Greetings, everyone, I hope you had a beautiful Christmas, if you celebrate, and a wonderful weekend!

Luckily Lincoln made it onto Santa’s “nice” list this year and had a blast tearing through his gifts. I didn’t know if he’d get the concept of ripping paper off a present yet, and at times he was more interested than the paper than what was underneath it, but all in all I’d say he loved it!


We opened a few gifts at home including a music set (a 16 month old on a kazoo, I can’t even, so adorable!) then headed over to my parent’s house to spend the day. Santa was awfully good to the grandchildren this year. (Definitely missed the Christmas jammies memo, whoops!)


At times I’m wistful remembering Christmases growing up with a house full of cousins, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, knowing I can never go back and relive those memories (is that weird?) but I’m trying hard to make the mental shift and am looking forward to making memories with my kids as an adult. It’s cliche, but experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child is a really special thing.


Oh my gosh, remember a few weeks ago when I told you about the gift we got my brother, aka the “wolf enthusiast”??? It’s a wolf shirt! He is one of the funniest people I know and somehow over the past couple of years he’s gotten really into wolves, and not ironically. I blame Denver. Obviously we have to support him in all his hobbies though, and snatched up this shirt the second we saw it. My Mom will probably kill me for posting this picture…!


We had a morning full of opening gifts, then it was time for the Christmas feast.


Green Beans and Bacon made an appearance, of course, plus Party Potatoes Deluxe, Grandma’s Holiday Salad, and a luscious Amana ham which I probably ate 2lbs worth over the course of the day.


Another Christmas in the books – ’til next year!


With one Christmas down, we’ve got another one to go. Ben, Lincoln and I will be spending the week celebrating this wonderful season with Ben’s family, but I’ve got some fun posts lined up for you over the next couple of days starting with the Top 10 2014 Reader Favorite Recipes!

Iowa Girl Eats Top 10 2014 Reader Favorite Recipes |

These are the Top 10 recipes you flagged as your favorites over the past year as determined by your clicks, pins, and shares. Not all of them are from 2014, believe it or not, there are actually a couple from 2012 that made the list! Share new recipes, but eat the old, right? Or something like that.

Anyway, don’t think a single day goes by without me thanking my lucky stars that you check in everyday, give me awesome feedback (both positive and constructive,) are my eyes and ears in regards to things happening on the site, and for simply making Iowa Girl Eats possible. You are my inspiration and motivation to work hard and create daily. I feel so very lucky that I get to do this as my job, and it’s all because of you. Here’s to many more good times, and great eats, in the new year!


Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches are one of the best things to ever come out of my crock pot…probably they don’t taste like they came from the crock pot! My goal was to create a slow cooked meal that wasn’t gloopy or flavorless and I though this recipe completely hit the mark – apparently you guys did too!

Click here for the recipe >


Easy Cheddar Cheese Sauce for Vegetables

This easy recipe for cheddar cheese sauce takes just 5 minutes to make and is perfect for drizzling over vegetables, tortilla chips, or pasta to make a quick mac and cheese. A great little recipe to keep in your back pocket.

Click here for the recipe >


Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Every time I make Easy Chicken Fried Rice at home (which is embarrassingly often,) Ben makes it a point to tell me how good it is. SERIOUSLY SO SIMPLE too. Stop getting take out and make this fried rice at home instead!

Click here for the recipe >


Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole

Skinny Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice Casserole is perfectly comforting. I practically have to ask Ben to pry my fingers from my fork every time we have it.

Click here for the recipe >


Cheesy Taco Soup

An oldie but goodie, Cheesy Taco Soup is a recipe from 2013 that remained popular throughout 2014. Simple and delicious, it’s made entirely of fridge and pantry staples. I doubt you’ll have to buy a thing to make it!

Click here for the recipe >


Crock Pot Sweet Potato and Quinoa Turkey Chili

You guys loved my Crock Pot Sweet Potato and Quinoa Turkey Chili as much as I did – which is a lot! This is a perfect meal for families, and extremely healthy, too. Lots of veggies and lean protein.

Click here for the recipe >


Make-Ahead Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits

Another recipe from 2013 that’s remained popular almost two years later. Make-Ahead Fruit and Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits solve one of the day’s most challenging questions – what in the WORLD am I going to have for breakfast?

Click here for the recipe >


Autumn Chopped Salad

Although I posted the recipe for Autumn Chopped Salad with the flavors of fall in mind, it is truly delicious all year round. Sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy – you will go back for forkful after forkful.

Click here for the recipe >


Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa Bowls

I 110% agree with you on how yummy Thai Peanut Chicken Quinoa Bowls are – it’s one of my favorite recipes from 2014, too! If you like pad Thai, you’ll love this gluten-free version that’s made with quinoa and a gluten-free peanut sauce.

Click here for the recipe >


Perfect Broccoli Cheese Soup

I made batch after batch of Broccoli Cheese Soup to perfect the recipe and I think I finally nailed it. You guys agreed and made it one of the most popular soup recipes here on IGE in 2014. Smooth, creamy, and cheesy, it’ s perfect to warm up with on a cold day.

Click here for the recipe >