2017 has been an awesome year for me on the blogging front. I learned so much yet still have so much to improve. There's always something technical to figure out or something more I could be doing better, but one thing I know is that I really love showing up here every week with fun and creative stuff to write about, and I have you to thank for that! Thanks for coming back to read what I have to say, and thank you for the words of encouragement both online and in person. It's more appreciated than you know!
With that being said, let's get into the meat of this post. I thought it would be fun to recap 2017 with some of my favorite food discoveries of the year. Some of these are products, while some are new vegetables or meals that I never really experimented with until recently. Feel free to play along in the comments and tell me what your favorite food finds are from the past year.
1. Kodiak Cakes Buttermilk Pancake Mix. This one's not a surprise since I feel like 50% of my Instagram feed is pancakes. But man have these been a staple. As I've said before, I love that you just add water to this mix, which means it's easy to make one at a time if you want. They make for a quick and easy breakfast-for-dinner option and are easy to customize with fruit/pumpkin/whatever. Love them!
2. Siggi's 4% yogurt. I haven't branched out from two yogurts that I regularly buy (plain Fage or Noosa) for over a year, but when I saw a new whole milk Siggi's and they appeared on my grocery rebate app, I gave them a try. I love the subtle sweetness and flavor that these have without being dessert-like as some yogurts are. The brand also has a great message: simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.
3. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. My go-to oatmeal or toast topping, finishing touch (for nutritional and photography reasons) or last minute texture add-on. These are just plain awesome. There are some products that I see go viral in the food blog/social media world but never really jump on board with. These are definitely worth the hype!
4. RX Bar in Chocolate Sea Salt. I nearly gave up on store-bought bars. I got bored by the flavors, and just didn't like the ingredients on the ones that tasted good. Then I tried RX Bars and was so impressed. The packaging is genius and is definitely what initially drew me in, but the chewy texture and rich flavor of the chocolate sea salt was way above my expectations. They have several flavors but this one is my favorite! Love them for traveling.
5. Fresh figs. I think I'm super late to this party but I bought fresh figs for the first time this year and had so much fun incorporating them into a few different things. First I made a fig, goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza for which I crowd-sourced the recipe from Instagram friends. Shout-out to Sue and Julie - my go to foodies when I need inspiration! I also made a homemade fig/lemon jam which turned out great and paired well with cheese on a snack board. Other ideas: oatmeal or toast topping, in muffins, quick breads or breakfast cookies.
6. Swiss Chard. Who else gets in a rut with greens? I know what I like - arugula and kale for salads, leaf lettuce for Mexican food. I rarely branch out. A few months ago Jacob found a recipe for a Hot Sausage and Crispy Chard Pizza and I was intrigued. I've found that I'm a huge fan of the more bitter greens incorporated into things like soup, casseroles or on pizza. I also experimented with collard greens and bok choy a bit more this year.
7. Dave's Killer Bread - Raisin the Roof. I'm particular about bread. It's not a weekly staple in our house (since there's just two of us), but I'll buy one of those crusty sourdough or grainy baguettes from the grocery store bakery if we have soup on the meal plan. One time I thought raisin bread for french toast sounded good so I picked this up and it was great. I'm also a fan of DKB everything bagel's for the best homemade egg sandwiches.
8. Flat Whites. You all know I'm an iced coffee person, but there's times when it just doesn't make sense (in the afternoon or at night, when it's cold outside and you're outdoors). In these cases, my go-to order is usually a cappuccino or latte made with whole milk. This year I was introduced to flat whites, which is pretty much a whole milk latte with more creamy foam. Love these.
9. Cauliflower Steak. How fun is this trend? You slice a head of cauliflower and grill it like you would a steak. We tried these in the summer and I added a creamy avocado cilantro sauce, but I've also seem chimichurri, pesto, or romesco sauce used as a finishing touch. These make for a really fun side dish if you're entertaining. Just one of many ways that cauliflower maintained trendy vegetable status this year.
10. Radishes. Such a common but underrated vegetable. I started adding thinly sliced radishes to Mexican dishes after I became obsessed with Chrissy Teigen's fish taco recipe which calls for using them as a topping. It adds a really subtle kick, some extra crunch and some bright color which are all good things.