All your favorites from 2018 on An Oregon Cottage - recipes, food, preserving, a surprising DIY, and a fabulous gardening tip that keeps going strong.
It's an annual tradition here to look back on the year and see what were the most popular articles from the previous year (you can see all the annual popular lists starting back in 2010 here - it's really interesting to see which recipes and projects are still on the favorites lists...). And AOC isn't blazing a new trail here - you'll find year-end popular lists pretty much everywhere.
But I still really value compiling these lists each year because it gives me the chance to see what is resonating with you, my sweet readers, and gives me an idea of the kind of content that I should focus on producing. I've also heard from many of you that you enjoy these compilation lists, too, as a way to see what you may have missed or something you want to remember.
While most years I break the popular recipes and articles into two separate lists - one only for recipes and one for DIY and gardening - this year I'm just making one list of your favorites, no matter what the category (might as well simplify here, too, right?). Though I am sharing the top 15 instead of 10 - I usually have a hard time stopping when I see what you all like.
To gather this list, I simply went to my Google analytics page and searched for the most visited articles and recipes in 2018. This means that it doesn't matter when the recipe or project was written, so you'll see both oldies-but-goodies and a few new-in-2018 on this list. I'd love to know what you think - any favorites of yours that made the list? Any that didn't?
There were a couple surprises to me that I'll share at the end, but first your favorites from AOC, from most popular on down to number fifteen.
2018 Favorite Recipes, DIY & Gardening
1. Perfectly Salted DIY Roasted Almonds. These are a staple in our house - and it seems they are in yours, too. It's really a revelation of two things: how easy it is to roast your own nuts (yes, you can use this same technique with other nuts) and the AMAZING flavor. Really - you won't believe the difference from store-bought if you haven't tried them yet, I promise.
2. How to Freeze Corn Three Ways. This preserving tutorial was actually published a number of years ago, but really took off this year during the harvest season. It actually overtook freezing green beans which has been a top 5 recipe/DIY for years. I show three different ways to freeze corn and the pros and cons of each.
3. 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Tutorial. This is our staple bread, both soft and healthy, so I'm happy to see that it still ranks up here as one of your favorites. It's also a really easy to make bread that many, many people have had success with, which makes me so happy!
4. Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion-Dijon Sauce. I remember when I created this recipe on a whim, wondering if anyone would appreciate a cabbage recipe. Um, yes. It went crazy and has been one of my top recipes every year since publishing.
5. Easy Sourdough Artisan Bread. More and more people are into sourdough (this how-to sourdough article is in my top 50), so I'm not really surprised that this recipe has overtaken my regular easy artisan bread it was modeled after on this list (but maybe just a little - the regular bread really is EASY).
6. Truly Soft 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls. A revelation (gee, I use that word a lot with food, don't I?) of flavor and texture from a regular whole wheat flour, these rolls are a holiday tradition and family favorite. The key? Don't add too much flour even though it's a sticky dough (watch the video here to get an idea of what I mean). Once you get that balance, it's all good and you'll be on your way to healthy roll heaven.
7. Freezing Basil Leave 6 Ways: Which Is Best? This was almost a science experiment, but I was determined to find the best way to freeze basil (that wasn't pesto - you can only use so much in a year and basil plants produce a LOT when they're happy). It was a nice ending when the simplest method was also the best. Love it when that happens.
8. Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe - You'll Never Go Back to Canned. It makes me SO happy that this recipe made the list this year! It's a terrific recipe - both in flavor and how quickly you can make it - that has been on the blog since the first year way back in 2009. Which means it had small, badly lit photos that couldn't be shared on social media. I took new photos, updated it, and republished the recipe in February of 2018 and now a LOT more people are enjoying this family favorite soup. Yeah!
9. Homemade Garlic-Mint Garden Insect Spray. This has been perennially in the top DIY/Gardening lists since I published it, with good reason. It really DOES work for insects that are repelled by smell. This year I've also discovered that it works to keep deer off of shrubs! And I've had readers tell me even more that it worked for and I plan on updating you all on soon. This stuff is amazing. (There is also a FAQ page that answers more questions and shares readers success stories.)
10. Easy Way to Freeze Green Beans Without Blanching. This is actually the lowest this article has ever been on the yearly favorites list - it's been popular since publishing. Since it goes against standard procedures, I knew this would be either popular or reviled. But since it's the only way to get frozen beans that we'll actually eat in our house, I hoped there would be others like us - and there are!
11. Homemade Vinaigrette Salad Dressing 4 Ways. This was another first-year-of-the-blog recipe that is a staple in our house. When I redid the recipe and added photos and recipes of the variations I had always listed on the original recipe a few years ago, it took off! I'm always so glad when this happens, as this really was the recipe that freed me from thinking I had to buy bottled dressings.
12. DIY Tufted French Mattress Cushion Tutorial. See that bench? That's the bench Brian created from two broken chairs and it's been a popular DIY project since the beginning. But this year it was overtaken by the mattress I made out of painter's drop cloth to set on it. I wasn't sure how many people wanted to make their own, but I guess there are quite a few.
13. Sweet & Spicy Canned Onion Marmalade. This is one of those preserving recipes you love, but you're not sure others will (kind of like our Addictive Tomato Chutney - which has never made this list, sadly). It's just a delicious condiment to serve with meats, poultry, and seafood and makes a great appetizer over goat cheese or cream cheese. Which apparently others have figured out, too!
14. Easiest Fermented Pickled Vegetables. Wow, am I super happy to see this on the popular list! A brand new recipe for 2018, it's one of the first things I made as part of my education into fermenting and gut health. It's nice to see others are taking care of their guts, too. Of course it helps that this can be done with delicious pickled vegetables, right?
15. Easy Garlic Dill Pickles. This is a modern-traditional pickle (meaning using vinegar, not fermentation) that's been the way I've preserved cucumbers into pickles for years. It's a refrigerated pickle because canned cucumber pickles were always too soft for me. I love the crispness of a refrigerated pickle. Plus can you say "quick and e.a.s.y.?"
There you have it - the top 15 recipes, DIY and gardening projects of 2018 on AOC. Any surprises for you? You may have guessed from my descriptions, but there were a few for me:
- The biggest is probably that the almonds are #1 - and by a long shot. Guess what you'll be seeing more of in 2019? Yep - other types of roasted nuts and some flavors.
- The updated classic recipes that took off both surprised and made me happy. That's always what I hope happens when I update a tried-and-true recipe.
- The DIY mattress kicking the French Bench off the most popular list.
- Three freezing preserving recipes in the top 15 means you guys like this easy way to preserve produce and I need to give you more of that.
- And of course that the fermented pickled vegetables made the list - good for you!
Here's to a wonderful 2019 for all of us full of more great recipes, preserving, DIY, and gardening! Thank you dear friends for visiting, using the recipes and projects and "voting" with your clicks - I couldn't do this without you (and wouldn't want to!).
And if there's anything that you'd like to see more of, know that you can always email or leave comments and I will do what I can to see that happen. Blessings!