goals for the new year

I’m not normally one to make your “typical” resolutions. I always have goals that I’m working towards, but I’ve never been good at making ones focused only on working out or losing weight or saying that “I’ll never have chocolate again!”. Because one, that sounds like a really sad and depressing life, and two, the only way I’ve found that works for me is to gradually work on changing something. I can’t do something cold turkey or instantaneously. The small steps work better for me. Maybe this is because of my naturally obsessive nature and how easily I can get stuck on ONE thing.

I tend to easily get consumed by one thing at a time (lately: breaking bad. serial. all things french parenting), but the downside to this personality trait is that I can lose interest just as quickly. For me to make lasting changes, I have to take things in small bites. One day at a time. Telling myself I’m going to work out every day just isn’t going to work. Talking myself into a walk most days at work to take a break from the computer? That’s easier. It’s not a boot camp class, but I’m also sporting a pretty impressive baby bump these days, and I’m enjoying the calm before the baby storm by trying my best to relax and stay calm and do things I enjoy, just because I like it.

Regardless of my non-traditional resolution pact with myself,  I definitely have some goals for the coming year.

I want my cookbook to be the best it can be. I’m working on recipes behind the scenes and can’t wait to share everything with you!

I want to get back to cooking things that I want to do, things on my to-try-and-conquer list, rather than sticking to any kind of calendar for the year. Maybe I’ll make something green around St. Patrick’s Day, but only if I want to. Not just so I have something to post.

dough

I want to gradually get our house the way we want it. We’ve been working on projects the past few weeks again (mostly pulling wallpaper and painting) and have cleared out quite a bit of clutter. We rearranged furniture, and it’s crazy what a difference it makes. Next up? Finding a desk for me! I think having a defined work space will do wonders on my productivity….because honestly, it’s hard to get things done quickly/efficiently when I’m on the computer on the couch (like right this minute), watching Friends reruns. Fun? Yes. The best use of my time? Probably not.

Let’s talk turkey.

I know – Thanksgiving is over. BUT the holiday season is still here AND turkey is a great ingredient year round, so you really can’t go wrong.

green chile turkey and dumplings

As much as I love cooking new dishes with turkey during the year, I still think my favorite way to eat turkey is using some of the leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas, or anytime you have extra from a full bird.

This year, instead of roasting the turkey, Nick and his dad grilled it, which is basically the best way to eat turkey. There’s the slightest bit of smoke flavor and it is insanely juicy.

Lucky for us, we had Thanksgiving at our house, so we ended up with all the leftovers.

green chile turkey and dumplings

And what better way to re-purpose turkey than in a big pot of turkey and dumplings?

And not just any turkey and dumplings. This turkey is smothered in a green chile and cilantro studded sauce and topped with green onion and cornmeal dumplings. Delicious multiplied.

Just enough spice, a little sweetness from the cornmeal, and perfectly creamy and comforting. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty much what I want on a cold winter night.

cookies and cream peppermint bark

If I could sum up everything I love about food in one dish….it might be this.

cookies and cream peppermint bark

I have always loved peppermint + chocolate together. I know some people don’t like that combo, and I’ve decided I don’t really like those people. Just kidding!….unless you also don’t like cilantro. Because then we really wouldn’t have much in common.

Peppermint patties. Andes mints. Junior mints. Mint m&ms. Peppermint bark. Anything mint + chocolate is probably something I love. (Also, this may explain all the cavities I had when I was a kid.)

In fact, years ago, Hershey’s made a Cookies’n’Mint chocolate bar that was my ABSOLUTE favorite thing in the whole world. Nick even got me an entire case of them in college when he found some in a little store here in town. That is real love, right there.

coconut oatmeal raisin bites

coconut oatmeal raisin bites

Two years ago, I was part of the blogger ambassador team with the California Raisins and worked to create some fun new recipes and share them with you guys. I am still so thankful for that trip and group of bloggers – we had the chance to stand between the vines, talk to the farmers, and find out everything there is to know about the goodness of raisins.

raisins2_thumb.jpg

At the time, I knew raisins were good for you, but I didn’t realize just how good!

Zero fat, no cholesterol, and no added sugar. I mean….you can’t really get better than that on a nutritional label. Plus, raisins offer 9% of your daily fiber and potassium, and 6% of your daily iron (per quarter cup serving).

California Raisins are a great choice for healthy, on-the-go snacking or for adding an extra punch of nutrition into your holiday dishes. And bonus – they’re super affordable! According to the USDA, raisins are the most economical dried fruit option.