What's Cookin, Chicago's Top 12 of 2012

Can you believe the end of 2012 is just days away?! Every year I am in shock with how quickly the days and months fly by. This was quite a year full of delicious entertaining with themed dinner parties such as a Brazilian Carnival, Filipino Lumpia Rolling Party, Southern Eats, and Caribbean Rum Flair.  I also hosted a couple special virtual baby showers for some fellow food bloggers/real life friends like Krystal's Baby Shower Fiesta and Jessica's All Star Shower.

This year was also full of culinary travel to places like Seattle, WA for the BlogHer Food Conference in June; a weekend jaunt in Portland, OR for the International Food Bloggers Conference in August; and a week of international travel in Israel (day 1, day 2, & day 3) in September with a few more days I have yet to write about with more pictures to share.

Some other foodie related things I did this year that were fun to be a part of include working with The Center of Food Integrity on a video about the labeling of genetically modified organisms {GMO} products for consumers. I also participated in a local cooking/baking competition with a Chicago online grocery company called Artizone... and ended up being the Grand Prize Winner for my Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes with some TV time on a local morning news show.

Joel has been more involved in the kitchen with me, especially during the holidays. He's mastered some dishwasher tasks so he's moving up in the kitchen! He's also taken an interest in grocery shopping with me as we go through the aisles and talk about different ingredients, flavors, textures, cuisines and cultures. Joel's going to get a taste of the world without leaving home before he even starts school at this rate! :)

On the personal front, I've lived through a divorce, transitioned into single parenthood smoothly and I'm juggling work, home life, and furthering my education in the pharmaceutical industry all with a routine in place. Joel continues to be such amazing son and together we've made a new home and lives for ourselves as a family. I feel stronger, empowered and so blessed with the things that I have in my life. We even welcomed a new face into our kitchen and at our table - The Baron. He's such a wonderful, loving person to both of us who continues to make us smile and laugh everyday.

Overall, it was a fun year despite some ups and downs but overall it was delicious as ever. I'm not sure what the 2013 year will bring but I can only hope it's full of more food, fun and family! Here's wishing you a happy and prosperous new year for 2013 and a look back at the top 12 recipes viewed on What's Cookin, Chicago this past year...


  1. Happy New Year JoElen!! Thanks again for shuttling Michelle and I around Chicago this past October. It was a real treat to meet you, dine dim sum and see all the sights!! You're truly a blessing.

    Hope you have a wonderful continued holiday season.


  2. Thanks for the post, totally forgot I wanted to make the cinnamon rolls until I saw this again. Got my baking project for the weekend.

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