The New & The Old – 2018 Greatest Hits Post

Happy New Year’s, everyone! I’m looking back to what’s just been a crazy year for me! It was actually October of 2017 that I came back home after an extensive time caring for my folks and it took more out of me than I realized, the emotional and especially the physical labor of it all. It really was all too much for me.

My daughter & her lovely family

 

I started off this year with my Georgia vacation at my daughter’s and talk about a reboot! Honestly, I was determined 2017 was going to be fabulous but I struggled. A lot. And tried to ignore it. A lot. And I think that accumulated and I found the physical issues didn’t go away any more than the emotional ones did. And I found that maybe time doesn’t heal all wounds any more than sheer determination does.

There were and are a lot of family issues and resentments, uncertainty and angst surrounding my folks and decisions made. And then we had one of the worst winters ever, the amount of snow was unbelievable, and summer storms with flooding and wind damage & seven trees lost. In addition to two large ashes lost, a huge willow went down and five good sized oaks, bushes, and landscaping went down with it. And there was so much damage to my home and gardens from the neglect suffered while I was gone. And through it all, although I try to focus on the positive, I’ve just had an overwhelming sense of loss.

Kraig, my son, his s/o Tweety & Chance. We took a walk around the neighborhood today.

 

And my answer to all that was to try to ignore everything out of my control and focus on where I find my joy. My children, their significant others, my grandchildren. That irascible scamp, Chance, my two-year-old “labradorable” as I call him. (He isn’t helping that shoulder/hand issue!) And then there’s Homer, the cat, who was 12 last year! And friends and neighbors who have supported me even though I’ve gone through long periods of where I just haven’t been able to do things. Thank you guys for being there still for me, even though I wasn’t always able to be there for you!

But one of the biggest places I find so much joy is in this blog. And so I thank all of you, too, for following along and indulging me throughout this past year and all the years since I started what I call my “little” blog. Which actually isn’t so little, anymore! And has been going through its own struggles and growing pains, mostly in slow loading and issues I’m struggling to fix. My blogging, though has taken on a life of its own, given me a creative outlet, a sense of purpose and brought so much happiness to me with the connections I’ve made with you guys.

Chance on the willow stump, I thought it would be a cute pic – OMG Mom, what are you making me do! I hate this and I am sad!

It was my blogging, too, that really let me know how bad things were getting. I’ve been struggling with my legs, my shoulders, ankle, and hands ever since that move – it got to the point that I could hardly lift my arms, and I started letting things go. I even stopped hanging or folding clothes so I wouldn’t have to reach up into the closet or open drawers and instead began draping them over the living room furniture. But it took getting to the point that I could no longer type and comment and visit everyone that stops by that I pulled out of my blindness and took some steps to help myself.

This year, my goals are to focus more on myself, and healing and letting go, and boy do I have a slew of medical appointments, doctors and physical therapy appointments coming up. There’s a lot of advantages to aging and hopefully garnering some wisdom along the way but it’s a shocker to realize that mind over matter is no longer a viable solution – that sometimes the old adage “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” holds true. It’s also a shock to realize that the majority of my social engagements are doc appointments, lol!

But let’s talk about food. That always brings me joy, lol! This past year has brought changes to my site that I never expected. I’ve been paying for several years for a business site and finally, the blog had to start paying for itself, so I apologize for the ads. I’ve also been trying to slow down and take better pics – even though sometimes all I want to do is dig in, lol! And I’ve been focusing a lot more on simple, very doable food.

It’s always a surprise to me to see what are the most popular posts each year, and this year many recipes on the top 10 list are here for the first time. Every year a recipe or two will drop off the top ten to be replaced by a new one but this year brought an almost total change up! Some are brand new recipes while several are recipes that languished on my site for years and all of a sudden took off with renewed vigor.

Claiming spot number 10 is my Instant Pot Swiss Steak with Mushrooms. This is a relative newcomer to my site, posted in September 2017. You’ll notice this year, three Instant Pot Recipes made the top 10. What can I say? Get yourself an Instant Pot and make this luscious dish and so many others.

 

 

In the number 9 spot are my Nebraska Runzas (Bierocks). When I first posted I could find no recipes on the internet for this marvelous heritage recipe. I had an old book and I found a youtube video, and a few bloggers who were discussing it, mostly using Rhodes Bread Dough. That’s ok, too, but don’t be afraid to try the quick homemade dough; you’ll be blown away. Nebraska Runzas have been in my top 10 since I started my New and Old Posts in 2013.

