I am not really surprised how fast the past year went. Saying time goes too fast is too easy. It’s not that time goes to fast; it’s that I go too fast. My days are filled with breakfast, lunch and dinners, keeping diapers on toddlers (not an easy task), book-bags packed for my kindergartener, and surviving the witching hour (which annoyingly lasts four hours not one!). Finding time for my sweet and darling Hubby, housekeeping and blogging seem more difficult every day.
Since it’s the time to reflect and make changes I have decided next year to slow down and let time happen. I want to breathe, to notice the details and to see how time ages my lovelies. This next year I get to see my sweet twins grow from toddlers to preschoolers and watch my Little Guy learn to read. These are big moments that I want to savor.
There are other things I need to do. What I’m getting at is the whole eat better thing. We all need this – except those few people that seem to just run on regular year-round and never seem to gain an ounce or overeat at all. As I don’t actually know one of these people personally, I’ll assume they are just nutritional unicorns, and that we all have overdone it on a grand and embarrassing scale in the past month.
For me this is not a resolution but more of a recalibration. I find that I need a little help to realign my portion size after the holidays. If you are looking to recalibrate yourself too, you may find the Cooking Light Diet can help with this. Cooking Light gave me an inside peek at the diet and it is exactly what you need if you need to be told what to eat to keep within your daily recommended intake of calories in a day. The diet plans your meals for you with enough wiggle room to allow you to choose other items for each meal if want to make changes or if you have a dietary restriction due to religious reasons or allergies. You can even use the code DIETSAVE20 to save a little when registering.
It really is all about portion size for me. My favorite way to control my portion sizes is to use measuring cups for serving spoons. For example, if a pasta dish says that a portion size is one cup, then I stick a one cup measuring cup in the pan to serve with. I also do not put the food on the table, but rather keep it on the stove making it ten steps harder to go for seconds. What about you? What’s your portion-control tips?
Top Ten of 2014
Before I move on to a new year, I wanted to share a quick top ten from the past year. Here are the ten most popular posts from last year. Of course this gives a huge advantage to recipes posted at the beginning of the year, so after this list are my five favorites from this year which did not make the list. Which have you tried and which ones do you want to try?
10. Vegan Chocolate Mousse – I love this ultra-smooth and creamy dessert. I toyed around with calling this vegan chocolate pot-de-creme it’s so rich and chocolatey.
9. Watermelon Coconut Sherbet – The combination of watermelon and coconut are not very common, but they should be!
8. Apple Cider Bread – This quick bread is inspired by the apple cider donuts found all over New England during apple-picking season.
7. Oven-Fried Okra – If you are fan of crunchy fried okra give this recipe a try. I bet you’ll give up on deep frying okra after you try it.
6. Multi-Grain Pancake Mix– My love affair with pancake recipes continues in the recipe for make ahead pancake mix. It’s 100% whole grain and you only need to add water and eggs.
5. Homemade Pancake Syrup – The kids love syrup way too much. Maple syrup is way too expensive. I hate artificial flavorings added to store-bought syrups. Add all that together and you get the idea behind this syrup. It’s delicious and sweet enough that you’ll use less syrup than with others.
3. Creamy Corn and Bean Quesadillas – Vegetarian and Gluten Free quesadillas to please everyone at your super bowl party!
2. Spinach and Artichoke Dip – I developed this dip recipe because I was sick of gloopy dips full of sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise. This version makes a great make-ahead dip that can be frozen, baked right away or even used as a pasta sauce.
1. One-Pot Chicken and Broccoli Pasta – Do you hate recipes that use every pot in the kitchen? This family-friendly recipe uses one pot. You even cook the pasta right in the sauce. It is the most popular recipe from 2014!
Most of my favorite recipes from last year don’t make it into the top ten list. A few were published late in the year and others were mostly over-looked. They are recipes that spoke to me, or recipes that I think are particularly interesting.
1. Chocolate Covered Cherry Marzipan – Who knew homemade marzipan was so easy. My post from Valentines Day last year was not a hit in the rankings, but it is one of my favorites because it is one-of-a-kind and also combines three of my favorite foods; cherries, chocolate and marzipan.
2. Butterscotch Schnapps – I like developing recipes that no one else is doing. Recipes like this never get the most hits, and it’s a shame. This sweet dessert schnapps is delicious. It’s worth the effort. Not only was this post worthwhile because of the great recipe, but it also features Simpson Spring which I loved visiting and writing about.
3. Brussels Sprouts with Cider and Duck Bacon – I loved this post because it is an different approach to bacon that allows all those that don’t eat pork for religious reasons to enjoy the same flavor profile using smoked duck. It is also an example of a vegetable I would never eat five to ten years ago which I now love. Oh, and the recipe is great too!
4. Cornbread with Mustard Greens and Cheddar – I love this recipe. It’s really good. Awesome good.
5. Frog Level Cornbread Dressing – We’ve already established that I love cornbread (see number 4 on this list), but this post makes the list because it is my love letter to my parent’s home. I wanted to do justice to a wonderful place full of nothing but happy memories, and this post does that. It also finally documents my father’s recipe for Thanksgiving dressing; a recipe fifty years in the making.
Are you favorites here? Are there any others that you think should make the best-of list? Let me know! Happy New Year.