Friday, January 13, 2012

The New Year so far

Nine days. That’s how long my hiatus has been from this blog. A little over a week, but it has felt like an eternity. After we came back from Timberline, I finally caught the bug everyone had in the last week of the old year, so I’ve spent the first two weeks of the new year with a terrible cough, a persistent off again and on again fever, a weird eating and sleeping pattern, and napping throughout the day in between enthusiastically reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries via my Kindle Touch.

Even with my borderline delirium – because lack of decent REM sleep and persistent fevers can do that to a person – I was often in the kitchen, cooking up new breakfast bakes and thinking of innovative recipes I would like to make when I’m feeling better. With my new oven-safe soup bowls and my consistent socca breakfast bake success while at Timberline, I’ve been trying out different flours and gluten free grains, fruits, and spreads. Most of them have been delicious, though I think I would have preferred using a tad more stevia for sweetness. I would like to experiment with savory ingredients, so for those who are big on savory breakfasts, feel free to give me some ideas.

One of my new oven-safe soup bowls: perfect for breakfast bakes!

As for my 6-Week fitness plan, it could’ve been better. It’s clear that I started at the wrong time to get any benefit out of it. Three of the six weeks I was either dealing with school or sick, though I did enjoy having a plan and trying something new. At Timberline I felt so calm and at peace with myself. Even after the injury (which is doing A-Okay at present, thank you for asking) and lazing around the cabin, I was sleeping until nine or ten in the morning, never before eight, feeling well rested and enjoying the quietness of the surrounding mountains. Even if I couldn’t ski for the remainder of my stay in Davis, West Virginia, I can’t remember a time I was so relaxed. Not only was I not hungry at odd hours, I was content after every meal, and I learned the deliciousness that is Russian cuisine. 

After a few days, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try out the dinner laid out for the others. I was told what was gluten free (as well as sugar and soy free) and what wasn’t (essentially, the bread, beer, and crackers), and I gobbled it down with gusto. Russian cuisine varies from family to family, but I knew I had a new favorite type of food. Each dinner was balanced in flavor and nourishment, and there was a satisfying tang of vinegar in many of the dishes that brought out a new depth entirely new to my taste buds.

Yours Truly with the boyfriend's brother, the adorable Mr. "Button".

Besides making amazing food, the Russian family I spent the last week of 2011 with opened my eyes to a culture that the boyfriend still holds onto in very particular ways. Like the Swedes I met the year before, they were reserved but open, shy until they get to know you, and can converse until the early morning. They are competitive, enjoy philosophical and logical forms of debate, and love the complexities, the beauty, and the sheer largeness of nature, various sciences, the universe, etc. They warmed up to my larger than life affectionate ways, my bear hugs, and my willingness to listen to their opinions, whether it was in English or not. Personally, I find Russian to be a soothing language, one I’d like to learn by next year’s ski trip. I learned quite a different way of celebrating this time of year, and we drove home on New Years in time for another traditional meal. By Tuesday the 3nd, I traded my limp for a cough, and have been trying to stay afloat ever since.

Kale, Hearty Beef Stew, & Green Beans with Black-Eyed Peas

It is clear that I have to reconsider New Year resolutions. In the past I’d write pages of resolutions, varying from the very detailed to the very vague. Truthfully I focused on my health in a very vain fashion, and I had rather unreasonable goals pertaining to my weight and the things I wanted to do in life. If I wasn’t a certain way, no matter how hard I tried, I would feel like a complete failure. In reality, I just wasn’t aiming for the right goals and, thankfully, I think 2012 is going to be an amazing year.

So what are my “resolutions”? Stress management, mostly, and going where life takes me. I’m a young, recently graduated BA student, with a fairly successful food blog and have plenty of things to keep me mentally and physically busy. It is very likely I’ll do another fitness plan after I recover, but I’d really like to do atypical things outside the gym. I want to hike, boulder, swim, kayak, ski, and learn some form of martial arts. I also want to write, continue cooking and working towards the evolution of this blog for the better, hang out with the people I’ve sorely neglected, volunteer, and simply enjoy every moment that I experience. And this isn’t just for 2012. These are resolutions for life.

My grain-free, one fruit a day, and stevia-only diet has come to an end, though it shines through for days at a time. As you may recall, it was to help the healing process of my tummy after simultaneously getting glutened and fluey. Now that my stomach has clearly healed itself, I’m integrating root veggies and gluten free grains back into meals (though buckwheat, groats and flour, has become a Morri favorite), and am not afraid to have an additional serving of fruit or one to two teaspoons of honey in my afternoon tea. Oh, and I've finally perfected a recipe that has been the bane of Morri's everywhere, and it's a perfect side dish to chili...

... can you guess what it is? :)
Even though it is clearly belated, I wish you a Happy New Year all the same, with plenty of recipes ahead.

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