I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year and celebrating in whatever way you are able. A friend asked how I was celebrating the Holiday and I thought for a minute and told her I would be giving Chance his monthly heartworm and topical treatments. Yeah, I’m a party animal!
It’s been a chaotic year. I sold my house of 21 years and in the process moved around in Georgia temporarily from house to house to house. Now I’m getting settled in a small town outside of Atlanta. One thing I learned? I had waaay too much stuff. And especially too much cooking stuff! The process of saying goodbye to my home and gardens, to friends and family, and even to my things was one of the more difficult things I’ve done, both physically and emotionally!
I also was in a position, and more than once, when if it weren’t for kindness and support of family, friends, and strangers I don’t know how I would have done it all. Of course, you can expect some help from friends and family, but I’m actually very humbled and easily moved to tears just thinking about the angels I’d never met before who just popped into my life and stepped up when I needed them. I have been so blessed!
And that goes, too, for all of you who’ve followed my journey and offered so many words of encouragement along the way! Little kindnesses do make a difference!
And I smile sometimes to think I started out posting recipes in 2010 and somehow my site morphed into something more and took on a life of its own! Thank you all! And I promise, next year, more recipes and fewer cats, lol!!
But speaking of angels popping into my life, if you follow me, you probably didn’t miss the posts about our Momma cat and accidental kittens. Yep, we took in two kittens we found while at a garage sale, then decided Momma cat needed to come along as well.
Little did we know we were soon going to be surprised with six more kitties. What an experience that was! My Niece took one of my faves, little 50 Cent, now Moxi. My daughter Jess kept P Diddy. A friend of hers took two, Lil Wayne and Notorious BIG. And two co-workers of hers gave homes to Snoop Dog and Eminem. I can’t help but wonder if Chance misses them!
By the way, I’m not sure if there has ever been a food blogger who has shown so many photos of her bedroom! But between the dog, the blog, the kids, and all those darn cats, that was where most of the action was!
But on to the cooking! I’m still living out of boxes and my new room is under construction so cooking has been a bit problematic. You’d think that might make a great blog post (or a whole series) but I’m mostly living off things like tuna salad or egg salad, cheese & crackers (chips I’m ashamed to say) cereal, and way too much fast food.
I did do a remake of my Balsamic Marinated Pot Roast and ate that for days! It’s so good I found myself snitching bits cold from the fridge.
As far as my top 10 this year, there were a few surprises!
10) My Sister’s Cornbread Salad snuck up into the #10 spot. It was #8 in 2019, the first year I posted it, then dropped off in 2020. I think this rise in status is a result of more people gathering together this past year. I can’t say this recipe is anything other than an absolute abomination (my sis “forced me” to make it the first time, lol) but it is so incredibly good! Trust me and don’t be put off by the ingredients!
9) If you’ve never heard of Cowboy Candy (they’re sweet & hot pickled Jalapenos) you’ve been missing out! They are crazy good, and if you want to tame the heat a bit serve on top of crackers slathered with cream cheese. They’re a newcomer to the top 10 this year. Have any of you noticed a bit of renewal in interest in canning and pickling since the pandemic?
8) In the number 8 spot is my French Onion Soup Burgers. I haven’t made these for a while and now I’m craving one! It’s not a new thing to add Lipton’s Onion Soup to a burger mix-up (heck, my Mom did it in the 70s) but the caramelized onion with a bit of Sherry or Brandy (oooh la la) and the melty cheese takes these over the top! These burgers claimed the #6 spot last year.
7) Million Dollar Dip has been in my top 10 since first published in 2017. I attribute its staying power to three things: It’s super delish, it’s super easy and the ingredients are all easy to find! It doesn’t hurt that it’s not super pricey, either, I’m sure!
6) A surprise for me is how popular The Original Fat Burning Cabbage Soup is this year. Yeah, I expect a surge every January after we all make our resolutions, but this stayed steady in my stats all year long and for the first time since published in 2017 hit the top 10. Diet or not, I love this soup and hope you will, too!
5) Steakhouse Mushrooms have been in the top 10 since 2018. 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 add water and lid them and what a difference that makes.
4) If ever baked beans can be glorious, my method of Doctoring Canned Baked Beans is gonna do it! Posted in June of 2019 I assumed these would be a summer hit. I didn’t expect these beans would be viewed all year long and they made my top 10 in 2020 & 2021! I crave these beans at times!
3) Another shortcut for canned beans, this time with Refrieds is my post on Canned Refried Beans, Restaurant Style. There’s no doubt there’s room for improvement in a can of refried beans and it’s been fun hearing everyone’s reactions and their own spin. Posted in 2016, they hit the top 10 in 2017 and have stayed there ever since. The pics horrible but I don’t want to jinx them by taking a new one, lol!
2) Yanno That Old Lipton Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe? I posted it on a whim one cold, rainy September day and it’s been in the top 10 ever since! If ever there was a recipe that screams “comfort” it’s this! I think everyone in our family has made this pot roast for decades! My Mom taught it to me when I was a teenager.
1) Now in the number one spot for so long it’s getting boring, lol, my Ruth Chris Copycat Au Gratin Potatoes. I posted them in November 2018 and they viral thanks to a kind Pinterest influencer! They’re easy, fast, and have such creamy, cheesy deliciousness! I have never served these to anyone who hasn’t raved.
There were only three recipes that dropped off the top 10 this year or fell from glory, as I like to think of it. My Poor Man’s Mock Prime Rib (and the method is marvelous with real prime rib, too) dropped off after two years in the top 10 and is lurking around #12 in the stats.
This Easy, Cheesy, Broccoli Skillet (so decadent!) fell to absolute obscurity, and my easy, overnight no-knead Crusty Bread did the same. I think there are too many recipes for crusty bread these days or maybe peeps were done with so much baking in 2021. Or both.
They’re going to go to join the recipes that rotated off the top 10 last year: My Favorite Asian Dipping Sauce – it’s so good I swear I could just drink it! My Oven Baked Hotel Eggs, after years on the top 10 list were edged out last year, maybe because they feed a crowd and interest in my Instant Pot Pork Chop One-Pot Meal waned.
My biggest blogging surprise of the year was that during the Thanksgiving Holidays, views on the recipe for Original Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding went nuts and it totally eclipsed all of my many pumpkin pie recipes! I think that’s crazy and I still don’t know what it means, lol!
Every year I try to highlight one of my fave recipes that just hasn’t gotten the visitors or views that I think it deserves. This one, Chicken Bordeaux from the New York Times holds a special place in my heart.
I actually made it when I was a teenager for a dinner party my Mom put on – and I didn’t have the recipe. My Mom and I went to a bookstore and copied it out, lol! Maybe a redo with new photos will help! But I’m always like “So many dishes to try, so little time!”
I hope we’ll be seeing more dinner parties in the future! In whatever form they take. Long, lingering over a glass of wine or maybe or over dessert, great company, and conversations that are a real exchange of opinions and ideas!
So here’s to 2022, and to the best the future can hold. And the hope that we can maybe listen more than we talk, find common ground and look for (or be) the angels amongst us! I swear they are there working small miracles in their own way and they’re often the last person you might expect.
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 chatting & 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…
18 thoughts on “The New & The Old 2021”