Top 11 Foodie Recommendations of 2013, The Spiced Life Style


Happy New Year!!!!

It is time for end of year reflections and lists. What is it about lists that attract us so much? I love reading other people’s lists, and this post traditionally gets a fair amount of traffic. Something about reading what other people have enjoyed in list form allows me to better figure out my own preferences. I also get great suggestions–for example, I was just perusing another blogger’s end of year list, where I discovered Wild Rosemary and Lemon Cake: A Collection of Italian Recipes from the Amalfi Coast, a cookbook I had never heard of. Now it is at the top of my wish list thanks to Jackie over at Jackie Writes.

As many of you know, my list is always a mish mash. Yes there are cookbooks, but it is not all cookbooks, and the order is irrelevant. Basically my list is anything and everything that got me seriously excited as a cook, baker and eater in 2013. So without further ado…

    1. Alex cooking, baking and photographing! 2013 was the year my eldest (she is 8 as of this post) really came into her own in the kitchen. She makes her own scrambled eggs–on the cooktop–for breakfast, she helps me bake regularly and also bakes on her own, she made the family lasagne start to finish all on her own, and, most amusingly, she also wants to photograph the results:20130925-IMG_1333
    2. My parents bought me an iPad for the kitchen, and then my husband followed it with this awesome set up from Williams Sonoma. If you cannot afford the speaker and/or already own a stand, I especially recommend the splatter proof screen if nothing else. I no longer worry about cooking from online recipes; the screen is easily wiped down and does not hurt the functioning of the touch screen.
    3. 2013 saw several really exciting Asian cookbooks released. Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee is the best cookbook I bought in 2013; Santa finished it out with L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi, which is as much memoir as cookbook and which I am halfway through and really enjoying; Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand was at the top of my list along with The Food of Vietnam, and Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking , and all three are at the top of my bedside pile for after I finish L.A. Son. I love that most of these cookbooks were prominent releases in 2013–the American public is becoming ever more entranced with Asian food. So is John if Santa’s purchases are anything to go by!
    4. 2013 was the year I finally tried–and succeeded–at making a galette! You would have to understand my horror of rolling dough out to understand why this is a big deal, but this is my list and it is making it!
    5. Dulce de Membrillo I rely heavily on cheese trays when entertaining, and this year I discovered the most amazing addition to my cheese tray, a sticky sweet paste made from quince (I have also bought some made from figs and apples, although these are not technically called membrillo I do not think). Spread a little of it onto a cracker and top it with manchego or another good cheese and try not to swoon.
    6. 2013 was the year I finally took the plunge and got an Eat Your Books membership. Paying for the membership was not what was delaying me–oh no, it was entering well over 500 books that was freaking me out! Turned out to be super easy and fast, and now I use this site all the time (check out this Thai noodle soup that started with EYB). And with (at this point) over 700 books, it is a godsend!
    7. Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss. My Bourbon Bacon Beans started with this cookbook, and I envision many, many more recipes to come. I have an exciting announcement coming soon about The Spiced Life going slow cooker, and this book is going to help with that transition!
    8. Creative Cookie Exchange: I started this baking group this past fall and am so excited to be baking cookies with such an awesome group of bloggers! I hope all of our cookies are an inspiration to get you baking cookies as well!
    9. Some other new cookbook purchases from this past year that I am super excited about: Balaboosta; Bacon Nation: 125 Irresistible Recipes; Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake, and More No-Bake Desserts; Home Made Winter; Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts
    10. Cookbooks I received for Christmas from my wish list that I cannot wait to dive into (in addition to Asian cookbooks listed above): The New Persian Kitchen; Home Made Summer
    11. Salt Crusted Potatoes. Yup, just salt crusted potatoes. This technique blew my mind–try it!

Salt Crusted potatoes with smooth, creamy cilantro-garlic dipping sauce



Amazon affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items that I would be discussing and linking to anyway.


  1. says

    I loved reading your list! I was so excited when you created the Creative Cookie Exchange and I am partial to your photo of Alex cooking and photographing her beautiful work – I must say it looks a little warmer outside when this was taken :)

    I am really looking forward to all you are going to be doing and reviewing in 2014.

  2. says

    What an excellent list! Now I’m kinda bummed we sold the extra iPad–I thought the Williams Sonoma set up was crazy expensive and I’d be too afraid to use it, so I just keep running back and forth to the laptop. I’m also intrigued by Alex using a tripod–I tried it once and thought it was more of a pain than it was worth, so I’m glad to see it in action.
    Happy New Year!

  3. says

    What a really fun and eclectic list, Laura! I really need to jump in soon in the Cookie Exchange. (Oddly, the holidays found me baking less!). And now you’ve got me really intrigued about the Eat Your Books! Hope you have a wonderfully happy and healthy new year! (And I’ll be looking forward to your daughter’s blog one day!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>