A Celebration, a Goal, and a Gift For You

As I sat down to write this post, I realized that it has been exactly two years since I first started this blog.  Two years.  I can’t really believe I’ve stuck with it for that long.  I’m notorious for starting things and then giving them up before I’ve gotten very far.

Speaking of sticking with things (or not), I have a confession to make.  I started 2011 with a goal to eat healthier and to exercise more.  In January of 2011, I was about 10 lbs. heavier than I wanted to be. I blamed it on “baby weight” that I’d never lost (the “baby” was a year old at that time).  I thought if I introduced more whole foods, cut back on the meat and dairy, and introduced some moderate exercise I would easily drop that 10 lbs. in no time.

Now we’re in January of 2012


and instead of having lost that extra 10 lbs. I’ve put on 20 more.  There, I said it.  I’m 30 lbs. overweight, and I hate it.  I guess those 2011 goals didn’t really work out so well.

This year, I’m bound and determined to stick with it.  I know – everyone is setting goals and making resolutions right now.  It’s the thing to do. My most popular posts over the last few days have had to do with kale and greens and whole grains.  People are looking to eat better and get healthy in the new year.

I’m doing a couple of things to help me along on my goals.  First, I joined the Couch to 5k training program.  I’ve never been a runner.  In fact, I’ve kind of always hated running.  In high school I would do whatever was necessary to avoid running in PE.  I’m now almost done with week two of the nine week training program, and I can honestly say that I still hate running.  BUT, I’m sticking with it.  I suck at it, but I’m doing it.  And I can tell I’m getting better at it, in teeny-tiny minute increments.  So that’s something.

The second thing I’m doing is partnering with my local Harry’s Farmers Market to give my pantry a healthy makeover.  Whole Foods, in their Whole Story blog, issued a $50 pantry makeover challenge.  Their claim is that you can buy a list of pantry staples at Whole Foods (which I realize some people refer to as “whole paycheck”) for about $50.  The items on the list are:

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb quinoa
  • 2 lbs brown rice
  • 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 lb orechiette pasta
  • 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almondmilk
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna
  • 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

Whole Foods is running a contest through the end of January to give away five grand-prize packages of a year’s worth of pantry staples and a pantry makeover.  They’re also giving away 31 pantry stock-ups valued at $50 each.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the post on the blog.

Harry’s contacted me to see if I wanted to participate in the challenge.  They offered to either provide me with a $50 gift card that I could personally use for the challenge, or that I could give away to one of my readers.  I decided to take the challenge on my own, just to see if I could really buy everything on the list for around $50, and to save the gift card for one of you.

Today I went to Harry’s armed with my list and a few coupons that I’d printed off of their website.  My shopping trip took a little over an hour (mostly because I had a hard time finding canned-tuna and sundried tomatoes), but in the end I wound up spending less than $45 for the items on the list.

I had four coupons for $1 off various items, and I got two $.10 bag credits.  Even if I hadn’t had the coupons and the bags, my total would have been right around $50.  I did make a couple of substitutions: I got two cartons of almond milk instead of one almond and one soy (I don’t do soy milk), and I purchased two 28-oz. cans of tomatoes instead of three 15-oz. cans. I also accidentally got an extra bag of rice that added $1.99 to my total.

That’s a lot of food.  I’m not sure it will last us the whole month, but we’ll certainly try.  I plan to keep you all updated on our progress here on the blog, and to include recipes for things that we make with these ingredients.  I figure that all of these pantry staples paired with the produce I get from the Rockin’ S Farms CSA I recently joined and the meat I get from Riverview Farms should get us pretty far.

For lunch today, I made this recipe for Tuscan Tuna Salad from the Whole Foods website.  I served mine on a bed of mixed greens that I got in this week’s CSA bag (spicy mustard greens were a very nice addition) with some whole-grain crackers on the side.  I highly recommend it.

For dinner, I chose this recipe for Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sundried Tomatoes and White Beans.  I subbed broccoli from our garden for the broccoli rabe, but otherwise I followed the recipe to the letter.  Even my kids liked it.  My husband and I ate ours with a mixed-green salad on the side and there was plenty left over for lunch tomorrow. The key (in my opinion) is adding the water from the reconstituted tomatoes along with the pasta water at the end.  So good.

Okay, here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for.  Because the blog is two, because I’m determined to stick with my goals this year, and mostly just because I appreciate you all so much, I’m teaming up with Harry’s Farmers Market to give one of you a $50 Whole Foods Gift card that you can use to make over your own pantry (the gift card can be used at any Whole Foods store).  Here’s how you can enter to win:

Tell me in the comments what your New Years resolution was this year.  Are you going to stick to a budget for the first time ever? Are you going to get a pedicure every two weeks? Is your goal to read the Harry Potter series from start to finish before 2013?  Whatever the goal, let me know and you’ll be entered to win.

You can also tweet the following: I want to win a $50 Whole Foods Gift card from @HFM_Alpharetta and @lifeinrecipes: http://bit.ly/AsEio7.

Do either of those things between now and 12:00 PM Eastern time on January 30, 2012 and you’ll be entered to win.  Do both to be entered twice.  Limited to two entries (one here, one on twitter) per person, please.  I’ll announce a winner on January 31.


35 thoughts on “A Celebration, a Goal, and a Gift For You

  1. First of all – you can do it! I lost 100lbs, and every holiday season, a bit creeps back on, and one of my resolutions is to lose those 10 or so lbs again. This year, I have an extra resolution: I will find myself my next job (since I’ll be done where I am in early fall, most likely) and move – and the resolution part is that I will move back home to Europe. Here’s to it working out!

