Oh, no! I did it again, dearest reader, I’ve thought of how to start this, imagined something silly and now I can’t keep my thoughts coherent. So, it’s been two years already. Golly! Gee whiz! Holy Sh…Woah! Family-friendly blog! Cover everyone’s eyes, dear reader! I’m typing this in fragments, so if anything seems disjointed that’s probably why. So, two years, two long years and I haven’t learned a thing. No, I’m joking. Come back, don’t leave me! Funnily, you’ve stuck by me, once gentle now dear readers, and for that I’m grateful. Really, no mater how much I joke or josh you know that I’m humbled by the support and help I’ve received these past two years. I can only hope that I’ve repaid it in part at least with the work I’ve put into the site. What work?! How dare you! Why I…if I had a door that’d slam you can be sure I’d slam it with righteous indignation. Instead I’ll share a little of what I’ve learned. Because here at Pep’s Free From Kitchen, free-from because someone already had the address, it’s not just about sharing it’s about educating. Or trying to at the very least. It’s also about me, often-times Jack, sometimes your humble narrator, your forever friend, the maundering man behind the keyboard. Always and ever: Just me. So what do I know? Or rather: What have I learned?
(I’ll share a few of my less viewed recipes throughout this post just to break up the monotony with a few photos.)
Proofread your posts. Oh, so many typos over two years. And that’s just the ones I’ve noticed. What be serious? No! Why? Well.
My Sweet Potato Fries were a hit, but did you know I have couple of seasoning blends too?
The need to balance what you give and what you take away. I think in the time I’ve been sharing and creating recipes, typing up thoughts and tutorials, that I’ve given back enough that I can now have fun with all of this. It’s easy to be swept away with the idea that if you’re in a position to help so you better give it your all, without thinking of your own well-being and mental health. That’s wrong, do what good you can and just enjoy it. In saying that.
Chicken cooked in squash purée, oil free too.
You set the rules and your own responsibilities. Getting heavy, huh? I’ll keep it brief. I can only speak for food blogs, even then only about my own experiences whatever their worth, but the one thing I decided fairly early on is that I would stick to set rules. How the posts would be set up, how family-friendly and suitable for all audiences they’d be, how much of myself I left bleed into them, yes that’s a consideration I’ll elaborate on in time too, many things that have helped shape the blog and make it what it has become. I also understood I had a responsibility, perhaps one I chose to accept or create, that was: To be truthful in all things. To not only show the good side, but the other sides: The failures, the struggles, the limits I face, the ways I cope etc. I don’t post experiences without knowing what they’re actually worth, I’ve never positioned myself as a source of absolute truth and so easy is it to state opinions as fact. I’ve always had the best interests of my dear readers in mind, even if they never realised it. I stand by that decision. It doesn’t make me that different, or special, but I have seen others who didn’t care, who valued themselves too highly, so it’s still something I take some small degree of pride in.
Marinaded Chicken With Peanut Satay Reduction. An old recipe, but an interesting one. It came from a meatball in sauce recipe that I changed completely. Don’t forget the rice, always fluffy with my recipe.
Old man complains about online visibility. Am I here to lecture you on online safety? No, go be stupid all you want. But I do want to speak to people who, like me, well, the me way back when, are starting or continuing their weight-loss journeys. To those who decide to blog about it, be it a diary or just stories and recipes. What I’ll say might sound harsh, ignorant or who can know?, but it’s true. You will have all eyes on you and that can be an amazing feeling and an oppressive pressure. I’ve seen so many blogs abandoned, stories of weight-loss started and abandoned. It’s intoxicating to think about the support you’ll receive, but the shine tarnishes over time. You’ll need to carry on being strong and stubborn, keeping to the limits and rules that will create your new self and life, but the world will move on. Your fifteen minutes of fame won’t sustain you. Society loves a weight-loss story, the sustaining of it is unimportant it seems. Health is all I’ve ever cared about. Weight was a part of that, yes, but not the whole. Online support can be a wonderful thing, I didn’t use it as I knew the potential dangers, but too often people don’t realise what it’ll feel like if they fail with all those eyes trained on them. Just be careful, be smart and be safe. This is my seventh year, I’ve keep the ten stone (140 pounds) off for nearly five years and I’ve never faltered. If you chose to listen to me that’s my pedigree. On the other hand I echo the former paragraph. I mention this in passing, but as a warning. I could use it as a tool to boost myself at the expensive of others. Don’t believe me? Check it:
O.M.G! I lost 140 Pounds on this Diet! Follow me to find out how! Should you go gluten free to lose weight like me?! I cut out these foods and lost ten stone!
