2016. Reflections. Gratitude. And the recipes that got the most love this year.
The past year has been my first year of blogging full time. Actually it feels more accurate to say blogging and not being a student too. Because while it takes up all my time, the words “full time” imply that I make a lot more than I do from it than I do.
Blogging has been a part of my life for almost 3 years now, so the bigger shift for me was not being in school for the first time after…(hang on a minute while I count this out) 16 years! There were moments if I would stop and think about that fact it felt weird and still hard to believe. The whole year seemed so much more fluid–no Christmas vacation excitement or August new semester dread.
Being done with college meant being able to give Feasting on Fruit my full attention, which was simultaneously wonderful and scary. Wonderful in that I could post more, create more, and take on new projects. Scary in that it added a lot of pressure. Pressure to take FOF seriously, to take myself seriously. Because I know no one else will until I do. With that came more motivation and excitement coupled, of course, with more stress and bouts of feeling burnt out. One big jumbled mishmash of emotions–that’s what blogging is. All the good parts of life are though, aren’t they?
The months flew. The whole year flew. But it always seems that way looking back from the last week of December. Just like it always seems hard to fathom from the first week of January, that in 12 months 2017 will feel like it flew too. Oh Time, how deceiving you can be.
I intended for this to simply be reflections on 2016, but as the words started flowing it turned into a gratitude list, which I think is even better actually. Like a subconscious reminder that I have a lot to be grateful for from this year…
Daily creativity. Getting to do something I love and be creative with food and photos every single day. And I am grateful for that little voice in the back of my head that reminds me, even when I am feeling a bit burned out, that it is my job to make brownies and taste test cookies and take photos of cake. And that is pretty damn awesome.
Never-ending learning. The curveballs. The late night freakout website-won’t-work moments that force me to dive deeper into the technical side of a website than I ever wanted to go. And things like how to make a square video, how/why to shoot photos in RAW format, how to make red pancakes with turmeric, how to make blue food coloring with cabbage–all these things I never knew I needed to know but now I do. I am always grateful for new knowledge. For life keeping me on my toes as it is so good at doing.
Friends. New and old. Connecting with people online is
one of the best part of the internet in my opinion. I am very grateful to be surrounded by so many amazing blogger friends. Grateful for every one of them who has helped me in some way or another, and for every opportunity I have had to return the favor.
One particular new friend. A beaming baking bestie. The kind of friend that you click with immediately and forget that you haven’t known for years. And I know for a fact she and her sweet treats are going big places in this blog world!
New opportunities. And saying yes to them. And embracing the unknown that comes with. Especially this opportunity that I never saw coming but couldn’t be more grateful for.
You. For reading. For the support. For the sweet comments that put a smile on my face. For the not so sweet comments that make me stop and think and challenge me to believe in myself and my work regardless. For every single person who has tried one of my recipes and taken the time to let me know what you think. Whether you hated it or loved it, I appreciate that feedback more than you know.
Top 10 Recipes of 2016
10. Banana Cinnamon Rolls (My personal number 1 though, I can’t even count how many times I’ve made this one!)
8. Oat Rawnola
Those may be the most popular recipes from the year according to the numbers, but there are a few gems that the stats overlook.
Here are 5 of my personal faves that didn’t make the list…
Another treat that I have remade countless times because sticky + sweet + spiced + speedy = perfection!
And this cake deserves a shoutout because it may blind us all or send it’s unicorn army after us if I don’t mention it in this post somewhere.
These brownies! So much fudgier than healthy low-fat things should be, I still don’t even understand how.
More unbelievably rich but healthy chocolate decadence, but a spoon is required for this one. Okay, at least suggested.
I have never followed through with a New Year’s resolution. Nor have I ever broken one. That is because I have never made one.
Well not seriously anyways. Who knows what I said or committed to that New Years when I was 6 and I stayed up till midnight feeling like a total rebel for squirting silly string inside while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (a little late, huh?) with my super cool 2000 paper glasses on. That is the only New Years Eve I really have vivid memories of, I think I slept through most of the others only to be woken at 11:58 to watch the ball drop through very heavy eyes. Okay 10:58 actually #centraltimezoneproblems
I don’t want to sound cynical or cliche and say “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions”, but they just aren’t my thing. Too forward-thinking, not in the moment. They say you can “wish your life away“, but I think it is possible to goal your life away in much the same fashion. Constantly living by looking forward to finishing this or starting that or going there. I am absolutely guilty of not always being present, so if I started adding too many goals to the mix I would never check in with the here and now. Just one big ball of anticipation for what’s to come.
I think goals are awesome as long as long as I am enjoying the before, during, and after of achieving them, not just focused on the after.
But despite all of that, I do have a few intentions for FOF in 2017. Nothing concrete or quantifiable, just thoughts and ideas that I want to keep in mind in the coming year…
More savory recipes. My mind is already screaming at my fingers to put a big MAYBE right here. These non-sweet ideas don’t come easy to me, so suggestions/requests are always welcome in this department.
One a month, perhaps? Yes I am in large part writing this here to help hold myself accountable.
Photography experimentation. Not use a white background for every. single. shoot. Bring back some wooden backgrounds and rustic vibes. I love trying to take moody shots and playing with light and shadows, but I am not very good at it. If you don’t know what I mean, check out Aimee’s blog and her crazy-amazing photo skills–that’s what I want to work towards. Just for fun mostly, I love a good photography challenge!
Simplify. Looking at that top ten list it’s pretty clear that easy recipes with minimal ingredients are the clear winners. Right next to healthier versions of classics. I want to focus on the simple recipes, the kind that don’t require crazy ingredients (ahem…fruit snacks) and have a shot at becoming regular staples. You love them, I love them, and I am ready to see something even more scrumptiously simple knock those oreos out of the top spot!
Move. Okay maybe not a blogging goal per say, but something that has been on my mind. I don’t know where or when or how, but I am ready for a new place to call home.
More breakfast recipes. This is not so much a goal as a plan. A plan for January to be exact. For lots of people the new year means new dedication to eating healthy, and breakfast recipes are the best way to package up sweet treats in a more healthfully acceptable form. I already have lots of fun yummy ones in the works and more in my head that I am excited to share! Cake can qualify as a breakfast food, right?
Wishing you a happy New Years and 2017!!