Tag Archive for year in review

2020: The Year that Was

Honestly, I thought I might skip the “year in review” post this year. I mean, I certainly wasn’t ready to write it while it was still 2020.

Normally these “year in review” posts go something like: here’s how many posts I wrote this year, this is what I learned, here are my most popular posts of the year.

I will still do some of that. But when it comes to learning lessons from 2020, what can you even say? It was the craziest, most unpredictable year of my life, and I know I’m not alone when I say that. It was for most of us, I’m sure.

The last time I set foot in my workplace was March 12. Since then, I have been teaching all of my classes on online. Let me just say first of all, that I am super grateful to have a job, and a job that was not affected by the pandemic. Affected yes, but not in the way that would have made it go away. My job is, thankfully, one I’m able to still do from my living room.

Easy transition, though? Nope. Not at all. In fact, it’s been hard. I put in many many many unpaid hours trying to figure out how to deliver my course content in a way that was going to be impactful and engaging. It’s been stressful. And I genuinely enjoy teaching face-to-face classes, so transitioning to teaching online hasn’t been my favourite thing.

Having said all that, I never had to go on CERB, and in fact, finished the year with extra money in the bank, probably because I had nowhere to spend it.

2020 also, much to my excitement, brought a new cookbook contract. This, however, did end up being another victim of coronavirus. From the time I signed the contract (which was very early in the pandemic) to the end of the year (which was when the book was meant to be published) things changed so dramatically that the publisher decided to cut their losses and not publish the book, despite the fact that I delivered the full manuscript on time, and they liked it.

So yeah, for me, this was 2020’s greatest personal loss (even though I did get paid to write the book). I was really looking forward to having another cookbook out there with my name on it, and I was very excited by and passionate about the subject.

Other things I’m super grateful for during this very challenging year include the health of my family and friends (I didn’t lose anyone close to me during the pandemic), and just my friends in general, who really helped to keep me sane. Having Michael at home during the pandemic was both good and challenging, but I am super proud of how hard he worked and how well he’s adapted.

I also bought an Apple Watch for my birthday in August, and that’s been a great incentive (as well as my mental health) to get out and walk almost every day.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about food.

One thing that I think was really positive about the pandemic is how people started to cook again. And bake. I mean, here we all were stuck at home all the time, anyway, right? Might as well make something. To be fair, this is my world all the time, but having more people in it was awesome. To see the world embracing sourdough made me really, really happy.

I really noticed a sense of community this year, too. Like my neighbours especially have been really great with exchanging food and baking and offering to pick stuff up if they are making a trip to the store. That can only be a good thing.

2020 Statistics:

  • Blog posts written: 50
  • Total number of words written: 28,238
  • Average words per post: 565

And here are a few of my favourite posts I wrote this year: 

Sugar-Free Aquafaba Meringue: Three years since the publication of my cookbook and I’m still talking about and learning new things about aquafaba!

Wacky Cake: In 2019 I came into possession of my mom’s recipe box, and this year I really got into it, making many of the recipes I grew up with, all written in my mother’s handwriting (and a few in 12-year-old Becky’s). This accidentally vegan chocolate cake is one of my absolute favorites.

Sourdough Bread for the Apocalypse: I couldn’t resist doing a post on the pandemic and sourdough.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars: one of my very favourite recipes of 2020. So good!

Okay, that’s it! And here’s to a much, much better 2021. Fingers crossed, knock wood, rub your lucky rabbit’s foot….

Adaptation. Resilience. These are the words we need to take with us into 2021.

Happy New Year, friends. I wish you all the best, and may your sourdough crumb be perfect.

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. 

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