I have alot of change on my plate this year and a good chunk relates to my food and cooking habits. A big change I hope will come sooner than later is finally being able to say I’m employed again. I’ve worked most of my life in the food industry in one way or another and in my quest for a new gig, have been leaning away from that biz to get some other experience under my belt. But anyone who’s ever worked in the food industry, and who has a food love like mine, knows that’s no easy feat. I’m betting I’ll get sucked back in to the chaos of the food and events industry, probably with little reluctance and certainly with a fresh perspective.
It’s also important that no matter where my next job takes me, I have changes to make in my own kitchen, too. During my time of unemployment, it’s been great to cook with such leisure while getting creative on a low budget. As often as possible, I incorporate seasonal produce, “from scratch” foodstuff, locally-sourced ingredients, regional specialties or any combination of these in my culinary adventures. I found a new comfort with cooking in 2011 and am ready to challenge myself, and my diet, in 2012. So, on to my (foodie) resolutions and my wordiest blog post to date:
1. Only eat bread I make myself.
If any food is especially a weakness of mine, it’s bread. May it be baguette, sourdough roll, uber-processed Wonder Bread, pita, tortillas, or bagels – I can’t get enough carbs! It’s a problem that needs to be curbed as I’ll probably never be inclined to live a low/no-carb/gluten-free lifestyle. In 2011, my pal Sunshine gave me her bread machine before her move to Florida. It was perfect timing as I was finally starting to overcome my hatred for dealing with flour (it gets EVERYWHERE!). The more bread I experimented with, in and out of the bread machine, the more I wanted to learn. So in the quest to eat less bread but learn more about breadmaking, I solemnly resolve to only eat breadstuff at home that I make myself. Note the “at home”…
My first loaf of white sandwich bread in 2012.
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker that was so insanely delicious and simple
2. More fresh foods, less fresh food waste.
I’ve gotten in the habit of almost weekly trips to the Asian supermarket right up the street from us. The freshness and prices of their produce and meats are unbeatable and I learn a little more about the mysterious greens, sauces, and delicacies each time I go. Especially in the winter, it’s my go to place for fresh produce (literally 50% cheaper than the grocery store) and a great opportunity to cook something new. Last week, amazing kohlrabi puree! Come spring, I’ll be back in action with my Greensgrow farmshare as well, giving me greater opportunity to incorporate lots of healthy veggies into my diet (and resolution #3). This year, I’m really going to step it up, too. I can’t usually afford organic on the regular, though I wish I could, so at least I can solemnly resolve to consume more fresh foods and do so before they go to waste.
3. Canning EVERYTHING
Along with my distaste for working with flour, I have also denied my strong desire to learn how to can out of fear of doing something wrong and wasting food/killing Dre with year-old spoiled canned chili. Another part of the problem was financially committing to all the equipment needed. In 2011, I added a canning set and various Ball jars to my Amazon orders with hesitation as I knew they’d just sit in my cabinets for months, as they did. It wasn’t until Christmas that I finally decided what I wanted to gift myself – a massive 23qt pressure canner. And so the 2012 canning fest has commenced! Last week, I canned my first homemade batch of vegetable stock, knowing that it wouldn’t be a major lost if I screwed things up. But alas, aside from a serious boiling water burn on my hand, I came out with 4 beautiful quarts of bronze vegetable stock. Now I’m even more excited than ever for my farmshare this summer! So with all the equipment and foodstuff at my fingertips, I solemnly resolve to can straight thru the year to extend winter’s soups, summer’s bounty, and autumn’s harvest into 2013.
A gallon of vegetable stock, canned into eternity!
4. Travel no less than 12x
This is only somewhat food related in that I, and my family, plan most getaways around where I want to eat. I whined far too much during my unemployment that I wish I could be using the time to travel but felt guilty spending money on “leisure”. In 2012, I say “go eff yourself” to that notion! I wanna travel and I want to travel often and so far I have a solid start.
January = a double-date Amish Country B&B weekend with Jen & Brian
February = a ski trip to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada with my family
March = a long-overdue trip to Boston via Megabus with Tomithy to explore and see my old Hawaii’an buddy, Jimmy.
So with 9 more months of travel to plan, I solemnly resolve, at least once a month in 2012, to getaway more than 50 miles from my house and explore the local dives and regional specialties along the way.
5. Take this blog more/less serious.
With all the free time I’ve had, I’m pretty disappointed in myself for the lack of blogging, especially since I’ve been cooking often. I get so wrapped up in clever anecdotes, tastespotting-worthy photos, and detailed recipes that I often just don’t share my food love at all. So typical of an introverted Cancer like me. But in 2012, I’m living by a new mantra – a new outlook that is vastly different from how I’ve approached so much in life – and that is, Progress not Perfection. I’ve never blogged for lots of hits or notoriety, I do it out of a sheer love of sharing good food with others. I need to allow that to be more natural, while at the same time, more frequent, so I solemnly resolve in 2012 to share my food love freely, often, and without judgement.