Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Recipes of 2010

Wow, readers.  I cannot believe this year is over.  And, my goodness, what an emotional year it was.  It started out with three family deaths in a five-week period, which is more than two people should ever have to deal with.  As horrible as it was, M and I came through the sadness stronger together and even more certain than before that we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together.

Thankfully, 2010 had one gigantic high point.  Seeing the man I love get on one knee under a beautiful oak tree was exactly what I'd been hoping for.  Hearing him ask me to marry him was even better than I'd dreamed it would be.  I don't think I'll ever forget a single second of that perfect moment.

Through it all, I cooked.  I cooked through the sadness and the mourning.  When M's family needed it, I made them chicken noodle soup.  When M was hurting, I made him oatmeal raisin cookies.  When we celebrated our engagement with our families, I made a feast.  When we decorated our Christmas tree with the ornament we bought the day after our engagement, I made lemon bars, just as I had the year before.  I like that we're already finding our traditions.  I love that, one day, we'll be decorating our Christmas tree and eating lemon bars with our children.

Throughout this year, I've made some recipes that really stood out--ones that M and I loved after just one bite.  Here they are, readers.  I hope you'll like them just as much and my future husband and I.  Gosh...I sure do love saying that.

My year in the kitchen started off with this delicious slow cooker pulled chicken.  Not only is it economical and ridiculously easy to prepare, it's tasty and freezes perfectly for a weeknight dinner down the road.

When M told me his favorite kind of cake was plain ol' white cake, I could hardly believe him.  I knew I had to up the ante on white cake and I knew Dorie Greenspan was just the person to help me with it.  Her Perfect Party Cupcakes were made even tastier with the addition of raspberry buttercream.  M loved them.

Sometimes simple really is best, and this simple citrus salmon proves it.  With about three minutes of prep time, this recipe is as quick and easy as they come.  It's tasty, healthy, and presents beautifully.  The night we ate this, I already knew it'd be in my year-end roundup.

I just couldn't talk about my favorite recipes of 2010 without including this breakfast quinoa.  We first ate this for breakfast before heading out on a twelve-mile bike ride with the new bikes M boght us for Christmas.  We loved the taste and the protein in the quinoa kept us fueled up throughout the ride.  We were sold that day and we've enjoyed this breakfast with the season's best fresh fruit all year long.

As a child, I loved going to the lake with my mom.  many times, we'd stop for a cherry limeade from Sonic along the way.  In June, I turned my beloved treat into a frozen cherry limeade pie and boy, did it bring back great memories.  I can't wait to make it again this summer!

Another great summer dessert was this delicious bumbleberry pie.  With five fantastic fruits combined in one pie, it was bound to be good.  When all all those fruits were baked between my favorite pate brisee, it was a definite winner.  Trust me on this one, readers, and bookmark this one for next summer.

I recently saw a study that said the general population is split 50/50 on choosing chocolate vs. lemon in desserts.  M and I live up to this.  I'm a chocoholic and he is definitely a lemon lover.  (Remember his favorite lemon bars?)  To show him just how much I love him, I made these lemon-ricotta pancakes with fresh berries.  He was in lemony, breakfasty heaven.

As much as M and I love indulgent food, we are also health-conscious people.  This isn't as much of a conflict as one might think when you've got great recipes like this salmon florentine in your arsenal.  It's packed with flavor and nutrients, but not fat and calories.  As if that wasn't enough, it's quick enough for an easy weeknight meal.  Perfect!

Oh wow.  Oh goodness.  These pumpkin chai blondies with spiced cream cheese frosting were off the charts.  In fact, they were one of my most popular recipes of the year.  The blondies are dense and moist and full of warming chai spices.  The frosting adds a spicy tang that is the perfect topping.  I am 100% sure I'll be making these again come fall 2011.

The smell of these pear and apple upside-down gingerbread cakelets brought me right back to the holidays of my childhood.  The flavor didn't let me down either.  Even though I made these "just because" they'd be wonderful for an evening gathering of friends and family.  After all, who doesn't love getting their own miniature nostalgic dessert?

Looking for another holiday winner?  How about these cranberry turtle bars.  They were fun to make and were a huge hit with everyone who tasted them.  They are quite rich and one batch really does go a long way, making them perfect for a holiday party or potluck. 

After all the fall desserts I was making, it was time to lighten up a bit.  After seeing chef Bobby Flay make Mesa Grill's pumpkin soup on CBS' "Sunday Morning", M asked if we could make it.  I went right to my bookshelf and looked up the recipe in The Mesa Grill Cookbook.  Simply put, it was outstanding.

Another dinner hit in 2010 was this Moroccan-spiced chicken tagine.  One-pot meals are perfect for weeknights and this one was no exception.  We both loved the flavors, which were out of the ordinary for us.  This recipe made enough to heartily feed six, and the leftovers made for delicious lunches.

The year came to and end with a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner of tamales and posole.  It's M's family tradition and I wasn't about to argue with such a delicious tradition!  I wanted to be able to participate, so I brought this sopaipilla cheesecake.  Even though we were stuffed, both M and I thought it was an outstanding end to a fabulous meal.

 Readers, I hope you've enjoyed this year at "Apple a Day".  I know I have.  I certainly appreciate you sticking with me and reading my blog.  I love when I hear that you've tried the recipes I feature.  I especially like it when you and your families enjoyed the recipes.  I'm looking forward to my kitchen adventures in 2011.  I hope you'll come along on the journey!


I Like To Cook 222 said...

I love your cranberry turtle bars and mostly your cute traditional of making lemon bars while decorating the tree! I love cute things to continue! Congrats on a great year!

Taddey Girl said...

This is the first time I've written on someone else's blog! Pathetic, I know! You look like quite the cook and congrats on the engagement! You know what they say "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". HOOK LINE SINKER with your recipes!

I just started my own blog. It's a mixture of trying to obtain my family recipes from my dysfunctional family of origin or find similiar recipes from other bloggers and it is also an opportunity for me to do some therapeutic writing about my past at the same time.

Would you be willing to check it out to see what I'm missing and provide any feedback? The URL is

Thank you,
Taddey Girl

ann said...

Such a warmth in this post, really lovely. I love many of these recipes and want to try them. Some are very traditional and some are really updated. Nice mix.

All Things Yummy said...

Wow, so many delicious recipes to choose from. I'm definitely going to try the pumpkin soup. yum!

Kelsey said...

What a wonderful compliment, Ann. Thank you so much. I hope you do try some of the recipes. Please let me know what you think!