I’m baaaack! Saying the last few days have been crazy-hectic would be an understatement, but I made it through my portion of SXSW and am (slowly) getting back into my regular routine. Today is really day 1 of working my way back to “normal.”
Being in the midst of the conference was completely invigorating. It made me want to go out and change the world, and my appreciation for Austin was totally revived. Basically, I never want to move. And, I ate 3D printed food. (Yep, that’s a thing. Technology is crazy.) My lapse from the regular day-to-day lasted an additional 2 days because of the unexpected passing of a friend, so there was a funeral to attend and a day full of quality time with my best friends from my home town (plus a little more than my fair share of cookies). Now, it’s back to the grind with work, cooking, and exercise.
I expressed my anxiety about being out of the swing of things in a post from last week, and it turns out it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Fitness and proper nutrition are extremely important to me, so I found ways to fit in healthy food AND boot camp while the craziness of the last week carried on. Sure, a few of my lunches consisted strictly of Quest bars, jerky, and fruit. Sure, I had a churro and some food from the convention center. Sure, I ate a lot of things that I normally wouldn’t at the funeral, but I didn’t stress about it. Instead, I made a conscious effort to walk everywhere and get home in time for a workout even if I was exhausted at the end of the day. After all was said and done, I ended up losing a pound. It all worked because I found ways to fit in what I’ve already acknowledged is important to me, and healthy eating + exercise works WONDERS for my stress levels which helped me keep my anxiety to a minimum. The moral of this story: if you plan ahead and put your mind to something, you will find a way to make things work (even when times are rough/hectic).
Lost Weight, Found Confidence
Overall, the conference made me realize something new about myself: I am so much more comfortable in my own skin than I was a year or two ago. It was FAR easier for me to strike up a conversation with a random person than I expected it to be (which came in handy because a HUGE part of SXSW is networking and meeting new people). Months ago, I would have been too nervous to walk up to someone who asked a great question after a session or thank a group of panelists for an interesting discussion. I did both of those things regularly throughout the last week. The old me wouldn’t have spoken up because she didn’t have the confidence to do so. Meeting new people used to be HARD, probably because I didn’t want to be judged by someone that I didn’t know. Somehow, none of that is a concern for me anymore. I made friends with complete strangers and met a ton of interesting people just from opening up a bit.
I honestly believe that all of this came so much more naturally now than it used to because of the huge confidence boost that stems from my transformation into a healthier, happier person. Seriously, people — getting in shape does as much good — if not more — for your insides (mentality) as it does for your external appearance and physical health. That fact has never been more clear to me than it was this weekend. Sure, I’ve lost a lot of weight and LOOK like a new person, but a picture or a number on the scale doesn’t really articulate the impact that all of this has had on my emotional well-being. I’m open, I’m willing to step outside of my comfort zone, I’m thinking much more clearly than ever before, and I don’t worry about being judged by other people like I used to. It’s liberating, to say the least, and it helped me make the most out of being at a conference with a bunch of strangers.
I’m Cooking 50+ Meals This Weekend.
Some more SXSW-inspired, “step out of your comfort zone”-esque, exciting news: I’ve decided to take a stab at cooking for more people than just Ryan and myself this weekend. I know most of us can think of more exciting ways to spend our free time than being holed up in the kitchen (like spending time with kids, shopping, etc. — you know, things that normal people enjoy doing), which leaves little to no time for meal prep. In my case, cooking is why I look forward to my weekends because it’s my passion. Sunday meal prep is my favorite part of the whole week. Why not spend more time doing what I love and provide more people with healthy meals?
The biggest excuse that I hear for not eating healthily is that it takes a LOT of time and effort. Valid point. People are busy with jobs, kids to take care of, and exercise; there isn’t a lot of time and energy to dedicate to cooking at the end of a long day. So, I want to solve that problem.
I extended an offer out to some of my boot camp family this week to see if anyone would be interested in having me custom-prep their meals based on how much food they should be eating each day for their age/body/activity level, and the response was impressive. Everyone picked which recipes they wanted me to cook for them to eat next week, and I’ll be planning, shopping, and cooking for 8 people this weekend. I AM SO PUMPED ABOUT IT. I waited to offer this until I had a broad selection of recipes (with nutritional details already calculated) posted up here on the blog, and I hit my goal number of recipes last week. Now that SXSW is over, I have the mental bandwidth to focus on this over the upcoming weekend. I seriously couldn’t be more thrilled. To those of you who signed up — thanks for taking a chance on me and participating in this little “pilot” of mine. I won’t let ya down! If you’re interested in having me cook for you in the future and live in the Austin area, feel free to get in touch with me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I already have a couple of people signed up for next week. :o)
Baked Crab Rangoons
Last week, I took a stab at the crab rangoons that I’ve been meaning to make for the last month or so. We had them as an appetizer before a main course of my Clean Chicken Pad Thai, and let me tell you guys — it was one hell of a meal. Of course, these don’t quite turn out as crispy-crunchy as the fried version, but if you serve it with some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Sweet Chili sauce and bake them long enough, you’ll be satisfied.
Nutritional Overview (per rangoon):
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 12 wonton wrappers
- 1 tbsp light sour cream
- 3 tbsp Neufchatel Cream Cheese (or light cream cheese)
- 4oz. lump crab meat
- 1.5 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp Sriracha Sauce
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 green onions, sliced thin
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (for dipping)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and press wonton wrappers into a muffin tin
- Mix all remaining ingredients in a medium bowl
- Drop ~1-2 tbsp in the center of each wonton wrapper, like so:
- Moisten your fingertips with water and fold the edges of each wrapper together (they don’t have to be pretty –trust me) to close them up
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve with chili sauce and soy sauce for dipping