Cranberry Chia Smoothie and a Clean Slate

I’m kind of obsessed with New Year’s Resolutions, this year especially. Let me just say, I am relieved to be done with 2013.  It was really a mess. You know how life tends to go in cycles, with ups and downs, and it’s not always sunshine and flowers?  I thought about that often last year. It’s over though, thank god!

I know not everyone bothers with making resolutions and that they’re kind of made to be broken eventually, but I find it very clarifying to have a clean slate and the opportunity to kind of step back and evaluate what I would like to have happen for that year. I write ridiculously long lists of dreams, plans and ideas, knowing full well that I’m not going to do all of them at all, but usually I end up doing some of them, which is great.  I guess they’re not really “resolutions” in the traditional sense.  Intentions is probably a better word.  Past examples that worked out really well include: “start my own jam business” and “I think we should get 200 chickens.”cranberriesOne of the things I am focusing on right now, at least for the beginning of this year, is to take better care of myself. Meaning, if I’m trying to get my life really on track for where I want to be going, working every moment of every day and drinking 9,000 cups of coffee to get through it is a horrible way to make it happen.  Very little will end up getting accomplished, except being really exhausted and crazy.  It’s funny, because I totally know that already, but sometimes we just need learn things the really hard way, right? (Although… I might say that the thing about learning things the hard way is that the lesson is so painful that I personally will absolutely not be forgetting it any time in the near future). _MG_3970So. For the last few days I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast.  Some resolutions might be difficult to keep, but I think this one is pretty easy.  “Eat a real breakfast with things in it that are actually good for you.”  I’ll sheepishly admit that it’s pretty simple, not exactly rocket science, and I’ve known it for a long time, yet I decided to have coffee for breakfast for most of last year.smoothieHere’s to a happy and healthy 2014!

CRANBERRY CHIA SMOOTHIE

Makes: about 1 quart jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. almond milk
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 2 big kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tangerine, peeled
  • optional: 1 tbs. honey or maple syrup

Combine the chia seeds and almond milk and let the seeds soak for atleast 30 minutes. (I do this step the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning).  Once the seeds are soaked, combine the almond milk/chia mixture with the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

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Do it! Projects for 2012

I was just writing out some kitchen resolutions for 2012: things I want to learn how to do, things I want to get better at doing, and things that I really enjoy and want to make sure that I keep doing. I realized I have a perfect year of cooking laid out, with one big project for every month, things like…. learning how to make fresh pasta (I’ve only done it a handful of times in the past) and learning how to make cheese (never done it!).  It’s a year of from-scratch-do-it-yourself-local-fresh-inspired-homestead-kitchen skills.

In 2010, I loved reading the Hungry Tigress’ Can Jam, and learning how to make bacon with the Charcutepalooza last year was absolutely spectacular.  I want to continue challenging myself to tackle new projects and skills, keep my cooking inspired, and my kitchen and pantry filled with amazing treats.

Instead of focusing on one specific technique for a year, I’m planning a year of twelve different skills, mainly centered around making foods from scratch that I may not currently be doing, or that I want to do more of, especially thinking about those last few ingredients that I still buy at a store, even though we supply most of our own vegetables, canned goods and fresh eggs.  I’ll be posting the results here, with recipes and photos like usual, but some tutorials for people who may have little or no experience with that particular area of cooking.

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If you’re interested in turning this into more of a group project, e-mail me by January 15, 2012 at thejamgirl@gmail.com and I’ll get something organized.

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I’m not interested in spending a lot of money on fancy equipment and ingredients or doing work that doesn’t make me all warm and fuzzy inside.  It should be fun.  These ideas are also about consciously budgeting time to do things I enjoy, so that in October, I don’t look in the pantry and wistfully think about how I wish I’d made some time to pick blackberries for jam.

P.S. Grow it Cook it Can it turns one year old today, and it’s so much fun looking back at the cooking projects from this year.  Thanks you for reading and I’m excited for another year of flowers, jam, tomatoes, prosciutto, pickles, chickens and all that other stuff that’s so much fun.