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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Best of 2009 – Part 1

When I look back through my blog, I’m always amazed at how much I have grown.  In my photography (whoa, please never look at my old photos – eek!), in my cooking and baking skills, and in finding my blogging voice.  This blog is such a huge passion of mine, and it constantly inspires me to try new things and do better.  I feel like 2009 was a wonderful year for the blog.  I looked back through the posts from the year and came up with 30 recipes minimum that I felt I just had to highlight once more.  These are the things I think you really must try – you know, sometime before 2011!  I’ll be breaking this up into a three day series with 10 favorites listed each day.  I’m going in chronological order so if you haven’t been reading long, you may have missed these!


My Favorite Salsa Ever – it still holds this title, and I still love it just as much as when I first posted the recipe.  I often find myself putting Mexican food on the menu so I can have more of it!


Red Velvet Cheesecake – a genius idea from the people of Southern Living, this dessert combines two of my favorites by creating a red velvet flavored cheesecake with a cream cheese topping.  It’s a decadent treat that is also visually stunning and I can’t wait to make it again soon.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte – holy cow, this will probably stay on the list of top desserts I’ve ever tried!  It’s obvious why I’m so smitten with this dessert  – a chocolate cookie crumb crust, filled with a light textured but incredibly rich peanut butter filling, topped with ganache and honey roasted peanuts.  Be right back, I need to go make one right now….


Mexican Rice – this is without a doubt the best version of Mexican rice I have ever tried.  It has a wonderful texture and thanks to the cooking method, tons of flavor is absorbed into the rice itself.  I serve this frequently when I make Mexican food, and it is always a hit.  I have also found it to be a great base for burrito filling.


Spaghetti and Meatballs – everyone needs to have a great recipe for classic spaghetti and meatballs, and I love this one.  It is a wonderful comfort food but definitely tasty enough (and fun!) to serve to company.  I also love this meal because I end up with enough leftover meatballs to have meatball subs later in the week.  It’s a classic!


Chocolate Overdose Cake – okay, really, I don’t think much needs to be said about this cake.  It seems to speak for itself.  With a brownie base, chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate cake layer all covered in a decadent chocolate ganache, and containing almost 2 pounds of chocolate.  Yeah, you need this in your life.


Butterfly Cupcakes – I don’t think I’ve ever made such a whimsical treat as these cupcakes.  This has certainly been one of the most popular posts on my blog, and one I receive the most questions about.  They are fun to make and are an impressive dessert that would be perfect for so many occasions – birthdays, bridal or baby showers, a spring party.  I just love them!


Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes –  the idea of combining cake or brownies with ice cream into a cupcake is sheer genius.  These are so much more fun than the full sized ice cream cakes I remember as a child.  I just love individual desserts!  The strawberry brownie combo is fantastic, but the beauty of this dessert is that you can mix and match cake and ice cream flavors.  I plan on trying many more variations in the future!


New York Cheesecake – If I had to pick a favorite dessert of the year (or possibly of all time), it would be this cheesecake.  I haven’t made it since the first time I tried it, simply because last time it rendered me powerless and I am pretty sure I ate the majority of it myself.  It’s so amazingly creamy and delicious that I didn’t even feel all that bad about it.  Though I haven’t made it again, I definitely spend an abnormal amount of time thinking about it.  And I do have a birthday coming up – maybe it’s time to break it out again (hehehe ;) )


Cinnamon Raisin Bagels – since discovering the wonder of homemade bagels, they are a frequent favorite in our house.  I have had fun playing with different flavor variations and cinnamon raisin is a classic that just can’t be beat.  What a wonderful way to start the day out right.  Yum!

Stay tuned for tomorrow installment of The Best of 2009…

  • http://www.creamandcotton.blogspot.com Chelsea

    Yummm…. I should NOT have read this post at 8am! I’m now craving Mexican food, spaghetti and a red velvet cheesecake!

    I am new to your blog, stumbled across it a few days ago. VERY excited about following it now though – I’m in the process of learning how to cook more than a chicken breast and raman noodles! I can’t wait to give your recipes a try!

    Thanks!
    Chels

  • Heather

    What a great post to wake up to! Thank you so much for sharing. I had missed some of those recipes and now I will try them. Thank you!

  • betchacanteatjustone

    I don’t know how i’ve not come across those butterfly cupcakes yet??? They’re gorgeous and I can’t wait for just the right occasion to give them a try!
    Happy New Year!

  • http://grannyloohoo.blogspot.com Linda

    The butterfly cupcakes rock! Your tutorial on how to do it is excellent and makes it easy to execute. I tried them a few months ago, and they weren’t as perfect as yours, but I was very happy with them. :)

  • http://christines-cuisine.blogspot.com Christine

    Do you make your own birthday cake? – mine is next week and I’m considering it after thinking about that cheesecake! lol :)

  • Annie

    Christine,
    Absolutely I make my own cake! I love baking so much that I’ll take any opportunity or excuse to bake. Plus none of my family or friends is nearly as into it as I am, so I’m not sure who else would do it. But I love it!

  • http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com Jacqueline

    I am very impressed! That torte made my eyes pop. Yum!

  • http://familyfriendsandfood.blogspot.com patsy

    You had a very delicious year!

  • Liz

    Mmmm, that peanut butter tort looks delicious! I always look through your recipes for parties and I almost made that for my last one. I did the funfetti cake instead, though, and it turned out wonderfully! Thanks for providing so many delicious recipes!

  • http://mamaksblog.blogspot.com Bonnie

    I just discovered your blog so I’m glad you’re doing this to get me caught up!

  • http://kimmerbean.blogspot.com kimmerbean

    Thanks so much for recapping your faves. These all look so yummy … I’ve added your Mexican Rice to my January menu!

  • http://www.thepickyapple.com/blog/ Cara

    I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who had trouble narrowing down recipes for the “Best of 2009″ posts! I’ve had my eye on that Red Velvet Cheesecake for a while now, and I’ve made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte before. Scrumptious!

  • http://studentdrjenny.blogspot.com Jenny

    Alright, I’m going to attempt the chocolate cake on Thursday for my dad’s bday celebration. I just picked up a springform pan today. It just looks too good to not try.

  • http://maggiedon.blogspot.com Maggie Donaldson

    Chocolate Peanutbutter Torte ……..must…..stop……licking …..the screen

    Keep truckin’ into 2010. Love this blog!

  • Carrie Beth

    Annie, I found this post in the middle of the night while suffering from insomnia… and I couldn’t stop thinking about the red velvet cheesecake and the mexican rice. I know, odd combination, right??? I’m talking full-on stomach grumbling and growling… at like 2 a.m. Haha! Anway, can’t wait to try them. I absolutely love cheesecake and all things red velvet… so, to combine the two is an obvious win in my book! And the mexican rice recipe looks phenomenal! Like you, I’ve never found any recipe that lived up to the Mexican rice that I know and love from a local recipe… but this looks awesome! Thanks for posting this recap of 2009’s best recipes. As a new reader, it will help me get caught up on your awesome blog! : ) (And keep my stomach growling, too!)

  • http://thecreativepot.blogspot.com Marisa

    Great post. It’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane! Those butterfly cupcakes look adorable and the mexican rice looks super tasty.