See? It’s so easy to be irresponsible. What you do is up to you. I’m blending the two paragraphs a bit, but hey, I’m old. I remember when the internet was slow and two megabytes was a twenty minute download. Cut me some slack.
A Voice for the Voiceless. Okay, negativity aside. One thing about blogging is that it really shows how much variety there is out in the world. If you’re shy or introverted there’s no reason you can’t set your thoughts down. You set how they sound, how much you show, all you need do is to stay within your comfort zone and just enjoy the experience. You’ll be surprised at how blogging about your interests, or passions, can help expand them. Being able to talk about what you love, rather than being pressured to listen or conform to other’s stories or standards can really make a huge difference. I’ve often said that these posts can be cathartic and it’s remained true. Finding others who love what you do can make the world of difference to you. You never know until you share and see what others are sharing.
I can’t believe how unloved this Gingerbread blend is. It’s incredible when combined with treacle.
No Standard Blogger. There is certainly a template in all walks of life. Bloggers are no exception, but as with all things you don’t have to try to fit a mould. I’d say it takes a lot of posts to find you style, your voice if you’d rather, and there’s nothing to say it won’t keep changing. This started out as just a recipe blog, perhaps a trifle stuffy at first, but in time I’ve found the tone and format that best suits. The garden crept into my life and in time Jack appeared and a new facet of my life was worth blogging about. Take your time. Read other blogs and most importantly be yourself. People will come to read what you say, why put someone else’s words in you mouth? You don’t need an enormously extensive elaborate vocabulary, or an alliterative appreciation of assorted appellations, that can get tiresome and that’s my shtick!
If I can be vain about one recipe, let it be my Flouress Nut Cake.
Use your tags and categories. I’m glad I kept my tags and categories simple. Tags for ingredients, mostly at least and categories for meal types, again: mostly. It keeps things well organised, helps spread your site around and means you and others can find what you and they need. The longer a blog carries on the larger and more complex it becomes, a good clean and careful start can be extremely helpful. Take your time starting and if needs be clean up as necessary.
Sweet Mango Curry has become a part of my meal plan. Richness from the hemp and sweetness from the honey.
Success: That ever-changing chimera. For me it’s not about numbers, I’ve been caught a few times, but pride will always end up painfully reminded of its limits. It’s been the case that the occasions I most cherish are the simple comments, the heartfelt appreciation, the gratitude the sharing of experiences and of recipes, failures and successes both. These are things you can’t quantify or predict. Just be respectful, be kind, show your support to others when you can, link to your sources and hope that others are doing the same. Success for me has been many different things over time. Rarely a number, more often an unexpected kind word or fun conversation. This is a free blog, it might be different for someone trying to make a living from this, but I don’t think it’d be that different.
Cashew Butter Gravy An accident made me this most delicious gravy.
Consumable Content. You need to adhere to strict multifaceted bi-symmetrical synergism to really screw with your readers. Heh. I haven’t spoken very specifically on the food side of blogging, have I? It differs from person to person and blog to blog. What I like to do is break things down. Talk about texture, taste, tricks and tips. But also, if applicable, the behaviours and properties of free-from ingredients as best I understand them. I will say I’m interested in the nutritional side of food, but not in copying and pasting articles or making outlandish claims. Talk from your own experience with food, it’ll be vastly more interesting than stating the fibre content of linseeds you pulled off some Google search. You don’t have to pretend expertise to talk food’s worth. Just tell your story with food in your own words. It’s you call, I’m just saying think about it.
Tahini has played a huge part in my diet. So many no heat sauces to try!
So, I’ve shared a bit of my journey with you. Perhaps you’re new and wondering when this post will end, or perhaps you’re an old hand and have tuned out already or are grimly enduring it. Whatever, I can promise you one thing: I will continue this blog, continue putting in all the work and effort I can, stay flippantly irreverent and studiously serious in equal measure, until it stops being fun and I don’t see that happening any time soon so have no fear, you’re stuck with me and I with you all. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. A large garden perhaps, but not the world. I say this with a happy heart: I’ll see you later, Dear Reader.