Eat the Love’s Year End Recap & a Giveaway!

by Irvin on December 29, 2011 · 137 comments

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Hey there folks! It’s the end of the year and all I can do is wonder how 2011 went by so fast. It seems like yesterday that I was entering the year, bright eyed, bushy tailed and excited to see where the year would lead and here it is, nearly at an end. One of the best things about having a blog is that I get to go back through some of my old posts, and see how my life was documented. I thought, I share some of the highlights with you – including a few photos that you might not have seen just yet… Plus a year-end giveaway of swag including Godiva coffee, Chicago Metallic’s Perfect Portion Petite Dessert Pan, Pebble Beach Wine Glasses and Martini Shaker, cookbooks, espresso cups and more! Details at the end of the post.

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In January I partook in the Daring Bakers’ challenge, where I made a Sweet Cherry Mousse with Ribbon Sponge and Chocolate Ganache. Sadly I don’t actually participate that much with the Daring Bakers’ as I just don’t have the time. But maybe one of these days I’ll dive back in. That said, I absolutely had a blast making the layered piece, with the crazy colors and fun flavors. Plus it meant I had a good excuse to buy a 6” pastry ring and crack out the gold leaf.

Pineapple Cakes

Rice Crispy Treats

In February I found myself making traditional Taiwanese Pineapple cakes for the Chinese New Year, but with a twist, adding a little rosemary and vanilla to the pineapple filling. I don’t talk much about my Asian heritage much on this blog – since baking isn’t really a huge part of Taiwanese culture, so it was a great excuse to show you an old family pic from my childhood. What I do talk a lot about is my relationship with my partner, love of my life AJ, and I did just that, when I made my Bourbon Caramel Rice Crispy Treat with Dark Chocolate for him. I love sharing my stories about AJ with you all, as I know that I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t met him.

EatTheLove Wordless Recipes #1 How to make your own ice cream "magic" chocolate hard shell

Blood Orange Caramels

March had me creating my first (and most popular) wordless recipe, the Chocolate Magic Shell. In truth, I didn’t know it would be as popular as it is, but it seemed to go viral, got stumbleupon, tweeted, facebooked and then eventually picked up by MasterChef magazine who featured it in a two page spread in their US premiere issue. Even today, I still have people tell me that it’s one of their favorite features on my blog, and don’t worry, I plan on doing many more them. March, also found the world horrified at the tragedy that happened in Japan, and the food blogging community rallied together, with auctions raising money for the victims of the earthquake/nuclear meltdown. I made Salted Exotic Bourbon Blood Orange Burnt Sugar Caramel Candies, and they were the first item to go for “Buy it Now at $250” option in the auction that The Tomato Tart had. The generosity of the food blogging community continues to astonish me.

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Continuing with the fundraising, in April a number of food bloggers banned together under the leadership of Linda from Salty Seattle and created Nudie Foodies – Food Bloggers Peel for Japan. I was proud and pleased to contribute a recipe, Slow Roasted Strawberry Blood Orange Spiced Icebox Pie with Almond Scented Crust and White Chocolate Whipped Cream. Probably the longest recipe title I’ve ever made. And yes, that photo above, is the photos used in the book. I hadn’t published it on this blog yet, as I wanted people to buy the book (you still can!) but it was just too good to not show you all. So now you’ve seen it.

The Sangria Cake

BlogHer Food presentation title card

May had me celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a Sangria cake, as well as celebrating the fact that I was nominated by Saveur magazine in their “Best of the Food Blog” awards, for best baking and dessert blog category. I was truly honored and blown away by the fact that they found me and put me in the same category as Desserts for Breakfast, Sprinkle Bakes and Joy the Baker. May also had me flying down to BlogHer Food where I presented with Sabrina of The Tomato Tart on Design and Branding for Food Bloggers. Both part 1 and part 2 of the recap made the new Food52 News page (formerly Food News Journal). Yay Food 52!

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Peanut Butter S'more with Toasted Strawberry Marshmallows and Bacon Peanut Brittle jpg

June arrived, and I found myself celebrating gay pride month by making all American Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies. I also celebrated the month by going down to Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival with my new food bestie, Sabrina of The Tomato Tart and sampling all the fantastic food available from amazing top chefs and creating an epic three-part recap. It also inspired me to create a Peanut Butter S’more with Strawberry Marshmallows and Bacon Peanut Brittle. It’s ridiculously good. Seriously.

