Happy New Year!- New Year's Food Traditions



There's a little bit of pressure to make the last post of the year a "good one."  On this day and throughout the last week, people have shifted focus from Christmas to the New Year, and the whole out with the old, in with the new mentality. 

I thought about posting a recipe, but wondered if it'd all be lost in the shuffle.  Instead, I thought it might be fun to talk about New Year's traditions.

What about you?  What is your new year's resolution?

How do you plan to celebrate tonight and tomorrow?  What do you eat on New Year's Day?

Post in the comments section- I'd love to hear what you do!

Of course, New Year's Eve is legendary for its parties, and the next day is the day to eat specific foods to usher in prosperity and good fortune.

I'm from the South, so I grew up eating pork- usually pork chops or ham, which was supposed to bring prosperity.  Alongside the pork were collard greens, which represented green money.  There were also black eyed peas, which were symbolic of coins, so you were covered all the way around with money. 

Now that my husband and I no longer eat pork, we will opt for black eyed peas and greens with a sweet potato.  No symbolism there, just good nutrition. 

Whatever you do, and however you celebrate, be safe, and


Chex Mix- the original recipe


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The finished deliciousness

If you're like me and you've had homemade chex mix all your life, you're probably slightly disappointed with this post because it's old news.  Preaching to the choir.  If you have been eating bagged chex mix your whole life, you're probably slightly disappointed with this post because it's unnecessary.  Fussy, even. 

My crazy mix- Aldi Brand cereals mixed with nuts, broken Pretzel Crisps, and bagel chips.  So good!

Well, to the choir, I am sorry.  This post isn't for you, unless it's so you can agree whole-heartedly with me and spread the good news.  To the bagged chex mix eaters, don't eat that bagged mess any longer. 

Where it all begins, folks.

Chex mix, is for me, synonymous with Christmas.  Like peanut butter balls or buckeyes as others know them, it's something that was present at every family Christmas gathering, and oddly, only at Christmas. 

At the beginning of the baking
Homemade Chex Mix, however, should not be relegated only to one time a year!  Yes, Christmas has come and gone, and so has the Chex Mix, but it's great for New Year's, football games- whatever.  It's also versatile.  Use what you have on hand or keep out the things you don't like.

About halfway into baking...
I recommend the oven instructions, although you can find microwave instructions here.  I am also posting the recipe as I made it rather than the original.  Use that same link to get to the original mix.

Homemade Chex Mix
from General Mills

3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bagel chips, crushed into bite sized pieces
1 cup pretzels
6 Tb. butter
2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder

 Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Mustard- Dill Salmon


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Salmon, dill and mustard are a pretty classic combination, but not one I make very frequently...maybe ever.  I found this whole grain mustard at Aldi for a great price and picked it up.  One night when I had no idea what to make for dinner, slathering some salmon with this mustard and dill just seemed like a good idea, and it was.  It's tasty and quick, and requires only three ingredients.  I will definitely be making this again.  Served with a salad or baked potato/sweet potato, you've got a great meal.

Since Drew and I are the only ones for whom I almost ever make salmon, I am used to making a 2 person portion- I don't try to have salmon leftovers because they're not the best.  If you have more people to feed, this recipe is so easily adjusted.  Just add more mustard and dill. 

Mustard-Dill Salmon
serves two

1- 4 inch (maybe 1/2 lb) piece salmon
1/4 cup good quality mustard (whole grain, dijon, etc)
1 tsp dried dill

Mix the dill and the mustard together and spread in an even layer over the top of your salmon.  Bake the salmon at 400 F for about 8-10 minutes, checking for doneness after 8 minutes.  For a crisper crust try broiling, but watch it carefully! 

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup- Pinterest Find


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Are you on Pinterest yet?  It's fascinating how this particular social media site has influenced the food people make, the DIY's people attempt, and the party ideas people use.  As if I didn't have enough sources for new recipes, I have pinned over 80 recipes to my own food board.  I pinned this one a while back- the pictures from the original post were so enticing! 

