January 05, 2009

Couscous? Or Quinoa?

Back in the aftermath of battle bug we invested pretty heavily in Tupperware. Modular Mates became THIS girl's best friend. And when year and a half later my "forty flavors of flour" remain flea-free, I'm confident it's been a good investment.

As John has mentioned several times, I should have invested in a label maker at the same time. Because the post it notes I chose to employ have long lost their sticky-ness and several of the plastics in my pantry now contain mystery ingredients.

Rigatoni is pretty obvious. So are raisins, pine nuts and cornmeal. But when I pulled this recipe for Eating Well Magazine's Cauliflower and Couscous Pilaf and perused the pantry for ingredients, I wasn't sure whether what I had on hand was couscous or quinoa. I decided it didn't matter, that except for cooking time they'd play equally well in the recipe.

Turns out what I have is quinoa. It added a nice nuttiness and a bit of a chewy texture to the final product, which I supplemented with a bit of flaked poached halibut for added protein.

Tomorrow I head to Staples for a label maker!

January 01, 2009


If I believe the pundits and their sound bites, 2009 is going to be a year of change, of hope, of growth and renewal. And as I reflect on my personal journey in 2008, I find myself a year ahead of the curve.

I set some lofty goals at this time last year. As is typical for me I met some of them, abandonned others and set a few new ones as circumstances changed along the way.

Professionally I'm now managing the closure of that career-defining project. It's had its ups and its downs, we've navigated an inordinate sea of obstacles along the way, but it's been a tremendous learning experience and we're going to emerge with a set of solutions that truly take us to the next level.

Personally my transition's been even more dramatic. I've rewritten this paragraph a thousand times trying to get the words right, and in the end it comes down to this. Somewhere amid the milestone celebration, I grew up. It's as simple and as complex as that. I'm no longer play-acting at this whole adulthood thing. I don't have all the answers and I probably never will, but I'm starting to GET it. And I understand the differences therein. Who knew.. life DOES begin at 40!?!

And certainly my most significant personal accomplishment in 2008 is a physical one. I've shed a substantial amount of weight in the last twelve months. If you've been paying attention along the way you know it hasn't been about self-deprivation... I've eaten well and indulged on an often-enough basis.

What's different this time? I've shifted focus. While I know what I want, I'm no longer obsessed about numbers and deadlines to the exclusion of all else. And I've changed the way I "keep score." An indulgence (or two or ten) doesn't make me a failure -- it just requires me to rearrange columns A and B a bit to make everything fit, so that I'm taking some step each day toward meeting my goal. And I'm working out. I know myself well enough to realize that despite Lizette's protestations to the contrary I will NEVER enjoy exercise (sweating SUCKS), but the process works and I'm enjoying the end results. After a year of hard work, I'm two sizes smaller. I've got more energy and more stamina. Less of me hurts. I'm sleeping better, my focus is clearer, and I'm getting a lot more out of my day. I call that progress.

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