Hello!!! I missed you, internet frands. It was a wonderful, exhausting, and impossibly short Christmas break, and I had a fantastic time. How was your break?? What did you do?? Where did you go?? I want to hear all the deets.
For now, while I wait to hear about your December awesomeness, I will bask in what was 2016. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook is loaded to the brim with statuses stacked on statuses stacked on statuses (say that three times fast) allllll about how 2016 was the worst year EVER and how eager they are to have a new year upon them. It made me sit back and think about 2016. Was it so bad? Every year has its challenges.
This year was particularly taxing for Seth and I. We were dealing with a deployment for a large chunk of it, and then not long after, we got pregnant and lost our baby in the first trimester. So between the deployment and the miscarriage, 2016 has thrown some curve balls at us. But at the same time, there has been so much joy. The deployment homecoming is unmatched as the best day of my life. My job has been amazing (though challenging). The blog has grown and been so much fun. We moved into our first real, larger-than-900-square-foot house. My brother, sister-in-law (who is also one of my best friends), and their 2-year-old daughter moved seven minutes down the road from me.
So we had a few huge, overwhelming downs, but we had so many ups as well. And the crappy parts of life give us an opportunity to grow and become stronger people, have stronger marriages/relationships, and give us the chance to relate to others who have had similar struggles. Life is messy, but it’s good. So…all that to say…2016 – it was a year for the books, that’s for sure!
Lots of food happened in 2016. Lots of food. Which is always a good thing. I have compiled a list of the TOP, most popular, recipes on my website over the course of this past year. The fifteen most popular! These were so fun for me to look at and analyze to see what you guys really latched onto. I’ll tell you what – there is definitely a 21 Day Fix theme goin’ on. Pinterest loves them some 21 Day Fix, yo.
To start us off!
#15: The Perfect French Onion Soup
Tell me honestly…for realzies…isn’t French onion soup the most simple and delicious thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?! It’s so good it’s not even fair. GIVE OTHER FOOD A CHANCE!
I did (and still do) love and drool over this recipe. A pizza that you can eat without the guilt? Um…yes please. That is something I can DEFINITELY wrap my mind around.
#13: Blackened Tilapia with Cucumber Avocado Salsa
Another 21 Day Fix-er. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. There is really not much better than a nice, seared, blackened piece of tender fish topped with a fresh salsa. The mixture of cucumber, avocado, cilantro (and some other goodies, of course), is just out of this world, people. And SO healthy! It makes you feel like you can run a mile after finishing dinner 😉. Or you can go sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix. I won’t judge. I might be doing the same thing…
#12: Cashew Chicken
Ah, the cashew chicken. A takeout staple transformed to an easy weeknight favorite. I love this recipe, and my favorite part is how the cashews and broccoli soak up all that glorious sauce. Aaaaaaaand now I’m hungry. Cool.
#11: Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Lettuce Wraps
Another 21 Day Fix gem. These lettuce wraps are nutritious and LOADED with flavor. I have dreams about them at night. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. LOVE.
#10: BLT Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados
Load it up, baby. Another 21 Day Fix recipe FTW! These avocados are just delicious. The flavor combo of a BLT is one of my all time faves, and forming that into chicken salad is just 👌. And, and, and! There’s no mayo. You use cottage cheese instead. And then load it into an avocado. Need I say more? I didn’t think so.
#9: Thai Meatball Lettuce Wraps
Oh, hello there beautiful. Fancy meeting you here. THESE ARE BAE. I’ve gotten a lot of positive reviews from family friends who have tries these lettuce wraps. They are just loaded with yummy Thai flava-flave. Mmmm-mm.
#8: Crispy Garlic Bread Chickpeas
These little crispy, crunchy, garlicky morsels are the perfect healthy substitution for [enter favorite salty, crunchy snack here]. I just love roasting chickpeas. LOVE.
#7: Reese’s Cup Oatmeal:
I officially have no ability to spell “Reese’s” correctly. I always spell it wrong, and it took me a few minutes and some googling to make sure my title was right on this one…strug…I always think it’s a “c” not an “s.” WHATEVER it’s delicious no matter how you spell it ❤️. This is also a 21 Day Fix recipe, B-T-Dubs.
#6: Simple Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette:
You guys. I was so happy this one made the top 10. This salad is like my heart and soul. I literally ate this almost every single day for lunch for most of 2016. It is so dang simple but so delicious it’s not even fair. It tastes clean, hearty, so flavorful, and it reminds me of happy times. MAKE IT AND LOVE IT!
Another 21 Day Fixer! Sometimes it’s hard to get a really flavorful burger, especially when you are out at a restaurant. People frequently under season the meat. That’s why this burger is so bomb – the meat is seasoned to perfection, and the guacamole adds a whole ‘nother level that makes it absolutely mouthwatering. YAS.
This one’s fun because it was only my second 21 Day Fix recipe that I ever made. The Tilapia (see #13 and drool) was my first! Anyway – this skillet is delicious! The flavor of a stuffed pepper without the hassle. Yay!
#3: Ultimate Secret Ingredient Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
THE MOTHER OF ALL MASHED POTATOES. We pull out alllll the tricks and stops for these babies. Don’t count the calories…just eat it by the ladle-full and be happy. You only live once, #amIright?
#2: Fancy Schmancy Grilled Cheese:
This grilled cheese is lyfe. Again, we pull out all the stops here, and again, don’t count the calories! A combo of nicer bread, multiple cheeses, infused butter, and a swipe of Dijon mustard push this grilled cheese so far over the edge you can barely even see it anymore. If you’re standing on the edge, this grilled cheese is a tiny, cheesy dot in the distance. So. Gooood.
And the winner is……Bruschetta!!!! THE perfect bruschetta, I might add. No tricks, no cheats – just simple, delicious, perfectly made bruschetta. This is a family favorite – I get requests to make this goodness on the reg. Make it for your family/friends or for the next party/pot luck you go to. It’s a crowd pleaser!
And that’s it! 2016 in a wrap 😀. I hope that you had a wonderful year, but I hope that 2017 is even better! Love ya, internet peeps.
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