Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers!! As I mentioned last week in my Merry Christmas Post, 2015 was a wonderful year because it was the year I discovered blogging!!! I started Easy Peasy Foodie in May and, as a consequence, these last 7 months have been some of the happiest months of my life. I love every aspect of blogging, but by far and away the best part about blogging is you – my fabulous readers and all the lovely interactions I have had with you over the past 7 months. I am genuinely thrilled every time I get a comment, a tweet, a like or a share.
As it is the end of the year I thought it would be fitting to share some of this year’s highlights with you…
My favourite Easy Peasy Foodie blogging moments of 2015
Actually figuring out what on earth this blogging thing was all about…
…and not only that, but managing to make all the techy stuff work – I can’t tell you how exciting it was, discovering I was actually capable of creating a real live website!
And then getting real live readers!
I so enjoyed checking my stats each morning after I went live and discovering that real people had actually read my words! (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that quite a few of those early hits were actually automated bots indexing my website!)
Ranking on Google
One of the most disappointing things was typing ‘Easy Peasy Foodie’ into a search engine, shortly after setting up my blog, only to discover Easy Peasy Foodie didn’t feature on the first page of google or even the tenth (I gave up after scrolling through 10 pages!). I was so thrilled the first time I actually found Easy Peasy Foodie (on about page 3) and even more so when finally it appeared on page one and now it looks like this – yey!
The first comment I ever got…
…and all the wonderful comments I have got since. I am always so delighted when someone takes the time to write and tell me they like my recipe, especially when they are not related to me (though thanks Mum and Dad for all your lovely comments 😉 )
Figuring out what exactly linkies are…
…and joining in with them. I do so enjoy doing them and interacting with all the lovely bloggers out there and discovering all their lovely new recipes. If you are a blogger, I hugely recommend joining in with them.
Being featured in linky round ups…
…I remember when I was first featured in a roundup I nearly fell off my chair. I was so chuffed that someone thought my post was good enough to feature in their linky roundup. Since then I have fallen off my chair quite a few more times. That feeling of delight when someone likes YOUR recipes enough to feature them on THEIR website never goes away. 🙂
Storming up the foodies 500 chart
OK well, maybe not storming, but I feel like I’ve done pretty well this year! My first chart placing was in August and I was quite chuffed to be just outside the top 1000, then just a couple of months later I was just inside the top 1000 and then only a month after that, in November, I was at number 572 (that had me dancing round the kitchen – literally!!) I had all my fingers and toes crossed I might be inside the top 500 before Christmas, but sadly that was not meant to be – my score went up quite a bit but everyone else’s must have too because I actually dropped back one place in the rankings, but now my fingers and toes are crossed for getting into the top 500 in 2016!!
Reaching 800 followers on Twitter
I was hoping to make 1000 but sadly I didn’t quite get there. I’ve been so chuffed watching my followers increase and I’m hoping I’m going to get to 1000 before January is out. Yey!
Discovering Pic Monkey
How did I cope before I discovered Pic Monkey??? Seriously, if you don’t know what Pic Monkey is, check it out. Essentially it’s a free design tool that allows you to do all sorts of fun things. I use it to create collages of with my photos, write on my photos and create little logos and stuff like my blue Happy New Year sign at the top of this post. Here are some other example of the fun I’ve had on Pic Monkey…
Improving my photography
I know my photography still needs some work, it’s definitely an area I want to improve on in 2016, but I have been really pleased with the progress I have made since I began. Seriously…if you want to compare and contrast look at my Easy Quorn Moussaka, then my Warm Butternut Squash, Harissa and Halloumi Salad and you will see what I mean…no one can deny I have IMPROVED.
Getting my first (second and third) acceptance on Tastespotting
There are lots of sites where you can submit your food photography and, if they make the grade, they will feature them on their site. The two major ones seem to be Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I haven’t yet been successful with Foodgawker, but I’ve had three of my photos accepted on Tastespotting, which I was genuinely delighted by as I wasn’t expecting it at all.
Having people tell me they’ve made my recipes and really enjoyed them.
This is WITHOUT A DOUBT my biggest highlight of all. After all what is the point of having a food blog if not to share the recipes I love, so others can use them too? And it is the biggest thrill when someone tells me they have tried something and really liked it. I am chuffed to bits. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. If you have tried something and loved it, I would love to know – either in my comments or on Twitter or Facebook – and equally if you try something and it doesn’t work, please let me know that too and I will fix it – I’d hate it if a typo meant someone, somewhere has had a bad dinner!! 😉
And whilst I’m at it, a New Year’s Day post seems a fitting place for some resolutions…
My goals for Easy Peasy Foodie in 2016
Get into the Foodies Top 500
I would love, love, love to get into the top 500, it would mean so much. I know rankings and statistics aren’t everything but they are an enormous encouragement!
