Thursday, January 3, 2013

resolutions and recipes

Good morning!  Hope you've had a wonderful couple weeks of holiday celebrations!  We were busy busy (and sick...well, everyone but me) but all are now well and we're back in the swing of routines and rhythms.  Although I love the holidays and all the visiting and family and friends, I'm always a little relieved to get back to our normal schedule.  It feels good to be home and doing what we do.  

January, with its promise of a fresh start for a new year, always stirs me up.  After the sitting and reflecting and quiet of December, I need to do something in January.  I need to clean closets and rearrange furniture and take walks in the brisk morning air and make new lists and throw things away and make big decisions and start something new.  I need to make resolutions....but not resolutions.  For me, much like Carrie explained yesterday, resolutions are just another way for me to not follow through with something.  I am awesome at not following through with something if given the chance.  So instead of making resolutions that I will inevitably give up on, I make a list of things I'd like to do and make sure I glance at it every few days to remind myself of what those things are.  Many of them I'm already doing and just want to continue.  Others are completely new and will hopefully make it to the "already doing and just want to continue" list for next year.  But either way, I'm not resolving to do anything.  I'm just hoping to do these things.  No pressure.

Here's what's on my list so far for 2013:

-Try new recipes*
-Eat more salad/drink more water*
-Write something every day - send a story to a magazine
-Work out 4-5 times per week at the gym
-Go outside every day (walk, play, etc. - going to the car and back doesn't count!)
- Spring clean the entire house - organize everything (in progress)
-Run 5k, 10k, half marathon, complete triathlon (I blame this one on Dani)
- Play every day*
-Wake up early*
-Drink tea*
-Read Simple Abundance and the Bible everyday (I read most of SA last year, but I'm thinking this will be a yearly meditation for me as "becoming authentic" definitely didn't happen for me in one year)*
-Help others - once a month find a local place to volunteer (with kids!!) 
-Read the complete works of Robert Frost
-Bake more bread
-Make smoothies with my new immersion blender (thanks Mom and Dad!)

*already in progress or things I'm already doing and want to continue in 2013

Before we switch gears and talk about food, let me leave you with this, one of my favorite quotes from all of Simple Abundance:
"Time is the New Year's bountiful blessing:  three-hundred-sixty-five bright mornings and starlit evenings; fifty-two promising weeks; twelve transformative months, full of beautiful possibilities; and four splendid seasons.  A simply abundant year to be savored." 

And now let me offer you the perfect recipe to start your new year.  I discovered this in my Dinner A Love Story book about 3 weeks ago and I've already made it twice.  Most recently, I made it for my family and my two brothers (in-law) for Christmas dinner.  Everyone loved it, including my getting-pickier-by-the-day five-year-old.  This is a winner winner chicken dinner (as Guy Fieri would say).

Apricot-Mustard Baked Chicken from Dinner A Love Story.

6-8 skin-on chicken pieces (thighs or drumsticks), rinsed and patted dry
salt and pepper
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 TBSP grainy mustard
1/4 cup water
leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put chicken on a rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk jam, mustard, water, thyme, and a little salt and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat for a few minutes.  It will be slightly syrupy. 

Take the chicken out of the oven and pour the sauce on top.  Continue baking for another 15 minutes.  For the last 3 minutes, put the chicken under the broiler so it gets golden and crispy.

Notes:  I did make this with thighs the first time, but not everyone in my family is thrilled about dark meat.  The second time I made it, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and it was just as delicious.  Really, it's the sauce that makes it good and believe me when I say that this sauce would be good on just about anything.

Here's to a new year full of new possibilities!  Happy 2013!

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