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I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions. However, last year, I decided to come up with a few goals focused around my kitchen that I could work on throughout the year. Some worked better than others! This year, I’m trying again with a new batch of four kitchen resolutions for 2020.
Looking Back at 2019
I kept my starter alive throughout the winter, and made some tasty treats with it. However, when we moved, I just couldn’t revive it. Instead of starting again, I focused on seasonal produce. I might try again, since it was a fun experiment.
Keeping it Clean
I wanted to clean my small appliances right after using them, and I mostly did a pretty good job. However, there were a few times that I let something sit and then had to scrub. I’m hoping I can keep this habit alive in 2020, but it’s no longer a new focus.
Fresh & Local
I’m going to say I nailed this one. Upstate New York has a short harvest season, but we took full advantage in this house. We loved our farm share, and learned a ton for next year. Also, we found plenty of other local farms to supplement. We even have pickles and preserves to get us through the winter, though not completely.
Using Tools for Good
I wanted to use my kitchen gadgets to promote healthier eating. I think the farm share did a better job at that, but the gadgets helped. The salad spinner got the most mileage, and the air fryer and juicer were a little neglected. Hopefully those will get some more attention next year!
Cut Down on Waste: Food and Disposables
This is a two-pronged goal, and I’m excited when I think about both parts. First, I’d like to cut down on food waste. We use meal kits to help with this, but I can also focus on meal planning keep it going in between deliveries. Plus relying too much on meal kits means more packaging, and less local eating. I’d like to find a balance.
And when we’re talking about sustainability in packaging and disposables, I want that to be top of mind this year. New York state banned single use plastic bags at the grocery store, which should help. But there are places at home I can be better about reusable items. I started last year by making some easy switches, and I hope to make more.
I’ve decided to try to track the waste we do create. I know it’s a little much to write everything down, but I’d like to have an idea of how we’re doing. Maybe if I have some numbers to crunch, it will feel like real progress.
Try Making Something Totally New Each Season
I’m excited about this goal, because it lets me be creative in the kitchen, and it lets me enjoy a new tasty dish or treat. I was inspired by my sourdough experiment, but I thought a year-long project like that would not keep my attention. However, breaking it up by season means I need to think of four projects!
I haven’t fully decided what I’m making yet for each season, but I have a few ideas of new kitchen projects that I’ve never really explored. On the savory side, I’d like to try working with a plant-based meat substitute – maybe seitan or tofu? I have some great cook books with intriguing recipes.
On the sweet side, there are always new baked goods and pastries that I’m willing to give a chance. For example, can you believe I’ve never made choux dough, like cream puffs or eclairs before? I’m sure some of these projects will fail, but it’s fun just to try!
Keep Eating Local, Even in the Off Season
I’m expanding on my goal from 2019, which was to fill my fridge with fresh, local produce. Now that we know how great the farm share is, and where to find plenty of other local produce, eating New York only fruits and vegetables is easy in the summer and fall.
However, I’d like to continue the trend throughout the winter and spring as well. Since it’s hard to support farmers, I’ll shift my focus to local restaurants and makers. I’ve already started building a collection of upstate liquor, why not add to that? Cheeses, maple syrup, and baked goods are available year-round.
At home, I can do this by remembering to eat the food we saved from the summer. We used our new canning kit to preserve peaches, pickles, jams, and more. I’m excited to enjoy those in the colder months. Then when the weather is nice again, I can utilize canning to prepare ahead for the following winter.
Take Advantage of Hosting Opportunities
What’s the fun of expanding my cooking and baking knowledge if there’s no one to share it with? In 2020, I’d like to try and make my home a destination where friends and family can stop by, and know there is always a delicious treat waiting or on the horizon.
I can do this in a few a different ways. The first is to hold more events, like dinner parties, brunches, game nights, and more. I have some fun ideas in mind, like Thanksgiving in July, a murder mystery party, or themed liquor tastings. These each provide unique chances to develop fun dishes to share.
The other way is to create a welcoming atmosphere, which will make our house a place that people feel comfortable stopping by. I’d love for our friends and family to feel like they can pop in for a drink or dessert without too much advanced planning. This means always being ready for company, so no one feels like they are intruding on our lives.
So there’s four goals, that cover very different aspects of what life in my kitchen encompasses. I’m excited to track these throughout the year and see how 2020 treats me and my goals. What are your resolutions for this year, anything kitchen related?