New Year, Blank Slate and a Reorganized Recipe Binder

Time to clear the deck and get all those recipe clippings out of the to-do pile. For years, I have organized recipes in binders. bindersI tear them out of magazines and clip them from newspapers. I jot down a family recipe or receive one in email after a party. In the past, I kept this all very neat. Of late, I had had really let it go. There was a grouping in front of one binder of the last-added recipes. IMG_5922This was the on-deck group for sorting later in the proper, existing binder sections. Then, there was the grouping collecting dust in a magazine rack. The turn of the new year beckoned as the right time to literally sort out this recipe madness. The other challenge was I have three binders. One is for desserts and easily identifiable as such. With the other two, IMG_5928I tend to grab the wrong one for meats or salads. All that was needed is a label on the binding of each with a rundown of the contents. This is one of those really simple tasks I just normally don’t get around to do addressing. It really only took a half-hour or so to collect the stray recipes, organize them, file them and label the binders. The best part? I added a new section of smoothie recipes to start the year with a healthy kick.

Find Your Holiday Balancing Act with Take-It-Easy Meals

Christmas 2015 is in the books. Yet, there is still New Year’s and any additional Christmas gatherings you may have in the interim. We still have another family gathering for a special dinner tomorrow night. As I write, I am fending off an inclination to walk back over to the cookies and chocolates beckoning from the countertop. This time of year requires balance in our cooking and I find that eating simple outside of entertaining keeps me feeling centered. Here are a couple of recent dinners fixed between the more extravagant meals eaten around the holidays. (I cannot believe how creamy an over-the-top oyster mushrooms pasta dish was at a restaurant the other night. Geesh.) We had pork chops with grilled green tomatoes,

spinach atop garlic and olive oil before being covered to cook

and another night we had grilled salmon with baked potatoes. The grilled green tomatoes are a new favorite. Cooking sliced green tomatoes on an indoor grill really brings their flavor to life, especially in the winter. Another go-to dish to bring everything together is sautéed spinach. Start per usual for sautéed veggies by cooking sliced garlic in olive oil on low. Once the garlic is gold, add spinach (straight from a bag) and a pinch of salt, then cover. About 5-7 minutes later, you should have soft, garlic-y spinach ready to plate. The salmon was in a special weeknight display at the grocery store, which served as a reminder to try to eat a little healthy at this time of year. Granted, it was served with twice-baked potatoes. The cheesy potatoes may just offset the healthiness of the salmon, but that’s OK. That’s kind of the point of the salmon. For the potatoes, I first baked them an hour at 375 degrees.

baked potatoes dressed with paprika and spinach

Then I scooped out the middles and placed that potato meat in a bowl with grated parmesan cheese, a dollop of sour cream and spices. I spread that mixture back into the potato shells and broiled them until the tops took on a nice crust.


don't forget salad
don’t forget salad

To further ensure you are getting enough vegetables, make a simple salad. Romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes and green onions are easy to gather, chop and toss with any dressing you like, and complement any number of meats or fish.