Cooking Bucket List + Fitness Goals for 2013

Generally, I don’t make New Years resolutions. I like to set goals for myself throughout the year, and I’d like to think this blog keeps me pretty accountable for those goals.

The cool thing about having a blog is that even if I don’t make a resolution, I have historically wrote some kind of symbolic entry around the New Year. Take this post from 2011, for instance, which I wrote just weeks before I landed an internship in a state senator’s office. And there’s last year’s sappy post about how I love my boyfriend and stuff, ha.

This year, I’m in the midst of participating in Elf for Health, which has set daily challenges for the holiday season. I admit I haven’t been participating 100%, but today’s challenge is to Set a New Fitness Goal.

Well Elf for Health, I’m going to one-up you. I have a couple of fitness goals, but something I’ve also wanted to do for a long time is make a Cooking Bucket List. Inspired by Emily’s Food Bucket List, I made a list of things I’ve always wanted to cook from scratch. She and I even have a few in common 🙂

Fitness Goals
  • Run a 5K race
  • Start weight training again (and eat more protein!)
  • Be able to do a 2 minute plank and 2 minute leg lifts
  • Run 25 miles in a month (several times if possible)

The biggest goal is to run the 5K race. I have run 3+ miles a good handful of times, and I have all but signed up for 5K races several times before…but I never actually registered. I have already ran 25 miles in a month before, but not since I broke my hand in June.

Cooking Bucket List
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • French Onion Soup
  • Cheese (Ricotta and Mozzarella)
  • Homemade pasta and/or ravioli
  • Crackers
  • Breakfast Quinoa
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Use cauliflower as an alternative for potatoes (like here, here or here)
  • Bagels (preferably with some kind of cheese broiled on top!)
  • Donuts
  • Arroz con Pollo
  • Traditional Lasagna (I’ve only made a vegetable one, with zucchini/eggplant “noodles”)
  • My Great Grandma Rose’s famous New York Coffee Cake
  • Beer

I’ve already got a head start on that last one! I bought T-Man a beer brewing kit for his birthday and we decided New Years Day was as good a time as any to get started.

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(Drinking beer while we make beer…typical)

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It was a pretty long process (it took us about 3-4 hours including set up/sterilization) but hopefully it turns out! It’s bubbling away in a box in T-Man’s closet as we speak. Hopefully in about a month we’ll have a delicious IPA. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it 🙂

Tomorrow’s Elf for Health challenge is to eat 3 food groups at every meal. I’m having (very minor) surgery early in the morning to get a mole removed from my scalp, so I’m not sure how I’ll get in 3 food groups while that is all going down…but lunch and dinner should be no sweat! On Friday the challenge is to run a mile the fastest you can…I’m aiming for 8 minutes (my all time best is something like 7:50) but we’ll see how it goes!

Hope everyone had a happy new year!

Christmas Recap + Elf 4 Health

Merry Day-After-Christmas, everyone!

I hope none of you are, like me, sick and at work this December 26th. What started as feeling just a little under the weather on Sunday has grown into a full-blown cold that exploded on Christmas morning and is still lingering today. Luckily, I’ve had my friends DayQuil and NyQuil to make the days a little brighter 🙂

This was probably one of the best Christmases my family has had in a long time…Instead of breaking out into a fight as early as dinnertime on Christmas Eve, we had no squabbles until after returning home from Grandma’s house last night 😉 A new record!!!

I got a lot of items on my list, and even a few that I didn’t ask for (like new socks…because my mom saw the ratty ones I wore to the hospital during my tests and felt a need to replace them, haha). Lots of kitchen goodies, and a few gadgets for my bike too!


On Christmas Eve, I arrived at my parents’ house with all my baking in hand, but my mom wanted to add some of her own cookies to the mix too. So we baked together and snacked on wine, hummus & guac. Snacky meals are kind of our thing 😛


I tried my hand at baking my Grandma’s favorite Lacey’s Cookies. They turned out pretty good, and I sandwiched melted chocolate between them so they were just like the store-bought kind 🙂


In a break from the normal Italian cuisine, Mom made Monterrey Chicken with a side salad and (can-shaped) cranberry sauce. That bottle of wine is one my parents bought when we went wine tasting with T-Man’s mom to Jessup Cellars in Napa. So good!

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A bit of the loot I accumulated…that wheel is to replace the one that was stolen right off my bike around Halloween – I’ve been bikeless ever since! (And UMMMM how epic is that nonstick pan!!! What a lucky girl I am!!)

Christmas Morning- off to Grandma’s house!



Look! I don’t have to steal T-Man’s anymore!


Me and my brother & some of my cousins (+ Grandma in the bottom picture) wearing the crewneck sweaters that Grandma bought everyone. She found them on sale at Target and bought 17 of them…Can you imagine what a sight that must have been???


Om nom nom. Rolls, ham, sweet sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and a green salad (the only thing I went back for seconds on, thankyouverymuch!)


Grandma’s tree, and an…..interesting snowman ornament I made for my grandparents in 1994, haha.

The other thing I’ve been trying to keep up with this week is the final round of Elf for Health, which I finally got on board for!

I wanted to sign up for this weeks ago, but with my health issues being how they were, I haven’t been exercising much and a lot of the challenges are fitness-related. However, I am all in for this week and next!

Week 5 Challenges


Call a friend just to chat! Go through your list of contacts until one of them answers… then you can look forward to getting call-backs all week.
Bonus points for a handwritten note too!

~I think having 9 friends over for brunch and Secret Santa gifts on Monday definitely fulfills this challenge! Most of us don’t see each other often during the year, so the fact that we always make time to meet up for Secret Santa every year is really special. If you didn’t see it on Monday, check out all my friends in my living room:



Go for a walk with a family member!
Bonus points for fitting in a workout before your Christmas feast.
~Unfortunately, this was quite impossible yesterday, as Northern California experienced a ton of flooding from all the rain we got! Fortunately, my head cold kept my appetite down and also kept me away from the wine supply, so I didn’t overeat (or drink) like I think most of us usually do!



Look at yourself in the mirror & find THREE things you love about yourself.
Show us what they are!

~I was a little bleary-eyed when I woke up this morning at my parents’ house and didn’t have it in me to even pass by a mirror on my way out, haha. Now that the DayQuil has hit me, I’ll have to do this when I get back to my apartment. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, or follow the hashtag #elf4health to see what I decide 🙂