16 Favourite Recipes Of 2016

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! 

First off, I just want to say a enormous thank you for your amazing support this year! Your responses to our delicious recipes and your enthusiasm to try them have been so rewarding! Oh my goodness, you all are the best, and your excitement and support means the world to us.  So from the bottom of our hearts — thank you.  

I’m really excited about a bunch of new recipes hitting the blog in January that are all healthy, healthy, healthy.  Because I don’t know about you, but after the holidays, I’m always ready to start the year off on a much more balanced and delicious note.  So be sure and tune back in on Monday for all new recipes you can feel great about in 2017. 

Today we're sharing our 16 favourite recipes of the year. It was so hard to pick because this year we gave you 57 new recipes! 57! That's not even including the recipe eBook we released in November for all new and existing subscribers! The list is a mixture our favourites and yours in no particular order. So what are we waiting for? Let's go! 

16 Favourite Recipes Of 2016

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread   -    The bread is super crunchy on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside! I buttered it and was in heaven! Get the recipe!

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread - The bread is super crunchy on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside! I buttered it and was in heaven! Get the recipe!

CALIFORNIA INSPIRED CHICKEN FLATBREAD   -   This recipe mimics a California chicken flatbread with juicy chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cilantro, and sweet yet savoury balsamic vinagrette! 

CALIFORNIA INSPIRED CHICKEN FLATBREAD - This recipe mimics a California chicken flatbread with juicy chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomato, cilantro, and sweet yet savoury balsamic vinagrette! 

Starbucks Copycat Eggnog Latte  -   This festive, Starbucks-inspired latte is made with strong brewed espresso,   steamed eggnog and milk. Save yourself 5$ and make it at home – it’s delicious!!

Starbucks Copycat Eggnog Latte - This festive, Starbucks-inspired latte is made with strong brewed espresso, steamed eggnog and milk. Save yourself 5$ and make it at home – it’s delicious!!

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea  -   This can be enjoyed hot or cold, but if you’re not feeling well, hot is the best way to go, and cold is great for just wanting sweet tea.

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea - This can be enjoyed hot or cold, but if you’re not feeling well, hot is the best way to go, and cold is great for just wanting sweet tea.

Thirsty Thursdays: Strawberry Lemonade Shandy  -   Tart, sweet, bubbly, light and refreshing. Strawberry Lemonade shandy just might become your new favourite summer drink.

Thirsty Thursdays: Strawberry Lemonade Shandy - Tart, sweet, bubbly, light and refreshing. Strawberry Lemonade shandy just might become your new favourite summer drink.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Pancakes  -   Christmas themed pancakes make it even easier to creative a festive holiday breakfast! Are they pancakes or are they cookies? You decide!

Christmas Cookie Cutter Pancakes - Christmas themed pancakes make it even easier to creative a festive holiday breakfast! Are they pancakes or are they cookies? You decide!

TO-GO BAKED OATMEAL MUFFINS RECIPE  -   These are such an awesome grab-&-go breakfast.  They are perfect to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the work week.  Or, you could even freeze some and defrost as needed.

TO-GO BAKED OATMEAL MUFFINS RECIPE - These are such an awesome grab-&-go breakfast.  They are perfect to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the work week.  Or, you could even freeze some and defrost as needed.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits  -   This dish mixes flavour-packed shrimp, lemon, mushrooms, green onion, and garlic with creamy cheese grits. It’s perfect for brunch or for dinner.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits - This dish mixes flavour-packed shrimp, lemon, mushrooms, green onion, and garlic with creamy cheese grits. It’s perfect for brunch or for dinner.

Milk and Cookies Cake  -    Rich chocolate chip layers, light, whipped cream filling loaded with crushed chocolate chip cookies…chocolate frosting, and a sweet vanilla glaze to finish things off.    Perfect, yes? How could Santa possibly resist?

Milk and Cookies Cake - 

Rich chocolate chip layers, light, whipped cream filling loaded with crushed chocolate chip cookies…chocolate frosting, and a sweet vanilla glaze to finish things off.

Perfect, yes? How could Santa possibly resist?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake  -   Amazing cheesecake for the kid in you! Delightful, creamy peanut butter cheesecake made with homemade quick raspberry jelly swirled into it and layered over the graham cracker crust.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake - Amazing cheesecake for the kid in you! Delightful, creamy peanut butter cheesecake made with homemade quick raspberry jelly swirled into it and layered over the graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream - Without an Ice Cream Machine  -  W hat's a girl to do when Starbucks announces their return of the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), but it's way too hot to drink one? You make a PSL flavoured ice cream, duh! I needed a refreshing cool treat to enjoy that could also be comfort food (work is hard!) so I decided to make myself a pumpkin spice latte ice cream. If you don't have an ice cream machine, don't feel bad. I don't have one either and yet I still enjoy these chilly treats at home!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream - Without an Ice Cream Machine - What's a girl to do when Starbucks announces their return of the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), but it's way too hot to drink one? You make a PSL flavoured ice cream, duh! I needed a refreshing cool treat to enjoy that could also be comfort food (work is hard!) so I decided to make myself a pumpkin spice latte ice cream. If you don't have an ice cream machine, don't feel bad. I don't have one either and yet I still enjoy these chilly treats at home!

