When I first started to think about 2013, it felt like it’d just flown by. Then I started looking back in the blog archives and saw all the new recipes and projects that I did this year – and it got me inspired about what I want to accomplish in 2014. Here is a quick recap of what went down in 2013 on the ol’ blog!
My first project of the year was to clean an old horse shoe my Nana gave Garrett and I for Christmas as a gift (and for good luck!). Then it was painted and hung up in our front hall. I also made an attempt at the Mason Jar Soap Dispenser I’d seen on Pinterest and loved it.
- Chicken Pot Pie – Comfort food at it’s finest
- Sweet Potato Hash – a weekend breakfast must
- Beef Jerky in the Dehydrator – Garrett’s favourite portable snack
- Chocolate Coconut Brownie Mug Cake – a decadent treat for one
- Enchilada Biscuit Bake – a new take on an old favourite
- Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze – great tropical flavours and using my favourite cooking ingredient for 2013 – coconut oil!
- Delicious Beef & Bean Chili with Cheesy Garlic Biscuits – make ahead on the weekend for easy weeknight meals
I shared my recipe for Dry Shampoo for Light Hair and Dark Hair and it was by far the top post of the year with over 550,000 page views in 10 months. I guess a lot of people don’t like to wet their hair either!
- Chocolate Raspberry Brownies – a soft and chewy Valentine’s Day treat
- Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas – I couldn’t get enough of these and have since made it at least a dozen times.
- How to make Banana Chips in the Dehydrator – Garrett loved these, but be warned that they’re super sweet and addictive.
- Coconut Milk Ice Cream Without a Machine – a great dairy free and vegan treat
- Sizzling Chicken Fajitas – just as yummy as they sound, especially on a hot skillet
- Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers – crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside with a little coconut flavour
- Healthier Baked Mozzarella Sticks – our new favourite appetizer
We inherited an almost new juicer and could hardly wait to make Rise and Shine Red Juice
We went on a family trip to visit my parents’ at their vacation home in Cape Coral, Florida, with trips to the beach, the Historic River District and my personal highlight – the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. They’re a must-see if you ever go to Fort Myers.
I also made some Bunny Bait Easter Popcorn to package up for friends, family and the Easter bunny.
- Sour Cream Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream Icing – sweet and tart at the same time. A lovely dessert to serve at Easter
- Whipped Coconut Cream – a vegan and dairy free topping for fruit and desserts
- Paleo Cottage Pie – a gluten-free take on a classic comfort food
- Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad – a crisp and cool salad that is great for potlucks and picnics
- Easy way to cook chicken for lunches – a huge time saver if you’re looking for ways to pack healthier salads, sandwiches and wraps in your lunch box
We started to come out of hibernation and went on some day trips to places like the Sugar Bush for fresh maple syrup and pancakes. Spring cleaning also kicked in with some homemade green cleaners like Eco-Friendly Furniture Polish.
- Butter Tarts – a Canadian classic that is a must-try
- Kale Cabbage Salad with Poppy Seed Yogurt Dressing – the most requested recipe by Garrett all year. I don’t even know how many times I’ve made this or variations of it
- Dairy Free Chocolate Pudding – delicious and simple with only four ingredients!
- Creamy Scalloped Potatoes for Two – a rich and creamy side dish that we reserve for Sunday night dinners with a great roast
- French Onion Soup – I froze half this batch and served it up for weeknight dinners in the Fall and it was fantastic.
- How to Cook Perfect Bacon in the Oven – I have officially retired my frying pan and this is the only way I cook bacon now. So easy and clean up is a breeze.
- Paleo Chicken Alfredo – just as yummy as the original, but with spaghetti squash instead of pasta – make sure to add lots of parmesan cheese
I dug out a random piece of wood and turned it into a DIY Vintage Wood Sign to add a little colour and texture to our white-on-white bathroom.
I got a new sewing machine in a giveaway, which inspired me to do some easy sewing projects like these Frayed Gingham Napkins for our picnic basket and a Braided Clip-In Headband that doesn’t give you a headache when you wear it. Score!
I learned a new trick that made my morning smoothies much easier – you can use a mason jar with a blender!
- Frosted Irish Cream Brownies – my birthday to myself. Thank you Amanda 🙂
- Grilled Chili-Lime Chicken with Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice – I can hardly wait to pull the BBQ out in the spring and make this again
- Spicy Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken – change up your usual chicken breast recipe for something a little different
- Grilled Pineapple with Whipped Coconut Cream – inspired by storebought versions, this was an easy, fun, tropical dessert for summertime
- Chocolate Covered Avocado Fudgesicles – creamy and fudgey treat that goes over the top when you add another layer of chocolate.
- Homemade Dog Food – what we make for Whiskey to compliment his dry food
On a weekend cottage trip, I got my creative juices flowing and made this Overlapping Circles Painting with some girlfriends. Then I got back and made a rainbow fabric wreath and cleaned up some old bottles for DIY “Vintage” Milk Bottles. I was on a roll!
I got back into yoga and whipped up a green Yoga Mat Cleaner.
We celebrated made Whiskey’s 4th Anniversary since I adopted him with a nut-free doggie birthday cake, complete with bacon sprinkles. He loved it.
