With that in mind, here’s how I’m kicking off 2018.
List making: I am a compulsive list maker, especially during times of transition. My New Year’s tradition involves not one, but two lists. The first: the year’s major moments, from having a baby to buying a car to exploring Portugal. It’s not about being exhaustive, more about looking back and remembering all that happened. The second is called “random happies,” and includes the memories that stick out: particularly wonderful dinner parties; discovering MoMA Quiet Mornings; the first time we dunked Lilly in the ocean. I highly recommend treating yourself to a fun notebook for important list-making—I love my gold-stamped one because it feels special.
Non-resolutions: Rather than swearing off sweets or committing to a dry January (I’ve tried and failed at both), this year I’m aiming for balance. That means dialing back the meat, sugar, and cocktails, but mostly just trying to get back to normal—cooking the majority of my meals, loading up on whole grains and veggies, having treats in moderation.
There are some great clean-eating plans out there that are great for inspiration. I really like The Crunchy Radish’s Clean Up, a seven-day lineup of inventive plant-based dishes, including fun breakfast ideas. Be sure to read the intro—she has a great perspective on how to create sustainable healthy eating habits. I’m also a fan of Bon Appetit’s Healthyish, and their two-week Feel Good Food Plan doesn’t look a smidge like health food—this roasted squash and grains is so up my alley.
Breakfast optimizing: If you’re going to make one mini resolution this year, may I suggest: Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Healthy meaning: Preferably homemade, and a satisfying mix of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. My go-to is scrambled eggs with sautéed greens (spinach, kale, whatever’s lying around) and sourdough toast. Sounds simple but here’s the secret: beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, then let them sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking in olive oil. The salt zips the moisture in and results in super fluffy, rich-tasting eggs. For more on the science of this, plus other egg tips, read the Serious Eats definitive guide. And don’t skimp on the olive oil—Mediterranean diet!
Weeknight cooking: Cooking at home is better for you than delivery or restaurants, but I know it can be a challenge. One tip: Start building a repertoire of go-to meals that you can whip up on a weeknight and that you know will make you feel good. One of our favorite combos is roast chicken using the Thomas Keller method plus this infinitely adaptable kale and quinoa salad. It’s satisfying but not heavy, and makes for great day-after leftovers—perfect for avoiding sad desk lunch syndrome.
And a few people have been curious about the ingredients we always have on hand. This is a fun one and I have many, many thoughts.
- Eggs: We buy two dozen at the farmer’s market every Saturday because we are egg monsters
- Greens: Kale or spinach for sautéeing, mixed greens or arugula for quick salads
- Plain yogurt: I like Siggi’s whole milk yogurt for both granola/fruit combos and sauces (tahini yogurt!)
- Lemon and/or lime: Salad dressings, smoothies etc.
- Shallots, onions: Always come in handy
- Homemade salad dressing: We make a big batch of mustardy shallot vinaigrette at the beginning of the week and keep it in a jar in the fridge.
- Fruit: Whatever is in season; right now, so many apples
- Parmigiano-Reggiano plus feta or ricotta salata: The latter lasts forever and is a nice addition to almost any grain or green salad
- Avocados: Cliché but true
- Tahini: Soom tahini for sauces or eating on toast with butter and honey
- Olives: Castelvetranos, which even olive haters like
- Almond milk: Makes oatmeal so much tastier, and key for smoothies
- Bread: We’re lucky to have access to incredible locally made bread—our favorites are She Wolf and Bien Cuit. We typically buy a loaf of miche or multigrain and freeze half of it for later. Tip: Slice before you freeze, and wrap in plastic wrap then tinfoil to avoid freezer burn. This NYT story explains why.
- So much nut butter: We almost always have multiple jars of Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter (the blue label!) and Mixed Nut Butter
- Grains: It’s great to have quick-cooking grains like quinoa or bulgar on hand, as well as hardier staples like brown rice (love Koda Farms Kokuho Rose Brown Rice if you can find it; we get it at Dean & Deluca) and rye berries or farro. I love steel cut oats for breakfast.
- Granola: Homemade granola sounds harder than it is. We make a double batch of olive oil granola every month or so and keep it in ball jars.
- Beans: Rob’s a bean enthusiast, so we have a billion different kinds of dried heirloom beans. They take forever to cook so we usually make them in bulk on a Sunday afternoon, then freeze smaller portions in ziplocks for easy thawing. If you’re less insane than us, Brad’s Organics is great, especially their chickpeas.
- Sqirl jam: Such an indulgence but the only jam I go crazy for, and my favorite for eating on toast (with all that nut butter of course)
- Raw nuts: Any and all, for snacking or tossing on salads, oatmeal, yogurt, cheese plates…
And that’s all! Overdue baby registry thoughts coming soon, promise.