Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 - A Year in Review

Happy New Year!!  2012 has come in with a bang around here.  New Years Eve we hosted a 'do' at our place which included 8 adults and 10 kids.  We had a great time with loads of appetizers, kids running around having a grand old time as well as a few Dance Party 3 challenges on the Wii (and yes, I totally rocked it with the highest score of the night!).   The kids were in bed by 1:30am that night and we've been in an exhausted stupor for the past 2 days. 

I have a dip recipe that I made for New Years that I'll be posting soon.  It's a Jalapeno Popper Dip and it went over really well at the party.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of said dip before we started digging in.  Soooo, I'm making Brad and I a smaller version in the next day or two.  Yes, we'll take one for the team and 'have to' eat another creamy dip.  We're nothing if not dedicated to my blog. ;)

2011 was definitely a good and busy year in my blogging life.  I posted 80 recipes along with 59 book reviews (not to mention all of the 'Whatcha Reading? Wednesday' or Meal Planning posts!).   While 59 books read in one year is quite a feat for some (my Dad managed to read 3 books this past year and Brad read .... one -- he's up one from his reading stat last year) 59 doesn't even come close to the number of books that I read in 2010.  That was the year that I set myself a goal to read 100 books and ended up reading 101.  That challenge really pushed me to read, read, READ!!  While I enjoyed the challenge I think reading 100 books in one year is a little excessive (even for me) so I'm downscaling my 2012 challenge to 75 books.  You can see my progress on my Good Reads account (Thebakingbookworm).

While I felt like I didn't read as many fantastic, 'hard to put down' kind of books in 2011, overall I can't complain.  My favourite books of 2011 are:

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
The Queen's Governess (Karen Harper)
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch (Alison Arngrim)
Twisted (Andrea Kane)
The Mary O'Reilly series (Terri Reid)
Madame Tussaud (Michelle Moran)
The Kitchen Daughter (Jael McHenry)

One of the biggest things that changed for me in how I read is the Kindle that I got for Christmas in 2010.  While I still read paper books, I have to admit that I LOVE reading on my Kindle -- when I can actually pry it out of the hands of my 10 and 12 year old sons!!  Some people miss the feel of a paper book but I'm not one of them.  To me, a book is a book is an ebook.  They're all words on a page to me.  With my Kindle I adore being able to write notes while I'm reading, look up words that I'm not familiar with etc.  Plus having 60+ books with me at all times is kind of cool too.

This past year I also kept myself busy in the kitchen.  It was the year of increasing my bread baking addiction, and my new found love of all things goat and blue cheese.  Why did I used to think goat cheese tasted like I was gnawing on a burnt Barbie leg??  All I know is that back in June I started to adore it and use it as much as possible in dips, on chicken, on wraps, in pasta ....  My love affair with blue cheese is still in it's infancy but I even have 8 year old Missy Moo on board too!!  Where have these tangy cheeses been my whole life!?  In the food stores like always .... I just finally got smart and clued in to how awesome they are!

This year I also took full advantage of my honkin' veggie/herb garden which was filled to the brim with basil, rosemary, chives, roma tomatoes, strawberries and rhubarb.  I was in my own personal heaven finding recipes to use up my bounty!  Don't even get me started about all of the pesto that I froze back in August (and used last night for New Years!).  Di-vine!  My goal for 2012 is to talk Brad into making me a tiered vertical garden so that I can grow even more strawberries for the strawberry addiction which is rampant in our house. 

NOTE: If you have the chance to snag some Presidence's Choice everbearing strawberry plants this spring grab em!!!  They rock and keep giving you more and more plants that you can use to build up your garden or give to family and friends so they stop eating all your strawberries!

One of the big things that happened in my life in 2011 was going back to work after being at home for 12 years.  For the past dozen years I had more time to plan meals and whip up much more detailed dishes.  Due to this major change in my daily schedule I started to meal plan for the first time ever.  One would think that a Type A person like me would adore meal planning.  I did like the fact that food shopping was easier when I knew exactly what I was going to make, there was less food waste etc but I did miss making whatever meal I was in the mood for that day.  My tummy doesn't know what it wants to eat 5 days ahead of time.  My plan is to get back on track with meal planning starting next week hopefully and see if I can stick to the plan to make my life a little easier.
Finally, 2011 was the year that this Bookworm got her craft on.  I made some cute jute decorative balls as well as some DIY modge podge coasters.  What I find surprising is that my coaster post continues to be one of my most popular posts ... even today!  I think I have Pinterest to thank for that since it's been repinned over and over again.  Yay!  I do have a couple of other crafty ideas on the go and hope to post them soon {including a magnetic chalkboard for Missy Moo (which we just primed  and chalkboarded (?) today) as well as another chalkboard for my laundry room -- which is done except for a final paint job}.  Note about moi: We are a family of 80%ers.  We are gung ho on a project for the first 80% ... then get bored, sidetracked, tired etc and let a project sit and sit and sit.  We're working on it ... sort of.
I hope you all had a wonderfully relaxing holiday and New Year.  I really looking forward to all the delicious dishes I can post for you in 2012 and hopefully I can bring you attention to some new reads.  I look forward to reading your comments and will start up the 'Watcha Reading? Wednesday' this week so get ready to share all the books you've been reading over the holidays!

Here's wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!!


Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

That's quite a year! I'm not sure I read but a handful of books that didn't have something to do with food, or a chef, or culinary school in some way shape or form! Even with the Nook... I'm hoping I'll have a little more Nook/book time in 2012. Sounds like you had a great night celebrating. Happy New year to you and your family!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Jen, I'm ashamed to admit it but I rarely read cookbooks. But I do love surfing the web/The Food Network for inspiration. I guess I'm more of a fiction reader than a recipe reader. ;) Happy New Year to you and your little piglets too. :)

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