 

 

15-minute Broccoli Cheese Soup is nestled snugly in the number 8 slot. This Instant Pot Soup is divine and that’s not a word I use often, especially when describing soup. There’s a lot of quick steps so it’s not necessarily a beginner Instant Pot user recipe but ohhhhh it is soooo good! It’s another relative newcomer to my blog, posted just over a year ago.

 

 

Da Bomb Oven Roasted Burgers, which have been on my site with very little attention since February of 2014 (seriously for three to four years it averaged from 0 to 20 views a month while some recipes have multiple thousands) it took off January of 2018 and shot up to the number 7 spot for total views this year. It still has very few shares which puzzles me. I took new photos last time I made them so don’t be afraid to pin these tasty burgers!

 

 

Isn’t it disappointing that canned refried beans just don’t taste as good as you’d hope? That’s probably because you want them to taste more like a restaurant version. Here’s how to doctor them up and make them creamy and delish. In the number six spot, Canned Refried Beans, Restaurant Style. This is an another old post that shot into the top 10 last year and has stayed there. It is just so easy it’s barely a recipe.

 

 

Oven Baked Hotel Eggs have always been a popular post on my site since I first added them in 2015; they’re one of my “OG” posts. Absolutely delish, easy to make they can be made with a few eggs and up to two dozen. And making these frees your stovetop up for all the other goodies you might want with breakfast. (Maybe some Chorizo, below.) They’re perfect for a holiday or when the fam is home.

 

 

I took a new photo of an old recipe, my Homemade Chorizo. On my site since 2012, it was averaging about 53 views a year it jumped up to over 10,000 views a month. You DO eat with your eyes, first. Just make sure to eat with your mouth next. This chorizo is delish, easily customized and is a fraction of the cost of store-bought when you make it at home.

 

 

Steakhouse Mushrooms blew up this year. They are scrumptious, and the recipe is worth a look. I went against everyone’s advice on how to cook mushrooms and came up with these gorgeous browned beauties. Yep, I crowd them all together and then lid them and what a difference that makes. Someone on Pinterest said they didn’t think they were anything special…why not give them a try and let me know what you think?

 

 

In the number 2 spot and rising is Ruth Chris’ Au Gratin Potatoes – I developed this recipe in November of 2018 and it jumped to the 2nd highest viewed recipe on my blog in less than a two month period. Thank you to everyone who has shared these marvelous potatoes. Yesterday, New Year’s Eve, they became the top shared recipe on my site. Is there no end to the madness? I hope not because they are seriously good & everyone should get to try these!

 

 

And can I get a drumroll, please, for the number 1 recipe? In October of 2017, I posted my Instant Pot Pork Chop One Pot Meal. I almost didn’t post it because I hated the photos, but I had just moved back from helping the folks out for 2 1/2 years in South Dakota. I was tired, and went ahead and posted it because I had it in my drafts. Surprise – it took off and made the top 10 in 2017. This year it’s number 1! I think it’s the gravy. It’s always the gravy that gets ya – or is that just me?

 

 

Edged off of the top 10 list this year are some of my old “standbys’ some of which were the most viewed posts of the past for many years. I almost feel just a bit sorry for them. I know that sounds strange since I’m talking about a recipe, but my recipes are a little like pseudo children. Except they never talk back and they often show up for dinner on time, lol!

So, bye, bye Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole, Million Dollar Dip, Scottish Oatcakes Oatmeal Pancakes, Best Banana Sheetcake, Chipotle Pulled Pork Empanadas and my New Mexican Pozole. I still love you all! You’ll go to join my Mom’s Old Fashioned Swiss Steak, Cook’s Illustrated Meatloaf (my fave!), my Split Pea Soup (oh, how I love that soup) and Scalloped Potatoes Like Your Grandma Made, all which dropped off the most viewed recipes in 2017.

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So what does all this tell me? I’m def seeing a Meat & Potatoes, Restaurant Style and Steakhouse type recipe trend this past year, rather than so many of the down-home comfort food or heritage (even if they aren’t my heritage) recipes of the past.

I’m also a little surprised by the popularity of my Instant Pot Recipes. I absolutely love the three IP recipes in my top 10 spots, but beyond that, there are close to 20 recipes for the Instant Pot in my top 50 most viewed posts this last year. I love love love my Instant Pot and you’ll see a lot more recipes as I develop them. But the IP is just a tool, and does some things well and others, not so much, so no worries, they’ll still be a majority of traditionally cooked recipes on my site.

