The end is the beginning is the end …
The end of the year is always an interesting time. People turn introspective, looking back on the past year. Evaluating. Discussing. Hey, I do it myself and usually I write about it too. But this year, I wanted to take a different approach.
See, I could write a week or more of posts looking back. But I didn’t want to do that. Instead, I offer you several lists detailing my favs from the past year. And at the end, I recapped my resolutions — which amazingly I was pretty successful with.
Once you’ve read through my favorites, be sure to share a few of your own in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear about the things you loved in 2009.
Happy New Year!
9 Favorite Recipes of 2009 from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Roasted Garlic and Artichoke Bread – This delicious bread is spread with roasted garlic and then topped with delicious roasted artichokes. Heaven.
- Basil Vinaigrette – When I first made this vinaigrette, I declared it positively drinkable. It’s made with a ton of basil, a wonderful herb that just screams warm, sunny summer days. We ate this on salads all summer while the basil was at its freshest.
- Garlic Soy Stir Fry -With chopped veggies, tender meat and a tasty sauce, this stir fry is a family favorite.
- Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers – This is another dish that made a frequent appearance on our table over the summer. When you bite into one of these babies, you get tender, flavorful meat and some of the creamy, melted blue cheese (which admittedly sometimes also dribbles down your chin). Just amazing.
- Artichoke and Herb Risotto – When friends came to visit early in the summer, I made this and I swear they would have licked the bowl if I let them. The fresh herbs and chopped artichokes come together beautifully in this creamy risotto.
- Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Vinaigrette – Brussels sprouts are a favorite here. We even grew them this year. And this easy recipe is a hit every time — in fact, it’s been on the table for nearly every major holiday all year.
- Grilled Beets with Feta – Tender, sweet beets go so well with tangy feta cheese. This was a big summer hit too.
- Ultimate Chocolate Truffle Pie – This rich pie is decadent and creamy. It hit the table for several occasions over the past few weeks by request. It was just so good.
- Raspberry White Chocolate Scones – If you’ve never had a homemade scone, you need to make some. These scones, best served warm, are tender and perfect. You can’t go wrong with white chocolate and raspberries.
9 Fantastic Food Blogs
Everyone has their own favorites, but these nine blogs are ones that I read all the time.
- CT Bites – There are so many great Connecticut food blogs (and I will tell you more about them in 2010). What I love about CT Bites is that it’s a group blog with a lot of really well-thought out and interesting posts about eating around Fairfield County, Conn. If you are local, check it out.
- In Good Taste – This is a great blog for 20-somethings that love to cook but don’t have a ton of time. Maris, who writes it, offers great tips and recipes in her posts. The fact that a lot of it is waist-friendly? It’s an added bonus.
- Sweetnicks – Back when I started blogging, this was one of two blogs that I read regularly. I identify with Cate, who is also a mom of two who loves to cook, so her blog really appeals to me. It’s funny, interesting and filled with fantastic photos (of food and kids!).
- The Perfect Pantry – I love learning new things about food, and this blog always delivers. Lydia focuses on one pantry item at a time telling you what it is, how to use it and giving a delicious recipe to go with it. Plus, it’s a great resource when you find some random ingredient in your cupboard and have no idea how to use it.
- Kalyn’s Kitchen – This is the other of the two blogs that I read regularly when I started blogging. Kalyn blogs about recipes and food with a South Beach diet-focus. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a South Beach dieter to enjoy her witty posts and delicious recipes.
- Orangette – The writing of Orangette is amazing. It’s dimensional. It makes you crave for more. And while Molly doesn’t post as often as she used to, it’s still a must read. I feel the same way about her column in Bon Appetit, which has convinced me to make my own mayo — even though I don’t eat mayo usually.
- The Recipe Girl – The sweets that this blog has been featuring lately are enough to make a girl drool all over her keyboard. But with the New Year, um, tonight, Lori’s Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010 challenge is both timely and a great idea.
- Cooking with Amy – The posts on this blog are to-the-point, but still intriguing. The recipes make you want to run to the kitchen. It’s a good read.
- Smitten Kitchen – A blog that can offer a great recipe for cream biscuits one day and an alarmingly easy recipe for butterscotch another has to be good. Sometimes I wonder if I might gain weight just drooling over the food that Deb is writing about. That’s not possible, right?
9 Delicious Foods I Tried This Year
- Kate’s Homemade Butter (Read my blog post about it here)
- Chicken Souvlaki Salad from Newtown Pizza Palace
- Frozen Raw Easy Peel Shrimp
- Rib-eye steaks from Stuart Family Farm
- Bear Pond Farm pestos
- Smoked Cheddar Cheese from Mountain Products Smokehouse
- Kielbasa from Ox Hollow Farm
- Shallot dressing at Craftbar
- Crab Stuffed Shrimp at Outback Steakhouse
2009 Resolutions Recap
- to see my friends more often – both with the kids and kid-free
VERDICT – Yes, I did this. Though I haven’t seen them as much in the past few months as the holidays approached, I did make a much bigger effort through the year.
- to work on my organizational skills and budgeting my time
VERDICT – I mastered this one and now take every weekend off, unless something unexpected comes up.
- to streamline my work
VERDICT – Work smarter, not harder, was the anthem of 2009 and I expect it to continue into 2010. It’s a great mantra.
- to complete and submit my two book proposals within the next month
VERDICT – Uh, no. I did submit one but it hasn’t found a home yet and I have back-burnered that.
- to get published in a glossy magazine
VERDICT – While I didn’t actually get a story published in a glossy, I was quoted in Redbook and also wrote a guest blog for Glamour.com. Does that count?
- to take at least one day off each week
VERDICT – As I mentioned above, I take two days off each week. You know, like a normal person.
- to lose 50 pounds
VERDICT – While this was totally doable, it didn’t happen. However, I did lose about 10 pounds, which I am pretty proud of.
- to cook and eat healthier foods
VERDICT – This is a definite yes for the past few months. I can’t say the same for the entire year. Turns out that bacon was a harder addiction to shake then I thought. And sweets, those will be my downfall.
- to workout at least three days per week
VERDICT – For the majority of the year, no. But over the past 6-8 weeks, I have adopted a daily workout regime.
- to make a new friend who lives nearby
VERDICT – Sort of.
- to develop personal style
VERDICT – Yes. And that’s all I am going to say about that.
- to pet my dogs more
VERDICT – Yes!
- to clean my house once a week
VERDICT – We won’t talk about this item. Avert your eyes and pretend you didn’t see it.
- to quit using “hey” and “hi” to start emails and go old-school with “dear”
VERDICT -Definitely yes.
- to complain less
VERDICT – I think I have cut down a lot.
- to write here more regularly
VERDICT – There have been a few hiccups, but overall, yes.
Happy New Year! What were your favs this year?
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.