Saturday, February 5, 2022

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021

I've rounded up the most popular posts published on The Rising Spoon in 2021! These recipes had the highest number of visitors and shares on social media in the past year, so if you haven't tried them yet...there's no better time than now.

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021

Whether you're a new or returning reader, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit The Rising Spoon, leave a comment, write me an email, save my recipes & articles to Pinterest, reply to my stories on Instagram, and share my posts into groups & onto your personal pages on Facebook.

It all adds up to make a difference - truly! It gives me such joy when I hear from folks who've tried my recipes or read one of my articles that they found inspirational or helpful. Your interaction & feedback motivates me to keep creating and trying new things. 

Life Right Now

I've spent the past month focused on decluttering and have sold over $500 worth of things on Facebook Marketplace. It feels amazing! There were so many things sitting around my home that still held value and weren't being used. They took up space & made surfaces feel cluttered, so I was glad to part with them.

Was I happy to make money in the process? You bet! I'm using it to create a sinking fund for later this spring when my paychecks will be smaller (self-employed people like me have variable income over the year). 

The other benefit to decluttering this way? It helps other people save money. The price of everything is increasing right now (thanks to inflation), so lots of folks are eager to buy something lightly used in order to save money. Marketplace can be hit or miss depending on the time of year & your location, so I may write a post with my tips & tricks. 

I also started meal planning again, which is helping me cut down on grocery costs & food waste.  I made some free PDF kitchen inventory & meal planning printables that I gave to my newsletter list that I'm using now. I just uploaded them to my buy me a coffee page under the extras section (type zero into the payment section) if you want them. 

Life This Past Year

Last winter & early spring was pretty stressful with family stuff, so when May came around, I took a step back to focus on myself. I started reading books & following lots of accounts on Instagram,  Facebook & Youtube related to trauma, boundaries & co-dependency. Two super impactful books I read last year were How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera (a.k.a. The Holistic Psychologist) and Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD. 

To be honest, I'm only halfway through Nicole's book and 3/4 through Lindsay's book because I was taking copious notes while reading them, along with journaling, and I took a break to focus on some of my other interests. They're packed with tons of insight. Every reading session was filled with lightbulb moments as I recognized patterns in myself & my family. I highly recommend them both to anyone.

My other focus in 2021 was personal finance. I read I Will Teach You To Be Rich (2nd Edition) by Ramit Sethi in January and that inspired me to start my journey (his book is loaded with actionable tips). I created an official budget for the first time using YNAB (You Need A Budget) and also opened my first investment account (Traditional IRA).

I waited way too long because I felt overwhelmed by all the lingo & told myself I needed more information (classic case of analysis paralysis). Nope! Once you have some simple info (from a credible source) it's easy to start. I wish I'd gotten serious about budgeting & investing in my 20s but no one in my family talks about money so it wasn't even on my radar. I'm breaking that generational cycle!

To stay motivated, I follow lots of personal finance & budgeting accounts on social media and two of my favorites are Kumiko of The Budget Mom & Tiffany of The Budgetnista. They're both excellent at breaking down big concepts into simple ideas so getting started isn't overwhelming. I recommend starting with some podcast episodes from Tiffany (she's done lots of guest interviews) and Youtube videos from Miko. 

I'm in each of their Facebook groups, which are super active & filled with a ton of folks who regularly share their wins & struggles. Tiffany published her book Get Good With Money last year (I've only read a few chapters so far) and Miko's book, My Money, My Way, was just released a few days ago. If you like to read or listen to audiobooks, both are excellent resources for tips & inspiration. 

Recipes The Past Year

I rephotographed & tweaked quite a few of my oldies but goodies to include more tips & better pictures (I still have a lot to go since I've been blogging since 2012). 

I also shared some new favorite recipes, like my Spaghetti with Lemon, Olives & Salami, Easy Candied Pecans (Oven Version), and Maple Gingerbread Latte

I'm very proud of all of them but they're new and haven't taken off yet, so I need to promote them more. Maybe I'm biased, but they deserve just as much love as my other popular posts like these chicken naan wraps & crock-pot ribs! 

