pretty well. The recipe I went with is actually a muffin recipe but was noted by another blogger that it could work well as a cupcake. I honestly probably wouldn't use it as a cupcake again. It was yummy but I baked two days before serving and I personally felt that they were a little dry and crumbly. Maybe a little less flour would help out with this issue. They were yummy nonetheless so here you go...

Snickerdoodle Muffins (cupcakes, whatevs)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tarter
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 and ¼ cup sour cream
2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling (rather than rolling I decided to just sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top the top of each muffin before baking, I mixed 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon for all 24 cupcakes)

1.Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. 
I already know I'm supposed to stay away from any recipe that involves creaming butter & sugar (can you say fat kid heaven?!) but I went with it anyway, and didn't sneak too much of this delicious concoction....

2. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.

  3. In a separate, mix together the flour, nutmeg,baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tarter. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out  muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. (Again, I decided to just sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the batter after dropping them in the papers) Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar.. Place muffin into a greased muffin tin (or cupcake papers)

5. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.  Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. (I got 24 out of the recipe, though the second batch was smaller, it can definitely be stretched as a cupcake recipe where you're not going for a "muffin top" effect)

I got my frosting recipe from The Cupcake Project, which I think is going to be one of my new favorite blogs! I was sure to use copious amounts on the cupcakes, so much that a few did indeed become muffins with no frosting left...whoops. This stuff is dangerous, my roommate and I were licking the beaters hoping more would magically appear in the bowl. I warned you...

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C (half stick) butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add more to taste)
2-3 C powdered sugar (add more or less to make it a stiffness that you like-I only did 2 but wish I had added more, the frosting was a little soft)

1. Mix cream cheese and butter well.
2. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
3. Add powdered sugar.

Drum roll please...ta-da!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

525,600 Minutes

It's crazy to me that exactly one year ago today Mr. Charming and I had our first date. I was very excited for our first date after talking non-stop for weeks, and used one of my favorite quotes to convey my feelings for the day. We have had so many wonderful memories since then, a whole year jam-packed with adventure. It seems forever ago, and also just like yesterday...

We went to the South Carolina vs. Kentucky Basketball game with my friend Michelle and her boyfriend. MC was late, which was foreshadowing for our relationship...

I think USC lost? I honestly can't recall because as soon as he got there I wasn't particularly paying attention to the game. What I do remember is that when we first got there, the seat numbers on our tickets were already taken, by people who had those same tickets. Event staff had us go the very top (past the actual seats) and sit in these folding chairs. It was rather awkward.

After the game was over Michelle and her boyfriend left and we headed out to grab some food. We attempted to go to Liberty, but with a 30 minute wait we quickly headed over to The Flying Saucer. Luckily we were seated rather quickly, in this very booth...

MC got the Chicken Caesar Wrap

And I had the Goat Cheese Salad

Fun fact: exactly three months later on 4/22/11 we sat at the same booth and ordered the same food in honor of our first date!

MC took about two bites of his food, which I later learned was because he was so nervous. As usual I was completely oblivious as I woofed down my salad. I know, I'm such a lady. 

That had been the same evening as Beer Fest and there were many intoxicated customers at Saucer who had come over from the event. Some of them came and sat down with me while MC was in the bathroom. When he came back we started a conversation with them and MC immediately made up names and stories for who we were and what we were doing there. I went along with it and knew at that moment that I was highly intrigued. Especially when he had these guys believe his name was Zack Morris. 

Michelle was having her birthday party that night and I really wanted to stop by. I didn't want our date to end, but also was a little nervous to take MC to a party with everyone from my grad program. HESA can be a little overwhelming--think about the bold student leaders from your college, now put 80 of them in a room together...yea. Anyways I asked him if he'd want to go with me and he said yes.

We walked arm in arm back to his car, then drove to mine and we were on our way to Michelle's. If he was overwhelmed or nervous I had absolutely no idea as he began talking to all of my friends. He was completely independent and didn't just linger by my side. Again, I knew this was going to be something interesting.

Drove him back to his car and after talking for a while we both went home. At this point MC still had a crazy Droid and when he went to text me "Did I pass the test for a second date?" he accidentally texted a few my friends who's numbers he'd gotten that evening to text them a funny picture he took at the party. Luckily they all said yes...and so did I.

Here's to another 525,600 minutes and many more going on adventures, laughing, loving and just simply being together. I love you buddy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

MC's Kitchen Adventures Begin

In my attempt to teach Mr. Charming how to cook we had a pizza making lesson Friday evening. Notice how our pizzas look very different... (mine is clearly on the right)

Domesticating him on the daily, cheesing for the camera!

