Tag Archive for year in review

Top Posts: 2018

Sheesh. So it’s the last day of the year. I may be down to the wire on this one. 

But since our paths last crossed, dear reader, things have been a bit nuts. 

The end of the semester is always a pretty crazy time for me, and this December brought with it, not just mad bouts of marking, but also prep for the upcoming 2019 Wellness Show, which is super early this year. 

Instagram Top Nine

I decided to book myself a short vacation right after the end of classes in December, so I flew to Arizona for a few days to hang out with my dear friends Vicki and Ian in Scottdale. It was a much-needed break from the rain and the cold and it would be, I thought, a great way to kick off my Christmas vacation.

But, as usual, the best-laid plans… 

Flying in to Bellingham airport was a pretty harrowing experience. There was a terrible windstorm, and it was a rough landing. I immediately started feeling bad, like I was coming down with something, and then I did. I had made a ton of plans over the holidays to catch up with friends, and all of those ended up getting cancelled, including Christmas plans I’d made with Michael. There was a lot of Netflix. 

Now that I’m starting to feel better, it’s almost time to go back to work. Oh, Murphy, you bastard. 

As I sit here, drinking coffee with my cat curled up by my legs, and reflecting on the year that was, it’s hard to not feel at least a little disappointed. 

2018 was a sophomore year. It was the year after my cookbook came out, and I didn’t travel nearly as much this year as I have in the past. In many ways, it was a pretty quiet year, plodding, status quo. There were some good highs, but there were also some pretty challenging lows. 

Having said all of that, I did an immense amount of processing while I was away, and I feel like I’m feeling strong and ready to face the challenges of the new year. 2019 will mark a milestone birthday for me, so there are things I want to get accomplished before then. I also am starting to feel charged up, creatively, again, and that’s a good thing. 

Who knows what 2019 has in store? I’m the worst a predicting these things. Check back with me in a year. 😉 

But let’s talk about the blog. 

In 2018, I wrote 76 posts, and 51,850 of you came to visit. That’s pretty frikkin’ cool. 

Interestingly enough, every one of my top/most popular recipes was vegan. So… I guess I know what you guys like, hey? 

Here are the top 5 (technically 6, but one is two recipes) blog posts for 2018:

5. Vegan Mayo: this is a recipe from Aquafabulous, some recipes from which I’ve shared with you, but some I’ve not. I mean, I have to give you incentive to buy the book, amIright? This is a super basic aquafaba recipe that really shows what the mighty bean juice can do. 

4. Vegan Amaretti: these crunchy little almond cookies are often served with coffee. Here, aquafaba takes the place of egg whites for that perfect texture, while still keeping them vegan. 

3. Vegan Tamales (Instant Pot): holy crap, I love my Instant Pot! I’ve had mine for a year now, and I recently reorganized my countertop to make room for it permanently. That’s right. The IP has countertop real estate, that’s how much I love it. I use it a few times a week, it’s been a total game-changer for me. Here’s a two-in-one recipe for tamales, a corn/masa dough wrapped around a jackfruit filling, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed. 

2. Vegan Mirror Glaze & Aquafaba Buttercream: another two-in-one for you; first you ice the cake with the buttercream, then you pour on a mirror glaze. It was my first time making mirror glaze, and I was so impressed with how cool it looked! The buttercream was the best I’d ever made, never mind that it’s vegan. Aquafaba FTW! 

1. Chocolate Dessert Hummus: it sounds weird, but it’s actually really yummy. You serve this with fruit or cookies for dessert, and it’s shocking to me how little it tastes like chickpeas. 

So, what’s happening for 2019? I have no idea… I would love to finally master a vegan paté a choux, or finally master an effortless vegan macaron. I want to travel more, get back to Europe, ideally. I need to finally apply for that British Ancestral Visa I’ve been talking about for years… 

But really, at the end of the day at the end of the year, what really matters is people. My family, my friends, and you guys. 

Happy New Year, everyone. All the best in 2019. 

2016: Top Posts

For probably about the last two weeks or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about 2016. The general consensus out there is that 2016 sucked. Hard. And if you look at the state of the world (the giant Cheeto who is about to take over the leadership of our neighbor to the north, all those celebrity deaths), you kinda gotta agree.

On a “world” level, I’m still pretty gutted by the loss of Leonard Cohen, one of my favorite singer/songwriters. And Carrie Fisher! She was one of my first feminist role models.

But on a personal level, you’d be hard pressed to find a better year than 2016. Financially, I probably had my best year of business yet. Plus, there was this little thing called a cookbook deal.

top posts 2016 cookingbylaptop

You guys! I wrote a cookbook!

Okay, let’s have a look at the year that was here on the blog. In 2016, Cooking by Laptop got:

  • nearly 50,000 page views (up 34% from 2015)
  • nearly 30,000 visitors (up 33% from 2015)
  • and I wrote 75 blog posts

This year I also traveled lots, and ate some fabulous meals in places like Summerland, Chicago, Portland, and all the way down to California when Michael and I took that epic road trip. Oh–and donuts. I ate lots and lots of donuts, so all is right with the world.

As for the blog, there is a very clear trend in this year’s top posts: Aquafaba!

Back to School Breakfast Cookies: I liked this recipe so much, it made it into the cookbook! These are tasty, healthy, vegan. I make big batches and freeze them for those crazy mornings.

Vegan Challah: as Chanukah approached, I was curious to see if I could do a vegan challah made with aquafaba. So, to sum up; there’s basically nothing magical bean water can’t do!

Vegan Bourbon Sour: basically my all-time favorite cocktail is a Bourbon Sour, but you need to make them with egg whites. I wondered if aquafaba could stand in for the egg whites, and, turns out, it really, really can.

Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream: I started using aquafaba in ice cream last year, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. You can make a completely dairy-free ice cream that is fluffy and creamy, meaning, I challenge you to even know that there’s no dairy. One of my favorite times of the year is when the rhubarb lands in the Farmer’s Markets; it’s like the official beginning of summer. I made a vegan ice cream with aquafaba, and that classic sweet-tart strawberry-rhubarb combo.

Vegan S’mores: I was so excited to work with aquafaba, and to really see what it can do. This was early in the process, but it makes a really decent s’more. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, this isn’t a big deal to you, but if you are, it’s kinda huge. Yeah, you can buy vegan marshmallows, but they cost–I kid you not–$8 a bag, whereas aquafaba? Cheap AF.

Portobello Wellington: an elegant recipe that you could serve for a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, this bad boy is all vegan and super meaty (without the meat, natch).

So, out of those top 6 posts, 100% of them are vegan recipes, and 5 out of the 6 feature Aquafaba. I feel I may be on to something here.

And 2017–what can I say about a year where I know I’m going to have a book published? With my name on the cover??

Bring it!

Happy New Year, gentle reader. I wish you and yours all the happiness and good food the year can bring.

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