Happy New Year 2014 - Hope and Resolutions

On this side of the first storm of the year, we're hunkered down, cooking and baking and grateful for our work-at-home status. We've got about one foot of snow so far and north of the city (where Doc works) they got two feet!

I guess I missed my opportunity to empty the pots and clean up my fire escape garden...

Snowy pots

I saw this tip on a Pinterest board and added it to my Beautiful and Useful Things board. I love the look, as well as the idea of putting something out for our feathered friends. If you're on Pinterest, come find me and see what I'm curating there. I have boards (essentially virtual or online bulletin boards) on various interests from travel, to Eating and Drinking, clothes, Cookbook Hoarders, random interesting things. I've just started a board on Chinese New Year and on New Year, New You. I have a board for Kitchen Confidence tips, too.

And now that it's up - we wait for the birds to discover this wreath of cranberries, sunflower seeds, spelt flakes and amaranth seeds.

Hoping, Resolving, Doing

As we look forward to the New Year, think about ways to look after others - whether birds or people. I'm hoping to develop a regular habit of small kindnesses. But hope only gets us so far. Resolutions, too. Rather than resolutions (often grand statements that are not quantified and to which we lose accountability round about mid-January), why not think of resolving in this way:

  • Take a broad goal, such as "eat more vegetables" and make it quantifiable.

Goals we can count, measure, track have a much greater chance of being incorporated into our lives than mushy, if well-intentioned ones. How about "make one new vegetable dish per week?" Even if you chose per month by next January you would have tried a dozen new things!

You can take something familiar, say carrots. And learn a new way to eat them. If you currently only eat them in juice or salads, learn a roasted carrot recipe. I'm very intrigued by roasting carrots, (try with cardamom and oil or add a touch of honey and vinegar at the end). Or simmer with parsnips and finish with butter and cream if you want to add some indulgence. Or bake into muffins.

Alternately, you can pick an entirely new vegetable. Kale Chips anyone? If that's not new to you, how about celtuce? Or Shanghai bok choy?

Sometimes it helps to have a group that you can be accountable to. I began 30 day fitness challenges a couple months ago and am now on my fifth having done abs, arms, squats, butt. Thanks to Vivian for the inspiration! Now doing burpees and alternating days of the others. Crazy. You can find the Omni Fitness Challenge group on Facebook if you want to join us.


I saw another idea I liked, I think the author called it a happiness jar. Each day random moments of joy or happiness happen, then we forget about them. Her idea is pause to write them down. Then she puts the paper scraps in a large jar. Later in the year, I guess on a bad day it would be particularly useful, you can reach in and pull one out to remember. I suppose you could use social media like Twitter, or Facebook to mark these moments. I try to end each day with a pause to think about what I'm grateful for. Usually, I forget. A new habit with a physical presence might help.

I would suggest a stack of pretty paper, like origami paper, next to a jar. That would be a visual reminder. This would be fun with kids.

  • Want to do a food challenge? Root vegetables? Grains? What would you choose? 
  • Are you on Pinterest? We could do a group board and we could pick one vegetable a week and each post how we made it.

What are your goals? What creative ways have you adopted to bring these ideas into practice?