Tag Archives: New Year

Breakfast Resolution Update

One of my big New Year’s resolutions is to eat more breakfast in 2011.  Seventeen days into the new year, I’m happy to report that it’s going awesome sort of okay. Except not.

I ate breakfast twice in the last two weeks. Good news first: that’s two hundred percent more breakfast than I ate in 2010. Now the bad news: one of those breakfasts occured at dinner time. (Remember that yummy apple pancake cake  last week?) And the other breakfast came from McDonald’s. I ate it in my car. Not only did it taste terrible, I felt guilty and irritable after I ate it. This is not the food-positive breakfast journey I was hoping for at the beginning of the year!

A lot of my breakfast frustrations boil down to the same issues that plague all struggling home cooks: I’m short on time and know-how.  In the past year, I’ve become great at improvising healthy dinners, but I’m still a newbie when it comes to from-scratch breakfast recipes. And while I’m a pro at menu-planning, the strategies that help me keep dinners organized are too rigid for my feeble, groggy mind to employ at breakfast.

So. I don’t have a lot of breakfast solutions yet, but I’m hoping that this third week of the new year will be easier than the last two. Tonight I’m going to make a batch of apple cheddar muffins for grab-and-go breakfasts. I’m also planning to make some steel cut oats in the crockpot. I tried making steel cut oats over the winter break with crunchy results, but I’m willing to give it another go if that means I can eat breakfast this week. At the very least, I’ll feel less angst about crunchy oatmeal than I would over another McSausage Biscuit.

I’ll let you know how things go. In the meantime, what are your strategies for eating breakfast in the morning?


Top 10 of 2010, Plus Printable Recipes!

Big news on the blog! Starting this year, any time I write a recipe, along with all the usual pictures and jibba jabba, I’ll include a printable copy of the recipe for download. This one-page PDF document will be scaled down to include just the recipe ingredients and preparation instructions, making it easy to print, email, or save to your computer’s hard drive.  Here’s an example:

I’m particularly excited about the printing capability since it will allow me to quit sprinting back and forth between the kitchen and the computer at dinner time. (My dog will miss the trail of food I leave on the floor in my wake.)

To kick off the new year, I thought it would be fun to go back and add printable pages to each of my top 10 recipes of 2010.  These are the recipes that received the most traffic in the last year, and many of them are my personal favorites, too.  To download the PDF of each recipe, scroll to the bottom of the post and find the text, “click here for a printable copy of this recipe.”

Without further ado, here are Austin Gastronomist’s Top 10 Recipes of 2010, complete with printable recipe pages!

10. Spiced Beet Whoopie Pies
(December 1)

9. Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup
(November 22)

8. Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze
(October 13)

7. Venison Pot Pie with Fireman’s #4
(October 23)

6. Sweet Potato Pie
(November 9)

5. Grilled Goat Cheese, Apple & Persimmon Sandwich
(November 17)

4. Mini Apple Persimmon Pies
(November 16)

3. Chili Lime Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(October 11)

2. Apple Persimmon Compote
(November 13)

1. Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza
(November 10)



Blogging Resolutions for the New Year

I love adjectives.

I love adjectives. I mean, I reeeaally love evocative, emotional, expressive, explicative adjectives.  My writing is full of them if you haven’t noticed.

I love adjectives.  But it’s a new year, and it’s time to expand my writing style.  I want to share more than recipes in this space, and that means adding some new techniques to my artistic tool belt. But what to use besides that beloved, florid, descriptive literary device the adjective?

To help answer that question I’ve spent a lot of the holiday break reading and re-reading some of the best food writing in my library:

From these books I find that my favorite writing about food is conversational, ironic, inspiring, funny, and informative. (There I go with the adjectives again.) Dorie Greenspan embodies nearly all of these qualities in her explanation of the skate, found on page 291 of Around my French Table:

“Shaped like a ruffle-edged fan and tufted like a quilt, skate looks like an art school project. In French, skate is called raie (pronounced “ray”), and it is, indeed, a member of the sting ray family, which explains why the edible part, the wing, has that beautiful triangular shape.”

Is this for real? In 49 words, Dorie Greenspan has convinced me to crave skate, an ocean creature whose flesh I, before reading this passage, would not have put in my mouth for $100.  I’m not quite sure how to write like that yet, but gosh I want to learn how.

In the spirit of the skate, my blogging resolutions for 2011 focus on growing as writer.  For starters, I’d like to use fewer adjectives. The best food writing transforms the reader. Dorie Greenspan’s words made my mouth water at the idea of eating a stingray. Michael Pollan’s words made me swear off factory farmed meats. Suzanne Collins’ words made my stomach ache with hunger. Through their writing I’ve learned that adjectives can help make language transformative, but too many of them just get in the way.  I hope that pruning them from my prose will be like weeding a garden; as I remove them I’ll be creating space for more effective techniques to flourish.

Another big goal I have is to blog every day. Perfectionism is a monster in my life, and by committing to publish something every day I can use my writing as a tool to conquer that beast. Hear that, perfectionism? I’m coming after you every single day with a big stick called “progress.”

I’d also like to take a risk to reveal more about myself in my posts. That doesn’t mean sharing personal secrets, just speaking honestly in my own voice. Most of my writing training took place in a journalistic or academic setting, which is fine. But now, here in my own space, I want to get more comfortable and share my own voice.

Introspection and goal setting is scary for me. Sharing these resolutions publicly magnifies the scary. (I started writing this post three weeks ago and nearly didn’t publish it.)  However, the following passage from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Advice to Writers,” is one of the most encouraging I  have found.  I bookmarked it in November when I began considering these things and I have read it nearly every day since then.

“Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead — or, worse, they will stop reading you.

“The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don’t you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.

“So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head.”

I know better than to try to follow Kurt Vonnegut, so I’ll close out here with thanks to you for sharing this journey with me.  Best wishes in 2011 for health, happiness, and fewer adjectives.