Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009 Resolutions for La Vegan Loca

Let me start by proudly announcing that on January 1 of this year, The Husband and I celebrated our one-year Veganversary.  Making the transition to eating and living a vegan lifestyle has been the best thing I've done for my health and happiness.  Not only do I feel better, but relearning how to cook this past year has ignited a passion for cooking in me.

As the new year approached, I began to think about some of the changes I'd like to make to this blog.  My inaugural post outlined, among other things, my intentions thusly:  "As far as what's going into this blog, I'm not 100% sure, yet. I'm envisioning personal reflections and insights, experiences, recipes, and resources I discover as I embrace a vegan lifestyle and start eating kala (clean)."  I believe I've stuck to that and I still think it's a fine set of parameters, but I'd like to fine-tune things around here.  I want La Vegan Loca to become more of what I like in a blog, and allow it to be a vehicle for my personal expression and growth as a cook and evolving human.  To that end, I've set some resolutions.  Some of them are strictly for me while others are for the blog.  But they all deal with food, so I'm using La Vegan Loca as a platform to share them with you.

  1. BETTER PHOTOS  I'd like to work on my photography skills in 2009.  I feel like I'm a decent enough photographer, and every once in a while I'm able to create some beautiful food porn captures.  Other times, however, I'm shooting food in poor lighting on plates with water spots, and while it all represents true life conditions, I know I can do better.
  2. ORIGINAL RECIPES  I've posted a lot of recipes straight from cookbooks over the past year and in 2009, I'm going to focus more on publishing my own creations.  With that in mind I will no longer type up recipes from cookbooks or magazines.  I will, however, happily link to all online recipes I use (as long as they have been published by either the creator or with the author's permission).  I will also post veganized and/or adapted recipes, always with credit given, and of-course, my own creations.    
  3. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY  In the beginning, I was rather hyper about posting every day.  I've gone through varying spurts of accountability in that regard, and have ended up posting some fluff pieces in order to fill my self-imposed quota.  Well my friends, I will feed you fluff no more!  This year, I'm going to focus on quality, thoughtful entries.  I no longer feel the need to publish a post every day except when I'm hosting a theme week, which brings me to my next resolution.
  4. THEME WEEKS & MOONSHINE MONDAYS  I've received the nicest and most enthusiastic feedback on my theme weeks and plan to play with those more in 2009.  My hope is to work one theme week into my blog every month which means I'll be planning ahead a lot more than I did in 2008.  I've got ideas for themes based on single ingredients, regional cuisines, colors, and even kitchen appliances.  I've written them all down and I'm quite excited about the possibilities for this year.  I also had lots of great feedback on my Moonshine Mondays posts for VeganMoFo and plan on bringing those back.  I hope to either share a homemade liqueur or flavored booze recipe, or a cocktail recipe every Monday this year.
  5. NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION  Whenever possible, I'm going to post the nutritional information for the recipes I publish.  I really like when other blogs do this and since I'm working very hard to get healthy, I appreciate it all the more.  If I like having the info, I know some of you out there will like it, too.  I've created an account with the Nutritional Data website that Susan uses over at FatFree Vegan Kitchen and plan on beginning there.  I've played with the website a bit over the past few days and it'll definitely take some time for me get proficient at it, but I'm excited about it and plan to stick with it.
  6. RECIPE CONTESTS  On a whim, I entered my first recipe contest a few days ago and while the results won't be announced for a couple weeks, I think I'm hooked.  I'm a goal-oriented, competitive person and the process of creating and refining a recipe for a contest was too much fun.  It was also a great learning experience.  So in 2009, I plan on entering my original recipes in contests and perhaps even submitting them for publication in various print and e-publishing forums. 
  7. A COOKBOOK  I'm going to start writing a cookbook.  I'm not committing to shopping publishers or working on a pitch or proposal, but I am going to start compiling my original recipes in earnest.  Even if it ends up being a family heirloom, I'm absolutely certain I'll generate great amounts of joy and learn a lot in the process.
  8. ORGANIZE MY RECIPES  Over the years, I've amassed thousands of recipes.  Most of them are in books but a lot of them are torn from magazines, newspapers, or printed from the internet.  This year, I'm going to work on organizing them all in user-friendly notebooks.  I also began speaking with my dad about creating a family cookbook, which will be a huge project but if we can get it done in time, it'll make for great holiday gifts that I'm sure will be cherished by all.
  9. STREAMLINE MY KITCHEN  My poor, sad, tiny little tract home kitchen is not a fun place to cook.  If we had the money, we'd do a complete kitchen remodel, but right now we don't.  There are, however, some ways I can reorganize, streamline, and maximize the space I have and that'll be an ongoing project over the course of the next year.  But if we win the lotto or come into a fat chunk of money this year, I'm tossing that out the window and doing a total remodel.  Just sayin'.  
  10. GET INTO TEA  This is more of a personal resolution, but since I'm sure I'll blog about it as the adventure unfolds, I'm listing it here.  I want to get into tea.  Quality, loose-leaf tea.  Not the cheapie stuff you get in dusty boxes on sale from the end-cap of your local grocery store, but the good stuff.  Oh yeah, I'm excited about this one.
  11. WHAT'S IN SEASON  I already do a pretty good job utilizing locally-grown produce in most of my recipes.  What I'm referring to here is a little sidebar element I used to feature on my blog that I let fall by the wayside.  I'm bringing back my "What's in Season in California" column because I enjoyed having it there.  It reminded me of the plethora of fresh, local ingredients I have to choose from and it also made me proud to live in the produce mecca that is California.
  12. GET BACK INTO MY HERB GARDEN  We don't have enough property to grow a lot of food, but I do maintain a lovely little container herb garden.  We also have a lime tree, and an avocado tree, both of which produce food for us every year.  But I don't spend as much time in my herb garden as I could.  I'd like to diversify the herbs I grow there and incorporate them more into the foods I cook.  I'd also like to try my hand at other things I can grow in containers.  Tomatoes, maybe.  I haven't decided yet but it should be fun.
  13. SHARE THE LOCA LIGHT  This year, I hope to expand my blog.  Specifically, I'm going to try my hand at interviewing other vegan cooks and perhaps even hosting a contest or two.  I'd like to make things more interactive around here and this seems like a good place to start.
  14. DIVERSIFY MY POSTS  This goal is all about my desire to talk about more than just recipes.  I'm hoping to include the occasional product or book review, technique tutorial, and information on creating vegan items you don't eat (like cleaners, bath, and beauty products).
  15. DIY CULINARY SCHOOL  This is the big one.  As some of you may remember, I applied to a local culinary school this past year.  I was hoping to earn a degree from their pastry program.  But when I reviewed the syllabus, I realized much of the first quarter focused on general cooking skills rather than pastry skills.  This made sense to me and I was fine with it until I realized it meant I was going to be asked to cook meat and even kill a lobster in class.  When I explained to the school I wasn't willing to do that because I'm vegan, they refused to admit me.  I was completely shocked and although I think it is a stupid (and perhaps even discriminatory) decision on their part, it galvanized my passion for learning even more.  This year, I plan on constructing my own culinary curriculum using the resources I have at my own disposal.
So there they are.  It's quite a hefty list but, as I've said so many times before, food is my passion.  I think about it all the time and much of life revolves around reading about it, cooking it, eating it, and playing with it.  My promise to you all is to keep you updated on my resolutions and share my progress along the way.

