Reader Faves of 2013

My sister is here! My sister is here!!!!!!! You may have wondered what on earth has happened to the Sis sisters during the last week – well, we’ve been together, and having so much fun talking and playing with our kids and the rest of our family.  We hope your holiday has brought you joy, good company, and at least a few lovely meals.

As the initial hubbub begins to subside, I find myself reflecting on the year that has passed.  Much has stayed the same, but as always there has been the steady, and sometimes welcome, march of change. We’ve said goodbye to some old and furry friends, welcomed new pals, made new human friends and deepened our bonds with others.  We’ve reluctantly learned new home repairs, occasionally admitted our domestic shortcomings, had grand adventures with friends and family,  and begun to create new goals and visions for the future. It both sounds like a lot and like a mere scratching of the surface in describing these lives in this year for which we are so grateful.

We are also grateful for this space, and you lovely people who come and share our journeys toward healthful and satisfying real food for our families and ourselves.  We never imagined that this little experiment would mean so much to us, or that it would mean so much to other people – a delightful and flattering surprise.  We love hearing from you and your preferences are the highlight of today’s post.  To wrap up our reflection on 2013, we’d like to review the top 10 reader favorite posts.  Drumroll please……

10. Veggie Basics: What to Put In There

I have to confess that I was a little surprised to discover that our 10th most popular post this year was our tribute to kale.  Just in case you haven’t heard… it’s really, really good for you.  You can also get it just about everywhere now.  If you haven’t given it a try yet, check out all the reasons why you should along with a bevy of suggestions of what to do with it once you buy or harvest it.  Kale IS what to put in there.  Feed that body.

9. Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Soup

This lovely soup came together when the twins were taking swim classes last winter. What could be better after a cold car ride home than a hot slow cooker full of creamy tomato soup just waiting to be eaten. Rather than being thickened with cream or milk, this version is made creamier with one of our favorite legumes, chickpeas.  It is made more complex and delicious with a little smoked paprika.  Yummers and just perfect for the cold months ahead.

8. Great Grains: Barley and Breakfast

In this post I played around with barley, and it was a fabulous little set of experiments.  Barley is largely forgotten in modern everyday American cooking, but it really is a delicious grain that is super versatile and very hearty.  This post gives three options for quick breakfasts made from barley cooked in advance.  Fast, frugal, and fantastic.

7. Baby Step 8: You Deserve Real Food

This post, a step in our Baby Steps to Better Health series (click on the category in the sidebar if you want more info or additional steps), explores the relationship between the way we think about food, the words we use about ourselves and food, and the food that we eat. Changing our eating habits can be really challenging, particularly if we see healthier eating as a punishment and beat ourselves up for our imperfections. There’s always time to take a step toward healthier eating. Maybe today’s your day.

6. Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bean, and Barley Stew

Our sixth most popular post this year was a bit of a sleeper. You all forgave the crappy phone picture (some days the technology just doesn’t cooperate) and saw to the beauty of this little hearty number. Another great use for the barley purchased to make the hot breakfasts above, this stew is simple and yet amazingly flavorful.  And who can turn down slow cooker soup, really? Oh, dinner’s ready? How delightful.

5. Cocoanutty Good Bars (aka Big Sis’ Birthday Cake)
Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink & Be Vegan has become a staple cookbook for me and this dreamy dessert is no small part of the reason why. Gather a bunch of folks with differing food limitations, add a whole lot of sun and fun, a few key ingredients and a food processor and you’ve got yourself a heck of a healthy birthday celebration. I served these “bars” in wedges as birthday cake and it was absolutely delicious. Bigg Sis has no idea how little work I did to celebrate her birthday… well.. I guess she does now. 😉

4. Roasted Chili Lime Nuts

Got a football game to watch? Having a party? Have a hankering for something savory? These nuts fit the bill for so many different occasions and they are easy peasy lemon squeezee. Forget the chips, break out some nuts, some coconut oil, and some seasonings and you are in business.  I’ve been eyeing these up for a while now and I think it’s high time for some seasoning experimentation – what other flavors would rock your savory boat? I have a vision of little bowls – all filled with different flavored nuts…  and children munching away on all that healthy nutty goodness.  Yes, I’m weird.

3. Healthy Pumpkin Cookies

These gluten free babies are a perfect follow up to holiday madness. If your taste buds are anything like mine, they’ve gotten a pretty big dose of super sweetie sweetness. These cookies, with their lower sugar and healthful ingredients will help you soothe that sugar craving and ramp all that holiday madness right back down for you. AND they’re super yum – how about that?!

2. Walnut Crust Apple Pie 

Bigg Sis is a master. Mr. Bigg Sis is a pie fan, like a huge pie fan.  But gluten is not on the list for him, and so what did his wonderful life partner do? She up and made a gluten free pie crust with walnuts, just like any great super genius. If you’ve not given a walnut crust a try, you really should.  It’s absolutely delish!

And finally, the single most popular post of 2013….

1. Veggie Basics: Roasted Cabbage

Can I just tell you how very happy I am that our most popular post of the year was about cabbage? This is SO easy and so yummy, if you haven’t tried cabbage, or you haven’t tried it since you ate it at your aunt’s house and then fed it to the dog under the table, now’s your chance to give this lovely cold weather veggie a fair shake. Cheap, easy healthful food is just an oven away.

So there you have it, our readers’ favorite posts of 2013.  And what a year it’s been, from kale to cabbage, the eating’s been healthful and delicious. As we tromp in to 2014, I wish you all good health, good friends, good weather, and at least one pair of great shoes (that last one is for my old friends, so they know I’m still me after all).

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8 responses

    • We had a super duper time. I loved doing the year end post as it forced me to sit down and really look at what we had done together. Thanks for being such a great food pal Annie. Happy New Year to you!

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