Every year, I like to pick what I think of as an “underdog” recipe. One of my favorite recipes that’s never gotten quite the love I think it deserves. Think of this as a kind of Best Personality Award. This year I want to give a shout out to my Lemony Chicken with Green Beans. In the winter, I use canned artichokes in this dish and in the spring, asparagus can sub in for the beans. But do tell, doesn’t this just look like a breath of fresh air?!

 

So here’s to 2019, and to hoping this year will be truly fabulous, and not just through sheer force of will, and I’ll leave you with a reminder to take joy in the small moments because, in the long run, they’re all small moments.

I’m so glad you’re here and so glad you’re following and commenting and sharing. I hope you’ll continue to stop by, and we’ll keep cooking together. It means a lot to me. And tell your friends and family, too, if you think they might like my blog. Ask them to follow by email or on Facebook. As I say every year, like that old Girl Scout song:

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold…”

Happy New Years Everyone! And may you have many more new memories this year to cherish along with the old…

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29 thoughts on “The New & The Old – 2018 Greatest Hits Post

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks, Karen! And as always, I will follow you on your travels and live vicariously through you!!!! And you just reminded me how much I wanted to make a Black Forest Cake like I saw you post…so that will be one post for sure!! Happy New Year’s!!

  1. Ron

    Mollie, such honesty in the blogging world is rare. I enjoyed getting to know your family and more about you. I don’t know who started the rumor that we would grow older into the Golden Years, but at 67 I’m not buying it. Your focus seems for 2019 is solid and I wish you all the best in the coming year. As for your blog, I’ve enjoyed watching your style change a bit in the last few months and look forward to your future post. Remember to take care of yourself.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Ron, so true!! I waited and waited to be a “grown up” and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be – I had such a baby face, that I waited for wrinkles so I would be taken seriously. But I only wanted a couple, you know, laugh lines to denote character. Then I waited for retirement to do all the things I put off during my working years and found out I’m just too old and decrepit! No sky diving for me! And there went my dream of hiking the Appalachian trail. I’m going to live a LOT more in moment this year!! I have certainly enjoyed your blog, Ron. I find it a breath of fresh air and look forward to each post! Even though I haven’t always been commenting!

  2. Nancy Needham Janssen

    I, of course, love your blog, Mollie, even if I don’t usually comment. I’ll be better about that, especially since I deleted my FB account. I’m so sorry to hear about all your trials; it certainly was the year for it, as I can also attest, beginning in January when my mom finally died, after 10 years of Alzheimers, and it just kept on coming.
    I’ll join you in making this a year of healing, new hope, and many good things. Love you, girl!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thank you so much! You are the best, Nancy!! And now I know why I haven’t been seeing you on FB! I was wondering what happened – I miss seeing the pics of the boys, and of course, lol, the dogs!! . Well, some people are all about the drama and it gets to be too much.

      Dad has been going down rapidly since going to assisted living – Alzheimers is such an ugly thing. But you said it best! Healing, new hope and good things! I do believe, I do believe!! I’m sure you feel much the same way, but watching our folks go through this just makes me want to be more careful about making every day count. Finding the essence, the core, of what is important to us and letting go of all the crap…

  3. Stephanie

    I have just recently come upon you and although I subscribe to MANY food blogs, yours has quickly become my favorite. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I like what you have to say and how you say it! Thank you for being here. I have found the best healer is compassion – compassion for others and more importantly, compassion for yourself. I hope this year brings you many blessings!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Stephanie, you made my day! Thank you. You are so right about Compassion! And it is easier I think for me to have it for others. I seem to beat myself up mentally I think, sometimes! I appreciate the good wishes, and you know what they say, May you be returned double that what you wish on others! Happy New Years and thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks! I find it really satisfying to make the Chorizo! I don’t know why, really but I think it is kind of fun to smell all those spices and know something good is coming!

  4. Marilyn Benham

    At age 73 this is my first time to respond to a blog. Your blog today really touched me. Over the years I have been through a few “seasons “ like you are experiencing and I admire your attitude. It will get you through. My mother used to tell me,“Adversity will make you stronger“. I usually wanted to respond, “I am as strong as I ever want to be”, but in the end she was always right.

