Happy 4th Birthday to Delectably Free!

collage DF birthday

Clockwise from top left: Creamy, Vegan Mac and Cheese; Tempeh Sloppy Joes; Coconut-Almond Rice Crispy Treats; Avocado-Lime Tart

Today’s our 4th birthday here at Delectably Free, and it’s been a long but certainly enjoyable journey getting here. There were hiatuses and speed bumps along the way, but it was always my goal to try to provide my readers with nutritious and healthy recipes that could be eaten on a modified diet. I hope I’ve at least done that!

Many of my fellow food bloggers probably know how much work can go into keeping a recipe blog alive and active. Not only have there been countless hours of recipe testing in the kitchen, but photographing and writing everything down can add to the time commitment. I will be honest and say that there are many times that I have really thought about giving up completely. I make no money blogging, and put a lot of time and money into it. Once I graduated law school and started working full-time as an attorney, it became even more challenging to keep up this site. But I’d missed it so much in the year that I took off that I knew I couldn’t give Delectably Free up completely. I also received feedback from people I’d never even imagined were reading my site. It made me want to continue to share my recipes and stories with all of you. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep sharing for years to come.

I thought I would take a look back at Delectably Free, starting with my favorite all-time recipes. It’s difficult for me to play favorites, especially since I know that some of my simple but perhaps less intriguing overall recipes have certainly been lost in the shuffle over the years. But the following recipes all either have a special place in my heart, or have received the most positive feedback from friends, family and readers. Here’s a look:

Top Ten Countdown: 

10. Gluten-Free, Vegan Lasagna: This was the first recipe I created that I was truly stunned could turn out so amazing without any gluten, dairy or egg products. I was not vegan at the time of making it, so I think my surprise was heightened by the fact that it was one of my first forrays into gluten-free, vegan cooking. I didn’t know how delicious, rich and decadent a gluten free, vegan lasagna could be!

9. Crushed Lentil Soup: This is one of the recipes I probably receive the most feedback on. It’s very easy and inexpensive to make, so I think that adds to its popularity. It’s a great side dish, but I’ve also gotten into the habit of adding even more veggies, diced tomatoes and perhaps some canned artichoke for a heartier stew.

8. Fudgy Black Bean Brownies: I’ve seen recipes for black bean brownies on several blogs, and didn’t want to create more of the same. I tried to up the chocolate flavor of these and hide the black beans as best as possible. These are certainly fudgey and chocolate-y — and a favorite among family and friends.

7. Tempeh Sloppy Joes: I am including these Sloppy Joes in my top 10 list because they have been complimented by the biggest meat aficionado in my life (which is relative, considering half my family are now vegans): my brother. When he tried these, he barely realized they were vegan and asked for second helpings. It will surprise you how much these mimic the flavor of “real” sloppy joes, without all of the animal fat. I added lots of veggies to up the health benefits of this recipe. It’s vegan comfort food that you don’t have to feel bad about eating.

6. Coconut-Almond Rice Crispy Treats: These are so easy — no baking involved. I’ve been known to add additions to the coconut such as dried cherries or even a chocolate drizzle on top (made from coconut oil, cocoa and coconut nectar). These are one of my mom’s favorites, and kids love them too.

5. Creamy, Vegan Mac and Cheese: This recipe is the essence of vegan decadence. Contrary to most people’s misguided notions about veganism, vegan food can be indulgent and even a tad bit sinful, as this recipe will show. But it’s so darn good — and easy, too! All you have to do is throw everything in a crock pot and stir a couple times. Easy, right?

4. Hot Spinach Dip: I always get compliments on this dip from non-vegans who never suspect it’s made with vegan cheese. Another sinful yet delicious dish that will impress your guests.

3. German Chocolate Cake: This cake is amazing. I am especially proud of it because it came out perfect my first time testing the recipe (which was especially necessary considering I was making it for a charity auction and had little room for error). Fellow food bloggers will understand how rare such an occurence is, especially in the unpredictable world of baking. Yes, it does take some time to make. But if you really want to make a chocolate-lover in your life happy, make this for them!

2. Focaccia: I am proud of this focaccia for the exact opposite reason I’m proud of my German Chocolate Cake (above) — it took me several tries to perfect this recipe, and I was determined not to give up until I had it right. Finally, when I did perfect it, it became an instant hit with my family and gluten-free friends. It can also be used as the base for several other gluten-free recipes. I’ve used it to make gluten-free Thanksgiving dressing and this focaccia pizza with “cream cheese” and veggies.

1. Avocado-Lime Tart: I think this may be one of my personal favorite desserts on my blog, and mostly because I was a HUGE key lime pie lover back in the day. I love the tartness of the filling with the sweet crust. If you’re a key lime pie lover like me but want a gluten-free, vegan and healthier version of the classic, try this recipe. The presentation will also impress your guests.

family photo

my favorite taste-testers and me

 

My first post was June 11, 2009. Here’s a look through each June 11 or June 12 post since:

4 years ago:

June 11th, 2009: Gluten-free Carrot Orange Cupcakes

3 years ago:

June 12th, 2010: Crushed Lentil Soup (still one of my most popular recipes today)

2 years ago:

July 11, 2011: Roasted Tomato-Basil Pasta Toss

1 year ago:

Treating for Lyme. Boo hoo.

Thanks for reading! I appreciate all of the feedback and support over the years!

 

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