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2013...the Year of Optimism

(Written for The River Current Publication December 27, 2012)
I recently read an article which said that 2013 is being called the year of optimism; the year of hope, heart and happiness.  All I have to say to that is…”Bring it on!”  After a difficult year, I shall embrace the New Year with the hope of good things ahead….not just for myself, but for us all. 

     The start of the New Year is often the perfect time to turn a new page in your life, which is why so many people make New Year's resolutions.  Researchers have looked at success rates of peoples' resolutions: The first two weeks usually go along beautifully, but by February people are backsliding. And by the following December most people are back where they started—often even further behind.  According to research, approximately 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management and debt reduction.

     I think that we will all have a stronger chance at succeeding in our resolutions, if we make them within our reach.  Simple and precise.  In case you are looking for a couple of ideas for yourself, I will throw a couple your way in the hopes that we will all welcome the New Year with a renewed commitment to happiness and healthy living!

*  Control your portions.  (This is made so much easier by simply downsizing your dishes.)

*  Be active.  Stay in motion.  Quite simply...move!

*  Reduce sodium consumption.  Americans consume twice the recommended amount of sodium each day…which is 1 tsp. or 6 grams.  Read your labels.

*  Increase antioxidants.  Rich sources:  pomegranates, coffee and chocolate.  Yum!

*  Wear sun-screen.

*  Expect good things.  Healthy expectations are important; both physically and mentally.

*  Stay in touch.  Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer.

*  Cut your stress.  Chronic stress can increase your risk of insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease and more!

*  Go back to school-regardless of your age.  Several studies have linked higher educational attainment to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  You are gaining a sense of accomplishment by gaining new knowledge, and you are out there creating possibilities that were never there before.

*  Volunteer.  Our happiness increases when we help others.

*  Get more sleep.  Sleep can do wonders for your mood, appearance and health.

*  Travel.  Tap into an adventure; it leaves you feeling rejuvenated and replenished.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant.  Friends of mine enjoyed traveling to local state parks this last summer.  It was a wonderful time of new discovery and learning that they shared together as a couple.

   Here is a quick and easy appetizer to share with friends this New Year’s Eve. The sweetness of the dried cranberries with the savory Swiss cheese is a perfect combination. Cheers!

Rustic Pesto Tart

1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Tip)
1/4 cup prepared pesto
6 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup shredded fontina or Swiss cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2.  Sprinkle work surface and dough with flour. Press dough out and roll, stretch or toss it into a 14-inch circle. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Spread pesto on the dough to within 1/8 inch of the edge. Sprinkle cranberries and cheese evenly over the pesto. Fold 1 to 1 1/2 inches of the border over the filling all the way around, leaving the center exposed.
3.  Bake the tart until browned and bubbling, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces.

Tip: You can find a recipe for a whole wheat pizza crust on my Butter Girl blog, under a post titled, Garden Bruschetta or look for whole-wheat pizza-dough balls at your supermarket. Check the ingredient list to make sure the dough doesn't contain any hydrogenated oils.

Nutrition Profile:
Per serving: 190 calories; 6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 3 g mono ); 7 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 409 mg sodium; 114 mg potassium.


  1. Since it's midnight that means I should probably go to bed huh? ;)

  2. lol..I am up late too; studying how to be 12:45 a.m.!


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