New Years Resolutions – The Canadian Food Experience Project

When faced with the subject of this month’s A Canadian Food Experience Project I was a bit uncomfortable and unsure of what I was going to write about. Resolutions and the New Year go hand in hand like peanut butter and jam BUT by the time March rolls around many people forget about the changes they resolved to make in their lives…much like many who lived through the disco era try to forget disco even existed. Many resolutions don’t even make it to March and I have witnessed this first hand. Going to the gym is probably my prime example. I used to go all the time and in January and February the place was packed with good intentions. I would smile to myself and wish them all luck knowing that eventually they’d disappear one by one.

It’s no secret that I *should* be going to the gym again. I’ve slowly gained back all the weight I lost and to be honest I feel like crap. I guess that’s why the subject of resolutions made me uncomfortable… because of what I should be doing, but am not. I know I can do it, but starting a weight loss program as a New Year’s Resolution just seems so cliché. If I’m going to do it I don’t need some random change in time to push me towards a goal. I need to make those goals on my own because I just don’t like being told what to do. Stubborn? Yes. Truthful? Yes. I’ve laid it all out for you here as much pain as it has caused me.

Of course I don’t blame myself. I blame the long, cold Canadian winter (I just had to make this Canadian!). Who wants to start an exercise regime when it’s dark when you wake up and dark at 4:30 pm? We’re naturally programmed to hibernate! And, who wants to start a diet during the cold winter months when hearty soups, braises, baking, and comfort food reign supreme? We all crave these things because we Canadians get through the winter with an extra layer of….fat. You may laugh but it’s true. So why start the New Year with a health resolution that is doomed to fail? Just don’t. Do it when you are ready and I guarantee you will be much more successful.

So…what am I doing about this New Year’s Resolution thing? Easy, achievable goals are the key to making me feel like I have actually accomplished something.

  • Last year I vowed to dine out more at some of Calgary’s best restaurants. Some of them had been on my ‘want to go’ list for a while…So I went! I’m going to continue that this year.
  • I’m going to cook more with ‘unloved’ ingredients and try to find recipes that elevate them to another level…already done one with my Potato and Parsnip Gratin.
  • I’m going to hug my kids and dogs more. The kids hate it, the dogs love it!
  • I’m going to try and re use left overs and food in my refrigerator BEFORE it goes bad.
  • I’m going to READ more and spend less time on the computer. This is a bit tougher…I like my social media sites but I have a huge pile of cookbooks, magazines, and novels that is growing and never gets read. And I refuse to quit buying them…
  • If I buy a food magazine, I will make at least one recipe from it….already done with the January issue of Food & Wine.
  • I won’t complain about the weather….oops, this resolution was doomed from the start!

So, here it is. This recipe for Chicken-Tomatillo Fajitas checks off four of the above mentioned resolutions AND coincidentally also seems to be a bit diet friendly. Imagine that!

Chicken-Tomatillo Fajitas (adapted from Food & Wine, January 2014)


1 large can of tomatillos with liquid (Tomatillos? Resolution #2)

1 magic chicken, meat shredded (I bought mine from Costco and needed to be used up, resolution #4)

1 jalapeno, chopped (Wow, thank goodness I tried my jalapeno first! One taste and I was literally on fire. I tried to sooth my lips on a package of frozen spinach. I very finely diced about a teaspoon and used that)

half of an onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed. (this is Canada in flu season. I used 4 cloves)

1 tbsp chicken ‘Better Than Bouillon’

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves and tender sprigs

1 avocado

salt and pepper to taste

flour tortillas

pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and cilantro. Topped with a glug of EVOO and juice of one lime. SALT)


I still had the Bellini Kitchen Master and I thought this was a good recipe to make using the machine.

Start by chopping the onions and sautéeing them. When they get a bit soft, add finely diced garlic and continue to sautéfor another minute. Add the can of tomatillos, liquid and all. Add the bouillon. Cook for about 15 minutes, then add the avocado and cook for another 10 minutes. If you are using a BKM or Thermomix, blend everything together, if not, break out your trusty immersion blender. Add the shredded chicken meat and cook until the meat is up to temperature then add half of the cilantro. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve on warmed tortillas with the remainder of the cilantro, some pico de gallo, and sour cream.


I am writing this post as part of my contribution towards the Canadian Food Experience Project that began in June 2014, where a group of Canadian Food Bloggers and writers share collective stories through our regional food experiences in the hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity. Huge thanks go to Valerie Lugonja (A Canadian Foodie) spearheading this project and for her dedication. Thanks Valerie!


  1. Dale

    A great list of resolutions and goals to aspire. Really like the idea of challenging yourself to explore “unloved” ingredients. While I didn’t specifically “resolve” this last year, I found that when I joined by CSA last year, it kind of forced me to not only explore but find great ways to use veggies I might never have picked up (or not as often). Great Canadian spirit … and a great contribution to our Canadian Food Experience Project.


    1. dishnthekitchen

      Thank you so much Dale! I guess I should be on the hunt for my next ‘unloved’ ingredient. I probably haven’t had turnips since I was 15!!

    2. Dale

      I hear ya. I would have termed turnips the same until I made my own roasted rutabaga last fall — and I became a convert. What it told me is that there is goodness and magic in almost every ingredient … with the right recipe.

      Good luck in your year’s quest and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

  2. lizzygoodthings

    Hi Bernice, great recipe… I wonder if I can find tomatillos here in Australia?


    1. dishnthekitchen

      hmmm. I think I saw them there but I bet they are extremely dear. It would be better if you could find the canned ones. I remember being so frustrated trying to find Mexican or South American ingredients in Aus!
      I can’t really offer a substitute either. Sorry.

    1. dishnthekitchen

      Lizzie (comment below) asked if you could find tomatillos in Aus…have you ever seen them in your area?

    2. foodisthebestshitever

      I haven’t seen fresh ones but I’ve bought them in tins with brine. I get them from a wholesaler… i haven’t seen them in the super market (but thats probably because I avoid the place like the plague)… maybe a Mexican market? Was that a little too obvious?

    3. dishnthekitchen

      well yes. you forget I lived in WA. hehehe You probably have much more choice on the East Coast…
      Is the brine really salty? The tinned ones I used weren’t too bad. I just didn’t add extra salt.

    4. foodisthebestshitever

      Not salty at all. Damn delicious actually!

  3. tinywhitecottage

    Love this recipe! And couldn’t agree with you more about starting an exercise program in winter! Cold winter months are for hibernating, bundling up, eating comfort food and maybe a “couple” extra pounds to help keep me warm. 🙂 Here’s to hitting it hard in spring! 🙂


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