January and Fresh Starts

January is a time for fresh starts. We make resolutions with the best of intentions and attack them with a fervor not witnessed since the previous January. Everything seems possible with these unsullied months stretching out in front of us. Of course we can lose some weight, clean the closets, and learn to square dance. What could possibly stop us?

The magic of January is that it feels pristine. Anyone who has lived a few years has racked up some failures, some moments we’re not too proud of, and some experiences we’d just as soon forget. The flip of the calendar means we can leave all that behind and start anew.

I understand the attraction of January, but I also believe we can have a new beginning anytime we choose. Who’s to say that every week isn’t a good time to start with a clean slate? How about every morning? We can let go of past worries and grievances and start fresh anytime. Who is to say February 12 or September 19 is not just as good a time to take a new approach?

Maybe this year is a the time to be a little extra gentle with yourself. Instead of instructing yourself to organize all your photos and clean out the attic while working 60 hours a week, give yourself a break. Spend some time doing things you love instead of worrying about all the things that aren’t done. I promise you, they’ll be right there waiting for you. No one has ever come in and washed all the windows while I was out having fun. It will wait.

Our cookbook this month is from a group doing something they love – they’re singing. The Emerald City Chorus in Wichita produced “Our Cookbook!” as a fundraiser. The group formed in 2007 and is part of the Sweet Adelines International. The book has about 250 recipes that are tried and true. It sells for only $10 plus $1 for shipping and handling. Order from Emerald City Chorus, 300 S Callahan, Wichita KS 67209.

Vegetable Chowder

2 cups canned or raw corn
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tomatoes, canned or raw
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbs. flour
2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped pimento
1/4 tsp. paprika

Place vegetables, salt, pepper and water in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. In another saucepan, melt butter, stir in flour, gradually add milk and cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and thickened. Add to vegetables. Stir in cheese, pimento and paprika. Makes approximately 6 servings.


Here are some bonus recipes from the book. I heard the other day on a cooking show that a food trend in 2016 is ramen noodles. They offered no additional explanation, but when I spotted this recipe it seemed perfect to share – just in case you want to be on the cutting edge of noodle-dom!

Here are some extras, just for good measure!