2020 In Review: My Favorite Posts of the Year

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a very challenging year for all of us, in more ways than I think we ever thought possible.  Although this year has been tough from almost all aspects of being, one bright side to this whole situation is that I had more free time to cook at home, and had some additional free time to write about my culinary adventures!  This was my first full year on the blog, and I had a really great time channeling some creative energy into this site over the year.  I love my little corner of the internet, and I really appreciate everyone for following along, sharing your favorite posts, and even making (!!!) the recipes that I post.  It’s always been a dream of mine to see people make my recipes their own, and nothing has been more fulfilling this year to actually have this dream come into reality.

So, without further ado, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane and recap with my favorite recipes of 2020.  Some of these posts are my biggest hits, and some of these I just love and I think they deserve another look.  My favorite posts are listed and linked below, and I hope you all enjoyed this year of content as much as I enjoyed making it!

Trader Joe’s Jicama Wraps – How to Make them Exactly Like Tortillas!

This one really took off for me – to a level that I thought was so fun but also a little out of control.  This post hit 30,000 views, which may seem very small for other blogs, but for my little corner of the internet, this was my first smash success.  I remember writing it and thinking it was one of my best posts yet, only to slowly watch it build momentum and finally start to hit 500 views per day.  It’s still the most-viewed post daily (I’m a scientist in my day-job, so I love stats and numbers).  I’m very proud of this little post and excited for the reach that it got to everyone trying jicama wraps for the first time!

How to Make Brazi Bites at Home!

I professed my love of Brazi Bites in this post, and that love still holds true today.  We made some home-made Brazi Bites using a recipe from Serious Eats, and it was a super fun quarantine project!  Still one of my favorite food adventures of the year, and it helped re-stock my Brazi Bite supply in the freezer and hold me over until they were restocked at Costco.

The Best Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe – and All About Xanthan Gum

While I certainly made a lot of ice cream at home this year, this batch was by far the best, and most memorable.  I’ll be using this as a base for many future batches of ice cream to come!  It’s a great little recipe from the founders of Salt and Straw, and it was super fun to be able to create scoop-shop worthy ice cream in the comfort of my own home.  How fitting for 2020!

Sourdough Levain Flatbread

Another fitting post for 2020, as this one piggy-backed off of the sourdough trend that swept the beginning of quarantine times.  I still use this recipe every time we make bread or need a quick flatbread in the house (it works well with just sourdough discard as well), and it has become a standard recipe in this house.  I’ve also seen other people make it as well, which has been super fun and exciting!  One person even transformed hers into a pizza, which I absolutely have to try.

Work from Home Lunch – Giant Veggie Flatbread Sandwich!

During this year, I got the opportunity to work from home 3/5 days per week, which has really expanded my lunch offerings from my usual salad in a Tupperware container to-go.  I started a Work From Home Lunch series in which I documented my favorite work from home lunch adventures, and hopefully inspired some fun meals for others who were stuck at home all day.  My lunches tend to be veggie focused and generally healthy, and this one was the ultimate veggie sandwich that I honestly still think about.  Here’s to a few more Work from Home Lunches in the series, but also maybe a return to my grab and go lifestyle of the past?  Who knows!

Vegan Coconut Lime Panna Cotta with Mango Jam

This was my first time ever entering into a recipe competition, and I made it to the Top 5!  It was even published in a Food52 article and professionally styled by their team, which was honestly so fun!  I worked really hard on this recipe to develop the ideal texture for the vegan panna cotta, working with agar as a stabilizer instead of the traditional gelatin.  After making several hockey pucks, I finally achieved a full set that still dissolved in your mouth, a perfect loose gel.  I’m also really proud of the flavors, marrying coconut, lime, and mango together into a creamy, tropical dessert. 

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Pomegranates, and Almonds

Another recipe competition entry, this one through Visit California and California Grown on Instagram!  The challenge was to create a Thanksgiving side using pumpkins, almonds, and pomegranates, and this is what I came up with!  I’ve also been practicing a lot with my food photography skills this year, and I think this was my favorite shoot to date.  It’s so festive and so fun, I really love how it all came together.  Plus, some of my friends and family made this for their Thanksgiving dinners, which was so cool to see!

Pumpkin Risotto

Okay, now we’re fully entering the part of the list of items that I think deserved more attention, because all of these following dishes were my favorite things that I made and posted this year (from a flavor perspective).  This pumpkin risotto turned out so perfectly – creamy, cheesey, orange from all of the pumpkin – that I think I will have to make this every year from now on.  Totally luxurious, and a great way to use up leftover pumpkin from any pie making adventures!

Buttery Miso Ramen Noodles

According to my boyfriend, Chris, this recipe is the best thing I made all year.  According to him, it belongs in Bon Appetit magazine, which I will take as nothing but high praise (despite all that BA drama from this year!).  These noodles are super savory, but truly comforting because of the butter.  An elevated, sophisticated, dare I say, adult, version of buttered noodles, this dish was an instant classic and for sure has made some repeat appearances in my house this fall/winter.

Perfectly Roasted Parsnips

One of my favorite recipes of the year, and honestly, the only way I will make parsnips from now on (and I make them every other week or so, when in season!).  This method combines steaming and baking, which transforms the parsnips into perfectly creamy, slightly caramelized spears of joy.  I’m very proud of this cooking method, and I definitely think it’s worth giving this one another look!

Radish and Chive Dip

Ready for a quick confession?  Chris came up with this recipe, not me.  Regardless, adding radishes to my dips has absolutely become one of my favorite things.  It even made a second appearance in this riff on the original, Festive Cream Cheese with Radish, Dill, and Lemon.  This is the perfect way to add a light horse-radish note to spreads and dips, and it works so well with a variety of toppings (tomatoes, watermelon radishes, roast beef/turkey, smoked salmon, cucumbers – believe me, I’ve tested it all!).

Summer Pizza Ideas

During the pandemic, I was able to sneak home in August to visit family, and when I was there, we made a lot of pizza!  I documented all of my Dad’s techniques for setting up his pizza oven and all of the beautiful pizzas that he makes in this post.  I wasn’t able to go home for the holidays this year both because of work and the overwhelming effects of the pandemic at this point, so I’m grateful to have these memories for the year from my last trip back home, and I can’t wait to be back soon!

So, with that, those were my Top 12 of 2020!  It’s truly been a great year here on the blog, and I have had so much fun using this as a creative outlet and a way to record my foodie adventures through life.  Thanks to everyone who has decided to follow along directly (almost 200 of you at this point!), for reading my posts (almost 40,000 of you at this point!), and for cooking along, sharing my recipes, and sending me pictures.  I started this blog honestly not knowing if I would be able to keep up with it or if I would even like it, but this little corner of the internet ended up being one of my highlights of the pandemic era, and I hope to continue sharing recipes and adventure tips (when I can leave the house again!) with you all in the post-pandemic world as well!

Wishing you all a very Happy 2021!

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