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My 2011 Food (and Baking) Resolutions

So, I mentioned yesterday when I shared healthy recipes for the new year that I don’t count calories and I don’t really diet. So you’ll typically never find me making a New Year’s resolution to stop eating desserts, lose x number of pounds, give up something altogether or things like that. But that’s not to say that I don’t have food-related goals, both related to a healthier lifestyle and kitchen accomplishments. So I wanted to share with you the top 5 things that I hope to make good on in the kitchen this year. Maybe some of you have some of the same goals? I’d love to hear what your food and kitchen-related resolutions are for this year, so please share them in the comments below!

Without further ado, here they are!

1. Try to be more green. Now this isn’t really a food or baking specific goal, but there are a number of things I can do related to how I consume food and beverages and grocery shop to make an impact here. Two changes I made recently: First, I bought a BPA-free reusable travel tumbler that I can refill with water from a Brita filter instead of going through dozens of plastic bottles in a month. Even though I do recycle I think this is a better alternative. Second, I loaded up on reusable grocery bags and am keeping them in my car for my grocery runs instead of countless plastic bags piling up under the sink after each trip to the store.

2. Eat clean and eat local. This resolution was greatly influenced by watching Food, Inc. a couple of months ago. I am making a concerted effort to: #1 Eliminate processed foods from my diet. I won’t deny myself if I crave a pizza or Chinese, but if I can make the transition to eating clean 90% of the time I will consider that a success; and #2 Eat local. I want to plant a produce garden in the spring, shop at farmer’s markets, potentially join a CSA, and I have already arranged for an order of grass-fed beef from a local farm in late spring. I’m still on the hunt for a farm with local cage-free chickens that sells eggs.

3. Embrace canning. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with #2 above. With produce that I either grow myself or buy from local farmer’s markets or orchards, I want to preserve as much of the in-season ingredients that I can. I am thinking of jams, sauces, salsas to start off. If anyone has any great canning ideas, I would love to hear them!

4. Finally master sfogliatelle. Sfogliatelle are an Italian pastry with tons of flaky layers and filled with a sweetened ricotta filling. The Cake Boss refers to them as “lobster tails”. They are sold a local Italian bakery and are absolutely fantastic. I tried making them two Christmases ago (that would be Christmas of 2008) and they were about the size of my pinkie and what I would consider a failure. Take number 2 was during the summer of 2009 and was a marked improvement from my first attempt, but it still wasn’t there. 2011 will be the year of the sfogliatelle. Even if it kills me ;-)

5. Experiment more with ethnic foods. In the last couple of years I have branched out from Italian and Mexican as my staple ethnic food varieties. I have fallen in love with sushi, Chinese, and Thai food (Asian has definitely catapulted to my #1 or #2 favorite ethnic food), and want to experiment both with the foods I try and the foods I make at home. For Christmas my sister signed me up for a class on how to make sushi at home, and I can’t wait! I’d also like to try making some traditional Thai dishes at home. As far as trying new foods, I’d love to give Indian and Moroccan foods a try. Here’s to new flavors in the new year!

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66 Responses to “My 2011 Food (and Baking) Resolutions”

  1. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef on January 5, 2011 at 12:12 am

    these sound like great resolutions. i’m excited to see more! i’m with you on #2 (already do #1 in those same ways)–i’m planning on joining a CSA :)

    Reply

  2. Darcy Lenz on January 5, 2011 at 12:18 am

    These are some really great resolutions for the new year and I am sure you will find success in them! Relying more on local food sources was one of food years resolutions as well. I’m also aiming to cook more meat. I know that’s a little backwards considering most people try to reduce the amount of meat in their diet…but I never eat the stuff because I’m not super comfortable preparing meat, fish, or poultry. I think overcoming that could make me a slightly more well rounded foodie. Happy New Years!

    Reply

  3. Christine on January 5, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I’m with you on the greener eating – that’s one of my food goals for this year as well.

    I’d be really interested if you did a step-by-step of how you make the Sfogliatelle when you finally master it. I look at all the pictures on google and I think “how the heck do you make that?!?”

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      I will definitely do a step by step of the sfogliatelle!

