New Year, New Goals, and a Culinary Adventure

It’s a new year, and with a new year comes celebrations , a new look for the blog (what do you guys think?), and of course, resolutions.  2009 was a big one for me, and after making (and, for once, keeping) the toughest resolutions yet, I want to make 2010 even better.  Looking back at the last ten years has been interesting.  I’ve seen highs and lows, good decisions, bad decisions, lulls in which I did nothing to grow as a person, and more recently, a lot of soul-searching, risk-taking and pushing boundaries, which have ultimately led me to a happiness and peace I haven’t felt before.  And I want to make 2010 even better.  I want to look back in another decade and see hopes and goals realised.  So I suppose I should really start off with some sort of new year’s resolution list.  This year, I want to…

1. Read.  Not just blogs and newspapers, but actual books.  I’ve always loved to lose myself in stories of wonderful imagination, but reading was kind of put on the backburner in 2009.  This year, I may not have a book club to join, but I resolve to finish at least one book per month.

2. Learn to drive.  My nan never learned to drive her whole life, and as much as I love her dearly, I don’t think this is the wisest example to follow. I must be the oldest twenty-four year old non-driver in the world!  It’s been an ongoing resolution of mine for the past eight years, and I think it’s about time I stopped being so scared and got into the driver’s seat.

3. Work harder on becoming pain-free.  I’m done with the zillions of appointments with as many different people I can find in an attempt to do something about my back pain.  I’m going to pick a strategy and stick to it, instead of trying a load of things once and giving up after not seeing immediate results.  I’ve been assigned a strengthening plan, which I will stick to daily, I’m going to live more healthily (eat better, drink more water, stop being afraid of exercise for fear of exacerbating the pain), and I’m going to use heat and positive distractions instead of pain killers and self-pity.  And we’ll see about going for another round of injections.

4. Do even more to lose the anxiety. I feel like, with the help of Sweet, my friends, family and so many of you, I’ve come a long way from the person who used to be scared to even pick up the phone.  I’m still a little nervous about being in the spotlight, but I’m at the point where if I prepare, take notes on what works and what doesn’t, breathe deeply and think positively, I can teach a small class once a week.  In March, my term position is up, and there’s been talk of potentially moving into a new position – involving a lot more facilitation.  It might be the hardest task yet – but it’s my goal to be able to teach more classes, be more at ease speaking in front of people, critisise myself less and be more comfortable in my own skin, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

5. Learn to cook properly, and stop eating “conveniently”.  Since moving out on my own six years ago, I’ve fallen into the trap of eating what’s cheap and what’s convenient.  I don’t eat junk food, but my meals are carb-heavy, unvaried, and more often than not, involve microwaving something.  A few weeks ago, I decided I was going to learn how to cook.  And yesterday, I began the challenge!

I pulled Delia off the shelf and picked a couple of recipes I thought I could tackle.  Creamed Chicken with Avocado, Baked Parsnips, and Sweet’s special roasted potatoes.  Two hours and only one cut finger later, we had a success!  I learned how (and why) to “blanche” vegetables before baking them, I learned how to make my own cream sauce to the perfect consistency, and I learned that I never want to have prepare parsnips ever again.  They’re probably the most delicious vegetable in the world, and baked in butter were absolutely divine – but cutting the core out of something shaped like a carrot was slightly too frustrating.  (Lucky for me, Sweet was on standby, and took care of them for me!)

The meal was lovely (although, looking back, I would’ve picked something with a bit more colour), hearty, and I felt an enormouse sense of accomplishment at having made something so delicious (and took half an afternoon!).  I also felt enormous after eating something with so much cream and butter in it, which leads me to want to do something slightly healthier next time – but I think I’ve definitely found myself a new hobby for 2010.

