Happy New Year to all my readers! I wish you all, health, happiness, love and prosperity in 2011! Blogging has given me all of these things, and I am eternally grateful for all of your support these past years. The Leftover Queen is going to be better than ever this year! So please make sure you are subscribed to my  email updates, RSS feeds,  and my NEW Monthly Newsletter (see box at the top right).  You aren’t going to want to miss a single post! This year I will be focusing more than ever on my homesteading adventures, cooking real food, making my own convenience foods, making dairy products and much, much more! Make sure you are following me on Facebook (if link does not work do a search for: The Leftover Queen) and Twitter (@leftoverqueen), I often post things on there that I don’t blog about, and there are often many interesting conversations going on!

Last year I made a list of food goals for myself – and I am happy to look back at them, and see that I accomplished every single one, even though I don’t think I looked at the list once since I wrote it. The only thing I didn’t accomplish was getting sheep and goats. But that is in the works and will *hopefully* be happening this spring. The barn is just waiting for them!

In 2010, after moving to Northern Vermont, I have basically become a full-time locavore. The majority of the foods we eat are local or something we have grown ourselves. If it isn’t local, we at least buy it from a local, independent store, instead of a chain. Even our holiday celebrations are locavore. This means we have eaten the freshest foods and best ingredients, while supporting our local economy, even in these hard times. It is because of this, that I am now, more than ever convinced that everyone, no matter what their economic situation is or how busy they are, can find a way to feed their family the best, freshest food possible. We are living proof of that truth – with full time jobs, raising animals, growing food plus all our other extra-curricular activities and crazy schedules. We always share dinner together at the table, as a family – every single day.

These are all good changes. I am extremely happy with how much I learned about homesteading this past year, and look forward to many more years on this journey. I have finally found my calling in life, and it is simple: become more sustainable, more self-reliant and bring back the old, tried and true ways of doing things. This is the best way I know how to honor and respect my ancestors. Something that is so important to my spiritual practices. This means constantly evolving and learning new skills and techniques – in the kitchen, the garden, the barn and the woodlands. I want to create the kind of life where when we have a family, our children will grow up with all these skills as second nature. Something neither Roberto nor I ever had.

This year, to continue on this journey, my goals are:

Food Goals 2011

Discover the foods of my ancestors and learn about the traditional preparation of those foods~

I have learned quite a lot about my ancestry this year. As an adoptee, this has been a lifelong journey, that I was finally able to get some answers to, after following my new year’s resolution in 2010 to get my DNA tested.  I strongly believe that the best foods for an individual to eat, are those foods that their ancestors ate. Which had a lot to do with motivation towards this goal.  As individuals we have come up through the ages, riding on the coat-tails of those that have gone before us. I wrote a bit about that in this post.

So look for recipes this year from the following cuisines, as I explore the foods of my ancestors: English, Scottish, German, Danish, Dutch and perhaps even some Mohawk recipes.

Play more with dairy products ~

My doctor told me that although wheat and gluten really mess my body up – that I am one of those rare people that have a good reaction to dairy – that it actually helps me, and gives me energy! This made me so happy! I love dairy. So although in 2010 I learned the techniques for making yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, cheeses, crème fraiche, etc, I want to perfect the recipes and play with them – learn to use them even more in my cooking and flavor them.

Play more with home-brewing techniques ~

I usually make a batch of limoncello every year – but now that we are not in Florida, it wouldn’t be a locavore thing to do. So I am thinking this year about mead. Something my ancestors definitely enjoyed and definitely using local ingredients.

Eat more liver, wild caught seafood and roe ~

All important components of a healthy fertility diet. This couples nicely with one of my personal goals and wishes for the new year! ;)