Happy Re-Newed Year

Santa has paid his visit, the after-holiday sales have been raided by shoppers looking for bargains, the Christmas tree has been taken down and sent on its merry way to become mulch, calendars and greeting cards are now 50% if not 75% off, and Starbucks is no longer serving its hot drinks in the recognizable red holiday cups.  Yes, folks, the holiday season has come to an end.  I should know because I have been sprung from the bosom of familial coziness at the home of the parentals and tossed back into my single-working-girl-slash-baking-slash-cooking-nerd existence. 

2009 came to an end, and 2010 quietly sneaked in to take its place.  It feels slightly unremarkable, to tell you the truth.  There’s something about 2010 that doesn’t quite feel as “New Years”-y as previous “New Year”s…It’s just not as strong a feeling.  I don’t feel new, but I do feel re-newed, stripped clean of all the clutter I somehow accumulated along my journey through 2009.  And I am hoping that I won’t once again pick up those things that I have left behind, whether it’s because I couldn’t find anything new to replace them or just force of habit.  As they say, the more things change, the more things stay the same.  In this case, I hope that’s not the case.

The holidays came with the usual overindulgence in carbs and sugars and proteins, and not very many vegetables, and in continuing with the being “stripped down” theme, I’m going to try and cook more vegetarian dishes to supplement my otherwise predominantly protein-and-carbohydrate diet.  To start myself on the correct path, I borrowed a cookbook from the library called Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook: Quick, Easy, Cheap and Tasty Vegetarian Recipes by Carole Raymond.  It appealed to me because the keyword “student” implies that the ingredients would be easy to find and cheap and the recipes would definitely be easy to follow.  It’s still on hold and I’m waiting for it to arrive, but when I get it I will post about what I’ve tried from it.  I don’t believe in resolutions, but I know that saying I will try to cook more vegetable dishes sounds suspiciously like a resolution, if only because of the timing of this statement.  Whatever you want to call it, it is what it is.  Speaking of resolutions, I found some New Year’s cooking resolutions on one of my favorite blogs, The Kitchn.  Maybe reading some of them will inspire some of you to come up with kitchen/cooking resolutions of your own.

There is a dinner party on the horizon, and I spent some of tonight drawing up a grocery list of the things I’ll need.  The menu is going to consist of things I’ve made before, with the exception of the butter chicken and rice pilaf.  I won’t go into too much detail right now, as things will still change between now and the actual night of the dinner.

I might have mentioned it before, but my cousin bought me the Williams-Sonoma baking cookbook for Christmas.  I had the funny thought of copying Julie Powell and doing my own Julie/Julia type project and baking one recipe a week from the W-S cookbook.  It would be an interesting undertaking, should I decide to do it.  But no, I would deviate from the cookbook as soon as I found a more interesting project to do.  I need to be free to do whatever I choose and not be tied down to the restrictions of what a cookbook says I should do for a certain week.  Besides, I have that goal of making successful macarons to achieve at some point…

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