      Reply

  4. Susan on January 5, 2011 at 12:44 am

    As far as canning goes, apple sauce and strawberry jam are easy things to start with. (You can really fool around with the spices and flavors on the applesauce.) Pickles are also fun, but I haven’t found a way yet to make them super crunchy, like store bought. But they taste good! I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

    Reply

    • Jackie on January 5th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      To make pickles crunchy put folded grape leaves at the bottom and top of the jar. My friend makes them this way and they are hands down the best pickles ever. She also only uses whole fresh dill and it really makes a difference. Good luck!

      Reply

  5. Justeen @ Blissful Baking on January 5, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Good luck mastering sfogliatelle! Third times a charm!

    Reply

  6. Silvia on January 5, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Funny you should mention it, my friends and I have founded (here in Italy) a group to buy local and biological food from the nearby farmers: until now we have found free range eggs, dairy (both local and from the nearby mountains), meat, fruit and vegetables. Recently we bought flours locally produced: grown and all from our region, and they taste great. This is also cheaper, the butter from the Alps (free cows on pastures during the summer, grass and local fodder in winter) is astonishing and actually costs less (8 euro for 1 kilo) than the store bought, and now I always use it. Go on with your idea, your food will taste much better too!
    Great New Year resolutions, I am a great fan of Indian food and am trying new recipes, but most of all I would like to decorate cakes the American way, here nobody does it!

    Reply

  7. sam wright on January 5, 2011 at 5:24 am

    #3 how about jaring beetroot as we call in UK i think you call them beets in USA. great for salads. Im not sure what liquid they preserve them in ill have to check my jar in fridge or you could check online. I think your list is fab idea. we get our eggs and veg from local alotments as we dont have many farms next to us. Good luck x

    Reply

  8. Rebecca on January 5, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Great list of goals! I actually tackled these last year and for this year I’m planning on adding to my garden, shopping locally even more and doing plenty more baking and cooking. Good luck with the free-range chickens and hope you can find some soon. They’re AMAZING to have as you’ll soon learn!

    Reply

  9. astheroshe on January 5, 2011 at 5:51 am

    I have always wanted to make sfogliatelle.! It looks hard to shape. I will be looking foward to a post

    Reply

  10. Becca on January 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Just a note, as an Italian, and someone who has worked in an Italian bakery, sfogliatelle and lobster tails are actually different. It’s the same dough but the sfogliatelle are baked with a ricotta cheese mixture inside while lobster tails are baked empty and filled with cream after words.

    Most times, Buddy is full of BS.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Ahh thanks for that differentiation Becca!

      Reply

  11. Lynn Brown on January 5, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Can’t wait to see your new stuff in 2011! Great goals. I had thought about a CSA, great way to go, especially since I don’t have a green thumb!

    Reply

  12. Katrina on January 5, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I have many of the same NY resolutions! Good luck with yours and happy new year!

    Reply

  13. Lauren at KeepItSweet on January 5, 2011 at 7:37 am

    LOL I love that image

    Reply

  14. Lori on January 5, 2011 at 7:40 am

    On my to do list is homemade bread. I made a start…the Kitchen Aid is on my counter. I have been eyeing your yeast bread recipes and might tackle one this weekend. Another thing is to eat more vegetarian.

    Reply

  15. Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie on January 5, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Those are great resolutions! Due to some health issues I’d had to elminate white sugar and white flour….my baking will definately have different spin on it this year!

    Reply

  16. Caroline on January 5, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I’m going to try to eat more of a food ‘rainbow’ by including the foods in color groups that don’t typically make it into my diet a whole lot – including the blue/purple family and the red family. Your resolutions are great -realistic and attainable!

    Reply

  17. Terri on January 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Giving up bottle water was my 2010 resolution. I have been an addicted to reusable bags for a few years and now have a very large supply that I use 98% of the time.

    My 2011 goals are to master pie crust and yeast breads and try a new recipe for dinner at least every two weeks.

    Reply

  18. Brittany on January 5, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I found the comic picture so hilarious! It is really accurate. I like your resolutions; they are sensible and beneficial. Good luck with them!

    Reply

  19. Amanda on January 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

    http://www.localharvest.org/

    Check out Local Harvest for CSAs – a lot of them offer eggs from sustainable sources!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks for sharing that link Amanda! I recently found that site and it’s a wonderful resource!

