I can’t believe we’re already sitting here on January 3rd, having closed the book on 2016 and are a few steps into a fresh, new year. A couple of months ago, I was cleaning out the bookmarks on my Internet browser when I saw a “year in review” post that Kristen at Dine and Dish had done a couple of years ago. When I read it, I LOVED the idea and made a note to do one for this year.

I got so much enjoyment out of writing this post – I was reminded of memories I had forgot about, recipes I loved, and photos that I cherished. I hope you enjoy this look back at the previous year as we get ready to forge ahead on our journey together!


What I remember most: Celebrating Joseph’s 1st birthday. Just two days after his party, on his actual birthday, he took his first few, unsteady steps, and then he was off! We had his 1-year checkup on his actual birthday, and the nurse actually teared up at the thought of giving him shots on his birthday. At the time, I couldn’t believe that an entire year had flown by so quickly, and now I’m on the cusp of wondering how in the world it’s been two whole years. TWO! How is that even possible?!

Favorite recipe I made: These ground beef tacos were on a steady rotation in our house for months. So easy and tons of flavor!

You loved: This slow cooker gnocchi in creamy pork sauce and this sweet pic of me and Joseph waiting for his checkup.


What I remember most: Finding out we were pregnant with Dominic! I had an inkling that I might be pregnant and took a test on the morning of my husband’s birthday, then gave him with the news in his birthday card. I may have set the bar too high for future birthday gifts, ha!

Favorite recipe I made: Such a toss up between the ultimate baked mac and cheese and Italian wedding soup – both are long-time staples in my kitchen.

You loved: The slow cooker spicy beef queso dip was a big hit during Super Bowl week, and the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting was all the rage on Instagram.


What I remember most: Celebrating my birthday with my favorite little guy and my favorite dessert, and sharing our exciting news that Joseph was going to be a big brother with all of our families.

Favorite recipe I made: The no-bake banana split dessert that has been a favorite of mine for decades.

You loved: In true St. Patrick’s Day spirit, you flocked to the Guinness, whiskey & Irish cream cupcakes, and loved the looks of the homemade crunch bars on Instagram.


What I remember most: I started reading about the Konmari method and got totally addicted to cleaning out and organizing my closet. I think I removed seven garbage bags worth of apparel! It put me in a total purging mindset, and while my efforts got slowed down as my pregnancy progressed and Dominic was born, I started back at it in the office over the holidays.

Favorite recipe I made: After having ever only grilled burgers, I fell in love with cast iron skillet cheeseburgers (and classic burger sauce – a must!).

You loved: Warmer weather meant you were busting out the no-bake chocolate, peanut butter & oatmeal cookies!


What I remember most: We found out that we were having a boy! I had guessed boy, and was so excited to learn that Joseph would have a little brother.

Favorite recipe I made: Okay, this might have been my best month of the year in the kitchen, because nearly everything I made became a HUGE favorite! These are “make all the time” recipes for me (and I loved many others, too!): my favorite white bread recipe / copycat Chipotle chicken recipe / better-than-box-mix brownies / ultimate bakery-style Rice Krispies treats / Oreo cheesecake.

You loved: The no-bake banana split dessert got a lot of love in May!


What I remember most: The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup! It was such a crazy, wild run and I was so happy I got to go to Game 5 of the Finals (even though we lost). My husband got me the championship DVD for Christmas, and I requested a viewing on Christmas night lol.

Favorite recipe I made: I could not stop eating the berrylicious blueberry muffins!

You loved: The chocolate dump-it cake was hot, hot, hot on both the blog and Instagram.


What I remember most: I failed my one-hour glucose test (womp womp) and had to do the three-hour one (which I passed!). I also took full advantage of cool summer mornings and had Joseph at the park a lot; he fell in love with the swings and the slide. My husband and I went to see Billy Joel, and love, love, LOVED the show!

Favorite recipe I made: Toss up between Philly cheesesteaks (they have been a household favorite for a couple of years) and spicy cheese bread, which my husband and I totally demolished in 24 hours.

You loved: Apparently the no-bake banana split dessert was a huge summer trend and you all LOVED my vanilla bean buttercream photo as well as seeing me march into my 3rd trimester.


What I remember most: The end of August was such an incredibly difficult time at our house. That was when Einstein suffered his stroke, and we thought it was going to be a blip on our radar, scheduling rehab and therapy appointments and working with him on regaining his strength. Then he had a seizure and we ended the month with him in the veterinary hospital undergoing tests, waiting to find out what was going on. I just wanted my best buddy home and to snuggle with him.

Favorite recipe I made: Jeni’s milkiest chocolate ice cream was THE BEST homemade chocolate ice cream I’d ever made.

You loved: The hissy fit dip went crazy on Pinterest and the s’mores cheesecake was drooled over on Instagram.


What I remember most: We found out that Einstein had inoperable brain cancer that had spread to his lungs, and he was given anywhere from weeks to 6 months to live. Unfortunately, only one week after his diagnosis we had to say goodbye. It was one of the most difficult and heart wrenching things I have ever done. Not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss him, and my husband and I usually talk about him at some point throughout the day. He left such a huge imprint on our hearts and will be forever missed.

Favorite recipe I made: Seriously, I could eat the salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bars every day for all of eternity.

You loved: The beginning of football season meant more hissy fit dip hysteria. You showed tons of love to those cookie bars and Einstein’s photo on Instagram.


What I remember most: Welcoming Dominic into our family! I was convinced that I would be waiting and waiting long after my due date, as I had with Joseph, so I was stunned when my water broke two days before my due date. After a long labor, we were so thrilled to finally meet this little guy who has stolen our hearts with his sweet demeanor and infectious smile.

Favorite recipe I made: The classic apple crisp is seriously the ONLY recipe you will ever need for apple crisp. Amazing.

You loved: You couldn’t get enough of the hissy fit dip or of Dominic’s big debut.


What I remember most: Hosting another wonderful Thanksgiving at our home, surrounded by lots of family. Each and every year, we could not ask for a more perfect holiday.

Favorite recipe I made: After making what seems like dozens of recipes over the years, THIS cheesy corn casserole is officially the best.

You loved: My slow cooker macaroni and cheese made it onto a lot of Thanksgiving menus, and there was tons of ogling at Dominic turning 1-month old.


What I remember most: I felt so far behind on holiday preparations this year with a newborn and a toddler and am ashamed to admit that I did zero holiday baking and we didn’t even get Christmas cards out! But holding our boys, sitting in the glow of Christmas lights, and listening to Christmas music every evening made this season magical and loved.

Favorite recipe I made: The chocolate babka wreath was another one that got devoured at my house before it could be shared. It’s going to have to be a holiday tradition!

You loved: There were many cookie trays out there with no-bake chocolate, peanut butter & oatmeal cookies on them! And an old picture of Einstein in a santa hat was most-loved on Instagram.

Whew! What a year it has been – our lives were blessed with so much joy, but some heartache as well. One thing is for certain – we ate well! Thanks for taking the look back with me and re-living all the memories of the past year.

Next up: 2017 resolutions!