Start Off 2012 Right…

December 30, 201112 Comments

An internal conflict ensues this time each year. My body, sufficiently indulged over the holiday season and dismally facing a long winter, craves rich, gooey comfort foods. But my mind, knowing better than to continue down this hedonistic path, wants to leave the party behind and return to clean eating. Food has a tremendous impact on how I feel. I am more likely to exercise when I’m properly fueled. I sleep better. I work more efficiently and effectively. I think I might even be nicer. In the coming weeks, I’ll be incorporating feel-good dishes that strike the balance between sound nutrition and satisfying comfort. This week’s line-up offers a step in that direction.

I’ll also be sampling a variety of “new” grains in the year ahead. I’m cozy with farro, quinoa and of course, my all-time favorite, old-fashioned rolled oats. But there are so many potential loves waiting to sweep me off my feet. I just know it. Amaranth, freekeh, millet, kamut to name a few. I can already hear my husband groaning. While he loves variety, he’s been slow to warm to what he calls my “quinoa-kale-farro phase.”

Speaking of Andy, I asked what he’d like to eat in 2012. Not at all a planner or obsessive list maker (like I am), he just laughed. “Oh, you know what I like.” (Translation: Nothing with quinoa.) Then he rattled off a few favorites including Parmesan chicken, turkey tacos, pasta with bolognese, beef skewers, roast chicken with bread salad (don’t even look at that photo! I hereby resolve to update it with someone mouth-watering, or at the very least appetizing, in 2012), okonomiyaki, simple pasta dishes such as this and this, and burgers.

As for resolutions? In addition to keeping a watchful eye on my actual diet, I’ll embark on a crash “content diet.” Sounds drastic, right? And probably ill-advised. But I expect to be richly rewarded by this change in the way I consume information. There is just so much of it. Maybe too much. I receive a teetering pile of magazines each month, two daily printed newspapers on Sunday (and one every other day of the week), buy books regularly and check them out from the library and subscribe to a dizzying list of blogs (you can see an example of some of my favorites to the right in the sidebar).

How much of this do I actually read? Not nearly as much as I’d like. And this makes me feel eternally behind and overwhelmed. It’s time to get choosy about what I receive and ditch the rest. I’ve already let a few magazine subscriptions lapse. The keepers? Whole Living. Bon Appetit. Women’s Health. Real Simple. I won’t be buying any new books until I’ve read at least the ones I purchased in the last year. My first read of the year will be The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, which return to each January. I get something new out of it with each re-read since my kids are continually growing and changing (anyone know how to stop that, by the way?!).

Finally, I’m learning how to use it…then lose it. Once I’ve read something, I’m getting better about passing it on or recycling it. (Put your hands down, people! Those are keepers you see pictured above!) I went through a huge stack of magazines last week and tore out only the articles or recipes I wanted to keep. The rest were recycled. As my husband says, “Isn’t it all online anyway?” Not really. But that’s beside the point. I love to enjoy a book then pass it along to a friend. With a few exceptions, I’d rather have them pass it on to another friend than give it back. The same goes for my kitchen and my clothes…why hang onto what you don’t use? Donate it to someone who will use it. Or sell it. Or recycle it.

As we usher in another new year, I wish you happiness, health and light. Most of all, I wish you the strength to do anything you want to do and be anything you want to be. Here’s to a brilliant 2012!

What’s in Season?

Carrots| Fennel | Lemons | Spinach

What’s for Dinner?

The List

3 yellow onions
4 large carrots
2 stalks celery
5 cloves garlic
2 lemons
2 limes
1 head fennel
1 red pepper
Flat-leaf parsley
Fresh basil
Fresh cilantro

28 oz. crushed tomatoes in puree
6 oz. tomato paste
12 oz. package jumbo shells
1 cup dried black beans

2 pound salmon fillet with skin

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
15 oz. handmade ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
1 egg
8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella

12 responses to “Start Off 2012 Right…”

  1. Beth says:

    I’m also embarking on a content diet! For the past couple of years, I’ve been receiving FAR too many magazines (I think was up to 11 or 12). Each month I feel myself getting anxious as the stack gets higher and higher and I have no time to read. With baby on the way in a few weeks, the house needs more space, so I’m purging! I’m only renewing 3 magazines, and have already started giving away books. It’s tough to do, but already I’m feeling lighter 🙂

    • Alicia says:

      That baby is already just a few weeks away?!! Congratulations, Beth. Very excited for you. I’ll keep an eye out for the big news.

      I already feel better, too, having pared things way down. Time to focus.

  2. Lynda says:

    Now I am inspired! I am with you in the content-diet. I call it content paralysis. The more content I am exposed to the less I consume… I can’t wait to read your comforting and healthy recipes. Happy New Year!

    • Alicia says:

      Happy new year to you, too! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with “content paralysis.” That’s exactly what it is. I already feel lighter and am breathing a bit easier.

  3. Melissa Luckett says:

    I have a request. Do you take requests? My lovely hubbie received a 6.5 qt crock pot for Christmas. Yes you can take the boy out of the MidWest but you can’t take the MidWest out of the boy (and thank goodness for that!). It would be super fun if you could do a week for crock pot cooking given the time constraints of daily life and the fact January seems perfect time for such an endeavor. What do you say? If not hip me to a good cookbook to get him. K? Thanks!!!

    • Alicia says:

      Sure, I take requests! Why not? It’s funny you mention this. My most frequent request to date has been for slow cooker recipes, but I don’t have a slow cooker. You (and all those who asked before you) have finally inspired me to go out there and get a slow cooker. I’m doing it today! I’ll aim for one recipe/week for the next few weeks. Sound like a plan? I think this will be fun!

      • Nikki says:

        Super excited about this! I almost posted the same question! My fiance and I have a slow cooker and by the way, it rocks!! Yet, the slow cooker recipes are often less than healthy. Can’t wait to indulge in a healthy crock pot eating to two busy workers in 2012!!!

        • Alicia says:

          Slow cooker is in the house!!! While I wanted to make something vegetarian for my first dish, I thought it more appropriate to do a big honking piece of meat. Right? I am from the midwest, after all. But it’s still a very lean and healthy recipe! I’ll be posting it soon…stay tuned.

  4. Clay says:

    Here here on the content diet. I’ve been contemplating the same. I’m with you in the grains, too. We have far too many already in the pantry and need to start using them!

    • Alicia says:

      Yeah, after I weeded through my stacks of magazines and books (and the kids’ toys…and clothes…) it occurred to me that the pantry and freezer are next on my hit list! Should be interesting…

  5. Clare says:

    I made a great farro and leek soup from the Silver Spoon in the slow cooker this weekend. Tasty and healthy.

    • Alicia says:

      Ooh, I’d love to have the recipe! Maybe I’ll run over and borrow your book. 🙂 My slow cooker is in transit! Ordered it yesterday and hope to have it at my door by early next week.

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