A quick recap of all the delicious goodness that transpired at Love is in my tummy in 2016 and a few words for you, my lovely readers!
2016 has finally come to a close, and in more ways than one I am glad for it. Too many deaths this year, too much sorrow, disappointments, destruction and failures. I was just browsing through my Facebook history for this year and all I could think was, ‘damn this year sucked’ !
But despite all the crap that went on out there in the world, I am truly grateful for the year I’ve had personally.
The last few days of the year are when I am most depressed. I feel the weight of the days gone by, the pressure of the days to come and a sense of dread hangs over my head like a bad omen. There is a strong feeling of non-accomplishment, having just wasted yet another year I was given.
But this year has been different. Because this year, I did something uncharacteristically new – I put myself out there. I had quit my job mid-last year and spent every waking moment re-building my blog from scratch. A blog that started years ago as just a personal record of my favourite recipes that just a few friends knew about exploded into so much more. Love is in my tummy is now a brand, a product of my creativity, hard work (that never once felt like work) and the starting point of all my dreams. The road is long and winding, full of unknown twists and turns but I am glad to have taken that first fearless step.
I’ve since have had the opportunity to work with several household brands like Hefty, Reynolds and Lays, collaborated with others doing what I love most now that Monday blues are non-existent to me, earned a few mentions in prominent publications and ‘virtually’ met so many wonderful bloggers and even made a few good friends out of them!
And all of it would not have been possible without the unfaltering love and support of my family and friends, my husband (and best friend) in particular, who has been my cheerleader, even on days when getting out of bed seemed an impossible task. And then on days when I’ve soared too close to the heavens, he’s my anchor, gently bringing me down to earth, reminding me of how far I have yet to go. I owe him a lifetime of gratitude and every year, he’s the first thing I’m thankful for.
I also have YOU to thank, my lovely readers- those of you who come back here every week to see what I’ve created, who take a leap of faith in the kitchen with me, who send me private messages with pictures of your creations letting me know how you loved it – every kind word, every like, every share has made this year more fulfilling than all of the previous ones put together.
OK, enough of all that now, I’d talk all day if you let me!
Here’s a quick look back at all the awesome new things that have come into my life (and featured on Love is in my tummy) this year!
5 INGREDIENTS that changed my life this year!
Vanilla Bean Paste
I cannot stress enough about how much this one magical ingredient has changed my life. I’ve now been so spoilt with the intense vanilla-ness that the vanilla bean paste brings that I don’t think I can ever go back to extract ever again. Seriously! I often find myself opening the bottle just to get a quick whiff of the vanilla.
Here are a few recipes that benefited greatly from a teeny tiny drop of vanilla bean paste.
This year, I realized that this wonderful, lesser-known ingredient can work so much magic in the kitchen! And not just in desserts! Don’t forget to check out ‘All you need to know about Agar-agar‘ and save the infographic at the end – makes conversions and measurements so much easier.
This delicious VEGAN Ramen Noodles wouldn’t have been possible without this dreadful looking dried seaweed. Looks like death, smells like death, but damn that broth is delicious! I can’t wait to discover other dishes that I can add these to.
Legion of Spices – Bayou Black Seasoning
Unlike the case with other ingredients that I usually find, this spice blend found me! The awesome folks from Legion of Spices sent me a sample, and it’s now become a pantry staple. Trust me, you’ll feel like Mary Poppins with this seasoning – a pinch here and a dash there for an eye-popping result. Apart from cooking with it, just stir into mayo for an instant, no-fuss, blow-your-mind dip!
Fried Red Chilli Flakes
Although I practically grew up with this quintessential Burmese ingredient, this year I discovered that I could transform many a dish with a pinch of these fried Red Chilli Flakes – from Pasta to Ramen, this is one ingredient I cannot forever more live without.
Top posts of 2016
Of course I loved everything I created/discovered this year, but a girl can have her favourites – and here they are, and mind you, they’ve seen many a repeat performances.
Non ‘non-stick’ pans I’ve begun to use this year
As you know, I started this year on a mission to reduce the use of non-stick pans in my cooking. This is a huge adjustment for anyone, but with just a little more effort, I am happy to say that the run-of-the-mill non-stick pans lie at the back of my kitchen cupboards. And if I can make the change, anyone can!
The only bad thing I can say now about these are their weight, but I guess that just adds credibility to their durability and potential to last several lifetimes. Properly seasoned, they’re as good as a non-stick pan any day of the week! Be sure to check out my tips to take care of your cast irons.
Diamond Coated Pan
Technically still a non-stick, but made of tougher things than the regular non-stick cookware. After all, aren’t diamonds the hardest known substance to man, not to mention a girl’s best friend?
The credit for this find goes to my father, who saw an infomercial for these and ordered a set. Normally, I’d have chided him for yet another impulsive buy, but for this particular item, I was grateful. This pan has been in my family for at least 5 years I think, and the coating is still going strong. It’s definitely outlived many a regular non-stick pan! I loved it so much, that I bought a set for my own home this year. Even my husband loves it, and he isn’t one to enjoy cooking!
