Update: 101 in 1001

On March 30, 2014, I launched my 101 in 1001 adventure. Over 1,001 days, I am attempting to cross 101 goals off my list. I haven’t made as much progress I would have thought almost 4 months later, but I’m still pretty proud of what I’ve been working towards. Lots to go, but lots done!

Start Date: March 30, 2014

End Date: December 25, 2016

The List

1. Finish a 101 in 1001 list.

Financial

2. Have three months of paychecks in savings

3. Buy a car, new or used

4. Save $5 for every goal completed (transferred to savings on the 30th of each month) – First deposit made June 2014

5. Go 2 months without buying anything at Target other than necessities (food, pharmacy okay. No skin care, clothes, accessories, movies, home decor, candles or magazines)

6. Skip Starbucks for a month

7. Read a financial advice book

8. Increase my 401k contribution

9. Don’t buy lunch out during the week for a month

Personal

10. Go to church every Sunday for a month

11. Mail a secret to Post Secret

12. Volunteer with the FFA or 4H

13. Fall in love

14. Buy a pair of Frye boots

15. Send 5 cards for no reason – Kelsey 6/11; Leslie 6/30

16. Make dinner for someone 5 times (Sunday dinner with Bekah doesn’t count)

17. Send a card to my grandparents

18. Take a friend out to dinner

19. Send flowers to a friend

20. Pick a quote to keep in mind every week for 2 months

21. Make a new friend

22. Call 4 friends just to chat – Erin 6/30

23. Find a new hobby

24. Go see a movie by myself

25. Own a Kate Spade purse

26. Spend one day without my phone or laptop

27. Learn to fold a fitted sheet

28. Blog my progress on this list at least 6 times – 7/21

29. Write a letter to myself to open when I finish the list

30. Tip someone 100% of the bill – Bulwinkel’s 6/14

Health

31. Give up soda (except for mixed drinks) for 3 months – Started 5/1/14; ends 7/31/14

32. See a chiropractor

33. Do a 6-week alcohol cleanse and see what happens

34. Keep a food journal every day for a month

35. Drink more water – Tracked with FitBit

36. Walk home from work everyday for a week

37. Go for a walk at lunch every day for two weeks

38. Try meditating once

Fitness

39. Be able to run 5 miles (doesn’t have to be without stopping)

40. Get down to my ideal body fat percentage

41. Take 2 new fitness classes – CycloCross 5/27

42. Post 2 fitness blogs

43. Go on 25 miles worth of walks in one month

44. Stretch every day for two weeks

45. Go to one yoga class a month for three months

46. Run 2 miles without stopping

47. Do a 5k that isn’t with my mom on Thanksgiving

48. Make it to all my TEAM Fitness Classes for a month – Stopped class

49. Go to the TEAM Saturday workout every Saturday for a month – Class cancelled 

50. Participate in a Color Run

Travel

51. Travel outside the country for the first time

52. Visit Ireland

53. Visit Chicago

54. Visit Nashville

55. Go on a road trip

56. Go to SLO to see Erin walk when she gets her Masters

57. Go to SLO to see Alan walk when he graduates

58. Go back to South Dakota and see the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore

59. Go on an unplanned weekend trip

Food

60. Make myself try some type of seafood (Salmon doesn’t count) – MahiMahi in Florida 4/14

61. Post 5 recipe blogs – Bruschetta Chicken 4/6/15

62. Eat at 5 new restaurants – Bar la Grassa 5/23/14; Tuggs River saloon 5/26

63. Try 5 new Pinterest recipes – Chicken and Kale Casserole 3/30; Broccoli Beef 5/1; Cashew Chicken 6/8; Garlic Mashed Cauliflower 7/21/14

