It occurred to me as I was collecting and reviewing the posts for this year’s round up how transient a year it’s really been and how much change has happened in the span of 12 months.
This year, shit happened. Literally and metaphorically.
I had a melt down (in the middle of the street no less) and thus made the decision – after 2 very unhappy years – to leave Toronto and move back across the country. I flew to Vancouver to look for places to live, then flew back to Toronto to pack, then flew BACK out to the coast to actually move. I barely got settled and then Dad got sick. So I picked up to Kelowna to visit him, flew back to Vancouver to work and be with the boyfriend, then back to Kelowna to take care of Dad when he was officially diagnosed, then back to Vancouver to be with the boyfriend, then back to Kelowna when Dad died, then back to Vancouver for a month… And all of a sudden, I’m back in Kelowna once more this season for Christmas with Mom and Michael and the back to Vancouver for New Years. In total, I’ve traveled a whopping 15,873.5 Kms (9,863.3 miles) this year – and that’s just physically. Never mind the emotional and mental changes, the business and blog growth, the weight increases and general crazy other things that have happened.
In short, it’s been a big ass year. Literally and metaphorically.
And with big years – and even little ones – time moves on; There’s no stopping it. Whether that’s for the better or the worse, to be totally frank, I don’t know. But I do know one thing. Despite all the changes, all the movement, the stagnation, the happiness, the brokenness, the advancement and dismemberment and love and confusion and trials and wins, there’s one constant for me:
Food. And poop. But mostly food.
Every year I round up the best of the best on my blog and re-share with you your favourite posts, my favourite posts, and the ones that I think deserve just a little bit more love for one reason or another. The 2014 Best Food Blog Posts that She Eats, if you will. All wrapped up in a nice little package. And let’s be honest, everyone loves a nice little package. Ow ow!
This collection permits me a review of the year and to make goals for the next, gives you the opportunity to snag a gem of a recipe or article that you may have missed and allows us to celebrate the past 365 days together. Happy New Years my friends – may the season be kind to your waistline and full of good food and laughter. Because we all need more of that.
Your Favourite: Crispy Roasted Breakfast Potatoes. Breakfast potatoes have a history of being epically disappointing to me. Evidently you disagreed. And I’m glad for that because they really are an integral part of any good brunch, aren’t they?
My Favourite: Sweet & Sultry Sauteed Cabbage. Who doesn’t like sultry?? That shit is hot. Hot like a potato! Only it’s cabbage. And cabbage, albeit a lowly, underrated vegetable, is a star in this dish. Top with a leg of duck confit and you have a stellar, rustic, beautiful and inexpensive main course.
Show Some Love: Super Soft Homemade Bread. I fell in love this past year. With yeast. And not the icky kind. Does anything feel or smell better than homemade bread? I think not. Also in this issue: My totally under-educated, non-scientific explanation for wheat “allergies”.
Your Favourite: Gooey Triple Chocolate Brownies. More anti-science assertions about food sensitivities, chocolate and cake. Mmmmm cake.
My Favourite: She Eats Loudly (the Podcast) – Episode One. Yep. I launched the podcast in February and it was scary and weird and awesome. And while ep 1 isn’t my favourite episode, it was the beginning. We’re between seasons right now but I will return in audio format. Eventually. Oh and hey, you can also download it on itunes.
Show Some Love: Garden Beet Gnocchi & Creamy, Soft Chevre. This recipe was epic with a capital E-P-I-C. Goat cheese rolled up in homemade veggie infused carby-carbs? This is why my ass is bigger. And why I’m smiling. And why my pee was pink. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Your Favourite: Scratch Slow Roasted Sweet Potato Pasta. Sometimes I feel bad for gluten-free peeps who come to my blog. And then I make something like this and forget all about them. Okay, I don’t forget. Well, maybe for a little bit. This isn’t sweet potatoes turned into “noodles”, this is sweet potatoes infused into actual noodles. Pasta. Like the gnocchi post, this bad boy hits me where it counts – the deepest part of my heart. Carbs and vegetables. Life just doesn’t get any better.
