Reflecting on the Year + Top 10 Recipes of 2018!
Hello lovely people! First of all, if you’re reading this right now, I just need to say a massive THANK YOU. This has been the first year of this little blog of mine, after many previous years of dreaming and thinking about it. I am endlessly grateful to the small but mighty community that stumbles upon my recipes on the internet or comes here to read on a semi-regular basis 🙂 You’ve made this girl’s entire year!
2018 was a big year for me. A lot of positive change happened, but it was also full of difficulty and uncertainty at times. I started this blog at the beginning of 2018 (January 16th to be exact!) and worked hard to develop it and build a tight but loyal following. I quit my corporate job back in May to finally follow my dream and pursue a career in food, which was one of the hardest and scariest decisions I’ve ever made. Since it’s really easy for me (and for many) to get down on myself and focus on the things I could still do, I think it’s particularly important to reflect on what I HAVE achieved and all the amazing things that are to come.
So, I decided to share them here, since this blog is basically an extension of my journal (hah). I wrote down all the things I’m proud of and I want to try to remind myself of those things. Feel free to just scroll down to the top recipes, but if you do feel like reading, I want to thank you endlessly and encourage you to share what YOU are proud of, either here in the comments, on Instagram or in your own personal journal.
Things I’m proud of this year:
- Starting this blog! A place to share my deep passion for food, and most importantly, to help others cook beautiful, nourishing food at home.
- Tapping into my passions and pursuing a life that I’m meant to live, and one that is true to ME. I’m still working on it but forever grateful for this.
- Starting the Rock Your Bod Pod with Stella! I’m particularly proud of this one for a few reasons. Firstly, I am a podcast fanatic, and thought all year about starting one, although I never knew what I would talk about on it. With the shared mindset and support from Stella, it was such a natural fit for us to speak openly about our struggles with body image and help others find the tools they need to build confidence in all areas of their lives. Which leads me to the second reason – many of the topics I share on the podcast are things I’ve never discussed with anyone. I’m naturally a very private person, and it was actually really difficult for me to open up at first. I’m really, really proud of myself for speaking up about my struggles with disordered eating (even writing that here is something I never thought I’d do!). It’s really made me grow immensely as a person and helped me face some of my own issues, but the best part is this: when I share my experience and learnings with others, it is NOT about me anymore. It becomes about helping others who may be facing some of the same obstacles, and to me, that is the most important thing I can do.
- Not only podcasting with, but also working for one of my best friends, Stella, at her amazing company, Stellar Eats. It’s been such a joy to help her build her passion project, and we have SO MANY exciting new things coming for the new year, which I cannot WAIT for! I think 2019 is going to be a big business year for both of us 🙂
- Joining a wonderful plant-based company, Culcherd, and learning SO much from working in their production kitchen. This was a whole new world for me and I am incredibly grateful for the experience and knowledge I’ve gained.
- Building a beautiful Instagram community. I often fall victim to the comparison game and get so focused on numbers, then inevitably get down on myself for not having a following as strong as many other food bloggers + creatives. However, I want to stop and appreciate how incredible the community that I DO have is, and how supportive they are of everything that I share. I feel extremely lucky to have such an engaged, passionate group of followers – not to mention the absolute joy it has brought me to meet a few of them in real life!
- Investing time into my food photography skills, which I plan to continue to do – it’s a constant learning experience.
- Traveling to Colombia and experiencing some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes of my life. I also visited Chicago with my best girlfriends (one of my favourite cities), New York (ditto), and Spain with my family.
- Continuing to work on and cultivate the beautiful friendships + relationships in my life 💕
- Last but not least, and perhaps most importantly, continuously working on MYSELF. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year getting to know myself better, and getting deep into what it is that I want out of this life. It’s been really tough at times to face many of my struggles and insecurities – we chat a lot on the podcast about how uncomfortable it is to get quiet and sit with your negative thoughts, emotions and self-doubt. But I also think it’s extremely crucial to living an honest life and investing time in yourself. I’ve carved out a lot of alone time to reflect on myself, question my decisions and figure out what I want, because this sacrifice is necessary for me to continue to grow. I’m proud of myself for putting in the work and investing in ME.
If you read all of that, I love and appreciate you, and I hope you got something out of it! I’m not sharing any of this to boats or pat myself on the back, but rather, because I think it’s really, really important to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and focus on achievements, as I think it sets you up for even more success in the future.
Okay, on to the recipes! I thought I’d share my top 10 recipes from this year, based on what YOU guys made and loved the most! I’m so grateful for anyone who has made any of my recipes, and I hope I can continue to share and inspire 🙂
10. Chocolate Topped Almond Butter Dream Bars
You guys LOVED these easy, healthy banana pancakes! It’s by far the most popular recipe on my site. Honestly, it’s probably the recipe that I made the most as well. Lol.
Also, honourable mentions go to my meal prep plans, which you guys loved. A number of people reached out to me to tell me how helpful these plans were for their weekdays, which makes me crazy happy! Should I start these up again in the new year?!
Also wanted to share one of my personal favourite recipes for this year – it only came out a couple of weeks ago so it may not be as popular as the others, but HOLY CRAP I was so so happy to have developed a healthier recipe for my beloved Twix bars (after my first attempt here, which are wonderful but just not quite the same). Everyone who tried these at Christmas was absolutely shocked at how delicious + indulgent they taste, despite being infinitely better than the traditional recipe (which is full of sweetened condensed milk + corn syrup!)
All in all, I shared a total of 67 recipes for the blog, as well as 10 meal prep plans. Not too bad for a first timer! I hope to create even more yummy recipes next year (and hopefully share more consistently too – still working on that 😛)
Shouts out to the longest post I’ve ever written, which is THIS one! Ha. Anyway, in conclusion, I am so so SO grateful for those of you who have followed along this year and helped me to pursue my passion. You truly made my year. I love you, and wishing you the most gorgeous start to and all the positive energy for 2019! I think it’s gonna be a good one 😉