Musings from a Seattle personal chef
I’ve never been one to jump on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, but I do use this time of year to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going — from both a personal and professional standpoint. 2006 was a fabulous year, and I anticipate 2007 will be even better. A few of this past year’s proudest moments:
- Competed in my first triathlon (loved it so much I signed up for another the following week)
- Ran 2 half marathons
- Continued my weight losing streak (saw a net loss of 5 pounds; it woulda been more if it weren’t for those meddling holiday treats)
- Became a Seattle Times swimsuit model (okay, so it was just for a story on bathing suit makeovers)
- Won the food styling internship with Food Fanatics through the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs scholarship program
- Ovenstobetsy.com was named “website of the year” by the U.S. Personal Chef Association
- Launched my blog (aka, “musings from a personal chef with a fitness problem”)
My blog focuses on two very important aspects of my life — food and fitness — which some people may view as being diametrically opposed (at least GOOD tasting food). I, however, don’t believe that has to be the case. I love food too much to disrespect it by stripping it of its natural flavor and goodness. And some dishes were just meant to contain butter! But when I can tinker with the original recipe to make it more nutritionally sound — yet still incredibly delicious — all the better. So for 2007, not only do I have several fitness goals, I also aim to share my culinary experiments with you. And not to worry — there will be plenty of yummy treats among the healthier fare!
- Competing in races keeps me motivated (I find I need the regimen of a training schedule), so I’ll be entering the following races for 2007: St. Patty’s Day Dash, March 11; Mercer Island half marathon, March 25; Seafair triathlon, July 15; Danskin triathlon, August 19; and the Marathon du Medoc — my first full marathon — September 8. I may compete in others as my body and wallet allow.
- Reach my target weight of 150 pounds (ideally by the Mercer Island half). When I first vowed to do this it seemed reasonable (12 pounds in 15 weeks), but I succumbed to the siren call of holiday temptations and gained 4 pounds. Given our gluttony in both food and drink, my darling and I are on the wagon until February 2, so hopefully my weight loss will kick in again. The holiday pounds are back off, but I still need to lose 12 pounds in 10 weeks if I’m to make the deadline. However, if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
- Work out at least 6 days/week. This should be one of the easier goals, as I’m pretty much already doing this. My typical week consists of three days of running (two 30-45 minute runs during the week, with a long run on Saturdays), two days of lap swimming, 1-2 days of Pilates and 3-4 days of cardio & abdominal classes and weight training. (Yes, I realize that adds up to 9-11 days, but I’ll often do more than one activity in a day).
- Get my butt on my bike. After shelling out more than $1,400 on a bike (and another $500 for a bike rack), I figure I should make the most of my investment. Besides, I really need to get more comfortable on the bike. A few years ago I took a nasty fall on my mountain bike, so I’m still a bit gun-shy (I’m embarrassed to say it was while riding around the neighborhood, NOT some gnarly single track). I doubt I’ll ever enjoy riding through a bunch of traffic, but I do love taking a long ride on a trail (the ride along the Burke-Gilman to Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery is one of my favorites)
- Improve my swimming form. I figure I should get advice/recommendations from an experienced swimmer before I start forming too many bad habits. I’ll never be a competer, but perhaps I can graduate from the “medium” lap lanes to the “fast” ones!
- Increase my flexibility. Although I have a somewhat physical job, I actually don’t move around a lot. I stand all day hunched over a cutting board and stove, which really tightens things up. Of course, running is no help whatsoever. I’m ashamed to say I don’t have much patience for stretching, but my body is beginning to revolt. Pilates certainly helps, but I also vow to spend a few minutes each evening stretching my tired muscles.
- And most importantly: HAVE FUN!
- Launch a “techniques” category on my blog. I’m a huge believer in learning (and teaching) the “whys” behind a recipe. Many recipes are poorly written (including many of my own), as you never know to what level to write. How many of you would know how to butterfly a pork tenderloin? Trying to describe that technique is very difficult; I didn’t get it until I saw detailed pictures. So this new section will hopefully demystify some of the more complicated techniques. I will include a recipe as a guideline, but will also offer up variations that incorporate the same technique.
- Expand my repertoire of healthy cooking techniques and recipes, especially using whole grains. I thrive on carbs, but try to incorporate as many whole grains into my diet as possible. There’s a whole slew of grains that I’ve never experimented with before (amaranth anyone?), but I’m eager to give ‘em a try.
- Learn how to make a decent loaf of bread. I don’t consider myself much of a baker, but I’ve been experimenting a lot lately (of course, much of my experiments are variations on pizza dough). My darling and I love a good crusty bread, and although we have a lot of fabulous bakeries nearby, I would like to try breadbaking at least once.
- Explore the city’s restaurant scene. When I tell people I’m a personal chef most people assume I go out to eat a lot. Not true! For one, that gets expensive (my client’s have the money; I don’t), and for another, I often leave disappointed, wishing I had stayed home and prepared a meal myself. But I know there are some terrific gems out there (and I’ll be perusing the various Seattle food blogs to find them), and I really need to expand my horizons. Too often a visitor will come to town looking for recommendations, and I have nowhere to refer them other than my neighborhood haunts!
I hope you’ll enjoy this adventure with me.
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