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Salted Rum Caramel Bars with Macadamia Shortbread jpg

Caramelized Banana Rum Bread

Mango Strawberry Macadamia Nut Shortbread Bars

Rum Soaked Tropical Fruit Oatmeal Cookies jpg

July and August had me visiting the island of Maui for the entire month, and baking up a storm with tropical fruit and hanging out on the beach. Mango and Strawberry Bars, Rum Soaked Tropical Fruit Oatmeal Cookies, Pineapple GalettesCaramelized Banana Rum Bread, and Salted Rum Caramel Bars are just a few of the things that I came up with, inspired by the sun, surf and gorgeous stunning surroundings. Sure I nearly died in that rogue wave accident, but that was nothing compared to the Road to Hana or the trip to Mt. Haleakala. To this day, AJ and I still turn to each other and say, in times of stress, “I miss Hawaii.”

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September had me announcing my collaboration with two food vendors to create the Street Sweets, a dessert pop-up, Jilli Ice Cream and Nosh This. Though we only had one pop-up (in early October) we were featured in numerous local outlets, including Haighteration, Bay Area Reporter, Tablehopper, Bay Citizen as well as the New York Times! Sadly the New York Times didn’t mention me, but I’m not bitter. Well not much. ;) Look for another pop-up from us sometime in January or February!

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Eat the Love presents: WORDLESS RECIPES #2 Halloween Edition - Haunted Honey Caramel Popcorn

October was start of the fast slide into Holiday season (at least in my mind). I featured some risqué pics from the “only in San Francisco” Folsom Street fair in a post and then made a Black and Blue (berry) Pie to go along with the fetish fair. Then, at the end of the month, I created my second wordless recipe – Haunted Honey Caramel Popcorn just in time for Halloween.

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Of course, November meant pumpkin pie, and I gave in and made a Caramel Spice Super Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie with Brown Butter Crust. It was also the month that had me going to two back to back food blogging conferences (three conferences back to back actually, as I attended a packaging design conference as well right around the same time). Directly after the food blogging conferences, I wrote a blog post, Food Blogging 101 – How to Start a Food Blog that talked about the basics of food blogging, including the holy trinity of food blogging: photography, writing and recipes. I don’t think I’ve EVER had as many comments as I did on that post. Thank you guys!

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And finally, the end of the year, December, had me making more cookies than you can shake a fist at. The most popular one seemed to be the Snappy Cinnamon Spice Bun Cookies with Honey Buttermilk Glaze, and I can completely understand why, as baking it makes the entire apartment smell like Christmas. Also this month, I did a few “firsts” for Eat the Love, including a last minute holiday gift guide that seemed really popular. I’ll be sure to make that an annual thing – hopefully a little earlier in the season. I also created a recap of my favorite cookbooks of the year which included a giveaway. The giveaway had me asking people what their favorite cookbook was this year, which, in hindsight, might have been a mistake because it meant I ended up putting a lot more books on my wishlist! That said, AJ’s parents totally came through and gave me THREE cookbooks this year, a couple of which are from that list of “cookbooks I hope make it under my Christmas tree” and while traveling to the midwest, I picked up a few others at Half Price Books.

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Speaking of giveaways – this year, I’ve been to a lot of conferences, been on a few press trips, been to a way too many food events and gotten a number of fabulous (and not so fabulous) things in the mail from PR companies. Looking at all the swag I got over the year, I realize that in my tiny apartment, I just can’t keep all of it. So I sorted through all my stuff, culled out some of the best of the best, and decided that ONE. LUCKY. PERSON will get a large gift package from me worth $125! Think of it this as a late Christmas / Hannukah / Kwaanza / Winter Solstice present from me to you. And this isn’t garbage swag either. No weird packages of tuna or strange liquid injectors full of odd seasoning liquid. Nope, this is highly curated package of swag, from the last year. Included in the package is Chicago Metallic’s Perfect Portion Petite Dessert Pan, a pair of wine glasses from Pebble Beach Food and Wine event, a martini shaker, an insulator package for a pint of ice cream (bring your ice cream on a picnic!) two packages of Godiva coffee, an espresso cup set, the cookbooks Mini Pies and Crazy for Cake Pops, a kitchen apron from Driscoll’s berries and a few more odds and ends. There may even be a few bonus items in the package, depending on whether I can fit them all into the USPS large priority mail box I have.

To enter, all you need to do is leave me comment below with a legitimate email address (I gotta be able to get in touch with you if you win!) and tell me what your new year’s resolution is.

Special thanks goes to Chicago Metallic, California Milk Advisory Board, FoodBuzz, IFBC, BlogHer, Driscoll’s Berry, Ulysses Press, deLonghi, Godiva Chocolate and a few other companies/events that I can’t remember.

