This post is one that has taken me a long time to write – not because I didn’t hit my goals – but because I really only enjoyed one of them. I thought I failed because my recipe wasn’t great and didn’t photograph well, and I felt guilty because I did not like the studio I tried – but then I realized something: this is the whole reason I set these goals.
Some months will have more joyous outcomes than others, but every month I’ll get out of my comfort zone, learn something, and try something new. I’m learning to cook (even if some meals are not photogenic or delicious), I’m reading books that will help me grow and develop, and I’m trying new workouts to push myself to work new muscle groups and try things that make me uncomfortable. With that being said, here’s what I was up to in February:
The Book: You Are a Badass
If you have not read this book yet I highly recommend looking into it. This self-help book woven with inspiring stories helps you reflect and look forward at how to channel your true inner badass and give you the confidence to be unapologetically yourself. It empowers you to dive deep to figure out why you are the way you are, how to accept what you cannot change about yourself, and how to change what you cannot accept.
While labeled as self-help, this book is not a preachy kumbaya style book that drills notions into your head. It’s the perfect ease into the genre for someone who’s never dug deep into a self-reflection.
I will give one warning, however. Towards the end of the book there are some chapters and sayings that did not resonate well with me and, depending on who you are, may be triggering. In a section about excuses, the way depression is described, in my opinion, is insensitive to those who battle depression daily. If you are in a severe battle with depression then I recommend holding off on this book until you feel you are truly in a positive mindset and feel like you have a handle on your emotions.
The Studio: The Barre Code (Michigan Ave)
This is honestly what really held me up on writing a post this month. I really do not like to leave a bad review of a gym (or restaurant or store) because I know the amount of work they take and how many people’s livelihoods it can impact. But really, I was disappointed with the Barre Code from start to finish.
I went to the Barre Code location on Michigan Ave. for a class after work. The class was called Interval Brawl and is described as “an intense class that combines cardio kickboxing sequences with strengthening work for the thighs and glutes.” As someone who boxes I thought this would be a fun variation from what I’m typically used to.
One thing I did like about the studio was that they have free lockers available with keys so that you can lock your things up while you take class. It was nice to feel like all my belongings were secure. That was the best thing about my experience.
The class itself was uncoordinated and rushed. The moves went very quickly with little explanation, and when you’re doing moves that involve kicks it’s very easy to make one wrong motion and hit your hip or knee. With the level of risk associated, I would expect the instructor to move through the room to make sure people were using proper form. Instead she just watched herself in the mirror and stood at the front of the room.
In addition to the uncoordinated movements, the floor is very slick. The rule for the studio is that you must wear socks, which, if you’re a first-timer and don’t know to wear/own grippey socks, makes everything slick. I almost slipped and twisted my ankle twice because my feet would slip on the floor. You’d think they would give more of a warning or give you the option to go sockless.
The Michigan Ave. location is the only one that says it has showers, which I thought would be great for if I wanted to go to a class before work – but from what I was told after my first class it is a shared single-stall shower with the building and not in a secure locker room. I wouldn’t want to bring all of my things (and my own towels and toiletries) to leave them out in a potentially unsecured location. Because of this, I cancelled the other class I was planning to take a few days later before work. For this reason, I can only review an interval brawl class and not a more traditional barre class.
As I mentioned, I do not like leaving poor reviews, but when I feel like safety could be at risk and a class might result in injury I cannot confidently recommend it. If you head to the Barre Code I recommend trying a traditional class first.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Fried Rice
This recipe was a simple, easy-to-throw-together and Whole30 friendly dish that, while tasty, didn’t photograph well and wasn’t the most impressive. In fact, I was able to throw it together with 4 ingredients.
My freezer always has a few “emergency” meals and ingredients in it just in case I need to make dinner on the fly and have an empty fridge, so I decided I would use them to whip something up. To make this fried rice I used my Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower rice, frozen mixed veggies, an egg and coconut aminos (I also love making this with Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce, but my gluten-free roommate wanted some this night, too).
I started by cooking the cauliflower rice and veggie mix (carrots, peas and corn) per the packaging instructions. Because they were frozen the pan gets very watery. I used a paper towel to help pick up some of the moisture.
If using fresh ingredients, I’d make a well in the rice and veggies to scramble my eggs, but because they were frozen I made my egg in a separate pan and transferred it over. I then seasoned everything with coconut aminos (though I highly recommend TJ’s Soyaki sauce if you’re not gluten-free or on Whole30) and threw it all in the bowl.
While the version I made was vegetarian, you could easily cook up some chicken, shrimp or beef to ass a little extra protein.
Have you ever used cauliflower rice as a substitute? What’s your favorite way to use it in recipes?