64. Take a cooking class – NAMA Kitchen in the Market 5/14

65. Can something

66. Order desert first at a restaurant

67. Try a new ethnic food

68. Go cheese tasting

Smarts

69. Attend three professional development classes, workshops, conferences or seminars

70. Do one freelance project, and get paid for it

71. Blog once a week for a month

72. Read 3 professional development books

73. Mentor someone

74. Read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

75. Participate in #agchat 2 times

76. Participate in #foodchat 2 times

77. Comment on someone’s blog

78. Have a conversation with 3 strangers about agriculture – Cashier at Target 5/4; Hair dresser 7/15

Fun

79. Order a whiskey water when out

80. Watch an entire series on Netflix in one weekend

81. Watch all the Harry Potter movies in a single weekend

82. Watch every movie nominated for the 2015 Oscars

83. Have a spa day

84. Play sandlot style baseball

85. Go to a concert (Backstreet Boys in June doesn’t count) – Lady Gaga 5/20

86. Send a drink to a stranger at a bar

87. Buy an expensive article of clothing just because

88. Go paintballing

Minneapolis

89. Go to the Mill City Museum

90. Explore downtown St. Paul

91. Go to the Walker Art Center

92. Bike the Loring Greenway on a Nice Ride Bike

93. Go to the CC Club

94. Go to weekend brunch and then transition gracefully to an afternoon on a patio

95. Go to a Minnesota cabin

96. See a play at Theater in the Round

97. See the Macy’s Flower Show

98. Have a snowball fight

99. Visit Elizabeth in Alexandria – 7/12-7/13/14

100. Visit Duluth

101. Write nice things in chalk along the West River Road

Two Years.

Today marks my second year living in Minnesota. Yep, two years in the working world, living hallway across the country from my family. Two years of making new friends and adapting to city life. Two years dealing with weather extremes and its effect on my hair and skin. Two years without a car, learning bus etiquette and giving the stink eye to those who do not respect said bus etiquette. Two years that have gone both fast and slow. Two years that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Yes, I miss home. Terribly. I wish I had my family, the lack of weather and general comfort of it all. But when I decided to move to Minneapolis, and stay, it was to challenge myself and grow in my career and as a person. I didn’t know what a challenge I was in for (-40 windchills, anyone?), but every challenge thrown my way in Minnesota has helped shape by experience here into a positive one. I don’t know what the next two years hold, but I know I’m better prepared for it thanks to these last two years. Thanks, Minnesota!

Sunday Night Dinner: Bruschetta Chicken

Tonight’s edition of Sunday Night Dinner is Bruschetta Chicken. It’s a pretty perfect summer dish, and since it was 60 degrees in Minneapolis today, it seemed appropriate. Plus, it’s super easy to make! I threw some roasted vegetables on the plate as well, so all and all a pretty balanced meal.

First up is the bruschetta. It’s pretty simply. Garlic, basil, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss it all together and then set aside.

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Hey summer, nice to see you.

Before I started cooking the chicken, I popped some asparagus and broccoli, along with some red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon and olive oil, and some parmesan cheese for good measure, in the oven at 450 for about 15 minutes, to get them all nice and roasted.

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Tonight, I cooked the chicken in butter, since I was using olive oil in two other places, and it was a beautiful thing.

Butter

Butter

It was a pretty easy meal, and pretty delicious, if I do say so myself. Try it out next time you need a little summer on your dinner plate.

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Bruschetta Chicken

10 cherry tomatoes, diced

10 leaves basil, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 slices fresh mozzarella

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tbsp butter

Salt and pepper

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Melt 2tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat, add 2 chicken breasts. Cook until golden brown, 5-10 minutes per side. Slice chicken, place 4 slices mozzarella over each chicken breast and then top with about 3 tbsp of bruschetta.

 

Blue and Gold Pride

In the Spring of 2004, I was signing up for high school classes with my counselor. The normal classes were all there – geometry, English, Spanish, theater. When it came time to pick a science class, I told my counselor I wanted to take ag biology – I had heard being in an ag science class was a requirement to be in FFA, and I wanted to raise market animals for the county fair like I did in 4-H. My counselor proceeded to tell me that if I wanted to go to college, I should take regular biology. Not even knowing what I was fighting for, I told her I would get into college just fine in four years, and insisted on taking the ag science class. And thank God I did. Image

Getting myself involved in the National FFA Organization was the best decision I have made thus far in my life. It wasn’t just biology from an agricultural standpoint and raising calves for fair. Suddenly, I found myself in an organization dedicated at every level to my success in school and life. I had a team of ag teachers who dedicated their lives to helping students like me and thousands of others reach their full potential in whatever field we chose.

My freshman year, my ag biology teacher encouraged me to sign-up for the California State FFA Conference, which was a pivotal moment for me. Attending that conference truly opened my eyes to all the opportunities FFA could provide and how far the organization could take me. The next four years found me competing in public speaking contests at various levels, participating in career development events across the state, traveling across the country to meet with other FFA members and pushing myself to run for leadership positions, all of which helped me develop those crucial professional skills I use every day in my career.

