First Year Favorites: A Dozen Sweet Things and a Giveaway

I started this blog one year ago today as a way to share good recipes as well as some occasional reviews and encouragement with family and friends, and it has been a blessing. I have loved all of the cooking and baking, of course, but I have also loved connecting with people near and far. Thank you for reading and for baking and cooking with me. Every comment has been an encouragement. Thank you, thank you!

I don’t usually post on Tuesdays, but since today is the official anniversary of the launch of Christine’s Taste of Heaven, I felt it was necessary. I thought I’d do a round-up of my favorites from the blog so far. If you are a new reader, or you are not sure where to start, this might be a good list to check. You should probably know going in that I am not a fan of all chocolate things, so if you are a chocolate fan, you may want to check the index (I hear the chocolate silk pie and flourless chocolate cake are divine). I hope you will enjoy anything you try that has been posted on the blog, but this list contains my personal favorites that I made myself narrow down to a dozen. Click on the recipe titles to be taken to the recipe.

(Be sure to check the end of this post for a fun birthday giveaway.)

  1. Blueberry Buckle. This cake is one of the best things ever. I love the big blueberries, the moist cake, and the sugary streusel topping. It can be breakfast or dessert. blueberry buckle
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Of course chocolate chip cookies are on the list. Though I am not a fan of things that are all chocolate, I love chocolate chips in big soft cookies. Christine's Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Creme Brulee. All I can say is YUM. The crackly top and the creamy smooth vanilla custard inside…custard
  4. Pumpkin Cheesecake. I have never been a big fan of cheesecake, but it is growing on me, and this pumpkin one is too good for words. cut
  5. Sopaipilla Cheesecake. I am almost embarrassed to post this one since it begins with canned crescent roll dough, but I cannot deny that it tastes fabulous. The cinnamon-sugar combination gets me every time. Sopapilla Cheesecake
  6. Fruit Pizza. Fresh fruit on a giant sugar cookie? One of my all-time favorites. Fruit Pizza
  7. Tres Leches Cake. This cake looks so simple, but the flavor is so so good. The whip cream layer with a cherry on top is so pretty and perfect. Tres Leches Cake
  8. Zucchini Bread. I had no idea zucchini bread could be so good. This one seduces me with its simple spices and wonderful texture. serving platter
  9. Fluffernutter Sandwich Krispies. I am a sucker for peanut butter. These are super sweet and gooey, and the Honey Bunches of Oats for the cereal is perfect. fluffernutter
  10. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. The layers and textures and spices combined in these bars are irresistible. Apple, caramel, oatmeal, cool cream cheese…piece 1
  11. Caramelized Nuts/Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Nuts. Ok, I kind of cheated here because there are two different recipes, but I couldn’t choose. I love both of these candied nuts, pecans in particular.
  12. Cracker Toffee. I usually make this at Christmas, and it is so addictive, I may have to start calling it “Crack Toffee.”Edge.


A Giveaway

One year ago I published my first post, and it was about Monster Cookies--the cookie that was my signature item for a long time, the only thing I could bake, and the thing that started me on the path to baking addiction. In honor of the Monster Cookie, I am going to do a First Birthday giveaway of monster cookies. One dozen people will receive one dozen monster cookies. To be eligible, all you have to do is comment on this post. Tell me about something you have tried from the blog OR something you’d like to try (it does not have to be from this post) OR some other constructive comment. That’s it. I will enter the name of everyone who comments in a drawing and select twelve winners. Thanks for playing and good luck. Deadline: Friday March 11 at 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time. Winners will be contacted via email or through the blog to arrange delivery or mailing.

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25 Comments on “First Year Favorites: A Dozen Sweet Things and a Giveaway

  1. Love seeing these even though some I can no longer enjoy now that I am wheat free. Especially enjoy when you offer alternative wheat/gluten free adaptations.

    • I’m glad you have offered suggestions for gluten-free when it is an option. It is definitely something I think about more now. Learning to bake more gluten-free friendly things is definitely on my to-do list.

  2. Oh my goodness, every recipe I have tried of yours has been delicious. Which one to choose?? The current favorite around here are the pancake muffins. Simple and easy and my kids devour them. But now I want to try most of the recipes on your favorites list. 😊 so glad you started a blog to share your goodness with the rest of us!!

