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Light Recipes for New Year’s Resolutions

Here we are at diet month in the face of King Cakes and Super Bowl.

My ploy? Not to eat a single chip in January. Or a cookie, or a piece of King Cake. It is the only way.

 Now I’m not one to do without when it comes to food. It gets me in a real bad mood to eat 1,000 calories a day or live off cabbage soup. But when something has to be done, I turn to eating less and slightly altering the things I like.

 For example, I’ve picked several palatable breakfasts that I alternate – Activia blueberry yogurt, a bowl of Special K Cinnamon Pecan cereal, a piece of cheese toast, a soft-boiled egg over dry toast or a small bowl of grits with a touch of butter. If you need more, add a banana.

 Then, it’s on to lunch. If at home, I go for a lean meat sandwich using mustard only or a salad with a few strips of turkey and cheese and a quartered boiled egg sprinkled with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar. If out to lunch, I go for the entrée salads or any light lunches some restaurants are offering.

 For dinner, I splurge with a lean meat entrée, such as broiled or grilled fish or chicken, one starch and one or more vegetables; or, a good hearty soup with a serving of French or homemade bread.

 I would be the last person to say that I’ll stick to this plan, but it’s at least a good idea. And, it gets me off to a good start. I will admit that I feel better without the fried foods, extra butter and cream and stuffing myself on occasion. Ah, to be perfect!

 Here are some ideas I’ve come up with, especially for Super Bowl and other parties. No more chips, folks; that’s the main thing!

Deviled Eggs
6    large eggs
1    teaspoon dill, preferably fresh
1    Tablespoon light mayonnaise
1    Tablespoon light sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring eggs to a full boil. Cover and turn off heat. Let eggs set in water for 10 minutes without removing top. When cool enough to handle, remove shells.
Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a plate and mash with a fork. Mix in all other ingredients, saving a little dill for garnish. Stuff yolk mixture into whites. Top each egg with a small piece of dill.
Makes 12 deviled eggs
Stuffed Celery
6    large stalks celery
1    cup goat cheese
For garnish, use toasted walnut pieces, pomegranate seeds or both

Rinse celery in cold water and cut each stalk into thirds. (For very crispy celery, soak in ice water for 1 hour.) Spread the cavities of the celery with goat cheese, mounding the goat cheese slightly. Garnish with walnut pieces, pomegranate seeds or both; pomegranate seeds make a pretty presentation.
Makes 18 pieces
Minestrone Soup
1    Tablespoon olive oil
1    medium onion, chopped
1    large or 2 small stalks celery, chopped
3    cloves garlic, minced
6    cups chicken broth
1    14 1/2-ounce can plum
      tomatoes with juice
2    cups canned cannelloni or
      kidney beans
1    teaspoon Italian seasoning
2    medium carrots, chopped
1    large potato, peeled and cubed
Salt, if needed, and pepper to taste
1    cup sliced zucchini
1    Tablespoon chopped fresh
      Italian parsley
3/4    cup dried pasta, such as dilalini
1/4    cup freshly grated Parmesan or Roman cheese

In a large, heavy pot heat olive oil and sauté onion and celery until transparent. Add garlic and sauté a minute longer. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, potato and seasonings, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. With a spoon, mash a few of the beans on the side of the pot to thicken the soup.
Add zucchini, parsley and pasta and cook over medium heat until pasta is done, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. If soup is too thick, add water to desired consistency and heat.
Serve in bowls sprinkled with cheese.
Serves 6
Smoked Salmon Bites
1/4    pound sliced smoked salmon
4    ounces light cream cheese
1    Tablespoon horseradish
1    bunch fresh herbs, such as
      dill, tarragon or basil,
1    small jar capers

Spread small pieces of salmon (about 1-by-2 inches) on a flat service – chopping board or countertop. Mix cream cheese, horseradish and 2 Tablespoons herbs. Spread onto salmon pieces. Top with several capers each. Fold salmon over and place a toothpick through the center. Serve on a platter.
Makes about 15 pieces
Rosemary Walnuts
2     Tablespoons unsalted butter
2     teaspoons dried rosemary
1     teaspoon salt
1/2     teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2     cups walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When butter sizzles, add remaining ingredients. Stir until all walnuts are coated. Transfer onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Leave nuts on the pan to cool. Serve at room temperature.
Makes 1/2 cup

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