Monday, December 31, 2012

My 12 foodie resolutions for 2013

No, I will not be going on a "diet" in the new year. I'm old enough to know that I'll never be model thin again (and really wouldn't want to be that thin) and that moderation is necessary no matter what you eat. 

Food brings so much joy in life...I'm not going pass over something delightful I come across so that I can stick to a diet. 

Sooooo...here's the food-related resolutions I'm making: 

1) Try at least one new food each month. 
I'm going to urge my kids to do the same. I can't tell you how often they resist and resist something then when they finally try it, they discover it isn't so bad.

2) Try at least one new restaurant each month. 
I should have no problem with this one. When I thought about it a bit, I realized I not only went to at least one new place a month, but that I hit probably at least three dozen new ones. 

3) A two-minute limit on ordering in a restaurant. 
If I really tracked how much time I waste trying to decide on what to eat, I'd probably have racked up a few weeks,perhaps even months, in doing so. From now on, I'll give myself a minute or so to scan the menu, narrow it down to two and DECIDE. I shall not send a server away saying "I need a few more minutes!" I repeat, I shall not send a server away saying "I need a few more minutes!" If I find myself with extra time, maybe I can pick a second choice should they happen to be out of the first or have one on standby for the next visit to that establishment so that I won't even look at the menu.

4) Never order the same thing as my husband so that I can get a taste of another dish on the menu. 
This probably won't apply to just hubby. If you dine with me, you probably know me well enough to know that I'm going to ask for a little sample of what's on your plate - and a photo.

5) Don't order the familiar at restaurants...try something I haven't tried before if it's a place I've dined at before. There are some favorite dishes I have at specific restaurants, but I'm not going to keep ordering them. I'll venture out a bit. And if I go there often enough to have tried almost everything, it's definitely time to find a new place to mark of the foodie bucket list.

6) Eat more vegetarian dishes - the challenge of new recipes should be fun. I love things like eggplant Parmesan and portabella mushrooms that are filling enough make you not miss the meat. I'll add more to our plates this year. And perhaps I'll do more skillet dishes or casseroles, where I can cut down on the meat by cutting small pieces to add to other ingredients. Not that I am against meat in my family's diet, we just don't all need to eat like cavemen bulking up to go out on a week-long expedition at every meal.

7) Grow three new things in the garden this year. I've been getting tons of gardening catalogs in the mail the past few weeks, which seems like an odd time for them to arrive. Planting in our area won't happen for several months, but it's nice to browse and get ideas. I'm looking forward to planting a few news things this year.

8) Update the foodie bucket list. Early this year I jotted down a few mostly suburban spots I had been wanting to try. There were 13 on the list.  I only made it to three (Venice, Mishkenut, The Egg and I) and one has closed (Ursuline's.) That leaves nine. There are so many more I've come across in the past year that I want to visit, so this list needs a serious update and I need to consult the list before I make lunch or dinner plans.

Venice Italian Steakhouse, Dyer, In - http://www.veniceitaliansteakhouse.com/HOME.html
Mishkenut Mediterannean, Munster, InLowry's Steakhouse, Chicago, Il - http://www.lawrysonline.com/Bennett-Curtis House, Grant Park, Il - http://bennettcurtis.com/Cafe Fondue - Merrillville, In - http://www.cafefondue.net/The Egg and I, Chicago Heights, Il - http://www.theeggni.com/Freddy's Steakhouse, Hammond, InStrongbow Inn, Valparaiso, In - http://www.strongbowinn.com/Maggiano's - several locations - http://www.maggianos.com/en/Pages/home.aspxTiffany's Tea Room - Crown Point, In - http://www.tiffanystearoom.com/Theo's Steakhouse - Highland, In - http://theoshighland.com/Ursuline's Kitchen - Merrillville, InRed Robin, Schererville, In

9) Get the kids back into the cooking habit. For a while, I assigned each person in the house a day to do the cooking. There are 7 of us. It worked out pretty well, especially in summer, when simple meals like burgers or chicken breasts could be thrown on the grill and dad could assist. I admit, I kind of threw it out the window because 1) I guess I wanted a little more control over what was being made. I've eased up a little over the years, but still am still a little controlling in the kitchen. When left up to a 7-year-old, dinner would be hot dogs rolled in crescent dough every week. And while it's fine once in a while, it's not something I want to eat more than once a year at best. :) I'll have to work with him on varying the choices and not let him repeat meals. 2) It takes a lot of planning for it to be done right. Sometimes I'd help with planning side dishes and entrees and even take the kids shopping for ingredients, but let's face it - it is work. I need to suck it up and do the work. 3) I like to cook. I like to spend time in the kitchen. I missed it sometimes when the kids had been cooking several days and I hadn't. But, it did free up time for me to make things like brownies or pies or other goodies, so that's an added incentive for the kids to cook.

10) A kitchen make-over. No, not the good kind where a reality show host shows up to completely gut my kitchen and replace it with state of the art appliances, marble countertops and Frech hand-painted tiles. Not even the kind where you go to IKEA and pick out the whole package to bring it home and assemble yourself. It probably won't be in the budget this year. But, I want to make-over the interiors of the cabinets. Get rid of some of the items that aren't used, organize the cabinets and pantry, get some new plates and tableclothes...that kind of stuff.

11) Embrace video. Along with blogging I would love to add video from some of the places we go. I have a camera capable of making not-so-great video, but at least it's a start. By mid-year I hope to graduate to a better DSLR camera that has good video capability.

12) Eat breakfast. I've been fighting this for years. I'm not hungry when I wake up and I usually jump right into my day and then four hours later I'm famished. Even if it's just a half a banana or a slice of toast, I'm going to get myself on track -- at least half the week...baby steps.


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