2011 – The Year in Review

Do you know what? I didn’t do any holiday baking. I did only the most minimal amount of homemade gift-making. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I feel exhausted, burnt out, and old. Or at least I did before January and this new year started.

Of course, part of the reason could very well be that I have been getting up every night in the middle of the night to let that one out. And getting up early to feed him and walk him and all that good stuff that makes our pup quite possibly the best Christmas present ever.

It could also be that things are a bit messier in our house than I might ordinarily keep them, so it’s sort of cramping my style in the kitchen. But I’m working on that.

In any case, I’ve been wanting to write a year-in-review list style post since July, so I’ve been saving up some good stuff to share with you at the end of the year. Okay, yes, I know it’s now January, but I’m still getting started for 2012. It’s kind of like at the end of your senior year in high school when you vote for everyone’s senior superlatives, but then you don’t find out who got what until the next year when your yearbook is mailed to you so that they could include photos of graduation in the yearbook… I tell you, the suspense is agonizing. (I kid, but just in case it matters for posterity, Jessalyn was voted “most likely to succeed” and Alex claims he didn’t receive a superlative).

So, in no particular order, and purely for our own entertainment as we reflect on the past year, here we go!

Best Restaurant We Visited

The Beach House (in Koloa on Kaua’i, HI)

What? I forgot to write about our fabulous Hawai’i honeymoon? I have been remiss. The Beach House is situated right on the water with a magnificent wall of windows that open out into the sunset. We watched the twilight surfers while sipping local beers and raspberry lemon drops, snapped a few photos of the sun’s descent, and enjoyed a unique Hawaiian fish, opah, prepared in a miso broth with Asian vegetables. It was my favorite meal in Hawai’i, and my favorite restaurant we visited in 2011.

Top 5 Most Popular Posts

Join the cool kids and reminisce on these popular posts:

Dark Days: The Not-so-Local Salmon Meal

A Fancy for Fancy Meat

Lying Lasagna into Existence

Holy Jam Jars, Batman!

A (P)interesting Thing to Do with Pie Crust

Most Popular Search Terms that Landed Here

“it started with yum”

“garfield eating lasagna”

“vegetable cookies”

I am so proud.

A Handful of Unusual/Funny Search Terms (with our commentary)

“beef stew yum yum” – yum, yum, indeed!

“the worry cure”  – good food cures all worries; reading about good food can’t hurt, right?

“is cabbage appetizing” – is this a rhetorical question?

“what are fancy recipes called” – when you find the answer, let me know

“alex write” Alex, dear, I think this is a simplistic but powerful request for you to have a voice in more posts.

“cuts on tongue and tender roof of mouth” – ouch! hopefully not from food I’ve suggested here!

“giggling pair fertilizes an” – an what? fertilizes a what? the mad lib-like suspense is killing me. but no, in case you were wondering, we are not currently trying to fertilize anything. except maybe the vegetable garden. and no, t hat’s not code for anything. and we may or may not giggle while doing even that.

Number of Posts Written

119

Not too shabby! But just like I do in a repeat AMRAP Crossfit workout,  I’m going to try to top that in 2012.

Blogs (culinary and otherwise) that saw a lot of my readership

Smitten Kitchen

Food in Jars

Young House Love

DreamGreen DIY

Bower Power Blog

I Believe I Can Fry

101 Cookbooks

5 Second Rule

Living the Frugal Life

Root Simple

Goals for 2012

eat more dark greens

figure out how to use slow cooker more often

this is the year that I will finally attempt to make my own croissants, pasta, and sausage

reformat blog to include “life” posts because I enjoy making things outside the kitchen, too

update the Kitchen Tour to include a video tour and more current photos – we have been redecorating, after all

read 12 books to include 4 classics (cookbooks and stuff for work doesn’t count; I was dismayed at how little I read in 2011 so am attempting to fix that for 2012, starting with Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle)

figure out how to better build in time for blogging

take better food photos – or remember to take them at all…

Coolest Culinary Experience

Photo Credit: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography (c)2011
Cake by La Bella Torta

Besides eating the strawberry-lemonade with buttercream wedding cake at our wedding (and for several days after the honeymoon)? In early December I was invited to teach a bread-baking class to a small group of ladies who gathered in a host’s home to socialize and learn from little ol’ me! They were such an enthusiastic audience, even despite the fact that I had lost my voice and the average volume of my voice was slightly above a raspy whisper with occasional awkward cracks of prepubescent croaks. Each participant made a batch of dough to take home to practice making the breads we made together: basic loaf, pita, and na’an – using the technique I learned in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. We had a blast, and I would gladly welcome the opportunity to do it again.

Thanks so much for your readership. As I did this time last year, I’m going to be thinking about some new ideas for going into the coming year, particularly to help keep my interest in blogging and your engagement in reading high, while balancing all the things that life may throw this way. I’ll keep you posted, and see you some more in 2012!

Happy (belated) New Year from our family to yours!

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