Friday, January 10, 2014

A NEW YEAR AND NEW GOALS

It doesn't seem possible that a new year has begun. Where did 2013 go?! I started 2013 with a modest resolution to improve my health in some small way after ending the previous year with multiple health issues. I was able to meet that goal by lowering my blood pressure to the point that my doctor allowed me to get off my blood pressure medication. I just went to a check-up at my doctor's for it this week and it was 110/72 without any medication! I can't remember it ever being that low. In 2013, I also met another health goal to lower my cholesterol. Last June, my bad cholesterol level went down 40 points to put me back in the ideal range (without medication, exercise, or going on a diet). I simply take leisurely strolls of no more than 30 minutes when I feel like it. I know resolutions don't have a good reputation for actually sticking but nonetheless, I have made some for myself again this year. I find I need to set goals for myself or I tend to get stuck in a rut. I started cooking more often last year and that's definitely something I want to continue to do. One of my favorite dishes since childhood has been salmon patties. Since fresh wild fish is a rarity during the winter months in the Midwest, I thought this dish that uses canned wild-caught Sockeye salmon would be a good way for me to keep incorporating some fish into my diet. Because of my kidney stone history, I can't have fried food much any more (and Mom's patties were fried in vegetable oil!), so I found a recipe for healthy baked salmon patties and a companion dill sauce. Here's how they turned out...


My husband and I also enjoy baked chicken. I soaked these breasts in buttermilk overnight before coating them with a mixture of parmesan cheese and Panko breadcrumbs. They make an easy dinner paired with brown rice cooked in chicken broth.


To get the crumb coating a golden brown, I sprayed it with olive oil from my handy new Misto sprayer that I got for Christmas. Have any of you used these? I wish I'd gotten one sooner! They're perfect for things like the breaded chicken breasts where you want to evenly coat the surface without disturbing it. You can fill it with your favorite cooking oils. Mine is olive oil.


Also on this year's list of resolutions is to do more things that feed the soul—like learning more about the history of ballet. I became interested in this topic as a high school student in Academic Decathlon, where we were required to learn about the prolific 20th-century ballet choreographer George Balanchine as well as the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's compositions for ballets such as The Rite of Spring, Firebird, and Petrushka. Like many young girls, I wanted to be a ballerina and Mom enrolled my sister and I in a class for it, but unfortunately, it was cancelled before it ever started. So we ended up doing gymnastics for a few years instead. That's me as a kid below practicing my splits in our kitchen!


Ever since then, I've enjoyed reading about ballet history as well as memoirs of the great ballerinas like Suzanne Farrell and Margot Fonteyn, but it had been years since I'd actually done that. So in an attempt to change course, I recently treated myself to this DVD on Balanchine ballerinas and a book on the history of ballet. 


I also want to carve out time to be more creative, which has taken a back burner to work and other obligations. My mantra has always been to get my work done first, before playing and unfortunately, I haven't had much time to play lately. Fabric is always a source of inspiration and I recently found some fun prints at Home Ec Workshop in Iowa City while visiting my friend Anne over Christmas break. Aren't these fabrics fun?


I couldn't resist this cute little elephant fabric from Japan! Now to decide what to make with it!


These new wools from Weeks Dye Works are igniting the imagination. I have a couple ideas in the works and hope they turn out well. The second wool from the left is called "Hippo". In a previous post, I'd mentioned how much the color gray was growing on me and now I can't seem to stop myself from using it. In 2012, it was a pink and gray ladybug pincushion, last year it was a pink and gray owl portrait, and now it's something else!


I hope that your new year is off to a great start and that you find time to do the things that matter most to you! It's a shame that the hubbub of daily life gets in the way of such things. I hope I have better luck not letting it get in the way this year than I have in the past! I look forward to another year of blogging and connecting with all my wonderful blogging friends.

11 comments:

  1. Another lovely blog. I find I also wait to do my craft/sewing projects once my to-do list is complete. Unfortunately, that list seems never-ending. I will resolve to loosen that requirement in 2014. Thanks for the idea!

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  2. Great post! Congratulations on your health achievements and goals - wonderful to hear you have managed to drop medication. Your recipes sound yummy and thanks for the misto recommendation . Love the cute elephant fabric.
    Hilda

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  3. Wow - I need your health secrets for your bp and cholesterol! Kudos to you. Looking forward to this new year - hope to be able to get together with you!

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  4. Glad to hear your health in on the improve Kimber. I hope 2014 is a great one for you.

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  5. Both dishes look great! Congrats on your goals and achievements!

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  6. I think it is important to set time aside for creative pursuits too, and hope to make that time as one of my priorities this year...and health goals are so important glad to hear you are already seeing those rewards, N.xo

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  7. The food looks delicious. We are trying to eat more fish here, and salmon is one of them.

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  8. Happy New Year! those fabrics are really really fun!

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  9. Looks like you have some serious cooking skills going! Good for you. Like all your resolutions and love the wool fabric - looking forward to seeing what it becomes!

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  10. Oh Kimber, what a cutie pie picture of you! I love it. Love the fabrics too. Hope you have a great week! Make time to fondle the fabric. LOL!

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  11. You did things the right way. To make big changes it needs to be long term and in small doses. Look how far you have come in a year. Taking a leaf out of your book and wishing us both a creative year.

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