Every year when I get the opportunity to look back at what I've created on The Rising Spoon, I feel tremendously grateful to my readers. Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking the time out of your busy day to read my blog, leave a comment, share a post, and a start conversation on social media. I mean it!
The positive feedback I've received in messages, emails, and comments + the online relationships I've built are what motivates me to keep learning, creating & sharing, all the while growing this community of like minded folks interested in real food recipes, non-toxic DIY products & natural living tips.
In 2015, I shared lots of DIY crafts here on the blog (I was kind of obsessed at the time), but in 2016 my passion steered back toward food again. I bought a copy of The Food Photography Book and used tips from it to improve the lighting, clarity, and composition of my shots.
I still have tons left to read (it's a HUGE book with lots of specific & practical info), but so far it's helped me step up my photography game so I can better tell the story of my recipes in a visual medium. That's so important because y'all can't smell or taste the food through your screen! :)
I also had the opportunity to travel to Chicago this past September, where I got to meet 30+ other food bloggers, and spend the day immersed in all things organic food (you can read all about it here). I had a BLAST and honestly am super proud of myself for going because I'm a total introvert and would normally turn something like this down.
Lesson learned: good things happen when you go out of your comfort zone!
Now that I've yapped your ear off, let's take a look back at the recipes from 2016 that you guys loved the most.
Note: If you're new to The Rising Spoon, you can also check out my past "best of" round-ups to see what was popular then (some of them are still my all-time top posts).
Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2016
1. Crock-Pot BBQ Rib - published May 20th
This post has been pinned 147,000+ times on Pinterest, saved 5,000+ times on Yummly, and viewed 323,000 times according to Google Analytics (what bloggers use to track stats). BBQ ribs are one of my all-time favorite foods, so I am THRILLED that this has been tried and shared by many folks, and continues to do well today.
I worked really hard to improve my food photography this year and the positive feedback I received on these photos this spring motivated me to keep pushing and learning. I'm also thankful it was included in this Community Table round-up, 20 Dump It and Forget It Crock Pot Meals, which gave it a ton more exposure over the summer months!
About a year ago I partnered with Old El Paso to create this queso recipe using their diced green chiles. I'm so glad that I did! Tons of folks still use that iconic rectangular block of "cheese product" when they're craving a cheese dip, but it's actually easy to make your own with plenty of real cheese in 30-ish minutes. Try this sometime and your belly will thank you! :)
3. The Best Tuna Patties - published February 5th
This is my go-to recipe when I want a fast and healthy meal that still tastes yummy and fresh. I love the bright lemon flavor paired with the onion. I always squirt extra lemon juice on top, but you could make a quick aioli on the side. You can even mix these together the day before and pan-fry them when you're ready to eat for a 10-15 minute meal! (I like to serve these with a big side salad with my homemade blue cheese dressing. Apple cider vinaigrette would be a good dairy-free option.)
4. Creamy Pesto Penne Pasta with Tomatoes & Asparagus - published May 11th
If you love pasta but need a break from tomato-based sauces, this a yummy alternative! It's easy to whip together a homemade pesto for pasta when you have fresh basil or leafy greens on hand or you can just use a jarred brand. It also uses einkorn wheat noodles, which are my current favorite because they don't give me that typical "carb coma" after eating them, but you can use whatever penne is in your pantry right now.
5. 17 Ideas For Using Canned Tuna and 70+ Recipes To Try - published June 15th
Tuna is one of my favorite frugal foods (I ate it a ton as a kid), so I figured I ought to make a round-up with ideas for using it + lots of different recipes for those times when you need a less expensive, but creative meal.
This is one of my newest recipes, but it took off immediately! I partnered with Reames to use their frozen egg noodles and happened to be obsessed with creamy soups at the time, so came up with this thick & hearty version. It is so comforting and has a ton of flavor similar to chicken pot pie. Perfect for cold weather or anytime you need a big bowl of soup that'll make you feel cozy.
7. Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Homemade Onion Soup Mix - published November 9th
After making all my pot roasts with red wine the past few years, I decided to switch things up. After searching for awhile on Pinterest, I saw that tons of folks fix pot roasts with dry onion soup packets, but I didn't want to use those (since they're typically loaded with additives).
So, I looked around until I found an easy & healthy homemade version (link provided in the post) and used that as the base for this recipe. It literally takes less than two minutes to throw the mix together with pantry spices, so this is a good option when you want to make a tender pot roast and don't have any wine on hand!
8. Healthy Banana Pancakes - published February 17th
I have two of these pancakes on the stove cooking as I write this! (Excuse me while I go check on them.) I like to keep bananas on hand just to fix this for breakfast because it
- is quick
- satisfies a pancake craving and
- doesn't make me feel like I need to take a nap afterward.
They're tasty all by their lonesome, but I prefer to top these pancakes with either whole milk kefir OR almond butter (for extra fat + protein) and then a drizzle of real maple syrup.
9. Strawberry Shortcake & Lemon Curd Parfait - published July 13th
If I were you, I'd run out the grab the ingredients for this ASAP. Yes, I know it's the dead of winter, but you can easily use frozen strawberries and lemons ARE in season at the moment.
Seriously...every bite of this parfait is bright, creamy, and sweet. In other words, total bliss! If you love lemon curd as much as I do (I used to order lemon meringue pie, scoop off the meringue and just eat the curd layer), you will LOVE this dessert.
I'm also proud to say that this post was featured in a healthy strawberry recipes round-up by Fitness Magazine. I remember visiting this site and others back in college when I was surfing online for recipe ideas. The fact that little ol' me made it on there...well, it certainly gave me a kick in the pants to keep improving my photography!
10. Cottage Pie in a Cast-Iron Skillet - published January 14th
Perfect this time of year, cottage pie is a mixture of savory and saucy ground beef & veggies layered with mashed potatoes and cheese. This version is cooked all in one pan (thank you cast-iron skillet), so it makes clean-up easier. Yes, please!
Again, thank you so much for supporting The Rising Spoon. Cheers to 2017 and may your new year be filled with good health, abundance, and happiness!
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