As this year draws to a close and we look forward to ringing in the New Year,  I thought it was only pertinent to share the most popular recipes here on the site in 2012. They’re some of my all-time favorites too, and I’m excited to be able to share them with you guys again!

Nutella Cheesecake Bars

Nutella Cheesecake Bars – these are one of the most delicious and indulgent things I’ve encountered in my lifetime. Totally craveable and worthy of the coveted #1 position. Make them. Like, now.

Rustic Roasted Tomato SalsaRustic Roasted Tomato Salsa – a good homemade salsa that can be kept in the fridge for a moments notice is indispensable. This is my go-to recipe.

Strawberry Yogurt CakeStrawberry Yogurt Cake – this cake was so easy to put together, so delicious, and so versatile. Would be great with any berry you’d care to add I think, and it’s just so gorgeous to look at. This strawberry version would have to be my favorite though, just because it brings a smile to my face thinking of picking those little ruby gems with my boys this summer!

Swedish MeatballsSwedish Meatballs – pretty much my favorite appetizer/party food of all time. And, they kick the pants off the ones from IKEA. I’ll take the Pepsi challenge anyday.

Chicken GyrosChicken Gyros – easily one of my favorite dinners. My husband grew up working in a Greek restaurant, so gyros hold a special place in his heart. We often have this for dinner once a week in the warmer months, and we never tire of it.

Oreo CupcakesOreo Cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream – I’m so glad that this was your favorite cupcake here on the blog, because it’s mine too. The Oreo on the bottom of the cupcake is such a delightful surprise, and the Oreo buttercream frosting just plain rocks.

Peanut Butter Cookie CupcakesPeanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes – these are some of the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And, surprisingly – some of the easiest cupcakes to decorate. I entered them in the cupcake category in my local fair, and they won first place! A winner, for sure.

Cajun MargaritasCajun Margaritas – I knew there were other Truebie foodies out there! When these drinks were mentioned on the show True Blood, I couldn’t help recreating them at home. And, I’m so glad I did. You guys loved them as much as I did!

Triple Chocolate Mousse CakeTriple Chocolate Mousse Cake – as the name implies, this is everything you could possibly hope for in a dessert. A cake made of chocolate mousse? I mean, come on.

Strawberry MargaritasStrawberry Margaritas – these are sooo bad. And by bad, I mean good. Homemade marg mix, tequila, and plenty of pureed fresh strawberries make for one delicious batch of cocktails.

Pot Roast with Stout GravyPot Roast with Stout Gravy – The winter months certainly aren’t my favorite time of year, but one of the few things that make it palpable is this delicious pot roast with stout gravy. With a homebrewing husband, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that include beer. This will always be a favorite for us!

Loaded Baked Potato SoupLoaded Baked Potato Soup – this recipe completely blew us away. It comes together easily and relatively quickly, and after just a few hours in the slow cooker you have a delicious and satisfying meal on the table that pretty much cooked itself. This is one you’ll make again and again!

A big thank you to the readers for making 2012 the best year for Tide & Thyme so far. Here’s to an even better 2013!

Rum Balls

I have it on good authority that while Santa enjoys all cookies left for him on Christmas Eve, rum balls are his definitive favorite. This recipe is from one of my oldest girlfriends, who incidentally is named Noelle. She brought these to a Christmas party we  hosted a few years ago, and everyone just loved them. So, she gave me the recipe and I’ve had them on my “to-bake” cookie list every year since.

They’re super easy to throw together – using only melted chocolate, crushed vanilla wafers, and rum essentially. Make sure you use good brick chocolate – not the chips. I’ve been stocking up on the “Pound Plus” bars from Trader Joe’s when I’m in the big city, and I can’t rave enough about them. Great chocolate for a great price! And, good brown rum is important too. I used Cruzan, but I think spiced rum (Captain, anyone?) might just be my favorite.

I hope everyone is ready for this evening, and Christmas Day tomorrow. I know I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, but I think I’m finally coming around. Was baking, candy making, and enjoying Christmas music all weekend long. And the boys, oh – they are so excited! We’re looking forward to a nice dinner, baths & Christmas PJ’s, then putting baby Jesus in the manger and leaving our cookies for Santa before going to bed. I’ve always felt Christmas Eve is such a magical time – full of hope and wonder. I’m so glad that I still feel that way today. I’m pretty sure that having this crew to celebrate with makes it all the more easier.

familypic

I’ll definitely be leaving a couple of these babies out for the big man himself tonight, and carrots for Rudolph of course. Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Vanilla Bean Caramels

If I had to choose one accomplishment in the kitchen that I was most proud of this year, it would definitely be caramel. I remember being so terrified of it, for years, before I finally tried my hand at it. I’m so glad that I overcame that fear, because the results are SO rewarding.

It’s amazing what a few ingredients put together can transform into. It’s also amazing how 2 degrees can make or break said transformed item. Luckily, sugar and cream are relatively inexpensive – so a bum batch isn’t going to break the bank. Some people swear that they can eyeball color and temperatures, which you can, for some things like caramel sauce. However, a candy thermometer is very important for this recipe. If you don’t have one, go ahead and invest in one. I’m using mine more and more these days!

These caramels are rich and chewy, yet melt in your mouth at the same. The use of the vanilla beans adds beautiful flecks throughout the candy, and adds a tremendous depth of flavor. To make them extra special, sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top before cutting. Truly amazing.

Pan PizzaPan pizza is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. But, so often when it comes from a chain in a pizza box – it’s a grease festival. I first made this recipe years ago, when I saw it on Alex Guarnaschelli’s show (love her!) and it was an immediate hit with our family.

The crust is thick and chewy, as well as crispy. Can hold up to any toppings you throw on it. And, isn’t effusively greasy. The crust just absorbs the olive oil to create a wonderfully flavored crust. I went all out fake out take-out style here, creating our own meat lover’s pizza at home. Bacon, ham, and pepperoni – we’ve dubbed it “Porkapalooza”.

Our family never gets tired of pizza night, and this is something different to throw into the rotation. A little more heartier of a pizza for these cold winter months we have ahead of us!