      Reply

  20. Barbara on January 5, 2011 at 9:38 am

    This is one of the best recipes that I have made try it I think that you will love it.
    Moroccan Beef Tagine

    Ingredients:
    1 ½ – 2 lb Chuck Roast (trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces)
    1 Onion finely chopped
    3 Tbsp Olive oil
    1 bunch Cilantro
    2 14 oz cans Chickpeas (drained)
    3 Sweet Potatoes (peeled and chopped)
    1 Lg. can diced or pureed Tomatoes
    800 ml Vegetable Stock
    100 g Prunes cut in half (Optional)

    Spice Rub:
    1 Tbsp Ras-el Hanout (see below)
    1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
    1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
    1 Tbsp Sweet or Smoked Paprika

    Toss Beef in Spice Rub making sure it is well coated. Refrigerate overnight.

    In Dutch Oven heat oil and fry beef until browned and singed at the edges. Add Onion and chopped stalks of the Cilantro (reserve the leaves). Stir and cook another 5 minutes.
    Add Chickpeas, Tomatoes and 400 ml of Vegetable Stock.
    Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer (gentle bubble). Leave for 1 ½ hours.

    Add Sweet Potatoes and Prunes. Top off with another 400 ml of Vegetable Stock. Cover and cook for another 1 ½ hours.

    Add stock as necessary if it gets too dry. If too thin when done increase heat, cook uncovered until liquid is reduced.

    Check beef for doneness should be falling apart. Serve with chopped Cilantro leaves and sliced toasted Almonds.
    Serve Flatbread and Couscous on the side.

    Ras-el Hanout: (This is enough for 4 Batches)

    1 tsp Ground Cumin ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
    1 tsp Ground Ginger ½ tsp Ground Allspice
    1 tsp Turmeric ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
    1 tsp Salt ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
    ¾ tsp Cinnamon 1 tsp Mace
    ¾ tsp Black Pepper 20 Strands Saffron (Optional)
    ½ tsp White Pepper
    ½ tsp Ground Coriander Seeds

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      Sounds delicious, thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  21. Kate @ahealthypassion on January 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I agree with you on trying more foods. One of my goals this year is to expand my food horizons and try new things!

    Reply

  22. Jamie on January 5, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I love the idea of canning! I made my own cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. I never thought canning would be as simple as boiling the jar for a few minutes.
    I also have a few new year’s food resolutions on my food blog: http://thegirlbaker.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  23. Maria on January 5, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Great list of goals for the new year!

    Reply

  24. Delishhh on January 5, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Michelle – what a great list, everyone should do 1-3. I already do them but it is hard 100% of the time if i get to 90% i am happy just like you said. I never buy plastic bottles unless i need sparkling water or some kind of soda. I guess i should buy my own carbonating system so i can make my own sparkling water. The CSA i love love love. I am actaully really happy living in Seattle we have tons of CSA and farmers market. And this year i am growing my own gardn since i just move to a new house and able to do that. The quetsion is what should i start with. If you come up with your veggies let me know. As far as the

    As far as the Asian thing goes, i will help you out, i lived in Asia for 5 years so i cook a lot of it. Start simple, Thai fried rice and some stir fry etc. Get the basics, you must have fice sauce for your Thai food, lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut. I will post my coconut Thai chicken recipe soon and tweet you to remind you to make it :) I only have a few right now, i also have Korean BBQ beef which i love and very simple to do. The hardest part there is finding the thin sliced meet, just like they do for sukiyaki, you need to get to an Asian store for that, or try to cut good beef when it is frozen they you can get the thin cuts.

    Good luck and great post!

    P.S. Pictures is awesome!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Thank you, can’t wait to see that coconut Thai chicken!

      Reply

  25. Jennie @ Oh, Sweet Day! on January 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Really great resolutions!!

    Reply

  26. Cookin' Canuck on January 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

    These are all very thoughtful and very doable resolutions. We planted a vegetable garden a few years ago and I can’t tell you the joy it brings us to be able to pluck sweet, fresh vegetables from our own backyard.

    Reply

  27. Lori T. on January 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I don’t make resolutions, per se, but I try to set attainable goals each year. We have a couple in common based on your list. I’m a bit envious that you don’t have to diet or count calories at times. Lucky girl! Happy New Year to you.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Well, that’s not to say that I don’t ever have a few pounds to lose ;-) But even when I’m trying to drop some weight I still don’t count calories or anything, just focus on healthy, balanced eating.

