Hi friends.

It has been quite some time since I sat down to post to this blog. I’ve missed it. But a hiatus was definitely necessary. I’ve spent the past three months frantically preparing application materials to graduate school programs and studying for the long-anticipated GRE. Boo. I’m pretty much done with all of that, and now I have much more room in my free time to devote to cooking, baking, and blogging. I’ve still been spending plenty of time in the kitchen, but I will admit that over these past few winter months, I haven’t been as dedicated to eating local and healthy food. A lot of pizza (home made, of course) , some take-out tacos, and grocery store produce have worked their way into our weekly meal plans. I’ve still made an effort to incorporate healthy food, but I definitely need to get back on track.

In the midst of studying and trying to balance work and play, I was able to take some time to read Mark Bittman’s “Food Matters.” It’s a book that he wrote about 2 years ago about how to eat “sanely” and sustainably. He talks mostly about how eating less meat will not only make you healthier (and slimmer), but will also reduce the impact of greenhouse gases on our environment. The book was a pretty easy read and included a bunch of recipes that help you to introduce more fruits and vegetables, and more importantly, whole grains into your diet. It got me thinking. I don’t eat too much meat as it is, but I definitely enjoy a beefy hamburger or some hot and spicy Italian sausage every now and then. Don’t even talk to me about pulled-pork sandwiches. I usually eat this type of food when I am out to dinner, but I’ve come to realize that I go out to dinner, in some form or another, almost every weekend. Which means I’m eating beef/sausage/pork at least once a week. Back in January I started keeping track of what types of meals I’m eating and it turns out that I’m eating meat at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. While I really enjoy eating it and even look forward to it, I am thinking that I should experiement with some changes to my diet.

I’m currently training to run a 10-mile race in May. By race I really mean just a run, I’m not competitive at all. In fact this will be the first organized run I’ve ever done. And until this point, I’ve never run more than 3 miles in a stretch. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been making a conscious effort to work out at least 3 times a week, but I want to do more than just exercise.

Next week is the start of Lent. I don’t consider myself very religious anymore, and even when I was, my religion never observed Lent. Technically. At least not the part where you have to give something up. Despite this, I usually tried to give things up for the 40-something days and in most cases I was very successful. During college I gave up both Coca-Cola and Gushers Fruit Snacks (this is why I gained so much weight at the time), and since then haven’t really had the need to crave either.  This year I’ve decided that I’m going to give up meat. I’m going to see what it’s like to go meat-free- even chicken and fish- for 46 days. I’m not planning on sticking to this diet after Easter, but I’m hoping that it will be a good way to challenge myself. I think it’s enough time to measure if there is any difference in the way my body feels, my state of mind, and the amount of energy that I have. I’m excited to see what types of limitations I face at the grocery store and out at a restaurant. I will of course be sharing most of my findings on here.

I’m also been doing some thinking about the way that I structure this blog. In the past I’ve constantly been taking pictures and sharing recipes for mostly everything I’ve cooked. I think I’ll be scaling back the amount of posting that I do, and only sharing the really special recipes. Not everyone needs to know how many times a month I make chocolate chip cookies or how often I eat pizza (which is a whole lot.)

Of course, CSA season is coming up and I’m pretty sure we’ve decided to stick with it again. Not having access to fresh and local produce all winter has been a major bummer. I am getting so excited for asparagus, berries, peaches and REAL apples that are not mealy and tasteless. Not to mention an abundance of leafy greens. Go veg!

So, to sum it all up: I’m back. I’m busier than ever. I am going meatless and running 15 miles a week. And I can’t even stand it how badly I want spring to be here. Keep checking back to see me make even bigger moves in the next few months.

In the meantime, I’m off to make some meatballs. Lent doesn’t start until Wednesday!