 My pizza with tomatoes, basil & fresh mozzarella, nom!

MC being a goofball with his...

His pizza before the oven, didn't get an after shot

 This was heaven in my tummy!

...And then this was more heaven afterwards. Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked fro-yo mmmm

The lesson went so well that MC cooked me breakfast in bed!

He did burn the toast, but we're making progress. Stay tuned for more adventures of MC in the kitchen!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Do More: Week Two

Time for the weekly check-in! How have I done more since last week?

Be more creative.
Paint and craft more/Use my talents to make meaningful gifts for the ones I love. Made tumblers for all the girls to use at and keep for a momento of Lauren's Bachelorette!

Write more.
Resume writing in my journal regularly. Still writing in The Happy Book :)
Blog more to share life with family and friends. Two posts this week!

Read more.
Read more books and novels that I enjoy rather than watching TV. Definitely going to need some more motivation with this one...

Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. Pretzel Candy Buttons, Champagne Punch & Breakfast Strata for Lauren's Bachelorette. Fajita Chili Soup. Another surprise goody you'll hear about soon ;)

Spend more time outside. 
Go for a walk outside at least once a week. Went for a walk with Mr. Charming on Monday. Went for a walk/jog with friends on Wednesday. And signed up for a 5k on St. Patrick's Day!
Walk more on campus instead of taking the shuttle. Definitely did this at least four or five times, even when it was raining...do I get double "do more" points for that?

It seems that I keep doing well with the same resolutions, so week three shall be dedicated to focusing on doing more of some different things!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nobody Has a Better Life

I absolutely loved the time that I spent on the road when I was working with Tri Sigma. However, there were definitely days where life wasn't so perfect. In the winter I spent in the Midwest it was typically below 25* and there was snow on the ground. I missed my closet, family, friends, personal space and getting to wear more than five outfits in a month. Some days I needed to go back and find my center and remember that I loved my job and that I was doing great things. Tiffany, who was a second year in our group, had the mantra "Nobody Has a Better Life" (NHABL). Wake up in the morning and no matter how you feel, or how badly you think the day may go, stand in front of the mirror look into your eyes and repeat "NHABL!" And it certainly came true.

This morning was one of those. I snoozed twice and then poured chunky, expired creamer into my coffee (sorry if you're eating!). I got up early to do some job search work, and then ended up fooling around on the internet, typical. I channeled my inner consultant, and knowing that I had faced much more unfortunate situations than this, I repeated "NHABL"! And just like that it turned around.

It wore off around lunch time and then this afternoon I made a huge mistake with my schedule and wasn't in my office when I was supposed to. After getting on the same shuttle for the third time that day I hurried back to the other side of campus and flew into my office. I stopped a second to cool down because it's absolutely never fair to be in a bad mood when you work with students--it's not their fault if you're an idiot and totally messed up your schedule! So again I remembered "NHABL"!

And thank goodness again because I had the best afternoon. Can I just tell you how astounded I still am to have one of the best jobs in the world? How it is fair that I get paid (below the poverty line, but paid nonetheless) to work with such awesome students that are bright, engaged and most of the time competent? It was 4:00pm when my office's on-call hours stop, and someone came in. I sighed a little as I was looking forward to finally leaving campus for the day but I stopped...and actually no I didn't repeat NHABL but I just went out into the lobby to meet this student.

I stared at her for a good minute and then we both realized we had met before! Last semester I started talking with a girl that was in a group fitness class with me at the gym. After talking the whole class we walked outside and it had started to rain, she had walked to the gym and so I offered her a ride home. I found out she was a transfer student and was having a pretty good time already but really wanted to get engaged on campus. I told her about some opportunities and that she should definitely come by the Career Center to look into internships.

We caught up for a while before I helped her with her resume, we chatted some more and I gave her my information to keep in touch. I was excited to see she's become involved in various organizations and is doing great academically. And that is why I don't care that I'll never make a million dollars, because the feeling I felt catching up with this student and hearing about her success and that she wanted to come by and tell me about it had me flying among the stars. That is why I love education!

After riding the shuttle the fourth time back to my car (I swear the driver gave me a funny look because I was carrying three bags all day) I got back to my car to find a sweet little note from my friend Michelle...have I said it enough already? NHABL!

I got to enjoy time outside running with friends, how did I get so lucky to live within walking distance of such a pretty place? NHABL!

Came home and made a pretty and yummy meal for myself and then took time to slowly enjoy it while watching FRIENDS.

So when you're feeling crappy, you want the day to end, something gets in your way...repeat with me "Nobody has a better life!" Because it's certainly true y'all!

