Goals for 2012 (take two)

I had this all complete and formatted and managed to delete the whole thing.  Good going 2012!

Anyway, last year I didn’t have many goals, other than working on my 101 in 1001 list, and when Audra and Paul and I were out for dinner and a movie on new year’s eve-eve, the topics of goals came up and I was inspired with these 7.

1.  Run one race per month that is at least 5k distance

Last year, I decided I needed to start exercising.  I took a look at my friends and the ones that were consistent about exercising were almost all runners; I figured there must be something about running that kept them motivated, other than the runner’s high.  What I think it is, are the races – there’s always another race around the corner as motivation to keep training and keep going.  So, this year I’m going to do one race a month, and who knows – maybe I’ll even get to a half marathon!

2.  Finish social anxiety CBT work

Most people who know me don’t think I have any problems talking to strangers; sadly, this is patently untrue.  I have a form of social anxiety that makes it difficult for me to talk to strangers, so I come off as aloof at first, although my friends see me as gregarious.   The whole stranger anxiety thing makes things like work functions, parties, or meeting people at bars incredibly difficult, and frustrating.  My therapist gave me a book a year or two ago and it looked promising enough on the first read to go out and buy.  So now I’ve got to go find out where that book went to in this apartment and work through it.  I’m tired of feeling awkward in social situations with strangers.

3.  Go on 10 dates

The stranger anxiety has done me no favors in my dating life.  In fact, everyone I’ve had a relationship with has been someone I’ve known for a while previously as a friend.  I don’t know how to “give the signal” it’s okay to ask me out, mostly because I’m incredibly anxious about the whole thing.  So, this year I’m going to sign up on some dating sites, and make an effort to go on at least 10 dates this year.

4.  Buy a place to live

When I moved back to Chicago, I didn’t have any idea of the neighborhoods and where I wanted to live.  I’ve been living in a great place that’s nice, has good parking and a fenced in back yard for the dog.  But it’s mostly a single family area, and you really have to drive to get most places.  So, I’ve contacted my realtor and am going to start house hunting for the elusive townhome in the Lincoln Square or Roscoe Village area; hopefully I get this all wrapped up by the time my lease expires in April!

5.  Complete 366 photo project

I’ve tried doing the 365 photo-a-day project before and got frustrated and gave up about 3 months through, because it was so much trouble uploading to flickr, uploading to blogger, et cetera, et cetera.  Enter in the fabulous Kat, who did her 365 project all with her iPhone.  I picked her brain and am unrepentantly stealing her methodology (and blogger theme) and starting off on the project myself, complete with one extra BONUS DAY, thanks to leap year.

6.  Organize 6 brunches

Last year I started organizing Ladies who Brunch as a way to get together with some of my women friends and enjoying my favorite meal. I was hoping to get a brunch a month organized, but I think managed only about 4 or 5. This year, I’d like to aim for once every other month, and look for new places where I can eat brunch in my new sugar-free, refined-sugar free, vegan eating ways. Now, that doesn’t mean we’ll only be going to Vegan places – as long as they have something I can eat, I’ll be fine.  But, since I am organizing this rodeo, I’m sure we’ll be going to a couple vegan/vegetarian places.

7.  Go to church once a month

Since I moved to this apartment, I haven’t really been going to church as much as I used to.  The church that is close by really was suited to families than single folks, and so I went for a while, but just couldn’t continue.  All the other Episcopal churches nearby are not really near by – and parking is a hassle.  It’s almost easier to go to the church I grew up at, and used to go to, in the burbs.  It’s only 30 min on a Sunday morning, but it’s about a 90 min round trip on weeknights if any other functions go on, and what I miss most about going to a church is the sense of community, along with the spiritual fit-ness.  Maybe the move will get me closer to a satisfactory church, but I’ll at least start going once a month this year.

Happy New Year everyone!


Gluten-free, sugar-free, all natural chocolate cake

After I got back from Vegas, I was inspired to try an run a half marathon sometime in the next year (although with the way my training is going, it might be the next two, but that’s besides the point).  Part of this was something I’d been thinking about for a while, especially after reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live and seeing that if I made a radical change in my food plan, I could improve my health (and hopefully help ease some of these migrainses I’ve been getting).

So after Vegas, I made the decision to cut out refined grains (anything white, basically), sweets, alcohol, caffeine (except for green tea in the morning), and anmial products.  I’d been pretty close to a lot of this already, I’d cut out dairy, and wasn’t eating much flour or sweets, but I definitely missed my coke zero.

When looking around for vegan ideas for recipies, I stumbled onto Chocolate Covered Katie, who is a vegan that loves chocolate, and loves making deserts healthy.  Her Healthy Deep Dish Cookie Pie recipe came up as a reader favorite, and I couldn’t believe the secret ingredient was chickpeas, and that EVERYONE loved it.  I decided to try it, but since chocolate chips weren’t on my food list, I decided to sub in some cocoa powder instead, and change out the sugar for some dates and agave syrup, as obviously sugar is on the no-fly list as well.  My first try came out a little dry, but still pretty tasty.  The second batch was dead on tasty!  I make a half batch which gives me plenty for 3 mini cakes.

Mini Chocolate Cakes

(based off Katie’s Healthy Deep Dish Cookie Pie recipe)

  • 1 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) 
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 3 T unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 T canola oil  (next try, i’m just going to use 1/2 c applesauce and omit this to see how it tastes)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar (or 1/4 c pressed pitted dates – smush them in there)
  • 3 T cocoa powder

Blend everything really well in a food processor (I use my Blend-Tec blender).  Spray 3 or 4 mini cake molds (silicon works great) Cook at 350F for around 25 (or possibly 30) minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pans.  I top mine with 1/2 c berries nuked in the microwave for a minute to make a compote.


You really wouldn’t know the beans were in there if I didn’t tell you!  Gluten-free, too!

Jingle Bell Run – 2011

Audra and I before we get all sweaty from the race
Audra and me before the Jingle Bell Run

As part of my training for the couch to 5K (C25K) plan, I’m putting a plan together to sign up for a race per month just to keep me motivated to go train.  December’s run was the Jingle Bell Run, and my friend Audra agreed to join me.

Brushing Off the Dust

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and I’m not 100% sure I am going to get into blogging again, but there seems to be so many things lately that I want to say and facebook (or twitter) just doesn’t give me enough real estate to do that.  So, I’m here. And the title of this blog is so much more adroit that I’d thought when I created it:

  • I’ve started the Couch-to-5K (C25K) program and plan to train for a half-marathon after that
  • I’ve given up refined grains, caffeine, alcohol, sweets and animal protein (basically the Eat to Live philosophy) in order to train for the half, and because I think it’s a healthier way of life
  • I’m buying a house in the next few months (and desperately need to declutter my current apartment before I do so)
  • I’ve also figured out I have a form of social anxiety that I like to call “stranger anxiety”: if I don’t know you, I am very anxious and have issues talking to you.  This makes the thought of dating just SO EXCITING.

So I’ll be writing about a whole mix of things, and doing it just for me; although to be honest, we all blog to be heard and for the comments, right?