Thursday, January 9, 2020

Some Favorite Things from 2019

I see lists pop up all the time on Pinterest and things with "My Favorite Things" from this or that and you click on it and it's just a bunch of different things linked to a ton of products with associate links embedded in the post.  Which, hey, there is nothing wrong with that and I don't mind people doing them, but I got kind of inspired this year to do one of my own posts on my favorite things that I discovered this last year.  A quick disclaimer:  There will be no associate links in this post.  If you want to support the blog by ordering through associate links, turn off your internet security software temporarily and there will be a nice little link on the right side of the blog marked "Amazon" and you can order through that link to buy your stuff on Amazon and I'll get a small commission for pushing the sale Amazon's way (and if you do order through that link, thank you, I really do appreciate it!).  Otherwise, though, just read through, click through and enjoy a random list of things I discovered (and really do use and/or buy) that I came across in 2019 :).

Right, so let's start with something near and dear to my heart.  Cooking!  So, here's a few recipes I discovered this year that I really loved!

Recipes/Cooking Things I found in 2019

Budget Bytes Easy Homemade Teriyaki Sauce or Marinade   One of my readers, and thank you whoever it was as I can't remember who suggested it, advised that I check out Budget Bytes and I stumbled across this recipe nearly immediately.  I seriously use this recipe about once every week or two as I found that the daughter loves teriyaki sauce on thin cut steaks and will eat rice and edamame (I prepare it by boiling it in salted water, draining it and then coating the edamame lightly in toasted sesame oil...yummy stuff) to complete the meal.  This stuff beats anything you can buy in the supermarket.  I use 1/8 of a teaspoon of ground ginger instead of the fresh ginger in the recipe and use 1/4 tsp of garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic and it turns out great every time!

Instant Pot Chicken Gyros  Another favorite of the daughters that I love to make as the leftovers are superb!

Instant Pot Hamburgers  I have only made these a couple of times (during the summer when it was HOT out), but they were really good and I have definitely bookmarked the recipe!

Saute Chicken Lyonnaise  Okay so TECHNICALLY this was found in 2018, but I made it at least three times in 2019, so I had to mention it.  So, so good!

Simple One Hour Homemade Bread  This too is an older recipe I use, but I use it TONS and it is a great bread recipe,  I actually have it memorized by now.

Frozen Blueberry Muffins Recipe  This is an invaluable recipe if you need to make blueberry muffins with frozen blueberries.  The best part is by using frozen blueberries your muffins don't turn purple :).

1-Hour Light and Buttery Dinner Rolls  I made these for Thanksgiving because they called for instant yeast and the recipe was definitely a keeper.

Related to recipes that I really fell in love with this year is I have found a real love for my Gourmia Electric Pressure Cooker (seen above).  This electric pressure cooker was WAY cheaper than an Instant Pot when I ordered it (it was around 50.00 on Amazon) and it is a great appliance.  I have found myself using it at least once a week to make bone in pork chops (as they come out so moist in the pressure cooker) or if I need to throw a frozen beef roast into the pressure cooker so we'll have a nice dinner while I'm working late on school work or something with the kids.  I by no means am a "rabid instant pot" guru or anything, but I have found that this great device is a wonderful thing to have in the kitchen to make dinner super easy when you need it to be.

When it comes to baking I am utterly in love with USA Pans and hope that I can one day replace my old pans with these awesome pans.  Every single one I own is a treasured possession.  

And now onto other stuff...

This mug is one of the coolest gifts I've ever received.  I love 18th Century Cooking and religiously follow Townsends on YouTube, including their live streams (well when I can watch them replayed later on as they have them early in the afternoon on Friday here and I'm never online then, it seems) and one of the things they come out with once in a while are special order mugs with their "Nutmeg Tavern" logos on them for their fans.  I have wanted one forever, but never had the money to just blow money on a neat looking mug, but I ended up getting one for my birthday as a gift.  And I LOVE it!!!  This is my new official coffee and tea mug *laugh* and I am very protective of it.  I try not to get attached to things much anymore, but do put up little hopes that my new mug will live for quite a while so I can enjoy it :).  It is hand made and great quality, so hopefully that'll help it live for a long, long time.

Just as an aside, my happy stations on YouTube are definitely the aforementioned 18th Century Cooking/TownsendsThe Victorian Way and I have been enjoying watching Northern Heart as well. 

Speaking of Northern Heart one of my blog readers who used to live in Sweden contacted me and told me that I HAD to try Glogg as it was onto a religion in Sweden during the holidays and there was a good reason why.  My sister actually backed up that I had to try Glogg after she tried it herself, so I did end up trying some and oh my GOSH!  I love, love, love this stuff.  Mind you the stuff I got was non-alcoholic so it would ship through the mail (and I love it because it doesn't make me sleepy and stuff) but I keep thinking that I might try my hand at mulling some Glogg with some recipes I found online to drink when I am sick.  I am a hot drink lover, so finding a new hot drink that I love is a big and wonderful new world for me *laugh*.  And of course hot drinks are a big necessity right now as we are in January and are experiencing our yearly cold snap, which is resulting in temperatures well below zero out.

