So theatre - it Is wonderful for giving me a sense of fulfillment and joy about pursing my dreams in life. Not so great for keeping up to date on a blog!
I was assistant stage manager for a show called Romantic Fools - which was hilarious, awesome, fun and a joy to work on. A sketch comedy type of show all about the absurdities of love, romance, sex and relationships. But it also meant that between classes/work/rehearsals/shows I was spending just about every day at school from 8am-10pm. And considering this is a food blog and I was eating an inordinate amount of ramen noodles and fast food burritos, also less than thrilling for updates. But...I'm baaaaaaaaack! And will try to ramp it back up a bit, at least until the next show starts :-)
That also means I will try to start posting more pictures again...promise! In the meantime - some updates and a recipe or two.
1) Very exciting news...I got foodstamps!!! Hooray!! That means my approximately $30/month budget for groceries has been tripled...I still have to work around a budget because $120/month which is still lower than I was used to before, but with eating healthy, cooking more from scratch and going vegetarian I can definitely do it. It also means that I can go back to buying certain things that I was morally and healthfully struggling with because I couldn't afford it - things like almond/soy milk instead of dairy milk, organic cheese, organic eggs, organic produce, leave the ramen behind! Because I am not using my foodstamps to buy a ton of junk like soda, chips, cookies, cereal, etc. I can afford to spend a bit more on organic, high quality of what I do buy.
2) Also because I have food stamps now and I don't have to watch literally every single penny at the grocery store, I decided to go ahead and take the vegetarian plunge again right now. The meat still in my freezer can stay there until I want to use it for friends or my dog or something. As of Sunday I haven't had any meat and feeling damn good about it! I have decided I am not going to stress over being vegan just yet, although I have continued to drastically reduce my dairy consumption and anything I do buy I am committed to getting from organic, humane, sustainable sources. I may make the vegan transition at some point, but honestly I just don't like hummus that much and my bagel and cream cheese is an easy on the go breakfast for rushed school mornings when I don't have time to blend a smoothie!
2) One of the things I loved most when the show was over was being able to go back into my kitchen and cook for myself without feeling like I had to run back out the door in 15 minutes. The first thing I made was a batch of peanut butter cookies for the cast party...and they were successful! I made 3 dozen and they were devoured in less than an hour (with the director himself polishing off about 6 of them!) So yeah, I got to have a cookie and enjoy baking and share the rest so I don't have them sitting around tempting me all week. The second thing I made was jello shots (also for the cast party!). Ok ok, maybe not really COOKING persay - but they were even more successful than the cookies! I will let you in on the secret of the world's most amazing grown up jello shots shortly ;-)
3) On the vegetarian side of things, I made a killer pot of veggie chili on Sunday afternoon! I have been making chili for others for awhile, so I tend to stick to a pretty simple meat/beans/tomatoes recipe...but for myself I decided to PUMP IT UP! I ended up with (ready for it?) onions, garlic, bell peppers, green beans, peas, corn, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots black beans and kidney beans! I added in some cooked elbow macaroni to make it chili mac and topped with a little shredded cheddar and some sliced avocado. Holy YUM! Made lots too, I put 2 containers in the freezer and 1 in the fridge for lunches. I don't really use much of a recipe but here is what I did for anyone who would like to try your own variation:
* Sautee 1 onion (diced) for 1-2 minutes in olive oil until translucent.
* Add all diced fresh veggies you are using (mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, celery, etc.) and cook until tender
* add any extra frozen veggies you have sitting around that you want to use up (green beans, corn, peas and carrots, etc.)
* add 1 large can of diced tomatoes, and 1 large can of crushed tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and 1 bottle of beer to the pot and stir everything together well
* season with chili powder, cumin, salt, red pepper and oregano (and if you are feeling CRAZY a dash of cinnamon!) to taste
* simmer for 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to combine well
* while the chili is simmering, cook a box of elbow macaroni until tender, drain and add to the
* serve with tortilla chips, avocado, and/or shredded cheese as you like!
4) Fitness! Because this blog is also about me getting HEALTHY I wanted to let you know that I have begun going to the gym...hooray! I started the week before the show and went for 30-45 minutes every day. Then the week of the show happened and I felt like I had been run over by a truck, so I decided rest and sanity were more important and took a week pause. But, rather than let that throw me off schedule, I am back again this week and feeling great!
Let me share my planned fitness program with you so I can stay accountable -
M/W/F I have 35 minutes between classes to exercise - so I will be doing the Couch to 5K running program to work myself back up to running condition (maybe I will be able to finally tackle that Disney World half marathon in 2012??). It is fairly high intensity, I can push myself, and it is done in 30 minutes plus some stretches.
A screen shot of the fabulous IPhone Couch to 5K app that I use
T/Th I have an hour between classes to exercise - so I will be doing a 15 minute cardio warmup and then 30 minutes of the Shape "Best Body" strength training workout using resistance bands, and then 15 minutes of additional abs work and stretching
Sa/Su I will pick one of the days that is the most free and do a repeat of my 1 hour T/Th cardio/strength/abs workout and one day will be purely rest.
This is a total of 4 1/2 hours of exercise a week - add in the 2-3 hours a week that I am riding my back back and forth to school and around campus and that makes 6-7 hours a week of exercise or almost an hour a day. Very doable and great for fitness and hopefully some weight loss! The other thing I like about this program is that it is doing it in decent chunks of time that I have available...I know I have a hard time going to the gym at 5pm after work when I really want to go home and get dinner and see my dog. So if I only have 1/2 hour to workout between classes but I know that I will DEFINITELY DO that 1/2 hour, that is more valuable than having an hour scheduled every evening that 50% of the time or more I don't follow through on.
Ok - enough for now! I will share the post o' jello shots soon...something to look forward to ;-)