To-do: Get life in order

Good intentions are one thing. Following those intentions through to completion is a whole ‘nother beast.

And, lately, that seems to be the story of my life.

Even with the aid of post-it notes, to-do lists and mental scolding, I just can’t seem to keep everything straight.

Take for example, that I actually wasted time looking up a “life organizing checklist” on the Internet, instead of actually getting my life in order.

I just tell myself that if I keep setting goals, then I’ll eventually get something done.

On a totally different, yet remarkably similar note (chew on that one for a minute)

All through yesterday, last night and this morning, I was convinced I was going to make oatmeal for breakfast. I even went so far as to scoop the oatmeal from the jar, before deciding that I actually wanted cereal.

Consumed: Lightly sweetened shredded wheat cereal with unsweetened vanilla soy milk. Side of a sliced up banana and sunflower seed butter.

Although I love cereal (a little excessively at times), it just doesn’t fill me up. In anticipation of that, I offset the weak shredded wheat with the satiating fat of sunflower seed butter.

By noon, when not even a bike ride to campus and great elliptical session had stirred up by appetite, I could tell that the healthy fat had done its job.

Regardless, I didn’t want to push my luck, so I broke into lunch around 12:30.

Consumed: Nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, Kashi dark chocolate and cherry bar and a delicious apple. Complemented with a tall glass of water.

When I fall into the doldrums of school, my lunches are the first thing to get boring. With my mid-day meal placed right between classes, working out and time at the newspaper, it always has to be prepared in advance. Therefore, I often resort to easy, portable items that still make up a well-wounded meal.

For example, today I tried to hit on fresh fruit, carbohydrates, protein and dairy. It seems that mono-taste-atic (not a technical term) meals of simply one or two food groups just don’t leave me as full or satisfied.

Since I was remarkably organized enough to fit in my workout during the day, I had time to make a fresh batch of pretzels for my copy editing potluck.

Whole-Wheat Pretzel Bites

(This was made vegan based on Alton Brown’s original recipe.)


  • 1 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 package instant active yeast
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C smart balance buttery spread, melted (can substitute butter)
  • 2/3 C baking soda


  • Combine water, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to rest five minutes, or until frothy.
  • In the meantime, combine flours and melted butter.
  • After the five minutes have elapsed, add half of the flour mixture to the large bowl with the yeast mixture. Combine and then add the remaining flour mixture. Knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl.
  • Set aside and allow to rise for at least an hour.
  • Separate dough into eight more manageable sections. Flour cutting board and hands (Note: The dough will be sticky).
  • Fill deep pot with four or five inches of water. Add baking soda, bring to a boil and then lower heat when it begins bubbling.
  • In the meantime, roll out individual sections until each is about eight inches long. It may help to wet hands, if the dough seems to be breaking. Then, cut each individual strand into eight smaller “bites.”
  • Drop four or five bites at a time into the simmering water. Allow to soak for about 30 seconds, or until dough rises to top. Remove with a slotted spoon, allow to drain and position on a well-greased baking sheet.
  • Repeat the process until all the bites have been boiled. Liberally sprinkle all the bites with sea salt.
  • Bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

I actually liked these more with the added nuttiness of whole wheat-flour. I also appreciated that the bites were easier than the traditional knots, but didn’t sacrifice any taste.

As usual, multitasking was the name of the game this afternoon, as I spent time with Dan while whipping up my German-style storm in the kitchen. Don’t worry, he got to sample some of the fresh-from-the-oven pretzels…

Similar to most Tuesdays, this type of multitasking was particularly important, because I had to rush off to copy editing.

Although my copy chief had organized a potluck, I was pretty sure the selection wasn’t going to be the most nutritious. I mean, when it comes down to fresh fruit of the $1 bag of chips, it’s a no-brainer for broke college students.

Therefore, I packed up my own fresh, green salad.

Consumed: Romaine lettuce, couscous, low-fat shredded cheese, hummus, onions, sweet cherry peppers and baby bella mushrooms. Dressed with some balsamic vinaigrette.

Even though I didn’t want to rely on the sure-to-be greasy, sugary potluck selection, I did have the intention to snack on a bit. Moderation is key…

After surveying the options, I picked a handful of unpictured tortilla chips and a slice of my friend’s cake.

I also brought along my pretzels, and something tells me that they went over well…

Empty box = happy stomaches.

After a little feasting, I continued on with my multitasking.

And, about that, I intended to do some homework. But, somewhere between studying western civilizations and editing stories, my attention turned to blog surfing.

Oh well, my intentions were worth something, right?

Questions: Are you a list maker? What steps to you take to “stay on track.”


6 responses to “To-do: Get life in order

  • Joanne

    Emily, You are doing an amazing job keeping your life “in order”. I think I could learn a thing or two from you!

  • jacqueline soboti

    em, i love your honesty. sometimes i feel the same away. what helps me is exactly what you said.. DOING. when i feel myself falling into one of those tizzies where i am just avoiding doing, i give myself a small mental break (20 minutes) and then retackle the task at hand. In addition, I also allow myself to not do at least 2 things on the list (and accept that I am consciously choosing to save them for a later time, date etc). The reality of it is that we are human, and not everything will always get done. These little techniques work for me and i hope they work for you ๐Ÿ˜‰ happy wednesday!

  • Katelyn Johnson

    Oh man am I a list maker, as I sit here at my computer I have 3 lists on my desk and 4 on the floor.
    Hmmm, I guess I write everything I need to do (even the little things because checking them off feels good) and prioritize. What doesn’t get done I push to next days list and reprioritize. For getting it done I don’t know if I have a good strategy, I feel guilty if too many things go unchecked.

  • Megan

    Yumm I love that you made your own pretzels!! I bet they are way better than store-bought. And my lunches at school always get boring too.. usually a pb&b sandwich, greek yogurt, and a TLC bar! Very similar to what you had ๐Ÿ™‚

  • If life gives you lemons… «

    […] studying and repeat. Typically, I love sweets. However, when I want a salt fix, I usually opt for pretzels or […]

  • Win some, lose some «

    […] Fortunately, I did a half-batch of plain ol’, tried and true pretzels. […]

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