As an added bonus, you can also tweet about this contest and get another entry. Just tweet “Win @GodivaChoc coffee, @BakingExperts pan, cookbooks, wine glasses & more! Visit @eatthelove’s post for details. http://bit.ly/ETLswag” and then come back here and leave another comment telling me you tweeted it. If you don’t let me know you tweeted it, I won’t know, so be sure to come back here and leave a comment.

The fine print – PLEASE READ.

By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
You must be over the age of 18.
This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
The contest starts as of today, and will run until Thursday, January 5, 2012 9am PST.
The retail value of this giveaway is $125.
The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award the box of swag to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type your correct email address if you want the swag and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give the swag to someone else.
The swag will come directly from me, so if you don’t receive it, let me know. I’ll email you and let you know when I’ve mailed it. Because of the crazy holiday mail, it might take awhile to get to you, but if you don’t get it within a week, email me back and we’ll work it out.
Best of luck and Happy New Year’s to you all! Thank you all for reading

This giveaway is now over. Congrats to Caren who had a New Year’s resolution to say “No!” to things. Totally awesome resolution. I need to do that more often! Enjoy the swag.

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{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

Culinary Collage December 29, 2011 at 6:06 am

One of my New Year’s resolution is to start blogging more on my own food blog. I just discovered your blog yesterday…it’s wonderful! Your photos are amazing…..that’s something that I really need to work on myself.

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Irvin December 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Thank you so much! It’s so funny, photography is something I’m still working – I’m never satisfied with it. But I’m glad you like what I’ve done.

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Cheryl Stoy December 29, 2011 at 6:13 am

My New Year’s Resolution is to say sane. Which in an election year and from what I’ve seen already, is truly going to test the limits of my ability to not punch someone. For being a racist, a homophobe, anti-women rights, anti-foreigners, a child molester, a liar, a cheater, a religious fanatic or for just being plain downright stupid. Maybe even a combination of all of the above. I plan on consuming a lot of comfort foods these next months…along with cocktails and wine. Happy 2012!

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Leslie E December 29, 2011 at 6:55 am

As trite as it is, I’m resolving to lose weight. I’ve got my best friend’s wedding coming up in June and I am aiming at not being the largest bridesmaid. I think I can do it!

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Christa M. December 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

My NY Resolution is to just do better and make no excuses. I’m getting back on track with my fitness goals & I’ve formulated a plan to update my blog more regularly. I’m also making organization a priority. Happy New Year!

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Lily B December 29, 2011 at 7:17 am

Irwin: I just loove your blog. My New’s Years Resolution is to KEEP OFF the weight I lost (75 pounds!) and continue to exercise at least 4x a week.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Thank you and whoa congrats! That’s amazing. Talk about an accomplishment. I imagine that you look and feel like a whole new person. I find that the more you turn exercising into a routine, the easier it is to incorporate it into your life. Go you!

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Becky December 29, 2011 at 7:54 am

Ive loved reading about all of these adventures over the year–thanks so much for sharing such a fantastic recap! I found you via the Saveur nod, so missed the first part of the list. You’ve inspired me to dig back into the first part of the year.

My resolution is to keep the food blog I started back in September going for the whole year, with at least one post a week ( ideally 2!). I’ll continue to get inspiration from folks like you, I’m sure! As a local–from Oakland–I could save you the shipping, too!

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Leslie M December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

My resolution is to be more mindful this year, in every aspect of my life. We all need to remind ourselves of what is important and now is a good time to make it a priority.

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Leslie M December 29, 2011 at 8:10 am

I tweeted about this giveaway, too!

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kay December 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions for a long time, but this year I think I want to continue on a successful weight loss adventure. I can fit in clothes I haven’t been able to wear in 10 years! Yay, me.

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Joanna December 29, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’m a little too cautious about trying new things in my work– I waste a lot of time trying to decide if something will be useable in the end. My resolution this year is to be more fearless in trying on new ideas and techniques, without so much worry over whether the end product of even a first attempt will be successful as an object. (of course it won’t! It’s called learning, silly!)

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Irvin December 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

One year, my resolution was just to be more “fearless” about life in general. From small things like living on my own (I had to venture into a laundromat all by myself for the first time) to exploring cities on my own (I went to Tokyo with my family, but went exploring by myself throughout the trip without them). It was an amazing year. Good luck!

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Kelly December 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

My new year resolution is patience.

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*(⌒▽⌒)* December 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

My New Years Resolution is: To not say anything negative, to always turn an unfortunate event into a positive experience, to get one step closer to my lifelong goal of being a radiant and positive influence to anyone I meet. Also to Bake more.
gregoryisom@gmail.com

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amy marantino December 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

i resolve to work less and live more

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jona December 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

My resolution is to travel even more this year.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to renew my passport which is sadly expired. I hope to use it as well in 2012!

