2013: My Favorites

My turn, my turn!! As it turns out we have some very similar tastes, you and I, but there was a serious lack of dessert in your favorites. Don’t worry, I’ve more than made up for that here. So in no particular order, here are my very favorites (and yes, it was SO hard to choose!) of 2013. Also, unintentionally more than half of them happen to be from Drink & Dish. Must be because working with this girl is always exciting, inspiring, and FUN!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake Cups {easily gluten-free-able}

I always get my best ideas for Steve’s birthday dessert. You know what they say about love coming through your food and all that hippy dippy stuff? I totally believe it. These tasted like pure love, and are without a doubt one of my favorite desserts of all time.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies {gluten-free + vegan}

I still can’t get over these, and I made them twice this holiday season. Everyone at work kept asking me to make more. I love soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies, and with that gooey piece of caramel on they inside, they are just irresistible (<—an other word I ALWAYS spell wrong).

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies {gluten-free + vegan}

So I have a thing about stuffing cookies. Obviously. This was one of those recipes where I truly loved everything about it–from concept to taste, and I even though they looked beautiful which is a rare occurrence for me.

Cookie Butter Cookie Dough Bars {vegan}

Nicole and I talked for hours about what dessert we would make for after we completed our marathon. She made brownies (duh), and in my cookie butter obsession, I came up with these. They were SO good. I literally couldn’t stay away. Graham cracker crust, cookie butter cookie dough, and salted dark chocolate. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates {gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo}

My mom always talks about how these are the best veggies she’s ever eaten. They turned my brussels sprouts hating husband into a believer, and they disappear faster than you can say the title (granted the title is super long). I crave them all the time, and there is nothing like a veggie dish that tastes like comfort food.

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing {gluten-free, dairy-free, easily vegan-able}

This is an other family favorite. I’ve also had friends and readers make this to rave reviews. My brother was so skeptical, but he tried it on Thanksgiving and came up to me specifically to tell me that this made him like stuffing. It’s great as a meal any time of year, or the perfect impressive Thanksgiving side dish.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs {gluten-free}

This is what happens when this girl comes to visit. Our brains work like magic, and the best recipe ideas come out of it. I knew I wanted to create a fancy hot dog, but the rest of the magic I can’t even take credit for. The result was definitely the best hot dog I have ever eaten, and something I made multiple times this summer.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese {gluten-free, vegetarian}

In case you didn’t know, melty cheese actually goes perfectly with blueberries and raspberry jam. I don’t just make this for the 4th of July. It’s one of my favorite easy dinners year round. It might sound kinda strange at first, but just trust me, okay? ;)

Loaded Baked Potato Salad {gluten-free}

I don’t know if this one even needs words. Literally a loaded baked potato meets potato salad, and the result is a side dish that will disappear first at your barbecue or get together. My husband is always requesting this as well as the sweet potato salad that came after it. Totally addicting, and a lot healthier than you would expect!

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread {vegan + easily gluten-free-able}

I resisted the banana bread thing for a long time. I really have no idea why because ever since I made this one, I’ve been literally obsessed. I don’t usually like baked goods with cookie butter or nutella baked inside because I feel like the flavor gets muted, but swirled and in a crunchy streusel topping you get the best of both worlds in this ridiculously soft and tender treat.

Gingerbread Granola {gluten-free + vegan}

I have a granola problem. In fact, this is my second favorite granola from 2013, but I haven’t shared my first favorite with you, so that will have to wait until next year. But this granola is right up there. Gingerbread cookie in granola form…let’s just say it didn’t last long. ;)

 

So, that’s that. I guess I already asked you what your favorite was, so this time tell me your favorite dish that YOU made this year. Or just tell me more things that I made that you like because that’s fun. We all know how I like to be the center of attention. No shame.

2013: Your Favorites

I know I sound like a total cliche, but can you even believe this year is over? It started out feeling like worst year ever (with lots of dramatic flare and plenty of exclamation points) being injured and having to give up on a few goal races, but looking back the year was pretty amazing. I ran my first marathon, completed my first century (I swear I will actually finish that recap someday), started a new job, recovered from my injury, and ended up the happiest I have been in my adult life. Oh, and I also made a ton of delicious food. ;)

But enough about me, this post is about you and what your 10 favorite recipes were from 2013.

10. Curried Chicken Salad {gluten-free}

I’m not surprised. This was one of my favorites too. The bold curry, sweet grapes and crunchy almonds are the perfect combination and take a plain ol’ chicken salad into something I was excited to eat for lunch for the entire week.

