Getting back on track with food in the new year

Simply Food

Submitted photo Angel hair pasta with Asparagus

It’s a new year! I have a feeling this is going to be a really good one. I like to think positively.

2016 was a weird time. It’s like Mercury was in retrograde for the entire year. We lost so many amazing talented people and a lot of them were very young. Several of my friends suffered through hardships last year. We went through some family struggles ourselves. Even the New Year’s Eve party we went to took a turn for the worst. By the time we left, the hosts were planning a divorce. Claud and I sort of snuck out a little after midnight. Sayonara 2016, I am ready to reboot.

The good thing about having a strange year is that you reflect on things you’d like to change. Looking back, I realize that I have discarded some of my good habits and have taken on some negative habits. I don’t like writing down a big list of resolutions because I get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Instead, I like to think of a couple of small things. This year, I decided to get back into exercising,  write in my gratitude journal again, and to eat healthier.

For some reason, I have stopped exercising all together. I used to love yoga but somehow I just stopped going. I used to walk the four miles around my neighborhood and go to yoga classes a few times a week. Then, one day, for reasons unbeknownst to myself, I just discontinued these activities. I can tell my body is suffering. I am so stiff all of the time and my neck and back hurt more than ever. So, I am headed back to the yoga studio this week.

My second resolution is to get back to my gratitude journal. This is just a simple composition book or spiral notebook that I open each morning to write down whatever I am grateful for. I have tons of spiral notebooks filled up with these happy thoughts. Then, like with going to yoga, I stopped writing in them. It’s so weird. I used to love doing this and one day I stopped. For me, it was a great way to start the day because it gets it going in a very positive way.

Finally, I am going to eat healthier. I have been all over the map when it comes to eating habits. I am actually fine with this. I don’t want to be defined as a vegetarian or vegan. I don’t want to say I will never eat a piece of meat or have cheese on a crusty baguette. I don’t want to be fenced in. I have read so many nutrition books, lifestyle books, and books on the science as it relates to what we eat. I feel like I could get bogged down in this and lose some of the magic I associate with food and cooking. There is no way I am going to find myself in Paris and not taste the Brie or in Madrid and not sample the paella because there are pieces of chicken in it. I am not going to visit Philadelphia and not try a cheese steak sandwich.

However, I am no spring chicken (pun intended). I’ll be forty-six in two weeks. So, I do want to get back on a healthier slant as it relates to what I put into my stomach. I rarely eat any meat unless it’s special like the examples above. I do eat way too much cheese and I drink far too much wine. Those are areas I will cut back on this year. So, on New Year’s Day, I stared into the refrigerator. Yes, I had a little headache. Yes, I wanted to order pizza or Chinese food or anything greasy, have it delivered, and eat it in my bed. Instead, I tried to think of a healthier alternative. I told myself, Wendy, this is day one. You can’t fall off the wagon on day one. I decided pasta would do the trick. It’s not a salad with lemon juice as dressing but it’s better than pizza or a cheeseburger. I grabbed the asparagus, garlic and spring onions and got cooking. This was so quick and easy to make, I was back in bed with my bowl of pasta before I knew it. I have to say, with the sprinkling of cheese and olive oil, it satiated my appetite for something heavy although it wasn’t very fattening. Sure, I added cheese. It was just a little sprinkle.

Angel Hair With


Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

1 package of angel hair pasta, cooked according to directions on package

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 bunch of asparagus, cut in half and discard the tough stems

½ teaspoon red chili flakes

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

4 spring onions, sliced

1 can of diced tomatoes, remove half of the juice

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while the water is boiling for the pasta. Place the asparagus spears into an oven safe dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add the red chili flakes. Place these into the oven. In a sauté pan, bring the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil to medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for two minutes. Pour the tomatoes in with the onions. Bring this to a simmer. Once the angel hair is cooked, add it to the sauce. Remove the asparagus from the oven and place them into the pasta. Top with parmesan cheese.