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I needed to know what places had the best combination of our non-negotiable amenities (yes, gas heat/cooking is a non-negotiable), and I needed to start looking before everyone else did, to ensure we got the place we wanted at the price that best fit our budget.
So, I started looking at the end of July.
The place we ended up with wasn’t even on our short-list, surprisingly. I was on a general apartment search site scoping out one community, when, by chance, this one popped up. I hadn’t even considered it because I just knew it’d be out of our price range, but, for some reason…it wasn’t.
We toured the community and fell in love with it. It had the amenities we were looking for – gym, pool, business center, gas/heat cooking (non-negotiable, remember?) – and was in a location that was great for Andrew for getting to work. And, they gave us a 72-hour quote, which is like magic to the ears of a questioner like me! 72 hours to consider as much as possible, as opposed to every other complex which demanded an immediate answer. From day one of our interactions here, I felt safe and cared for and respected. Hot dog!
Of course, having made our decision in early August, that meant waiting FOUR MONTHS to move into our “dream home”. Which also meant, me fantasizing about what things would be like once we got settled.
The gym. That was the biggie.
For the last 7 years, before starting my new job this past June, I’d technically always had a gym that was within reach – we had one at work with open hours for employees. But I consistently failed to be consistent with going. Most of the time, it equated to a long day with draining hours at work, only to stay in the vicinity another 30 to 60 minutes to grind a little more; not fun. And so, given the choice, I wouldn’t.
“Not anymore,” I told myself whilst signing our new lease. “When we get to the new apartment, I’m going to start going to the gym first thing in the morning.”
And can you guess what happened?
Here’s the thing. Since we moved (we’ve been here just under a month), I’ve gone to the gym about every two days. And you know when I go? Between 4pm and 6pm. Essentially, the same time as the open hours for the gym at my old job.
As I dive into this new habit – that I’m totally okay with it, by the way – what I’m learning is that for right now, going to the gym at this time is perfect. Maybe I’m a bit of a rebel in not wanting to actually schedule it for a different time, or to push myself harder to get up in the morning and go. But I’ve found that, well, that’s when I want to go. I’m usually ready for a break from work, or just wrapping things up, depending on the day.
I’m enjoying it, and figuring out when the space is least crowded, so that there’s no wait for equipment, and so that I feel comfortable just…playing. There’s stuff there to use that I never really experimented with before, like one of those half-balance ball things, where you can sit on it and do crunches or yoga or pilates moves or whatever. And yeah, I spend about 80% of my time with that thing falling off of it, but the other 20% of the time I can keep on it, I’m proud of.
The point to all of this is, it’s not about, “Did you go to the gym first thing in the morning?” It’s, “Did you go to the gym?”
In the past, I’ve let myself get hung up on this sort of minutia. You know, if I didn’t go to the gym in the morning like I was “supposed to”, then it wasn’t worth even trying. Instead, I’ve been listening to when my body says, “Hey, let’s take a break and go move around and lift things. (And try to balance and ultimately fall off of things.)”
Maybe I’ll start hitting up the gym in the morning at some point, but for now, I’m going, and aiming for consistency with just the going-part.
Spinach & Parmesan Breakfast Cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 3 servings (2 per serving)
1/2 cup frozen spinach
6 slices deli ham*
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
One dash paprika
One dash chili powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs.
Once well mixed, whisk in the spinach, spices (except the paprika), and 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan.
Line a muffin tin with silicone or parchment paper liners - alas, greasing the pan does not work here. No liners, and you'll get egg stuck to your pan. Not fun.
Into each lined muffin cup, press one slice of ham, forming a little basket to pour your egg mixture into.
Once you've got all 6 of your little ham baskets going, measure about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture into each one.**
Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese evenly over the top of each filled cup.
Sprinkle each cup with a tiny dash of paprika (because it's tasty AND colorful; that's why!)
Bake for 30 minutes, until the egg is set, and the tops are a light golden brown.
*I like Applegate Farms brand of deli meats, but double check the ingredients on brands at your own grocery store. Your best bet is a deli meat whose ingredients contain only the meat itself, salt, sugar, spices, and possibly some water. No carrageenan or other fillers. After all, who wants to be eating fillers when you could be eating all meat?
**If you have any of the egg mixture leftover, and happen to have another slice of ham and a liner handy, looks like you've got 7 breakfast cups to enjoy! Hot dog!
Originally published December 20, 2016