I can’t believe a year has come and gone so quickly!  Blogging for a year has forced me to be creative, find new recipes, and dream up recipes I’d never imagined before.  I have truly enjoyed every moment, and have been rewarded with a great reader base and five extra pounds.  🙂

I wanted to share what I consider to be my greatest culinary successes of 2011.  Not necessarily ground-breaking, but definitely life-changing.  If I had to make the same ten dishes throughout 2012, here’s what they’d be.

Brown Butter Linguine with Cauliflower

Simple, elegant, and packed with unique flavors.  This pasta dish is guaranteed to impress you and whoever you serve it to.

Peanut Butter Pie

Partially because it’s my husband’s favorite dessert of all time, but also because it’s a Thanksgiving tradition I picked up from my in-laws.  Of course, with my own recipe.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
I came up with this recipe on a whim, one Sunday afternoon.  I’m always the most proud of recipes I come up with myself, from start-to-finish.  This one is so delicious and amazing.  It should be made all seasons of the year!

Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs
This is one of the most labor-intensive recipes I made all year.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to the butcher, and every step of this recipe.  I plan on making it again…when I feel like spending three hours in the kitchen.

Key Lime Pie- With Graham Coconut Crust

This pie has the best crust I’ve ever concocted, especially as a non-crust lover.  The graham cracker crust with added coconut creates a complex flavor explosion.  It’s a must-try.

Thai Fried Rice

One of my favorite meals to make for guests.  Requires a few extra steps, but totally worth it in the end.  Has a great presentation too, if I say so myself.

Creamy Lemon and Chive Pasta with Breaded Chicken

I taught myself how to make the best cream sauces from scratch.  Nowadays, I just pour everything in a skillet and make new creations up as I go.  This recipe reminds me of discovering how easy and rewarding homemade sauces are.

Homemade Buns

Not only are these buns beautiful (they’re the header of my blog, after all) but they’re incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful.  I experimented with yeast breads a lot in 2011, which is one of my favorite things to make on a weekend afternoon.

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

I adore stuffed shells because they make a ton and freeze really well.  Perfect for when one of us is traveling and the one stuck at home doesn’t feel like making a meal.

Shaved Asparagus and Green Onion Pizza

Darren and I still talk about this recipe with great fondness.  (And I made it in February 2011!)  Pretty incredible for a meat-and-potatoes type of guy to bring up a pizza without any meat!

And lastly, a big thank you to everyone who has supported my hobby throughout 2011.  To my mom, who instilled the values and joy of making (and sharing) a home cooked meal.  To my husband, Darren, for providing honest feedback and not complaining about now having to go to the gym more regularly.  To my friends and coworker-friends, who understand my love for cooking, blogging, and support my hobby instead of just shrugging their shoulders.

Happy new year, and best wishes as you head into 2012!

Love,
Ashley

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