Goals for 2021 – The Final Report

Since 2020 was a dumpster fire and there was no end in sight, I decided to set modest goals for 2021, because really, how can anyone plan anything amidst an ever changing pandemic? And it was probably a good thing I did because there were enough simultaneous apocalypses, what with the heat domes and floods piled upon the never ending pandemic, I had enough to be stressed about without worrying about a bunch of goals. Anyway, as another terrible year has come to a close, let’s see how I did on the world’s easiest set of goals, shall we?

  1.  made 21 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before – and blogged about each of them.

As is my custom, I far exceeding my cooking goal. This year I made a total of 33 new things! I already blogged the first 18 new things I made this year back in August. After that I made:

  • peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal bars (19) (which I thought were too dry, but one of my hockey team mates loved [1] )
  • sweet and spicy onion marmalade (20) – delicious!
  • fridge pickles (21)- basically make a brine, through some cut up cucumbers in it and let it sit in the fridge for a while and viola, pickles!
  • brocoli orzo casserole (22) – I don’t appear to have saved the recipe for this one and don’t remember it being particularly outstanding. But I wrote it on my goal tracking spreadsheet and I took a photo of it, so I know I made it!
Brocoli orzo casserole
  • bagels (23) – In 2020, Dr. Dan started making bagels. And I thought “I should totally make some bagels!” And then somehow more than a year went by [2 ] and then I finally made some. And they were freaking delicious. And then I made some more and now I’m a person who makes bagels.
Bagels pre-formation
Here are the dough balls
Formed bagels
Next, you form the dough balls into a bagel shape
Bagel float test
The very important float test – you have to make sure the bagels float before you boil them. That tells you that the yeast have done their work.
Boiling bagels
Boiling the bagels
Baked bagels
After boiling, you bake them. This is the finished product of my first ever batch of bagels!

Partway through the year, I rediscovered an Ottolenghi cookbook that I won as a door prize at my work Christmas party in 2019, but had never actually made anything from. A friend of Scott’s was visiting and saw it on the shelf and said he had the same book and the recipes were sooo good. So I decided to give some of them a try and ending up making:

  • brunsli (24) – a twist on a traditional Swiss Christmas cookie, in that it included Chinese 5-spice (whereas traditionally it has just cinnamon and cloves). They’ve got almost a brownie like consistency. I didn’t love the Chinese 5-spice in it – a little too much star anise for my liking. But I think they’d be awesome just the traditional way.
  • roasted carrots with harissa and pomegranate (25) – I love me some root vegetables and this way of preparing them was delicious! I had to hunt around for harissa paste – I eventually found it at my favourite flour and spice shop, but it was a very small jar for $5. I think I need to find a store that specializes in North African food!
Roasted carrots with harissa
Here’s a batch I made without the pomegranate (as I didn’t have any). I made another batch later with pomegranate
  • shallow fried sumac potatoes (26) – Like harissa, sumac is a spice favoured by Ottolenghi, so a few of his recipes call for it. I also found it in my favourite flour and spice shop!
Shallow fried potatoes with sumac
  • chicken marabella (27) – this had Medjool dates (can you guess where I bought them?) and molasses and was delicious. Definitely going into the dinner rotation.
  • squash & lentils (28)
Squash & Lentils
  • preserved lemons (29)- Ottolenghi also loves preserved lemons and since I haven’t been able to find any in stores, I decided to make some! They take a while where they need to just chill in the fridge, so they won’t be ready until mid-January, but I’m very excited to try them out!
Preserved lemons

Christmas was a low-key affair [3 ], so Scott and I decided to make a beef wellington (30) for dinner. It was pretty delicious!

New Year’s Eve was also a low-key affair, but still made a few of new things:

  1. read 21 books – and blogged about each of them.

When I last blogged about this, I was at 16/21 books. And I did, in fact manage to reach 5 more books to reach my goal of 21. They were:

23 Tips on What Not to Say Or Do: Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples and Dispelling Common Myths about Indigenous Peoples, are both free ebooks by Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. Both of them were very interesting and informative and I highly recommend reading them!

Powerful Techniques for Teaching Adults by Stephn D. Brookfield was another good read. Since I teach adults and I’m always looking to up my game, I thought I’d check out this book. Took some notes even, but I won’t bore you with them here!

P.S. I Love You More Than Tuna by Sarah Chauncey was given to Scott by one of his customers after Crick died. It is a sweet little book about grieving a beloved cat.

And the last book I read this year was Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, which my book club decided to read for our January meeting. I’ll keep my comments on it for the book club!

  1. read at least of 7,500 pages, counting books, chapters, journal articles, reports and other long form writing (but not counting short things like news stories or tweets, because I honestly can’t be bothered to track those).

I missed this one – I kept a spreadsheet of all the pages of reports and journal articles that I read and I just added my total from the books I read (which I keep track of in GoodReads) and I read 6,040 pages [4 ] in 2021. That’s 81% – which is an A- if this were grades, so I’m OK with that. I think I’ll set the same amount as a goal for 2022 and see if I can reach it this time!

  1. done an average of 20 mins of mindfulness meditation per week.

This one I actually did a lot better than I thought I would. 2021 was a stressful and exhausting year, so I was motivated to do more mindfulness practice as a way of helping cope with *gestures around* everything. I used both the Headspace and Balance apps, as well as taking a Coursera mindfulness course, plus I did a few sessions that were offered at lunchtime at SFU (since I teach there, I was able to take part in these). When added up, I managed an average of 18 mins per week (90% of my goal). I’m pretty happy with that and will be looking to up that for 2022 – now that I’ve been doing it a bit more regularly, I definitely see benefits!

So there you have it, I achieve 2 of my 4 meagre goals for 2021, but did reasonably well on the other ones. Hooray, I guess?

I mean, I did survive 2021, the year of all the simultaneous apocalypses, so that’s really the biggest accomplishment.

  1. This may be due to the fact that she has a kid with a peanut allergy so she can’t have peanut butter in her house, but she could eat these away from home! []
  2. I blame pandemic time because time does not make sense in a pandemic. []
  3. Thanks, omicron! []
  4. I’ll note that I only counted actually pages read (so didn’t included pages that only had references lists, cover pages, tables of contents, or appendices (unless I read the appendices). Also, there were a bunch articles that I only skimmed, so I didn’t count any of those. []

Comments |3|

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  • Preserved lemons are so good!! We started making them a couple years ago. If you have tasty recipes that feature them I’m always looking for more… actually I think we have the same cookbook, clearly I need to read it.

    Casey started watching the Ottolenghi channel on YouTube recently, it has so many tasty recipes! If you end up liking the lemons I highly recommend making preserved limes next, also super delicious! We made our first batch a couple months ago. Yum!


    • The book I have is called Ottolenghi Simple. I’ll have to check out his YouTube channel! Once I try some of my receipes with preserved lemons, I’ll let you know any good ones. Let me know if you have any good recipes with preserved limes!


      • Haven’t tried any lime-specific recipes yet, we just sub them in for limes so far – e.g. we put them on our tacos yesterday (obviously delicious!). Will keep you posted if we try any recipes that feature them.


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