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goals for 2014 and beyond…

cilantro flowers | photo by Alyson Brown

I didn’t make resolutions this year.  each year, when I do, I feel like they are this constant weight over me.  but I’ve been thinking about things that I’d like to work on or accomplish this year, so I thought I’d share with you.

adopt a mostly* vegan diet.  at the start of the new year, Levi and I started a vegan diet as a sort of cleanse from excess dairy that we’d been consuming.  I’ve felt pretty good so far and it really hasn’t been too difficult since we already ate vegetarian and didn’t drink milk.  I’d say the hardest thing about eating vegan is baking without eggs.  {or not eating those delicious fried eggs for breakfast but don’t get me started.}  I’ve been able to modify a few recipes to exclude eggs and have had a few successes and a few major fails.  if you’re vegan, what do you do to modify your baking?  *I say mostly because I’m pretty sure I’ll add eggs back into my diet eventually.

get back into a work out routine.  I was going to yoga four times a week.  I was going to spinning twice a week.  then winter came and all was abandon in favor of hibernating.  but my legs are restless and I need it back.

be more frugal with money + start a real savings account.  this is a tough one for me.  I spend quickly.  like it’s burning a hole right there in my pocket.  one thing I spend a lot of money on is clothing or pieces of decor for my home.  in recent years, I’ve become more focused on quality vs. quantity and have made wiser choices on pieces for my wardrobe or home, but that also tends to mean I spend more money on them.  supporting quality handmade in the US goods is important but can be tough.  another thing I spend too much money on are trips to the coffee shop.  I started buying the chai tea blend from my favorite coffee shop in town and it’s cut back on my trips and spending there.  because you all know it’s hard to walk out of there with just your drink and no treat!  as for the savings account, well I’ve had one.  and it recently was turned into a regular checking account since I transferred so many times out of it.  but I keep thinking of how important it’ll be to have a little nest egg built up so I’m starting up again.

start a little garden.  every year I say I’ll do this and then for whatever reason, I don’t.  but this year I’ve got more motivation than ever to have fresh grown veggies at my doorstep.  tips?  I’d love to hear them.

take more photos with the camera not the iphone.  this is a tough one!  the phone is just SO easy.  it’s right there, in my back pocket, and I can whip it out and snap a photo on the go.  but most times I end up with those great moments on the iphone, when I could have the high quality ones with our really nice camera.

what are your goals for this year and beyond?  I’d love to know.

{photo by Unruly Things}

15 Responses to “goals for 2014 and beyond…”

  1. Ashly said:

    My goals for 2014 are very similar– especially to be more frugal. I want to spend less but live more which sounds contradicting at first but at the end of the day will do a whole lot of good. I also have a bad habit of buying ‘stuff’ for the home or my closet and while sometimes its necessary, most of the time its really not. I want to be more selective and pad that savings account! And not drain the savings account on a whim. Great post!

  2. Perri said:

    I always find resolutions really hard too! my boyfriend and I have come up with a ‘2014 Bucket List’ of things we want to achieve/do this year, we wrote it up on nice paper and framed it. we were really specific and talked about how we would achieve each thing – it’s kind of like a challenge and we are both super competitive! like you, the savings account is up there at number twoor something I think :)

    • alyson said:

      two runs is better than I’m managing!!! great work Astrid!

  3. Mia said:

    I’ve been vegan for 5 years, and I’m married to someone who’s been vegan for 20 years (!), and we absolutely adore the cookbooks and website of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I’m sure others have or will suggest her books to you because she is a vegan food superstar. Her books include Veganomicon, Vegan Brunch, and the most recent Isa Does It, a collection of simple weeknight dishes. Her website, ThePPK.com, has a lot of baked goods recipes that can provide good building blocks and points of reference for your baking. I also absolutely adore the book Vegetable Literacy, which isn’t vegan but has the most amazing vegetable preparation methods and dishes.

    If you are wanting to use your tried and true recipes and just substitute the eggs, you might try Egg Replacer. It’s a specific product found in the natural foods sections of many big grocers, and all health food stores. I use it occasionally, but generally I prefer vegan recipes that will just use a combination of baking soda, baking powder, and something wet as egg substitute.

    Hope this is helpful and good luck! Going vegan was a New Year’s Resolution of mine 5 years ago. The only one I’ve ever kept :)

  4. allison b-t said:

    though i eat beef, poultry and eggs on occasion, more often i eat vegetarian or vegan meals. recently though i’ve realized that my meat consumption is at an all time high! i have made it my goal to dial that back and try to eat veggie / vegan at least 80% of the time. my big issue with veganism though is that foods like eggs and honey are things i believe can be had without harming the animal so it’s hard for me to give them up- honey especially since i’m sugar-free and it’s the only natural sweetener i like and that doesn’t give me major blood-sugar spikes!

    as for shopping & spending i’ve also decided to adopt a ‘quality over quantity’ approach and will be moving forward this year by spending my monthly allowance only (no more shopping on credit!) to support local and independent designers. hopefully by sticking to a budget i’ll be able to meet my monthly savings goals from here on out too!