    • Thank you for your kind reply, Kala! I am glad the family is enjoying the pancake bites. My kids love them too.

  3. The recipes are awesome and yummy!!! It is also fun to read and see the pictures that go with the information that you say about the recipes!! Its been enjoyable to see your posts, hope you continue for years to come!!

    • I hope to continue too. It has been a great outlet for my addiction.

  4. I come to your blog weekly to get ideas for all of my meals. I love the stories and even sharing some of them with you. I also like the critique from your kids because we all know how picky they can be! Thanks for giving me some quick dinner ideas as well as a few that challenge and perfect my culinary abilities! I absolitely love the wild rice and chicken soup! I made it this weekend with my family here and we devoured it during the basketball game on tv! Here’s to many more years of blogging!

    • Awww…thanks, Jennifer! I made that soup tonight. It is definitely one of our favorites.

  5. I love your recipes (my favorite the cranberry bliss bars)!! It is evident that you truly love to cook/bake. Thank-you for sharing your passion with everyone!

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Yes, the cranberry bars are a good one. It was so hard to narrow my list to 12!

  6. Although I do very little “from scratch” cooking anymore, I enjoy looking at your recipes and reading the stories behind them. I especially enjoy sampling any of the treats. Yea for book club! Actually, I do make coconut cream pie once in a blue moon but have so much trouble baking the crust. Even though I poke a million holes in the crust, it always shrinks. Any suggestions?

    • I think I have always used a graham cracker crust for my coconut cream pie, but when I make a pastry crust, I always chill it (even freeze it) before baking it. That is one thing that is supposed to prevent shrinking. When I blind bake a crust, I also cover it with foil or parchment paper and fill it with rice and bake it for 25-30 minutes, then remove the rice and foil and bake it until browned and crisp. Do you do these things to your crust?

      • I haven’t tried these things but next time I get a desire to make pie, I’ll put rice in the crust and see how that does. Thanks for your sage advice!

  7. My favorite recipe has GOT to be your lemon bars! I cannot walk past them without stopping for a bite any time of the day. They are the best, and my whole family loves them. Congratulations on 1 year!

    • Thank you, Bethany! I’m glad the lemon bars have been such a hit.

    • I definitely recommend the Asian glazed chicken. It is one of my favorites. Thanks for your ever-present encouragement! 🙂

  8. Perfect timing for posting your favorites! I’m headed to the State hockey tournament with Claudia and we need to bring dessert items for a crowd of 50! For sure making the blueberry dish and my favorite cheesecake bars! They are always a hit! Thank you for making our busy lives just a little bit simpler by providing us with these amazing recipes!

    • Thanks, Diane! Yes, those darn sopaipilla cheesecake bars are always a hit and come together pretty quickly. I’m glad you have enjoyed the recipes!

  9. Oh yeah I have tried quite a few of the recipes. I really enjoyed the apple cake. Thank you so much for all the fun and interesting stuff you put on fb.

    • Thanks, Gigi! Now I’ll have to get you to share some of your secrets with me. 😉

  10. About a month ago my hubby decided he was going to bake us all some chocolate chip cookies. I told him that he had to use your recipe. Especially because you’ve already adjusted everything for altitude & your cookies are delicious. He baked a batch, it seemed a little moist and it definitely spread out in the oven into a giant cookie and was very sweet. It looked and tasted like caramel. So I added some flour to try to thicken it up. Nothing helped. Finally, I realized that when he had used all of the flour out of my counter top container instead of going into the the pantry and refilling the empty he container he simple used the flour out of the other container in the counter. Well it wasn’t flour, it was powdered sugar. There was no fixing that batch of cookies. About a week later after a trip to the store for more chocolate chips I made another batch & followed your recipe exactly! The cookies were perfect & my hubby has sworn off baking forever.

    • Oh my goodness! This is hilarious. At first I was feeling really bad that the recipe turned out so badly, but it looks like a case of user error. 😉 I’m glad the recipe worked for you, and I am sure your husband was more than happy to help eat them.

  11. I would like to make the green onion wraps. Of course I’ll have to make sure I’m not kissing anyone special that night first, LOL!!

    • Surprisingly, my oldest daughter even loves those. She gets all excited when she sees the package of green onions and the wafer meat in the grocery cart or in the refrigerator. Oftentimes, she is the one who makes them now. Thank you for commenting.

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