Task 1 *successful*

You know what a great way to celebrate the end of the first week of school is? Gnocchi and pesto!

I’ve gotten a rap around here for being adventurous with the kinds of food I’ll try making, but I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I am terrified of making gnocchi.

I think food science and even science in general is fascinating, so I usually have some understanding of what should be happening when I’m making something. In theory, I have a fuzzy idea of how gnocchi are made, but when I’ve tried to actually make them it seems like the whole thing is governed by some voodoo magic with no rhyme or rhythm, and I’ve ended up with globs of mushy-and-yet-somehow-still-crunchy potato.

So I’ve avoided attempting this potato-y goodness for some time now, but no more! I’d originally planned to try out a batch for my dinner on Thursday before unleashing it for the Friday meal, but this week’s communal meal was a bit different.

We had a few guests from Sacramento’s Midtown Friends, a Quaker congregation we’re loosely connected to. I admit, I kinda wanted to impress our artsy friends, so I went a little…overboard. Fresh baked bread, herb crackers, hand-chopped pesto (or “substitution pesto”; made with mozzarella and toasted almonds instead of parmesan and pinenuts, but it still tasted good!) as well as the gnocchi.

I had good intentions to get it all prepped Thursday night, but I was tired. After already having to discard fresh made cheese because I forgot to put the citric acid in early enough (and I don’t trust mozzarella that has formed a rind overnight…) I was a little more okay with the prospect of failure, so I bravely stepped out and finished making them Friday morning.

And you know what? They were freaking fantastic. I popped a few in my mouth after boiling, and man those were good! Not quite as excellent once they’d been refrigerated and re-heated for the meal, but not too shabby.

In fact, there was none left for a picture, and not even any pesto left either!

Good things happen when I venture a little out of my comfort zone….

Which reminds me! I am very much a list person. It’s partially because I love the feeling of getting to check things off and watch my list shrink, and partially because I’m very visual and seeing things written down on paper and being able to organize them there works much better than trying to keep it all in my head (and is less stressful when I know that I’m forgetting something).

So it may not come as any surprise that I’m a big fan of setting goals, and mine usually revolve around the school calendar. I’ve realized though that many of them were set up wrong, being either too specific (“sew more”; But what if I want to paint?) or far too vague (“get in shape” How? What would that look like every day?), or just waaaaay too many so that I end up frustrated and overwhelmed and give up in a couple of weeks.

So this time, I’m keeping it pretty simple. I automatically limited myself to five, which may sound like a lot, but I’ve been known to write up a list of twelve or fifteen, so this is a massive downgrade.

Continue Public Humiliation Diet, and have some form of physical activity for half an hour a day.

There’s no point messing with something that is already working, but I’m adding on the specifics for physical activity since it’s my biggest weakness and will probably help me break out of this plateau I’m in – I feel like I’ve been at 193 forever.

If the exercise is P90x, fantastic! But if it’s something else then that’s still great, because it’s better than nothing (which is what I tend to do if I don’t do my “official” workout).

Do something creative for at least 30 minutes everyday.

My days seem to go so much better when I have some sort of creative outlet, whether it’s musical, textile, or visual. I don’t have to do a painting a day or spend hours practicing the piano, but I need to do at least some everyday.

Upload and organize all notes/handouts/class-related information to Evernote.

I am really, really unorganized. I have horrendous handwriting. I all too often write notes in class and never look back on them. By forcing myself to type out/upload all of my school stuff, I not only have to read through it again, but have access to it pretty much everywhere and it’s much easier to work through typed text than my own writing.

Spend fifteen minutes a day cleaning and de-cluttering my room and the common area.

See above about the unorganized part. It always amazes me when I do finally pick everything up that it really didn’t take that long. If I put in just a little bit a day, with any luck it won’t get nearly as bad.

Once a week, do something that scares/challenges/stretches me.

That’s what this post is! This is the one I left purposefully vague so that I have a bit of wiggle room. I often feel like I stagnate during the semester, dropping everything that doesn’t revolve around school. That’s actually the running theme this time around; get my school crap in order and keep working on growing personally and working with my community.

I came up with this list last week, and the more I’ve thought about them, especially the last one, the whole prospect excites me so much that I already have the next two or three weeks planned out. There’s something great about both being able to think up things that I want or ought to do, but also know that I don’t have to take them on all at once.


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