January was full of lots of time off due to increasingly worse sciatica pain. It started the first week with pain the the back of my left thigh, went away for a week or so, and then came back with a full fledged lower back all the way down the left leg vengeance. :( Thankfully rest, alternating heat & ice, physical therapy and prayer has done wonders. While I am not pain free yet, I seem to be on my way with less pain each day and more mobility as well.
For my books goals, I additionally decided to set a goal of reading 100 books this year. This was inspired by Goodreads.com and I figured since I had read 73 books last year that 100 was a reasonable goal. So far, I have finished reading Brave New World (very disturbing, but also amazingly modern considering it was written so long ago), I am beginning book 4 of the Anne of Green Gables series, and have started slowly reading Vanity Fair through DailyLit.com.
Due to cooking much less because of pain when standing, I haven't been able to try as many new recipes as I would have liked. I had intended to try my hand at Indian food last weekend, but made due with pizza. I will try again once better though. :) I did try a new recipe called Green Chile Roll-ups at my Princess House party - it's quite simple, but was a big hit.
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped green chiles
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
4 whole wheat tortillas (6 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped red peppers
1/2 cup KRAFT Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese
MIX Neufchatel, chiles and cumin; spread onto tortillas. Top with remaining ingredients.
ROLL up tortillas tightly. Cut each crosswise into 5 slices.
I also created a new recipe based on something Josh's grandma had made for us once that I loved. Simply chicken, potato and carrot poached in chicken broth in the oven - but in my mind it was the most delicious thing ever! I've wanted to recreate it for a long time and finally decided to a few weeks ago. Both Josh & I loved it so much we had it twice in one week! I added a few ingredients and it is yummy!
Poached Chicken & Veggies in Garlic Lemon Broth
2 frozen chicken breasts
4 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
4 carrots, peeled & quartered
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 sticks salted butter, sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 can chicken broth
Dash of pepper
Preheat oven to 375
Pour lemon juice and chicken broth into a 13x9 baking dish. Add chopped garlic and stir around. Add chicken, flipping over once so that liquid gets on both sides. Add veggies. Place slices of butter all over veggies and chicken and then add fresh ground pepper. Place in oven and cook for 25 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and cook another 25 minutes. Flip chicken breasts again and check veggies to see if tender. If not done, cook another 20 minutes. Serve in pasta bowls with liquid over chicken and veggies – DELICIOUS!
This month I also continued a tradition of watching the film version of classic literature I've finished reading. I read Anna Karenina last year and finally watched the Russian version this weekend. It covered the main drama and conveniently cut out all the boring (to me) descriptions of farming, Russian politics, etc. I did this last year after reading Wuthering Heights and rewatching my favorite interpretation of that film starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche. Upon completing Vanity Fair I will likely watch the Reese Witherspoon version. This reminds me that I need to watch the Michelle Pfeiffer version of The Age of Innocence since I read that book last year as well.
I also decided to embark of a film studies class of sorts by watching some of the films that caught my eye from the Film Studies Reserve items in the library. In January I watched Lost in Translation (slow, but touching) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (weird and quirky but lovely - though it gave me super disturbing dreams).