Buy a new camera / Get better at photography
My photography may have improved this year, but I know it still has a long way to go! This is definitely my “must do better” area. To be honest I know that if I want to progress, I have to buy a better camera. When I started blogging I just bought a cheap and cheerful compact camera, but I know I really need to get a DSLR camera and that’s going to be one of my top priorities this year…along with learning how to use it and how to take better photographs with it. If anyone out there has any recommendations on a good, but not too expensive, DSLR camera please let me know!
Get accepted on Foodgawker
I’m chuffed to bits that I got a few acceptances on Tastespotting this year, but I really want to crack Foodgawker in 2016, as well improve my hit rating on Tastespotting. Most of my declines are due to poor/low lighting (which I can see, but I really don’t understand why that happens as I photograph in a conservatory in the middle of the day!?!) but I am assuming if I get a better camera I will be able to have more control over lighting – please let me know if I’m deluding myself!!
Start doing reviews
I realise most of my posts in 2015 have been recipe based, which I love, so expect more of those in 2016! But I would really like to start branching out and doing some reviews of books, products, equipment – maybe even a restaurant or two in 2016. Let me know if there’s something you think should appear on Easy Peasy Foodie in 2016!?!
Start my own linky
I would also really like to create my own linky in 2016. I absolutely love joining up with linkies, bloghops and other blogging events. I have got so much out of them and I really want to start doing my own and give back some of the love I have received. I have a few ideas pootling round my brain for one…watch this space!
Redesign my blog and create a newsletter
I realise my blog is lacking a newsletter/opportunity to subscribe by e-mail. This is something I hope to fix in 2016. I would also like to give my little blog a bit of a facelift in 2016 – I know there are some areas I could definitely improve – I especially want to work on my About Me section. I kind of chucked that up in May and it doesn’t really say much about me! I am definitely going to work on that in the New Year!!
Meet some other bloggers
I have absolutely loved discovering and getting to know the fantastic blogging community that exists out there. I love getting your comments, chatting with you on social media, reading your blog posts, joining in with your linkies and I would love to meet some of you face to face in 2016!
Get more followers on social media
OK, so this is a tiny little plug…no scratch that, IT’S AN ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE ONE!! I am on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram and I would love to get more followers on all of them, so if you would like to do me a little favour and help me a long with my New Year’s resolutions I would love a little follow on your social media of choice 🙂
Phew…I think I’ve got my work cut out!! Come back at the end of 2016 and see how many of these I’ve managed to achieve 🙂 (but please come back before then too!!)
So now finally I would like to share my favourite recipes and my most popular recipes of 2015…
My favourite Easy Peasy Foodie recipes of 2015
It was very tough to choose…asking me to pick my favourite recipe is like asking me to choose my favourite out of my two children!! But I got there in the end (with the recipes, I mean, not the children!!) Here are my favourites from 2015.
Lemon and Garlic Chicken Traybake with Saffron Rice Pilaf
This was the recipe which began my love affair with traybakes. I’m not really sure how this recipe came about, but I do remember there being A LOT of trial and error involved – I don’t think any of the “error” ones tasted horrible, but they just weren’t quite right. There is an awful lot of recipes and/or versions of recipes that don’t make it onto the blog!
Spanish Style Chicken Traybake
This recipe was dreamt up while trying to perfect my lemon and garlic chicken traybake. Whilst the lemon and garlic chicken is slightly Greek in flavour, I began daydreaming about what other cuisines I could represent in chicken traybake form and the idea of a Spanish version entered my head. I found myself reaching for a pen and scribbling down ideas as fast as my little hand would let me…the result is this delicious chicken and chorizo bake.
Sausage, Tomato and Bean Bake
And my other favourite traybake has to be this one. It’s basically a sausage casserole reinvented in traybake form – which has the double benefit of being easier to make and even tastier!
Warm Butternut Squash, Harissa and Halloumi Salad
This is partly a favourite because it’s so pretty – it has received a lot of love on social media…but it is mostly a favourite because it is so darn delicious – it really is one of those greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts kind of dishes.
Butternut Squash, Prosciutto and Walnut Pasta
I mostly love this dish for being such a happy accident. I was intending on making Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Pappardelle with Squash and Sage from his brilliant recipe book Hugh’s Three Good Things, but I forgot to buy the sage…I mean how dumb – there were only three key ingredients and I forgot to buy one of them! But then I improvised and ended up creating this – which is just super yummy in its own right! And such a quick and easy one to make!
