Well, I didn't start the year off on a terribly cheerful note. In fact, my last blog appears to have only succeeded in worrying others unnecessarily. My mother-in-law checked my neck (it is surprisingly hard to do on your own) and didn't feel anything to cause alarm. So I'll start again, this time with levity. Who doesn't love levity? Especially British levity? After all, I'm not dead yet, and I might very well be getting better. If you haven't yet seen the hilarious Monty Python clip I'm referencing (welcome to Earth) or just want to enjoy two minutes of silliness, watch this video:
My New Year's Resolution: Live with cancer like you don't have cancer.Being not dead, I, like every other fool in this country, have made several new year resolutions and even started working towards some of them. In fact, my very first act of the new year was to sign up for the 62 mile ride for the 2012 Tour de Cure. Participating in this ride last year exponentialy increased my interest in bicycling and gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I did feel like I was dying the last two miles of the 32 mile ride, so signing up for the 62 mile is a bit ambitious for me. However, I have five months and change to get into shape for it, combining two goals into one. If you too have made some sort of physcial reassessment goal (and I know you're out there) and want/need a challenging event to push you in that direction, you can sign up as an individual for only $25. Oh, and it's also a great way to raise money for Diabetes research.
I rode twenty miles last Saturday, now the mileage to beat. I also signed up for a boot camp starting in February, so I'll let you know if I recommend it. Or make it out unscathed. And I have my awesome THYCA Cycling jersey, gifted to me by my grandfather-in-law, so hopefully this will be my "before" photo, with an awesome "after" photo to follow (I will most definitely look like that in 6 months):
I have written and submitted two books to publishing houses, received three rejections (and one conditional acceptance), so I feel more officially like a writer. I have written twenty pages into my latest novel and five new poems for the poetry manuscript my grandmother and I are trying to get published. I am determined to be the published author of all three (my children's manuscript, poetry manuscript, and novel) before the end of the year. Yay blind ambition.
I am still in the process of launching my online business, but I feel sure to finish the website in the next few months. In the meantime I am learning an entirely new language made up of mostly acronyms. For instance, today I learned how to transfer the A records of my external DNS to my FTP web host via an IP number. This morning I wouldn't have known what that sentence meant.
I have also taken up cooking and am not terrible at it. I am determined to come up with some delicious iodine-free recipes of my own, which I will of course share with you. My first is a variation on the THYCA cookbook greek chicken and orange chicken, which I will call "Nothing Rhymes with Chicken a l'orange," because I can. You can leave it topped with onions and garlic (as pictured), but if you like sweet, topping this with a bit of marmalade or honey is even better. Also, I like the citrus combo of lemon and orange together, but you can go with one or the other if you prefer; just double the orange/lemon juice and fruit quantities. **Recipe below.
These are just a few of the things on my 2012 Checklist. Checklist with a capital "C" because I am a big believer in them. My daily checklist usually takes me about a week to get through, but if I didn't make them tons of small undone tasks would accumulate into a giant mess. Also, there is something truly therapeutic about crossing something off a list.
The best cure for worrying is staying busy. So make a check list. At the top write "read awesome blog." Now cross it off. You're welcome.
**Nothing Rhymes with Chicken a l'Orange Recipe:
* 6 chicken breasts (can be done with other chicken parts)
* 1 cup orange juice
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 1 chopped onion
* 1 lemon
* 1 orange
* 2 chopped cloves of garlic
* 1 tsp oregano (honestly I usually guesstimate with the spices, sprinkling until it looks good)
* 1 tsp thyme
* 1/2 tsp orange extract (if you have it and like a strong orange flavor)
* 1/4 cup white whine (optional but adds flavor)
* 1 tbsp cornstarch
* kosher salt and pepper to taste
* orange marmalade/honey (also optional)
Make sure chicken is defrosted. Place the breasts in a pan. Preheat oven to 375. Chop the onion and garlic and top the chicken with it. Mix the lemon juice, orange juice and cornstarch. Add spices and extract. If you have time, cover and let marinade in fridge for 4 hours to overnight.
Pour all contents into a baking pan, separating chicken pieces. Cut slices in the sides of each breast so the marinade can get in while cooking (this also makes it easier to check whether they are fully cooked. Slice the orange and lemon thinly and place the slices on top of each breast (I try to fit at least one lemon and one orange slice on each breast).
Bake for 40-50 minutes. The meat will be really tender and delicious. Top with marmalade or honey or be creative. Serve with Basmati rice.