    I have been following your blog for about a year and have grown to look forward to the posts every day. Keep on enjoying your family and take care of you. Your followers need you!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Marilyn, thanks so much for stopping by to comment! And following, too, and the beautiful compliments! I appreciate it! The reminder you just gave me, that this is a “season” (and therefore will pass, right?) was so important to me, because when you’re in the “thick” of things, you can forget that. Your Mother was wise, and I love your unspoken reply, which reminds me how back in the day, we didn’t talk back our Mothers, did we! Happy New Year to you, and I hope you’ll still keep commenting! 🙂

  5. I am glad you are taking time to focus on yourself a bit! I love these recipes, it is always fun to see what is doing well. I am going to have to check out the runzas. One of the guys at work is always going on about them but is yet to bring in the recipe. I’ll have to try them using yours!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Carlee, you’ll love them, I think! And maybe you’ll bring one to your co-worker. They are just good plain cooking!

  6. I hope the new year brings you more joy than the old one! Taking care of our own needs is as important as taking care of others’, so you are right to focus on yourself more. Also, your family (all gorgeous!) is so lucky to have such an accomplished cook and baker!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Monika! My daughter used to want to be the opposite of me in every way, but is quite an accomplished cook. Her s/o’s family owns a good sized pizza business, too! My son, though, has been putting together concoctions of his own since he was a kid and has a real flair for flavors.

  7. Sounds like you had some difficult times through but you got through them and your children and grandchildren look adorable. And the recipes you posted look delicious. I’d forgotten about runzas. There are many similarities to the knishes I’ve been making lately. I’ll have to bookmark the page and give them a try in the New Year. Speaking of .. I hope you have a great one ahead and that both the physical and emotional issues are resolved.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Well, if nothing else, I’m due for a bit of a break, cross your fingers!! I have been wanting to try knishes! I took a peek at your endeavors. It;s funny but since my right hand has been braced up my elbow and shoulder feel better. Physical therapy tomorrow. Oh how I hate it!! Well, I haven’t tried it yet, but I know I will lol!!

      • I’m glad your elbow/shoulder feel better. I had to have physio after each of my 3 hip replacements. It’s not fun but it’s necessary to get you back to optimal. They know not to make you go to far too fast but they will be also able to evaluate just how much better you CAN get. And push you to get to that point. Use their expertise when it’s offered to you. Good luck.

        There is also a yeast based knish dough that I have yet to try. One of these days. And the sweet filling version I found here.

        http://thegushgourmet.blogspot.com/2014/01/cherry-cheese-knish.html

        And of course there are the runzas/bierocks I want to try.

        So many recipes out there. 🙂

        • FrugalHausfrau

          That all sounds like sound advice! I feel the same way – everyday opens up a whole new realm of food I haven’t and want to try. I think we are so lucky to live in the time of the internet!! I used to be (and still am) an avid cookbook reader but who would have thought we’d have access to so many recipes from so many cuisines all available and all with pictures, too!?

          • And we can get advice directly from the poster as well as feedback from others who have tried the recipe. And videos. There’s nothing like WATCHING some of those techniques. It’s like learning directly from your mothers, aunts/uncles, grandmothers. Who knew 10-20 yrs ago that it would be possible? I feel bad that I no longer buy cookbooks but as I rarely read through the ones I already have, it’s pointless. And I don’t need to add more books to my library at 62-63 yrs which will just be tossed in another 10 or 20 yrs. 🙂

            • FrugalHausfrau

              I dont’ buy them anymore, either! I get a few cookbooks now and then as gifts, My folks books were so hard to deal with in their move. I hate to think what a burden all my books will be to me kids because I was an avid reader and collected books for decades – now I can’t even hold one. Maybe I should start clearing them out…

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Oh Mimi, you made me laugh with the mostly so I can keep cooking! I think we are kindred spirits. Honestly I don’t know how it got so bad but it all happened so slowly and it would get better, then worse then better…Where I was really lucky is that behind the willow is my study and on the floor above, my bedroom, where Chance, Homer and I were when the willow went down. It towered above my house which is three stories although my study and bedroom are an addition with only two stories so had it fallen in my direction I am sure we would have been crushed, if not by the tree, then by the roof crashing down with it.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Oh my gosh, thank you and Baby Michael is the BEST baby in the world. I tell you I’m looking at some of these pics and just craving these meals. Especially that Swiss Steak.

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