Lorne and ended it with an amazing wintery holiday in Edinburgh. The year wasn't without some tough times, especially the sadness when Sylvia lost her own Dolly. Her sadness about Dolly was matched in her joy at seeing her Irish cousin Dash on three separate occasions this year.
- I hosted a bloggers potluck
- I had a huge blog spike after Whole New Mom included my chocolate pumpkin digestives in her pumpkin roundup.
- I had my first magazine appearance in December 2012 (issue 6) of UK Making Cakes and Bakes.
- I did Vegan MoFo for the second time.
- I joined in blog events. Finally I started to do In My Kitchen posts, I got enough courage to do a Random Recipe Challenge and we said farewell to Presto Pasta Nights.
- I was the winner of No Croutons Required August 2012 for my African Curried Coconut Soup.
- Ricki chose my Tofu Nut Balls, Vegan Cheese and Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Hemp Seed Burgers in her weekly picks on her Wellness Weekends. (Actually she chose quite a few of my recipes - thanks Ricki).
- I was one of the blogs referred to in the Broadsheet article A Very Veggie Christmas.
- I was sent awards by Mel, Katie, Scrambled Megs and Choclette. Thanks.
This year I uploaded 211 posts. I passed the amazing milestone of 1000 posts in March. Since beginning the blog in April 2007 I have now posted 1,155 posts and have published 14,154 comments (let's not mention all the spam I have deleted).
My all time stats are a bit hard to measure because I didn't start counting from the beginning of my blog. According to StatCounter (set up in March 2008) I have had 937,099 page loads.
My most popular posts of all time do not include any 2012 posts. It stands to reason, given that they have had more time to accrue stats. But here are your ten favourite posts of 2012 (according to Google Analytics):
- Chocolate pumpkin digestives
- Dinosaur birthday cake
- Vegan cheese
- Chickpea and hempseed cheese
- Tofu bacon (and fried rice)
- Skye's tomato and pumpkin curry (and copyright)
- Reflections on 2011
- Vegetarian Christmas dinner in Scotland (Stilton nut roast and cranberry chestnut stuffing balls)
- Butterless butter cake
- Chocolate polenta cake
- Favourite DVD - the Railway Children
- Favourite kids tv show - Peppa Pig
- Favourite CD to dance to (with Sylvia) - The Fratellis
- Favourite Aussie television series - Puberty Blues
- Favourite foreign television series - Call the Midwife
- Favourite film - Hugo
- Favourite book - Secret River by Kate Grenville
- Favourite tourist attraction - Jirralinga Wildlife Sanctuary
- Favourite event - Open House Melbourne
Having a 3 year old around makes the same old meals rather important for comfort. I managed to make lots of other food too, thanks to inspiration from many other bloggers.
- We had lots of smoothies, tofu bacon, fried rice, dumplings, pizza and olive oil bread with chia seeds.
- Dinners I loved included smoky lime baked sweet potatoes, tofu nut balls, patatas bravas, Lancashire burgers, African soup, pea curry, avocado, bacon and tomato salsa, and asparagus, potato and quinoa soup.
- Favourite sweet food - choc almond rice bubble slice, quince and almond cake, pumpkin spice scrolls, chocolate pumpkin digestives, and treacle gingerbread.
- Best gluten-free baking - macaroon cake with raspberries, chocolate macaroons, and chickpea pizza bases.
- I made a page for basic recipes and posted a few such as pesto, hummus, miso soup, and tomato pasta sauce.
- I had fun cooking with chocolate in savoury food - green apple and white chocolate salad, chocolate nut roast with chocolate gravy, strawberry avocado and walnut salad with a chocolate vinaigrette.
- There were fun kids' birthday cakes - a dinosaur, a ghost, a rocket, and a dragon.
- I experimented with vegan cheese - an unsatisfactory feta, a great sliceable vegan cheese and a cheese made of chickpeas and hempseed (which went well in scones), plus a cheese sauce on a shamburger pizza.
- Favourite savoury baking - tofu-bacon and spinach muffins, polenta parmesan crackers, pretzels, cheese and apple soda bread, and pumpkin damper.
- I was pleased to write up a couple of history posts on limes and oranges.
- My favourite place that I ate out in Melbourne was the Gasometer Hotel and in Edinburgh it was Spoon. As with all these favourites, it was hard to narrow it down.
- I wrote some navel-gazing posts as is my way - FAQs, What vegetarian is that?, Child-Friendly Almanac, and On the Stereo.
My annual New Year post has become an opportunity to reflect on the developments in the blog. Maintenance and navigation on the blog are quite a bit of work and I wish I had more time for it. (In fact, once I have this post up, I must update my recipe index.)
I have made a few changes to the blog:
- I created an About This Blog page on my header menu
- I now have a Top 10 list on my lefthand sidebar - I find this list fascinating because it changes so much as it refers to what is popular each month. Dash's Airplane Cake and my Chocolate Crackles post are consistently in the list.
- I posted an updated blogging resources list to replace the one I posted in 2008
- I changed my banner so it fitted better and took on a new background (see previous blog designs)
- I regretfully started using captcha for my comments to combat the ever-increasing spam.
- I created a favicon for gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au (thanks Rachel). It is not ideal but I was just playing and haven't found a better one yet.
I dived into "social media" after some resistance. I have a flourishing Pinterest account and love it. It has joined Delicious as a great bookmarking tool. I have joined Eat Your Books which I like in theory but still find a bit overwhelming. I still am finding some of the online copyright issues can be difficult as I have written about this year.
It was also a year of great change in photography. I moved from using a compact automatic point and shoot camera to wielding a much bigger DSLR with three lens and a tripod. Setting aside the expense of accidents or how large it feels in a restaurant setting or heavy to carry about, I love it. I don't use it to its full potential. Maybe next year I will learn more about the manual settings. But I hope you will agree it has helped to improve my photographs. I have even started using picmonkey for collages when I have too many photos to cram into a post. (See the picmonkey collage of some favourite 2012 photos at the top of this post.)
Last but by no means least, this post is not just about me. It is a chance to say thank you to all my readers and supporters. Thank you to everyone who has linked to me through your blogroll or by acknowledging this blog as a source of recipe or inspiration. Thank you to everyone who has left a comment, sent an email or stopped by to browse. Thanks to those who give feedback on recipes, suggestions for meals and your kinds words about the blog whether online or in the real world.
In particular, thanks to my family and friends who share meals with me, thanks to my mum who continues to give advice and is always happy to discuss a recipe, and thanks to E and Sylvia for their willingness to try and/or give frank and fearless feedback. It is always a pleasure to share food with important people in my life.
I am not one for resolutions. I have had such a whirlwind end of year, I have barely had a chance to think about 2013. I hope there will be lots of good food and companionship. I would love to read more of the hardcopy kind. I hope I will still find time for blogging but possibly with a few less posts. What I can say is that it holds many mysteries, much change and a lot of planning.
Whether you have resolutions or not, I hope the year ahead is full of joy, that you weather the tough times with courage and embrace the good times with delight, that your problems are few, your surprises are delightful, and you find much to make you smile and laugh. Happy New Year!