Are you ready to ring in the new year?! I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that the year 2015 is about to begin. 2014 was a great year, with many memories and milestones both personally and professionally.
We celebrated Julia’s 5th birthday and William’s 2nd birthday with family and friends. I say it again and again, but I just can’t believe how fast these two are growing up. We spent a great part of the year looking forward to the arrival of our third child, a baby girl that we are so excited to welcome into our family in January.
This time last year, I launched the new design of the blog. I’m still loving the design, and I’m so proud of the work that Brad and I (and my sister, Lisa – my creative artistic consultant!) put in to customize the site. This year I’ve seen great increases in my traffic, and I’m beyond excited to be sharing recipes with more and more of you each month. Most importantly, I’ve formed friendships with incredible bloggers this year. I can’t wait to get to know you even better next year, and maybe even meet some of you in person.
Yesterday I shared my top 10 most popular recipes of 2014. While many of my favorites made that list, I have my own list of personal favorite recipes from this past year. Of course, I love all of the recipes that I’ve shared or they wouldn’t have made it on the blog, but some do stand out from the rest. I’ve made these time and time again, and they never disappoint.
This year I discovered my passion for creating healthy, homemade snacks and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. So naturally, many of my favorite go-to recipes from the year are healthy snack recipes.
Whole Grain Graham Crackers – Now that I’ve made these, store-bought graham crackers taste somewhat like cardboard to me. I make a double batch of these homemade graham crackers every two weeks and store them in my freezer. Last time, I even cut the sugar almost in half and we still loved them. (Spread a little peanut butter on top and enjoy with a glass of milk for a real treat.)
Breakfast Cookies – Another staple in my freezer these days are breakfast cookies. I have a couple of different recipes that I rotate through, and this version is packed with dried cherries, oats, and cinnamon.
Granola Crunch Banana Muffins – These muffins are great for breakfast or snack time. There’s granola in the batter and on top of the muffins, lending a delicious crunch to these moist banana muffins.
Peach, Mango and Kale Smoothie – I’ve been making green smoothies for years, but this kale smoothie became a new favorite in 2014. You can’t taste the kale at all, just the sweetness from the fruit.
I can’t pass up the opportunity to include a breakfast recipe on this list, as it is my favorite meal of the day. We love breakfast for dinner in our house, and have no shortage of favorite pancake and waffle recipes.
Whole Wheat Ricotta Waffles with Strawberries and Yogurt – I had a hard time deciding which waffle recipe to include here. These Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles were a very close second choice! Love pancakes? My favorite pancake recipe will be making an appearance in the new year. 😉
We all need to eat dinner, and I’ve shared some mouthwatering main dishes this past year.
Quinoa and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole – Spicy enchilada sauce, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and cheese – what’s not to love?
Carrot-Ginger Soup – I have made this recipe so many times, I’ve lost count. In fact we just made it for dinner on Sunday. The sweet carrots are perfectly balanced with a pop of fresh ginger and a touch of cream.
Sweet Potato and Kale Pizza – My all-time favorite pizza. The sweet potatoes are roasted, the kale gets deliciously crispy, and creamy goat cheese is the perfect finishing touch.
Ham and Cheddar Sliders with Honey Mustard – Quick and easy party food, or to enjoy any night of the week. The kids and I can’t get enough of these delicious little sandwiches.
Chicken Tacos with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa – I re-posted this recipe this year because it was long lost in the archives with a terrible photo. These easy chicken tacos are one of our go-to summer meals.
Kale and Baby Bella Lasagna – This is my favorite vegetable lasagna. The best way to enjoy kale and mushrooms is smothered between cheese and pasta, right?
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette – My love for roasted vegetables is great. I often make a big batch of this quinoa salad to enjoy for lunches during the week.
Lemon-Parmesan Kale Salad with Pine Nuts – My favorite kale salad, and it only takes minutes to make. The best part? It will last in your refrigerator for a day or two so you have something to look forward to come lunchtime.
My favorites list would not be complete without a few sweet treats!
Cherry Cream Scones – These scones are just plain amazing. I like to make them with half white whole-wheat flour for added nutrition. I change up the mix-ins, too. So far my favorites are dried cranberries and orange zest.
The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – My all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie. Whenever I’m craving a classic chocolate chip cookie, I mix up a batch of these. A secret ingredient gives these cookies their perfect chewy texture.
Lemon Ricotta Cake with Almond Glaze – Even though this cake made the list of most popular recipes that I shared yesterday, I just had to mention it again today. It’s really that good.
There you have it! If you made it all the way to the bottom of the list I am impressed! Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope 2015 brings very good things (and good food) your way!