Beef Bourguignon Stew
Easy Peasy Prawn Paella
These two are in my favourites because they represent one of my favourite things to do – take a classic and develop a really good, but easy peasy version of it. I am so chuffed with both of these because they taste fabulous and yet are really simple to make. Expect to see more of this kind of thing in 2016. 🙂
How to Make Sprouts Interesting
And last, but by no means least…I couldn’t forget my “How to make sprouts interesting” post – 7 things to do with your sprouts (other than boiling them). I had so much fun with this one and got so much love on social media for it…I feel there might be a part 2 in me for next Christmas
My 5 most popular Easy Peasy Foodie recipes of 2015
Thanks to the wonder that is Google Analytics, which tells me all my blog statistics (and which I check about 100 times a day – ridiculous I know), this one was much easier to do. Here are my most popular recipes of 2015!
1. Moroccan Lamb Stew and Jewelled Couscous
2. Chickpea, Feta and Herb Salad
3. Quorn Chicken Pie
4. Butternut Squash, Chilli and Coconut Milk Soup
5. Warm Christmas Rice Salad with Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Seeds
Thanks again for all your support, wisdom, kind comments and social media love in 2015. I’m looking forward to even more blogging fun in 2016. Eb x
Sarah James says
It’s been a pleasure discovering your blog Eb & congratulations on such a good year. All the best for 2016 & getting into the top 500, Sarah x
Eb Gargano says
Thanks, Sarah! I have very much enjoyed reading your blog too. And thanks for all your support – particularly on Twitter 🙂 Hope you have a fantastic 2016 too 🙂 Eb x
Only Crumbs Remain / Angela says
I could certainly relate to all the points you raised in your post Eb. Only Crumbs Remain started only a month or two before Easy Peasy Foodie so so much is similar. I too was dancing around the room when I received my first comment; stats were looked at every day (often more than once – though I’m not sure what I really expected to happen!) and then when somebody said they were going to make one of my recipes – well, I was soo happy 🙂
I too struggle with my images but have found that they have improved enormously since my brother took pity on me and bought me a camera, sadly not a DSLR but it’s way better than what I was using! Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen wrote a great photography post 2 or 3 months ago which offers some great hints and tips and is certainly worth having a read of.
I too am thinking of starting a linky – I already have a name for it (sad I know!) but I think that will wait until Only Crumbs Remains first birthday at the earliest.
Here’s to a great 2016 Eb, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that you’ll have a new Foodie’s 100 badge this month to display!
Eb Gargano says
Aw, thanks for writing such a lovely long comment, Angela! I had no idea you only started a few months before me…I always tend to assume everyone else has been blogging for years and knows what they are doing 🙂 Thanks for the tip about Charlotte’s post…I have read it before but I think I need to read it again…I remember it being very useful! I will look out for your linky when you start it and will be delighted to join in – well assuming it’s something I do…If your linky is “long complicated recipes involving lots of fancy equipment” then I won’t be joining in 😉 I agree, first birthday seems a sensible time to start such things…(though I am likely to get impatient and want to start it earlier!!) Hope you have a fab year too!! Eb x
Only Crumbs Remain / Angela says
You’re welcome Eb, your post certainly echoed a lot about how I felt and feel regarding blogging. Regarding my linky idea I’ve not narrowed it down to be honest as to what sort of theme it will take yet, though it certainly won’t be pushing delicate, intricate bakes which take hours and days to make 😉 . I know too what you mean about the patience thing – though they do say that it’s a virtue 😉
Eb Gargano says
I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it – I usually just write about recipes so it was nice to take a step back and write about my blogging journey so far. I definitely want to branch out into writing more different types of posts in 2016. Haha – didn’t think you would do a super-complicated linky, but you never know!! So long as it’s a theme I can do, I’ll be there! Let me know when it starts 🙂 Sadly, patience is definitely not a virtue I was born with!! I want everything yesterday. But blogging is definitely teaching me patience, as it is just not possible to do everything all at once! Eb x
Happy New Year to you too! I’ve loved discovering your blog and although I haven’t made any of your recipes yet, the food you make is exactly the type of food I love to eat and I’m sure I’ll make something soon. Good luck with your plans for 2016!
Eb Gargano says
Aw, thanks Corina! I have enjoyed discovering and reading your blog too and I’ve LOVED joining in with #CookOnceEatTwice…such a good idea for a linky! I will definitely be joining in more in 2016. I often make things that can be eaten again later, so it will not be difficult 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful 2016 too!! Eb x
Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours says
Congratulations on how far you have come in less than a year!
Looking forward to an epic 2016!
Eb Gargano says
Thanks Helen! I love looking back at my old posts and seeing how far I’ve come…but I know I’ve still got a long way to go. Thoroughly enjoying it, though. Epic 2016 would be lovely – hope you have one too! Eb x