I left 2014 feeling pretty down on the year in general. For me, it was a year filled with stress, worry and anxiety. I’m sad to say that it clouded my judgement. I directed all my focus onto those things that caused me stress and lived under that black cloud like a blanket. Yesterday, New Years Day, I woke up with a cold and instead of wallowing in a pity party of one, I wanted to look back on the year with a new perspective. There were lots of great things in 2014, actually. We went to New Orleans for nearly 2 weeks and we had a blast. The summer was hot and dry, a rare thing for Vancouver, so that meant lots of bike rides, neighbourhood rambles, hikes in the woods and at least one picnic. We went camping in the gorgeous North Cascades. My card business did better than ever this year and besides buying my cards on etsy, you can find them in shops across Canada, Washington state and the Boston-area. We took a last minute trip to Los Angeles in December that seemed to steady our footing on our small slice of the world. The photo above was one that I took in LA. Small achievements, but worthy ones. 2014, maybe you weren’t so bad after all.
2015 is a year where I want to put myself out on the ledge a little more….make more connections, meet up with people in real life, and push myself to work harder at my goals. I also want to make our home feel more like ours by painting the kitchen cabinets. But first, I want to look back at some of my favourite recipes that I made last year, in random order. Enjoy this look back and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Thanks for joining me on this ride.
Sour Cherry n’ Lime Shrub | Strawberry Rhubarb Black Pepper Shrub. I made 2 types of shrub and I think it’s time I experimented more. They keep well in the fridge and they make great gifts for friends. Of course, they’re delicious sippers. I like them with a little fizzy or tap water but you could certainly add some gin or vodka for a tasty cocktail.
Apple Lentil Slappy Joe’s. In need of a hot and healthy take on an old school lunch favourite? These more virtuous sloppy joe’s are a tasty meal during cold months and still provide that stick-to-your-ribs good kind of feeling.
Lemony Tuna Salad with Kale, Chickpeas & Brown Rice. Want to load up on protein? This should be your salad of choice. It’s hearty, especially if you toss it with the optional addition of brown rice. This ain’t your grandma’s tuna salad.
Creamy Russian Potato Salad. Tastes like childhood. Not my childhood because we never ate potato salads like this, but it’s what I imagine as the most perfect potato salad of my childhood dreams. Plus, it’s got hot dogs in it. I know. I’ve been told that it’s most excellent with vegetarian hot dogs too, so there’s options.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harrisa Spiced Chickpeas. This is comfort food. It’s spicy, it’s bright from the squeeze of lemon that gets squirted over the dish before serving, and it’s filling. The harissa seems exotic, but you should be able to find it in most markets.
Roasted Sweet Potato with Spiced Chickeas & Lemony Tahini Sauce. It’s a whopper of a name for a recipe, but don’t let all those words get stuck in your craw. I’ve made this dish several times now and I just don’t get tired of it. I like this best with pale sweet potatoes, but it’s also nice with ruddy orange yams.
Simple Plum Cake. I have recipes for several quick and simple cakes, but this one was pretty revelatory for me. I loved how buttery and dense the cake was and oh, those jammy plums!! So good with a cuppa. I haven’t tried this with other fruits, but I will.
Rhubarb Ginger Foolish Mess. Roasted rhubarb, people, is key. My mom led me astray with stewing rhubarb into a pale version of its former self. Roasting rhubarb keeps the colour bright and red and that makes for a much more appetizing fool. What’s a fool? Whipped Cream, fruit and a biscuit or two. Dig in!
Espresso Spice Coffee Cake. I’m ending my list on a sweet note. I’ll be making this cake today for my husband’s birthday. I’m sick so I don’t plan on stressing myself out over a cake. Plus, he loved it so much when I made it last month, that I know he’ll be more than happy to have a slice tonight. Another simple cake to have in your back pocket.