Disclaimer: My amazing day may also have to do with karma (which I'm a huge believer in). On the way to work this morning I told the person who parked next to me to move their car or they would get a ticket for being backed into a parking spot (because USC is wack) and they thanked me profusely. Then on the way to the shuttle (for the first time) a lady in her car stopped me for directions which I took the time to give even though I was running late. Do good and it will come. Every good Tri Sigma knows "To receive much you must give much."

Monday, January 16, 2012


This past weekend was one of my best girlfriend's bachelorette, and it was an absolute blast! I met Lauren at the end of college and we have a great story. Our college boyfriends were roommates, and we became inseparable when I moved to Raleigh for a month after graduating from UNCW. Though those relationships ended, our friendship only grew stronger. We only see each other a handful of times a year but through long phone chats and emails we've remained great friends!

Left: Lauren & me this weekend; Right: April 2009
(still sorority squatting, some things never change!)

She will be getting married on March 9th of this year and I couldn't be more honored to be standing close to her side for the whole thing. The wedding festivities began with her bachelorette this weekend in Myrtle Beach. We had the cutest little condo where we played games, laughed, and drank quite a bit of my new famous champagne punch (recipe to follow!).

Lauren brought us some yummy cupcakes from Gigi's in Raleigh, and I brought all the girls some tervis tumblers to remember the weekend. I painted a starfish (which Lauren has been using for the wedding), included her wedding date and of course had them monogrammed so we wouldn't confuse our cups! We all got Lauren some adorable lingerie for her honeymoon to Antigua and thought it would be fun to pin it up for the weekend for all to view.

I filled the tumblers with colorful candy buttons, the recipe I naturally found on Pinterest! I didn't use melting disks, and instead used Hershey Hugs which created a fun zebra design once melted. The best part of a bachelorette early in the year was that there are plenty of pink goodies in the store for Valentine's Day. Using pink and M&M's made these buttons so fun for the weekend's festivities! Just put one Hug on top of a square pretzel (I used Snyder's Butter Snaps), stick the tray in a 350* oven for two minutes and press a M&M on the top of each one when it comes out. You actually don't have to really press, setting the M&M on top the chocolate is so melty that it will just fall some itself. Easy as 1, 2, 3...ta-da!

Though I only knew Lauren's little sister going into the weekend it was such a blast and I can't wait to see these ladies again for her shower and then of course at the wedding in March. We got all dressed up on Saturday and went out to Broadway at the Beach and danced the night away. I was so glad to be able to celebrate Lauren's last fling and am incredibly happy to be by her side when she marries the love of her life in just under two months from now!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do More: Week One

Though we're almost two weeks into the new year, it's been exactly a week since coming up with my resolutions to do more in 2012. I guess I should also add "hold myself more accountable" to that list, although that wording doesn't sound all too good. Perhaps learning more about grammar could be yet another addition. Oh well, I could add on to the list forever but let's take a look at what I've got to work with!

Write more.
Resume writing in my journal regularly. Though I haven't been writing in my journal as I'd like, I did find this little gem at Francesca's. I've started doing one page every night, or a little more if I really get into it. I must say it's refreshing to have to stop and think about the things that I really enjoy.

Blog more to share life with family and friends. Ok so I've only written one (now two!) posts since making my resolutions. But at the rate that I blogged last year that's pretty decent, especially considering I was out of town for the weekend. 

Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. I've tried out two new recipes since posting. One I altered to be a little more health conscious...well as much as you can with mac 'n cheese, keep your eyes peeled for a yummy post coming up about that! The other new recipe is currently top secret, but will be coming soon as well...

Make a conscious effort to prepare my meals rather than eating prepackaged food. I've been doing wonderfully with this! Though I am mildly obsessed with Healthy Choice frozen cafe steamers (easiest lunch ever!), I've been putting quite a bit of time and effort into making more of my meals. Here's what I whipped up the day I posted my resolutions...
2-egg omelette with spinach, tomatoes, onions & mozzarella, orange & piece of toast with Smart Balance spread
Spinach salad with carrotts, tomatoes & Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, roasted tomato vinagrette and ruby red grapefruit
Delightful mac 'n cheese you'll hear about soon, bowl of raw veggies and Greek yogurt veggie dip

The best part was that they were all simple to make, good for me and actually fairly inexpensive!

Ok so for the first week I'm making fair progress. There are a few other resolutions I'm making some baby steps with and once I've some notable information I'll be sure to share that with you. Another goal of mine is to post at least once a week with updates on how I'm "doing more" that week in regards to my 2012 goals!

Almost two weeks into 2012, how are your resolutions going?