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2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts

2016.  Many people found 2016 to be a rough year, but I’m thankful that I seem to have emerged reasonably unscathed.  I feel really accomplished because I successfully blogged consistently for a second straight year.  I started this blog way back in 2009 (!) but I only buckled down and got serious with this site in 2015.  I have worked so hard and am proud of how far I’ve come.  My writing, recipe developing and photography skills have all improved and I continue to trouble shoot my own self-hosted website.  Social media is a whole other beast that I’ve had to conquer and continually battle, but I actually find that aspect of blogging really interesting, I just wish there were more hours in a day! When I looked at my analytics for the year, I was happy to see that they have all increased since 2015. I’m so grateful for new and old readers who dropped by my site this year, it’s a daunting web out there with so many blogs and social media avenues, I’m amazed and happy to see when one of my posts does well. These  2016 top food, travel and horror movie posts were the ones all of you kind and inquisitive folk enjoyed the most. 

My top post of 2016 continues to be my review of Gordon Ramsay’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Pudding, a post from my first year of blogging. I decided to reshoot this recipe because I cringe when I look back at my first attempt at food photos! I’m hoping my new and improved dairy free version of his sticky toffee pudding does just as well this year.

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Gordon Ramsay's Dairy Free Sticky Toffee Pudding

Gordon Ramsay’s Dairy Free Sticky Toffee Pudding

I was happy to see these new recipes in the top three food posts for the year:

Cherry Coffee Preserve Goat Cheese Crostini

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Cherry Coffee Preserve Goat Cheese Crostini

Cherry Coffee Preserve Goat Cheese Crostini

This year my friend and I expanded our canning repertoire and picked our own cherries. Many hours later we had an array of canned cherry products. I was really please with how these cherry coffee preserves turned out, and I was inspired to pair them with goat cheese on top of a crispy crostini. The result was a delightful bittersweet, creamy, crunchy bite, and made for a festive appetizer over the holidays.

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

Apple Cornmeal Flax Muffins

I had been wanting to develop this recipe for awhile, as I loved the flavour combination of tart apple and sweet cornmeal. I still had some apples leftover from apple picking in the fall, so I was happy to finally make these muffins. Packed full of fresh, juicy apples, they made for a tasty high fiber breakfast or a yummy, healthy dessert.

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato & Squash Soup

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Sweet Potato Squash Soup

Asian Sesame Sweet Potato Squash Soup

I love incorporating my Japanese culture into my recipes, and this soup was a perfect example. I wanted to change up the usual butternut squash soup, so I added hints of sesame and topped the soup off with some nori. I also used miso instead of cream which made it lactose-intolerant-friendly for my boyfriend. A creamy, hearty soup that was really popular over the holidays.

As for travel, my big blog project this year was posting my two-week trip to Turkey. These posts took a really long time to put together as I diligently compiled all my thoughts and notes from diaries and photo logs. Many posts from this series did well throughout the year, though it made me sad to reminisce about this amazing trip with all the political turmoil this country has been through recently. I feel lucky we were able to travel to Turkey when we did, as we probably wouldn’t be advised to go there during these unstable times.

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Turkey in Two Weeks

How We Toured Turkey in Two Weeks

Speaking of Turkey, my top horror movie post was also Turkish, a hellishly creepy movie called “Baskin”.  I loved the surreal imagery in this film and the political analogies that are implied in regards to police brutality in Turkey. If you like H.P Lovecraft mixed with Dario Argento then this movie is for you!

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts "Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

I reviewed this film as part of my “Dinner and A Movie” category and paired this movie with a Turkish breakfast. My boyfriend and I still have a Turkish breakfast every weekend; a little part of Turkey that we brought home with us.

2016 Top Food, Travel and Horror Movie Posts Homemade Turkish breakfast

Homemade Turkish breakfast

So there they are!  My 2016 top food, travel and horror movie posts.  Thank you for visiting and hope to see you in 2017!

What were your top posts of 2016?  Did you accomplish your blogging goals?

Thanksgiving in Marmora

This year we spent a splendid Thanksgiving weekend in Marmora.  I’ve now witnessed Marmora throughout all the seasons, and every time I’m struck by the peace and tranquility in the air.  My boyfriend’s family is from this area, and his grandmother lives in a cozy cottage-turned-home along Crowe River.  I took my first panoramic photo of the back of their cottage, with all the fall colours popping.

Marmora in the fall

Marmora in the fall

I played around with some filters on this photo, not that autumn pictures really need a filter, but I personally love pushing the contrast for richer blacks, and upping the vibrancy of the hues to achieve a more dramatic effect.  I settled on the Hefe filter for this photo that I posted on my Instagram.

Marmora in the fall

Marmora in the fall

Growing up, I never had big family dinners or celebrations.  My father was an only child and my mother came from a large family that barely spoke to each other, so the extent of my family has only ever been two people.  My ex-husband and current partner have an extended family and though I consider myself very lucky that they’re all nice people, I still find I’m not entirely comfortable and sometimes it take me awhile to warm up for a group get together. 

I took some time to myself on this crisp fall day and tried to capture new angles of this location, which can be a challenge as I have taken so many photos throughout the years.  I liked this shot the best, with the trees and weeds framing the brilliant autumn shoreline in the background.

Marmora in the fall

Marmora in the fall

Where I Listened To The Last Tragically Hip Show

Severn, Ontario

Severn, Ontario

“Fireworks exploding in the distance
Temporary towers soar
Fireworks emulating heaven
Till there are no stars any more
Fireworks aiming straight at heaven
Temporary towers soar
Till there are no stars shining up in heaven
Till there are no stars any more”

-The Tragically Hip Phantom Power [1998]

Like so many other Canadians, I was devastated when I heard the news announcing Gord Downie’s glioblastoma brain cancer diagnosis.  The Tragically Hip have always been a reliable staple in my music collection ever since I got into music, at the age of thirteen.  They were an untouchable Canadian force, seemingly immortal, and I knew every few years I could count on a Hip album.  Some were better than others but they were one of the few bands that I would make the effort to go and buy their album from the local record store.  Most of the bands from my adolescent years have broken up, faded away or no longer tour, but The Tragically Hip have seen me through over two decades of my life.  I couldn’t process how this would most likely be the final time I heard Gord Downie sing live.  Yet, how strangely sweet it was to be able to say goodbye to a musical idol, to know that this would be the last time you would hear them and be able to appreciate them in all their glory.  That’s more of a goodbye than I had with Prince, or Bowie, so for that, I was thankful.

The weekend of the Kingston concert, we were up at my boyfriend’s best friend’s cottage on Gloucester Pool in Severn, Ontario.  We wanted to light some fireworks and have a bonfire, so we PVR’d the concert and brought the radio down to the lake.  I lay back on the lawn chair, staring up at the stars through the branches of a tree, sitting beside a roaring campfire and a Canadian flag, and I soaked up every note that Gord sang.  What a monumental event – 11.5 million Canadians tuned in that night, and no matter where you were, in front of a TV or listening over a radio, miles away from each other, that night we were all connected.

Severn, Ontario

Severn, Ontario

I sang along to my favourite Hip song “Nautical Disaster” which they played near the end of the set.  I realized this would probably be the last time I would ever sing along with Gord, and in that moment, I was so struck by that thought that tears welled up in my eyes.  Throughout the years, The Hip have woven themselves into my life, always a dependable musical force that made up my personal soundtrack.  While every band’s journey inevitably comes to an end, I think we all realized that night after listening to over two hours of their music, how their music and Gord’s passion will live on and never stop giving.