- Cannoli Dip – an awesome treat brought over by a friend – perfect for dipping fruit and cookies
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble – using rhubarb from my parents’ garden, I made this classic summer treat
- Coconut Berry Popsicles – layered healthy popsicles to help you cool down on those hot days
- Montreal Steak Spice – the perfect spice blend for steak, chicken and even grilled veggies
- Honey Dijon BBQ Chicken Thighs – the recipe that converted me over to chicken thighs – so flavourful!
- Light and Creamy Potato Salad with Balsamic Greek Yogurt Dressing – a lighter take on a traditional picnic side dish, with a little extra kick form the balsamic.
- Perfect Seasoned Homemade Burgers – based on a family classic that my mom has used for years
- Sour Cherry Brown Betty – a treat for my Dad using the cherries from his front yard
- Watermelon Slushies – an easy way to use up all that extra watermelon and make a refreshing drink at the same time.
- Cherry Pie Bars – a big hit on our Canada Day cottage weekend – they were gone in no time.
- Pizza Breakfast Casserole – an easy weekend brunch or weeknight dinner meal
- Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter – inspired by my favourite treat at the summer fairs, I tried to grill corn at home and loved it.
- Chicken Snap Pea Skillet – A simple dish with lots of flavour
- Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream – Our first attempt at making ice cream with our ice cream maker – it was every bit as amazing as I’d hoped.
To go with my painting from June, I made this Easy Cutlery Art for the dining room.
- Chicken Black Bean Quesadillas – a favourite from my university days that I just have to make sometimes – for nostalgic sake and for cheesiness.
- Butterscotch Ice Cream – more homemade ice cream love
- Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – love this combination of salty and sweet with a slight nutty taste from the oatmeal.
- Apple Pie Ice Cream with Homemade Caramel Sauce – taking my favourite pie flavour and combining it with ice cream – genius moment if I don’t say so myself.
- Tomato Sauce and Homemade Stevia Extract using the bounty from Garrett’s parents’ garden
- Homemade Perogies – my attempt to learn a dish from Garrett’s Polish background. I still need to experiment with more flavours.
- Perfect Roast Chicken – Sunday night dinner must. I love having the leftover for our lunches during the week.
- Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash – my new favourite way eat spaghetti squash
I did a makeover to my usual terracotta pots and covered them in Fabric!
This month also was my FIRST blog conference – BlogPodium. I had a great time and learned so much, that I went to Blissdom Canada the following month. It was an enlightening experience that led me to so many great Canadian bloggers.
I capped off the month with a toured of the Princess Margaret Dream Home with the one and only Brian Gluckstein. We chatted about the engagement and discussed registries at The Bay, with the Gluckstein Home Collection of course.
We snuck away for a mini road trip to Salem, Massachusettes (Part One & Two) to celebrate the spooky season including a tour of the “Hocus Pocus” filming locations, a stop into Keene, New Hampshire for their Pumpkin Festival and a relaxing evening in Wilmington, Vermont.
- Batty Halloween Cupcakes – chocolate bats are easier to make then you’d think – no mould needed!
- Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream – the last ice cream recipe of the year and it was another pie theme
- Apple Crisp in a Mug – a simple dessert for one that is ready in 5 minutes
- Cheesy Baked Chicken – changing up our weeknight meals with a delicious chicken recipe
- Ham and Gruyere Frittata – my go-to weeknight dinner, using up all the bits and pieces in the fridge
- Creamy Carrot Soup – comforting soup for the colder weather
I got brought back a favourite childhood craft – making DIY Rolled Beeswax Candles.
To start off the holiday season, we braved a blizzard to see our town’s magical nighttime Christmas parade.
- Cranberry Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal – just seeing the picture again has me craving this easy breakfast dish.
- Slow Cooker Teriyaki Beef and Vegetables – let the slow cooker do all the work for you with this flavourful Asian-inspired dish
- Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Appetizer – a recipe I learned from a roommate years ago and have never forgotten – always on my appetizer list
- Jalapeno Popper Pinwheel Appetizers – super easy appetizer to have on hand for unexpected company.
- Roasted Buttercup Squash – a great harvest side dish with a little sweetness
- Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie for Garrett’s birthday.
To cut back on our chocolate consumption this holiday season, I created an Advent Activities Calendar with fun and festive ideas like making German “Peppernut” Pfeffernusse Cookies, having an Old-Fashioned Christmas at Black Creek Pioneer Village, shopping at the Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District and driving around with hot chocolate while looking at Christmas Lights. It was harder to keep it up closer to Christmas as we got busier, but I really do think we’ll do it again next year.
Decorating our apartment for Christmas is always one of my highlights of the year, especially the Christmas tree. I was so excited to finally put up my handmade Christmas village with a new Tufted Wool Wreath overhead. I loved the Wooden String Art Sign I put together for our living room and the Grapevine and Greenery Wreath for our front door. I’ve had a hard time putting it all away!
Here’s to more projects and recipes in 2014. I’ve already got a list of things I’m excited to tackle in the new year, including lots of fun DIY wedding projects and party ideas!