Red Lentil Baked Doughnuts (Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Dipped)

Red Lentil Baked Doughnuts

Whenever there is a fresh blanket of snow outside, I always find myself reaching for comfort food. Lately it’s been casseroles, homemade soup, fresh baked rolls, warm mugs of apple spiced tea and all the baked goodies imaginable. The freezer as of late has become pretty bare because we’ve somehow managed to eat through all the carrot ginger soup and leftover turkey stew I made and promptly froze at the end of December. Luckily with all this soup and stew we’ve been eating, my new bread maker has been getting plenty of use. I’ve become a master of the “dough” setting and turning out fresh rolls like nobody’s business. Hopefully later on in the year I’ll be able to face my fear of making fresh bread on a regular basis and we can stop buying up all the spongy commercial bread at the grocery store across the street (possible goal for 2015?).

Mini Chocolate Chunk Bran Muffins

Mini Chocolate Chunk Bran Muffins

I’m a big fan of looking through my old recipe archives. It may sound weird, but one of my favourite things to do is look back and see when the last time was that I made something from a certain category. I recently started a notebook full of recipes and flavour combinations that I’ve been meaning to try and flipping through my archives is a good way to keep some variety in my baking (such as posting 6 cookie recipes in a row and not realizing it untilĀ after the fact). Plus going through my archives can be a nice reminder to see if I’ve already posted a similar recipe. As of this month, I’ve been blogging on SBH for four years and those early years of posting are especially fuzzy.

One interesting thing of note in my recipe categories was that there were a total of 15 muffin recipes posted in 2012 and 2013. That’s a lot of muffins, especially when you consider that in 2014 I only posted 2 muffin recipes.

So to make up for my seeming lack of muffin recipes last year, I thought it would be fun to get a jump start and post the first one of 2015 in January.

Dried Cranberry & Pepita Seed Breakfast Cookies

Dried Cranberry & Pepita Seed Breakfast Cookies

The urge to hibernate has been hitting me really hard as the winter days are getting colder and the nights continue to be dark. Some days I feel like I have energy to burn (do ALL the things!) and other days I just want to wrap myself in a warm blanket and plant myself on the couch. Preferably in front of the TV or with a good book and a large mug of tea.

Along with this urge to lounge around comes the desire to eat all things sugary and starchy. We’re really big on comfort food kick right now, with pasta and casseroles being our favourite go-to for supper. Most nights I try to pair it with a kale salad to keep up our vegetable intake, but it’s not always the case. Winter is a weird time and I seem to have misplaced my desire to eat my vegetables even when I know I should be. I’ve even been turning my nose up at the idea of making green smoothies. Who am I and where did the real Jessica go?

Chocolate Avocado Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Avocado Protein Smoothie

Like everyone else, the beginning of January is when I kick my healthy eating into high gear. Lately we’ve been eating a lot of salads with our supper (this kale one I posted on Instagram has been on high rotation in our kitchen) and we’ve been making a point to slowly get rid of the leftover candy and chocolate from the holidays. Baby steps is where it’s at, although I’m hoping that I can keep this up through February before the next wave of chocolate hits the shelves. (Although according to Twitter, most stores are ahead of the game!)

The hardest thing I find about eating healthy so quickly after the holidays is trying to get over my persistent chocolate craving. For a good two weeks, I had holiday parties, cookie exchanges, chocolate boxes in the break room at work, and candy in my stocking on Christmas morning. There is still chocolate in our freezer and it’s taking all my willpower not to eat it right this second. I can eat all the kale salad my heart desires, but nothing comes between me and my mint chocolate.

Spicy Chocolate Chili Biscotti Cookies

Spicy Chocolate Chili Biscotti Cookies

I can’t believe it’s the end of 2014. I feel like this was definitely a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” kind of year. So much happened and yet at the same time I feel like the last 12 months have just flown by, completely undetected. How is it almost 2015? Isn’t 2015 the year that Marty McFly and Doc go to visit his future self? How did this sneak up on us so quickly??? (Yes, Trevor and I re-watched the Back to the Future trilogy over Christmas break. Best movies ever).

To mark the end of another year, I’ve been re-reading posts from the beginning of 2014 and it’s been pretty fun to look back and see where my headspace was 12 months ago. In my first post of 2014, I wrote about my resolution to be more organized with my blogging and I wish I could be more optimistic about how this turned out. One thing I’m terrible at is planning ahead, especially when it comes to special themed posts for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If you’ve been a long-time She Bakes Here reader, this is probably not news to you and I even wrote about it in length earlier this year. At this point, it seems like my vague January “She Bakes Here” blog-anniversary mention has pretty much become a joke in itself, so I’ll be sure to squish it in an upcoming blog post in the near future. Four years, hurrah!