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My New Year’s Resolutions and a Favorite Recipe

Now that we survived “the end of the world, as we know it,” (December 21 on the Mayan calendar) as well as Christmas and Hanukkah, I think it’s time to turn to the New Year.

It’s a time for resolutions. I’m guessing the top New Year resolution is “to lose weight” – but I’m not going to make that mine, mostly because like many people I’m already obsessed with my weight and appearance.

When thinking about what I want to do differently this New Year, I think about my work day. I have found myself not being the best time manager: I am still at the office most days until 6 p.m. (I arrive at 6 a.m.)  So, my first resolution is to leave work each day no later than 5 p.m.

This leads me to my second resolution, and that is to exercise regularly. I exercise for a few reasons. Besides the obvious one of “burning calories,” I like that I have more energy after I exercise and it gives my brain a rest. So, my plan is to exercise at least five days a week and try a new exercise every month. I have my sights set on yoga right now – I’ve been talking about it for a while, but I need to take action.

My third resolution is to spend time each week, one-on-one, with a close family member or friend. They know who they are. Because I have been working so many hours I have not had quality time with many of them.

Three resolutions are plenty for me, because like my sister Jackie tells me, “You can’t focus on more than three items at a time.”

To kick off the New Year, I plan to ensure my good luck by eating Blackeyed Peas on New Year’s Day. It’s an old Southern tradition: Eating Blackeyed Peas and some cooked greens ensure wealth and good luck in the New Year. The greens symbolize greenbacks (or dollars) and the Blackeyed Peas are the coins.

My favorite all time Blackeyed Pea recipe is Habanero Chile Chili, which we developed more than 20 years ago in our test kitchen.

I like spicy food, so I use a whole Habanero Chile, although you can substitute Jalapenos or Serrano chiles  if you want. Another traditional New Years’ recipe is Hoppin’ John.

Whether or not you make New Year’s resolutions, I wish you good luck and health!


Here is the Habanero Chile Chili recipe below:


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lean round steak, cubed
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped red and/or green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce can kidney beans
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce – low sodium
1 cup beef broth
1 11-ounce package Frieda’s Blackeyed Peas, cooked, drained
1-2 Frieda’s Dried Habanero Chiles, rehydrated, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Frieda’s Bay Leaf
1 cup niblet corn – low sodium
Salt to taste
Shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
Warm tortillas


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the steak in the oil on all sides. Remove form the pan with a slotted spoon. Drain the drippings. Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in the oil for 3 minutes. Stir in the beef, undrained kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce broth, blackeyed peas, Habanero chiles, cilantro, basil, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 35 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the corn and salt. Cook for 5 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf. Ladle the chili into bowls. Top with shredded cheese. Serve with warm tortillas.

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