      Reply

  28. Robyn on January 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

    i have traditionally been afraid of all recipes using candy thermometers, so i’m trying to get over that in 2011 (i.e. make marshmallows, caramel, etc.). also, bake my own bread.

    Reply

  29. Tracy on January 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Yay, I’m so excited you’re going to start canning! I’m absolutely addicted to it; it’s SO much fun! :-)

    Reply

  30. Danielle on January 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I’d love to share some of the thai and chinese recipes with you if you if you’d like to have them! I like to try various things and ethnic places and kind of put a little spin on it and get close to those flavors, but make it my own. I have a wonderful spicy mango chicken with jasmine rice if you’d like it!

    Reply

  31. Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes on January 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I agree. I am not into NY’s resolutions, because I think if you have a goal you should go for it at any time. I would also love to get more into Moroccan and Indian cooking. I just cooked with curry for my first time last week, and it was so delicious. Happy New Year to you!

    Reply

  32. Becky on January 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I also have a BPA free water bottle, and we have filtered water through our fridge. I also use the re-usable grocery bags, when I remember to take them.

    My goals too, are to conquer yeast, pie crust, an get new camera. I have anew food processor, but now need a new camera, desperately.

    Reply

    • CARREN J on August 16th, 2013 at 10:12 am

      I FOLD MY PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS, THEN STICK THEM INTO A LG ZIP BAG AND KEEP IN MY CAR. I CAN USE THEM FOR SHOPPING, ALL NEAT & TIDY, AND ALSO HAVE SMETHING TO PUT TRASH IN. FOR THE PURCHASED BAGS, I USE ONE TO HOLD ALL THE OTHERS AS WELL AS THE ZIP BAGS.

      Reply

  33. Mary Vander Yacht on January 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    1. Enjoy eating healthier. I am going by the recipes I find in the Taste Of Home Comfort Diet book and website. I LOVE to bake, and don’t really like to cook (sigh), so I’m branching out and concentrating on having a list of meals that are easy, tasty, and healthy. So far so good!!

    2. Learn to decorate sugar cookies. Every Wednesday I bake at a local Ronald McDonald House, baking cookies for the wonderful folks staying there. I would love to create themed sugar cookies for the different holidays. I know if I just take the time to practice, practice, practice, I can do it. How fun to bring brightly designed cookies to the House. I know the kids and adults as well would love it.

    3. I tend to make boring salads. I want that to end now!

    Reply

  34. Christy on January 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    More fun, healthier food, and more meals shared with people that I love!
    Love your site- just found it a couple of weeks ago and have really enjoyed it over the holiday break. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Christy, Welcome to the site! I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy it!

      Reply

  35. Sues on January 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    What a great list of resolutions! I’m all about experimenting with more cuisines this year! And baking more :) Which probably means working out more at some point. Haha :)

    Reply

  36. bridget {bake at 350} on January 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Oh, I can’t wait for the Lobster Tails! Every time I see them on Cake Boss, I want to jump on a plane and head to Carlos Bakery!

    Happy New Year!

    Reply

    • Becca on January 6th, 2011 at 3:24 am

      If you want good, affordable lobster tails (or sfogliatelle), go up the hill to Jersey City Heights to Goehrig’s and get them there. 1,000 times better- no line, friendly staff, fresh, in house made products.

      Reply

  37. Barry on January 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    If you want to get a simplified crash-course on making sushi, track down Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode called “Wake Up Little Sushi.” You may be able to track it down on the inter-nets somewhere. Alton makes it look relatively easy to do.

    Reply

  38. Katie on January 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    All great things! When you say “eat clean” do you mean less sugar and flour (ie, less of your wonderful baked goods)? We eat a pretty wide variety over here and I try to buy as much organic as possible. For eggs and such you should definitely check out localharvest.com.

    I love ethnic food and have a yummy vegetarian recipe for Ethiopian chickpea wat. Also we love Moroccan chicken stew. And anything with curry. I can post those if you are interested :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Katie, Oh no, still planning on consuming flour and sugar. For me, eating clean means steering clear of processed foods, i.e. making oatmeal with oats instead of the packets, making my own bread instead of buying it, no frozen foods, etc.

      And yes, I would love your recipes! Feel free to email them to me!

      Reply

  39. Chrissy on January 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    If you’re looking for a great canning book, take a look at “Put ‘em Up” by Sherri Brooks Vinton. It has a ton of info on the basics of canning, plus lots of great recipes. I experimented a little with applesauce last fall, but I plan to can a ton this summer.

