As we move into 2014, resolve to take your healthy-eating habits up a notch with some out-of-the-box resolutions. Here at Inn Serendipity, we’ve enjoyed our fair share of buttery, whipped cream-laden holiday fun and would like to take on a few new challenges for our farmstead kitchen and eating plan in the new year. The key for us is to keep commitments manageable and meaningful—small changes quickly cook into new habits.
Here are our six resolutions for the New Year; feel free to adapt and make them your own.
1. Keep Stocked
Take the pantry-prep idea we wrote about in early December up a notch, and keep your kitchen stocked with your key essentials. By having this "in-house convenience store,” you not only save money by avoiding mad dashes to the grocery, but you increase opportunities for home-cooking, avoiding the processed convenience foods.
Every month we’ll quickly run through and check our farm pantry check-list and make notes of anything we’re running low on for our next stock-up trip to Willy Street, our food co-op in the big city of Madison, Wis.
2. Use It Up
There’s a pre-requisite for keeping a stocked pantry: use up stocked items. While we do want to keep our pantry stocked to encourage home cooking, we also try to use up everything regularly to avoid it going stale. This is easy with staples we use frequently, such as flour or sugar, but we need to remind ourselves to use up the quinoa or hemp seeds we bought on a health whim. Winter can be the perfect time to clear out lingering items from the pantry and avoid food waste by experimenting with new recipes.
Lisa just found a rather large jar of nutritional yeast (again, one of those health whims in the bulk foods aisle) and has been sprinkling it on top of everything from popcorn to casseroles and found it adds not only a nutritional punch, but an interesting, nutty flavor, as well.
3. Green One More Ingredient
Every year we pick a different ingredient—something we use regularly but don’t grow on the farm—and see how we can improve its sourcing. Ideally, we want to buy local and direct from a farmer or producer or support companies or cooperatives that treat their farmers and workers fairly.
This year, we’re taking on cooking oil. While we’ve been buying organic canola oil from Spectrum (this is important to us, as much canola oil comes from GMO seed), we’ve heard about several Wisconsin-grown, organic sunflower-oil operations, such as Driftless Organics. Dubbed the "olive oil of the Midwest,” this oil also offers stronger nutritional value by being low in saturated fats with almost no trans fats.
4. Greens at Every Meal
Green will also appear more on our plate in 2014. Whether it’s fresh romaine lettuce from the summer garden or frozen spinach greens in January, the plan is to add something green to every meal. Greens, especially kale, add low-calorie and nutritional bulk to your plate (to help balance out the whipped cream and buttery holidays).
5. Be a Farmsteadtarian
An ongoing goal of ours that we write about in our cookbook, Farmstead Chef, is to eat "farmsteadtarian.” That is, knowing the source of our food and buying direct from local farmers whenever possible. Farmsteadtarian is a philosophy, mindset and principle on our healthy-eating journey—one resolution that never will be fully completed or checked off. But this lack of "resolution of the resolution” is a good thing: as the number of farmers and food artisans practicing sustainable and organic agriculture increase, our farmsteadtarian options continue to grow.
Savoring the good life,
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