  2. Last year, my resolution was to move up at work. Three promotions in a year is unheard of in my company, but somehow, I managed it. It came at a great cost. By the end of the year, I was so rundown that I ended up with a cold progressing to pneumonia within days.
    For 2012, my mantra is, take care of me first. I need to lose all of the stress weight I allowed to creep up in 2011. I need to do something active every day. I need to not eat so frequently and make smart choices when I do. I need to sleep, every night. (Seriously?!? I need a resolution to do that? Yeah, it’s that bad.) So in short, in 2012 I will take care of me, so I can enjoy the success for which I have worked so hard!

    1. Hey Brit:

      I’m with you on the sleeping part. I don’t think I’ve had a real night’s sleep (that wasn’t helped along by something) since I was a child. I’m hoping the exercise will help with that.

      Congratulations on the success at work, but take care of yourself. It’s no fun if you can’t enjoy it!

  3. I agree, you can do it! I know you well enough to know that just puting it down in writing will make you keep your goal and resolutions- you’re a rockstar!
    I am not a “resolution” girl but I did this year and I’m sharing with you, friend. I am going to hit the gym at least once a week. Not a lofty goal but with a newborn…attainable. Also, I’m going to work on my sewing for at least an hour a week. It’s a skill I’m developing and want to improve and am SO enjoying it!
    One of my bigger goals this year is to know what I’m eating. This rides along with your challenge and post. Breastfeeding my little girl has heightened my awareness of what goes into my body and I’m resolving to know what I’m feeding myself and those I love around me.
    Lastly, I resolve to let it go. We all have those things that eat us alive and I’ve had one going on two years now and I’m going to let it go.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Jenn:

      I love that you’re learning to sew! I wish I had the patience for it.

      I’ve had to let some things go over the past year, too. It’s hard, but I think it’s for the best. I can’t let other people’s issues consume me. I just pray (for your sake and mine) that they realize what they’re missing.

      Happy New Year, friend!

  4. Kudos to you for putting it all out there. I know you can do it! As usual, I have lots of things I want to do but can’t decide what my official resolutions are. I’d like to grow as a writer, be a more patient mother, exercise more, eat better and make some money. Money would be nice! 😉

  5. Oh, what am I doing this year? My main resolution is to firmly stick to Dave Ramsey – January is already budgeted and cash is in envelopes. IF I get the job I interviewed for last night – we will be completely debt free by December 2012. So my goal for 2012 is financial stability.

    One year of seriously cutting corners and tightening the belt, and we will change our family forever! 🙂

  6. I didn’t really make resolutions this year but I really want to make bread more often at home. I love homemade bread and drive ridiculously long distances to get some. I need to just learn to do it consistently myself.

    1. Emily:

      That was one thing I resolved to do in 2011 that I actually stuck with. I make all of our bread at home using freshly ground wheat. I highly recommend it – it really does make a difference.

      Happy New Year!

  7. Love this! My goal is to be happy, calm and patient – to follow my heart and find a new job with a company that is supportive, communicative and loves it’s people! And, my goal is to be as healthy as I can be – to strengthen my body, eat green and clean 🙂

  8. My resolution is to take more time for myself, specifically to read more. I have a toddler and work 3 days/ week, so between that and laundry, cleaning, etc, that has been a challenge for me. I haven’t read a book in over a year, but I have a couple of books, and I am into the third chapter of one of them.

  9. Well, this year I actually resolved not to make resolutions. But I can tell you that I am also 30lbs overweight. It’s really hard. I know I need to eat less and exercise more, but it’s so much easier said than done. I’m sure the Whole Foods card will help!

  10. I just started running again and hope to keep it up in the new year! It really does make me feel better so I hope I can stay motivated. Thanks for a chance!!!

  11. So excited for your 5K! When is it? Do you need any cheerleaders? Pacers? Pacers that also cheer for you directly in your ear while you run?

    My resolution is to vacuum more.

    I’m not kidding.

  12. After meeting my 2011 year-end goal of running a 5K in 30 minutes, my goal for 2012 is to run a 10K in 60 minutes. We got a new treadmill at the end of last year, so no excuses not to be on there working it.

  13. To get in better health condition by eating more fiber and drinking more liquids along with watching the trans fats intake which I plan to stick to as I try

  14. I really enjoyed reading your blog this morning! You make Whole Foods not seem as intimidating as it seems to me sometimes. We love to eat healthy, but it always seems to cost more money, so I love the challenge they created. My resolution this year is to just be myself more, don’t worry about what others think and follow the Lord when we feel His prompting. And oh yeah, I need to exercise more, which in my world means at least 3 “Just Dance” songs on the wii a day…ha! 🙂 SY

  15. I know you can do it. I lost 20 pounds last year. Sad to say I put it back on between September and December. That is why my New Years resolution is to reduce stress. I am an emotional eater, and when things go bad I turn to food. I need to either reduce stress or learn to deal with it in a positive way. Someone suggested making myself earn that cookie, by making myself do something first, for example 5 pushups, that way I may decide I don’t want the cookie that bad.
    I also hate running. I found what has worked for me in the past it to find something I like, that it makes it easier to stick with it. Last spring we all got new bikes, that way the whole family can get some exercise together. Good luck!

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