Okay...let's move on to the top ten!

Note: If you're a new reader, check out my past "best of" round-ups to see what was popular then. Some of them are still my all-time top posts even if the photos aren't great. The further back you go, the more obvious it is I took pictures at night with my cellphone (back when their cameras weren't amazing) under a yellow kitchen light. :D

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021

Are you a new reader or want to catch up on posts you missed throughout the year? Here are the top ten most popular recipes from The Rising Spoon that were published in 2021 (according to y'all)!

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021

1. Homemade Queso Dip - Published February 4th

I'm glad this one took the #1 spot! I originally published it back in January 2016 and it's been pinned over 100K times since then, so it's a reader favorite! Most folks love it, but there are some folks who left feedback wishing it wasn't as thick or didn't use cream cheese. So, I decided to republish it in 2021 with extra tips to address those preferences. 

Here are some of the glowing reviews it's received:

  • "Best Queso ever!!! I've made it twice now and it is just perfect as a dip or in anything" - Sam, Pinterest user
  • "We made this for Super Bowl and it was delish! We like our queso on the thicker side so I reduced the half and half a little but I think it would have been great either way!" - Salted Sweets, Pinterest user
  • "I added Spicy Taco Beef to mine and some habaneros for some spice. this is a family favorite." - Danielle, Pinterest user
  • "I use this recipe ALL the time. When I don't have cream or half and half, I often will substitute with another 4oz of cream cheese and an extra half cup of milk. Occasionally I will do broth instead of milk, or a bit of beer. Turns out great no matter what I do!" - Ashley, Blog Commenter

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Homemade Queso Dip

2. How to Make Cold Brew Coffee at Home - Published May 17th

I'm in a handful of budgeting & finance groups on Facebook & last year there were oodles of posts about spending hundreds at Starbucks & Dunkin' every month. So, I knew I had to republish my homemade cold brew coffee post with some new tips.

When I switched to this method, we saved so much money! And it's ridiculously easy to make. If you're buying the bottled ones from the store or stopping for iced coffees multiple times a week, definitely give this a try (or pass it along to your coffee-loving friends).

(Click Here to Save This To  Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: How to Make Cold Brew Coffee

3. Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa - Published March 11th

This post explains my favorite technique for fixing frozen fish filets, which I often buy in order to save money on fish while still eating healthy. One of my favorite types of fish for keeping in the freezer & quickly thawing for busy weeknight meals is mahi-mahi. It's a neutral-tasting white fish that tastes like halibut but is MUCH cheaper so I like to call it poor man's halibut.

I re-wrote this post last year to include even more helpful tips for folks who are new to cooking with frozen fish but kept the recipe with the seasoning blend & pineapple salsa the same. This recipe is a reader favorite that goes into a lot of weekly rotations, although it's gotten less attention than some of my more popular posts like chicken hummus naan wraps & crock-pot ribs. 

Here are some of the positive reviews it's received:

  • "This has been a HUGE hit for my entire family! I cut back the cayenne and Cajun seasoning for my kiddos and it's asked for often! Thank you for this masterpiece" - Adina, Blog Commenter
  • "This was amazing! Also made the coconut rice that was recommended as a side. It paired wonderfully!" - Crystal, Pinterest user
  • "We tried this and absolutely loved it. That was my first pineapple salsa and I’m hooked. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe." - Kara, Pinterest user
  • "Used seasoning recipe plus 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and chili seasoning. Absolutely loved it!!" - Jazzy, Pinterest user

(Click Here to Save This To  Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Pan-Seared Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa

4. Hamburger Vegetable Soup - Published January 19th

I've been making this soup on repeat all fall & winter long, and it's now one of our all-time favorites! My version is packed with vegetables, which helps to stretch the ground beef further. A batch makes 8 servings and we usually eat it 3 nights in a row and then freeze the last two servings for another night. 

TIP: If you don't have any ground beef (a.k.a. hamburger meat), substitute your favorite ground pork (like Italian sausage). Ground chicken & turkey would work also, but you'll want to add extra cooking oil (or maybe a bit of butter at the end) since those are leaner cuts.

