Happy New Year!!

I love a new year! I love evaluating the past year and deciding what changes I want to make for the next year. I love starting over with a clean slate!

In preparation for the new year, I spent a little while yesterday getting ready for food for the first day of the new year. I picked up 5 rotisserie chickens from the store. Yes that is 5! I usually pick up one or two at the first of the week, take the meat off the bones and freeze them for the upcoming week's dinners. So I got the brilliant idea to get 5 of those suckers to get ready for the new year. I think that 5 is too many to do at once. There I admit my eyes were bigger than my...hands I guess. My fingers were water logged when I was done, but I did it. I took all the meat off the bones and put the bones and skin and bits and pieces in a pot and made a lot of chicken stock. My favorite trick about rotisserie chicken is to make sure you use every bit of the liquid in the bottom of the container possible. If you let the bird cool off in the fridge, you end up with globs of goo in the bottom of the container, including some fat. I make sure not to waste a single drop of the liquid or fat. It isn't a lot of fat, the liquid usually jells and I use it all! There is a lot of flavor in that liquid.

I am making our traditional New Years Day meal of Hoppin' John. Oh how I do love traditions. A tradition with food? Oh my, take me away! If you knew me, you would know that my extra chin(s) are there because of my love of food.

I've been making Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for about 5 years now. I call up Emeril's recipe on the internet and make whatever tweaks I feel like making that year. I also always make cornbread with it. My favorite cornbread is good ol' Blue box Jiffy. It is crumbly and messy and yummy. I like to crumble the cornbread in a bowl and then spoon the Hoppin' John over top of it.

I am using chicken sausage in place of a ham steak this year. One of our special dietary needs mean no ham this year. I'll tell you how it goes after we eat it sans the ham steak.

The other thing I'm making is Tamales! I am throwing some of the chicken in a crock pot with salsa verde and some sauted onions and peppers to have a nice sauna for a while. I live in the boonies and don't have access to many specialty items, so in place of corn husks, I'll be using parchment paper.

I'm off to go to bed for the first time this year. I can't wait for all the yummy food tomorrow has in store for us! The only thing missing is being able to spend it with my extended family. I'll have left overs for sure.

Are there traditional foods you serve for New Year's Day?

Happy New Year to you!!

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