Wowsers, I've got a lot of work to do!  This is going to be fun.  


Sal said...

woah that's a lot of resolutions, good luck!!

oh and happy veganversary - we share the same day!! :)

jessy said...

happy veganversary, Marni! that's so awesome! we share the same anniversary as well! that makes me most happyfaced! superw00t!

your resolutions are most awesome - and i love how some of them tie in with each other. tea's my favorite. my stomach can't handle coffee - so i'm a tea girl. love me some flavored green & black teas. have you ever tried green tea with toasted brown rice - it's a person favorite. mmmmmm! we order a lot of our loose teas from Harney & Sons - although i've gotta start looking for more equal/fair trade teas. i'll let you know what i find. that's really cool on the DIY culinary school - and the cookbook, too! you let me know if you ever need a tester! i'm your girl! :D using what's in season is something i need to do more of as well - i just need to actually stick it with! great idea on the seasonal yummies. i look forward to more theme weeks & nutritional information, too. perhaps i should think about listing nutritional information as well. i hear they have some pretty cool programs out there that'll help you figure it all out. too awesome! i think your photos rock as they are right now, and i can't wait to see what creative recipes you make! superexcitedface!

happy new year, Marni!

allularpunk said...

wonderful resolutions. i say if you can even do a third of these, you will have accomplished so much! i look forward to seeing how things go with you this year :)

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Wow, I love all your resolutions. I look forward to learning more from you this year as you delve into them.

Congratulations on just making up that list even! You can tell so much thought went into it.