My Favourite: Rosemary Blood Orange Gin Fizz. March was the month I started really delving into cocktails on the blog. They’ve since become part of the landscape of She Eats. Both because they’re boozy (and I like boozy) but also because they’re such a facet of our meals, why shouldn’t we drink in season as well as eat? Also: I talk about “junk” in this issue. haha – “junk”.
Show Some Love: Savoury Oozy Mushroom Dip. I fucking left Toronto. Or at least announced it. You want epic? Life changing? Go find the happy! Be where you need to be, do what you need to do, find the joy. And the only thing better than leaving Toronto are new, tender, aromatic, mushrooms. Nay, are new, tender, aromatic mushrooms covered in bacon, cheese and caramelized onions and then slathered over fresh baked bread.
Your Favourite: Savoury Caramelized Onion Sage Dip. Sure, I was giving away a copy of Marisa McClellan’s new book, Preserving By The Pint, but this dip is so freckling easy and quick and nutritiously delicious and ridiculously good on crackers, this issue was your favourite for a number of reasons. If there’s one dip you make – or one cookbook you buy – this year, this should be it.
My Favourite: Deliciously Simple Prosciutto Arugula Salad Rolls. Crunchy, seasonal, simple and fresh from my CSA. If you want a fresh take on “salad” for a par-tay or a simple lunch, these’ll do ‘er. Also in this issue: A farmer’s market revelation!
Show Some Love: She Eats Loudly Ep 008: Why I’m Not A Vegetarian. Ouch. Some of you loved the episode, others not so much. I even lost 2 design clients because of it! The scandal! There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing to eat or not eat meat – many of which I covered here. I have a feeling that those who reacted most strongly against the episode simply didn’t listen to it. Either way, it was a good one to end the season with.
That’s All She Wrote: We Now Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programming. I’m Vancouver bound bitches! I took the month off in May to pack my little butt off. And I headed West.
Fuck This Chick Is Lazy, right?: Beautiful Pan Seared Asparagus & Perfect Poached Eggs. Thoughts on movement, on finding joy, on positivity, on the best brunch you’ll ever make. Or at least a very, very good one.
..Because May and June were lacking in posts and because I stinking LOVED July… Also, because it’s my blog and I can do what I want, here are a whack of favourite posts.
Your Favourite: Incredible Smokey Bolognese with Egg Noodles. Homemade meat sauce and pasta? Heck yes. Also, I gave away a copy of the SPQR Cookbook. And while I’m a fairly “seasoned” (get it, salt & pepper?) Italian cook, I found some of the recipes intimidating. Luckily, this wasn’t one of them.
My Favourite: Ridiciulously Luscious Arugula Pesto. Holla balls this was fresh. And not in a creepy frat-house kind of way. Chuck it on crackers and hellllooooooo, flavour! The day I published this issue, I also caught myself laughing and dancing and singing around the living room for the first time in 2 years. It felt damn good.
Show Some Love: Spiked & Juicy Blueberry Butter (aka Blueberry spread, like jam sans pectin). 2014 will forever be the year I remember as the year I got myself a Blueberry farmer. I spread it on toast. Or pancakes. Or ice cream. Or cake. Or myself. Or Jeff Goldblum.
Show Some Love: Vanilla Honey’d Rhubarb Sauce. Occasionally I get a craving for something and I absolutely must positively 100% have it now. Seriously. The idea for something thrusts itself into my head and all I want to do from that moment forward is put it in my mouth! This was one of those things. It was all “Bitch! You want this! NOW!” And I did.
Show Some Love: Exquisite Fava Bean Pasta (& Healthy to Boot!). I don’t like the word healthy. Or socio-cultural expectations. Most of you know that. So when deciding how to title this recipe I wasn’t sure I wanted to include that exact descriptor. Why not “healthy”? Read more to find out. Also in this issue: Fava beans! right? Gimme!
Show Some Love: Pineapple and Cheese Sticks. Weirdest appetizer you’re ever gonna eat. That being said, it’s also one of the best. Kind of like the dude who guest posted for me this day.