Being in FFA helped me find my passion – sharing agriculture’s story with others. Despite what my high school counselor told me as a 14-year-old, I knew I was always going to go to college, but FFA helped me personally figure out what I would do in life. In fact, my journey to college would have been much more difficult without ag education – my FFA participation qualified me for scholarships that basically paid for my first year of college. It still makes me upset when I think about my counselor discouraging me from taking ag biology, and wonder how many students she did talk out of it, denying them the opportunity to get involved in such a positive organization.

If I had not participated in FFA, I have no idea where life would have taken me. I can’t imagine my time in high school without FFA, and can’t imagine what would happen if the Ag Incentive Grant is cut from the California state budget, threatening ag education programs throughout the state. FFA helps students find their passion and potential, from agricultural communications to welding. I constantly thank the National FFA Organization and my team of high school ag teachers for getting me to where I am today. I am one of millions of students the organization will affect over its time, but it have the same positive effect on every single one of us. So thank you, FFA. I owe you. Happy FFA Week!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Pinterest + crock pot = yummy yummy things. I’ve been pretty honest about my Pinterest successes and failures in the past, and tonight’s meal is definitely filed under the success category. I combined two recipes I found on Pinterest and combined them to work for me (originally recipes can be found here and here).

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in the crock pot. Yep, that easy.

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Step 2: Add the chicken breast to the mixture – just press it in to the base.

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Step 3: Cook for five and a half hours on low.

Step 4: Read a book or take a nap. Or both. I did.

Step 5: After five and a half hours, remove the chicken and shred with two forks, then add back in to the crock pot, mixing it in. This will help any excess liquid get absorbed, which is helpful if you’re planning on making tacos like I am.

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Meat!

Step 6: Let simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes. Then serve with 6-inch tortillas, or on it’s own, with a little Mexican cheese on top!

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Yep, pretty simple. And delicious.

Ingredients 

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast (about 3 breasts)

Juice of 2 limes

1 lb frozen corn

2 small onion, diced

1 cup salsa

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can black beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish

1 cup chicken broth

Mix all ingredients except chicken in the crockpot. Add in the whole chicken breasts, setting them on top and pressing into other ingredients. Cook on low for five and a half hours. Remove chicken from crock pot, shred and return to crock pot. Cook for another 30 minutes. Serve in tortillas or on their own, with cilantro and Mexican cheese. Serves 6.

Nutrition (does not include toppings or tortillas, as calculated by MyFitnessPal):

302 calories

36g carbohydrates

3g fat

33g protein

1,229mg sodium

9g sugar

Progress

While my California family and friends are suffering through the worst drought since the 1970s, I’m over here in Minnesota wishing I could send some snow and cooler temperatures their way — it would be beneficial for both parties. The Twin Cities has had a fair amount of snow, but it’s the cold that has caused schools to close 3 times (probably a 4 as of tomorrow) already this month. When the air temp hits -20, schools close… the more you know. I’ve got so used to those temps, that I’m not as concerned as I was during the height of the polar vortex about bussing to and from work. I just need to move quickly and I probably won’t die.

Thankfully though, there have been some 20 and 30 degree days peppered in throughout the month. These few and far between “warm” days have reminded me that I need to get out and play while I can. Last week, I went to the Hockey City Classic, which is 40,000 people standing in the U of Minnesota football stadium attempting to watch a hockey game occurring in the middle of the field. This week, I went snow tubing with my roommate and her 13-year-old brother and cousin. Now that was a blast. So much speed. So much laughter.

That surface was SLICK, which means I got to go my favorite speed: fast.

That surface was SLICK, which means I got to go my favorite speed: fast.

The Minnesota Winter Bucket List is really making progress!

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I may need to stay inside some days to avoid frostbite and hypothermia, but on the relatively warm days, it’s all about getting out and playing while we can!

Revisiting the Minnesota Winter Bucket List

It’s wintertime in Minnesota, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to revisit my Minnesota Winter Bucketlist.

When I called it for the winter in April 2013, this is what the original bucket list looked like:

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My roommate, Bekah, made it a personal goal of her own last year to help me achieve these life experiences. She alone helped me accomplish all the events I was able to checkoff last winter. And this year doesn’t appear to be any different.

In fact, the bucket list has grown, thanks to Bekah. She has added several new adventures to my Minnesota Winter Bucket List, including a makeup for my not legit snowman last year (no face or twigs. decapitated within 36 hours).

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I’m happy to report that I already have plans to skate on a pond and to go to the NCAA Hockey City Classic (an outdoor hockey game held in the TCF Bank Stadium). Sadly, an ice fishing trip still eludes me. But this winter should be another one for the record books!