9. Sun Dried Tomato & Basil White Bean Burgers {vegan + gluten-free}

I had a friend request a homemade version of a veggie burger she had at the store that she claimed tasted like pizza in a burger. This happened, and you guys loved it as much as I did! When I was making these, they looked so dry at first that I was terrified I’d made a horrible mistake by testing them out on guests, but after one bite, they were anything but dry, and everyone went back for seconds!

8. Caprese Pasta {gluten-free}

This meal is so simple and delicious, and who doesn’t love caprese? The big chunks of mozzarella cheese really take it to the next level, plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s packed with veggies and pretty light as far as pasta goes!

7. Guacamole Chicken Salad {gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo}

This was an other bulk lunch that I looked forward to eating until it was gone, and it disappeared super quickly. These were also some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.

6. Noodleless Chicken “Pad” Thai {gluten-free, dairy-free, easily paleo-able}

This is one I’ve been making forever. It’s a favorite around here, and with good reason–chicken pad thai is so bold, flavorful, and comforting, and you don’t miss any of that by swapping in the spaghetti squash!

5. Chipotle Black Bean Burgers {vegan + gluten-free}

This is one of the recipes people tell me they make the most. I’ve had a lot of friends and readers make them to rave reviews. Super flavorful, and a much cheaper option than the frozen ones I used to buy. Now I make these and freeze the leftovers instead!

4. Healthy Crockpot Orange Chicken {gluten-free + dairy-free}

Oh man, I LOVED this chicken. I would seriously choose it over the nastiness at Panda Express any day of the week. It actually tastes like real orange, and isn’t overly sweet. Super easy, and a great make-ahead meal.

3. French Onion Meatloaf {gluten-free}

OMG I’m SO glad you guys love this one too! I was seriously obsessed with it. It had a little bit of a slow start as far as traffic goes, but it picked up and became pretty popular on pinterest. This would definitely be in my top 10 for the year as well. In fact, my mom says she only makes meatloaf this way now!

2. Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash {gluten-free}

Oh man, I was sure this one would come in first place. It came so close. Without a doubt my favorite recipe of 2013 (and in actuality the most popular–the #1 spot has months on this one, and not too many more views). Sometimes you just get a really great idea and everything ends up exactly how you wanted. That was this recipe.

1. Spaghetti Squash Boats {gluten-free}

Okay, so technically I posted these in 2012, but it was December 27th, so I’m counting it. Up until I posted the lasagna spaghetti squash, this baby got all the attention, and it is GOOD. Really good. This recipe kind of inspired my spaghetti squash obsession, and it looks like you guys love it (and chicken salad) as much as I do.

Did anyone else notice there were no desserts?? That’s just crazy to me, but maybe that’s because my sweet tooth is the size of Texas. ;) Just for fun, here’s 2 from 2012 that still made my top 10 traffic this year (and beat out a couple of the ones listed above).

Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad {gluten-free}

Spaghetti squash and chicken salad. Maybe I should just stick to those things? But for real, this is what inspired my chicken salad obsession (yes, apparently we all have the same obsessions), and it is so surprisingly delicious. Simple perfection in my book.

and (my favorite of all time)

Vanilla Bean Cookie Butter Cup Cupcakes

I mean, I think the picture and title say it all here. My favorite cupcakes I’ve ever eaten.

I’m dying to know, what was your favorite?? I love hearing from you guys about what you like, and what you’d like to see more of, so if you have any requests, shout ‘em out! Also, if you made anything and loved it (or even if you didn’t love it–feedback is always good!), please tell me!

 

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Rich, fluffy, chocolatey donuts topped with a smooth, bright, citrusy orange glaze. The perfect flavor combination. 

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

Have I ever told you about how my husband refuses to use the correct name for the cooling rack? He insists on calling it the “drying rack”, and whenever I ask him to get out the cooling rack, he corrects me. And every time I make sure I let him know that he’s wrong. The drying rack is for dirty dishes; the cooling rack is for delicious baked goods.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

At this point he (obviously) knows the difference, but I’m pretty sure finding ways to annoy me is his favorite past time. In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone who knows me gets a deep sense of joy out of getting a rise out of me. Probably because I make it so easy. I am the first one to get all fired up about things that absolutely don’t matter. I think they call that “dramatic”.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

So, this morning I made donuts. I never make things the day I post them, but this is what happens when I sign up for things. I forget all about them until, like, the day before, and then I’m like “Oh crap, I have to make donuts”. Anyway, I made donuts, argued my husband about the term for the rack where I placed the donuts, ate the donuts (totally the best part), and, well, here I am. Sharing donuts with you.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