What about you guys? Tell me about your resolutions for the new year!  And of course, if you’d like the recipes, drop me a note and I’d be more than happy to send them your way. 🙂


  1. Just learning to drive now? Well.. it never is too late. I have an aunt, a former school teacher, who is on the Internet more than I am and she is pushing 90- so I’m a firm believer that it is never too late to learn something new! As for fear- look at the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and improve that much more. You might be surprised at how good a driver you may actually be! Go for it!!

    1. I think I will this year.. once the ice and snow has all gone and it’s a *little* less terrifying outside. Thanks for the encouragement! It’s comments like that that make me actually motivated to try it this time 🙂

  2. Okay, first up, I can NOT handle how adorable you are, but anyways.!

    Kudos on goal setting. I think you summed up my brain when you said you want to look back come 2020 and go, “Look at me, I rocked out those goals!” One of mine is to read a book a month, so maybe you should post what you plan to read that month and I’ll join you one time or something! A little Emily book club lol.

    Also, don’t feel bad about the driving deal. Everyone in the US gets their license by 16 and I… got it for my 18th birthday. I’m also trying to get in the kitchen more (I routinely cook but I think I’ll try things a little more exciting than say.. pasta. With sauce. LOL) and we’re trying to be better vegheads by trying more vegetables.

    And your # 3 totally reminded me I wanted to ask my friend who’s boyfriend is a DO for other small tips for you & Kyla in case he has anything worth mentioning that you two poor souls haven’t tried!

    1. Haha yay! Let’s do a cross-country book club! It’ll help keep me on track and I’m sure David won’t mind me not insisting we read together out loud any more so he can read his own stuff!

      What’s a DO??

  3. Wow! You are ambitious with your cooking! We are focused on staying home and eating at home as much as we can this year so we’ve been making more meals. We still rely a lot on boxes or sometimes bags of meals that you heat up…but it’s a start for us. I just don’t have enough time to spend cooking up a really fancy meal. Maybe I’ll get a little daring this year.

    I like you reading resolution, too! I just found a library reading challenge that you can join if you want!!! 🙂

  4. Hey! I kinda stumbled upon your blog and wanted to comment 🙂

    Try looking up Mediterranean recipes. They are yummy and so good for you! (I have a Turkish family and have always adored Mediterranean food).

    1. Hello!! Thank you so much for commenting – that’s a wonderful idea! As a child when I lived in Europe *all* our holidays were to the med, and I remember just loving the food. I will have to look up some Turkish recipes too; I went to Turkey… 11 years ago (yikes I didn’t realise it was so long!) and it remains my favourite place in the world!

      I just checked out your blog too and I’m going to be adding you to my reader – we have a TONNE in common!! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing your New Year’s resolutions…. I’ve posted some of mine on my blog. Reading more is definitely on my list as well – I’ve always loved to read but didn’t really have the peace and quiet last year to do much of it!

  6. love the new look : )

    a lot of my irish friends also don’t know how to drive at 23/24, i think it is largely an american thing for most of us to drive at 16. good luck with it, it isn’t too difficult once you get the hang of it!

    and yay for the great dinner!

  7. I’m currently working on my review of ’09 and my resolutions for 2010, and one of my resolutions is to cook more and try new recipes. You’re further along than me… considering you actually have an apron for yourself and I don’t! Your meal sounded delicious – isn’t it such a good feeling when your first attempt at a complex meal turns out great? I especially love when my hubby says how delicious it is. 🙂

    I feel like I was reading a bit about myself in your other resolutions. I’ve been trying to read more, and calm down my anxiety. Also, it took me until the age of 21 to get my license! I was always teased by my friends for it, but it was a mix of not needing to drive during high school and college and then a bit of nervousness. I finally paid for private lessons and then took the test. Even though I’ve had my license for 3 years now, I still get nervous in heavy traffic and when I’m going somewhere I’m unfamiliar with. I won’t even drive my hubby’s truck – I’m only comfortable with my little car! I wish you luck with learning! I promise it’s not as bad as you might imagine. 🙂

    1. Aww thank you!! Well the car, if I manage it, I’d be using would be my boy’s ’92 Toyota Corola – not an easy ride lol but a very reliable one. I’ll have to let you know how it goes! And I only have that apron ’cause my dad brought it back for me last time he went to England – I’m happy it’s actually getting some use for once 🙂

      I’m looking forward to chatting more about our progress on our resolutions this year – best of luck!!

