New Year’s Resolutions by Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD

Resolve to do more for others

Eat less, exercise more, pay off debt, quit smoking, drink less, get a better job…

These are just a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions. You may notice that the abovementioned abstentions tend to focus on the self. Some people, however, have taken it upon themselves to emphasize the needs of others with their resolutions.

One woman decided that after a lifetime of working on her own self-improvement it was time to improve her relationship with others. Since that epiphany, she now takes a retired art teacher to art classes and takes her sister for ice cream and to medical appointments. She also now makes it a point to compliment strangers. How nice!

Another woman said she wanted to show more compassion to those who treat her rudely. I love that! That can take some reserve, especially if your normal kneejerk reaction is, for example, to shout obscenities at rude drivers. Just remember that you’re not the cause of someone else’s anger. Oftentimes discourteous drivers are already having a bad day. Put yourself in their shoes. We all have bad days. Simply smile at them and let it go.

Since paying down debt can be stressful, try focusing on reducing stress and simplifying your life instead. You can also help others in the process by donating your unwanted items to various organizations that help those in need. When I simplified my life and purged my belongings, I donated my things to the Bible Tabernacle in Venice. They picked up my stuff and sold it at their store. It was a load off my shoulders and they made money to boot.

My resolution is to provide you with tasty and nutritious recipes to help you on your path toward losing weight, lowering blood pressure, fighting disease, feeling better—whatever your health goals, I’m here to help!

We already know we should eat more veggies and less “junk” but perhaps there’s a happy medium. Many people complain about the high cost of eating healthy but when you make “healthy” foods yourself, the cost is much less than buying prepackaged items. Homemade chips with a variety of fresh dips are both belly and economically friendly. Now you too can be a guiltless gourmet.

Homemade Chips
8 corn tortillas or 8 flour tortillas or 4 whole wheat pitas
each cut into 6 pieces.
(see recipe for your choice of other ingredients)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover two large baking trays with a light coating of Spectrum Organic High Heat Canola Oil. In a bowl combine two teaspoons of one of the following flavorful, high heat oils: sesame, avocado, almond or canola. Add 1/3 cup of one of the following liquids: lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, tomato juice or carrot juice. Add one or two of the following seasonings: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander or curry powder. Let your nose be your guide when combining flavors. Mix the flavors then brush onto your choice of assorted flat breads or tortillas. Bake for 8-10 minutes or unil crisp.

Roasted Egg Plant & Walnut Dip

1 large eggplant (1 pound) rough ends removed, cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place egg plant halves cut side down onto oiled baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until tender. Cool under running water then chop. Transfer to food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and chop for a more textured dip or puree for a creamy dip.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 red pepper cut in half and roasted to remove skin
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, reserve liquid
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste) or any nut butter
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pepper in half. Remove stem, seeds and membrane. Place pepper halves on a baking sheet (skin side up) so skin is evenly exposed to heat coil. Bake 25 minutes or until skin is charred. Remove from heat. Place pepper in a bowl and run under cool water. Skin should rub off easily. Chopped and add to blender or food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. If dip is too thick, add some of the garbanzo bean liquid until reach desired creamy consistency.

Mango & Black Bean Dip

1 large mango, chopped
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Combine ingredients. Mix and enjoy with chips or top fish or a salad.