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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best of 2011 Challenge

One year ago, I introduced our Twelve in Ten Challenge to this blog. The whole idea was that we would use 2010 as a year of trying new things. Because my dad has always taught me to set goals, I defined what this challenge would look like and we established 6 kitchen challenges and 6 new restaurants we wanted to try in 2010. Each month we tackled a different thing from the list and I can proudly say that all twelve challenges were a success!

Thanks to the challenge, we enjoyed a dinner party full of fire with friends, savored a fabulous meal after arriving by bike on one of the hottest days of the summer, and experienced two new kinds of seafood! (for a complete listing of the Twelve in Ten posts, click here and read about them all!) Because we had such a good time tackling new foods or experiences each month, we decided to adopt a similar challenge for 2011.

I pondered several different ideas before eventually setting on the theme for this year: BEST OF 2011. Ever since St. Louis Magazine came out with their list of Best Restaurants in STL last October, I've been eager to try several of them. Many of them I have already read about or they have been recommended to me, and by incorporating it into our challenge, it forces us to get out there and try them! Rather than select 6 at the beginning of the year, we're going to leave our options open and instead select a restaurant for each of the coveted spots as the time arises.

As for the kitchen part of the challenge, I wanted to stick with the "Best of" theme. A little research led to a cookbook titled The Twelve Best Foods. The premise of this cookbook is that there are twelve foods with the most potent micronutrients, which help find against diseases: broccoli, black beans, tomatoes, salmon, soy, sweet potatoes, oats, blueberries, onions, walnuts, spinach, and strawberries. Each recipe in the book features one of these foods. For the six months that we aren't eating out at restaurants, I will select two recipes from the book to make, so that by the end of the year we've tried a new recipe featuring each of the featured foods.

I'm excited about this year's challenge. These are meant to be fun, not stressful, and I think by leaving it open-ended like this, we ensure that we have the opportunity to try new things without it being overly difficult. Hopefully you enjoy following our journey through the Best of 2011 challenge!

Happy New Year!