Tag new year’s resolution

Parties That Cook’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

We can’t put it off any longer. It’s time to become accountable for our actions, and announce our New Year’s Resolutions, both personal and professional, for 2012. If you’re still searching for your goals this year, help yourself to any of these! Maybe you don’t have the greatest resolution track record… If you’re worried about the commitment, just think of these as “intentions” for 2012. Finally, if you have any great resolutions of your own, let us know!

Cook More Often: This may seem like a no-brainer for an office full of chefs and foodies, but you’d be surprised how quickly a long day at the office can derail the best of intentions. Try working your way through a good cookbook, or mastering the art of 50 recipes. We love Food52’s New Year’s Resolutions, with specific, attainable goals that can be tackled at one’s own pace.

Practice Gratitude: Each day, when you get up or before you go to bed, write down 5 things you are grateful for. If there are any people on the list, let them know you appreciate them. Bibby, Parties That Cook founder and CEO, recently submitted this resolution to SkinnyScoop’s big list of resolutions.

Win at Least One Big Award: While this goal applies to Parties That Cook as a business, you can easily adapt this to your own career. Maybe you’re looking for the recognition you deserve, make this the year you get that promotion!

Be More Green: Now that we’re a certified B-Corp., we’re making it a priority to reduce waste in the office. In your personal life, strive to make the green decision whenever possible. It could be something as simple as bringing your own bags to the grocery store, or taking the time to find a recycling bin before throwing recyclables away.

Reduce Coffee Intake: We’re not saying any of us are dependent, or anything… But hey, maybe it’s time to cut back when skipping your morning cup turns you into one of Lady Gaga’s not-so-little monsters.

Slow Down: The daily grind can get you pretty wrapped up. To unwind, try doing more yoga, meditating, or just reflecting on the day/week more often. Whichever route you choose, it’ll help you be more present in your daily life.

Practice Fiscal Responsibility: This can be something as seemingly insignificant as bringing your lunch to work 3 times a week, holding yourself to only ONE drink at the bar, or implementing a savings plan for the bit-ticket item you’ve been eyeing (Le Creuset cookware set, anyone?). Mint.com has a great list of Resolutions for Frugal Foodies.

Travel More: Sometimes you just need to get away. Whether it’s a big trip, or just a staycation in a nearby town, change your surroundings for a bit. A couple of PTC office ladies will be heading to Arizona for Spring Training this year! One is a proud San Francisco Giant’s fan, the other happens to be a D-backs fan… Obviously, they aren’t going together.

Continue Learning: Do we really learn something new every day? Make it a goal. Always wanted to learn a new language? (Spanish? French? HTML?? Wookie?!?) Just do it. Maybe you’ll finally learn to cook, or hone your skills at Photoshop. A thirst for knowledge makes you one of the most valuable members on your work team, and helps your continual growth as an individual.

HAVE FUN: This year, try saying YES more than NO. (We trust your judgment… Though if you’re anything like our Michelene, you might end up agreeing to run another half-ironman!) You could entertain monthly, throw your own cooking parties, or go on a spontaneous adventure!

New Year’s Resolution Recipe: Winter Salad of Arugula and Pear with Spiced Walnuts

Congratulations! We are nearing the end of the first week of the New Year! There are only about 51 more weeks of 2011; of suffering through this year’s resolutions (should we make it that long). Hopefully, you’ve been holding strong in your efforts to avoid those delicious maple bacon donuts teasingly calling your name. Trust me, it is SO much easier to stay on track when you aren’t hungry, bored with your food options, or feeling like your meal is lacking. Parties That Cook has just the thing to restore dwindling willpower: Winter Salad of Arugula and Pear with Spiced Walnuts. The crisp, fresh flavors in this salad are enough to slap your hand away from that cookie jar!

Winter Salad of Arugula and Pear with Spiced Walnuts
This recipe can also be found in our Soups, Salads & Pasta Recipe Section!

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted
4 cups canola oil


1 Tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot clove, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
2 ripe bosc pears, sliced in wedges lengthwise
1/2 pomegranate, seeded (optional)
3/4 pound arugula (can substitute watercress or spinach)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Spice Walnuts: Mix the powdered sugar, cayenne, allspice, nutmeg and salt together.  Set aside. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil; add walnuts and boil 5 seconds only. Drain and immediately toss thoroughly in the sugar and spice mixture.

Fry Walnuts: Heat canola oil in a frying pan to 325°F. (If the oil gets too hot, the sugar coating will burn and fall off). Lift the nuts out of the sugar mixture with a skimmer and fry the nuts until golden and crisp, about 30 seconds.  Drain nuts on a cooling rack set over a cookie sheet.  (Do not use paper towels, as the nuts will stick.)  Between batches, skim the dark bits that float to the surface of the oil. When all nuts are fried, set aside until ready to assemble salads.

Create Vinaigrette: Mix the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, sugar, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify. Set aside until ready to assemble salads.

Crisp Prosciutto:
Separate the prosciutto and lay flat on a cooling rack over a sheet pan.  Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on rack so the fat will drain.  Crumble into bite-size pieces.

Prepare Pear and Pomegranate: Slice the pears into thin wedges, lengthwise and set aside. Cut the pomegranate in half (take care to watch for the red juices – they stain).  Immerse the pomegranate in water.  Break up the pomegranate with your hand.  The membrane will float to the top.  Skim off the membrane and then pour the seeds and water through a strainer.  Measure 1/2 cup of seeds. Reserve the rest for another use.

Clean Salad Greens: Wash, spin dry and trim the greens if necessary.

Serve: Toss the pear slices in a bit of the vinaigrette and set aside.  Then toss the greens in the vinaigrette and arrange on plates.  Place the pears on top, sprinkle with pomegranate and garnish with the walnuts and prosciutto.

Serves 8

Recipe created by Parties That Cook® www.PartiesThatCook.com