Merry New Year

I don’t feel the need to apologize on my own blog for the delay between posts but I did want to get new things onto here before too long. New goal: have this published before 2013.  Okay by New Years Day, Okay. for real this time: before I go to sleep on New Years Day.

Unfortunately, waiting weeks between posts mean that too many life happenings have occurred to possibly go into nice detail. Upside? I’ve had more time to make food (: Though I feel like I dropped the ball on holiday recipe posts, maybe I’ll be able to flag down some of the folks that are all full of culinary ambitions for the new year.  I’ve tried plenty of new recipes this break, to the point where my mom’s first reaction upon hearing that I’d be headed out in the next few days was “but who will cook for us?” Rather than a focused post and recipe, I’ll share some of the foods that passed the family taste test as well as new year thoughts.

Ah, recipes. What an adventure. I successfully wrangled two batches of choco-cranberry granola, spinach-stuffed portabellas, many varieties of dumpling, a family-inherited recipe for vegan stuffing, made-from-scratch gnocchi, my first tofu-scramble, and a phenomenal batch of Forgotten Potatoes. They were so all so delicious that I could barely manage a few photographs before they disappeared.  As I am horrible at remembering how I come up with certain dishes (it’s mostly guesswork), the recipe directions and ingredients tend to be a little vague.  It normally isn’t until round #2 that I can decide on steps worthy of blog-publication and even so, I feel a bit guilty suggesting there’s only one way to achieve tastebud perfection. Flavor is such a fluid thing from person to person I think that everyone should be able to change recipes up, thus, I’m going to pause here to disclaim that every recipe I post is far from exclusive.  Changing them up and letting me know how they work is what I’d recommend over following exactly!

Here are the dumplings and mushroomsIMG_0044IMG_0026

Now that I may have made you hungry, I’ll distract you momentarily with the holiday low-down from home sweet home.  In sum: Lazy Days: 5 and counting.. Productivity: 0.  Not that it is a bad thing, but I probably stayed indoors for an uncomfortable stretch of time.  At the end I had a nice upswing that involved seeing some friends and family and a walk on the boardwalk this past weekend, and the fresh air was much welcomed. Almost as welcome as the bonding time with my kitty :)IMG_0061

But we can back up some. Everything started off crazy. Crammmmmmed my brain for finals like any good student and pulled off the grades I was aiming for, mostly. Though I planned to relax afterward for a few days, an ominous snowstorm was in sight so I left for the beach earlier than I’d planned. It ended up great and I made it back just in time to square away some last minute shopping, Christmas parties and a wonderful day trip through Colonial Williamsburg.  A slow week later, I’m back at my apartment in the mountains where I still refuse to take down our Christmas tree.

And now it is 2013?! Sheesh. I hadn’t done much reflecting on 2012 in the past few days and I definitely haven’t put focused thought toward 2013.  In the big scheme, I think it is more important to express gratitude and set goals much more than once a year so this holiday doesn’t mean too much to me aside from the excitement it brings. But I’ll give it a quick go anyways.

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So much travel. The opportunity to leave bburg and make lots of new friends in a foreign country on a beach is something for which I’ll always be grateful. Even today, I am still amazed at how much I gained during those three months. In another act of universal alignment, I had a great summer set-up. When I thought everything was falling through, it really just made space in my days for me to work with organizations I really cared about, teach an ESL class to the coolest people, and knock out a chemistry course without too much strife.  It truly fell into place.  This past year I also met a lot of new, really interesting, people that have helped to teach me how each and every one of us has such undeniable purpose.  This fall was sprinkled with highs and lows, but this may have been the first time that I was able to take the highs with humility and the lows with grace.  Despite the extremes, nothing fell apart. Instead, it has lead to a strong, powerful finish for 2012 that is now making me wonder if it wasn’t one of the best years yet? Was it? Nothing more triumphant is coming to mind anyways.  I read manyy many books this year (favorite would be a three way tie between Susan Casey’s Wave, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains but I was so lucky to have the time to read this much and narrowing it to a three was challenging enough), discover some great musicians (namely, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Ingrid Michaelson, Tony Lucca), ran a half marathon, and even managed put together some new paintings :) Nice knowing ya, 2012, you made reflecting easy.

2013

Hm…2013 could very well be the year I graduate. Before then though, I’ve got to get things lined up. Isn’t that everyone’s goal though? Get organized. Work out. Maybe eat healthily? Obviously those are in the back of my mind but I’m file them under “goals that I have everyday” and ignore them for the current resolutions. That leaves everything else. I want to stay excited in the spring semester. It’s cold, wet and dreary here so staying enthusiastic about my classes and keeping my spirits up with fun adventures is high on my priority list.  I’d like to be able to save up money this year and be in a good place when I leave VT.  That’ll be a scary time so with any luck I’ll be able to generate some confidence throughout the year and set out on my own with a positive mindset.  Unlike 2012, 2013 is looking like it’ll be a building year, taking time to line things up for whatever craziness 2014 will offer. With any luck, it will be plenty of time to explore the mountains and regions close to home that I don’t always make time for. Ah, let’d do it. I’m ready.

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