Sorry for the radio silence last weekend. I got a number of concerned emails and messages wondering whether there was a glitch in the system which meant the Sunday post had not been sent out, or if something terrible had happened to me. The truth is neither - I just decided to take a week off.
I actually don't remember the last time I took a week off. It's possible it was last spring, or it's possible that it's been even longer than that. In any case, I was due.
Though I had a full Sunday of blog work planned, both writing and shooting recipes, by Saturday afternoon, at the end of a very heavy week, I was just cooked. I knew I couldn't spend my one day off frantically writing a post and then sweating it out up and down a stool to take step-by-step photos of multiple recipes.
Instead, I rested. I slept in, and then lazily stayed in bed for a long while after I woke up. I drank tea and read my book. I went for a long walk in the sunshine with a friend. I took my big boy out for some one-on-one time. I did some badly-needed housework. I did a yoga class.
It was a fine way to see out the month of February, which, quite frankly, was a bit of a doozy.
Taking this day of rest made me realize that I have not done a very good job of taking care of myself lately, and that since I am the only one taking care of me, I need to step it up.
A lot of little things have piled up recently, and I've been weary in both body and soul, so I decided to treat myself to a week off from getting up at 5am to work. I've been crawling into bed by 9:30 each night and sleeping until 6:30, and I feel MUCH better. I definitely can't keep that schedule up long term as I'll get way too behind on stuff, which will create stress in its own way, but it feels good to replenish the tank.
I also re-started a 30 day yoga program, which made me realize that although I get plenty of exercise, I have missed moving my body in that intentional, inward-looking kind of way that is yoga. I'd like to attempt running again once the weather warms up a bit (we have more snow in the forecast this week, blah) and I feel like if I can start from a stronger base I may have better luck this time.
So far I've managed to do yoga every day as opposed to spreading the 30-day challenge out across a couple of months, much to Niko's amusement as I did a class with my earbuds in while he watched his YouTube programs during Odin's nap the other day. He kept walking over to take a look at my computer and confirm that I was actually supposed to be lying down or sitting still or doing whatever odd-looking move I was doing.
My big boy turned five this past week and I can hardly believe it. Five! A whole hand!
It seems like only yesterday this old soul came into our lives and turned them upside down in the best possible way, but I checked the calendar and it has, in fact, been five whole years. He had his last ever appointment at the children's clinic the other day, which seems hardly possible, but there it is.
We weren't able to have a proper birthday party for many reasons, but did try and make a special day for him nevertheless. We took the boys out for an activity, then made burgers and fries and cake with some friends.
Niko first requested an ice cream cake, which I have made for him before (I made this Hot Fudge Sundae Cake for his third birthday) but then changed his mind and said he wanted a Minion cake. This was a bit of a relief since I had neither the time nor the freezer capacity for an ice cream cake this year.
Cake decorating is not something I have interest in or patience for, but I figured a Minion cake should be simple enough to pull off and I was right. I made a two-layer yellow cake (I used this recipe, which was great) and some buttercream frosting with a shocking amount of yellow food colouring in it.
I just used a glass to trace a circle on the cake, which I filled in with white icing for the eye, and then used chocolate frosting to make the strap for the glasses, the hair, and the mouth. I found these little silver balls which I used for the rim of the goggle, and we put blue and yellow smarties around the outside of the cake.
Niko and I decorated it together, and it took about 20 minutes. Easy peasy.
Last week there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the food blogging sphere due to these dirtbags creating an app called Recipeasly that they were marketing as a way to "fix" online recipes by removing the advertisements and "life stories". Essentially, this would mean scraping the recipe content from a food blog and allowing the user to access the recipe without providing a pageview, and therefore any revenue, to the content creator.
There was immediate and massive backlash from the food blogging community, and the app was removed within hours, with the creators issuing an apology and saying this wasn't what they intended.