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elizabeyta December 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

Thank you so much for the recap! I had forgotten about some of the ideas you inspired while I was reading your posts. There is one of your cookie recipes I am going to have to look for again!

I really do not do new year resolutions. I like simple things: find joy in every day, be quietly busy and happy, spend time (eat) with my loved ones, put my hands in the dirt, create. But those are everyday and every year.

I hope you have a lovely year and you and AJ are blessed beyond your wildest expectations and hopes.

blessings,

elizabeyta

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Such a wonderful attitude. Happy new year to you. May you and yours have a brilliant 2012.

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Leslie N December 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

My new years resolution is to learn more and become a better person.
Thank you for sharing your joy of cooking and life with us.

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Deanna B December 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm

My New Years resolution is to n0t let my new food blog die like I let my last blog die. I also need to commit to exercising so I don’t gain a ton of weight as a result of said blog.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm

There a number of food blogs out there that focus on healthy eating and exercise as well as scrumptious food. Though I’m not one of them (you should see the butter I go through in a month!) I definitely don’t think having a food blog and maintaining an appropriate weight are mutually exclusive!

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Frances December 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Like many in the new year I hope to do a better job watching what I eat and exercising.

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Marnely Rodriguez December 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm

My resolution? Complete a P90x routine. 90 days….seems doable right? Ha. And this package would be my motivation/cheat treat if I win it!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm

OMG. My friend Charley was trying to convince me to do P90x. It looks INTENSE. good luck with that!

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Marnely Rodriguez December 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I tweeted!

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Sara P. December 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

My New Years resolution is to not be such a terrible gardener! I will atend to my veggies this year with much more dedication. I will water on a consistant schedule… I will weed frequently…I will not let good food rot on the vine… you get the idea!

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Denise of deecuisine.com December 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

My resolution for 2012 is to be healthier – continue with my workout routine and to cook healthier meals. I’ve used way too many sticks of butter this year!

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Denise of deecuisine.com December 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Lori @ RecipeGirl December 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm

My resolution: start another 1/2 marathon training program!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I’m in awe of that fact that you used the word “another” implying you’ve done it before! Go you Lori!

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Susie December 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm

My resolution is the same as it always is. To be better to myself. This year that includes enjoying life more, through exercise, cooking, baking and seeing friends. And not cheating myself out of happiness with worry and regret.

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Ryan December 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I have a pile of recipes and cooking projects to try, and I miss writing. Thus, my New Year’s Resolution is to stop procrastinating, and write and cook consistently.

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Dana December 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Irvin! Don’t enter me in the contest, I just wanted to say congrats on an amazing year and so much gorgeous food. I’m really glad I got to hang out with you in Scottsdale and Medford and hope Seattle is on your radar for 2012. Let’s bake together!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Seattle is DEFINITELY on my list of places to go in 2012. I’ll be up there for BlogHer Food in June I believe.

And it was SO fantastic meeting you and hanging with you in Scottsdale & Medford. Don’t forget to come down here and visit me in San Francisco too!

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Pamela M. December 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I actually decided my resolution last night: to enter every contest I see. I am bound to win something, right? Movie tix, trip to Europe, magazine subscription, a case of wine, set of knives, random gift bag – the possibilities are endless. I saw your posting on FB today and was thrilled to kick off my resolution a tad early! So here I go. Happy New Year!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Yay! I love that resolution and I love that you kick started your resolution with my giveaway!

There are SO many contests and giveaways that happen on the internet. I can only imagine what you will win. Best of luck in the new year!

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Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) December 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I loved meeting you in Columbus this year. My new year’s resolution is to do something big. I’m still working out what that will be…

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm

That sounds awesome. So wonderful meeting you. I can’t wait to hear about what BIG thing you do….

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Sam H December 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I think my resolution is to become more familiar with unfamiliar things. Try new food, cook with different ingredients, make new friends, and do my best to have experiences that are new (sometimes awkward) but exciting!

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Jenni Hauner December 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

While like many I’d like to shed a few lbs, my biggest resolution is learning to be happy. Seems strange, but I really feel I need to relearn the feeling and embrace/soak it up. Hope you have a great 2012, cheers!

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Julie December 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Hi Irvin, great recap! My new year’s resolution is to try at least one recipe a month from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking 2-volume set that Kevin got me for Christmas. Happy new year to you and A.J.!!!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

OMG. What a great Christmas present and what an awesome resolution. Next time I’m down in LA, I expect you to bring something fabulous from the book to our gathering…

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penny December 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I’m going to work on my Thai. It’s terrible, but my parents didn’t teach me enough growing up and I want to work on my language and my cooking. Happy New Years!

