2012 in review (and a spinach salad)

2012 has gone, and overall, it was a good year for G. and I. We got engaged. He turned 50. My mom turned 70, and his mom had her 80th birthday. Biggie B. was 15 in May, and he still gets what-a-cute-puppy compliments.

We marked other notable events too. G. finished the dance floor at our house, and we hosted our first cookout, and our first livestream of the U.S. Open in swing.

G., my mom and I all got iPads, and they became obsessed with Words With Friends, although they will only play with each other. I play with my stepsister.

At work, G. got a promotion, and I went to MIT’s Food Boot Camp for food and science writers.

We struggled through the summer drought, which devastated our garden, but food-wise, I ended the year on a strong note. We went to a potluck on New Year’s Eve, and I received a barrage of compliments for my spinach salad. It took me by surprise because it was ridiculously easy to make.

Here are directions: Combine 10 ounces of baby spinach, roughly 1 1/2 cups of Craisins, about 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, and about 1/2 cup of feta cheese in a bowl. Whisk together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil to make a dressing. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Easy.

I think the key is the quality of the vinegar and oil. Because the recipe is simple, there’s nothing to mask the off taste if you use mediocre vinegar and oil.

Also, I learned this year that one key to a good vinaigrette is to combine the vinegar and anything else you use in a bowl and then whisk as you pour in the olive oil. It makes a nice emulsion that doesn’t separate out.

Blog-wise, it was a good year as well. I had a post featured in Freshly Pressed for the first (and so far, only) time. That got me 1,200 visitors in one day — more, much more, than I had in all of 2010, the year I started.

Readership fell off quickly again after the Freshly Pressed post, but it continues to grow, and this has definitely been my best year yet. So, thank you, all of you, for reading. I hope you will continue. I’d also like to give shoutouts to those who comment the most, my friends Betty and Leigh, and the bloggers Espirational and Healthy Girl and The City.

And finally, just for kicks and those who are interested in such things, here is the WordPress report on The Back 40 in 2012. I’m pleased with it and hoping 2013 will be even better:

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2 responses to “2012 in review (and a spinach salad)

  1. Thanks for the shoutout. Wishing you a wonderful new year!

  2. leigh butterbrodt

    WooHoo! You go, M! I really enjoy and anticipate your postings…who knew just READING about cooking could be so enjoyable?!  With your permission I will spread your stories further about! 🙂 leigh

    ________________________________

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