As 2014 comes to a close, I decided to reflect on this past year. It's been a phenonmenal year for us, jam-packed with adventures, milestones and some pretty darn good eats! In June of 2014, this blog sprang to life and since that time, we've had over 10,000 page views from 15 countries - not too shabby for a small town girl on an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean! I want to thank each and every one of you for humouring me by reading my rants, um, I mean, 'blogs'! I thought it would be most fitting if I closed out this year with a look back of some of my favorites in 2014, starting with one of my favorite blogs, "Newfoundland Seafood Chowder - The Epitome of Northern Atlantic Cuisine!" We were visiting with family in Petit de Grat, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and I was asked by my sister/cousin, Trudy, to make a Seafood Chowder for approximately 25 people. As always, I wanted to healthy-up a traditional favorite without sacrificing flavour and it couldn`t be a big departure from the traditional or there would be hell to pay! Everyone loved it and not a single person guessed that it was way lower in fat and sodium than original seafood chowder. It was a particularly memorable meal for me because, after everyone raved, my father took full credit by saying he taught me everything I know. It might seem a bit odd, but that comment meant I had my father`s seal of approval and he`s my biggest critic as well as one of my biggest supporters.
When it comes to appetizers, I have several favorites but in forcing myself to chose one, I`d have to go with Bourbon Bacon Jam Crostini. These are always a hit when I entertain perhaps because they are a slight departure from everyday appetizers.
My favorite beef recipe is probably this Mediterranean Stuffed Flank Steak. The aroma that fills the house with this meal is simply incredible and the flavours embrace each and every taste bud in your mouth with love. It`s one of those meals that, long after you`ve eaten it, you`re still licking your lips thinking of how it tastes.
For my favorite Seafood recipe, it was a toss up between Coconut Oil Fried Cod Fillets and these Trieste Mussels. I ultimately chose the Trieste Mussels because they were so simplistic and yet so very delicious.
I`ve made a lot of memorable chicken dishes over the years and this recipe for Pan Seared Chicken Breasts in Roasted Tomato Sauce is right up there with the best of the best. Tomatoes take on a whole new favour profile when they`ve been roasted. Pureed and cooked into a rustic but aromatic sauce, roasted tomatoes take regular ole pan seared chicken breasts on a Mediterranean adventure!
It`s sometimes difficult to make pork chops taste unique but Grilled Pork Chops with Coffee Molasses Thyme Glaze breathes new life into routine pork chops. The smokiness from grilling combined with the earthiness of the coffee, the sweet of the molasses and the savory of the thyme makes these pork chops a favorite of mine.
Even my youngest daughter, Mackenzie, (a self-proclaimed 'Meatatarian'), LOVES Roasted Veggie Ratatouille With Pasta. Served for lunch or dinner, as a side or all on it's own, Roasted Veggie Ratatouille ticks all of my boxes and is the perfect Meatless Meal!
Who woulda thunk that the day would come that I'd declare brussels sprouts as my favorite side? I certainly never thought that day would come but then I made these Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts! These are definitely NOT the brussels sprouts of my childhood and they made brussels sprout lovers of not only me, but my husband and my youngest daughter as well!
Weekdays, breakfast usually consists of a bowl of raisin bran and some toast but on the weekends, I like to spread my culnary wings and go a little more decadent! Banana and Walnut Stuffed French Toast is perfect for those weekends when you have a little more time to play in the kitchen!
Blueberries are without a doubt my favorite of all berries and even though baking is NOT my forté, even I couldn't mess up this recipe for Blueberry Cake! Warm out of the oven with a cold glass of milk is my favorite way to have a slice of this cake, but it's equally good with a mug of coffee or spot of tea!
So there you have it folks...some of my favorites in 2014. My wish for each and every one of you is that all your dreams come true in 2015! For my part, I can only hope to contiinue to inspire others to cook. In the immortal words of Julia Child, "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude". May your New Year's be happy and the food easy, healthied-up, inexpensive AND delicious!