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Rita December 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Wow, what a recap–and what a year!! I don’t want to take up a spot in the contest, and you can probably guess what my resolution is. I just want to say, though, that a certain photo here left me speechless.

SPEECHLESS.

And also, those Salted Exotic Bourbon Blood Orange Burnt Sugar Caramel Candies look amazing (I’m so glad you participated in that cause!), and the American Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies . . . and . . . and . . .

And
speechless.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm

HA! I’ve never known you to be speechless. I love it.

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Cathy logue December 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

One of my new years resolution is to survive grad school, but seriously I would love to make at least an entire meal from each new cookbook I purchase.

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Aly December 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Congrats on a wonderful year my dear… I really enjoyed reading! My New Year’s Res is to collect my recipes together in one place, notes, stickies, all of it, so that I am a more organized cook.

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Tennille December 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

And you met me this year too! I still have dreams about your Chocolate Chips Ahoy Cookies.

My New Years resolution is to write more thank you cards.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Then I shall expect a thank you card in the mail for introducing those chocolate chip cookies into your life.

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Edward December 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

A new year, and a new beginning. Start with the basics – share my toys, laugh as much as possible, spread love, and kick some ass! Your blog is great. XO

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ArleneT. December 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

My new years resolution is eat more healthful foods & try to lose weight!

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Kim C December 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Thank you for posting your recap of this year as it has inspired me to look back as well and think about what I have accomplished and what I want/need to accomplish in 2012.

I don’t make resolutions because I don’t always follow through but I do set goals each year and one of them is to get back to a healthy, active way of life and maybe to get rid of this awful cold.

Have a Happy, Healthy New Year!!!

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joni December 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I’m resolving to get healthier — exercise more, and eat more vegetables & less junk. We’ll see…

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Lacey December 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm

My New Year’s resolution is to set realistic and big goals for myself.

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bertha ku December 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Irvin – your blog is da bomb! It never fails to leave me salivating – cmon, those salted caramel bars?!? they look fabulous and i imagine the gooey caramel sticking all over my teeth and i’m loving it. okay, so my new years resolution is to get myself into better shape so i can go west to visit you guys and finally come to one of your dessert parties! :D Happy Happy Holidays to you and AJ!!!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Bertha! You gotta come out here for one our parties! Really. I haven’t seen you in ages. Rally the troops, I think it’s time for the New York crew to do a group trip out here… I’ll schedule a party for you all…

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Lynn Lovejoy from Order in the Kitchen December 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I know my new year’s resolution! Make more time for blogging! It seems like I had more time to do it when studying for the Bar exam than I do now! (which is crazy)… I really need to make more of an effort to take time, breathe, and actually do what makes me happy…blog! I hope you had a fabulous holiday and a happy new year Irvin! AND for Christmas my bf got me a 5 day trip to hawaii so I may need some pointers on what to do, as I remembered you went there not too long ago right?

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Samantha Wheeler December 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm

My new years resolution is to bake more! and bake some new things i’ve been stuck in a rut because my husband always asks for the same things.

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Samantha Wheeler December 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm

i also tweeted about this! Even if i don’t win everyone should know about this food blog I LOVE IT!

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Ralph Sciutti December 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I would leave a wordless comment about your Nudie Foodie pic (which rocks) but for now I feel fortunate for still being on the invite list for your parties. Hopefully I can come to one soon and Whack a Mole.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Dude. Ralph we gotta get together sometime, party or not. Let’s plan on it sometime in 2012!

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Melbin December 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I love reading your blog! My New Year’s resolution is to do more art and help me be more creative, so I don’t feel so drained from my full-time corporate job.

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alice December 29, 2011 at 7:44 pm

My new years resolution is to challenge myself more in the kitchen. Try out the things I’ve avoided for appearing too hard in the past : )

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I LOVE that resolution. I think I might have to steal it and make it one of mine. Thank you and Happy new year!

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alice December 31, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Thanks! : ) I hope you had a great New Years!

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Yvo December 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

My food-related resolution (I don’t tend to make resolutions – or rather I do, but throughout the year, not just one big sweeping gesture in January and then forget them in a few weeks) is to improve my baking. I’ve been working on this for a while, and even in the past year I’ve come a long, long way, but I think I could do more and I could be more proactive about it – instead of just trying recipes that land in my lap, I could seek out recipes and try them more quickly than I’ve been doing. This past year, though, I’m proud to say that I went from being terrified of baking to being realistic about my abilities, to increasing my experience such that the fear abated a little bit, where I can open a cookbook, see a recipe that is for a baked good (batter/dough-based), and not immediately stop reading/turn the page… but now I stop and read through it, and determine whether or not I can realistically attempt it or if it is just too complex, requires too much equipment, too much counterspace that I don’t have. To an experienced baker, that might seem like nothing, but it’s a Huge Deal for me!