Although this app was removed, it's not the first of its kind, and it most certainly won't be the last. You've all seen the memes out there that poke fun of food bloggers for telling a lengthy life story which you have to scroll way past in order to get the recipe. Sure, they're funny, but they're not really true anymore.
In the early days of food blogging there was a major intersection between personal blog and recipe blog, and a post would almost certainly be something along the lines of, "blah blah blah, story about my life, here's a recipe."
I've spent much of the past two years updating and republishing old recipes, and while the first thing to go is the terrible photos, the second is the personal chatter. Read any recent recipe on this site - and on any food blog worth their salt - and there's nothing but helpful information in all of that content that leads up to the recipe, including tips and tricks, things I've learned from testing the recipe multiple times, and nutrition information.
Don't want to waste your time with reading that stuff? You don't have to! First of all, you could just scroll past it (it might take you 10 or 15 seconds) or you could use the handy "jump to recipe" button that nearly all food bloggers have at the top of the post. It's interesting to note that the jump button is actually terrible for ad revenue, but we use them anyways because they're good for user experience.
All of that content above the recipe? It's good for user experience too, and a lot of it is stuff that Google has specifically indicated that it's looking for from content creators.
This app struck a particular nerve because it was created by three men, and the food blog community is comprised largely of women. I know many food bloggers who are the sole income provider for their family, and you want to strip away the revenue-generating content because you don't like the life stories and ads that come with your FREE recipe content online?
Give me a break. This article about what it says about us when we're interested in the recipe, but not the humanity of the creator, is a good one.
And I don't mean you, dear reader, because those of you who show up week after week for this Sunday post and who email me when it doesn't publish, well you're clearly here for more than just the recipe. But life is tough these days, and we should be supporting one another, not removing revenue streams.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This one is actually from last week, but it's a good one nevertheless. These Crispy Potato Wedges are my go-to when I'm in the mood for making fries at home. So easy, and so good.
Next up, a brand new recipe! This Savory Dutch Baby Pancake is one of my go-to meals for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but it's also perfect for brunch, and goes great with glass of bubbles.
And lastly, my favourite mashed potato recipe, Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes. I make these guys with the skin on because a) I'm lazy, and b) there's a ton of nutrients in the skin.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
1. Chia Fresca. Gotta stay hydrated!
2. Turmeric Latte Mix. Mmmm. So good.
3. 10-Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles. These have been giving me life lately.
4. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Must make another batch of these soon.
5. Collagen for Vegetarians. Taking care of the ol' joints and skin!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Janet left the following comment and 5-star review of my Savory Cottage Cheese Muffins recipe:
Oh my goodness! How seriously good are these muffins? I made these today and they have all gone!!! Best savoury muffin ever. I am new to this website, but am liking what I have found – thank you, Katie for all the advice on nutrition and the lovely recipes.
Yes! I'm glad you like these muffins as much as I do, Janet. Really must make another batch soon.
THIS WEEK’S MENU
I'm still on a cupboard clean out mission, but am finding that I keep buying ingredients to make recipes, which means I'm more rotating ingredients through and less making a dent in the pantry.
HERE’S WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
Sunday: Making a creamy tortellini thing with kale and lemon, and am trying dried tortellini on the recommendation of my friend Emmeline from Always Use Butter. She swears it's the best, and I think I've only ever had fresh before. I'm unreasonably excited to try the dried stuff!
Monday: Big salad.
Tuesday: Niko says he wants pizza so I'm going to make pita pizzas.
Wednesday: Veggie stir-fry. It's been too long!
Friday: Photo shoot day, so more leftovers!
Saturday: Thinking tacos? Kylie from Midwest Foodie did this thing in her IG Stories where she put a hard taco shell INSIDE a soft taco with a layer of cheese glueing them together, and I'm obsessed with trying it out.
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
2. Buttergate: Why are Canadians complaining about hard butter? Note! The original article written by Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie is behind a paywall, so I was unable to read it. But this story has gone viral and been re-posted in news outlets around the world.