Thursday, January 01, 2009

Resolutions

What other topic could a January 1 blog post have other than resolutions? Many of us make them and break them. Some try harder than others to achieve their goals, and some just can't be bothered. In the past, I honestly wasn't one for making resolutions. I would think about those few pounds I wanted to drop, or the lack of a consistently healthy diet, or my neglect to my treadmill, or those credit card purchases that I probably shouldn't have made, but never really made any New Year's promises to myself.

Last year, I changed that. I made my first real resolution. Surprisingly, given my food obsession, it wasn't about food, or dieting, or even working out in order to be able to eat more food. I decided to better my life by changing the way I was living.

On the surface, my home has usually appeared clean and tidy. However, don't open any door without permission or you might be met with piles that would threaten to avalanche at any moment. Every nook and cranny of my home was filled to capacity, and yet I continued to stuff more into the already crowded drawers, closets, and cupboards. I was becoming my my mother. The pack rat gene had taken hold.

It was time to halt the madness. I resolved to clear one piece of clutter a day. I knew that if I made grand plans, I would fail. I am not a grand plan kind of gal. I take things step by step and see what happens. My anal side does require that I have a plan, but I fly by the seat of my pants to achieve it. I did the same with my clutter. One day's clutter might simply be dealing with the mail as soon as I received it. Toss the junk; file the bills and important stuff. Easy, right? I could do that. The next day, I would have more time and decide that everything from the deep, dark recesses of the front closet had to come out and be sorted. Of course, piling it all on the sofa required that I have my task complete by the time Hubby returned home, or we would have no where to lounge in the evening. I sometimes needed those kinds of incentives to kick myself in the butt. But, I did it all bit by bit, piece by piece, junk by junk, and in some cases, trash by trash.

I am happy to report that I did succeed in keeping last year's resolution. Most of my home is now clutter free. I am not afraid of people peeping into my closets or of asking someone to get something from the pantry for me. The local Thrift Store has been thrilled with my donations while the trash collectors have cussed at the weight of my garbage can, and my home is happier for it. I still have a few spots that need some polishing, and I don't lie to myself that this job will ever be complete. Keeping a clean and tidy home inside and out is work, but I am not afraid. I am resolved to conquer clutter.

This year, I have new resolutions. Again, no food, dieting, or working out is involved (not that those areas of my life don't need a little help now and then). Oddly enough, I found my inspiration imprinted on some of my holiday gift wrap. LIVE JOYFULLY; GIVE GENEROUSLY; BELIEVE COMPLETELY; CELEBRATE LOVINGLY Good, huh? Aspirations that, hopefully, will make me a better person. I have no doubts that this will be harder than conquering clutter. I will need to be aware of myself and the effect of my actions on others. There will probably be times that I would rather clean the inside of a closet than clean the inside of my soul. Still, I am going to give it a go. What's the worst that can happen? I will be bad and know it? Isn't being aware still better than just being bad? ...am I talking in circles and being crazy? Probably. I still hope to live, give, believe, and celebrate to the best of my abilities in 2009.

But now, since my blog is entitled On My Plate, I should probably post a recipe, huh? How about something for those of you that HAVE resolved to improve your diet, drop a few pounds, work out more, be healthier, or eat more veggies? In addition to cleaning drawers and crawl spaces last year, I did manage to drop those ugly extra pounds that I had been carrying around. I searched out some healthy ways to fill my tummy and fuel my food obsession. This Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup is a great light meal or snack that is satisfying, and most importantly, full of flavor. Because, after all, if it doesn't taste good, I don't want it On My Plate.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

10 ounces baby spinach, washed
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
2 leaves bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
Remove bay leaves before serving. (About 8 (1 cup) servings)

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