Go out in style but conserve resources in upcoming year

Can you stand to read one more collection of party recipes before we move on to the next decade?

Being somewhat of a party girl, at least in spirit if not in action, I feel duty-bound to go out in style.

I come by it honestly, imprinted at an early age by a grandmother who also carried the party spirit in her heart. She exposed me to my first past-midnight New Year's Eve, and I've never looked back. So even in the years when my Sweetie and I have opted for cocooning rather than reveling with a crowd — which I confess is MOST years — the mood is fun, and the food nothing short of fabulous.

But before jumping into the kitchen, how about thinking about our planet and your impact on it? New Year's resolutions tend to focus on reductions of waistlines, chaos and clutter. But that nasty carbon footprint of yours could use a little work too. So why not hack away at it in the coming year?

If you're still scratching your head over just what a big, fat carbon footprint looks like, Google "carbon footprint" and scroll down through the pages and pages of information. Then turn off your computer, walk to a window and marvel at the beauty around us. Now would be a good time to ask yourself if you're able to make even a few adjustments in the coming year to sustain this treasure.

You know that little efforts are huge when accomplished by many. Which is why I keep chipping away at my own cooking habits. With each upgrade in behavior — be it using fewer paper towels or only boiling the exact amount of water I need for tea — my grandchildren will have a better chance of growing up in a more hopeful world.

Even one simple act — budgeting $10 a week toward locally produced food, perhaps — can have a grand impact on your community and the world. Do the math and multiply it by all your neighbors. Then go from there.

You see, we can make a difference.

Meanwhile, celebration is in the air. For all you last-minute folks, here are a few simple, tried-and-true noshes that can be thrown together with little effort. Have a good time and bon appetit.

See you next year!

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, cookbook author and artist. Readers can contact her by e-mail at janrd@proaxis.com or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at www.janrd.com.

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