Well, hi! Sitting down and reflecting on 2021 was never going to bring a smile to anyone’s face. I know we all thought 2021 would be better. Aaaaand it was not. Aaaaand looking to 2022 doesn’t really bring confidence. So here we are, just doing our best.

We’ve all gotta keep eating though, right? So at least for those of us who enjoy cooking, there’s always that at the end of the day.

Most Popular New Recipes of 2021

It’s safe to say we were all just comfort eating our way through this one. These are the three new recipes which have been most popular around here, and they’re all pretty comforting stuff.

This Halloumi Tray Bake with Pesto Rice is the perfect kind of meal when you have vegetables to use up. It was a real crowd pleaser for the families who have reviewed it.

For some reason Puff Pastry Spanakopita feels much more achievable than the real deal. The tasty filling and crowd pleasing nature of spanakopita went down well with our readers who tried it.

This Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole is a total delight, bursting with spices and flavors, but totally versatile too – our reviewers added their own spins to the recipe and loved the results.

My Top Picks

These were not the most popular, but they were my own faves that totally deserve another look and will not let you down!

This Tortellini Kale Lentil Soup is a dream, a DREAM I tell you. Creamy, filling, beautifully spiced with smoked paprika and fennel seeds. Just make it!

This Scamorza & Cherry Tomato Pasta took me a looooong time to perfect (seriously about 10 tries) so I am quite attached to the end result! It’s seriously good – it looks so simple and innocent, but it’s full of unexpected richness and flavor.

This Broccoli Potato Salad was an unexpected delight. I know, I know, it seems weird. Raw broccoli is hit and miss. But just try it! It all comes together and just works.

What’s New Behind the Scenes

In last year’s update I mentioned we were moving to Scotland this year – yes that happened! Buying a new build house in the middle of a pandemic with supplies shortages turned out not to be such a great plan after all, but after months in Airbnbs we have a home again. Phew.

You may have noticed already that we have a new website and new branding? I also updated the photos of myself on the About page. It all just feels a little more pulled together around here.

It wasn’t a great year for business, to be totally honest, we lost a bit of traffic where Google rankings have fallen and where Pinterest don’t push some of the recipes they used to. It happens! Ups and downs. 2021 wasn’t the year for world domination but we’re still doing just fine and will fight a little harder next year.

What’s Next

I am looking at some new ways of working next year, bringing in some help with photography and videography, maybe trying out some new content formats (deep dives into ingredients and cooking methods rather than always recipes?)

I also have a “Cooking for and with kids” series I am planning, because my 5 year old is super into cooking and we’re trying to use this to expand her repertoire of accepted foods, with some successes that I’d love to share.

I said last year I wanted to do more vegan recipes, and I totally failed at that goal because it was a mess of a year and I needed to cling to what I knew best, which is cheese. But maybe this year I’ll tackle that. Otherwise, I intend to do more sheet pan / tray bake dinners, more side dishes, and I am actually trying really hard to stop using fennel seeds in every single recipe.

You just have no idea the struggle of leaving those seeds on the shelf.

Christmas Eating

Christmas is coming! This is our festive menu…

And no, the kids won’t eat much if any of that, so there will be a pizza at the table as backup.

Thank you!

I am more thankful than ever that you’re here. These last couple years have been unstable times for everyone, but my business has ticked over, kept me with an income despite lockdowns, and given me a creative outlet during some very boring / stressful (isn’t it weird how those things have coexisted?) times.

When you choose to use my recipes and spend time on my site, you are supporting a small business and it is very much appreciated. Thank you.

You can help!

If you’re wondering how you can further support Happy Veggie Kitchen, or other small blogs and websites, here are the things that that really truly help us grow:

Rate the recipes you enjoy: When a recipe shows up on Google with lots of positive ratings, people are more likely to consider that recipe.

Pinterest user? Pin the recipes that interest you and mark “Tried it” on the ones you’ve made: The pins that send me the most traffic are not the ones I pin, or the ones my blog friends with thousands of followers pin, it’s the ones real users pin. Pinterest knows the difference. If you’re a user, consider pinning my recipes that you are interested in to your boards. And if you try one, pleeeeeease mark as “tried” and share a photo – this can dramatically increase the visibility of your pin in other people’s feeds.

Subscribe : Subscribing over email means that the social media algorithms won’t let my recipes fade out of your feed and you will be the first to know when there are new recipes. Sign up here!

Have a good one…

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re able to celebrate the holidays in the way that you wish, with some loved ones and some great food.

Stay safe out there, and I’ll see you next year.