Mini Lemon Blueberry Cheesecakes  -  Miniature sized cheesecakes flavoured with a hint of lemon, topped with blueberry jam, and covered with lots of fresh blueberries. A sprinkle of powdered sugar gives these cheesecakes the perfect finishing touch. 

Mini Lemon Blueberry Cheesecakes - Miniature sized cheesecakes flavoured with a hint of lemon, topped with blueberry jam, and covered with lots of fresh blueberries. A sprinkle of powdered sugar gives these cheesecakes the perfect finishing touch. 

Cookies n Cream Brownies  -  A chocoholic’s dream! Fudgy brownies stuffed with Oreo chunks and even more pressed on top. You won’t miss the calories in these rich yet lightened-up treats!

Cookies n Cream Brownies - A chocoholic’s dream! Fudgy brownies stuffed with Oreo chunks and even more pressed on top. You won’t miss the calories in these rich yet lightened-up treats!

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary  -   Pumpkin soup. Perhaps the quintessential fall/winter food. That and casseroles.   But soup warms you from the inside out, like only tea does. This soup was so delicious and easy to make! Plus you'll have leftovers for at least two more meals with this recipe. 

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup with Crispy Bacon and Rosemary - Pumpkin soup. Perhaps the quintessential fall/winter food. That and casseroles. But soup warms you from the inside out, like only tea does. This soup was so delicious and easy to make! Plus you'll have leftovers for at least two more meals with this recipe. 

Chicken and Shrimp Stuffed Shells  -  This recipe was sooooo good, I can't believe it took so long for me to share it with you guys! If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Date Night recipe, try this one and your lover will definitely be impressed!

Chicken and Shrimp Stuffed Shells - This recipe was sooooo good, I can't believe it took so long for me to share it with you guys! If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day/Anniversary/Date Night recipe, try this one and your lover will definitely be impressed!

Balsamic Chicken Pizza  -   Allowing you to   save money   and bring the flavors of Italy home! So if your craving pizza tonight, run over to your local supermarket and stock up on all your favorites and make my recipe for Balsamic Chicken Pizza!

Balsamic Chicken Pizza - Allowing you to save money and bring the flavors of Italy home! So if your craving pizza tonight, run over to your local supermarket and stock up on all your favorites and make my recipe for Balsamic Chicken Pizza!

That's it! 2016 has been a doozy of a year, and I've probably gained more pounds than I feel comfortable sharing from indulging in all of these goodies over the year! Did your favourite recipe make the list? No? Well share with us your favourite recipe in the comment section below! And if it is on the list, tell us why it was your favourite! 

Our Favourite Moments of 2016

Hello Lovely,

What a great year 2016 has been! Sure there were some hurtful moments, and days we’d rather forget, but hopefully you’re like us and have more blessings to count than regrets. We hope you met all of your New Year’s Resolutions, tried new things and discovered new passions. If you didn’t, don’t worry, that’s what 2017 is for! But before we sign off on 2016, Mechelle and I would like to share our 8 favourite moments of the year (in no particular order of course) for a grand total of 16 awesome moments of 2016!

·        I started off this year as a solo blogger. I did everything by myself for the blog and to be honest it was beginning to get a little tiresome. I was beginning to guest blog for others so I was starting to feel stretched thin. So in September, when Mechelle reached out to me, expressing her interest in joining the team, I was relieved to say the least! We’ve had fun getting to know each other and bringing you lots of laughter and helpful tips these past three months.

·        In May I went to St. Croix to meet my boyfriend’s mother. He hadn’t been home in about ten years so this trip was really significant for him. I had fun snorkelling and seeing the sites. We hope to go back someday soon.

·        I got a new job as a Guidance Counsellor and started in August, which was so scary but I love it! I’m finally doing what I want to do and what I’m trained to do. Sure I’m actually trained to be a Marriage & Family Therapist, but Guidance Counselling is great practice for when I’ll be done with my degree.

·        I went to see Hillsong Worship in concert over the summer and it was AMAZING! Kari Jobe was there along with Urban Rescue and at least two other bands. It was a spiritual experience I will never forget!

·        One of my best friend’s gave birth to her second child in March and I fell in love all over again! We had fun doing a glam photo shoot for the baby and she’s even crawling now.

·        I may have lost a few friends this year but I gained so many friends and a deeper understanding of friendship this year. Over the year we hung out and did crazy cool things like paddleboarding at night. Who knew I would be so good at it as a beginner? I guess yoga does pay off!

·        This one is a little sappy, but for my birthday this year, my mum actually bought me a Pepperidge farm cake, and together with my step-dad she sang me happy birthday. We haven’t done this since my 16th birthday so this was a really special feeling for me.

·        And of course, how can I forget the release of my Sweets & Sips eBook? This book took months of preparation. I’m planning on expanding and improving the book to continue giving you guys the best in recipes for entertaining, whether it’s small or large groups! Thank you so much for being a part of the Life By Olivia family this year!

