Time to get up, straighten my shirt, so to speak, dust myself off and start thinking in terms of goals for the new year, which as far as I'm concerned, starts today.
I'm not a big resolution-maker. That's just not how I roll. But I do like the concept of starting fresh and leaving the old behind. And let's face it - 2009 really was kind of a stinker of a year for a lot of us. While it's not the worst I've had by a long shot, I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. (Buh-BYE!) In the interest of starting fresh, I do like to throw a few loose goals out there. Usually I don't have witnesses. But the four or five of you get to hear them - you're so lucky!
Loose goal number 1. Try one new dish per week, focusing on vegetables. Something I've never made before, maybe something that doesn't even especially appeal to me, just to broaden my side dish repertoire. I have a tendency to fall back into the old, easy and familiar, and sometimes boring, especially when I'm pressed for time. Or lacking in initiative.
Loose goal number 2. Get back into meal plannning. The past several months I've been terrible about planning menus and sticking to them. Oh, I have all KINDS of excuses, from having MasterCook software problems, switching to a new software (that will be a separate blog - WHAT a pain in the kiester), working longer hours, not having time, etc. Regardless, the result was a lot of thrown out ingredients (mostly produce). That seriously chaps my hide. It's wasteful and shows poor planning on my part. I'm starting that right now by using up my Christmas party leftover broccoli for the soup below.
Loose goal number 3. Learn to play my ukulele that I got for Christmas. No, it doesn't have anything to do with food, but it's uber-coolio.
My brother says I now have to gain 400 pounds if I'm going to do it right.
Loose goal number 4. Be consistent with the blog and try to take better food pictures. Now, some of that is obviously equipment related (lack of lighting), but I shall try.
Loose goal number 5. Assemble my simple cookbook. I've promised one for my husband's sister and the kids for lunches and I've done diddly on it. I've collected lots and lots of great information, and it's whirling around in my head, but I need to get serious and start pulling stuff together and figure out how I want to print it.
I think that's gracious plenty for a year, along with the general "live healthy, try to be content, and be kind to people." (Sometimes I have to remind myself to play nice, you know.)
So to all my friends out there, (and if you're reading this, I consider you a friend), have a very happy, healthy and kind 2010. Let me hear from you, from time to time!
After the party, I was left with a good deal of leftover Costo broccoli. In the interest of getting my vegetable on and not tossing produce, I took the remainder and made broccoli soup out of it. No cream, no cheese, no goop - I'm detoxing from all that. I just needed clean veggies. So here's my recipe for a healthy and hearty lunch soup.
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium Yukon Gold or Idaho potato, diced
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cups chicken stock
In a large, heavy pot, sautee the onion and celery in the olive oil over medium heat. When the onion is transluscent, add the potato and a generous pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir to incorporate, then add the broccoli and the chicken stock and a pinch more salt. Simmer over medium-low heat until the broccoli and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or do like I do and use an immersion blender and splatter it all over the kitchen so it looks like you brutally murdered Oscar the Grouch. Taste it and add more salt, if you think it needs it.
BE CAREFUL if you use a blender or a food processor. Hot soup builds up steam in those things and can blow the lid right off the blender. Not that I know this from experience or anything. Leave the little middle part out of the top of the blender or processor so steam can escape and don't try to blend it all at once. Don't say I didn't warn you.