Sunday, January 8, 2012

7 Food Resolutions for the New Year!

Happy New Year! We loved experimenting with a few new things over the holidays. After all of the cooking and eating, here are 7 food resolutions we are taking into the new year.

1. Make More Soup- especially French Onion

We hosted Christmas Eve dinner this year and made delicious bowls of French Onion soup with gruyere and toasted baguette. It's one of our favorites and who knows why it took us all year to remember this!

2. Start Some New Food Traditions- even if they use shortcuts

Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect time to make this gingerbread house and enjoy it all December long. Thanks to Costco, this house was already pre-built and came with frosting in a bag and candy. I used a bit of my own pearls and sprinkles as well but after other years of making my own gingerbread - I loved that I could go straight to decorating. This house became the centerpiece on my dining room table all month long. Can't wait to do this again next year and with our little guy in the future. (This is our second year of pre-fab gingerbread- click to see last year's A-frame)

3. Reuse Recipes That You Love- and look for new ones year round

This chocolate peppermint cake has never let me down. And I've made it for Christmas several times- why? because not only does it taste good, it's easy and it looks great. After baking this in a pinch this year, I wondered why I don't have a few other tried and true recipes that can come through in the clutch. So, resolution number three is about finding some new recipes to rely on rather than always experimenting every time ( even though we love to experiment!)

4. Try Something You Have Never Made Before

After seeing this recipe for a cranberry pomegranate gelatin shaped like a turkey, I channeled my inner 1950s housewife, and went for it. A few quick clicks on Amazon and I had the pan, and about four hours of boiling cranberries and creating layers and we had this turkey gelatin creation. Frankly, this recipe was ridiculous- took way to long and the final layer created more liquid that the recipe suggested so the gelatin to liquid ratio wasn't quite right and it was a little soft. Despite that, it was my first foray into shaped gelatin and I can't wait to try again. You'll notice our fresh cranberry relish in the upper left as a nice backup.

5. Recreate Restaurant Inspirations at Home

A few before Thanksgiving, we had a butternut squash soup shot at a restaurant for my birthday. We could do this at home- and so as the starter for Thanksgiving dinner, we served this butternut squash and apple soup with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of thyme. Not only was it a great dinner starter but a conversation starter as well.

6. Read the Reviews on New Recipes

This pear-cranberry faux lattice pie was a new recipe for me and this time I actually read the reviews before I baked it. Thank goodness. The recipe suggested reducing the amount of cranberry and increasing the amount of pear to avoid being too tart- good advice that really paid off. It was a big success but I'm sure those reviews saved the day.

7. Celebrate Your Cooking Successes- and chalk the rest up to learning

Let's face it- not every recipe I make works out. And sometimes it happens on holiday dinners which is even worse. But sometimes I make things that are a big hit- like this pie this year and in the spirit of experimentation and creativity, I'm going to celebrate the wins just a little more and just chalk the losses up to learning.

So, we'll see how we do on these resolutions in 2012. Do you have any food resolutions?