FIRST THINGS FIRST: Thank you, friends! We've come to the end of another gluten free year together. I love a fresh start, and as we stand on the edge of 2015, it's fun to look back at the year we've had. I'm calling these the best gluten free recipes of 2014, since they're the most trafficked recipes and pages here on the blog. Although there is some room for debate about whether popular means “best,” when it comes to a food blog, I think they're kind of one and the same. Some of you are brand new to this site, and some of you have been with me for years. I know many of you by name (whether you realize it or not!), and I cherish your patronage. Whether you skip straight to the recipe, or read my blah blah blah in each entry first, whether you check in every day or just once a week—I welcome and appreciate you.
Looking Ahead: In 2015, you should have my 4th cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks, in hand in late March if you preorder. On October 1, I'll turn in the manuscript for my 5th cookbook (!). Before any of that, though, in January this site will be redesigned to be even more photo-driven, with an option to view it in traditional blog format or a more editorial style, a brand new Recipe Request Submission process (I love your recipe requests!), and many other little features that will make the site faster and easier to use. Plus, the blog design is going to be “responsive,” which means that it will be way way WAY easier to read on a mobile device or tablet, which is where most of you read it. More details on that soon!
Looking Back: When I started this blog back in 2009, my life was pretty different—and so was this site! I had just stopped practicing law in large, international law firms after 12+ years, and my 3 kids were quite small. I didn't know how to use a DSLR camera (and I certainly didn't own one!), and I didn't know the first thing about blogs or WordPress or HTML (to say the least). I had absolutely no idea that I would really be able to give this a real go, or that I'd have 3 cookbooks published in the next 5 years. Thank you for being here. It may be cliché, but it's entirely true: I couldn't do this without you. *MWAH*
Best 14 in 2014: Below are the recipes and the pages on the blog that were the most-loved this year. As always, some of them surprised me, and some didn't. Just as in previous years, I learn from what you love, and what you don't. This blog is a partnership, and I value your (polite!) feedback. So let's settle in and look back at 2014, A Year To Remember. LOVE YOU!
[To use the clickable collage, hover over each photo for the recipe title and click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe. Then scroll down for a description of each entry, and another set of links.]
Here's your 10¢ tour of these 14 Most Popular Gluten Free Recipes of 2014 on Gluten Free on a Shoestring, beginning with the #1 most popular recipe of 2014, with a little bit about what I think made each so popular (and another set of links):
1. Old Fashioned Gluten Free Cornbread: This is, far and away, the most trafficked recipe on the whole blog. It is adapted from Old Fashioned Cornbread in my first cookbook, and was first posted on the blog way back in 2009. I later updated the photos on the blog, and turned it into a skillet cornbread, but whatever I do with it—you love it! And you know what? So do I. It has one type of flour—coarsely-ground yellow cornmeal—is quick, easy and absolutely delicious.
2. Gluten Free Instant Noodle Cups: This was a later-in-the-year addition to the site, but it quickly became popular and is on pace to blow away every other recipe on the site in the coming year. It's super simple, and just as useful as it's so adaptable. And who doesn't need a super quick lunch or dinner on hand? Pinterest also really, really loves this recipe (and the action photo, too, I think), which helps a ton.
3. One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake: Again, simplicity wins the day. And a super rich chocolate cake doesn't hurt, either. That—and the fact that I adapted this recipe into a decadent chocolate mousse cake, which links back to this recipe. This cake is a definite winner.
4. Gluten Free Fried Chicken, KFC-Style: It's kind of a mess to deep fry, but it's still totally worth it for these 11-herbs-and-spices pieces of fried chicken goodness. Lots of tips included in the recipe for how to make it work. My family ate a LOT of friend chicken when I was developing this recipe over a period of a few weeks!
5. Gluten Free Bread Recipe Index: With the release late last year of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, there was a very big renewed interest in the index of gluten free bread recipes here on the blog in 2014. Having a visual recipe index was very important to me when I had the blog redesigned about 2 years ago, and when another blog redesign coming soon, it is going to be even more photo-driven. I think you're going to love it!
6. Braided Gluten Free Nutella Bread: Making this braided Nutella bread is way, way easier than it looks, given how impressively gorgeous it is. Many of you realized that (and even posted photos of your beautiful breads for all of us to see on Facebook, which I love), and, well, I kind of think you bragged to your friends.
7. Gluten Free All Recipe Index: Like the visual bread recipe index above, the general recipe index is also something you spend a fair amount of time reviewing. I'm so, so glad, as I believe it's the best way to get a bird's eye view of what this blog has to offer. Can't wait for the blog to become even more photo-driven in January!
8. Soft Gluten Free Tapioca Wraps: These simple wraps are just.so.useful. They are perfect for making ahead and reheating, and they even travel extremely well so they're perfect for those gluten free lunchboxes. My kids would happily eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even my low-carb-loving brother and sister-in-law love them (and they can (and do!) eat gluten whenever they like).
9. Easy Gluten Free Biscuit Donuts: I know donuts, gluten free or otherwise, are not the best thing for us to eat. But the simplicity of these biscuit donuts (which will give you an easy taste of the cronut craze!) can't be beat, and sometimes, you just want a donut. Like you “used to” have.
10. Gluten Free Flour Tortillas from GFOAS Bakes Bread: Like the soft tapioca wraps, these flour tortillas are incredibly useful. And like the tapioca wraps, they freeze and defrost amazingly well. Plus, if you've never had a fresh flour tortilla right off the skillet with butter, you're really really missing out.
11. Super Fudgy Paleo Brownies: These dairy-free, grain-free, refined-sugar-free Paleo brownies are as lovely to sink your teeth into as you think. Paleo recipes can be great, and I love the new challenges of working with the different ingredients.
12. Glazed Gluten Free Donut Holes: You love this recipe because you know what I know: Dunkin Donuts Munchkins are delicious, and sometimes your gluten free kid just needs to know what they taste like. There's one way to find out.
13. Gluten Free Bubble Pizza: I posted this recipe on the blog later in the year, and it was a quick, runaway success (and I think it will stay that way for a long time to come, with steady visitors all year long). It's quick, it's easy and you know everyone is going to love it. I always always always have some thick crust gluten free pizza dough in a bucket in my refrigerator, so a quick dinner of one sort or another is always minutes away.
14. Stuffed Gluten Free Soft Breadsticks: I bet you love these stuffed breadsticks for the same reason I do: sometimes (okay, often) you just need a fabulous portable meal that you can make for your kids to have in the back seat of the car in between sporting events, especially in the warmer months when it's all sports, all the time. That, and they're just plain fabulous. There's that too!
“See” you in 2015!!
P.S. Were your copies of the Gluten Free on a Shoestring cookbooks under the tree? Or maybe the promise of a preorder of Gluten Free Classic Snacks?? Preorders should arrive in late March! Very exciting!!