New Things in 2013 and My Goal for 2014

Try new things.

That was my New Year’s Resolution for 2013.

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Here was my little preamble for why I chose it:

A resolution is supposed to be a lifestyle change. Normally I am a pretty withdrawn, not very social person. Sometimes this can lead to missed opportunities, or just sheer boredom. That’s not to say that I am going to suddenly change overnight from an introvert to an extrovert, but I am going to make a conscious effort to try new things, and make the most of this new year.

This was the second year of not choosing a specific list-related resolution but just a simple goal, and I really like where it has taken me. The idea that I needed to put myself out there, take chances and try new things was always in the back of my mind. I am pretty proud of all that I participated in during 2013. Could I have done more? Absolutely. Like I said, this wasn’t an overnight change for me and there were plenty of opportunities that I should have taken but didn’t. With 2013 over though, all I can do now is focus on what I did do and how happy pushing myself out of that comfort zone of “normal” made me.

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1. Read a different genre of book: The Search for Meaning

2. Blogged about topics other than food: Books, TV Shows and Movies in particular

3. Took a summer internship in a city 3 hours away: Should I Stay or Should I Go? + Tag: Internship

4. Joined The Recipe Redux and shared several healthy recipes: Paleo Banana BreadEasy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, and Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

5. Made a fancy birthday cake for my brother: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

6. Started a habit of reading my Bible more: Need to keep working on this

7. Went to my first professional baseball game: Detroit Lions

8. Took a leap of faith and agreed to dorm with five other girls: FIVE

9. Learned to change the oil in my car earlier this year: Instagram Picture

10. Went to my first stargazing: Smile, It’s WIAW

11. Hosted an Allergy-Free round-up for Christmas Recipes: Twelve Days

12. Took my first trip to Greenfield Village: Pictorial Deposit

13. Met several amazing new bloggers: Too many to count…

Normally ending on an odd number, not to mention one as “iffy” as 13, would bother me, but here it feels just right. 13 things for the year 2013. Looking over this list I’ll admit that some may seem to an outsider as stretching the confines of my resolution. Making a cake? Hosting a recipe round-up? Taking an internship? What makes these stand out to me is that each one I debated about for awhile before taking the plunge. I feared failure. I feared disappointment.

So victory was even sweeter when each of these things ended up so amazing. The cake was a hit with my brother and his friends. The round-up collected so many recipes and is such a great accomplishment for everyone involved. The internship gave me an invaluable experience.

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There were bumps along the way of course. That cake needed a lot more icing than expected due to the insanely dense cookie dough balls. It also invoked some panic during the final stage of putting on those mini chocolate chips. The frosting was melting fast and my mom and I had to stick those babies on one-by-one…. Then there was the recipe round-up. I ended up having to host two days because I couldn’t get enough to participate. I had to post my round-up of leftover recipes late… And with my internship, there were plenty of tears, stressful nights back at my apartment where I never wanted to go back in, and times where I was on the phone with customers wanting to quit. Some people can be downright heartless.

But I stuck through all three of those events and similarly the other ten listed above, and came out on the other side a better person for it. So I am going to close the book on 2013 and now open another one for 2014.

And it shall be called…

Be open minded.

This is somewhat similar to my resolution for last year and gives me the opportunity to keep on trying to new things. However, it also goes beyond that. Being closed minded is in my opinion one of the biggest character flaws to ever exist. So many things can be prevented by opening myself up to the possibility that I could be wrong or in the very least there could be an equally correct alternative.

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Last year I gave a list of examples of new things that I wanted to try. This was helpful in my visualizing my commitment and showing me its tangibility. So, here are a few ways that I could try to be open minded in 2014:

Look for different ways of doing things.

Don’t automatically say “no” to someone. Hear them out.

Even if I think I’m right, listen to all of the other possibilities.

Walk into uncomfortable situations with a willing attitude.

Never judge someone by appearances.

Be ready to be proven wrong.

With this goal at the forefront of my noggin, I am opening my arms wide to the new year and all that it is to come. As always there will be wonderful as well as rocky times. Keep following me in 2014 to read about them all.

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Today’s post was full of tons of thinking out loud, wouldn’t you say? 😉

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Check out Amanda @ Running with Spoon’s link-up Thinking Out Loud for a lot of other thoughts from thoughtful bloggers.

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What new things did you try in 2013?

What is your goal/resolution for 2014?

WIAW Christmas Day 2013 + Future Posts

Before I get started with all of this 2013 recapping fun in the coming days I first want to share a quick collage of my Christmas Day.

Of course it must feature some food as I hate to miss out on Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday party.

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First row from left: Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, my brother’s new Keurig machine, paleo Apple Chunk Cinnamon Rolls.

Second row from left: The fire station where we had lunch on Christmas day, laying out the food, Christmas presents.