This month’s theme for The Recipe Redux is good luck foods for the new year. Apparently, I live under a rock because I didn’t even know that was a thing, but luckily Google told me that round foods symbolize good luck, and in my opinion chocolate always means good luck, so I made you round, chocolatey good luck charms, and they are unbelievably good. They are the softest, fluffiest donuts I have ever made, and they are 10 million times better than so many of the dry, deep-fried cake donuts I’ve tasted before. Seriously, I would choose these instead any day, and I am usually one that believes the deep fryer automatically makes everything taste better. ;)

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

The bright orange flavor of the glaze is the perfect contrast to the rich chocolate, and the recipe all comes together in about half an hour, so it’s easy to make at the last minute if you have guests, and want to give them a little treat. We had my family over for brunch this morning, and everyone was super impressed with these! My mom kept talking about how “professional” they were. Then my brother proceeded to eat 3. I don’t blame him.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 donut

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Rich, fluffy, chocolatey donuts topped with a smooth, bright, citrusy orange glaze. The perfect flavor combination.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp fresh orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Place dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on increments of 30 seconds stirring after each until melted. Let cool while preparing other ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine baking blend, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar, egg, buttermilk, applesauce and vanilla. Slowly beat in melted chocolate, then beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Fill donut molds about 3/4 and smooth out with a spoon. Bake for 11-13 minutes until set and donut springs back when gently pressed with your finger. Place donut pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled, remove from pan.
  5. To make the glaze, place powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Slowly add orange juice 1 tbsp at a time stirring constantly until glaze reaches desired consistency. I went with a thinner glaze for this donut. Thickness will depend on liquid added. It is important to go slowly and mix thoroughly before adding more liquid. If you find you glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle glaze onto donuts and let set until dry, about 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Donuts will stay fresh best if you store them unglazed and glaze before serving.
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Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Drippy, sweet and melty honey roasted macadamia butter. All it takes is one ingredient and 5 minutes to create your new favorite spread.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

I’m really not the “DIY” type. As much as I love anything homemade, especially when it’s heartfelt, bringing myself to devote hours of time to a craft that I will inevitably be unhappy with when I finish is just not something I can usually do. I am, however, in total awe of people who can/do. Honestly, anyone that can make things look pretty, or at least not look like a kindergartner made it is totally impressive in my book.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Most of the time when I see a “Beautiful #DIY Gift Idea #Christmas” on Pinterest, I steer clear, and remind myself that the “5 Minute Up-Do” I found took me more like an hour, and I still wasn’t satisfied with the result.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

But food? That I can do. Even DIY food. I love making people treats, especially things you can’t buy in the store, and I adore stuffing my family’s stockings with homemade nut butters, granola, and puppy chow rather than candy canes filled with m&ms.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

So meet my newest obsession. The best, drippiest nut butter I have ever tastes. Now, if you like a more solid texture, not to worry! Stick this baby in the fridge, and you will get more of a traditional peanut butter texture, but I LOVE the way it drips right off the spoon, and has almost a melted texture. Macadamia nuts are the best nuts for spreads, in my opinion. They always come together super easy and quickly with no food processor starting and stopping. This DIY project will literally take you 5 minutes. 10 if you include dishes, but I wouldn’t know since I don’t actually do those.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

I found my honey roasted macadamia nuts at Trader Joe’s, but I’m sure you could also find them online, or make your own!

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: approx 1 1/2 cups

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Drippy, sweet and melty honey roasted macadamia butter. All it takes is one ingredient and 5 minutes to create your new favorite spread.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz honey roasted macadamia nuts
  • pinch sea salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Place macadamia nuts in your food processor. Blend until a smooth and creamy butter forms, about 3-5 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to one month, or in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.
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Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

Rich, gooey blondies studded with white chocolate and cranberries topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Just like your favorite Starbucks treat, but with a lightened-up, gluten-free twist.

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

One of my favorite holiday treats is the Starbucks cranberry bliss bar. I’ve made them every year for the last 3 years, so I guess you could say they’ve become one of our holiday traditions. Along with puppy chow. I’m pretty sure my family would be super upset if a year went by without either of these.

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

This year I made a gluten-free version, and it turned out every bit as delicious as the original! Today I’m sharing the recipe over on Laura’s blog. Click over and check it out! Also, if you don’t already read Laura’s blog, she gives amazing running tips, and she is just a super positive, inspiring person all around.