Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Day’

New Year, New Foods

I’ve been mentally contemplating a “laundry list” of new foods I want to try to make in the new year. Why wait when you can jump right in on New Year’s Day?

Despite grafting myself in (via marriage) to the south, I have been slow to warm up to black-eyed peas. For the longest time, Pam’s black-eyed pea salad  was the only recipe I liked well enough to incorporate these humble legumes into a meal. But times and tastebuds change, and this year, Hoppin’ John (bottom right in the picture below) was on the New Year’s Day menu, along with dirty rice (small blue ramekin) and shrimp gumbo (in the Dutch oven and dark blue bowl on the left). Side note – I do love my Fiesta shallow bowls/deep plates…they come in so handy, whatever you call them.

IMG_5265Like most southerners, I’ve eaten my share of dirty rice and gumbo (and made a few attempts to make my own) over the years.

I’ve never been particularly thrilled with my own efforts, so I scrapped those old recipes and tried half-size versions of two new ones. Coastal Living’s Gumbo was easy and delicious; Prairie Woman’s Hoppin’ John was also a winner. Paula Deen’s dirty rice was a tad heavy on the chicken livers (which was my fault – the tub I bought didn’t indicate volume, so I guessed it was a pound, and I think it was larger than that), and even when I cut it in half, it made a HUGE batch. So for smaller families, I’d suggest cutting it to 25% and easing up on the chicken livers – maybe just a couple in there.

So what else is on my list of must-try-foods in 2014? I won’t spoil all the surprises, but here are a few that are warming up for their chance at bat:

Tavern thin pizza (I am homing in on a cold-rise pizza crust that will give me the texture I’m looking for)
Crusty artisan bread in my trusty cast-iron Dutch oven
Tuna pot pies
Poblano pepper-smothered steak

And I’m also going to try Reddit’s 52-weeks of cooking challenge.

What new food adventures are you ready to embark upon this year? Life really is too short to eat the same ‘ol, same ‘ol all the time (even though we have our favorite recipes just like everyone else.) And the worst thing that can happen with a new recipe is that it bombs – if it does, your next meal is only a few hours away. So I dare you to plunge in – look through a cookbook or recipe site – and find something new to cook …soon!

Happy cooking!

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Learning to love the old

We love (love, love) new. That new car smell – yum. New technology is as seductive as any mythological siren. New clothes are first off the hanger when we are looking for an outfit. We seek out new places to visit, new foods to try, new movies to see…we love new. Right?

fresh-start-new-yearAnd there’s something oh-so-beguiling about a new year. We buy a new calendar and all 12 months sprawl out in front of us. We like to think of January as a fresh start. A blank page waiting to be written. We clean our homes and vow to keep them that way. We resolve to clean our consciences and live better. Do better. BE better.

But no matter how much we all love the idea of a fresh start, the fact is we can’t trade ourselves in for a new model. We have to work with what we’ve got. We can clean and scrub, but we are going to continue to live in the same house, whether we’re talking figuratively or spiritually.  Realistically, New Year’s resolutions are really more about rearranging things…like priorities. Or maybe doing some renovations or remodeling – knocking out bad habits and replacing them with better, healthier ones.

So while we’re busy identifying what we want to change in our lives this year, let’s remember to love what is good and sound and make up the best parts of who we are. If we don’t love the old us, we’re not going to be happy with the new-and-improved us, either.

Happy new year,

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I am resolved….

main-calendarYep, it’s that time again.

Resolution time.

New year, new opportunity to renew commitments to myself.  Looking back over the past few years, I realize that my resolutions have focused mainly on self: lose weight, get more organized, spend more time in Bible study.  All are good, wholesome (and hard-to-keep) commitments, but ultimately, every resolve revolves around little ol’ me.  And the longer I live, the longer I realize it’s not about me.

Don’t get me wrong.

This year, I do plan to run, stretch and exercise.  A lot.

And study scripture and pour out my heart to God.  Every day.

And organize a lot more stuff.  Starting with my closet.

But more than that, I resolve to…

  • be a friendly face to more people I meet.  And to be a better friend to those I already count among casual acquaintances and close confidantes.
  • show my faith in action to others.  To live with more integrity. And show more of the grace and mercy I receive when I fail.
  • honor my family with more thoughtful menu choices.
  • honor God in more ways.  And let Him show me those ways.
  • look for opportunities to make our home the most pleasant place for family and friends to gather.  More frequently.
  • spend more time enjoying the company of those I love.  Because time is the one thing we can’t make for ourselves or save up for a rainy day.
  • and to look harder for the good, in those I meet and in whatever situation I find myself in.  Because whether you look for the good or the bad, you will find it.

I heard this quote recently during a sermon, and it seems a fitting way to sum up my resolutions.

“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”
–Jonathan Edwards, 1722

So what are you resolved to do this year?  Do share…it increases your odds of following through on them, you know!

Happy 2013,

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