I am so ready for 2015.
This year has been a whirlwind of emotions and change. The year started off poorly when we lost my mom’s closest friend Joyce (a.k.a Granny Joyce) to her brief battle with cancer. We’ve been feeling the loss all year, but she was especially missed at our birthdays. She would always call and sing Happy Birthday to each of us on our special day.
This, plus the burden of all sorts of other unpleasant things that occurred this year, caused me to suffer a stress-induced muscle condition. It was so bad, I couldn’t lift anything with my left arm and started having trouble walking. After several weeks of physiotherapy, I recovered and made the decision to quit my day job.
You would think that the sudden loss of a steady income would make me feel more stressed, but it really hasn’t been that bad. It took me a couple of months to come to terms with leaving that job, because there were aspects of it that I enjoyed, but I know now that I made the right decision.
It hasn’t been all bad this year though. I met a few bloggers in real life who have become new friends. I was able to attend some interesting events, and have a few cool experiences as a result of my blogging and freelance work. I also won 3rd place in the Food & Drink category of the Canadian Weblog Awards!
Working on this blog brings me so much joy, and I plan to continue working hard to create great web content for you. I am so grateful to everyone who has ever read my posts, commented, made one of my recipes or spoken to me through social media. A blog is nothing without readers, and I could not do this without you.
Here’s a look at the 10 most popular posts of 2014, in no particular order.
(Click the titles or the photos to see the full posts)
This was such a fun post to work on! When I was little, I was enraptured by the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Knowing this, my mom decided to make me a batch of Turkish Delight so I could actually taste this unusual treat. I really wanted to share this recipe here, and the ice storm of 2013 gave me the opportunity to get some great winter photos to go with it. My mom and I tested a few different batches of her Turkish delight until we found two flavour combinations that we loved: Orange Pine Nut and Coconut Pistachio.
This was a sponsored post that I did for Olivieri. I know a lot of people are against sponsored posts, but I really enjoy creating them. To me, it’s like being on one of those Food Network competitions. A company will pay me to be creative with a product that I already use, and I get to share a delicious recipe with my readers. Like this super easy pasta dish. These posts help pay for the many costs associated with running a blog (like web hosting fees). By the way, I used an inexpensive truffle oil blend in this dish, because the real thing can be astronomically expensive!
This was another sponsored post for Olivieri. I loved how these fried ravioli turned out! The pasta kept its shape, and became perfectly crunchy. You could easily do this with any store-bought cheese ravioli, and I think it would turn out nicely. I also have a YouTube video in this post that turned out pretty well.
This is the first time that a restaurant post has been in my top posts of the year. I visited Yolanda’s Spuntino Casa in Oakville, Ontario twice this year, and I had a great meal on both occasions. They serve delicious Italian dishes including fried artichokes with roasted red pepper mayo, and arancini with smoked marinara sauce. Yum!
Here’s another non-recipe post that got a surprising amount of traffic this year. I wrote about my experience at the Toronto Grilled Cheese Festival – an event that become a PR nightmare. My goal was to write a recap of the event that would show people what I saw, highlight the issues in a fair way, and give credit to the many people who worked their butts off that night. I spent 7 hours writing, editing and fact-checking that post but it was worth it in the end.
The final non-recipe post that did well this year was my review of the Amoda Tea subscription. I had a paid subscription to their monthly tea box, and loved receiving different tea samples to taste every month. The company did shut down the subscription for a while, but now they are up and running again. I haven’t re-subscribed to their new monthly box but that’s only because I no longer have a steady income.
This post was sponsored by Maple Leaf Prime. I was really surprised that this post got as many views as it did, mostly because I wasn’t in love with the photo. It can be very difficult to make chicken look pretty, especially when it’s still on the bone. This dish is really delicious though – and it’s another one of my mom’s recipes. You know… her recipes seem to do better than the ones I come up with on my own… hmm…
This Blueberry Smoothie is my own creation though, and it’s my most popular post of 2014! Healthy drinks seem to be popular here on the In Search Of Yummy-ness blog. My most popular post last year was an avocado-based drink, and the second best post was an infused water. For this recipe I blended oats into my usual blueberry smoothie to create a drink that will keep you full for longer. I also added some crunchy oats on top, but of course that’s totally optional.
Okra is one of those veggies that people either really love, or totally hate. For me, the sliminess has never been an issue but my brother won’t touch okra if there is any trace of slime. These roasted okra pieces lose their sliminess in the oven, where they become crisp and nutty instead. I often eat these straight off the sheet pan, as soon as they come out of the oven!
My last top post of 2014 is only a few weeks old. I posted this at the end of November, and it has already outranked several of my other recipes! I’m glad that people are trying this recipe though, because it really is delicious. The fresh burst of juice from the pomegranate seeds adds much-needed acidity this salad. You can also make this in advance and store it in the fridge without worrying about the kale wilting.
To see more of my recipes, be sure to check out my updated recipe index. I will be adding a few more categories in the new year, so be sure to check back.
I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you the very best for 2015! Happy New Year!