Happy New Year and A Look Back at 2013 Highlights

It’s a New Year and I’m glad. I really do enjoy a fresh start. It’s like a clean notebook waiting to be filled with new and exciting adventures, lists, notes, recipes, hopes, dreams, and more. There’s a huge sigh of relief – made it through another year! And a deep breath to get ready for what lies ahead. Part way through the year when things were looking pretty bleak and we were trudging through some really tough things, I really wanted to give up. I was ready to look for a different job and start over. I realized that it was time for me to stop quitting things when they got difficult or scary. I tend to lean towards the safe route, which isn’t always the best one, is it? The road less traveled does often make the difference.

Moving past the hard things, was challenging, but we did it. The year ended much better than I anticipated, so that’s a good thing! Despite the hard things, 2013 turned out to be a pretty fantastic year. It’s been emotional and fun to look back over the months and remember what I’ve done and the things we experienced as a family. The hard things didn’t outweigh the good things after all. :)

In January I attended Alt Design Summit. It was fun to see familiar faces and make new connections and friends. My dear friend, Lucky, came for the last day to assist on my Downtown SLC photo walk. I got to see my friend Brittany again, which was really nice.

I began developing recipes for Shirley J in February and have loved working with them throughout this past year. I also had a good month recipe wise. (See below for the Top 10 of 2013 – several of them were posted in February!)

The month started off great! The HuffPost included me in their list of Top 10 Food Bloggers of March. (And then I fainted. No, not really.) In March I also finished up a campaign with Kraft creating recipes with their Fresh Take product line. I turned 32 in March and anxiously awaited the warm weather to arrive. :) I spent some time teaching cooking classes for La Nay Ferme, a local farm I worked with a lot in 2013.


April was a fun month. I started contributing to Culinary Covers where I, along with 5 other bloggers, reviewed the cover recipes of cookbooks and magazines. I really enjoyed those posts and working with Lori Lange, aka Recipe Girl. I also spoke at SNAP! with my friend Caroline. Our class on object photography was a blast. I met so many new friends during that conference. (Crossing my fingers I can go again in 2014!)

I collaborated with the gals from Simple Green Smoothies to create an amazing, gentle cleanse. I have loved working with Jen, Jadah, and Meg on this project. Even if I only took the pictures. :) It’s nice to be involved in a project like this because it’s something I truly believe in. It was a busy, busy summer! (p.s. it’s getting a fresh update for 2014. Stay tuned!)

I spent most of July packing and getting ready for our move an hour north of where we were living. It was a very emotional and traumatic move, but ended up being the best thing for us. I learned a good lesson about the need to protect my family from bad situations no matter how difficult or taxing it might be to do it. I also learned who my real friends are. (I’d been wanting to move anyway, it was just expedited, thus the added trauma. Also, not trying to be cryptic. You can read about what happened here if you’re interested.)

In August I joined my mom for a quick trip to visit family in the Seattle area. I also fell completely head over heels for the Pacific Northwest. I will be back. (This is reminding me that I need to post about my trip!) We picked wild blackberries and ate them as we filled our buckets. We spent time with my Norwegian great-aunt – my grandfather’s only surviving sibling. My mom and I shared a room and giggled like school girls about some of the funny things that happened during our trip. I’m planning on going back again to celebrate my aunt’s 90th birthday.

My dream came true! I was able to travel to back to NYC for the Better Homes and Gardens Tastemaker Workshop. It was a blast. I hadn’t been back to the East Coast since we left in 2008. I was also able to stay a few extra days to spend time catching up with dear friends and visiting places near where I lived for 7 years. I also spent a day in the city with one of my best friends, Amy, and we ate our way through the city. (Like you do.) I also started writing a new column on Design Mom – Lunch Box Menus.

In October I began writing for Babble’s Family Kitchen and enjoyed a lovely fall. I finally met up with one of my best friends from high school, Natalie. It felt like not a day had gone by! I also had a great night out with some blogging friends at Gardner Village.

November and December were hectic and crazy, and I stayed home working my tail off. :) I stared contributing to Henry Happened and I am loving it! Steph is great to work with and I love her site. I worked with Pamela’s and Red Star Yeast to create a Christmas cookie and two gluten-free yeast bread recipes for the holidays, respectively. I also met up with a few local bloggers for a fun Thanksgiving Potluck.

And now for your and my favorite recipes from this year:


1. How To Make Slow Cooker Black Beans (the most popular post in the history of Cafe Johnsonia!)

1. Cacao Nib Pavlova with Balsamic Strawberries
2. Loaded Raw Kale Salad
3. Honey Balsamic Roasted Fig Salad
4. Roasted Fennel and Butternut Squash Soup
5. Ratatouille Pizza (GF, DF)
6. Cranberry Caramel Sundaes
7. Blackberry Rosewater Ice Cream
8. Coconut Lentil Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger
9. Layered Greek-Style Chickpea Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
10. Gluten-Free Spinach Malfatti
11. Wilted Chard Salad with Polenta Croutons
12. Gingerbread Spiced Eggless Eggnog
13. Lavender Chocolate Pots de Creme
14. GF Cinnamon Rolls
15. Vegan Pea Shoot Rice Rolls with Coconut-Cilantro Dipping Sauce

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope 2014 is a good year for all of us! Thank you for stopping by, reading, commenting, and being my friends.

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