·      

·        Self-Empowerment: I was never really a fan of audio books as I love to feel the firmness and bendability of the paper between my fingers.  However, through my hubby, I discovered how convenient and enlightening audiobooks can be!   During early morning drives and late afternoon pickups, CDs would play and inspire through the sound waves.  We listened to such books as ‘The Magic of Believing’, ‘The Secret’ as well as ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’.  I found a new appreciation for these books and encourage persons who are often on the move or usually use cell phones for everything but enjoy learning.

·        Reading Retake – As a kid I grew up on Nancy Drew (my mom’s favourite) Babysitter’s Club and Danielle Steel with a few other novelists in between.  This year I rediscovered my love of reading through the fictional crime genre.  Such books as ‘The 2 Minute Rule’ and ‘T is for Trespass’ have kept me on the edge of my seat and on the hunt for the real culprit.  I will continue to venture into other genres throughout 2017.

·        The Joy of Writing – This has always been in my deepest, easiest and most freeing outlet.  Being a part of the Life by Olivia blog is aligned with my 2016 goal of getting back into writing.  I’ve expanded beyond my usual pieces and have enjoyed the feedback from friends and viewers.  Thank you to everyone who have and continue to support me.  There are more posts to come!

·        Nail Art is the Best!  I’ve always loved my nails, kept them long and enjoyed painting them but this year I fell in love with nail art.  I’m talking rhinestones, studs, Swarovski crystal and gold beads.  The designs are edgy and fun to get done and beautiful to look at!  Christmas is around the corner and I can’t wait to try a new design (I’m thinking red!).

·        The Great Outdoors – Being outside and in the natural can be so revitalizing! Over the weekend I tried yoga on the beach and it was very rewarding.  The crashing of the waves, long cool breeze and sand in between my toes was everything.  It’s a feeling that’s indescribable but refreshing.  The beach will be my newest spot for fitness and relaxation.

·        Being Green is uplifting - Gardening is inspiring and gives me a brief moment to breathe in the fresh air and step away from the daily functions of home.  Seeing the plants grow and being a part of new life is very rewarding!  Selecting and caring for the plants this year gave me a good feeling.  Unfortunately they were removed and destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, however 2017 will see new plants and more peaceful gardening moments.

·        Got me Glassware!  I love roasting vegetables: mainly butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes (orange and white).  The flavour is intense and goes very well with simple seasonings and/or herbs such as salt, thyme or rosemary, with a spot of butter.  My beau gifted me with a glassware 6 piece set that is AMAZING!  So far I’ve done baked pork chops, roasted vegetables and pizza stuffed chicken which all turned out fabulously.  Glass is easier to clean than metals pans, doesn’t scratch but it’s heavier.   Keep these points in mind when searching for new cook/bakeware and happy cooking!

·        Let’s get Upgraded – I’ve completed about 5 different forms of professional training throughout this year which hasn’t come without sleepless nights, zombie days and pushing my physical and mental capacity beyond their breaking points.  It was ALL worth it! I am more accomplished, open-minded and wiser for the sacrifices that I’ve made and information that I’ve learned.  I encourage anyone to not be afraid to grow and to know that your next step, is a big move towards a brighter and more fulfilling future.  You can do it!

Mechelle doesn’t have any resolutions for 2017 but she does believe in yearly goals and whole lifestyle changes which adds to her daily growth (e.g. creating a vision board). For me, I have decided to take up gardening as it is something I have always wanted to do but fear that everything I touch dies. With one of my best friends back home, and her mum an avid gardener, I hope to learn a lot from her. I’m also planning on travelling somewhere new again this year. This year it was to St. Croix, and next year I hope to go to any country where the first language is not English. Travelling is a huge passion of mine so I want to see as much of the world as possible.

What are your plans for the New Year? Do you make resolutions or do you skip it? Share with us your dreams for the New Year in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Our Favourite TV Shows of All Time

Our Favourite TV Shows of All Time

There are plenty of new shows we're looking forward to watching this season, but today we're discussing the tried-and-true classics that are our all-time favourites to either binge watch, or watch on repeat and never get tired of. If you're looking for a series to get into, look no further! 

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My Favourite Sunglasses to Rock

Hello Lovely,

Summer is coming, and we all know there is no hotter accessory than a cute pair of sunglasses to block out the sun and the haters! My personal favourite design is the cat-eye because I like the way it frames my face and I think they give off just the right amount of attitude!

I have two pairs of sunglasses that I rotate often. The black pair, trimmed in gold is usually paired with dark coloured outfits; while the gold pair goes with literally everything else. See for yourself!

I would be so heartbroken if something happened to these two, but I’m totally open to expanding this little collection. I’m totally inspired by these sunglasses and hoping to find something similar real soon.

What’s your favourite style of Sunglasses? Tell me below in the comment section and be sure to capture your fabulous look for everyone to see!

More to Read:

How a Trip to the Salon Nearly Ruined My Life

Tuesday Ten: 10 Outfits That Are Safe for Work, But Not Boring

Spring Fling: Why it's the Perfect Time to Wear The Colours of The Year

Tuesday Ten: Ten Items I Have to Have in my Desk