Happy new year! I’ve always loved the blank-slate feel of early January: while it’s a great time to reflect on everything you’re already doing right (you rock!), it’s also an invitation to form new and better habits to shape the year ahead and improve our lives.
So I offer you 10 kitchen resolutions, inspiring but approachable, to make you a better cook and eater this year. Please add yours in the comments below, or share on social media with the hashtag #cnzresolutions, and I will retweet and repost my favorites.
#1: Make the most of the cookbooks you already own
Not sure how to mine the amazing trove of inspiration gathering dust on your kitchen bookshelf? Here are 6 tips to make the most of your cookbooks.
#2: Save your scraps for stock
Start a stock box in your freezer to collect any vegetable scraps and leftover bones, so you can make delicious bone broth, completely free.
#3: Really taste your chocolate
No more scarfing down chocolate mindlessly! Read those tips on how to (really) taste chocolate so all your senses experience the bliss. It’s so worth it.
#4: Plan your meals
Planning your meals doesn’t have to be a bore or a hassle. With my best meal planning tips and tricks, you’ll save time, money, and energy — and eat really well.
#5: Keep your greens fresh
Can you name one thing more depressing than finding your greens have gone limp and moldy at the bottom of your fridge? Here’s the easy way I keep them fresh.
#6: Declutter your pantry
It’s crazy the amount of stuff that accumulates in a pantry if you let it. The new year is the ideal time to take inventory, and commit to using things up before you buy anything new. Want to know my magic trick for dealing with those odd nuts and dried fruits leftover from baking projects? Hint: it involves chocolate.
#7: Keep your knives sharp
Hacking away at fruits and vegetables with a dull knife is not just frustrating, it’s dangerous. Invest in a quality knife sharpener, or find a professional near you who’ll take care of your blades. Here’s where to get your knives sharpened in Paris.
#8: Keep a reusable shopping bag on hand
By now you probably own a dozen reusable shopping bags, but they don’t do the environment much good if you don’t actually, you know, use them. Make it a habit to keep one on you wherever you go — in your purse, backpack, diaper bag, car, you get the idea. Mine are from Flip & Tumble and I a.d.o.r.e. them. (Remember to wash your bags regularly, to avoid the festering of bacteria. Yum.)
#9: Eat more plants
If there is one thing you do this year for your health, your looks, and the planet, make it this: fill your plate with a colorful and seasonal variety of plant-based foods. Besides, there’s nothing tastier.
#10: Entertain more (but think simple)
Entertaining is like playing an instrument: the more you do it, the better you get, the more you enjoy it. But if you think dinner parties have to be a huge production, you’re probably exhausted just thinking about it. I say, keep it simple. Invite a small number of guests and be completely comfortable serving easy dishes (such as these amazing five-ingredient recipes), but try to get into a rhythm and have people over on a regular basis — whatever’s realistic for you. Nothing will illuminate your year like lively conversations over shared meals.
Join the conversation!
Will you be setting any kitchen intentions for the New Year? Share them in the comments below or on social media with the hashtag #cnzresolutions! I will retweet and repost my favorites.
This post was first published in January 2016 and updated in January 2017.