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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review: Favorite Recipes from 2011

Once again I’ve decided to share a list of my eleven favorite recipes for the year (11 in honor of the year and the fact that I couldn’t narrow it to 10!). This is by no means an all-inclusive list. We’ve eaten some good food this year (which I attribute to great recipes, not necessarily my skills!) and it’s impossible to come up with a true list of favorites. These eleven, however, stand out for one reason or another…

Incredibly simple and easily adaptable, we eat this all.the.time. We eat it for weekend breakfasts after long runs and for quick dinners when we’re not up to cooking or we’re out of food. We add other vegetables to it (zucchini, spinach, kale), sometimes we shred the sweet potatoes, and we rarely omit the bacon. This is by far the most frequently made dish in our kitchen!

I can't believe I haven't made these again, because I still vividly remember just how much I loved them, as well as everyone I shared them with. Anytime I can take my favorite childhood sandwich and turn it into a dessert, I'm a happy camper!

This was by far one of my favorite dinners over the past year. Several readers also made variations of this dish (it's easy to mix up the vegetables based on what you like or have on hand) and I've heard nothing but positive feedback!

I never would have thought that combining strawberry, mango, and avocado together would be so good, but the three, tossed in a honey balsamic vinaigrette, was one of our favorite side dishes last summer!

This ice cream will forever be remembered as the one that caused a fight between me and Ryan, only because we both loved it so much. I've made it several times since and each time it's more addicting than the last! (That being said, we enjoyed a LOT of good and new ice cream flavors this past year, all of which bear mention.)

This is without a doubt the most addicting recipe from 2011. Put me around a bowl of this and I will literally eat it until I'm sick to my stomach. I know because I did it, several times. I like to credit this snack to opening my eyes to the world of bourbon, which I've now discovered I also enjoy in my cocktails :)

This vegetarian take on meatballs was probably one of the the most creative recipes of the year, taken from a St. Louis food magazine. I didn't anticipate liking these quite as much as I did, but both Ryan and I were majorly impressed with this meal. I don't shy away from eating meat, but it's meals like these that prove how good meatless dishes can be!

It's only fair that this make the list, as it was by far the number one most viewed recipe on my site this year. With almost five hundred thousand views, largely thanks to StumbleUpon, it still gets more hits than any other most days of the week. Based on the comments, tons of people have also made it and gone as crazy for it as we did!

Mocha Coconut Granola Bars
I created these on a whim, inspired by the mocha coconut frappuccino at Starbucks and then proceeded to make them a few more times in the course of a few short weeks. To be honest, I can't get enough of their chewy texture and the way coffee, coconut, and chocolate seem made for each other!

Although stuffed chicken breasts aren't the prettiest looking food, this dinner was pretty dynamite (as was the asparagus also pictured above). A few simple ingredients (blue cheese and fig jam, in this case) transform a pretty boring meat into something special!
This was the year of cake batter, both in the blog world at large and on The Sweets Life in general. It's hard to say which is better, the cake batter ice cream or these blondies, but there's just something about these gooey treats that keep you cutting off "just one more sliver". They have all of that cake flavor with an even better texture!

Needless to say, it's been another good year of eating, to be continued into 2012! Come back tomorrow to see a recap of my Best of 2011 Challenge and what 2012 holds for The Sweets Life!

See my Top 10 List from 2010 here!