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Thank you for the rec, I will check out that book!

      Reply

  40. Amy T. on January 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Michelle-
    Great resolutions!
    We tried our hand at canning last year! We made strawberry jam, pickles (a sweet crunchy type from my grandmother. I would be happy to share the recipe but I will warn you that it takes about 14 days to make a batch but they are soooo worth it!), hot peppers, spaghetti sauce, and applesauce. We also froze the many veggies from our garden, and lots of sweet corn which we are already out of!
    Take your reusable bags right back out to your car when you are done or you will end up with piles of plastic bags and a pile os reusable bags under your sink.
    I made only one resolution and it was partly inspired by you: I started my own blog. I would be happy for any pointers or suggestions! http://snowflakessprinkles.blogspot.com/
    It is a work in progress that is for sure but it is something I have wanted to try for a while. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 5th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Amy, welcome to the world of blogging! I would love the pickle recipe! As well as the hot peppers, if you’re willing to share :) You can email them to me: michelle@browneyedbaker.com.

      Reply

  41. Grace on January 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Great resolutions! One of my resolutions includes factors of your #1, #2, and #5. I am a pretty new vegetarian and trying to perfect my new diet and branch out! Also, like Amy one of my resolutions was to start a blog=) Can’t wait to see some of the recipes that come from your resolutions!

    Reply

  42. Debbie on January 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I have been looking for a Sfogliatelle recipe everywhere! My husband and I couldn’t eat enough of them on our Honeymoon in Italy and I have yet to find them again! I cannot wait for this post!

    Reply

  43. julie @ rosy+tart on January 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Oooh, good luck with #4. It’s on my list of things to master this year as well. Happy New Year! :)

    Reply

  44. Jessie on January 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    All attainable goals, I think. I really appreciate how you think that eating clean/green/local/etc. 90% of the time would be a success. Very often I push myself for 100% and then give up when I’ve over-stressed myself. I’ll learn from your resolutions and shoot for keeping up with my goals a majority of the time, but not denying myself either. Thanks for the inspiration, and happy new year!

    Reply

  45. Kooky Girl on January 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Hi, I love your resolutions – especially the getting into canning. I too have managed to get into that this year – and have made yellow courgette chutney, green tomato chutney and vegan mincemeat. The courgettes and green tomatoes were of course from the garden, and I gave some away to neighbours and friends who loved it. I would definitely recommend it. Check out my blog for recipes and all the best to you for 2011. KG

    Reply

  46. Peggy on January 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Definitely some great “resolutions”! And if you join a CSA, I promise you, you will not be disappointed! Summer of 2010 was our first time, and definitely isn’t our last!

    Reply

  47. Sandy @EverydaySouthwest on January 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Ok, now we are watching. If you master sfogliatelle, please share the secrets! I love those things, what ever they are called! Hope you have fun doing it!

    Reply

  48. foodlvr on January 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I have some of the same kitchen goals for the year –

    Try to eat more locally (altho very hard to do in the winter around here – can’t get local eggs anymore, or much local vegetables, no meat and little cheese)

    Try new foods or new recipes
    Try something challenging such as making my own marshmallows
    Make more ethnic foods
    Cook more vegetarian dishes
    Continue to get more veggies into hubby and son

    Reply

  49. Tiffany on January 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    These are great resolutions!

    Reply

  50. Natasha Kay on January 7, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Indian is one of my favorite ethnic foods to make now! Especially after cutting out meat from my diet. Try this easy Red Lentil Curry: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Red-Lentil-Curry/Detail.aspx. And of course, make your own Naan bread — super easy and CHEAP: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Naan/Detail.aspx.

    Good luck!

    Reply

  51. Kate @ Diethood.com on January 7, 2011 at 8:41 am

    LOL @ the cartoon … that describes me! That is why I don’t do resolutions. :)) But you have some good resolutions there…good luck!

    Reply

  52. Norwegian Phoenix on January 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve now been lurking around your blog for so long I can’t remember if I’ve left a comment on another post of yours or not. I always look forward to your recipes and I’ve tried several of them over the past few months (always with great success). Thanks for all the ideas! Love that cartoon too!

    Adelaide @ Norwegian Phoenix

    Reply

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