December 30, 2011

Culinary Resolutions for the New Year

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So, I have never really been one for New Years resolutions... something about them just isn't enough of an encourager for anything major unless it's something small like plan a special date night. I think if you want to make a change, today is the day to do it... not waiting till the New Years and putting a time stamp down because that is when I feel un-successful stories stem from. I want to always be healthy and eating healthy, not just start when the New Year comes and stop because I pushed to hard and failed... that's not success. But that's not here nor there.

However, with not making resolutions, I saw featured on a massively popular blog that people actually set culinary resolutions and I thought this was a fabulous idea. Being that I started my blog a year ago (just coincidentally after the New Year) and seeing where I am today with it, I think that culinary resolutions would help me to set some good goals, and then check in on them over the year. Similar to Julia and Julia as she works her way through Julia 
Child's french cookbook making it a goal of her's to cook each and every dish in her the book. Either way, goals are goals and they are good to have.

So here are a few things I would really like to focus on over the next year to better my blog, and better myself.
Earth Healthy Goals:
 foods with five or fewer ingredients. 
This is a rule I try to follow closely when grocery shopping because the simpler the ingredients, the better the food. I dont want to be eating chemicals or red dye #9 and I have been trying to stay away from foods with high-fructose corn syrup as well. I have been working on this slowly over the past year but I really would like to better focus and stick to simple good foods.
Buy from my local farmers markets. There is a farmers market that I pass on my way to work everyday and sometimes I just think the grocery store would be easier. But then I always think back to when I made homemade pizza and the farmer literally walked out to the veggie patch and ripped from the ground a huge bunch of spinach. Now Thats Real Food! It was delicious, fresh, and local... the trifecta. I would like this to be more of a frequent experience and have most of my god-to ingredients be fresh and local.
Don't let food go to waste. Paul and I all too often end up throwing away food that we had let spoil in our refrigerator and it's something I want to make a conscious effort to not do. This is a double goal because in trying to not waste food, I need to plan meals ahead of time. I know that if we can plan our meals for the week, then I will know what food to buy, whats in the pantry and therefore, hopefully waste less. 
User fewer paper towels. We make jokes in our house that there is a little monster that steals our paper towels because for some reason we go through rolls far too often then should even be possible. I don't know how it happens but I really want to cut back on how much paper we use and toss. If I can use an actual towel, especially when it's drying dishes and washing my hands, then I think we can seriously cut back on all the wasted paper.
Eat at least one vegetarian meal per week. Now I know what you are thinking? and NO I am not going vegetarian. A few of my girlfriends are and I commend them greatly for it, but my reasons are strictly health caused and environmentally conscious. I am a huge obsessor of all natural, clean and healthy food and share a lot of the same food rules as Michael Pollen, a brilliant author. I think the more veggies and greens you eat the healthier you will be. Meat is excellent, but only in small portions. I want to stick to more greens and at least one veggie dinner a week to consciously focus on real food and healthy meals.

Hopefully this will also help in the greater fight for animals, to be treated and cared for in a humane and natural way.

Read more about healthy and organic eating. Piggy backing off of my one vegetarian meal a week is to learn more about clean and healthy eating. I say I am a healthy person but in the same breath I am more than likely having a beer or snacking on corn chips and guacamole so I really want a full range better knowledge of what I am eating, how it affects my body, and what I can do to change and transform into a true healthy eater, for myself and Paul. Books are healthy, nourish the mind while learning about the soul.

Culinary Goals:
Learn a little something about wine. For a huge fan of vino, I really don't know the first thing about wine, except that our aerator that was given to us last year for Christmas has proven to be our best kitchen tool to date. My wine selection normally follows two pathetic rules of thumb: Does it come in the 'double-wide' bottle to get more for your money or does it have a cool label or name that would be fun to show off. Clearly neither of my two selection processes have anything to do with the actual wine inside the bottle and that is what I would like to change. I'd just like to get a little smarter about wine so when I am cooking up a fresh lemon sole I know what wine would pair nicely with dinner.

Cook Indian food. With Paul and I being huge fan's of spices, it's only natural to think we would like Indian food. We eat Mexican all the time, and although I know they are completely different, I have to think they have some similarities... like spice. I think Food Network's Aarti Party will be helping me out with this one.

Write more recipes. I featured very few recipes that are my own. Some of which I make up in the making, but either way, I really want to take a look at the ingredients I enjoy for certain dishes and take the time to think up a few of my own recipes. Hey, a girl can dream right??

Experiment more with cocktails.
And not just cocktails, but cocktail desserts and popsicles. I went bonkers this summer when I discovered granita's and how delicious and easy they were. To make treats, as well as signature cocktails that really add an ambiance to a gathering would be a nice touch to my ongoing entertaining style.

Make more spreads, syrups and canned goods. I got to dabble a little this year with spreads, syrups and infused oils/liquors and it was great. Space is always a concern but when I can pump out some fabulous ingredients and actually preserve and save them, that will be excellent. Canning 101 in full effect.

Learn to make fresh pasta. I have seen pasta being made on plenty of cooking shows and of course everything they do just looks so simple. I am sure this is not a huge feat but at the same time, with little space and even fewer time, I still would like to once make my own pasta. A ravioli dish is only as good as the sauce and pasta that goes into it... I want all bases to this dish to be homemade. This will also bridge the gap I have with Italian cooking, to find a deeper appreciation for homemade food and cooking.

Personal Goals:
Learn a lot more food styling and photography. I would like to me better versed in how to not only use my camera and all the options and tools it has but to better my knowledge and skill in food styling when I am arranging what I have cooked, as well as figure out the largest frustration in my whole process... lighting. It's a tricky thing that lighting. lol

Change my eating habits to a much smarter and healthier lifestyle. I believe I am a pretty healthier eater, because I still think that first and for most that everything starts with portions. However, I know I could be much healthier and much nicer to my body with what I eat and the exercise that I endure. Something I have been specifically taking a close look at are my processed starches (i.e. pasta, breads, potatoes) as well as my sugar. Both are hugely responsible for a lot of the excess fat we carry around and I feel the more I focus and think about what I am eating and how it will affect my body, the healthier and happier I will be.

Grow and expand my blog. Of course, isn't this everyones goal? Well I really would like to expand my reader base and I know a lot of that starts with me, not only what I post but the networking and participation that I show in other areas. Even though I am fairly young, all this new technology is almost too much to handle and I really want to take each networking venue, learn the processes and tricks to using them so that I can better broaden my reader base and my exposure.

Take a culinary trip. Florence, Dublin, Napa Valley, all will do. haha. No but seriously, I would like to attend some type of culinary or food event this year even if it's as simple as visiting a famous chef's restaurant in the city or as large as attending the Food & Wine Festival that is held every year. To be in the presents of other foodies, chefs and culinary experts would be an epic adventure that I would truly love. {Definitely a bucket list item}.
Happy New Years!!


Erin Stomber said...

You have outlined some great goals - both culinary and personal! I share many of the same resolutions, but having you put them in writing has inspired me. I'm sure you will have great success in the upcoming year! Happy New Years!!

Megan @ Cooking Whims said...

Happy New Year! I love your goals---both culinary and personal!

Michael said...

FANTASTIC POST!!! Many of these are the same goals my husband and I have set. I am really looking forward to the year ahead and all the great posts to follow.