The silicone spatula set that comes with the pans makes sure that the last drop of gravy gets wiped clean from the pan. Unlike with regular non-stick pans, there isn’t a grimy oil sediment that builds with use, even when heated to high temperatures. A little oil goes a long way, and the stylish lid keeps most of the cooking vapour contained, creating a sort of high-pressure cooking environment, which means the food cooks in it’s own juices, which translates to better flavour.
These pans will help smooth the transition towards a completely non-synthetic cooking lifestyle.
This is the most recent addition to my ever-growing kitchen (much to the dismay of my dearest husband!) – soapstone cookware that the folks at Uncommon Goods sent me, handcrafted in Brazil and 100% natural. Properly seasoned, it’s naturally non-stick and withstands + retains heat upto 1000°C! That means lower fuel to heat and keep warm, which automatically means better for the environment and you!
And don’t they look pretty on your table?
New Year Resolutions!
What’s New Years without everyone of us claiming a resolution in an attempt to change our lives for the better? Well, I’m going to play along with the farce (which almost always falls through within the first couple of months).
I am not a breakfast person at all – most days, a cup of coffee is all I manage to have before lunch. It’s the one thing my husband and I differ most in, he would die without breakfast ( or murder those who manage to delay him getting to his bowl of cereal) and I intend to change that.
Next year, I would make sure I have breakfast every morning, which means that you guys will probably get a dose of some breakfast recipes (which hopefully would be easy as well as hearty and delicious!).
Please let me wish you and yours a most wonderful New Year – take this time to count your blessings, forget the rest and gear up for a fresh new start. Say ‘I Love You’ to the ones who truly matter and turn your backs on those that you need to put behind you. De-clutter your life as you would your things and you’ll find yourself lighter and stronger to take on the New Year!
And before you go, I’d LOVE to hear from you. What did you think of this year? What new things did you discover in 2016? What were your most favourite finds? Let me know in the comments below!
See you next year!
Clementina Aishwarya Dawson!!!!!!!!! Reading this post made me realise how much you’ve grown!! So happy and proud!! I kinda feel emotional.. reading your new year resolution took me back Wipro cafeteria days where you used to drink Vasantha Bhavan sambar 😜!!
I need to look more on those pans and you better bring me the one you promised!!
Happiest new year wishes to Pradeep and you kitty Kat!
Tina Dawson says
Oh Lee, reading this made me emotional! I haven’t had breakfast since moving out of Wipro Chennai and I guess the only reason I did back then was a reason to hang out with you guys a bit more! 🙂
Thank you so much for all the million ways you’ve supported me. The next time I come home, it will be with the soapstone pan! I already ordered it for you! I kinda love it!
Happy New Year Lee!!! Love you so very much! ❤
Lisa | Garlic + Zest says
Wow, Tina — those ingredients — the Kombu, Agar Agar and Fried Red Chili Flakes sound amazing. I also have a stash of Black and Bayou in my pantry and have made several delicious things with it. Your photos are lovely and I love your styling… You should be proud of yourself and your lovely blog!
Tina Dawson says
Oh Lisa, to hear you say that my photos are amazing is an honor indeed! I look up to you everyday for inspiration!! Happy New Year to you and yours! God Bless!
Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy says
Lovely round up! Also congratulations on turning your blog into an established brand. I like most people have visions of quitting their 9-5pm job. Although I work in catering I would love to transition to blogging full time. Keep up the good work and your photography is amazing.
Tina Dawson says
Thanks so much Charla! I am actually looking to move back to a 9-5 job, but in the food industry! Will you look at how our goals swapped! 🙂 Happy New Year girl! May all your dreams come true!
Looks like it has been a great year- so many gorgeous recipes!
Tina Dawson says
It has, Emily and I am so thankful for it!
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings says
What a great wrap up and you should be proud of all the hard work you have done this year. It is hard to put yourself out there, I know. I love my cast iron skillet too!
Tina Dawson says
A fellow cast-iron sister! Yaay!
Just Jo says
Oh what a lovely read – I love a bit of end of year nostalgia and this fits the bill nicely. In the grand scheme of things, you’re right, 2016 has been a bad year for so many people across the world but this isn’t a space to go into that. Needless to say I am hopeful for the New Year. You’re living my dream, giving up the job and blogging full time – congratulations! My goal is to drop one day of the day job, fingers crossed 2017 is the year I can actually do that. Happy New Year to you Tina x
Tina Dawson says
Thank you so very much, Jo! This year has truly been a drab and I am glad to see it end! Happy New Year to you and yours, and may all your dreams come true!
Happy New Year to you as well! I love this time of year for reflection and evaluating and goal-setting. This was a great post with so much yumminess in it!!
Tina Dawson says
Thank you very much Amy!
Such a heartfelt post!! I totally understand all the hard work that goes behind a blog but it definitely is something you can call your own..And de-cluttering your life is on the top of my list as well. Also would love a nice cast iron pan. Hope you Have a Happy New Year and wishing you much success for the upcoming year 🙂
Tina Dawson says
Oh then may you find yourself with a Cast Iron pan next year! Thanks very much Stephanie, wishes for a brilliant 2017!