The verdict?  This meal is far from healthy- it's a little decadent, with no small amount of butter and half and half.  I did try to decrease the fattiness by decreasing the butter and the half and half measurements.  I think I could have taken it even further.  It's tasty.  It's a good, solid recipe.  There were three of us who ate it that day, and we all enjoyed it.  It takes a bit of effort.  Maybe more effort than I want to put into tomato soup.  It won't be my go steady recipe, but it's certainly worth another shot.  I made the crock pot version because I thought it'd be faster on the back end.  It wasn't really, and you miss the browned bits flavoring the soup further from when you saute the onion and celery, so I don't recommend the crock version. 

So, it's worth a try, if you're not dairy free or dieting.  Or if you don't mind a few steps in making a soup.  The link below takes you to the site that posts both the slow cooker and stovetop versions, so you can see both.  I'm posting the a modification of the slow cooker, because I finished it on the stove top.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
from this site

Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk if you’re trying to cut some calories)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. ***Add all into a medium to large pot. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed and simmer over medium heat, about 15-30 minutes, until soup is consistency and taste that suits you. 


  • The *** in the directions is where I deviated from the slow cooker recipe.  Click link to see original recipe.
  • After following the directions up to the point of deviation, the soup was a bit watery and bland.  I added some more salt- season to your taste and let it reduce on the stovetop through light boiling, which thickened the soup and concentrated the flavor.
  • I used dried basil, and I won't do it again.  It was flaky and not flavorful.  I recommend fresh, frozen, or even stirring in some pesto for the basil flavor. 

Creamy Salsa Soup



I've had my eye on this recipe since I saw it in the Sept 2011 issue of Everyday Food.  So easy, and so quick.  Affordable, and novel while not remaining too much a departure from the norm.  Think spicy tomato soup, and you basically have salsa soup.  We crushed up tortilla chips to go into the soup and served it with quesadillas- you can see an example of our finery in the picture.  I really know how to stage food, don't I? 

Anyway, this recipe utilizes 1- 16 oz jar of salsa and less than 2 cups chicken broth, as well as some sort of milky liquid- skim milk to heavy cream, your choice.  I also had it ready in less than 15 minutes.  You will need your stovetop and a blender (immersion or countertop).  Here's the recipe:

Creamy Salsa Soup
from Everyday Food, September 2011
*serves 2-3

1- 16 oz jar of salsa- your choice
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tb heavy cream, half and half, etc.

In a small pot on the stovetop, heat the broth and the salsa over medium high until boiling.  Remove from heat and either use your immersion blender to make the soup smooth or pour the cream and broth/salsa mixture into a countertop blender.  Blend until smooth.  Serve with your favorite garnishes- crushed tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, etc.

  • A note on the milky liquid- I used half and half.  As I said, you can use any milk product, but the creamier the more the mellowing effect it has on the soup.  I use half and half in coffee so that was easy.
  • I have a blender I hate.  It will hold about 1 quart of liquid or a little more.  It is not a good idea to blend all of the soup (measuring at just under 1 qt) in a blender that close to capacity unless your blender has a good lid.  Blend in batches if you have to!

Chickpea Stew with Pesto


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After going back and forth, I have decided to post this with my thumbs mostly up.  I sometimes struggle with what to share with you, because I don't want to get a reputation for being a stamp tramp. 

So this one was just OK- maybe it was me, or maybe it was just the recipe.  One thing- it does get better as it sits, so making it a day or two ahead is not a bad idea, and it is healthy and economical.  For those reasons, it's not a bad idea to give it a try if you're adventurous or a chickpea fan.  Just make sure you taste as you go, and don't oversalt- but it took quite a bit of salt for me to get it not too bland.  I didn't have a lot of pesto, so maybe with lots of pesto blended in is where it truly shines and I only let it have a dull glow.  Who knows?

This recipe comes from the September 2012 issue of Everyday Food, which I am sad to say will not be in print any longer. 

Hearty Chickpea Stew With Pesto
from Everyday Food

 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
5 sprigs oregano
3 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 thick slices stale rustic bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
1/4 cup basil pesto, for serving
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, 10 minutes. Add oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until onion is tender, 5 minutes. Add chickpeas and bread and simmer until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with pesto.
I didn't do this, but in hindsight, I'd maybe add more tomato paste. 
Make sure you simmer that stew after you put in the bread!  It takes time to get it to thicken.
Cut the onion into half slices or something- the full slivers were a bit too much for a spoon.