I’ve been reading a lot of “Best Of” blog posts lately and some people kind of “hate” on doing them. But know what? I typically don’t have time to read every.single.blog.post people do – so I LOVE these little recaps!

*steps off soapbox*

2011 was full of craziness for us. We redid our bedroom…

Dave decided to try his hand at making and selling all-natural wooden toys (with some successes, learning curves, and failures along the way)…

we went on vacation in September and were called back home 2 days later to this:

But through it all – good food! As always!

Best of 2011

(In no particular order!)

1. Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

Annie never steers me wrong. Seriously. She’s amazing. This breakfast is fantastic, easy to make and re-heat during the week, works with all kinds of fruit combinations, AND allows you to use frozen fruit with no other changes. Oh, and it tastes WAY better than stove-top oatmeal. Awesome!

2. Orangeade

DH and I LOVE heading to our local fair every September for the food….but we also go solely for the Kohr’s orangeade stands. We end up drinking our weight in the sweet, citrusy deliciousness. Since our home flooded this past September and we were a little preoccupied to make it to the fair, I decided to tackle orangeade at home. Man, am I glad I did. This drink is amazingly refreshing, easy to make, and stores in the fridge like a champ!

3. Perfect Pancakes

For years I’ve searched for the perfect pancake recipe. YEARS. This, my friends, is it. I should also confide in you that historically, pancake-making has been my kryptonite. No matter how good my cooking skills got, my pancakes still ended up raw or burnt. But not only is this the tastiest pancake recipe ever, it’s also very friendly to cook with. I’ve made these pancakes successfully more times than I can count in 2011. They even refrigerate/freeze and reheat well. Pancake Perfection!

4. Cake Batter Truffles

After discovering the cookie dough truffles last year, I continued my pursuit for perfect truffle recipes. These babies fit that category to a “t"! These are for you vanilla-lovers out there….delicious, cake-batter/vanilla-y goodness. Super easy to put together, and you can make them way in advance and freeze them!

5. San Francisco Pork Chops (Crockpot)

We adore this recipe and eat it frequently. The pork chops are thick and juicy and tender from the crockpot, and the ingredients make them flavorful as well. I can’t recommend this one highly enough to you all. Please give it a try!! We typically serve it with steamed or roasted green beans and garlic rice pilaf (which I also make ahead and re-heat!).

6. Creamy Dijon Chicken

I know, it’s a little ugly. But trust me….it tastes way better than my camera skills can convey to you, and it’s another great, quick weeknight meal. The next few times I made it I went ahead and diced the chicken prior to mixing it up (rather than leaving the breasts whole).

7. Chicken Parmesan with a Twist

My mom always puts pepperoni in her lasagna to give it some “kick” – but it never occurred to me to include it with chicken parmesan until Jenna posted this recipe! This is a fantastic chicken parmesan recipe even without the pepperoni. The panko breadcrumbs take the chicken above and beyond. We love this dish.

8. Chicken Curry

This is definitely not a traditional curry in any way, but we absolutely adore it. Every time we eat it I’m reminded of our cross-country trip together (which was the first time I had it!)

9. Quick Chocolate Gobs with Vanilla Filling

I almost didn’t include these because I take them for granted as a family favorite. But if you saw how often people search my blog for the recipe, you’d understand why they made the list! I also made these with peanut butter frosting with much success.

10. Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

And for fun…

Here are the top 10 viewed recipes for 2011!

1. Cinnamon Bun Cake

2. In-N-Out Copycat Burger Recipe

3. Potato Crusted White Fish

4. Cake Batter Truffles

5. Quick Chocolate Gobs with Vanilla Filling

6. Crockpot Pork Barbacoa

7. Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff

8. Best Beef Stew Ever

9. Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

10. Crockpot San Francisco Pork Chops

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