Love and Olive Oil
The Best of 2021

The Best of 2021

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Another year gone by. What can I say? 2021 seems, in many ways, to be an extension of 2020, somehow both flying by and dragging along at the same time. Almost like time has no meaning anymore.

Would you believe I’ve been blogging for nearly 15 years? I threw a brunch party for the big 1-0, perhaps I’ll figure out a different (more socially-distanced) way to celebrate this new milestone come February. Because 15 years is no small feat in the blogging world, I’m practically ancient!

I may have posted a bit less this year than in past years, but I feel like the quality of my posts and recipes has continued to improve. Or maybe I’m just becoming more of a perfectionist as I get older, leading to me scrapping recipe ideas that I would have deemed perfectly acceptable in years past.

Longer posts, more photos, more thorough and obsessive recipe testing… the sheer amount of hours that go in to a single post boggles my mind sometimes, especially when compared to my… er… brevity in earlier years (I used to just throw up a single image, a paragraph or two, and call it day. Imagine that.)

I definitely get frustrated at times, when I’ve tested a recipe 5 times and it’s fine but I know it could be better, or when the light isn’t cooperating or the final product doesn’t look as appetizing as it should be. I fully admit to taking my frustration out on some baked goods on more than one occasion.

But then I remember the reason I do this: because feeding people is my love language, and since I can’t possible invite you all over for dinner, sharing recipes in this space that’s essentially a virtual dining table, recipes that you in turn share with your families? That’s what makes it all worth while for me. (I won’t deny the fact that getting paid to bake is a pretty sweet deal too, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t part of the reason I’m still here. And for that I thank you for your continued support; every click and comment and like supports me and allows me to take that time to continue to create new recipes for you.)

I don’t have any more recipes for you this year. But I’ve done a best of post every year for the past 12 years, and they are always interesting (and often surprising) to look back and see which recipes you all loved the most. I’m very proud of what I’ve put out this year, I really do feel these are some of my best recipes yet.

Your Favorite Posts this Year

These were the top visited recipes published this year (out of a total of 43 published posts). A few of these surprised me (hello, quiche and split pea soup) but others, like the stuffed brownie cookies, were no surprise whatsoever (y’all rave about this recipe, and for good reason!) I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of these recipes start to make their way into the all-time favorites lists in coming years.

9x9 Grid of Images: This Year's Most Popular Posts 2021

1. Ganache-Stuffed Cosmic Brownie Cookies / 2. Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins / 3. Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ganache Brownies / 4. Split Pea Soup / 5. Cheese & Caramelized Onion Quiche / 6. Amaretto Amaretti Thumbprint Cookies / 7. Matcha Pistachio Shortbread / 8. Ube Amaretti Crinkle Cookies / 9. Espresso Crumb Coffee Cake

All-Time Favorites

One of the inherent truths about creating content for the internet is that sometimes posts take a year or two to really gain traction; as a result, this group of favorites is often monopolized by the same handful of posts year after year. The Soy Sauce Noodles have reclaimed their spot in #2, with a surprise appearance by my Homemade Limoncello from a few years back.

9x9 Grid of Images: All Time Most Popular Posts of 2021

1. Soy Sauce Noodles / 2. Strawberry Cake Roll / 3. Homemade Limoncello / 4. Sourdough Crackers with Olive Oil & Herbs / 5. Soft Amaretti Cookies / 6. Shakshouka / 7. Crispy Oven-Roasted Broccolini / 8. Pan-Fried Trout with Garlic, Lemon & Parsley / 9. Mini Blueberry Mousse Cakes

Most Popular on Instagram

While long-term, the blog might skew towards savory, on Instagram it’s all about the chocolate. I mean, y’all know what you like, there’s no denying that. Luckily our tastes seem to align. ;) The big winner of 2021 was clearly the Cosmic Brownie Cookies, which actually took spots #3, #4, #5, and #13, though I’ve removed the duplicates here. Is it any surprise that there’s only 1 non-chocolate post here? It shouldn’t be.

9x9 Grid of Images: Most liked images on Instagram for 2021

1. Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ganache Brownies / 2. Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting / 3. Ganache-Stuffed Cosmic Brownie Cookies / 4. Chocolate Maraschino Layer Cake / 5. Cream-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies ‘n Cream Cookies / 6. Chocolate Chai Cheesecake Bars / 7. Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cloud Frosting / 8. Chocolate Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies / 9. Bolos de Arroz (Portuguese Rice Muffins)

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I don’t even know what to say going in to 2022 other than good riddance. Maybe if we’re all real quiet… the fates will forget we’re here and let us live our lives in peace (wishful thinking? Perhaps.) Here’s hoping that 2022 will be a better year, acknowledging that so much of it is out of our control, that all we can do is strive to be better, kinder individuals. Take care of yourself, for sure, but take care of those around you too. 

Oh, and bake more treats… because sharing something sweet is the easiest way to bring about at least a few smiles. ;)

Happy New Year, everyone!

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2 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Congratulations on 15 years! That’s an amazing feet. Here’s to a year filled with love, laughter, joy and good health. Happy New Year!

  2. thank you for sharing all of these, interesting to see what pops up over time, and what’s more popular on social media versus the site, and nice reminder of past recipes, love the Chocolate Maraschino Layer Cake and can see why it’s a hit in Instagram

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