As I sit here waiting for the sun to rise on the last day of the year, I’m truly astonished by how far we’ve come. There are plenty of things that are very much the same as any year, for which I’m very fortunate. On the other hand, we traveled literally half way around the world and both took huge pay cuts to get new jobs in a country I’d never been to before. Scotland couldn’t possibly be more different than Hawaii, and yet I’m definitely falling in love.
I also survived three weeks in the hospital and two week (that probably really should have been three or four) in my bed recovering from a collapsed lung and the ensuing surgery that was meant to fix me for good this time. In the initial weeks after the surgery, I kept trying to tell myself that one day, I’d wake up, and the pain would be gone. I’m still waiting for that day.
It’s the challenges in life that make it awesome. When life gets too easy, we can forget how precious and beautiful it all is. I’m grateful for every struggle, every beautiful moment, and every single surge of love I’ve felt for my friends and family this year.
Now let’s get to some food.
10. Double Chocolate Muffins— If chocolate is good once, why not do it again? And for breakfast. It’s a thing.
9. Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf— This is my favorite easy Thanksgiving alternative, but it’s truly awesome any day of the year.
8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake— Like a peanut butter cup in a cake pan, the textures and the flavors here can’t be beat.
7. Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding— Waste not, my friends, especially when it’s delicious crusty bread. Winners make bread pudding with rum and chocolate chips.
6. Caramel Toffee Cheesecake— This is Geoff’s dream come true dessert combining his two favorite things, smooth, rich cheesecake and sticky caramel.
5. Brown Elephant Cocktail— Your house will be a much happier place if it contains a bottle of Amarula. Drink it straight or in this cocktail. It’s all awesome.
4. Parmesan Fried Gnocchi— I’m realizing it’s been much too long since I’ve made this dish. It only takes five minutes. Let’s get on it.
3. Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels— I’ve definitely eaten these for dinner before, but you could be civilized and serve them as an app at your next party. Everyone will be happy.
2. Chicken Parmesan— I still remember when Geoff said this was the best chicken he’d ever eaten. This time I think he might have been right.
1. Peanut Butter Fudge— Every single week, nearly every day, this is your favorite recipe. All the credit goes to my mom. She didn’t invent it, but she taught me to make it, and it’s probably my very favorite food.
2016 is going to be the most awesome year yet. I can feel it. I hope you’ll share it with me.