Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 5 Recipes of 2011

I can't believe 2011 is almost over.  In one year, I quit my job, went back to school, finished two semesters, and landed a student teaching position.  It's amazing what can happen in a year, this blog not excluded.  I have had so much fun sharing recipes, workouts, and thoughts with all of you.  I have met some great people and made some pretty extraordinary things I would not have made if it wasn't for this blog.  Writing in this blog has definitely helped me through my quarter life crisis, and I thank all of you for reading along.  I look forward to what 2012 has in store.

I had flip-flopped between calling this the top 5 posts or the top 5 recipes.  From the beginning, I wanted my blog to be a collection of topics, but it seems that this blog is slowly becoming more of a "food blog."  I'm not surprised, actually.  I don't know if I've ever told this story, but I knew something needed to change when I asked my mom, "How do you know when the soup is done?"  Yup, that happened.  After that, I began experimenting with cakes, cupcakes, cookies, dinners, and appetizers/sides.  Finding my way around the kitchen will certainly continue in 2012 as part of navigating through my quarter life crisis, and I hope to bring you a greater number of varied recipes throughout the course of the year.  I also hope to keep up with my running and workout posts, as well as updates on my path to become a teacher.

Honorable mention:  It's My Gym Too!

I had thought to write this post when I was trying to convince my mom to start using the free weights at the back of the gym.  Most women are hesitant to use free weights because (1) they are unsure of how to use them and (2) the back of the gym is filled with giant boys.  I wanted this post to be a starting point for a series of free weight workouts (which there will be more of in 2012!), and I posted this one a few days later.  I hope to continue posting about my running and ventures in the "back of the gym" in the upcoming year and help others find workouts that can get them in the best shape possible.

5.  Butterbeer Cupcakes

I'm not surprised these cupcakes made the list since they were made to mimic a popular drink from the Harry Potter series.  I was incredibly proud of these cupcakes because, even though I got the idea from another source, I adapted my basic white cake recipe to mimic the buttery and butterscotch taste of what I imagine actual butterbeer to taste like.  And I was very happy with the results.

4.  Grilled Pizza

This post was from one of my favorite nights this past summer.  Inspired by a dinner I had at Cape Cod, I invited all of my friends over to make grilled personal pizzas.  Even though it was dark and threatened to rain, everyone had a great time making up their own pizzas.  The pie dough was easy to make and the load was lightened on my end since I asked people to chip in toppings.  This was a great summer party idea and I hope to do it again this coming summer.

3.  Soft Gingerbread Cookies (Nana Cookies)

I think this is my favorite recipe from this year.  I had set out to find a recipe for soft gingerbread cookies that tasted just like my Nana's cookies.  After adapting a recipe I had found on Two Peas and Their Pod, I had come across the perfect recipe that brought me back to my grandmother's house in Connecticut.  Not only did I love the taste and texture of these cookies, but I made about 70 of them this past month and was able to share them with family and friends.  Even though these are traditionally Christmas-time cookies, I know I'll be making these throughout 2012.

2.  Butterscotch Whoopie Pies

To be honest, I didn't expect this recipe to make top 5, let alone take 2nd place.  I think this post was so popular because I included a tutorial on how to make whoopie pies using a piping bag.  And honestly, who doesn't love whoopie pies?  These came out so delicious and I'll actually have a new whoopie pie recipe to post within the first few days of 2012!

1.  Shrimp and Grits for Pat

I think the reason this recipe was the most popular was because of the story that went with it.  One reason I loved this blog is it has allowed me to share every part of my quarter life crisis, both the good and the bad.  Making this dish and sharing my story was incredibly helpful during my recovery and I thank all of you for spreading my story and taking it to heart.

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year's filled with friends and family.  See you guys next year ;)


  1. A nice compilation of favorites. I like that grilled pizza!
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year Ali!

  2. Ooh, I love grilled pizza! I'm not surprised that butterbeer cupcakes made it either - it's a great idea and they look delicious!

  3. I love your post about the gym! I'm an avid weight lifter and believe that it's wonderful exercise for us ladies - we just have to take it back from the guys!

    (Also, love the look for those butterbeer cupcakes!)

    Happy New Year!

  4. Mmm... soft gingerbread cookies and shrimp and grits I don't know which one to try first. This is a delicious collection of recipes.
    Thanks for the friend add, I love making new "foodie friends."

  5. Oh! Butterbeer cupcakes sound wonderful! Happy New Year!

  6. A very nice re-cap for 2011, the cupcakes are so pretty and I am sure taste equally delightful :)
    Looks like you have come a long way since, "How do you know when the soup is done?" :)
    Happy 2012!


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