  8. I’m loving the read resolution – that’s awesome! 🙂 Happy New Year! PS Love the blog layout!

  9. Hey! A couple of your resolutions mirror my own. I too am focusing on learning to cook and eat at home this year. I always go for the quick-frozen-fast food junk and I am so over it! I want to feel good about what I put in my body and figure that eating at home is a good place to start. I also want to read more! I used to read so much, and somehow let life get in the way of that simple pleasure. My goal this year is 25 in 25 (25 books the year I turn 25!) Good luck on your resolutions! I love your blog. I’m happy I found it!

    1. Oh wow that’s like double my resolution but this year’s my 25th too, maybe if I move along faster than I anticipate I may join you! 🙂

      And I’m popping over to yours as we speak!

    1. Ha thanks! We can try and tackle them both together! It was the only good photo – David was a wonderfully willing photographer at my endeavour but the photos got significantly less happy and more mad once the parsnips came out lol 🙂

  10. Well done, you! That meal sounds fantastic!!

    Good luck w/ the learning to drive thing! I can’t say I enjoy driving, but I don’t know what i would do w/out my car!!

    And I love the new look of your blog!!

  11. I was the queen of “cooking” things in the microwave until I came across a few blogs that made me realize that actual cooking with a stove wasn’t all that hard. Shoot me an email and I’ll send the addresses if you are interested.

    Reading is something that I love to do, its so incredibly relaxing and over the past year I’ve basically given up television thanks to books.

    1. Yeah we don’t even have cable or anything, which is a plus – if we do want to watch something we can always download it, but we’ve both decided instead of watching Eastenders before bed every night we’re going to go up a little earlier and have some time specifically for reading. I used to do that when I lived alone but the habit never made its way into communal living, but I think we both really want to read more this year so fingers crossed 🙂

  12. I am so scared of talking on the phone as well. It’s crazy. I hate calling about making appointments or dealing with banks or whatever else comes up that requires a call. I am such a chicken! Haha. 🙂 I am trying to get better at it though.

    My goals for this year? Losing weight! I need to shed off about 20 lbs. My goal is to have it all gone by my birthday in June. There is hope!

    1. That should’ve been my goal too (the phone one), I’m so bad I won’t even pick up the phone if I don’t recognise the number and I *never* actually call people!! I would like to lose a little bit (my birthday’s in June too, we could try together!) too – best of luck (although you hardly need to lose anything, you look wonderful :))

  13. Erik and I are doing more on the cooking front too for 2010. My mom bought us a Jamie Oliver cookbook and I’m actually posting our first cooking adventure tomorrow! Yay for cooking!

    1. Oh nice!! I will have to check it out – he’s supposed to be full of healthy recipes so I hear; I might have to steal a couple from you! I wanted to get a Gordon Ramsay book but his recipes look really hard 🙂

  14. I’m going to say something and I hope it doesn’t come across as odd or weird…but, if I passed you in the street, I would never in a MILLION years think you suffered from bad anxiety. And maybe it’s my own judgmental spirit but it really has made me sit back and think about all these “pretty people” I see everyday and know nothing about. Everyone has their own internal battles and problems they deal with. Even if they look perfect on the outside, they’re most likely dealing with their own demons on the inside and aren’t that much different from me.

    You have quickly become one of my most favorite bloggers, simply because I feel like we are SO similar. Here’s to a blessed 2010 where we shed the anxiety and insecurity and embrace ourselves.

  15. I need to work on the cooking issue too. My husband and I come home in the evenings and we’re always too exhausted to cook up a meal. It’s crazy because we both don’t have children now and when we do we’ll need to be cooking meals so we should get used to it now.

