Dramatic new year's resolutions are not really my thing. I find that starting a new chapter in life with some dramatic statement of what must be accomplished in the next 365 days, to have a negative effect on me. Something akin to asking a young child not to touch anything as you browse through the china department at Macy's. The second you warn "Do not touch!", that small hand immediately reaches for the fragile, long stemmed wine goblet on the display table. It usually takes just one close call in the china department, for you to make a little change in how you shop, thus ensuring a more pleasant experience in the future. If only disastrous resolutions could be recognized and resolved so easily.
In recent years, I have chosen to not set one fantastic and most likely unattainable goal. Rather, I have taken on the mantra of "a little bit better". This is a broad, yet realistic way to look at the road ahead. We can all do a little bit better in everything we do. How we eat. How we treat others. How we take care of our family. The list is endless. I go to bed each night reflecting on how I can be a little bit better tomorrow and I now start each new year thinking how I can be a little bit better than I was last year.
A perfect example of one thing I did a little bit better in 2015 than I did in 2014, was how I prepared my pot of lucky black-eyed peas. Anyone who has read my blog or tasted my food, knows that I focus on making great tasting food that is better for you. But perhaps, you have also noticed that there are some things that I refuse to change, like my grandmother's chicken casserole or the fact that I will never be as happy with a bowl of whole wheat or veggie spaghetti in lieu of traditional pasta. There are some things that you just can't mess with. Another one of these things, I thought would never change, was my pot of lucky black-eyed peas. I have been cooking my dried beans with a leftover ham bone or a ham hock or a smoked turkey wing. This year, I found myself with no leftover ham bone and I just could not bring myself to buy a ham hock or a turkey wing. What I truly wanted was a meal that I could eat on all week, guilt free. For this, I turned to a favorite kitchen staple, smoked paprika, in order to create a dish that is festive enough for New Year's day and nourishing enough for the rest of the week.
I hope you all will find a way to make 2015 a little bit better than 2014 and always remember to make every plate something to be passionate about.