Friday, January 18, 2013

My Mid-January Resolutions (or: taking the pressure off)

I don't make New Years resolutions anymore. They look great on the first page of a fresh new journal, but just end up looking sad a few weeks after. Especially if "journal daily" was resolution number 1 and all the pages are still blank.

So I am making resolutions for my life as they come to me and I feel pressed to actually do them. Motivated by a little extra alone time during the day now that Knox and Pursy play together for a small amount of time without intervention from me, or perhaps finally making the decision to return to the way we used to do something, and doing away with the shortcut that became habit when life was crazy.

One of these resolutions I want to make on this mid-January day is making food from scratch, rather then answering the siren's call of ready made food wrapped in pretty Trader Joe's packaging. I make amazing granola in the crockpot. It takes 3 hours of stirring and drying, but the end result is delicious and I can add in whatever I want. My favorite is vanilla, almond, clove granola made with real maple syrup and whole oats. Granola is one food item I believe is adulterated terribly by making it low-fat, and so I eat smaller quantities and enjoy every bite when I make it myself and bask in the full rich taste glory of good fats and simple ingredients.

I also make amazing, make you believe in God guacamole, and last week was shamed (by no one but myself) when I took dinner to friends who just had a baby and served them pre-made guacamole. I had the excuse of the avocados I bought not being ready, but what cook in her right mind buys unripe avocados and thinks that happy thoughts will make them ripen by the next day? Poor planning and the knowledge that I could buy a substitute.

 I need to take that pre-made option away from myself. So here is my list of foodstuffs that I have become way too comfortable opening up the jar or package or bag just prior to serving. I believe that I can make all of these things with just a little practice and a good recipe.

1. Tomato sauce. Spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, salsa... these things are very easy to make and I use them in so many different meals it would be well worth my time to make a big batch of stewed tomatoes and then separate and riff to make these different tomato sauces.

2. Granola.

3. Waffles. I have a great recipe for buttermilk waffles and really like my waffle iron. If I tripled the recipe and made a batch of batter even once a month, I could freeze it and we could have homemade waffles once or twice a week.

4. Chicken tenders. Sometimes it does make more sense to put more value on my time and just buy the pre-breaded chicken tenders from Joe's. They aren't frozen, the ingredient list is just chicken, bread crumbs and herbs, and dinner is ready in 15 minutes with no prep time. BUT when I make homemade chicken tenders with buttermilk, fresh herbs, panko crumbs and eggs... there really is no taste comparison. Plus Pursy loves when we get all messy and eggy in the kitchen together. You can't really put a price on that...

5. Sweet potato fries. This one really is ridiculous. It takes such a short time to prep the potatoes, then they just hang out in the oven and cook while I am making the rest of the meal.. and again, there is no taste comparison with the bag of frozen fries.

6. Pre-marinated pork loin. Puh-lease.

7. Yogurt. We eat a ton of it, and I have a home yogurt maker sitting in the cupboard above the stove. You know, the one in every house where you put things because it feels better then putting them in the basement because that admits defeat? I had one failed attempt (which really was just my ignoring the directions and trying to make lemon yogurt when the book very clearly said avoid citrus if you are using a pre-made culture starter) and put it away.

8. Peanut butter. Mr Rogers showed me how to make peanut butter when I was 10 and I still remember how. I don't know if it would taste as good as Jiffy Natural, but it would still be cool to have a jar of homemade peanut butter in the fridge.

So there is my homemade food ambition. The start of my resolution to make more things than I buy.

Reading this does not give you the right to hold me to this resolution or ask me how it's going, unless you have personally observed me succeeding.


  1. I love this idea. I told my mom I wanted her to figure out the seasonings for tacos and beef stew so I don't have to buy the packets and can eat those foods without the extra sugar and fillers they stick in there. I mean, she lives on a farm. If she can't do that for me...:)

    1. Go Mrs F! And share the recipe when she comes up with them..