Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in Review

What's that saying?  The one about the best laid plans?  That's pretty much been my life this year.  And for a control freak such as myself, it's a hard pill to swallow.  From some minor setbacks/family illnesses in December that resulted in me publishing a whopping three posts this month, to some potentially stressful developmental issues with my sweet Henry, to just well, life.  Try as we might to control and plan our lives down to the minute, we just can't.


This was the year that I had to learn to surrender myself to a higher power and realize that it will all be okay.  Even if I don't get the ending or story I think I want or plan for myself, and it's a lesson I needed to learn.  My problems and stresses were on a much smaller scale than those of some of my friends and family, so I've also been dealt a healthy dose of perspective this year.  Perhaps that's another character trait I needed.


Overall though, this has been a pretty wonderful year, and I definitely shouldn't complain.  Watching the kids grow and learn, traveling, spending time with friends and family…. it's all been great.  And speaking of great, it's been a pretty great food year as well.  I had the opportunity to eat at some truly fantastic restaurants all over the country, and I cooked up some pretty delicious food in my own kitchen here in Georgia.  So without further ado, here are some standouts of the year (based on both popularity and my own personal favorites).

If I had to choose the dish of 2014, this Grilled Summer Vegetable Chopped Salad wins, hands down.  I made this at least once a week for the entirety of the summer, and so many of you loved it as well.  I'm officially counting down the days until I can make it again.  Maybe in the meantime, I should come up with a roasted winter veggie version…

BBQ Turkey Meatballs over Cheddar-Corn Quinoa were also a huge fan favorite.  Healthy, hearty, and quick and easy, this meal has it all.

Keeping in the "healthy" realm, I was head over heels for this Deconstructed Falafel Salad, and you guys loved it too.  So filling and refreshing, this makes a great lunch, or a light dinner with some grilled chicken or shrimp on the side.

This was apparently the Year of the Salad, because this Vietnamese Style Pork and Rice Noodle Salad was another big hit.  I'm still dreaming about that salad… methinks it will be a great healthy dinner for the new year…

And now to move in the complete opposite direction, I give you Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes.  These are slap your momma good, and a definite indulgence.  You'll never want to eat regular mashed potatoes again.

As usual, Mexican food was super popular with you  guys this year too.  I started the year off with Tequila-Braised Short Rib Enchiladas.  They've since become a staple for us, and I know you guys loved them just as much.

Tequila-Infused Chorizo Queso Fundido was also a hit.  Unsurprisingly.  This is totally happening on New Year's Eve.

Mexican food can be healthy too, and these Chipotle Turkey-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are a great example of that.  This was actually the most popular post of the year, and for good reason.  Loved these guys, and I'm thinking about making an appetizer-sized version of these for New Year's Eve.

And to conclude the Mexican portion of this post, I bring you margaritas.  This was definitely a fun year of margarita making, and while I absolutely loved every single flavor I made, apple-habanero topped the list for you guys.  If I had to choose MY favorite, I think I'd go with Watermelon Margaritas.  There are many reasons that I can't wait for summer's return, and these margaritas definitely top my list!

To round out the favorite meals, this Skillet-Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni was a huge hit in my family and yours.  This is seriously one of my favorite meals of all time, and you guys seemed to love it just as much.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

And because they are just so pretty, I have to share these Blood Orange Cosmopolitans.  I'm already stalking the grocery store for the return of my beloved blood oranges just so I can enjoy these.  Soon!

Other great recipes worth mentioning:
Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats.  My go-to dessert.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with Bacon. A big bowl of love.
Oreo Truffle Brownies. No words needed.
Baked Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Goat Cheese. Pasta = love.
Savory Pimento Cheese Macarons. Mind blowing.
BLT Pizza. Long live the BLT
Low Country Grill. Summer.
Hatch Chile Huevos Rancheros. Fiesta in the morning.
Grilled Fish Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa. Fiesta in the evening.
Short Rib and Wild Mushroom Cheesesteaks. They're fancy.
Chicken Florentine. Comfort.
Spicy Chicken with Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Cranberry Salsa. Healthy and easy.
Sausage and Cheese Biscuits. Family favorite.

Thanks so much for reading along this year, and thanks so much for all the sweet comments, messages, and emails.  I hope you and yours have a wonderful time ringing in 2015.  See you on the other side!


Josie said...

How did I miss these recipes this year? This is the best top 10 list I have seen. Can't wait to try some of them.

Josie said...

Beautiful family, wonderful recipes------and learning to let go is hard for everyone especially for someone who considers themselves a control freak.
You are on the right track my dear. Happy New Year---I said, smiling.

Josie said...

I always feel SO inspired after stopping by here, so keep on keeping on with the good food! Being a control freak myself, I totally understand about freaking out when things don't go according to plan, but I truly hope for only good things for you in the new year (and always!).

Josie said...

I'm rarely excited about soup, but for some reason, I was craving chicken chili when I made my menu plan—probably because I'm trying to cut carbs in January. I knew I'd found a keeper in a recipe endorsed by the Barefoot Contessa and Pink Parsley! Even better on Day 2.

Josie said...

Thanks so much, Joanne! I always feel inspired after visit your blog too! Here's to 2015! xoxo

Josie said...

Thanks so much, Celeste! Be sure to stop back by and let me know what you try!

Josie said...

thanks, Carol! Happy New Year to you as well!

Josie said...

Yay! And thanks for leaving me a comment -- I'm putting this on my menu for next week now :)

Post a Comment