2012 Reflection - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 293422

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

2012 Reflection 
Dec. 31, 2012 6:37 pm 
Updated: Jan. 7, 2013 4:51 pm

I wanted to do a blog around Thanksgiving but I didn't get around to it.  I will take the opportunity now to reflect not only upon what I am thankful for, but also the good things that have happened over this past year, and some of the joy experienced this holiday season.

Time always finds a way of just slipping by.  If we aren't busy with one thing it's another.  We need to take time stop and appreciate what we have, or what's the sense of having it?

This year has been a pretty good year.  It was my second year having left the work field to return to college and it was quite an enjoyable year for learning.  You, as fellow cooks, can understand why:  I am a culinary student.  I have never looked forward to attending classes as much as I had this past year.  Learning the methods and whys and hows of cooking makes throwing dishes together much easier.  I still love following recipes, too, of course!

This year had lots of great motorcycle riding.  Mostly too and from classes, but it made my hour-fifteen commute as enjoyable as attending the classes themselves.  I love the sense of adventure and freedom from riding.  It also puts you in better touch with your surroundings.

Speaking of being in better touch with surroundings, I am thankful to live on the edge of beautiful state forest.  Trees, birds, deer, and even the bugs.  There's plenty of wildlife to appreciate, and on a warm day, I love to sit on the swing in my yard and read a book or magazine and drink homemade lemonade while facing the woods.  Ahhhh.

This year saw an amazing turnaround for my health.  Some of you know I suffer with psoriasis.  I went from being about 85% covered in February down to 2% by mid-summer.  For the first time in years, I donned a bikini and enjoyed swimming in the fresh water.  It felt great!


After almost 9 months of trying, my husband and I found out we were pregnant.  We will be welcoming a little girl in a few short months and couldn't be more excited!  I'm sure I'll blog about it when she arrives, if I have time!  I look forward to being a new mom, busy and tired and all.

I was lucky enough to go to Allrecipe's 15th Birthday Celebration and meet some fellow friends and AR staffers.  It was such a fun time!  Aside from meeting some of the people I had been talking to from AR for a while, we had a great time at AR HQ, exploring Seattle, and eating lots of tasty food!  We had a blast!

I attended my first AR Round-Up!  In SoCal at Baking Nana's, I got to reconnect with friends I 'met' in Seattle and make new ones as well.  More than friends, these people feel like family to me and I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life!  XOXO

My family lives on the other coast, so I don't see them as often as I'd like and the holidays are usually hard for me because I miss them.  This year, my parents came out to visit before Christmas and we had our own little holiday celebration.  We went shopping, caught a movie, made tasty food, and my husband and I surprised them by taking them to a 3D ultrasound.  It meant a lot to have them here for part of my pregnancy, and for them to see me sporting this big belly.  Can't wait to see them again when they come out to meet their grand-daughter.


That husband I've mentioned?  He's a heck of a great guy and I'm thankful to have him a life with him.  We celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary with past year, and have been together for close to a decade.  I couldn't find a better match if I went through a whole book. (Yuk, yuk, yuk.)

Lastly, as I sit here typing this and eating piece of fudge after piece of fudge, I made some tasty goodies this holiday season and can't get them out of my head so I figured I'd share a few.  Here's to a love of food!




First, this fudge I'm inhaling...it was my first time making fudge that actually turned out.  And it's so good that after making it for goodie trays for Christmas as one of the Allstar activities, my husband asked that I make it again ASAP.  This is the second batch in about a week.  It's supposed to be made with dark chocolate morsels, but I used semi-sweet since hubby isn't much a fan of dark chocolate (although I am).  This is some addicting stuff!  Dark Chocolate Cherry Fudge

A goodie tray isn't complete without some cookies.  This was another Allstar activity.  I find some real keeper recipes that I normally wouldn't bother with because of required activities and this is one of them.  Not going to lie, there are plenty of stinkers too.  I'm usually not a fan of white chocolate, but this is an exception.  Other people were adding dried cranberries to theirs so I split the batch and made some with and some without.  After baking up a tray of each, I added cranberries to the original batch after all.  I also used a little more zest than called for.  These will be made again for sure!  White Chip Orange Cookies

So this is a super-tweaked recipe that I first tried as written a few months back.  It was an Allstar assignment at the time for Cherry Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.  Now, I love chocolate and I love cherries (see fudge, above), but it wasn't my favorite as a shortbread.  The shortbread itself was very good, so I went back to the recipe and added chopped pecans to the dough in place of the cherries and chocolate and added a whole pecan on top.  Now that's a perfect shortbread in my opinion!  If I knew how to submit a custom version without redoing my review, I would.  Following the recipe, I just omitted the chips and cherries and added 1/2 C of chopped pecans.  Maybe it was 3/4 C.  Top with a whole pecan before baking and skip the chocolate drizzle.  Yum.


I hadn't had these things in years.  Another Allstar activity, I made them thinking they wouldn't get eaten.  Wrong!  I quite enjoyed them, and they seemed to be a hit on the goodie trays.  I'm not a fan of adding the marshmallows as the recipe calls for though.  Personal preference! Butterscotch Haystacks.

I hope the holidays and this past year have been good to you all!  I look forward to cooking and sharing with you this next year!  Aside from my growing family, I look forward to growing a better garden in which to enhance my cooking this year.  A safe and happy New Year to you!  Cheers!

