Out with the old…

Good riddance, 2010.

I guess, to be generous, I could say that 2010 was a transition year. That it was difficult but rewarding, with obstacles and setbacks that were unforeseen yet overcome. But that would be a lie. 2010 F-ing SUCKED. Except for the one month we spent in South Africa during the World Cup, I wish 2010, especially the latter half, could be erased from my memory. Family illnesses, an unexpected emergency move, and the 1 1/2 year-long process of preparing for (and passing, thank gawd) my qualifying examinations for my PhD just sucked the joy right out of my life.

To celebrate the end of that craptastic year, I’m going to share with you two things. The first, photos from my overly-ambitious but still quite tasty Filipino Noche Buena dinner. It was way too much food, considering it was just me and the mister for dinner, and a whole lot of work, but I’m glad I tried my hand at making new-to-me Filipino dishes.

Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s Memories of Philippine Kitchens provided the templates for my chicken relleno (aka Filipino turducken) and the cassava bibingka, while The Filipino-American Kitchen Cookbook (not my favorite cookbook, as it’s too Americanized / wanna-be bougie for my taste, but ok in this case) provided me a recipe for lumpiang sariwa (fresh lumpia) and lumpia sauce. I rounded out the meal with a simple but delicious salted egg and tomato salad,  and of course lots of white rice. Some photos of the prep and final set-up:

the mister making fresh chorizo for our chicken relleno stuffing

our deboned chicken, ready for stuffing

fresh lumpia- man those crepes were a pain to make!

itlog ng pula salad - salty deliciousness!

sliced and ready to eat!

the full spread

There were a few hiccups along the way with this meal– nearly setting the oven on fire because I didn’t soak the banana leaves for the bibingka; losing valuable moisture from the chicken because of imperfect sewing; forgetting to make the grilled saging completely. But of all the mistakes and mishaps from 2010, these didn’t even matter.

Of all the things I left behind in 2010, the biggest has been the weight. Skeptical as I was at the time, in September I joined Weight Watchers, after a close of mine signed up, and so far I’ve lost fifteen pounds. This may not seem like much (and I often have to remind myself that it is something significant) but after the past decade of struggling with my weight, it’s a big step in a better direction. That’s less than half of what I would ideally lose before I’m at a healthy weight again, but I need to remind myself, it’s not about the scale but about how I feel. The change in my energy level, the feeling of not being “stuffed” into my jeans and t-shirts… that’s more important than hitting some perfect number on the scale.

While I’m not a believer in crash diets, cleanses, and all those latest fitness trends, I think that Weight Watchers has worked for me so far because it’s made me aware of exactly how much I had been eating on any given day. Even if I had been eating “healthy” for years– organic, lowfat, etc etc.– I couldn’t believe how much my little bites, snacks, and large portions had been adding up. It’s so obvious, but controlling portion size, eating breakfast daily, and upping the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I consume has really made a difference not only in how I look, but more importantly, how I feel. Crazy, right?

But even more than changing eating habits, I picked up something else in 2010 that probably saved my sanity in the midst of all the difficulties and challenges. Running. For the first time since high school, I got back into running in a serious way, unlike all my previous attempts, the last of which resulted in plantar’s fascitis and a clicking knee (they still bug me, ouch!). I started, and completed the Couch to 5K program, which I highly recommend to all first time and returning runners who want to run injury-free. Two weeks after I finished the program, I ran the Jingle Bell 5K benefiting the Arthritis Foundation with a group of friends, and finished in a respectable 35 minutes:


pre-race giddiness

crossing the finish line

I wouldn’t consider myself a good runner by any means, but it’s been rewarding to build my endurance and challenge myself to be stronger and healthier. Maybe I’m crazy, but I joined a training team in the hopes I’ll be able to run the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in June. It’s my 2011 goal–not resolution– to finish the half marathon in 2 1/2 hours. But to even be able to run that distance would be amazing enough!

So I guess after typing all that, that there was something positive to come out of 2010 after all. I’m still excited to be in a new decade and moving forward with my life in (hopefully) all positive ways. My hope is that 2011 will be full of delicious eats, exhilarating runs, and new adventures not only for me, but for all of you!

Farewell, 2010. TGI 2011!


Posted on January 3, 2011, in adventures in home cooking, health, running. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I can relate to the sentiments about 2010 – I went through a lot of transition/family crap and suffered through my preliminary writtens and orals too! Congrats on your other successes. I was just looking at Weight Watchers last night and wasn’t sure if I was ready to make that kind of commitment.

    And your noche buena looks incredible. I am in total awe, especially of the relleno manok. Best wishes for 2011!

  2. Hey, nice work all around! Sounds like we had a similar year of work frustration, amazing travel, and better health practices. Oh and I like the new blog look 🙂

  3. Steph- I didn’t know you were in a PhD program too! Do you do any work on food justice / Filipino stuff at all? We should talk!

  4. Happy New Year! I did a 1/2 marathon last year in 2:25, and you totally could too. I can share my training schedule with you, which worked really well for me.

    Can another one of your goals for 2011 be to come to Brooklyn and dine here with me? http://www.purpleyamnyc.com/

    It’s been way, way too long!

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