For the last couple of years I have made a list of Culinary Resolutions for myself and family. It’s a good way to develop some focus when it comes to making real changes in the kitchen. Since I was on my blogging break, I’m a little bit behind most everyone but it’s never too late to make a new start, right?
So here’s my list for 2013! Some of them are repeats from last year, but with a few tweaks.
1. Learn to make MORE “store-bought” foods from scratch and find a way to make it quick and easy. I did a lot more of that in 2012 like these whole wheat buttermilk biscuits, coffee creamer and granola, but there are SO many more things I want to try to make. And of course I want to figure out how I can freeze a lot of them so I can make them ahead of time. And my attempt at expanding our homemade bread and salad dressing options fell flat, so I’m going to try to make a more concerted effort to work on that!
2. Use my slow cooker more regularly. My goal is once a week but I may start with every other week. I know there is SO much more that I can do with this handy appliance, I need to try more recipes to build up a selection that I can choose from. Right now I don’t have a whole lot (other than this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce which is a regular!)
3. Focus on the sides—and make them healthy. I did pretty well last year with that adding quinoa regularly, large garden salads or fruit and vegetable sides from the Eating the Alphabet series. But I kept things pretty simple so I’m hoping to expand on the sides and try actual recipes for sides. I’m hoping Pinterest will help me with that a bit!
4. Get the kids more involved in cooking meals. This was also on my 2012 resolutions list but it didn’t work out as much as I thought. Yes, they made a FEW more things themselves; overall, it wasn’t as much as I had hoped. I’m hoping the Foodie Fun for Kids Idea Jar will help kick start us this year.
5. Try to incorporate more local and organic foods when I can and be more intentional about what I choose to buy. Since our farmers’ market opened a little over a year ago, it has grown SO much! I am sort of hit or miss about going (because of our schedule on Saturday mornings) but do have a few favorite farmers I like to buy from. Also I’ve noticed that two of my local grocery stores are starting to carry more local, seasonal produce and an expanding line of organic store-brand foods. That’s a bonus because I can just include them in my regular shopping trips!
6. Pay more attention to the price per meal. I’ll admit I generally just focus on my overall budget and that’s good, but I think it might be interesting to see how making food from scratch really CAN be less expensive than fast or convenience foods.
7. Learn to use food related apps and other online tools. I’ve had a smart phone for over two years now and I need to start playing around with more of the apps that are out there. And I know there are many online resources for meal planning like the reviews I’ve done in the past for this one or this one, but I know there are TONS more so I want to check them out. I’ll be sure to share anything interesting!
8. Learn to cook more with grains, beans and legumes. My family does not love beans but I know they are a powerhouse of nutrients and fiber so I’m going to keep trying. We all like hummus so I may experiment with some more bean dips like that. And I’ve added black beans to a few dishes this year (like this Cowboy Chili) and they go virtually undetected a lot of the time, I think in part because of their mild flavor.
9. Cook from Pinterest more regularly. I have pinned a crazy number of recipes to my Pinterest boards. I need to start MAKING more of them. Who’s with me on that one?
10. Try more vegetarian dinners so we can create a list of those we love. I’d like to have one meatless meal per week but my repertoire is pretty limited so I need to find a lot more recipes that I can build on.
11. Eat more fruits and vegetables for snacks. We’re pretty good about this now but again, we can get into a rut and I’d like to find ways to jazz things up a bit more and increase our variety. I’m hoping the Eating the Alphabet Challenge helps with that too! I’d especially like to increase the number of green vegetables that we eat. Perhaps smoothies may be a good way to go.
12. Decrease food waste. I feel like in the last year I’ve done much better about using up what we have but my downfall is when I buy something like fresh produce and have leftovers, I don’t always remember it is in the refrigerator. Nor does my family (and sometimes they don’t even know it’s there to begin with). So I’m experimenting with some new ways to keep track of this and will hopefully be sharing them with you all at some point!
13. Keep the pantry and refrigerator cleaned out regularly and do regular Pantry Challenges not just occasionally. This kind of dovetails on my goal above but where it gets bad is when I let those science experiments get out of control in the refrigerator. We need to work on that!
Wow! That’s a lot of resolutions but I thought it only fitting that I come up with 13 for 2013! (Not sure I can continue that trend after that though!)
Have you made any culinary resolutions for this year? Share in the comments below so we can all support each other!