We are about to turn the page on an eventful 2017. The last twelve months were packed with joyful events, recipes, and more baking. Before the new year begins, spoiling us with even more exciting foodie projects on Del’s cooking twist, let’s wrap up 2017 and look back on this year’s most memorable times!
Recipes & food videos
Food is always my main focus, so I had to start here of course. For my first full year in Chicago, we can say I have been a busy bee in the kitchen, with almost 100 new recipes on the blog, all of them always in English and in French. Along the way, I put a strong focus on plant-based and healthy recipes (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free) as many of you love them. And if you’re not into healthy stuff, don’t worry. I believe in balance in everything and this is why I also created decadent treats for your sweet tooth. Check my Top 10 Recipes from 2017 to see the ones that were most loved and realized among you.
Food inspiration came along with a new kitchen, when I moved into a new home in Chicago back in March. Wide, bright, and very spacious, with a large island in the center, the kitchen has then naturally become my favorite room. As a result, I started to shoot a few food videos, mostly from above, to guide you step-by-step while you make the recipe. Ironically, I shot most of them in Sweden back in September, but the kitchen in Chicago is definitely the one that inspired me in the first place. More should come in 2018, stay tuned and let me know if you have any requests.
Food & travels within and outside the US
I have been very lucky to travel quite a bit this year, both within and outside the US. Travels create experiences, open up your mind, stimulate creativity, and help you come back with a clear, fresh mind. Outside the US, I had one more fika (coffee break) in my beloved Sweden; I enjoyed French bread and pastries again in France;I tasted the true Shakshuka in Israel; and of course I had tacos in Mexico (see below). Within the US, I had the best Levain Bakery cookie in New York, discovered southern cuisine in Charleston, and had a taste of the countryside during short trips to Galena (Illinois) and Door County (Wisconsin).
That being said, I wouldn’t be completely true to you if I didn’t add that travels have also also become a bit stressful for me as a food blogger. Indeed, the blog doesn’t stop when I’m travelling (the down side of working freelance), which requires a lot of organization to plan ahead and often results in extremely busy weeks in between two trips. So don’t always believe all the neat photos from Insta stories that make you thonk your favorite bloggers have a perfect life. There is also a lot of work behind the scenes!
Levain Bakery Cookies, New York
Door County, Illinois, 2017
We got married!
The highlight of 2017: David and I got married! It’s been a fantastic journey, full of love and happiness that I shared with you along the way, from the preparations to the Wedding Day. Of course, food is a cornerstone when you marry a food blogger, and it’s been very fun for me to prepare everything in detail, from the champagne cocktails to the lavender madeleines as a gift to our guests, not to forget the wonderful summer berry naked cake.
Our wedding took place in France and the theme was Midsummer, the Swedish summer celebration that also happens to be the most important day of the year in Sweden. Coming ourselves from Chicago with friends from all over the world, it has been a very multicultural experience for everyone. Swedish and French food all together, French wine, and a big surprise for us: our guests making a video filming themselves while baking the Cinnamon star bread from the blog (full recipe here). So much fun!
Our honeymoon in Yucatan, Mexico
Instead of going on our honeymoon on the back of our wedding, we waited until November with the idea to escape the cold in Chicago for a much warmer destination: the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It was our second destination in the Caribbean after Cuba a few years ago, and we could definitely recognize some aspects: colorful streets, dreamy beaches, music… We were there to rest and we found a great balance between culture, nature, and time to chill in this paradise, leaving us with many great memories we can’t yet describe – it almost feels like a dream, still today.
As you can guess, Mexican food was not forgotten either, and we tasted countless guacamoles, tacos, margaritas, and local seafood dishes, among others. I had my best Mexican hot chocolate with chili in Campeche, and a wonderful dinner experience at Nectar in Merida. This restaurant combine the rules of the traditional yucatan cuisine with avant-garde techniques and advanced technology, creating a perfect balance to invoke the palate, so the guests can live an experience that exceeds their expectations.
The launch of Chicago Breakfast & Yoga Club and other food projects
It all started as a game between a friend and I, or to be exact between a yoga instructor and a food blogger, both passionate about breakfast. As she visited me in the US for a few days, we launched a yoga breakfast as a pop up event. Everyone loved it! After she went back to Stockholm, my friend Steph B Yoga took over and we both launched the Chicago Breakfast & Yoga Club, a unique and exclusive concept here in Chicago!
So what makes the concept so unique you may ask? For each yoga breakfast session, Stephanie and I work closely on a specific yoga theme, where healthy and nutritious food (always homemade from scratch, with plant-based ingredients exclusively) meets a specific chakra. You get to experience a mindful morning session that leaves you energized, vibrant and balanced. We had a few sessions already: rooftop editions with views over the Chicago skyline in summer, as well as partnerships with private organizations and yoga studios. Each time it’s a success! If you are a company or a private person who lives in Chicago and would love to organize a yoga breakfast, please contact us.
Beside this project, I have been teaching some French bread and baguettes classes here in Chicago, and had lot of fun doing it. I actually feel happiest when baking and teaching. It’s now time for me to share with you a bread recipe, and you should expect it anytime soon in 2018. Get ready!
What to expect on the blog in 2018
2018 starts already today on the blog, as I just redesigned Del’s cooking twist, bringing it a fresh touch. Nothing is very different from a mobile user experience, but if you look on desktop you will notice a new homepage layout, as well as a recipe index that now displays all the categories on the left, making it easier to browse. Sometimes you just need a little change to kick in the New Year, and I hope you like it!
Also, a few days ago I made a quick poll on my Insta Story to ask you what you’d love to see on the blog in 2018 in terms of content. Your opinion matters a lot to me and I thank you for taking a few minutes to answer. The results clearly showed that you prefer savory recipes over sweet ones, want more plant-based meals, a category with meals under 20 mins (or maybe under 30 mins). You also want more videos, more lifestyle articles, and new cooking challenges on my baking group “In the kitchen with Del’s cooking twist”, where I invite you to share with us your realizations from the blog and any other cooking-related topic you would like to discuss with us.
Last but not least, I recently reached 10K on Instagram and it feels awesome. I want to thank you all for your support along the way. Food blogging is a wonderful adventure and it wouldn’t be the same without you.
Happy New Year 2018 to you all!
Green smoothie – Campeche, Mexico, 2017
Swedish Fika – Stockholm, 2017
New York, 2017