(Click Here to Save This To  Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Hamburger Vegetable Soup

5. Spicy Italian Sausage & Potato Soup (Zuppa Toscana) - Published January 17th

This is one of my all-time favorite comfort food meals with a spicy twist. I re-photographed it last year, re-wrote the post with extra tips, and simplified the recipe so it has a shorter cook time. My version has poblano peppers, crushed red pepper flakes & fennel seed (key ingredient), which adds a ton of flavor + a bit of heat to the soup.

It's super-duper cozy, especially with a few pieces of toasted buttered bread for dipping in the broth. Fennel seed is delicious & good for digestion, so even if you opt-out of the spicy ingredients, definitely add that for a boost of flavor + nutrition.

(Click Here to Save This To  Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Spicy Italian Sausage & Potato Soup (Zuppa Toscana)

6. Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Published February 9th

I love chocolate-covered strawberries but they're so dang expensive pre-made from the grocery store, so I decided to make my own. It's super easy and so much cheaper! Plus, you can use your favorite chocolate for dipping or multiple types like I did for this post (dark chocolate & white chocolate are my favs).

TIP: Are strawberries really overpriced at your local market right now? Substitute fresh orange segments or chopped fresh pineapple chunks instead. They're both delicious dipped in chocolate.

(Click Here to Save This To  Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries

7. Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing - Published September 24th

Last year I upgraded my favorite blue cheese dressing recipe by adding less milk (to make it thicker), plus more sour cream so it's not as sweet (mayonnaise has a surprising amount of sugar in it). I also added granulated garlic & fresh green onion for a zesty kick.

This new version is SO DANG GOOD. Like, it's intended for salads & wings but I end up dipping chips, crackers & veggies into it. I promise, once you go to the homemade route (which is super easy), those bottled dressings with a laundry list of ingredients will never taste the same. If you know someone in your life who loves blue cheese, make this for them (mayhaps for a wedge salad with a nice steak) and they will love you forever.

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Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

8. 30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love - Published March 3rd

I like to buy a couple of rotisserie chickens every month, remove & shred the meat for multiple meals, and use the leftover bones and skin for homemade chicken broth. Anything that doesn't get used within a few days (usually the breast meat) is portioned out into zipper bags and frozen for later. 

Since I often have bags in my freezer with 2 cups of shredded chicken, I figured it was a good time to update this old round-up with new recipe ideas + some of my favorite ways to repurpose leftover chicken into new meals. Browse the list and add a few to your monthly meal plan to switch things up and save money!

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Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes

9. How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract - Published November 11th

I bought a bag of vanilla beans last summer to make vanilla extract for homemade Christmas gifts and figured it was a good time to update my old post (from 2013) with new pictures and a better step-by-step explanation of the process along with plenty of tips.

The only change I've made since then is to almost triple the number of beans I use per 8 oz of alcohol. It results in stronger vanilla that works better when you refill it (you can top it up with new alcohol) and makes homemade recipes more special. Once you grab the two simple ingredients + bottles or jars, it only takes 10 minutes. Spend the time to start a batch now and your future self will thank you. 

(Click Here to Save This To Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

10. Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Jicama & Blueberries - Published June 7th

This is one of my favorite recipes to make in the summer months when I want something cool, refreshing & hydrating. I rewrote & republished the post last year to add more tips & information on the ingredients (like jicama). This fruit salad is tossed in an addicting coconut lime dressing that is SO DELICIOUS & simple to fix.

TIP: If watermelon isn't available when you're reading this, substitute another fruit that's in season. Since it's wintertime now, citrus fruits (like blood oranges) would be amazing!

(Click Here to Save This To Pinterest)

Top 10 Most Popular Recipes On The Rising Spoon in 2021: Watermelon Salad with Cucumber, Jicama & Blueberries

Have you tried any of the top posts from this year? Let me know in the comments!

Again, thank you so much for supporting The Rising Spoon. Cheers to 2022 and may your new year be filled with good health, peace, and abundance!



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