So, onto entertainment other than the above YouTube channels.

This has got to be our favorite new series that we found this year.  Little Witch Academia is a Japanese anime series that is about a young girl who really wants to become a witch and goes to school to study magic but she has absolutely no natural ability to do magic.  Think of it like Harry Potter, but with an all girl's school and some really great lessons to learn on friendship, working together and, most importantly, that anything worth doing is worth working really hard to accomplish.  The series was a great one for the daughter and learning about not giving up and even if you fail the first, second or tenth time at something, if you really want to do it, if you keep working hard at it, you'll eventually get there.  It is great having an example I can bring up to her when she gets discouraged about not catching onto something as fast as she would like and about how Akko (the main character) would get discouraged too, but would never give up.  

I was able to order ours before Christmas with a gift card on Amazon, but it isn't available on there at the moment...still I wanted to mention it anyway :).

Other YouTube Stuff...
I am in love with a few series that are available on Amazon Prime, so I wanted to mention them here too...

Sense and Sensibility (BBC).  I watch this series late at night when I have a son who isn't sleeping.  I really enjoy the love stories and how they are portrayed in this version and love all the shots of the coast as well :).

If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie  My son is completely addicted to this special and I do have to say it has rather soothing music in it, so it's not a bad thing to run in the background when you are trying to get something else done and want to keep a child entertained *laugh*.

If You Give a Mouse a Pumpkin  The son loves this special as well.  Oddly enough he doesn't care as much about the regular episodes, but he loves the holiday specials.

And of course, Poldark is a great series.  Until season 5.  I actually invested in Season 5 because Armina and I both loved watching the other four seasons so much together.  And we both agreed that Season 5, with the exception of the last episode, was disappointing and not up to the same level as the other four seasons.  I think part of that was that seasons 1-4 they took their material from the original Winston Graham books, but in Season 5 they branched off into their own material and just kind of tied it into the Poldark universe.  Armina and I were both hoping that for Season 5 they would follow the books and have a 12 year gap and then you'd follow Clowance and Jeremy and all of the kids at the same age that the original Poldark series started out at.  But, they didn't.

The soundtrack to Poldark is also available on Amazon Prime for free if you have a Prime membership and the daughter likes to listen to it while we are doing school work :).

When it comes to trying new food items I might want to keep in the pantry year round, this soup is one of them.  I bought some of this soup when it was cheap on Amazon as an alternative to the Campbell's tomato soup and this stuff is waaaayyyyyy better!  I love how the red pepper in the soup just adds a depth of flavor to the soup that puts tomato soup up to the next level and it is super yummy.  My husband really likes it too and we've found that eating tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch isn't a last resort anymore :).  I add this stuff to my cart on Amazon and then save it for later and then wait for notifications to let me know that it has dropped in price so I don't pay over 1.00 per container for it.  You can buy the big cartons of the soup on Amazon, but we don't eat that much of the soup at one setting, so I just buy the small containers and we make up a few as needed instead so we don't waste any.

And lastly is just one of those tools that I had to link to as it has been invaluable in helping Alvah with his tripod grip.   He is learning a lot better on technology than on paper as well, so it is a double bonus in that I can use it with him to navigate various apps on the I-pad to help him learn all kinds of things.

Some of our favorite apps to use with this is "Write My Name" as you can create name tags and things with the app and then use the pencil to write them out every day.  It sure helps to cement not only tripod grip and writing but also name recognition and face recognition with whoever you are working with (you take a picture of the person you are making a name tag for to associate the name with the person).

We purchased ours with a portion of our home school allotment and I am SO glad that I took the chance on it.  It's been an awesome addition to our learning arsenal.

So, there you have it.  Some of my favorite things from 2019.  Sure, there are other things I'm sure, but these are ones I noted *laugh*.  Sorry it isn't like nice and segmented into different organized sections, but I have two kids sick with colds right now and concentrating becomes a bit difficult sometimes.


  1. I've been enjoying Bernadette banner's you tube channel. She likes to make 1800's English garments by hand... like it would've been done back then. She has a guinea pig. Her editing and narration are amusing. I don't sew clothing but enjoy watching the episodes.

  2. I also adore my USA baking pans! The King Arthur Flour private label pans are made by USA also.

    Some of our favorite recipes are from Budget Bytes. Her glazed pork chops are out of this world. Also her beef and cabbage stir fry is delicious.

    I discovered Jennifer Murch's website this year and the recipes we've tried so far are awesome: