“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning… Make some light.”
Kate DiCamillo

As I have gotten older, the excitement of New Year’s Eve has lost a bit of its luster. In fact, I do not think I have witnessed the striking of the new year in real time (or in sequins) for many years (I am normally fast asleep). However,  I still love the sparkling potential of a brand new year. I am a goal girl and there is something refreshing about being able to start my healthy intentions anew. For me the new year is an important time of reflection and renewal. 2021 is a special year for me as I welcome my 50th year. My gift to myself is to allow my reflection in the mirror and my challenges and setbacks a little more grace. I will extend that gift to others as well. May 2021 be a year of grace, reflection, and boundless gifts. 

The past few years I have witnessed a lot of New Year posts on social media. One activity that I enjoy engaging my high school students in is the “One Word for the New Year” or a “One Word Resolution”. Focusing on just one word helps us create an intention and gives us a little latitude. It allows us to ruminate over one small word – and that action can impact many aspects of our life. However, it is not a resolution that we can break. Afterall, it is a word. We can start the next day with our word fresh on our lips.

For 2021, my word is Light. Light encompasses the life I want to embrace. I want my footsteps to tread light on the earth when it comes to my responsibility to nature and my community. I want the small things to roll off of me – for my countenance and inner peace to be as light as a feather. I do not want to be held down by the things that I cannot change. 

As I type this post, I think of the purchases my husband and I made this month. We bought windows for the addition on our old Finnish homestead. Six years ago when we met we were in the dreaming stages of what could be. We planned and we worked hard. My husband bought a sawmill and started milling beams.  Today the structure is up and we are installing windows and yesterday we bought insulation. 

The  windows will be the eyes to the new wing of our home. They will protect us from the elements and help us marvel in the beauty around us – birds, trees, rain clouds, snow squalls, sunrises, and sunsets. These windows are more than panes of glass. They are portals for sunshine. The light that seeps into our lives and takes us out of the darkness. A reminder to never lose hope. 

When it comes to making future plans for ourselves, it is imperative to think about our health. I know that I am much more successful when I have the right mindset. I feel much better when I am getting enough sleep, wearing an activity monitor as a daily reminder to keep moving, and doing weekly meal planning.

Today’s recipe embodies my goals for the new year. I am going to remember to make time for myself and treat myself well. I often cater our meals to fit the tastes and preferences of my family members. This is a recipe that I created for myself. I was mindful of the entire process – from creation, presentation, to consumption. It feels good to slow down and enjoy the things that bring us pleasure. I have always loved cooking, but the repetitive act of cooking can sometimes feel like a chore. Therefore, I am reminding myself to be light. To enjoy the vibrant colors, the fragrance, and the flavors of the ingredients.

Swiss chard is one of those greens that people see at the farmer’s market and are not sure what to do with. While it is lovely to look at, it is also a health powerhouse. It is packed with fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and antioxidants. I love the leaves raw in salads, tossed into soups, or lightly sauteed for breakfast or as a dinner side. My friend Anita recently told me she sauteed some Swiss Chard up with bacon and her family devoured it and asked for seconds. 

I also chose pomegranate for it is antioxidant boasting qualities and because I love the taste. Pomegranate always reminds me of the holiday season since Santa always put a giant one in our Christmas stocking when I was a kid.

The smoked salmon in this recipe is wonderfully flavorful and packed with healthy oil. The protein from the fish gives it a bit of heartiness, and you could also serve with tuna steak or a salmon filet that is prepared to your liking. 

The goat cheese and fresh rosemary is such a suitable combination. I recently made roasted root vegetables with fresh rosemary and my step son Lukas was enamoured with the taste, smell, and texture of the rosemary. He thought they were like pine needles – and it reminded me why I love the aroma of rosemary so much. I always have a rosemary plant in our summer herb garden, but I do not often cook with it. I need to change that! 


*1 bunch of Swiss chard (spinach or beet greens would also work well)
*1 teaspoon minced garlic
*1 teaspoon finely sliced onion
*1 teaspoon fruit preserves (I used raspberry jam because I had it on hand)
*2 Tablespoons olive oil
*3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
*Goat cheese
*Fresh rosemary (a couple of sprigs)
*4 ounces of smoked salmon (I bought a piece in the fish section of our local Meijer supermarket that was individually packaged and cajun flavored.)
*Handful of pomegranate seeds 
*Few slices of pickled beets 

Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a pan and saute the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes. Add the fruit preserves and the balsamic vinegar and stir well. Add the Swiss chard and saute for a few minutes until wilted.

In a small bowl mix the goat cheese with a couple teaspoons of chopped rosemary and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Plate the greens with the salmon. Sprinkle plate with pomegranate seeds, add the pickled beets, and a dollop of the goat cheese. Enjoy!

While I enjoyed the salmon cold as a sort of salad, this would be a wonderful way to serve broiled, grilled, or baked salmon for dinner. It would also make a wonderful accompaniment to a charcuterie board with the addition of nuts, avocado, olives, fresh berries, and crackers or toasted baguette. 

A little goat cheese goes a long way, so the extra I keep in the refrigerator and use it to top toast for breakfast or steak. 

Another tip is that swiss chard (and other greens like turnip, kale or beet) will wilt in the refrigerator if you do not use them right away). When this happens, cut off their ends and put them in a glass or bowl of water (like you would a bouquet of flowers) and they will perk right up.

You can find pickled beets in many supermarkets, but if you want to make your own, make sure you check out my mom’s recipe

As we enter 2021, I wish you an abundance of light. Do not forget to take care of yourself and make your health a priority. Stop by my Facebook page at Produce with Amy and let me know what One Word you chose for your 2021 Intention. Cheers to a new year and a fresh start! 





    1. You are not alone about the beets! I never liked them as a kid, but have developed an affinity for them. I too like Swiss chard. I picked up some seeds and am going to try to grow some. Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. Thank you. It was delicious! I made a smoked salmon dip last weekend that my family devoured. I should share that recipe soon.

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