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New Year, New Goals

January 2nd, 2019

I don’t make New Years resolutions, but I often set goals, or some specific thing I want to focus on throughout the year. It’s usually something that translates through to everything I do. This year, my goal is “Less, But Better”

Less, but better…
Less, but better…..stuff
Less, but better…..gardens
Less, but better…..projects (to focus on enjoying the process of creating, not just the finished product)
I want to have a bit more time to sit, relax, and enjoy being.

My focus is also to use up what I have. I want to eat up all the food from the freezers and the pantry. I want to sew the patterns I have and use up fabric from my stash. This will not only save me money this year, it will help clear some of the things out of the house and reduce the amount of stuff we have in many spaces.

What are you goals & intentions for 2019?

Bacon in the New Year

January 1st, 2013

Happy New Year! Last night we celebrated as usual with a themed party with friends. Everyone came over to our place for a night of good food, fun games and ringing in the new year. Our theme was BACON, you can really go wrong with that. All the food contained bacon in some form. I was in charge of the main dish, so I made homemade pizza topped with horseradish cream cheese (instead of the tomato sauce), roast beef, bacon, caramelized onions, and cheese. There was also a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette, bacon, walnuts and dried cranberries. For dessert there was maple ice cream with candied bacon pieces on top.
I wrote this post before everyone arrived so I don’t have any photos of what everyone else brought. But I know bacon wrapped shrimp, bacon wrapped steak, bacon wrapped dates, bacon ranch dip with veggies and a few other bacon items were on the list. It’s always fun to have a theme for a party (at least I think so). Of course we also had champagne and sparkling pomegranate juice to toast at midnight (no bacon champagne could be found).

How did you celebrate the New Year arriving?

Cooking up Some Prosperity

January 2nd, 2012

It’s long been a tradition in my family to gather together on New Year’s Day to eat pork and sauerkraut. When I was young, my grandma was the cook and the entire family packed into her house, cousins, uncles, aunts to help eat the roasters full of kraut that she made. I never liked it growing up, usually I’d eat the tiniest bit of sauerkraut and stuff myself with the delicious dumplings that topped it. It was a meal that had to be eaten on New Year’s day to ensure that the coming year would be a prosperous one.

When I was in college, the task of cooking the meal was passed down to my dad with my grandmother’s passing. We started gathering in our smaller family group instead of the big extended family. My dad would start cooking early in the morning and we’d enjoy the meal while watching the Rose Bowl Parade. This year, we had to call off the meal because of some illness in the family. Rather than risk not having the prosperity that this meal provides in the coming year, I decided to make it for us.

The kraut was made back in October and it’s been resting in the fridge for the past month. The pork was purchased from a local friend and set aside for this special occasion and was roasted in a hot oven for 30 minutes before going into the pot of kraut.

In case anyone wants my dad’s recipe, here it is:

Guaranteed prosperity in the new year

2 racks of pork spareribs (4 to 6 pounds of local pastured pork)
3 to 4 pounds of sauerkraut (preferably homemade)
4 finely chopped tart apples (about 2 cups)
4 finely chopped or shaved (with vegetable peeler) large carrots (about 2 cups)
3 cups of home canned tomato juice
1 cup of diced tomatoes
6 finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup of brown sugar (I use maple syrup)
4 teaspoons of caraway seed
(I also add a half cup of butter to the pot)

Cut ribs in pieces, season with salt and black pepper (approximately 2 teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper); place in a large stock pot with olive oil and brown well. Combine the kraut (which can be rinsed to reduce production of gas) with remaining ingredients; spoon over ribs to mix thoroughly until well mixed.

Simmer covered for three hours at low heat making certain the liquid covers the kraut and ribs. Skim off excess fat. Then remove lid and allow the kraut to simmer until some liquid had simmered away, leaving top of kraut exposed. Then make dumplings and place on top of the kraut and over, allowing the dumplings to bake for about fifteen minutes. Makes approximately ten servings and will warm your house for days.

Fluffy Dumplings
2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of whole milk
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together and make certain the dry ingredients are well mixed. Add the milk and oil and kneed with pastry blender until moistened. Drop onto the kraut and cover. Do not lift cover and let mixture return to a slow boil for 12 to 15 minutes. This will make 10 generous dumplings.

This sauerkraut doesn’t taste like most kraut, you’ll find it much less assertive, even our small nieces and nephews like it. With the huge batch I made yesterday, we’ll be eating on it all week long. Looks like we should have a very prosperous 2012.

Do you have any traditional meals with special meaning?

Quote of the Day: Benjamin Franklin

January 1st, 2012

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.

~Benjamin Franklin

New Years Resolutions do not get made here, but I do try to focus on making myself better each and every year. It’s not something I sit down and decide to do when the new year arrives, but something I think about all year long. Generally, I notice things throughout the year and try to be proactive about changing them. I think so many people fall off the resolution bandwagon because they wait till New Year’s to make big changes instead of making small adjustments all year long.

Do you make resolutions? What are some of yours this year?

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2011

Mr Chiots and I usually get together with friends for New Year’s Eve, and have a celebration full of fun food and games. Sadly, this year we had to work. We rang in the New Year with clients and all their guests.

We’ll pretend it’s tonight and toast again for our celebration. Here’s to a fantastic 2011.

Do you stay up and ring in the New Year?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.