Monday, January 7, 2019

Around the Kitchen Table: Our Cooking Resolutions + Giveaway!




DENISE SWANSON: We've made it through the holiday season, and it's time to think about our New Year's resolutions.


Now, I'm not talking about the usual resolutions like get healthy, get organized, enjoy life, find a new hobby, or spend less money, I'm talking about our cooking resolutions,



There seems to be an incredible range of cooking styles. I used to be much more of a baker, but when I had to cut back on gluten and sugar for health reasons, I turned to the savory side of the kitchen. I do still have a few favorite desserts that I make on special occasions, and one of my Cooking Resolutions is to try more sugar and gluten free baked goods. Another is to try recipes that have ingredients that scare me, like Phyllo dough, pork belly, sea urchin, and anchovies.

How about you? What are your culinary resolutions for the year?


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PEG COCHRAN:  My culinary resolution for the year is to find creative ways to eat healthy but still have delicious meals!  That might mean trying new ingredients or new methods of cooking or even adapting recipes we love to be more healthy.  I also want to incorporate more of the foods that are good for our brains like walnuts, turmeric and dark chocolate (what a sacrifice that will be!) and also those foods that help lower cholesterol like legumes, fatty fish and whole grains.   Here's to a healthier 2019!




DARYL WOOD GERBER:  Hmm. Good question. Denise, like you, because I have to eat gluten-free (serious celiac), I've already changed my diet a lot. I've become a very good gluten-free baker. (Ask me for recipes!)  I tried making sugar-free items for my husband when he had a bout of diabetes, and many worked, but because I don't have to eat sugar-free, I'm not going to. (Stamp foot: So there.  I like sugar.  In moderation.  LOL)  So...a resolution? See if I can use more spices without making things spicier. More basil. More turmeric. More cinnamon. For years, I added cheese to everything because of the Cheese Shop Mysteries, but when the series ended, it sort of disappeared from my cooking. I need to add it back in. I had such fun experimenting with cheese during that time. And high tea. I'd like to learn to make a delicious high tea -- gluten-free. Now, that's a challenge!




SHEILA CONNOLLY: For unknown reasons, the older I get, the lower my cholesterol and blood sugar get (I have both checked regularly). Since I have always adored desserts, I do indulge myself in baking sweets (but consume them in moderation!), a trait I think I inherited from my grandmother, who lived to be 94. But I also love experimenting with unfamiliar foods when I can find them. I'm hoping to try cooking octopus one of these days--I fell in love with it in a Washington restaurant, where it was cooked with smoked paprika. I've kept a tin of that paprika on hand ever since (easier to find than the octopus).

And one other food note. When I bought my Irish cottage, I found the scruffy remains of some herbs, planted long ago by former owners. The rosemary plant I recognized, but the other plant was a mystery until I bumped into it. It turned out to be a six-foot-tall fennel plant that smelled wonderful.


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LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Me to Mr. Right: Any food-related resolutions for the new year? 

Mr. R: Drink more champagne. 

Me: Cheers!

So, as Cleo often says, let's make a pledge to cook with more joy, and more love. At a time when there is so much chaos, so much anger and danger and grief in the world, share a loaf of home-baked bread or a pot of soup and a perky cupcake, and spread a little grace. 

Daryl, let's talk spice! It really is about flavor, not heat, which of course is what many people mean when they say they don't care for spicy food. Sheila, in the Irish climate, I bet you'd be able to grow a lot of perennial herbs, and some herbs we consider annuals might be perennials there.

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LUCY BURDETTE: Having just finished a season of many fabulous cakes (caramel cake --incredible, chocolate with peppermint frosting--delicious, carrot cake--for my son in law who's stuck with a 12/31 birthday), I think I'm up a few pounds and down a few vegetables. I did get a gift pack from Rancho Gordo chock full of French beans, so I need to use those!


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KRISTA DAVIS: Wow. I'm impressed by these foodie resolutions. These days I'm cooking anything my mom will eat. She's not picky, but as we age our food preferences change. So I foresee quite a bit of baking in my future. The Diva Sweetens the Pie comes out in April which means we ate pies until we burst last summer. I don't have a theme lined up for the next diva mystery yet, but that will probably dictate our diet to some extent.

The one thing I do want is to incorporate more vegetables into yummy dishes. My mom no longer cares for green salads, so this year I'm going to figure out how to use vegetables more creatively!


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CLEO COYLE: I'm betting most of you work very hard and tend to put enjoyable things on the back burner. There aren’t enough hours in the day, you know how it goes, and I'm the same...
Cleo's Oatmeal Recipes:
Oatmeal Cookie Brittle - click here
& Oatmeal Cookie Muffins - click here

As the years speed by, however, I recognize how important it is that we slow down and try to include little things in our daily lives that make us happy. As simple as it seems, baking is one of those things for me, and (as odd as this may seem) I’d like to try more recipes with oats. It's a good-for-you ingredient that provides fiber and nutrition, and when added to recipes, brings lovely nutty flavor and good structure. Here are links to two of my favorite recipes that use oats, which I shared in the past. I hope to share more soon. Happy New Year, everyone! For my Oatmeal Cookie Brittle, click hereFor my Oatmeal Cookie Muffins, click here







GIVEAWAY!