    • alyson said:

      you should see how badly some chickens are treated even just for the eggs. really sad!! and truly what motivates me not to purchase eggs from the super market but rather from small independent farms whom I trust how they’re keeping their hens. that is, if I add eggs back into my diet. :) honey is hard too. have you tried sucanat? I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a great sweetener alternative to sugar.

      • allison b-t said:

        oh yes on the eggs. i currently get eggs from my neighbor’s coop so i know they’re well treated as i can see them from my kitchen window! ;)
        as for sucanat, i haven’t tried it but given that it’s derived from cane sugar i don’t think it would work for me as honey so far is the only sweetener i’ve found that doesn’t spike my blood sugar. i also like the anti-allergy properties i derive from eating local, raw honey.

  5. Logan said:

    Hey Allison,
    I’ve been vegan for about four years now, and I wanted to discourage you from buying Isa’s books. I don’t mean to spit in the face of the other commenter, but it seems like you’re experimenting with veganism in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, and Isa’s recipes are really, really trashy. They rely on heavily processed meat and dairy substitutes, and I’ve also found that many of them don’t seem to be well tested. I think that her recipes are an okay transition for people who are used to processed foods, but I think you’ll probably find them to be a little icky for lack of a better word.

    I would, however, recommend purchasing a copy of Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” if you don’t already own it. It’s an incredible (seriously, it’s like at least 800 pages long) resource for both vegetarian and vegan recipes, and features a diverse range of sweet and savory recipes from many cultures. Every recipe that I’ve made from it is a winner. There’s a reason this book is a classic. I also really like the Skinny Bitch books even though I’m embarrassed to admit it.

    For baking, I can’t recommend Erin Mckenna’s Babycakes books highly enough. All of the recipes are GF vegan and free of refined sugar. The books (and the bakeries!) are very cute and kitschy, and I find her recipes to be much kinder to my waistline as well as the environment than Isa Chandra’s. In terms of egg substitutes, Erin uses homemade, unsweetened apple sauce or pear puree as well as flax seeds.

    I hope that’s helpful. Good luck!

    • alyson said:

      thanks so much for your comment, Logan! we don’t eat hardly any processed foods so that’s great to know. we eat the occasional tofu or tempeh but really stick to veggies and beans. I’ll check out the books by Erin McKenna. thanks!

  6. Sally Mae said:

    thank you for sharing these Alyson, (deep breath)…I cancelled my credit card! I sometimes feel like I’m in this “I want it all” phase right now. I want money, but desperately want to cut back at work. I’d love to travel more, but also want to have another baby. Cute clothes make me feel great, but half the time I just want to wear yoga pants anyway. ;) I’d love to redo my kitchen and numerous other updates in my house…when really, everything is fine just the way it is, ya know? Definitely reining in my budget & spending is at the top of my list so I can feel confident moving forward with my family! :)

  7. sarah said:

    I was just reading that chia seeds can be soaked and made into a good egg-replacer! I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I’m excited to; I’m actually allergic to eggs, it really sucks! Believe me when I say I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT MISSING FRIED EGGS. It’s been more than 25 years since I’ve been able to eat them and I *still* remember how good that runny yolk tasted with some cracked black pepper.

    As far as the garden goes, you’re lucky you guys are out in Bend – you’ve got that intense high desert sun and a better growing season than we do here in Seattle. I personally love the Renee’s Garden seed company; I feel like they have good instructions on their packets about when to start indoors vs. when to start outdoors. Did you know you can also look up the Farmer’s Almanac’s recommended planting dates online now – by zip code! Sunset Magazine is also a great resource for ideas; and their growing zones are really specific. I feel like that company makes solid, dependable recommendations about what will and won’t work in a region; check your local library for some of their books!

    Since this is your first year and you’re just getting started, I’d encourage you to start with easy-to-grow plants (peas and beans are great! Radishes are quite easy, too, as are carrots and beets and potatoes and tomatoes), so that you get to enjoy success. If you’ve got that red clay soil that I remember from family vacations in eastern Oregon, you’re going to want to work a lot of good compost at least 12 inches down into the ground where you want to plant to improve drainage and soil nutrients. Oh! And if you *do* find yourself at the local coffee house, keep your eyes peeled for bags of used coffee grounds – take that home and work it into your soil a few weeks (at least!) before planting, too; it will add a lot of nitrogen to your soil. Peas, in particular, are nitrogen pigs ;)

  8. jaime @laviejaime said:

    #2 is one i am in the midst of..january always brings the uptick in working out and eating better. I hope i last longer through the year.
    I am moving and hoping to make a little herb garden, so can relate to that one too!

    Declutter is a big one for me… i always hang on to things for nostalgic reasons or others and it’s time to clean out!

  9. Katy said:

    Good goals! For eggs substitutes I usually use a flax “egg” or applesauce. Hope that helps!