    Good luck on learning how to drive! 🙂

    1. Thanks! And yikes! I hadn’t even thought about getting used to it for the fact that in a few years we might start having children too – there’s another good reason to get into the habit!! 🙂

  16. Glad you had fun with the cooking! And as long as you wait until the summer to learn to drive you’ll be fine- it gives you so much more freedom and you can cruise our residential streets without too much stress at all while you learn.

    1. YES – there’s no way I’m starting now, lol I feel like even in the sunniest of weather I’d be too scared to even make a turn off my street lol. Maybe I’ll just go out to the country for a day and drive around instead of braving Osborne 🙂

  17. Love the new look!!!

    You have some pretty good resolutions listed here (especially the cooking one – I wish I had more energy to cook better meals).

    I don’t really have any resolutions because I’m horrible at sticking to them. So the only goal I have set for myself is to keep on getting up for work. So far? SUCCESS!

  18. Good luck with your resolutions! I’m sure you can manage to read a book a month without too much effort. And as for driving – I’m 30, I’ve never learned and i don’t really want to . . . but I don’t really NEED to because I live somewhere where I can walk to work (or afford a taxi), walk to the city centre or get the subway . . . I’m pretty lucky that way and there’s other things I’d spend my money on than lessons or a car. But I can understand why other people might feel the need to, so I hope you achieve it! 🙂

    1. Here public transit is so rubbish that in winter, deciding to take the bus is almost a death wish – there’s a very high risk if your bus does not come in time, your entire body will get frostbite and limbs may start dropping off. But then again deciding to *drive* here could also be considered a death wish in winter. What can I say, I like to have options 🙂

  19. My Gram didn’t ever drive. She grew up in Brooklyn and had everything she needed in a two or three blocks walk. I sometimes think if I lived in a big city I wouldn’t feel the need to drive either.

    I’m definitely with on you reading and becoming less anxious. I can be a huge bundle of nerves and anxiety sometimes!

    1. I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally anxiety-free, I just want to get it a little bit more… normal. And maybe I’ll totally bring the grandmas not driving thing back, two generations from now I’ll have grandchildren making the exact same resolution for 8 years and blaming grandma for never actually keeping it 🙂

  20. these are great! i’m a new reader but i’m absolutely amazed by all the progress you seem to have made 🙂 and the great network of support you have as well. i also need to learn how to cook.. that’s my year goal.. one of them! 😛

  21. Ooof, I’m with you girl. In the last year, pretty much the last year alone, I’ve started making my own phone calls. Hair appt? Nope. Pizza? Nope. Cab? Forget it. So here’s to fighting an amazingly good fight against anxiety baby love – and to cooking parsnips! You go girl!

  22. I definitely need to learn how to cook too, I suck at it. I might starve myself if I go somewhere with no edible food or restaurants 😦

    Good luck in achieving your resolutions 🙂

    ps. I noticed you’re a blog friend / reader of Cheryl from Confession Of Twenty Something Years Old. Me and a bunch of friends are trying to get her to be featured in 20SB for February. She’s awesome, right? So if you have an account in 20-Something Bloggers please help vote for her. All you have to do is visit and write “I vote for Cheryl from Confession Of Twenty-Something Years Old” or “I second this nomination” 😀

    thanks so much before, I hope you participate!

  23. I hope by now you received the card I sent as part of Hillary’s card swap! What a fitting time to “come out” to you than to wish you a happy 2010! (Admittedly, I’ve been lurking on your blog for a few weeks already!) I love your list of resolutions because I believe you will see tangible results. Good luck!

    1. Hello!! No I didn’t get the card! 😦 I was actually thinking about that today! Stupid postal system… *shakes fist*

      Thank you so much for the thought, and for stopping by, and for your encouragement! I’m looking forward to this year (and chatting to you moreso in it!)

  24. Pingback: Progress? «

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