Like I’ve said everyday this week, it’s been a blast to read, giggle, tear up, and drool over the last five years of work. I think after a while we bloggers forget all the effort that goes into our little corners of the web, and I have to say that I’m very proud of what I’ve done with mine.
This last set of posts was the most difficult one to read through. You’ll notice that there are ten recipes in this one just like in the other posts. But that was it. There were just ten recipes to choose from. Ten in twelve months. That’s it.
But every single one of these ten recipes mean the world to me. They were written through some of the most difficult times I have ever experienced – moments, illnesses and events I hope I never have to relive. My father went into renal failure and continues to have serious complications; my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to have major surgery; my PHN & shingles got even worse when I was caring for her in my home for those 2 months, forcing me to quit my job and live off hope for several months; and my little kitty, Hana, my baby girl, the princess I’d adored for 16.5 years, became gravely ill towards the end of last year. She died in my arms in the early morning hours one cold day in February. I don’t even want to think about being forced to move and having to live the way I do right now (sometimes it’s downright embarrassing to be sitting on the floor and living out of boxes at the age of almost-37).
I’ve had dark years in my life but these past twelve months have been the darkest, hands down. As someone still adjusting to life with a chronic illness, taking on the role of caretaker while being so ill myself just broke me. Doing things like caring for myself, caring for my poor mom, or nursing Hana Leigh until she finally passed on her own because there simply wasn’t enough money to euthanize her, all on top of working as much as possible in order to avoid eviction – well, it was incredibly difficult to handle. The physical, emotional and mental strain of everything has definitely taken its toll on me, and has affected everything in my life, including my blog.
But a girl’s gotta eat, she has to nourish herself, both physically and mentally. I fed myself, but for a while I let the weight of my world take me away from my creative outlets – cooking and writing. But I did my best, and that’s why these are so special to me. These ten recipes were prepared, photographed written through severe pain, depression and stress, and they are beautiful to me because of that. Each one of these finished products brightened my days temporarily, made me smile, made me feel somewhat normal again after writing them. Talked me off my ledge, so to speak. They give me hope when I see them now, each one of them getting progressively brighter, just like these past few weeks have been doing.
This blog, as much as it’s helped thousands of readers throughout the past five years, has also helped me. It’s helped me grow as a cook, as a writer and as a person. It’s been a bright spot in some otherwise dark, dismal days. Despite those hard times, I’m so happy that others have joined me in this journey, because it’s pretty darn cool. The fact that I can help others in the process is just icing on the cake.
Thank you to all of my friends, family and readers for your continued support – I definitely couldn’t do this without you! Here’s to another five – hopefully not-so-poor – years! : )
The Top 10 PGEW Recipes from Year Five
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Sometimes dishes are the best dishes. Great for breakfast, brunch, or BFD.
I don’t really consider myself a baker – until I start baking with quinoa, that is. Then there’s no stopping me! These little cookies are full of rich textures and flavors.
Some folks tell me these need to be even spicier, so feel free to turn up the heat as high as you like! They’re still pretty tasty as is, and another great addition to your Taco Tuesdays repertoire.
Quick, easy protein and fiber disguised as a pretty, delicious salad.
Yes, there is such a thing as guilt-free mashed potatoes! (And they’re cheeeeeap.)
Seriously, one of my favorite Meatless Monday meals ever. EVER, I tell you!
Veggie sandwiches can be hearty and delicious!
Best I’m Too Tired to Cook Tonight dinner of all time.
Quick! Grab as many peaches as you can while they’re still around! This salad really is as good as it looks. Give summer one last hurrah!
Another hearty option for those Breakfast for Dinner nights!
As I always say, enjoy!