Krista is giving away a copy of THE COLORING CROOK and an advance reader copy of THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE to two lucky winners. US addresses only, please.

Daryl is giving away a copy of WREATH BETWEEN THE LINES, the 7th in the Cookbook Nook Mysteries. US addresses only, thanks.  E-book or paper. 

Sheila is giving away THE LOST TRAVELLER, the 7th book in the County Cork Mysteries. Advanced reading copy or audio.

Cleo is giving away a signed, print copy of THE GHOST AND THE BOGUS BESTSELLER, the 6th entry in her Haunted Bookshop Mysteries (the first in nearly ten years)!




Enter to win by leaving a comment with your email address. Do you have any resolutions (cooking or otherwise!) for the new year? 


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131 comments:

  1. I'm glad you asked!My resolution for 2019 is to learn to prepare more Mexican recipes especially those that call for sauces. I grew up eating a lot of Tex-Mex like enchiladas, tacos, burritos and chalupas but I want to learn to do chiles relleno and posole. lnchudej@yahoo.com

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    1. Linda, that sounds like fun. I've never heard of posole, but I remember adoring chiles relleno. :) ~ Daryl

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    2. My resolution is to become good at making my cupcakes spectacular.

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  2. Happy New Year ladies! I haven't been much of a fruit eater since I was young. Now at 70 I'm needing the nutrients that come from them. So during 2019 I'll be looking for & trying recipes that include tasty fruits.

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    1. Sandy, I adore fruit and always have. It helped having a small apple tree, peach tree, and rambling berry bushes, I think. Grapes are fun. Blueberries are simple to cook with. Enjoy the experience. ~ Daryl

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  3. I'd like to eat more healthily this year - more fruits and veggies. JL_Minter@Hotmail.com

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  4. I am going to cook and eat at home more this year. I’m not a great cook, but I want to practice and get out of my comfort zone. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Chris, my character Jenna learns cooking by doing 5-ingredient recipes. There are lots of those online and some pretty nifty cookbooks featuring only 5-ingredient recipes, too. Good luck. ~ Daryl

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  5. I love cooking and baking! My problem lies in making too much! I had 5 girls and cooked liked that for so many years! Then when they left home, one by one, I scaled the amounts down some. I now live with just 1 girl left at home, and she is leaving by Spring. My hope is to start cooking for just 1 or possible freeze meals!
    I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season!
    Thank you for giving away these books!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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    1. Freezing works great! I always make too much, too--making portions for four when we're down to the two of us.

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  6. My New Year's resolution and culinary resolutions could be looked at as the same. My New Year's resolution is “do it”. I resolve to not put off for another day. Take that trip, tell those near to me how much they mean to me, read that book on the TBR list, speak to that newbie in town – just do it. We are not guaranteed tomorrow so I plan on making 2019 the best yet, step out of my comfort zone, try the new, relish the old and be all the “me” I can be. That being said my culinary resolutions is to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, share the bounty of my kitchen, both new and old recipes, with others, and to try to make at least one new to me dish at least every two weeks.

    When you get my age and have recipes passed down from your Mom and Granny, you tend to fall in a rut going to the tried and true because you have so many. I'm determined this year to ADD to my tried and true through trial and error of new techniques, recipes and ingredients. Plus now that everyone is gone or out and about, to find a way to reduce recipes and find new ones for just two which is a big deal for me too.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  7. The only cooking resolutions I have are to try to use/eat of up leftovers and to make the most of what I already have in my pantry.
    Wendy
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

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    1. I cleaned and straightened my pantry before Christmas and made the same resolution. considering that the grocery store is minutes away, there really is no need to have ten cans of beans at one time!

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  8. I already try to cook pretty healthy. I want to use up the leftovers we have for lunches instead of eating out.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. I love leftovers for lunch! They're usually even better the second day.

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  9. Happy New Year and thanks for the awesome giveaway! I normally do not make New Year's resolutions, but we just moved, and my resolution is to get all the boxes unpacked or donated by this summer. bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  10. No real new years resolutions but would like to improve on the healthy eating. Need to watch my cholesterol and weight is always a struggle. Love to bake so need healthier baking choices.
    a.connolley@gmail.com

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  11. Well because of many health issues my food habits is in the weird department even cutting do on veggies so on the food I can handle thinking of different ways of using chicken tuna spices to use
    Clemmie.Jackson@yahoo.com

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  12. What a great giveaway! I’m disabled and live w my older son and his family and his wife enjoys doing most of the cooking, so I actually miss it sometimes. My biggest resolution/goal is losing weight, as usual. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

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  13. I’m trying to improve my A1C level so I’m trying my sugar free cooking and baking and natural sweeteners. Enjoyed all the authors tips!

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    1. My A1C is "okay" but creeping up there so I'd like to work on that, too!

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  14. My resolution is to stress less and improve my health, both physical and mental. Looking out for what's best for me instead of worrying about how it affects others. mcastor07 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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