Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Goals Recap

I had 5 goals for this summer. How did I do?

1. Work hard and efficiently at research.  This is why I'm here.  Subgoals:  Get the paper from my undergrad project submitted and through revisions (that depends a bit on collaborators and reviewers).   Get the paper for my current project finished by the time I go to a conference at the end of the summer (in France!)

The first half of this, I think I did alright on.  There were definitely some questionable days, but I'm overall pretty happy about how I did.

Subgoals: not met.  I mostly blame collaborators on the undergrad project, because they didn't get back to me for the entire summer until 3 days before I left for my conference.   For my current project, I'm getting close, and since I have to turn a write-up into my department next Friday, I'm pushing to finish the actual paper by then and just turn it in to the department as well.

2. Get my NY residency squared away and transfer all my mail, etc, up here.  I'm no longer a dependent on my parents for tax purposes, so I'm ready to transition away from MD being my primary residence.

Yeah, didn't happen.

3. Get my savings in order.  I set aside some money throughout this year, but didn't do anything with it besides stick it in the bank.  I have a mutual fund that is wanting for contributions, and I want to open a retirement account.  Subgoals: talk to HR since they sent me a letter about retirement plans, and research said plans.

Accomplished.  I opened a Roth IRA, and had a phone conversation with a Vanguard rep who talked over some of their offerings with me.  For the most part, it wasn't anything I hadn't seen on the internet, but it was nice to actually talk with someone and hear things laid out for me specifically.   I haven't contributed to my mutual fund, but I'm not sure whether I will, since it's not tax-deferred. 

4.  Sort some personal stuff out that's currently keeping me from dating anyone, and some other stuff that's screwing up my relationship with my parents.  These might be the same stuff; I'm not yet sure.

Sort of.  I've identified some of the issues with my parents, and I'm working on strategies for improving that relationship.  Related to dating...well, I'm making progress.  I think I'm nowhere close to getting everything sorted, but I'm starting to be ok with going forward and continuing to work on myself, rather than stall.  That could be good or bad, we'll see.

5. Eat or preserve everything in my CSA share each week.

Not perfect.  Maybe 1/3 of the weeks something's gone bad before I could eat it, but it's gone pretty well aside from that.   I've done very little preserving, but that will be changing in the fall since I plan on freezing a lot of things.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

CSA Week Something: Classes have started, but I made good pasta sauce

Argh.  Radio silence was due to vacation combined with a conference in Europe, and then having less than 24 hours between landing and my first class.  And tomorrow I start teaching!

This week, we got:
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes (1 large, 3 medium, 5 purple-y and 5 yellow plum ones)
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini/Summer Squash
  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Bell Peppers
  • (Chili Peppers) traded for a bell pepper and another squash
  • Edamame
  • Potatoes
 I did some major cooking last week, which made me happy.  A friend left the city semi-indefinitely and we decided to have a small get-together at my apartment, so I made lettuce soup and chicken, and she brought some food as well.  My share partner Chris took the cucumber, squash, basil, arugula, and potatoes.

After Tuesday, I made a couple big batches of food from Grandma's recipe book :)  First up was corn pudding - I boiled the corn on Wednesday, ate one ear, and sliced the kernels off the rest.  On Thursday night, I mixed the fresh corn with a can of creamed corn and made a half-size batch of corn pudding.

Also on Thursday, I made my Grandma's pasta sauce recipe.  My mom sent it to me last week, and I realized I'd gone hunting the internet and came back with a crappy sauce recipe, when I have a "Grandma's Recipe Book" sitting on my shelf from last Christmas, filled with trusted recipes.   So a much simpler recipe and 4 hours later, there's a lovely dish of pasta sauce in my freezer, ready for lasagna this winter.

I ate the tomatoes that didn't go into the sauce (the 10 smaller ones) with mozzarella cheese, basil from the plant I got from the CSA months ago, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  So tasty, and so easy.

Finally, I started my freezer prep for the winter.  Or, well, I guess I started that before I left for vacation, but I'm now doing it consciously.  I LOVE bell peppers, and last year I learned to love chili, along with other dishes that need onions and peppers once they're gone from (or questionable at) the farmer's market.  So I freeze them.   I've got a couple containers of chopped bell peppers, and one of chopped onions, for chili and similar things.  This year I also decided to try freezing some thin strips of onions and peppers for stir-fries and omlettes, so I've got a container of those as well.  I could easily fill our entire freezer, but I think my roommates would not appreciate that.  I think the department freezer has some space, though....hmmm ;)