My Favorite Things of 2018 — Part 2

As a food blogger, I rarely make the same recipe twice. If a recipe makes into my make again pile you know it is something special. Here are a few of my personal favorite recipes of 2018.

1. BlackBerry Chocolate Muffins — Byrony Cooks. This muffin recipe is my absolute favorite thing I made in 2018. Muffins are my favorite things to bake, the stranger the flavor combinations the better. To me, the combination of BlackBerry and chocolate seemed very strange. When I tried it I discovered it was awesome. It quickly became one of my all time favorite muffins recipes of all time.

2. Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese — Dessert For Two This recipe is always going to have a special place in my heart. Not only does it make a great mac and cheese, my culinary idol and creative inspiration, Christina Lane, let me recipe test it for her. She even made a change to the recipe that I suggested.

3. Shrimp Coconut Curry — Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. Dr. Urvashi Pitre is best known for her pressure cooker butter chicken recipe but my favorite recipe from all those I have tried from her blogs and her cookbooks is her pressure cooker Coconut Shrimp Curry. It is amazing to me that something as delicate as seafood doesn’t come out of the pressure cooker all tough and over cooked but it doesn’t.

Your Favorite Recipes of 2018

January is a great time to look back at your blog and see what your readers have liked over the past year. The thing that surprised me most is none of my most popular posts of 2018 where things I posted in 2018. All of them came from the early years of A Solitary Feast.

1. Small Batch Peanutbutter Blossoms —

2. What To Do With Leftover Egg Yolks #2– Flan

3. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Copycat

As much fun as it was to look back on 2018, I am excited to see what recipes and adventures 2019 will bring. Thank you, dear readers, for spending time with in 2018 and in the future.

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My Favorite Things Of 2018 — Part 0ne

One week of 2019 is already in the bag. This is the time of year where many people look back on the past year and share their favorite things. These are my favorite things of 2018.

My Favorite Blogs:

1. Twosleevers.com — I have mentioned this blog several times this year. I turn to Dr. Urvashi Pitre’s blog anytime I am wanting something new, delicious and a little bit out of my comfort zone. Dr. Pitre has an incredible talent for taking ethnic recipes from all over the world and simplifying them without loosing their heart. Twosleevers.com has recipes for all the major cooking metheods, air fryer, pressure cooker, stove and oven. Dr. Pitre does keto so there are a lot of keto recipes on her site. Although they are not marked, many of her recipes are naturally Whole 30 or can easily be made Whole 30.

2. The Family Freezer (formerly New Leaf Wellness)– I am fairly new to the freezer meal aspect of The Family Freezer because until a week before Christmas I didn’t own a Crockpot. But I am not new to the yummy food she has on her blog. I have made them without the freezing part in my Instant Pot. Well, a few months ago, Kelly McNellis, posted on how to cook her freezer meals in the pressure cooker so now I am trying the meals frozen for my next Whole 30.

3. Dessert For Two — No list of my favorite blogs of the year would be complete without mentioning Desserts For Two. In 2018 Christina got an Instant Pot Mini and started posting recipes specially for it. Many of those Instant Pot Mini recipes have made it into my favorites file.

My Favorite Cookbooks:

1. Breakfast With Beatrice — Beatrice Ojakangas I spent most of my summer, cooking and adapting recipes from this book. I love cooking and baking breakfast foods, like muffins. Mrs. Ojkangas always finds new and interesting flavor combinations.

2. Indian Instant Pot Cookbook — Dr. Urvashi Pitre I have already talked about why I like Dr.Pitre’s recipes when I talked about her blog. The same goes for her cookbook. This one is especially good since it combines my love of Indian food with my love of pressure cooking.

My Favorite New Equipment:

1. My 3 quart Mini Instant Pot — I loved my 2 quart pressure cooker and used it a lot. But its small size was limiting. So when I cracked the bottom of the unit, I decided to up grade to a 3 quart instant pot. It’s amazing how just 4 more cups open a whole new universe of possibilities.

