Thursday, January 15, 2015

_The Hancock News_ Column-- January 7, 2015

Happy New Year! Despite my failure to throw a big party or welcome it in with a bang, the year 2015 managed to make its appearance on time anyway. 

Some years I get excited about the new year, but this time I was just too busy finishing up the old year by getting the late Christmas cards ready to mail to do much more than make a cheese ball and a few other easy snacks for my family. 

For various reasons, the children went to bed early, so they didn’t watch the ball drop. My husband and I took turns dozing off while watching a movie on the television.  We managed to tune in to the big party in Times Square just in time for the countdown and then went promptly to bed. I think I heard fireworks outside as I was drifting off to sleep.

This year I didn’t even make any New Year’s resolutions. I’m not opposed to them. In fact, I think a little self-reflection is healthy, especially when it results in dropping bad habits and picking up good ones. I simply couldn’t figure out which one of my shortcomings was the most important one to eliminate.

The good news is that I didn’t completely ignore all of my previous New Year’s traditions. Right away on January 1st, I messed up when writing the date. That silly old “4” slipped out of my pen before I knew what was happening.

It always happens. Each time I have to write the date at the beginning of the year, I falter, pause, then concentrate really hard to make sure my brain and hand cooperate to get it right. Eventually my hand learns to write the new set of numbers automatically, but the process sometimes takes a few months. And to be quite honest, it makes me feel dumb to make the same mistake so many times.

Change is hard. That’s probably why so many of us fail at our New Year’s resolutions. For those of you who made the resolution to eat better, chowing down on more greens is one worthy step on the path to a healthy diet. 

However, if you’re not used to greens or if you flat-out hate them, that change can be tough--even unpleasant. Instead of jumping right into a big bag of nasty kale chips, first try this soup recipe that gives you a healthy dose of spinach without tasting too green.

Tortellini Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 slices of bacon, diced (or some diced up leftover ham, if you have it)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 package tortellini (about 9 oz.)
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Cook the bacon in olive oil until crisp. Add the onion and cook until soft. Then add the garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Add broth and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini, if dried, and drain, then add to soup. OR add frozen tortellini directly to soup. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.


  1. Happy New Year! I've been known to write dates several years old, so I'm impressed that you were only a year off!

  2. I'm so glad I'm not alone! Thank you for making me feel not so alone :)