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.
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.
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?
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!