Since July of 2011 with my very first post, many things have changed. The blog got a new site and hosting, as well as a new name to reflect changes in my life and the direction of my writing. It has evolved from “College Approved Food” with a focus on extreme cheapness and college-budget-and-skill-level recipes, to the Budget Epicurean, which is more expansive, and still combines my main passions of money and food.
While I do create and share many cheap recipes such as my Favorite One Dollar Lunch, Best Black Bean Soup, and The Perfect Breakfast that costs basically fifty cents per serving, I also love to get creative with recipes for Chia Seed Pudding, Tropical Granola, and reviews of fun food places like Cowfish and RocknRolls Sushi.
I also decided to put more emphasis on the “Budget” in Budget Epicurean and began sharing more financially related articles like How to Save on Grocery Bills, Meal Planning, My Frugal Beauty Manifesto, and Why a $1000 Raise Didn’t Change My Life.
This is also the blog’s 600th published post!
At an average of 1200 words per post, and 600 posts, that means I have written 720,000 words on this site y’all!
It also happens to be the last day of 2017. It is the perfect time to look back over the past 12 months and assess what has gone right and what we could do better. I always like to see where this blog has been, and how it has changed over the course of the year.
Top Dozen Posts of All Time
If we go by numbers alone, throughout the year, the top 12 posts skew towards older posts, since they have been published longer. The top 12 posts in the almost-7 year history of this blog are:
12. Frugal Last Minute Gift Ideas
11. Homemade Energy Drink Mix
10. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
9. Twice the Wine for Half the Calories!
8. Ginger Peach Slow Cooker Chicken
7. Slow Cooker Red Pozole With Pork
6. Breastfeeding: All About It
5. What Are Vitamins?
3. Meal Planning: What it is, why you should, and how to do it
2. Salsa Chicken Soup
And the #1 most viewed post: One Pan Buffalo Chicken Potato Bake
It consistently comes out as the top viewed post almost every day! And why not? It definitely hits all the marks of a classic hallmark recipe of the Budget Epicurean:
- Cheap total cost & cost per serving
- Can be made with what you probably already have at home
- Very filling and delicious
- Stores well for later eating
- Easy to multiply up or down to feed one or twelve
- Customizable to suit all palates/picky eaters
- One pan, for minimal prep and cleanup
This coming year, I will be trying to focus more on these super simple yet delicious recipes. For y’all of course, but also for selfish reasons! I also hate dishes and love simplicity. So I will be focusing on freezer meals, slow cooker meals, meal planning and meal prep, and one pan meals as much as possible.
Top Dozen Posts of 2017
However, I like to break it down into the current year alone, and rate the top posts month by month. This gives me an idea of what readers are responding to now, and what type of content I should focus on and continue writing about. In that case, we have:
- January: Slow Cooker Enchilada Casserole
- February: Make Ahead Egg Muffins
- March: How to Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker
- April: Nuts & Dark Chocolate Sea Salt KIND Bar
- May: Turkey & Cheese Rollups
- June: Venison Pot Pie
- July: Venison Penne Alfredo
- August: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Puppy Chow
- September: Salmon & Couscous Salad
- October: My Commuting Mistake
- November: A Tie! Between Holiday Weight Loss Plan and Why A $1000 Raise Didn’t Change My Life
- December: 12 Days of FI Christmas*
*more about that in a second!
Clearly, I need to get ahold of more venison and create more venison recipes! People seem to really like those, and I get a lot of search traffic from Google. I love “atypical” foods, including meats we don’t all get to try. See my recipes for brined Pheasant and Elk Burgers.
2017 was also a record-breaking year for page views and number of comments. This humble blog has skyrocketed from about 200 average page views per day to nearly 750 views every day! I’ve been choosing to engage more on social media (find me on Twitter and let’s be friends!) and in the blogosphere in general. I’ve found a literal bottomless well of writers and bloggers to read, follow, interact with, and learn from.
I am so thankful, as these bloggers words have challenged and changed many of my perspectives, motivated me, taught me so much, and helped me make positive changes in my life. Reading blogs and interacting through comments and social media have brought me several new blogger friends & relationships that I cherish.
If you need some new folks to read, follow, and inspire you, check out my What I Love page.
2017’s Biggest Blog Accomplishments
And the 2017 coup de triumph? The 12 Days of FI Christmas of course! Thanks so much to I Dream of FIRE for thinking up this awesome music video project and making it all come together. We had such a huge, positive response from the FI community.
It was an absolute dream for me to be part of a thing that was featured on RockstarFinance! Nice things were said about it by the outstanding Physician on FIRE, J. Money, RootofGood, and many others featured. If you haven’t seen it yet, please enjoy below!
This video and the corresponding avalanche of response brought the blog its new peak views, and broke 1,000 unique organic pageviews in one day!! I can’t tell you how exciting that is. All these great FI Bloggers who think being in our video means they “made it”, when really I feel like I’ve made it! Just goes to show you the power of a community, creativity, and positivity.
Also, notice that roller-coaster looking graph? The bottom line is individual unique visitors, whereas the top line is pageviews. That means the big spikes are people who visit, and then click around to many different posts in one visit. So that big spike on Sunday 12/17 had 1064 unique visitors, and 1967 page views. Thus, each person who came to the site, on average clicked on one other article.
Whomever is coming to this blog and then staying a while, reading through all of the post archives, Thank You and I Love You!! <3
I’ve also begun branching out into the world of Virtual Reality. The Budget Epicurean has brought you videos of Homemade Kombucha, Freezer Meal Planning, Turkey Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna, how to make Stovetop Popcorn and more. Well, we stepped up our game this year with the Virtual Reality video of Cracker Cookies!
There are a few virtual reality cooking games and simulators, and I’m sure that there will be “famous” chefs flooding the VR spaces soon. Currently, there are no Virtual Reality cooking shows. The Budget Epicurean hopes to change that, for the better.
However, we want to bring you real content, to show that you don’t need to be a highly trained five star chef to feed yourself and your family. Literally anyone can learn how to cook healthy, whole food meals at home. We want to invite you into my kitchen to see in real time, step by step, how to make the delightful, frugal, yet tasty recipes you’ve come to know and love here.
So What’s Next?
I don’t really do “resolutions”, because generally speaking, big amorphous goals with no way to measure, track, or keep yourself accountable do not work. However, I do believe in setting goals for myself and my lil’ corner of the internet.
Looking ahead, some of my goals for 2018 include:
- Continue posting 2x/week, and no less than 1x/week
- Read a minimum of 1 book per month and 3 blogs/day
- Grow my subscribers list to double the current number
- Write and send quarterly newsletters to my subscribers with custom content found only in these emails
- Record, edit, and publish 3 new VR cooking videos
- Write, edit, and hopefully publish my biggest project yet!
- Release the next few meal plan bundles to Amazon
- Create meaningful side income to support this blogs’ growth and future projects
Hopefully more to come on all of these things in the next few months. Feel free to engage online, through email, or leave a comment any time! I love nothing more than hearing from and interacting with readers like you.