I’m chattering away here. Anyway. Really enjoyed your recap and the photos!

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Yvo December 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Oh and I tweeted about the contest. :) Thanks!

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sandra December 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm

work on a regular exercise plan.. I got the eating worked out this year.

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ArleneT. December 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I tweeted about the giveaway too: https://twitter.com/#!/cheapskate2009

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John December 30, 2011 at 1:56 am

Still reeling from the incredible Holiday Dessert experience. My resolution for this New Year is to find ways of planning and spending more time with friends. Calendars are great but if a month is full, I’m gonna have to make those plans for the next month. Hope to see you and AJ this New Year.
Oh yeah, and I tweeted about the giveaway. :0)

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Melissa @ Soul on a Platter December 30, 2011 at 6:38 am

Irvin,
Your desserts are my guilty pleasure. The quality of ingredients and care in baking is amazing. You have much to be proud of in 2011 and I hope your star shines in 2012 cause your a cut above. Cheers!

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Jenni December 30, 2011 at 7:05 am

I found your website recently and adore it! Thank you for doing what you do.

My resolution is to not eat so much of what I bake.

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Bill December 30, 2011 at 9:15 am

My resolution actually ties back to your sangria cake. Your blog has been a favorite read for some time and then you posted that cake. And you were honest about how it wasn’t working out quite right but you MADE IT WORK. And it looked beautiful and I’m sure it was equally delicious. So my resolution is to not be afraid to try something out of my comfort zone and make at least one recipe that scares me :) Happy new year!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Never be afraid of failing. I think that’s the best advice I ever heard from a friend of mine. How many times have we stopped ourselves because we told ourselves “Oh it’s not going to work out…” when even if it doesn’t we learn so much from just the act of doing it?

I think sometime in the new year, I’m going to do a post on how to “rescue” a failed baked good. Because it happens often in my kitchen. Really often!

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Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen December 30, 2011 at 12:38 pm

My resolution is to CRUSH IT no matter what I’m doing! Being a mom, being a blogger, being a person, I just want to give it all my everything. Also, I don’t know what what to do with that picture of you in the bathtub. Wow. Ha!

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Mimi December 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I plan to walk 3-5 times a week and keep going to Pilates lessons . And maybe get a logo for my blog! (hint, hint)

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Oh Mimi! You think I have forgotten you, but I have not! The holidays just killed me, but I’m on it, and look for something in your email in the next week or so….

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Jeff Hanson December 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hi Irvin,

Thanks for posting such drool-worthy recipes–you are inspiring–both in your cooking and the way follow your passion. My new years resolution–to read more books than I buy, and exercise more! I love to cook and bake and eat–but I’ve got to compensate with some more exercise!

Jeff (see you on ecto!)

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Hey Jeff! I usually lurk on Ecto, but so pleased you found my blog and read it. I need to read more books too. I don’t know how I became so busy that reading became a luxury to me, but it has… Sad.

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Ally December 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

My New Year’s resolution is to cook more, host more and eat more. I definitely want to cook more dishes that are outside my comfort zone, experiment with new ingredients and techniques and invite friends over to hang out more often to chat & nosh.

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merri December 30, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Awesome and yummy year..im hungry now! You deserve all the attention your blog is getting!!! Hmm what is my resolution? I don’t usually make those. I wrote a post about 2011 and 2012 but managed to not resolve one resolution. I guess my resolution is to enjoy myself in 2012.

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merri December 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

ps just tweeted the contest too

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cindy December 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I want to learn how to make good bread.
Happy new year!

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Arlene @ Flour On My Face December 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm

My goal for the new year is to do some major over hauling on my blog.
flouronmyface(@)gmail.com

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A D December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm

New Year’s Resolution: To drink more wine. (And to learn about wine in so doing.)

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I love that resolution. My friend Jameson just started a new blog on wine. He’s fantastic. You should check it out!

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Marisa December 30, 2011 at 5:35 pm

My new year’s resolution is to join my grandfather in eating healthier after some scary heart problems. I want him to live longer, happier, and I do too!

Possibly contradictory to this goal, I also want to start baking more. :) Thanks for providing a LOT of bakespiration!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm

This is an awesome recap. I just opened most of your July & August with all those rummy desserts…PERFECT.

