Thursday, January 17, 2013

My goals for 2012, and today's breakfast for dinner

I hate New Year's resolutions. They're forced, insipid, generalized, and impossible to stick with. It's a system destined to fail, resulting in a negative feedback loop of generalized self-loathing. But, I must admit, there is something positive about taking a step back and re-evaluating things in ones life. What are you happy with? Fill your life with that! What makes you unhappy? Ditch it!

For me, my biggest challenge is that I constantly feel like I'm behind on things. This blog. My laundry. Keeping my apartment tidy. But ultimately I just don't know how much of that is going to change overnight. I can sit here and say: "In 2013 I'm going to be better", but really that isn't very specific or helpful. Ultimately I will be unable to fulfill such a broad statement, and I'll end up feeling like a failure.

Instead, I prefer to make goals for myself that are attainable. Write them down, do them, and check them off! Checklists allow my inner OCD to feel organized, and crossing things off that list makes me feel productive-- which in turn makes me happy. So instead of a resolution for 2013, I'm making a list:

Jackie's To-Do "Bucketlist" for 2013, in no particular order

  1. Travel more and see friends around the country
    When I was in grad school in California, I only took 2 bona fide vacations in 6 years. Every other chance I got I came back home to visit family in Chicago. In spring of 2011 I finally moved back home, but didn't have a job for a while, so traveling was non-existent. In 2012, I had recently started starting my job and was getting settled in my new apartment. But now it's 2013, and I'm settled with this city, my job, and my apartment- so I think its time to ditch the excuses and start doing some traveling! Plus, for the first time in years I've got a built-in travel partner (aka boyfriend), so it makes trip planning a lot more exciting. First up- Phoenix and Sedona to visit my brother and hike!
  2. Paint my TV stand in my living room
    My living room isn't perfect, but its come a long way. I love my rug and my wall of folded books. What I don't love is my TV stand. I bought it with the intention of painting it, and yet it still sits in all its laminate glory. This must change.
  3. Don't fall soooo behind on the blog
    I currently have close to 20 posts I want to write up. This needs to (a) be dwindled and (b) never rarely happen again.
  4. Create my painted-cork art project for my kitchen wall
    I've got over 500 corks collected- enough to at least start the "mural." Can't wait to see how if it'll look as good in person as it does in my head...
  5. Hit the gym at least twice a week
    I feel lame putting this down into words as everyone has a workout resolution. But seriously, I spend too much money on my gym membership not to use it. So (on average) my goal is to work out twice a week. That's all I'm asking of myself right now, to get into a routine, no matter how little self-motivation I have.
     
  6. Create more: make some jewelry, decorate my apartment, experiment in sewing clothes, etc.
    It's pretty self explanatory. I just love crafting and want to continue pushing myself in attempting new projects. Yea for Pinterest and awesome ideas!
  7. Learn more Assyrian dishes from my aunts
    It's something I've wanted to do for years, and now that I'm back in Chicago it's actually a lot easier for me to accomplish. I really want to start getting all these recipes together before the knowledge is lost. Luckily my cousin told me today she's starting a food blog with her mom's cooking. My aunt is a great cook- so I'm super excited to finally have a growing record of all the deliciousness!
  8. Sew my snuggie
    When my brother got accepted to U of A I made him a snuggie, and also bought some super plush and soft fabric to make my own. That was over 3 years ago, and winter 2013 is already half-way done. This snuggie needs to be sewn STAT!
  
Snuggie ninja

I've been wracking my brain for more things to add to my list- but really these are most of the big ones. And the more manageable I make this list the happier I'll be come December 2013. But ultimately, I'm not adding much more to this list because things are pretty great in life right now. All around, I'm incredibly happy, and really I can't ask for anything more than that.

You know what else made me happy today- my breakfast for dinner. And it wasn't just one of the "I'm going to make myself eggs for dinner" kinda days (although I am a huge fan). It was a day where I took breakfast and flipped it on its head.


Sure, I made a regular fried egg, nothing special there. But do you see what is peaking out below that egg? Hint: its not barley, quinoa, brown rice, or bulgar. In fact, it's something I bet you never thought you could eat with a savory dinner.

Give up?? It's oatmeal! And no, its not the gummy, artificially-flavored, glue-like, nasty, instant-cook oatmeal crap. It's your Irish stone-ground oatmeal, cooked until tender, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with a healthy spoonfull of basil olive oil.

I've been curious about a savory oatmeal, since the stone-ground kind reminds me so much of a porridge-like Assyrian dish made with barley and shredded chicken. So I'm glad I finally got to try it out-- it was absolutely perfect with my sunny-side up egg, especially in sopping up all the yolky goodness.

Oatmeal soaks up all the deliciousness much better than bread

Yours in looking forward to whipping up more surprisingly delicious meals in 2013,
Jacqueline

There really isn't a recipe for this dish. The only thing you need is stone-ground oatmeal as its texture is much heartier than your regular run-of-the-mill oatmeal. Simply cook up your stone-ground oatmeal according to the package directions (usually ~30 minutes), season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with an egg and any other flavorings you might want. Truffle oil would be delicious on this. As would some sauteed tomatoes, spinach, and/or mushrooms. How about some shredded cheese instead of oil? Or what about some cooked chorizo chopped up and stirred in the oatmeal? The variations are endlessly delicious!

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