Tuesday, June 26, 2012

52 Week Project: Week 25

A friend sent me a wonderful bounty of cookie cutters in the mail - for every season and shape.

Cookie Cutters

I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph the cookie cutters. I'll have to make sure to make cookies at the other end of this project with said cutters.

The winter holidays are going to be fun this year!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Getting Into The Habit

I've some long-standing food-related habits that I'm not proud of. When you're in a stressful job and you're on the road constantly - you end up in some poor food habits. When work drains you of all will and at the end of the day, you can't muster the energy to cook, you end up in some poor food habits. When sometimes you forget to eat, and sometimes you anticipate it and "carb up" for a long day, you get into some poor food habits. I've been a victim of my own poor food habits for far too long, and I'm finally fed up with it.

For so long, I had been in the circumstances where the stage management staff had virtually no breaks. All breaks were generally taken up with answering other people's questions or getting ready for the next rehearsal, next scene, next show. I somehow conditioned myself to subsist on less water. Not healthy, I know, but I generally got along without dangerously dehydrating myself.

This summer, I have pledged to myself to cook whenever possible, and try to choose healthier items to eat when I do choose to eat out. To drastically reduce the amount of fast food I eat, to reduce the amount of red meat that I eat, to drastically increase the amount of fruits and vegetables to eat. To increase the amount of water and other non-alcoholic liquids that I drink.

Work will still keep me busy this summer, but I have greater latitude with my hours. I have vowed to cook, to use more fresh ingredients and find quick 'n easy 'n healthy or healthy-ish recipes.

Two nights ago, I cooked garlicky meatballs. Last night, sausage and spinach with brown rice, and tonight, gnocchi with sauteed asparagus, sauteed baby bella mushrooms, and parmesan cheese.

I also plan to up my exercise quotient. Last summer when I started my job, I started the Couch25K program. I only made my way to week 3 before I discovered that work interfered with regular gym visits. I sort of stopped cold turkey and haven't picked up since. I wear a pedometer every day at work, and more often than not, I reach about 10,000 steps (about 3 miles). Some days, vastly more than others.

Hopefully by getting myself in a good habit (or even, semi-decent), this will lead to me keeping some of these newfound habits when the busy times return.

Wish me luck, cheerlead me and hold me to my pledges and vows, would ya?

And just in case you think I forgot what this blog is all about:

What's For Dinner

Saturday, June 16, 2012

52 Week Project, Weeks 21-24

Whoops, I got a little behind on the posting of the pictures, but I certainly took them. Here they are:

Week 21:

52 Week Project: Week 21

Week 22:

52 Week Project: Week 22

Week 23:

Sweetgrass Basket - 52 Week Project: Week 23

Week 24:

Charleston Tea Plantation - 52 Week Project 2012: Week 24

Whew - all caught up. Over all, I'm pretty happy with the quality of pictures in the past month. I just need to keep it up - I have noticed there's some weeks with just not much inspiration there. Maybe its time to look at the topics for inspiration again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Charleston, Day 3

Day 1 | Day 2

Day 3 came pretty early and C, K and I all headed back to Folly River to try our hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding. You're basically standing up on a surfboard (paddleboard) and you have a paddle which is operated in completely the OPPOSITE direction of a kayak or a canoe. I was DEAD certain that I was going to end up in the water in seconds flat. I'm notorious for my poor sense of balance (don't put me on a bike). It was actually quite fun except when I tired my arms out because Mother Nature decided to have some fun with us and kick up the wind. 

We joined S & S back at the house and cleaned up in order to head to the Charleston Tea Plantation - where Bigelow teas are from. We sampled and purchased some delicious teas as well as became educated on the tea harvesting procedure. We also enjoyed a tranquil moment on their porch in wooden rockers, looking out over acres of tea plants. 

Charleston Tea Plantation

Charleston Tea Plantation

Charleston Tea Plantation

All tea-d out, we headed back towards home, making a stop at the Angel Oak - the oldest live oak (type of oak). According to Wikipedia, it is supposed to be over 1500 years old, is 65 ft tall and 28 ft in circumference. All I know is that it is huge and majestic. While basking in the magnificence of the Angel Oak, I noticed a white creature across the way. As it turns out, it is a white squirrel. Not albino, like I originally thought. For more info try here 

Angel Oak

White Squirrel

Angel Oak

Next up, Catch up on Photo Project 2012!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Charleston, Day 2

Day 1 | Day 3

Day 2 was the "City" day. We headed into downtown Charleston and Marion Square for the well-sized and populated farmer's market. We found many savory dishes to tempt our palate. I had one of the best fruit juices (freshly mixed) and fought temptation to buy up every delicious fresh vegetable and fruit that I saw. 

Fresh Asparagus   Purple and Green Peppers

Fresh Mushrooms    Fresh Berries

City Market/Downtown Charleston

From there, we headed to the extremely historical and long City Market. Reminded me of St. Louis' Soulard Market - filled with vendors of food and wares a like. Almost everyone was selling sweetgrass baskets like these:

Sweetgrass Basket

After that, I think we headed back to James Island (where we were staying), and K and I prepared ourselves for our new adventure - sea kayaking. It was a sunset kayak adventure on Folly River. It was exceptionally fun - I've never been kayaking before. I used to canoe in middle school and had been dying to do something water related for awhile - the paddling system was completely different. It was a peaceful, fun adventure with a brief stop on a sandbar to learn about the tides, oysters and fiddler crabs. See the white bits in the picture below? Each one is a fiddler crab. They're skittish as all get out but if you stand still enough, you'll catch them. 

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

Sadly for me, I missed out on a great night out in Charleston because the sunburn the day previous plus the kayaking sapped all my energy. But K and C had a royally good time - having gotten adopted by locals and did a little bar hopping. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Charleston, Day 1

My sophomore year college roommates and I got along so well as random roommates put together by university housing, that we've stayed good friends since our respective graduations. About every two years, we get together somewhere in the country and hang out for a long weekend. First was Vegas, then Ft. Collins/Denver, Miami, Washington D.C. and now Charleston.

Charleston was a great choice from top to bottom. Beach, city and everything in-between plus C decided that a vacation rental would be the way to go - and we had a great house for the weekend on James Island - very centrally located.

Day 1 was spent at Folly Beach, in order to avoid the weekend crowds. The water was warm and we definitely spent the bulk of the day wave-jumping vs laying out and getting tan (or in my case, sunburned). I swear I applied the sunscreen liberally but alas, I ended up a little burnt on my nose and decently burnt on my shoulders and back.

Folly Beach

We also met these tiny little crabs in all the debris piles:

Folly Beach

Folly Beach

Sometimes you enjoy just the natural beauty of the street upon which you (temporarily) live:


and sometimes, inspiration just hits you, for art's sake:


More to follow tomorrow - Days 2 and 3, plus eventual catch up on the 52 Week Project!