Thursday, January 8, 2015

JSQ in the Kitchen: Southwestern Black Bean Salad

In keeping with my Resolution to cook more, I whipped up one of my favorite recipes last night and can I please just tell NEVER LETS ME DOWN. Every recipe is amazing, and Gina (who I just fangirl over constantly on this blog and on Pinterest) lists the Weight Watchers points and calories for every meal.

While this Southwestern Black Bean Salad recipe is totally more of a Summertime hit, if you're craving protein-rich beans, sweet corn, or avocados (which is every day of the year for me) this salad is super easy to whip up on a weeknight. And if you're cooking for one like I am, it also stores well in the fridge for a few days so you can nibble on it all week. Personally, I use 1 cup of it (4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus) as a salsa (I double the amount of tomato in the recipe to achieve this effect) that I pair with Original Flavor Pop Chips for a touch of saltiness (and only 3 more PointsPlus). This is quite honestly my favorite snack, and today I even brought it for lunch!

NOW, Skinnytaste is even a cookbook. I obviously own a copy that I bought the day it became available at Barnes & Noble, and even gave a copy to my mom for Christmas. If I really wanted to learn to cook, I could just cook my way through the Skinnytaste cookbook a la Julie & Julia...Totally kidding, but actually 62% serious. Bon Appetit! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello, 2015! Hello 30!

I can not believe 2015 is upon us. Not only that, but this is a very big year for me because at the very end of it, I'm turning 30! I can't tell yet if I'll have any anxiety about that, but it could go either way at the moment!

While I haven't been stressing about the numbers too much, I have been taking some big strides at the tail end of 2014 to achieve some much needed work/life balance, spend more quality time with friends, and yes...I even started dating. Let me tell you, it's been an adventure, and one I definitely don't post much about on here (because I don't post much at all these days...I promise I'm trying to change that) but I may be getting a little more...personal on this blog in 2015. I think of those of you who have stuck with me through about 2.5 years of infrequent updates as family and friends by now. You're in the inner circle.

So with that, I give you my list of 30 things I'd like to do this year, before turning 30. And I raise a glass to toast each of you, with the hope that you all accomplish all you're meant to this year. Cheers!

1  Keep an up-to-date calendar/planner (past March...)
2  Keep my desktop/workspace clean (spot clean every day before leaving work)
3  Take an improv comedy class
4  Set up drinks/dinner with a new female friend
5  Blog at least twice a week
6  Wear makeup everyday (bonus points if I put it on at home and not at my desk)
7  Go kayaking at Riverside or Brooklyn Bridge Park
8  Go skiing at least twice this season
9  Pay off my credit card
10  Take a design/art workshop or class
11  Buy a sketchbook and start to doodle again
12  Learn to make simple things I haven't tried i.e. whipped cream, poached eggs, roast chicken
13  Find a general practitioner that I like, and have a full check-up (I'm embarrassed to say I haven't been to a GP in 3+ years)
14  Buy a new mattress
15  Stick to my diet (I do Weight Watchers, and I always nail it perfectly for 2 months, and then fizzle for a month, and so on...this year I'm going for consistency!)
16  Read at least 20 books
17  Aim to go on at least one date each week
18  Get weekly manicures and DON'T chew fingernails
19  Cut way back on the booze and the occasional cigarette (very important!!)
20  Don't just remove makeup, focus on using my Clinique Sonic System brush for a deeper clean daily
21  Cook for myself at least two days each week
22  Make my bed everyday (this is so sad...I'm going to be 30, it's time)
23  Never visit someone's apartment empty-handed (hostess gifts are in your future, friends!)
24  Make a point to send thank you notes, birthday cards, other meaningful communications
25  Never go a full week without doing yoga
26  Try at least one new recipe every 2 weeks, to broaden cooking/eating horizons
27  Moisturize hands/face/skin daily
28  Drink water (i.e. no more than 2 Diet Cokes per day, how will I ever do this?)
29  Go on a relaxing vacation (preferably out of the country)
30  Feel good, stay positive, be happy

That last one could be the easiest, or the most difficult. And I'm sure this list is only scratching the surface of what I can accomplish this year. But anyway, here we go! Buckle up, it could be a very bumpy ride.