2. An Augmeyer 8″ Chef’s knife —

This knife was a Christmas gift from my youngest brother and his family. I can’t tell you how much I love it. It fits my hand well and slides through the toughest chopping job with ease. It has made my life in the kitchen a lot easier.

Ras El Hanout Spice Blend (Whole 30)

I hope you all had as wonderful Christmas as I did. My youngest brother and his family came home for Christmas for the first time in over 15 years. So I got to hang out with these knuckleheads.

They kept this old auntie busy playing WII, tying blankets, doing crafts, doing puzzles and watching Christmas movies. It will always fill my heart right to the top when they sit next to me and cuddle with me.

My mom fed us every two hours. On the hours we didn’t have a meal, mom gave us a snack. Okay, Mayby it wasnt quite that often but it sure felt like it.

As much as I love my mom’s cooking, I am looking forward to getting back into my kitchen and using this bad boy. Thanks Russell, Jenny, Charlie, Auggie, Maggie and Mary. Its the nicest knife I have ever had.

Here is a spice blend that I have been using spice up my random no grain, no egg breakfasts the last week or so. It makes just enough to season 1/2 pound of meat and as many veggies as you can throw in a pan.

Ras El Hanout Spice Blend

1/2 level tsp salt

1/2 heaping tsp cumin

1/2 level tsp ground ginger

1/2 scant tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground corriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Pinch ground nutmeg

Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix well. Makes enough to season 1/2 pound of meat.

Christina Lane’s Pumpkin Pie Spice (Whole 30)

Last week I realized, though I make them often during the cooler months, I don’t have a pumpkin muffin or a baked pumpkin oatmeal recipe on the blog.  Guess what next week’s posts are going to be?

Before we can make pumpkin anything, we need a good pumpkin spice blend.  This blend is courtesy of Christina Lane from Dessert For Two.  The addition of black pepper is unique to this blend and gives it a subtle pop of flavor.  Just make sure to finely grind the pepper or the pop of flavor won’t be subtle.  Next week’s posts will be things that use this wonderful pumpkin pie spice blend.

Christina Lane's Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend


Used with permission from Christina Lane from Dessert For Two
1 TBS ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Italian Sausage Seasoning Blend (Whole 30)

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Ever since I was a little girl, the library has been my favorite place to hang out.  My favorite place in the library is in the rows and rows of cookbooks.   I love to pick out a random cookbook, take it home, get in the kitchen and cook from it.

I know a lot of people today, only hit the internet for their recipes.  I spend a lot of time there too.  The internet as we know it has only been around for about 30 years.  I took a class in 1990 to learn how to use it to its best advantage.  There are 1000’s of recipes out there that can only be found in cookbooks and I love to find them.

By going to the library, I can try out a cook book and see if I would cook from it before I go buy a copy.  I have found many of my favorite cookbooks this way.  I would never have looked at cook books like Mollie Katzen’s vegetarian The Enchanted Broccoli Forest or Mark Bittman’s  brilliant how to, How To Cook Everything.  Now Mollie Katzen and Mark Bittman’s cookbooks have an honored place in my own cookbook library.

I would have never bought a copy of Diane Sanfilippo’s, 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook, if I hadn’t taken it out of the library to try.  I am just not interested in doing a sugar detox of any kind.  It would have been sad if I missed this cookbook though.  Most of the  recipes in it are really good and fit into a Whole 30 style of eating very easily.

I tried this Italian sausage seasoning blend so I could try  her Pizza Fritatta recipe (adaption coming soon) but I will keep using it because it makes awesome sausage patties and loose meat sausage.   I see sausage omelets in my next Whole 30.  This recipe makes enough for several batches of sausage.  Keep the leftovers in easy reach because you are going to want to use them often.

Italian Sausage Seasoning Blend

From the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook

1 tsp kosher salt

1 TBS ground fennel seed

1  TBS  ground sage

1 TBS granulated garlic

1 TBS onion powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp dried parsley, optional

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

To use:  Add 2 tablespoons to 1 pound of ground meat.  Mix well.


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