Third row from left: My dad expertly cutting the ham, the start of the dessert table, my dad’s plate of leftovers for dinner.

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For breakfast on Christmas morning we made Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for my brother and Apple Chunk Cinnamon Rolls for my parents. Along with the rolls they also made bacon on our large griddle and after presents were opened, made coffee and hot chocolate with my brother’s new Keurig.

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Every year for Christmas we always go to my grandparent’s house for lunch to celebrate. As they’ve gotten older though we have started just having holidays at the fire station where my grandpa is the retired fire chief. There was the usual ham and turkey, of which the turkey my grandma accidentally overcooked A LOT.  Sighing “good gravy” in an exasperated tone, she tapped the outside of the cooked bird and it sounded quite… hard. I preferred it that way, but to see her face when she first took the lid off the turkey was hilarious.

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My grandparents also brought the stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie and soda. My great aunt brought some homemade rolls which everyone said were delicious. My other two aunts brought fresh fruit salad and homemade sweet potato casserole. One of my cousins brought her famous frosted sugar cookies, deviled eggs, and cranberry jelly, and another made a raw vegan kale salad which sounded amazing. There was also cole slaw, lemon bars, m&m cookies, powdered sugar balls, and peanut butter cookies (but I’m not sure exactly who made them).

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After the lunch I was recruited as always to help dish out the leftovers. Just as my grandma was trying to send us home more food, I was also acting as a double agent for my mom who wanted me to stave off the attempts. I tried my best. As you can see in the last picture of the collage though we ended up with quite a bit of delicious food for the following night and next day.

If you are still plagued with any leftovers from Christmas feasts, or if you will be after New Years, check out my post on creative ways to use them.

wiaw-xmas-leftovers-collage

Coming up soon in my next four posts I will have a recap of my Christmas presents, my recap of 2013/plan for 2014, a new oatmeal recipe, and another cookbook giveaway!

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Well, it’s officially New Year’s. My brother and his friends are outside right now blowing their kuzookas and probably making a mess of our yard with poppers. Once again the news stations did not actually show the ball dropping, which I just don’t understand.

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Happy 2014 blogland! Hope it’s a great one 🙂

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Questions for you:

  • What are your plans for New Years day? We are going to Pizza Hut with family.
  • Are you ever roped into getting leftovers?  Yes.
  • What would be your favorite food to get? Turkey!

All About New Years 2013 (Plus NYE WIAW)

Hello WIAW-ers! How is your year going so far?

I’m sure you all have started, or have at least began thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions. Last year I refrained from making a specific list and instead decided upon a simple goal. A goal to be more proactive.

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I don’t really like being confined to specifics, so in 2013 I’m going to follow along the same lines as last year and pick just one generalized resolution:

Try New Things.

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A few “new things” that I want to try include:

Joining a new group at college
Following a Bible devotional
Experimenting with a new-to-me food
Reading a different genre of book
Trying out an exercise class
Blogging about a topic other than food/health

Other than making it a goal; however, I’m not going to set any specific events or get down on myself if I don’t complete tasks by a certain date.

New Year’s Resolutions in the late 1800s were about becoming a better person through doing good works or making an effort to improve your character. Today, someone’s typical New Year’s Resolution is focused on becoming better superficially.According to my trustworthy trusty friend Wikipedia, the typical teenage girl’s resolution focuses on improving her body, hairstyle, makeup and/or clothing.

A resolution is supposed to be a lifestyle change. Normally I am a pretty withdrawn, not very social person. Sometimes this can lead to missed opportunities, or just sheer boredom. That’s not to say that I am going to suddenly change overnight from an introvert to an extrovert, but I am going to make a conscious effort to try new things, and make the most of this new year.

As a sort of closure from 2012 and lee-way into today’s WIAW post, I want to give the top 5 WIAW posts on Eating 4 Balance. I’ve said before that I want to be transparent, so I’m also going to give you all a link to my blog’s Annual Report with my stats.

Best of WIAW from 2012:

  1. WIAW- Randomness, Workouts and Recipes (62 comments) October 2012
  2. Jammed Packed Weekend, Recipes and WIAW (39 comments) September 2012
  3. Wiaw While Packing for College (Pumpkin recipe) (20 comments) August 2012
  4. WIAW + Fun Foods Survey (59 comments) November 2012
  5. What I Ate/Watched Wednesday (44 comments) October 2012

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Now for this week’s WIAW- What I Ate on New Year’s Eve While I Babysat.

Right before I left for babysitting, I made some carrot juice to drink, and I prepared my supper in some thermoses.

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When I got to the kid’s house at 3:00 PM they showed me their Christmas presents and then we watched some Disney Channel.

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After that the girl and I made some colorful snowflakes and decorated their kitchen.

