|Happy New Year!!|
New Year's Eve brings so many memories. From late nights dancing the night away in the City by the Bay, to evenings ending at 9:30 after a Toy Story double feature. The last few years though, I have found to be the most memorable as well as enjoyable with smallish pot-luck gatherings at ours or a neighbor's house. Kids of all ages dressed in pretty holiday clothes and decorated with New Years tiaras, beads and hats running around while the adults enjoy time chatting with a bit of bubbly in hand as we all welcome the New Year. Last night was another one of those perfect evenings!
Waking early yesterday morning the pups and I enjoyed about an hour to ourselves perusing the foodie blogosphere before the rest of the family arose. Much to my pleasure, many of the blogs I follow listed their Top 10 posts of the year. Piquing my curiosity, I checked my own stats and found that desserts are indeed very popular! Some of my personal favorites made that Top 10 and I genuinely enjoyed taking a trip down Memory Lane.
When I began writing, back in June of this year, desserts were not high on my blog list. However, with requests from Liv and others I found myself feeding my baking obsession. For years I have turned to baking to relieve a stressful day. It's not so much the baked good, but the baking process that I truly love. Kneading and shaping bread tops my list with mixing, measuring and simply stirring following at a close second. Add a kid or two into the mix and we have a winning afternoon! Unfortunately for my waistline, the baking process does produce the desired and eagerly anticipated baked good that I love and crave so much, but each and every calorie is well received and extraordinarily enjoyed.
While most of our Top 10 revolves around baking and desserts, our numbers 9 and 10 bring some of our favorite soups. Perfect for summer or winter, soup is "good food". Given the choice, my husband would have soup daily. It's taken me a bit of time to come around but Deb's (Kahaki Kitchen) Souper Sundays has helped me get my soup on!
Here's our Top 10 for 2010!
|Ellie Krieger's Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup|
Ellie Krieger starts us off at Number 10 with her Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup:
The versatility of this savory recipe is a benefit for me as I don't always have just the right amount of tomatoes on hand, but using a few more or less doesn't materially impact the soup other than making it more or less tomatoey. The black beans give texture that I love and adding roasted sweet onions lends a savory touch when combined with the roasted garlic. Topping the soup with a sprinkle of cilantro, a scoop of creamy sour cream and a spoonful of luscious diced avocado provides a meal in a bowl that is just as good, if not better, the next day.
Dad's 81st birthday in November was the inspiration behind #9:
Last night we celebrated Dad's 81 years with a heart-healthy Corn and Chicken Chowder that was quick to put together and perfect for a busy school night. With the farmers market corn dwindling, a bag of Trader Joe's frozen white corn made for easy prep of this body warming soup. I had thought ahead and made extra chicken from our dinner the prior evening which only need a quick chopping to round out the meal. Flavored with onion, chilies and celery and then then rounded out with a dose of dried thyme and a fresh grind of pepper this soup was the perfect birthday meal.
#8 brought us into our baking realm:
I seem to be a bit behind the power curve, but I'm finally beginning to channel my inner pumpkin! Pumpkin Pancakes have been the breakfast of choice more than once in the last few weeks and after reading on a now forgotten blog that there might be a pumpkin shortage I picked up a number of cans on a recent Trader Joe's run. Cold, drizzly San Diego is definitely urging me in the comfort food direction and today Pumpkin Scones seemed to fit the bill.
|Grand Marnier Brownie Bites|
Coming in at #7 is my personal favorite post of the year!
Introducing my Grand Marnier obsession, this post begins with an early morning stroll on the beach followed by an afternoon at the doggie spa and comes to a beautiful conclusion with these Grand Marnier enhanced, ganache topped bites of luscious brownie!
While the Grand Marnier Brownie Bites may not be the perfect doggie treat (chocolate is toxic to dogs!), this sumptuous chocolaty treat sounded absolutely divine to me. Rich chocolate brownies embellished with a touch of grated orange peel and layered with a luscious Grand Marnier enhanced ganache for a bite of pure decadence.
|Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars|
Soaring near the top of the stat viewer is our recent Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bar post.
The secret is the crust... crushed Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe Joe's (oreo-like peppermint flavored cookies) provide the perfect pepperminty base to the rich chocolate cheesecake filling and luscious ganache-like topping. A sprinkle of crushed candy canes brings a holiday flair and another welcome dose of peppermint.
|White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups|
These little white chocolate cups just may be my personal favorite recipe of the year:
I'm not usually one to gush. My emotions usually stay fairly well in check with the occasional real high or the incidental low, but for the most part I'm pretty darn straight and even. However... today I'm going to gush!!! WOW! Wow!! Wow!!! White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups are amazing! Awesome! Spectacular! Dazzling! Fabulous! Magnificent!!! And I could go on!
|Chocolate Banana Crepes|
Chocolate Banana Crepes (now altered to use our new Nutella obsession) gets Liv's vote for all time favorite:
Liv's first bite brought an odd look to her face giving me a momentarily thought of concern, however, within seconds her bright smile spread even broader than usual followed by, "Wow! I have never, and I mean never, had anything this good!" Admittedly bananas and chocolate are two of her favorite ingredients, add in a dusting of powdered sugar and you have Liv Heaven!
|Whole Grain Pancakes with Buttermilk, Oatmeal & Banana|
Bringing a bit of whole grains into our life, Liv's favorite Pancakes bring us to #3:
Definitely needing to get some decent food into her we immediately got to making one of her favorite meals, pancakes! My mom-instincts kicked in and I felt a need to load the pancakes with healthy nutrients as we began filling the mixing bowls. Out of the pantry came a/p flour, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax meal, rolled oats and cinnamon all combined with a touch of brown sugar. Then we opened the fridge and pulled out fresh milk, eggs and buttermilk. Luckily we even had an over-ripe banana on the counter and we were set!
|Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls|
#2 brings us to one of our all time favorite recipes, Cooking Light's Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:
Cooking Light provided a version of this keeper years ago that I adapted to work for me, and I feel good serving it to my family in place of other recipes that are higher in fat and calories. On occasion I add a portion of spelt or whole wheat flour in place of the all purpose to bump up the health meter, and I'm thrilled to have the fiber and beta-carotene rich pumpkin included in the mix. Filled with the usual butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and topped with a sweet glaze these tender rolls are a hit every time. We keep a few cans of pumpkin in the pantry just for this oft requested recipe. The lightly orange hued rolls are a sweet treat for any table!
And announcing our #1 viewed recipe of the year...
|Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies|
My mom is the source to this favored recipe!
Somehow, chocolate and peanut butter make everything better! My Mom made these cookies for us a few years ago and I have a note, handwritten by my son, that these are the "best cookies in the world"! The tender cookies, just ever so slightly crisp on the outside give way to a beautifully soft, peanut butter center. Covered with a sprinkle of sugar the cookies melt in your mouth and any frustrations you may have simply slip away. Easy to make, quick to bake and tasty to eat. The perfect finish to a fun evening. For my next movie though, I think I'm queuing up on Netflix!
And there we have it! Liv Life's Top 10 in 2010. Liv and I have enjoyed putting together each and every one of these posts and we can not even begin to adequately convey our thanks for the support and kind words that have come our way during our short blogging stint. Thank you... and Happy New Year!
On to 2011!