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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Working It

It's been 2 weeks with Jaylen, my new trainer.  The day after my first session was very painful.  I could barely get down my stairs, and I live in a 3 floor house!  It was hard, but it has been good.  He's very positive and encouraging, and each workout with him is different.  I can't get bored, because I never do the same thing twice.  And with the pace of the circuits, I sweat like crazy and leave everything out there on the floor.

Is it working? My body fat percentage is finally creeping downward again.  I'm down 1% in the past 2 weeks, which is very good for me.  My weight stayed the same (not surprisingly) at first but now is down about 2 lbs by my scale.  And he wants me food journaling, so I'm getting back to MFP, reluctantly.  But when I have to be accountable for what goes in my mouth, it makes it a little easier to stay on track.  So I am feeling positive about this.

Lucy and I are having a nice relaxing summer.  We've gotten to spend a lot of time together, and she is a lot of fun.  She will be 3 in September (!) and I'm aware that she is just at the age when her long-term memories will start to be formed.  So I'm trying to do the things with her that I loved about summer when I was a child.  This is mostly spending time outside, walking around, going to the park, playing in the back yard.  I work in the garden a lot.  She has fun playing in water and her sand box in our yard, and helping me with garden tasks.  We go to the pool, or to one of the public fountains that kids play in when it's hot outside.  We have yet to get to the beach since May, but hopefully sometime soon.  We go out walking and get ice cream.

I am still a bit (a lot) resentful that we can't go on vacation this year--we usually go to the coast at least, for a week in the summer.  I plan on next year being much calmer, no matter what, and we will go on a vacation.

Yesterday I started doing some small-batch canning.  I had a small crop of patio cucumbers that ripened at once, and decided to pickle them.  I've never made pickles before.  I made 4 pint jars of dill pickles, which have to wait at least a week before we can try them.  I used to can with my grandmother when I was at her farm in the summers.  I actually resented being the only girl and therefore having to be stuck inside canning while the boys played outside.  But I also loved the time with my grandmother in her cool concrete basement doing the steamy work of pressure-canning green beans.  And I learned to do something that still helps me today, while my brothers and cousins just got into various kinds of trouble together.

So, today I made some sweet and sour onions with half a bag of Walla Walla Sweet onions that I bought at Costco, and a batch of Vanilla Bean Apricot and Nectarine jam.  I canned 3 pints of the onions and 6 half pints of jam (the latter are cooling on the counter now).  It's very satisfying, especially hearing the jars "ping" as they successfully seal while cooling.

To walk me through this again, since it has been a long time since I've done any canning, I bought a copy of "Food In Jars" by Marissa McClellan from Amazon (I probably could have gotten all the info from her blog, Food In Jars, but I didn't know that, and the book is really lovely, definitely worth the purchase.)  This was a really great guide, because of the abundant beautiful photos, and also because my experience of canning in the past was always massive quantities of produce that has to be processed immediately, making it a very involved and time-consuming process.  Her book is all about "small batches" of canning, which is perfect for a home gardener with a modestly-sized backyard garden.  My grandparents had a 500-acre farm, with a kitchen garden the size of my entire backyard, and thus just the green bean crop alone produced probably ten 5-gallon buckets of green beans.  Marissa's way is more manageable.  I didn't buy a big water-bath canner (you know, the black ones with the white speckles you see at the stores), I just used my regular stock pot, and made a rack for the bottom by wiring 5 canning rings together.  I prefer not to have kitchen stuff that serves only one purpose and usually ends up being stored somewhere and only occasionally used, so I was very happy to be able to use something I had already.

I'm also excited that I don't have to plan a big excursion to go pick fruit somewhere to do a batch of jam.  I love to go pick berries, but I rarely have the time during the window that the berries are ready to be picked, and it's kind of pricey these days, and what do I do with Lucy while I pick berries? She wouldn't really be able to participate and at the stage she is at right now, she would just need to be managed.  Making small batches means that I can get the fruit I love at Costco, use what I can use before it goes bad (between my sleeve and the toddler tummy, we don't eat very much) and make a batch of something and can it.  Love!

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