And just everything…it’s all a clickfest.

The giveaway is awesome. My resolution is to get more sleep!

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Carmen December 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm

My resolution is to finally clean out the boxes of paper we moved from our last house … 7 years ago!

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Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } December 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Great recap for 2011! Those caramel bars look simply divine!!!! My new years resolution is to enjoy each and every day without taking any minute for granite. In addition – spend more time with family and friends!!! Happy 2012!!!

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MikeVFMK December 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

What a great year! I hope my 2012 involves meeting you! Happy new year Irvin. All the best to you and AJ.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Happy new year to you Mike. I do hope we get to meet in 2012!

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Allison December 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm

My New Year’s resolution is to be more epic. There are so many things I want to do, but I keep finding that I hold myself back… hence my resolution to Be.More.Epic. ^_^

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Then, I’m SO excited for you Allison! I’m holding to that resolution. 2012 will be YOUR year. I will be expecting EPIC things from you. ;)

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Allison January 1, 2012 at 1:31 am

Yes, please do! I’m going to try to do everything I can to make this an AWESOME year. And I really hope I’ll get to see you as much as possible this year! ^_^

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Isabel December 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

My main New Year’s resolution is rather silly, but oh well; to be able to eat one of whatever I bake. I love making things for other people, but I’m still not able to bring myself to actually -eat- a dessert. Maybe this year!

May your holidays be joyous, and the new year be happy.

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I say you nibble and take a bite here and there. Just to taste and see how it turns out. Think of it more as a chance to learn and see how your desserts turned out and to see if you need to improve it or change next time.

That’s really the only reason I eat my baked goods. Otherwise I’m much happier having others eating them for me.

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Rachel Lore'l December 30, 2011 at 11:53 pm

My New Year’s resolution is to get my butt out of the kitchen and into the gym more often.

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Stephanie December 31, 2011 at 12:58 am

My new years resolution is to cook healthier food. I love to bake…but i am just learning to cook more than basic stuff.

Also to smile everyday….

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Becca D December 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

My New Years Resolution: is to get myself back on track. Find ways to make things better.

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Megan December 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

My New Year’s Resolution is to do my crunches every day like I’m supposed to, and fully use my CSA box every week and not let stuff go bad!

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Mary Grace December 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

My New Year’s Resolution is to finally take the first step towards opening my own bakery. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, but I was too afraid of what it would entail. Not anymore!

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm

What a wonderful resolution! Please come back and tell me when you do. I’d love to hear all about it.

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Katie December 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

My new years resolution is to really put my all into food blogging this year. I’ve made a demure effort so far, but I really want to be proud of what I’m baking/writing/taking pictures of. I also want to be more adventurous with what I’m baking. Your blog is a huge inspiration for me! I already started being a bit more adventurous, as for Christmas I made honey lavender chocolate truffles. :)
somewhatawkward@gmail.com

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Irvin December 31, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Honey lavender chocolate truffles sounds wonderful! I love that combination of flavors.

My advice, as always, with blogging is to just dive in and do it. The more you do it, more comfortable you’ll be with all those things that you listed above!

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Natalie December 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm

We resolve to not drink every night of the week. We are trying to cut back on the alcohol intake!!!! Don’t want to be drunks, haha.

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Debbie Henthorn January 1, 2012 at 3:18 am

Merry New Year! My resolve this year is similar to last and I WILL do it this year! To make our blog worthy! I found you and Eat the Love from a RT of the Halloween Wordless Recipe post and I bow in your general direction!
I’m attending my first BlogHer Food in June sandwiched between my son’s Cinco de Mayo wedding (really? that’s the theme I need to cook for?) and the birth of my first grandchild at the end of June.
Thank you for the beautiful recipes and the wonderful inspiration!

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Jenifer January 1, 2012 at 7:36 am

Get more kitchen toys. Figure out gluten free baking. Lose more weight (lost 21 lbs and counting!). Continue the soup making crusade. Seek out more locally made charcuterie. Only the second one scares me!

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Chelsea January 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

Irvin, I’m so pleased I found your blog this year. It is a pleasure to read your writing, and I’ve found myself having to lean back to avoid drooling on my keyboard on multiple occasions.
This year, my food-related resolution is to finish a blog project I started last year: making most (82 of 101) of Mark Bittman’s Thanksgiving make-ahead side dish ideas that he published in the New York Times several years ago. I make one per week and blog about the experience and the results. I started this last year but couldn’t make it all the way through, so this year I want to finish the project.

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Cindy B January 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Irving, I can’t wait for you to write your own cookbook because I hate salivating over your wonderful pictures and titles – WITH No Recipe Attached! Congrats on your accomplishments this year and I hope 2012 is even more exciting!

