I’m generally not a resolution person. And I know, I know, you’re probably sick of hearing that everywhere from everybody right now, but it’s true. I’m not. I feel, however, that 2011 (and 2010 to be honest) completely got away from me and now, post new year, I am sitting here trying to think about what exactly I accomplished and I have to admit that it wasn’t much. I got into the habit of dreading going into work everyday and got into a “bad mood” routine that has been hard to shake. Our very short summer left no time to do everything we wanted to do in our yard and in the garden. The weird weather made at least half of our vegetable garden a bust – the beets and radishes and turnips were a no-go, gophers ate 3/4s of our potatoes, the greens were infiltrated by hawk poop and inedible, etc. We didn’t get our grass done in our yard either. I finished my degree in late 2010 and when I don’t have a goal like that to occupy my time and make me feel useful, I just sit around a lot, wringing my hands and feeling guilty that I’m making time slide by doing unnecessary or unimportant things (Toddlers and Tiaras marathon on Netflix Instant Play? I’m ashamed to admit it, but yes. This happened. Frequently.)
Foodwise, I think I got a little lazy in menu planning and execution due to my overburdened work schedule and there were a lot of repeated meals in a quicker succession than I would have liked. There were also many nights of “oh screw it, get a pizza,” far more of those than I would have liked. On the other hand, I feel kind of accomplished because we managed to really step up our canning with very fresh, just picked veggies and fruits from Utah (as local as I could get for large quantities). I also found a source for the most beautiful and delicious organic veggies from the Crazy Lady farm located just a couple of miles from where I live. So our grocery bills went down in that regard and that produce is the freshest and best tasting I’ve ever had. I ate kohlrabi for the first time thanks to those produce baskets and am in love with it. I’m trying to find more local food sources and am currently looking for honey that’s made locally.
Towards the end of 2011, I have been immersing myself in canning and DIY blogs and one of the goals I am setting for myself is to learn how to use my new pressure canner (not just have Erik learn the hard parts – I need to know how to do it too!) and can vegetables so that I never have to purchase any pre-canned veggies from the store in 2012. I’m also intrigued by the “October Unprocessed” blog project that made the rounds recently. That might be a tad bit more difficult for me to do, because I can’t make my own flour and sugar for baking, obviously. But I do feel that I balance that out by not eating as much processed and packaged foods as I did when I was a kid.
Another food goal for 2012 is to stop buying grocery store bread. I want to learn how to keep a sourdough starter fed for a long period of time and I want to make our sandwich breads each week. I already make our burger and hot dog buns, our dinner rolls, baguettes, and other yeasty delights that one might normally purchase at the grocery store so I’m halfway there.
I’d like to stop spending $100 each time I shop. There shouldn’t be any need for that – there’s only two of us! One of Erik’s goals is to purchase meat in bulk and butcher it himself. He’s already got a small collection of good knives started. He cut up some beautiful steaks for us a few weeks ago. I’d like to source local beef and pork. Now that we have a HUGE new freezer (thanks to my in law’s astonishing Christmas generosity) I think we have plenty of space to store that quantity of meat.
We’ve obviously always got gardening goals. We’re going to do raised beds this year and clean up an ugly patch of yard space with them. There are several old tires that we are going to repurpose and grow potatoes in. I’d like to try a stand up pallet garden (kind of a cross between this project and one of those garden pocket/wall garden things) of ornamentals. I’m expanding my herb garden and getting them out of their containers. We’d also like to build a small garden/storage shed.
Our outdoor plans ought to result in some good exercise in the sun this year. This is good for me because I have officially crossed over into the Not Healthy and Not Feeling Well at my current size zone. So that means a diet and more exercise. I need to approach dieting differently though, not as a total deprivation thing, but as a moderation and take things slowly sort of way. I spent a lot of last year trying out new baking projects and then eating the results of said projects and not getting enough exercise. So there’s a typical new year goal. Lose some weight and get rid of my back pain and my general huffy-puffiness when I do physical things. You shouldn’t feel like you’ve run a marathon just by climbing some stairs.
So there you have it. These are my goals for 2012. Apologies for there not being a recipe, but I felt like this goes on quite long enough. I’ve got some good things on deck for the next week and I promise I’ll have a tasty recipe for you next time.