A Month of Freezer Cooking

Freezer cooked food in jars

My first batch of food. From left to right, the foods are: granola, cabbage salad, mushroom soup, fish scampi, moroccan stew

Preparing food isn’t one of my favorite activities.

So to reduce the amount of time I spend cooking, I decided to try cooking large batches of food in advance and freezing it.

I did this for the month of April by preparing food once a week at most, and freezing a lot of what I prepared.

I loved not having to think about what to eat or spending time preparing food on the other days.

I cheated

Just a little. [Read more...]

A Month of Dictating Instead of Typing (using Dragon)

I’m not typing this.

I’m dictating it using software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

I started using Dragon at the beginning of March, and my plan was to dictate absolutely everything for the month and type nothing, if I could. Although dictating everything may have been possible, I discovered quickly that that’s not the most effective way to use Dragon. More on that soon.

Cool Stuff About Dragon

  • It’s faster than typing, so it saves time while also giving my fingers a break. I type fast, but not as fast as I talk. Dragon lets me enter text into my computer as fast as I can talk.
  • It’s as accurate as (maybe more accurate than) typing. Dragon does make mistakes, but I also make mistakes when I’m typing.
  • It learns! It learns not only to recognize the way that I talk, but it also learns non-dictionary words that I use. For example, for work I often use phrases like “Time Doctor”, and and Dragon has learned to start both words with uppercase letters and spell out the word “Doctor” instead of using “Dr.”

How I use Dragon

I’ve found the most efficient way to use Dragon to be: [Read more...]

A Month of a Morning Routine

For February I decided to start every morning with a standard routine. The idea was that if I started the day on the right foot (rather than by grabbing my phone and checking my email) I’d be more likely to spend the rest of the day on the right feet also.  Long story short: it worked. I found that the morning routine helped me to have a more clear mind and to be more effective throughout the day.

Care to see the morning routine that I came up with, and am still doing most mornings?  Here what it is currently (with a couple steps left out): [Read more...]

A Month of Growing Food

Rows of Seedlings on Jan 10

My plants on Jan 10. From left to right, the rows are: Quinoa (except the farthest plant which is Kale), Kale, Broccoli, Garlic, Chia, Lentils, Tomatoes. I planted the Quinoa and Kale on Jan 3, and the rest on Jan 5

In January I decided to try growing some food in my apartment. I thought it would be fun, healthy, and better for the environment than buying food at the store.  It turned out to be fun (although far more work than I’d expected), healthy (but expensive), and not nearly as environmentally friendly as I’d hoped.  Let me share some more photos and then I’ll explain a bit more about the environmental piece.

Jan 15 Sprout Tray

A tray of sprouts on Jan 15. That tall stuff on the left is wheat grass. Wheat grass was the king of the sprouts.  I didn’t continue with sprouts because they were small, boring, and didn’t taste great.

[Read more...]

A Month of Philanthropy

Charity wordsIn December I decided to donate to charity for the first time.   I won’t explain here what charities I donated to or how much… I’ll just say that I mostly chose causes that I care about and think are important.

I’ll also explain a few interesting concepts that I learned while educating myself on how to donate effectively (these are all explained in the videos listed at the bottom of this blog post). Here are the concepts:

The percentage of your donation that goes to the cause isn’t important; what matters is the results generated by your donation

Peter Singer uses the example of helping blind people.  If you wanted to help blind people one thing you could do is donate money to organizations that train guide dogs. In America it apparently costs about $40,000 to fully train a guide dog and to train the blind person to work with the dog.  And it costs $20-$50 to cure a blind person in a developing country if they have trachoma.  So if you have $40,000 to donate, you could either train one guide dog, or you could actually cure over 1,000 people of their blindness.  I think it’s clear what the most effective use of the $40,000 would be.

Even if the guide dog organization put 90% of your donation towards training the dog and the blind person and used only 10% for their own overhead, whereas the organization that cured trachoma put only 10% of your donation towards the cause and used 90% for their own overhead… your donation would still generate far greater results in the hands of the trachoma-cure organization.

[Read more...]