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Cindy B January 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Oh shoot! My New Year’s Resolution is to improve my memory! Sorry I forgot that!

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Katie January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Hi Irvin,

Glad to see you’ve had such an amazing year! I hope to check out your next pop-up Street Sweets, as Jacky and Willi are good people (and high school friends of mine!)

Would love to win the bag o’ swag ;o)

Happy New Year to you and AJ!

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Katie January 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

And I forgot my resolution! It was to be more brave in dealing with people, whether it is asking hard questions, doing hard things, or just being confident in a situation.

:o)

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Katie January 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm

And also tweeted!

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Jonathan January 1, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Congratulations on an amazing year, Irvin! Only paving the way for bigger and better things for 2012, I’m sure.

Resolution/Goal: Shifting my focus from end result to process. I would rather be happy with what I’m doing and end up with something ‘great’ than make myself crazy striving for ‘extraordinary.’ This year, the OCD perfectionist will have to sit in the passenger seat a bit more often.

Thank you, sir.

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Amy Tong January 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

What a cute giveaway! You really got some wonderful goodies from the conferences. I don’t have a New Year resolution. I tended to disappoint myself before the end of January of each year so I don’t make NY resolution anymore. Rather, I set tentative goals so I can measure my progress. :) Thanks for a chance to win…..hope I still “qualify” without a resolution.

amy [at] utry [dot] it

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Amy Tong January 2, 2012 at 11:41 am

tweeted about this giveaway and here’s the link: https://twitter.com/#!/uTry_it/status/153923834200858624

amy [at] utry [dot] it

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Hayley January 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I’ve never been one for new years resolutions, but I can share with you my ongoing goals :) To see more nature, travel, celebrate the little moments, be a more caring partner and friend, and encourage silliness! Happy holidays to you, and thanks for aways being witty, creative, and inspiring.

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Kary S January 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

My New Year’s resolution is to take the leap of faith and apply for culinary school. I’ve been talking about it for years and it’s time to actually do it.

Cheers and thanks for the inspirations!

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Pat R January 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

My resolution is to spend more volunteer time at our community home for the elderly.

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Keisha Douglas January 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I want pie!! That’s all I can think of right now. And those rice crispy treats with the chocolate hearts on them.

My New Year’s resolution is to stick to my new gluten free, dairy free, corn free diet (somewhat impromptu and forced by my newly discovered allergies) and do more yoga to keep fit! Challenge accepted!

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Keisha Douglas January 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Tweeted you fabulous giveway!

@Keisha_RD

here’s the link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/Keisha_RD/status/154063538682462209

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Elle January 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Oh! What a post!
New Years Resolution. New Years Resolution. New Years Resolution. hm
Be here now.
Finish what I start.
Make it, no, let it happen.
Finish what I start.
And smile. I feel so much better with a smile on my face!
Yer fan, Elle at Dove’s Roost Farm
celleowood@aol.com

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Dawn January 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

To be more intentional – about writing for myself (in addition to what I have to write for others), about relationships, and even about food.
Thanks for sharing all your bloggy goodness with us!

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Caren January 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I just found your blog from Saveur’s Best of 2011 – I see why you made the cut! My New Year’s resolution is to learn to say ‘no’ to things, even if I want badly to do them. My sanity depends on making time for me and for family – and over-committing myself helps no-one!

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Kara January 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Just found your blog and I love it!!! I am overwhelmed by all the delicious recipes and beautiful pictures!

My New Year’s resolution is to let my friends and family know how much I love them and care about them! Another resolution (is it okay to have a couple?! haha) is to eat healthier and complete Insanity (sort of like P90x if you’ve heard of that).

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Katie January 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Great wrap-up! New Year’s resolution: eat more plants and less things with faces.

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Lynn from Order in the Kitchen January 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Tweeted it :)

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Kaitlin January 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

What an amazing giveaway!!

My New Year’s resolution is to stop taking all the good things in my life for granted (easier said than done).

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Kaitlin January 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I tweeted about the giveaway!

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Scott_D January 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

That picture in the tub is so great!

I resolve to find a job ths year. I’ve been a house husband for a good long while now.

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Stephanie January 4, 2012 at 6:39 pm

My new years resolution is to avoid drama. My own, and other people’s. And, maybe, pay down my student loans.

Sigh.

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Elle December 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I love your wordless recipes. Saveur got it right.

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Irvin December 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thanks Elle! Look for more wordless recipes in 2013. Sadly this giveaway was for last year. Sorry I didn’t make that clear…

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Elle December 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Tweeted.

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