Have you fully recovered from the sugar high, drinking/eating fest, last minute shopping frenzy, wrapping paper mess that is the holidays? I have not!! My “Christmas break” consisted of my daughter’s 2nd birthday party, 2 Christmas pageants, 4 Christmas get-togethers, cooking like a mad woman, and the most epic and beautiful winter wedding of my dear sister-in-law.
Thankfully, life has finally slowed down a bit since I’ve retreated for a little R&R to the coziest, most breathtaking area in all of Minnesota: the North Shore (of Lake Superior). This is the view outside the kitchen window right now. Snowflakes gently falling from the sky, creating a fresh blanket of bright white snow. So peaceful. So picturesque.
I’m also enjoying a mocha, and the aroma of my dad’s hearty split pea soup is filling the cabin! While my mom’s upstairs playing hide-and-seek with the kids and the guys are in the midst of a football-watching marathon, I have a (semi) quiet moment to reflect on the year and all the delish adventures I documented on the blog:
- In August, with much trepidation, I hit publish on my first official recipe post, exploring the deliciousness of meatless meals. It was a huge milestone to put myself out there on the web. But I soon learned that this whole food blogging gig is an absolute blast!
- From there, I expressed my everlasting love for butternut squash. Check out the tutorial on how to peel and cut these squashy beasts. As I survive this long stretch of cold winter weather here in MN, I’ll for sure be making this unique Thai-inspired Butternut Squash Soup.
- Once Fall (autumn) came around, pumpkin was obviously on my mind. These Pumpkin Cheesecake Pancakes were the most viewed post on the blog in 2014, and boy are they indulgent (for a lightened up pancake!). I also showed a little love for Wisconsin with this Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup.
- Before fall was over, I paid homage to apples and pretty much died and went to heaven after taking one bite of this bread pudding.
- Then the holiday rush began, and I became obsessed with cranberries. This Chipotle Cranberry Apple Salsa was a vibrant and tasty appetizer perfect for holiday parties. And this butternut squash side dish was a hit at Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinner.
- And what did I do with all those Turkey Day leftovers? I got creative and made some wontons, taquitos, and a salad.
- December was all about cookies. The definite highlight of the month was transforming my grandma’s spritz cookie recipe into these Chocolate Dipped Orange Spritz Cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
And that’s a wrap for 2014! Thanks for joining me on my healthy adventures to hearty, indulgent, and delish destinations. I’m so excited to create more lightened up recipes and share with you the memories, stories, and little pleasures that inspire me to live a healthy life and be a better cook, mommy, and wife.
I’m always looking for recipe inspiration! Are there any particular ingredients, cooking techniques, or dishes you’d like to see on the blog this year? If so, leave a comment below or let me know on Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear from you! Follow my adventures on Pinterest and Instagram too!