Your Favourite: Wild Salmon with Dill Butter and Fennel. This was seriously Summer in a bowl. And if you’re into putting the seasons onto a plate, you liked this. A lot. I was also lucky enough to give away a copy of my dear friend’s new cookbook, Erin Scott’s Yummy Supper.
My Favourite: Sparkling Strawberry Lime Whiskey Smash. Do I like whiskey? Farm fresh strawberries? Bubbles? Whiskey? You bet I do! Smash it all up together and I’m happy as a pig in shit. Or at least happy as a girl with whiskey, strawberries and bubbles. Oh yeah, and super cute paper straws too.
Show Some Love: Dark Chocolate Cherry Margarita Popsicles. Do I really need to say more here? These are an homage to inflatable balls, water floaties, balloons, Summer basil, cherries and all the other greatness that makes Summer worthwhile.
Your Favourite: Oozy Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies. Some food illicit foodgasms. They’re just that decadent. And for me, dulce de leche does it every single time. Think caramel, but way easier and without the scary candy thermometers. You guys either feel the same way or you were super stoked to enter to win a copy of the cookbook Caramel by Carole Bloom.
My Favourite: Roast Fall Pumpkin Bruschetta with Creamy Ricotta and Caramelized Onions. These gems made pumpkin lovers out of pumpkin haters and haters be hatin’ no more. Also in this issue: I got lost underneath a highly suspect, random bridge trying to take the pictures for this post and had a near death experience. Kind of.
Show Some Love: Soothing Chai Black Pepper Strawberry Muffins. Sometimes, even the most bad-ass mamba jambas of us, need a little soothing and comfort. This was the first post I wrote when I heard Dad might be sick. These helped. Also, black pepper and strawberry are genius together.
Your Favourite: Roasted Stuffed Potatoes with Bacon and Sage. Lies, truths, a blog birthday, a real birthday, an argument for A.I. and one of the last photos I ever took of my father. Or at least his hands. Oh yeah, there’s also potatoes and bacon. Bring it.
My Favourite: Sweet & Earthy Red Beet Crostini. Let’s talk about sex, baby. Okay, probably not. (P.S. I can’t believe you guys let me get away with that segue). But let’s do talk about beets. And nerves. There isn’t anything more salt of the Earth than farm fresh, tenderly sweet, just picked beets. Except maybe Texans. And salt. But these bad boys are pretty darn tootin’ close.
Your Favourite: Holiday Cocktail: Cinnamon Apple Whiskey Sour. More of you emailed me photos, tagged me on Facebook and let me know how great this cocktail was than any other before it. It also made the rounds on Brit & Co., The Berry and a multitude of other blogs. It was also one of the last activities I ever got to do with my Dad – the family drove me all around Kelowna to take pictures of apple orchards for this post. Thanks guys.
My Favourite: The Day My Dad Died (aka Last Friday).
Show Some Love: Not necessary. You guys showed me all the love and support I could ever ask for in the post to my Dad. I haven’t replied to those comments because I’ll be honest… It’s just too hard. So let me say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It – you guys – mean the world to me.
Your Favourite: Cranberry Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Seriously. Who needs milk when you got wine to serve with your cookies? This recipe comes c/o of Julie at White Lights on Wednesday. Also in this issue: Why Santa is a greedy, sinful bastard.
My Favourite: The Best Gin & Tonic You’ve Ever Drank. Drunk? The worst Christmas song ever written and the 3 key tenants – trifecta? triple threat? – of a great G & T. Also, it has roses in it. Roses.
Show Some Love: Crispy Sauteed Brussel Sprout & Mushroom Risotto with Walnut Dust. Let’s be honest. We’ve had way too many sweets this month. Let’s get back on the savoury train – choo choo! all aboard! (that’s what she said) – and chow down on some delicious, seasonal, nutritious, amazing vegetables. Also in this issue: A review of last year’s resolutions/goals and why I don’t make them.
How’s your year shaping up? Anything I missed that I should be aware of? What posts were your favourite? What do you want me to write more of? What should I shut the fuck up about? What’s happening with YOU? What major events happened in your life? What are you listening to right now? What are your New Years plans? Any goals for the next year? Tell me everything!