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Then it was time for supper. For them I made homemade macaroni and cheese:

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For myself I had some homemade soup with zucchini noodles, beef, beef broth and sea salt:

new-years-wiaw-zucchini-noodle-soup-collage

After that we played Parcheesi and watched Despicable Me while we colored and drew pictures (sadly I forgot to take pictures of our drawings! I drew a Bird of Paradise and one of the minions from Despicable Me). Here’s a goofy photo of me instead:

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At 10:00 PM their parents came home from a night of The Hobbit and a texas roadhouse to eat. The snow near the roads had started to drift and the family all got in their big truck (the kids still in their pajamas) to follow me home and make sure I arrived safe. So nice!

When I got home my brother and his friends were playing video games and my parents were upstairs watching a movie. Immediately I went to the kitchen to heat up another large mug of soup, this time with kabocha squash!

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I read some blogs in our office and after some texts wishing a Happy New Years at midnight I went to bed. My brother and his friends had a much more exciting start to 2013 with carbonated juice in fancy wine glasses, and confetti poppers (of which some remnants are still strewned across our driveway).

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This morning I woke up to the good news that the Senate, and this afternoon the House passed the legislation to prevent our country from going over the fiscal cliff… *Whew* That was a  close one. Happy New Year indeed!

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Have you made a New Year’s Resolution yet? It’s not too late!

What did you do on New Year’s Eve? Did you see the ball drop?

Do you ever make fresh juice? What’s your favorite kind?

Marvelous is my Crock Pot

It’s funny. When most people go on break they have a lot more time to blog, more interesting recipes to post, and generally, are just way more active in the blogging community.

I apologize.

I am not most people.

I looked forward to Christmas break so much, thinking that it would be just the reprieve I needed, just the “thing” that would allow me to step back, reflect on what I was doing, and overall, a good time to do nothing.

Suffice to say, this time off has been all that and more. Hence the reason why I’ve not been doing very long posts, and haven’t been as up-to-snuff in commenting and responding to comments as in the past.

One thing that you may have also noticed; however, is that all of the recipes and food that I have posted, I haven’t actually eaten.

Red Velvet Trifle

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Cinnamon Rolls

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Ya… NO. If I had even attempted to eat one of these delicious-looking desserts I would have been keeled over in pain for days. Literally.

Instead, I’ve been eating soup.

Lots of lots of soup.

It’s called GAPS, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. GAPS is a healing protocol created by Dr. Natasha McBride that helps fix and “cure” a variety of symptoms with a variety of causes. For me, I’m following GAPS because I took one too many antibiotics in the past 18 years of my life. My gut is unbalanced. It’s “leaky.”

And a leaky gut, along with a gut flora out of balance from antibiotic overuse, can cause stomach distress as well as food allergies.

The way to fix it? Broth and meat from grass-fed, all natural sources. Fermented veggies like sauerkraut. Organic vegetables. Probiotics.

And that would be why I’ve not been posting any pictures of my food lately. Not exactly exciting or picture-worthy. But I started this blog to show how I am dealing with my food allergies, and this is it. I’ve only been following this protocol for maybe a week and a half and I feel so much better. And yes, it could be because I’m basically eating meat, broth and vegetables. I mean, who wouldn’t feel fine on those things? The difference is, I’m eating FAT. Not a lot, and not nearly enough as I should, but I’m eating FAT, and my stomach is not hurting.

But, who to thank for this quick turnaround of my previous stomach distress?

Well, of course the marvelous doctors, and my marvelous parents who have bought all of the food required. Also…

Marvelous is my crock pot.

Without it, none of this would be possible!

My crock pot is currently cooking a whole chicken, which is both unappetizing and would most likely appall all of my vegan/vegetarian readers and make them unsubscribe immediately. So, please excuse the stock photo.

I eat so much food now! In the beginning I ate a whole chicken and its broth every single day. Now, I eat about half that, plus a lot of peeled and cooked squash.

There is never a second where there’s not some delicious-smelling food cooking in my crock pot. It’s kind of nice not having to worry about what to eat when my family members are getting ready for supper (like the cookies, trifles and cinnamon rolls above).

That’s it for now though! I plan on sharing about my progress with GAPS as I go through the different stages (I’m currently moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2 now).

Also in my future is babysitting tonight for some family friends on New Years Eve. Three to Ten…

I just keep on telling myself: Money. Money. Money.

Ha. No, really, it’s not going to be too bad. I’ll definitely blog about all of the fun stuff we do tonight. And there is obviously going to be a lot of fun stuff!

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Is there any kitchen appliance that you want to thank and give a shout-out to?

Have you eaten much soup so far this year?

What are your plans for New Years Eve? I’m sure you all will beat me on excitement.