What exactly happened to 2011?

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was making all sorts of plans for 2011, imagining what the year ahead would hold.

Well … here we are. Once again I find myself staring out at the horizon as a new year slowly starts to make itself known.

Like every year, 2011 was unique. It had its good moments and bad, it had its ups and downs, it had its highlights and its moments that I’d rather forget. My family is with me and everyone is safe and moving forward so that, in of itself, is a blessing.

I once had a boss who gave me a very helpful bit of advice. She told me that every day, no matter how good or bad, I should always try to make note of something new. She wasn’t referring to anything work-related. What she meant was that each day, as I go about my business, to take the time to acknowledge something new.

I try, very hard, to take time each day to acknowledge new things and to also be aware of what I’m grateful for. We spend so much time rushing through life that it often feels like we’re not actually living. We’re just rushing through.

As I prepare for Christmas in Italy, I’m trying to really focus on the here and now and to be gateful for my family, my friends and my life.

As for my blog, this hasn’t been the greatest of years for Cream Puffs in Venice. It’s not that anything bad has happened it’s just that work priorities and other life priorities have meant that I’ve had less time than ever to blog.

And that’s okay.

I’m still so grateful for this space and for those of you that make it a pleasant place to inhabit.

This will be the last edition of Magazine Mondays for 2011 – I’m hoping that the “little non-event that could” will come back bigger and stronger in 2012.

I’m happy to say that the last MM of 2011 is a great one, with this delicious Maple-Walnut Cake with Brown-Sugar Frosting from the November 2011 issue of Everyday Food.

I’m a maple syrup fiend, and yet I rarely bake with it. Generally, I use maple syrup to lather pancakes and waffles but this time around I used a generous amount to flavour a cake and the end result was so delicious.

I hope that your holiday season is filled with many delicious sweet things!

Here’s the final round-up of MM participants for 2011:

Valerie of Sex, Food, and Rock & Roll made Basic Marinara from a January 2005 issue of Gourmet.

Susan of Wish Upon a Dish made a Raspberry Buttermilk Cake from a June 2009 issue of Gourmet.

Poppy of Poppy’s Patisserie made the Dense and Dark Chocolate Loaf Cake from a February 2009 issue of BBC Good Food Magazine.

Di from Di’s Kitchen Notebook made Triple Chocolate Cookies from Cook’s Country.

Bridget of Meals on Winthrop made Divine Dressing from the December 2010 issue of Bon Appétit.

I wish you all an amazing week!