Letter from the Editor: Happiness

by Stephanie Fellenstein Published:

My New Year's resolution this year is to be healthier and happier.

The resolution was for my whole family. They were not thrilled. We were going to eat better, play outside, do stuff for others -- all part of our journey to "happiness."

On New Year's Day, I dusted off my cross country skies and headed out to the local park. It was perfect skiing weather with six good inches of fresh snow. Unfortunately the brutal cold a week later kept us trapped inside for days.

As for the eating healthier part of the resolution, I was determined to find some meals that my super picky 10-year-old would eat. I decided to let the kids plan some of our menus. My older daughter was up first and picked stuffed peppers. With a strong Hungarian background, I ate lots of stuffed stuff ­growing up and stuffed peppers were never one of my favorites. But, if the kid was excited about trying them, I was all for it. We spent the afternoon slicing, sautéing, stuffing and baking.

I still don't like stuffed peppers. But my pepper-loving daughter considered the meal a success.

Next up was the picky eater. She decided to make potato pancakes. They were delicious until she realized onions went into the concoction and then no amount of syrup or apple sauce could disguise the onion-y taste.

I read an interesting article in Outside magazine about 13 scientifically proven methods for living happier. It talked about things like getting up early, getting dirty, living each day like it was a Saturday, listening to music, eating more chocolate (I'm definitely on board with that one) and eating happy meals. And by "happy meals," they weren't talking about a handful of chicken nuggets and a prize. Apparently the happiest foods -- the foods that produce the highest level of the those feel-good endorphins in your body -- are elk, spinach, turkey, egg whites, black beans, walnuts and split peas.

I can't wait to hear what my picky eater has to say about that.

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