[I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen! The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of *~Lissa~*.]

Dec. 31, 2012 6:55 pm
Awww, Lissa, it's so sweet that you are having a little girl. Always wanted one. Congratulations!
Dec. 31, 2012 7:30 pm
Lissa, what a great blog. It was a great pleasure to meet you at Baking Nana's. Happy New Year to you, your husband and your soon to be daughter.
Dec. 31, 2012 7:36 pm
What a great blog - 2012 has been a memorable year. I am so glad that we got to meet in Seattle and re-connect at the December gathering. I can't wait for our little AR angel to arrive in March! We are so blessed, aren't we?
Dec. 31, 2012 8:16 pm
Oh how terrific it was to meet you Lissa! ! You are Blessed with a wonderfully full life. Sleep NOW!! LOL. Your desserts look totally Professional and yummy. Cool blog! Happy pushing and HNY!!
Dec. 31, 2012 10:38 pm
Wonderful blog! Congratulations! I know you can't wait to see your baby girl!
Jan. 1, 2013 12:31 am
Your little girl has some great "aunties" who are so excited to meet her!! :)
Jan. 1, 2013 7:56 am
It was a pleasure to finally meet you and an even bigger treat to get to know you better. This auntie is excited for the new little girl in our AllRecipes family :) Happy New Year all!
Jan. 1, 2013 8:06 am
2013 is sure to bring you much happiness and joy, and many blessings too! Congratulations and Happy New Year!
Jan. 1, 2013 11:53 am
Congratulations Lissa,love your blog.Pictures are lovely.Baby girls are wonderful,i had 2,both are grown and on their own now.Enjoy.Happy New Year to to and your husband.
Jan. 1, 2013 11:54 am
Sorry, to you and your husband
Jan. 1, 2013 12:02 pm
Great blog. It was a pleasure to get to know you better. Happy New Year and looking forward to seeing pics of that sweet baby girl.
Jan. 1, 2013 3:52 pm
Hi Bibi! Before we knew what we were having, people kept asking "what do you want?" and I would reply "just a healthy baby." I admit, shopping pink and frilly clothes has already grown on me, but I know I'd be happy either way. Thanks and Happy New Year!
Jan. 1, 2013 3:53 pm
bd.weld, it was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife! We all had such fun didn't we? Happy New Year to you!
Jan. 1, 2013 3:55 pm
Baking Nana, thanks again for hosting the bash! It was just wonderful! It has been so nice meeting you and the other Allrecipeeps! And yes, very blessed!
Jan. 1, 2013 3:56 pm
Patty Cakes, I enjoyed meeting you and your daughter! I can't wait to have fun with mine! Thanks, but I'm certainly no pro, regardless of this new 'supporting membership' status update, lol!
Jan. 1, 2013 3:57 pm
Hello happyschmoopies! Thanks, and you're right, I can't wait to see her and hold her and kiss her! Happy New Year to you and yours!
Jan. 1, 2013 3:58 pm
Hi Maria! I know she's got some great 'Aunties' Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to you and your family!
Jan. 1, 2013 4:00 pm
Hey Mauigirl! It has been great meeting you and getting to know you too! Between the food and friends, I love AR and how it's enhanced my life. Happy New Year to you!!!
Jan. 1, 2013 4:00 pm
Thank you Wyattdogster! Blessings and a Happy New Year to you too!
Jan. 1, 2013 4:02 pm
Hello manella! Thanks for reading! Everyone tells me girls are so much fun, until they start dating :/ LOL! Hope you have a fantastic New Year!
Jan. 1, 2013 4:03 pm
Magnolia Blossom, it has been a pleasure meeting you and getting to know you better as well! No doubt you will get to see pics! Can't wait to share her with the world! Happy New Year and thanks for reading!
Deb C 
Jan. 2, 2013 2:38 pm
What a wonderful blog! I am so glad we had a chance to meet in Seattle and hope we get the opportunity again. That as a blast! I’m looking forward to readubg more of your adventures when you new little girl arrives!
Jan. 2, 2013 7:21 pm
Hi Deb! It was so nice to meet you as well, someone from near where I grew up! Maybe when I'm back visiting family we can catch up...though with the little one, I don't know when we will next be traveling. Thanks for stopping by!
Jan. 3, 2013 7:05 am
Hi Lissa! Great blog. You've definitely had a great 2012 and I know that the arrival of your beautiful baby girl will make 2013 even more special. I'm so glad that your parents got to see her in 3D while they were visiting. Your cookies look fantastic and I'm with you on the shortbread...pecans all the way. Take care of your little one and hubby too. Thanks for sharing your year with us.
Jan. 4, 2013 1:18 pm
I suffer with psoriasis and wonder what your miracle is? Thanks!
Jan. 4, 2013 5:48 pm
Hi cooknATL. I started UVB phototherapy 4x a week last February. My dermatologists thinks UVB, in combination with hormonal changes of pregnancy, is what has helped clear me up. It will be interesting to see what happens after our baby is born. My Dr said it may get worse, stay the same, or be better. Time shall tell. Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be.
Jan. 4, 2013 5:50 pm
Hello Cookin Up A Storm! Great minds think alike ~ the shortbread was yummers! We are really excited about our baby-she'll be here in no time! Thanks for reading.
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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 2 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
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