I’ve don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions but for some reason this year I couldn’t stop making them, coming up with lofty goals for almost every aspect of my life. (I figure if I keep even a quarter of these resolutions, I’ll be a greatly improved individual.) Here are my 2012 food-related resolutions; at the end of the year I’ll revisit them and report on my successes and failures.
Less Food Waste
As you know, I started working on this goal late last year but it’s still always a challenge not to over-buy or let produce languish in the crisper drawer. I wanted to share this post on food waste from the National Resources Defense Council [hat tip: The Six O'Clock Scramble] and I continue to follow the Jolly Tomato’s tips on reducing waste. I’m also trying to “shop my pantry” more often, using up some of the less perishable food that tends to get forgotten until it’s too late.
More Homemade Food
This goal might surprise TLT readers since you know I love to cook and am not a fan of highly processed foods. But I’ve been inspired by a lot of you out there, especially Bri of Red, Round or Green, who take that extra step and make many of your own staples like cereals, breads and tortillas.
Thanks to the Meal Makeover Moms‘ latest cookbook, I’ve already replaced my old, store-bought frozen waffles (healthy but not so tasty) with homemade pumpkin waffles that contain whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal and wheat germ. I’ve been making huge batches and freezing them. Just this past week, inspired by a friend who makes divine granola, I made my own with great success (who knew it was so easy?) and I’m also going to try making my own flavored, instant oatmeal.
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to baking yeast breads, so I thought I might also invest in a bread machine to make tastier sandwich bread than I can buy in the store and my own weekly challah using at least some, if not all, whole wheat flour. So if you own a bread machine and have brand recommendations or buying tips for me, please share!
By the way, I’m going to do all this additional scratch cooking not to be super-crunchy or holier-than-thou, but because I’m finally waking up to the fact that making these foods myself means total control over the ingredients and flavor. (As my nine-year-old son would say, uh, DUH.)
Upping the Ante on Fruits and Vegetables
I already know the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables but recently I was thumbing through Whole Living (a Martha Stewart magazine) which, every January, provides recipes and resources for a one-month “cleanse.” I’m not following the diet plan but I was quite taken by the photographs of beautiful, entirely-plant-based meals, practically jumping off the page with vibrant color. I was reminded anew that there are infinite ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into our meals and I feel inspired to brighten up our plates even more this year.
To that end, you can see at the left two veggie-rich sides I made for our New Year’s Day dinner — a kale and Brussels sprout salad with lemon and pecorino cheese (really good — here’s the recipe) and a black-eyed pea salad (it’s a Southern tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck) with carrots and cherry tomatoes, served alongside BBQ chicken drumsticks for the rest of the family.
And that leads me to my last food resolution . . .
Taking Vegetarianism for a Spin
Back in 2010 I shared my musings on possibly adopting a totally meat-free diet (for myself, not my kids) and TLT readers responded with their thoughts and advice. I decided then to continue with my “just eat less meat” approach but for some reason (maybe it was that Whole Living photo spread!) I now want to explore vegetarianism a little more. So just for the month of January I’m going to go meatless — I’ll let you know what I think about it at the end of the month.
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So, what food resolutions did you make for 2012? Go on the public record with me and we can support each other throughout the year! :-)
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