good eats

Instead of telling you about resolutions to eat less and lose weight in the new year, I'll first tell you about some of the foods that helped shape our holiday 2004.

Mexican caviar. A salsa made with black olives, tomatoes, and green chilies, and eaten with tortilla chips or Fritos, there is a lot to love in this just-mix-it-up recipe.

Mom's cranberry salad. An off-the-back-of-the-bag discovery that will probably become a classic in our house. It's a nice change from jellied cranberry, and with its citrus twist it is, in mom's words, 'refreshing.'

Bundt cakes. To try out both a Christmas tree and a Chrysanthemum Bundt pan, I pored over a book full of mouthwatering Bundt recipes. I had it in my head that I wanted to make something that would be good for breakfast or as a 'with coffee' snack versus a more traditional after-dinner dessert. A bread pudding one sounded particularly apt to me, but Mom doesn't like bread pudding. A lemon blueberry one was my next pick, but I was outnumbered. M. and Mom wanted an Orange Delight recipe. I was resistant, but it turned out amazing. With its sugar, cinnamon, and Craisin topping and homemade orange glaze, it was dense, wonderful, and darned near addictive. Buoyed by the orange cake's success, I next made the lemon blueberry. With a vanilla glaze, it, too, was great. I've never been much on cake, but I could easily be a Bundt cake addict.

Christmas Trash. This white chocolate version of Party Mix has been a holiday favorite for many years. Various Chex-like cereals, raisins, pecans, pretzels, and dried cranberries covered in white chocolate. Oh yeah.

Tortilla Soup. I had never heard of Tortilla Soup, but it's evidently popular in KY since it was on the menu at several restaurants we visited. When we got there, Mom was raving about the tortilla soup she'd recently had and wanted to make for us. I added it to our foods-to-make list, and we finally got a taste on New Year's Eve eve. It was great. It's basically a chicken and vegetable soup you serve over tortilla chips (or Fritos) and top with shredded cheese and sour cream. Loved it.

There were one or two baking/cooking disappointments, of course. Most notable for me was our first attempt at shortbread. I don't think I'd ever had shortbread until last fall when I had a piece dipped in chocolate at a Tully's coffee shop after getting my hair cut. I fell in love with the taste. Then, before Christmas, the Yarn Harlot made some, and among the many comments, someone posted a recipe. So, we gave it a try. For whatever reason, it didn't turn out for us. With so much to make, we never did get around to finding and trying another recipe. Guess I'll have to poke around and see what I turn up.

Now the holidays are over, and the realities of weight and cholesterol set in. I'd really like to go back on Atkins, since that really works for me, but even a hint of soy seems to put Spencer in a reflux tailspin (as best we can tell), and I find it hard to do low-carb without soy.

I guess portion control and common sense will have to tide me through for now.

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