Feeling good

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good…

I can’t put my finger on why, but I feel good today.

In fact, it started last night. It’s like something clicked and I’m back to my regular old self. I got out of the office on time, pulled off a solid weight workout, and got to the bus stop in time to catch an express bus home.

Then in 10 minutes flat, I had Jamie Oliver’s “hit and run” chicken in the oven and started buzzing around preparing for the next day…fresh gym clothes in the bag, clothes for work laid out, lunch and snacks assembled in the fridge. I was on such a roll, I also had a batch of breakfast cookies ready to throw in the oven as soon as the chicken came out.

I devoured my chicken with a couple episodes of The Good Wife, then curled up in bed with a collection of short stories including a delightfully disturbing one written by a respected and talented colleague, and drifted off to sleep, thankfully not dreaming about said short story.

My lunch and snacks for tomorrow, assembled in one spot in the fridge for easy grabbing in the morning.
My lunch and snacks for tomorrow, assembled in one spot in the fridge for easy grabbing in the morning.

This morning when I woke, for the first time in a very long time, I felt like I’d really slept. All my domestic efficiency lately means it was a cinch to grab breakfast, lunch, snacks and coffee and get to the bus stop in plenty of time. And it struck me as I rode the elevator up to the office: I feel good.

Another workout trotting on the treadmill, another express bus home, another feed of that tasty chicken with The Good Wife, and prep is done for another work day.

This is the old Adèle returning. Out of the poor habits that had formed through the turmoil of the past few years. Back on my game, or at least getting there.

I’d say that’s a step towards the alignment I resolved to seek this year. Awesome.

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Save (and savour) with Jamie

downloadI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Jamie Oliver is a smart man. The world would be a better place if everyone listened to him.

He doesn’t pay me to say that. And I’m not a delusional fan. He’s just a smart guy who gets the problems with food today. And he’s trying to do something about it.

With me, he’s preaching to the choir. I already cook from scratch. I already have the skills to cook one thing tonight and use the leftovers for something else tomorrow. But it’s shocking how many people don’t.

It seems to me that time is key thing that prevents people from buying decent food and cooking it. Our society is barrelling along at breakneck pace to the point that most people rely on packaged crap that they can heat and serve quickly. Money factors in, too, but home cooking doesn’t have to break the bank.

So Jamie is coming out with cookbooks and campaigns that show people how to to cook good food fast and on a budget. He doesn’t spend much time preaching about healthy food (although when he does, he does it very convincingly like in this Ted Talk). He knows that media bombard us with that message to little effect, and that it mainly makes people feel guilty for their shortcomings.

No, he generally comes at it from a less preachy, more motivating angle. He tells us he’ll teach us to cook meals that are quick, easy, tasty, and make us feel like rock stars with family and friends. He aims to build confidence through skill and delicious outcomes. And after his Food Revolution in the US, he’s recently formed a partnership with Sobeys stores to help spread this message in Canada.

IMG_1510Smart guy. So I asked Santa for a copy his new cookbook, Save with Jamie. And Santa (aka my brother) delivered. When I flipped through the book on Christmas day, one of the first recipes I saw was sausage panzanella. I bookmarked the page immediately, and made it tonight.

Not only is Jamie smart, but he just might get me to like olives and capers. Both are in this recipe and they blended so well with the other flavours that I didn’t find them overpowering.

So thanks, Jamie. And in your own words, big love!

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2014

IMG_1508Well, hello 2014. Please forgive me if I size you up with a wary eye. I don’t really know you yet. Don’t know if I can trust you to be better than your predecessor.

I know what you’re thinking….somebody has issues. Ummm, yeah, you’re right. Last year was crap so this year, I’ve got to wade through some muck and get my head back into a better place.

Tis the season for resolutions, so here’s mine: to make 2014 a year of flexibility and alignment.

Let me explain. I was stretching my left hamstring at the gym yesterday afternoon (New Year’s Eve) and pulling my right hip back to be properly aligned for a good stretch. And that’s when it struck me that both physically and emotionally, I need to strive for more flexibility and alignment.

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I’m very tightly wound. I’ve got wonky hips and shoulders. I worry. I take on a lot. I don’t let enough go. I have high expectations of myself. I go go go.

But when I do manage to let go of the swirling to do list and the urge to crumple my shoulders forward under the weight of stress, and instead stand tall, release my clenched jaw, and breathe, things fall into place much better in my head and in my body.

Flexibility and alignment. They go hand in hand to make things better. So I’m seeking them out in as many ways as I can think of this year. I started today with a nice long walk on the trails near my home with the bright sun and bitter cold of a new year.

IMG_1504Wearing crazy but warm socks my brother gave me for Christmas and six upper layers (seriously), I set out to practice walking with contracted gluteus medius muscles which pull my knees and ankles into alignment, thereby relieving achilles tendonitis. (The knee bone really is connected to the hip bone, etc.)

What’s that, you say? Isn’t this a food blog? What’s all this about glutes? Well yes, there’s usually a food connection. And if you really need one, I can tell you that I came home to a steaming hot bowl of my late friend John’s apricot red lentil soup. But I hope you’ll grant me a little leeway now and then to share some observations through the year as I pursue my resolution.

Happy new year….I hope.

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