Happy February Friends! Before I share the 2018 Reader Survey results with you, I want to acknowledge the fact that this blog has reached a milestone. The Mountain Kitchen is celebrating it’s 5 Year Blogiversary! Also this month, David, His Royal Highness and I also celebrate the anniversary of our move into our new home here on the mountain 6 years ago. February is a special month for us and The Mountain Kitchen.
I did not bring in the month here on the blog with a bang like I intended to. February slipped up on me and I’m a little disappointed about that, but I have been taking a much-needed blogging break for the last few weeks. In many ways, it seems like yesterday, with the chills from smoker’s flu when I started this blog. I remember fumbling around WordPress trying to figure out how to do this blogging thing. That part hasn’t changed very much, but this blog helped me turn useless energy from smoking, into something fun and positive. I am still smoke-free and have not had a single cigarette since January 01, 2013 at 10:58 p.m. According to my handy little phone app, Cessation Nation, I have saved almost $6300!! I haven’t smoked over 29,800 cigarettes and I have saved almost 125 days not smoking cigarettes. Every now and then I will have a craving, but I have gone way past the point of no return to light up again. I am still glad I quit smoking and I still can’t believe I would ever say that.
I just couldn’t let our blogiversary go unmentioned. I really enjoy blogging and I want to thank you for stopping by to visit us at The Mountain Kitchen. Little did I know that this blog would be such a blessing. It is a pleasure to share our recipes and stories with you and we are grateful to you for reading. I never knew this blog would lead to so many friendships all around the world. I really appreciate your friendship. Your visits are what makes all of this so worthwhile. Thank you for taking 5 minutes out of your day just to see what kind of crazy meals David and I made, what His Royal Highness has been up to, our life here up on the Blue Ridge and to read the crazy stories like the one about goats and bears.
At this time, I would also like to thank those of you who participated in our 2018 Reader’s Survey. Since I haven’t been in the kitchen cooking I have had a chance to sit down and read what you had to say in The Mountain Kitchen survey results. Survey results always make me a little nervous, because I don’t like to disappoint people. This year’s survey results were uplifting and informative. I don’t hear from regular readers as often as I would like, so that makes it hard for me to gauge how everyone feels about the content I post. These surveys help me to understand what you want to see and how to make this blog enjoyable and helpful to you. The good news I learned from these survey results is that for the most part, you all like what’s been happening in The Mountain Kitchen. I am so happy to hear that! I also learned a few things about what you would like to see coming out of the kitchen. Most of your wishes are things I would have been thinking of doing anyway.
I have broken down the survey results for you below. It may seem like a lot, but I promise you may learn a few things about The Mountain Kitchen that you did not know before. So, let’s see what everyone had to say!
The Survey Results:
Ugh! What are your frustrations when it comes to cooking? 80 responses
I was so happy to learn that most of you are trying to avoid processed ingredients. You have definitely come to the right kitchen. This is really important to me and I am so glad to know it is important to you too. I almost always put my own spin on the recipes I find. A majority of the time I usually take out any processed ingredients and have to recreate certain ingredients or make substitutions to make a dish as natural as possible. Believe me, once you cut out processed foods, there is no going back, bleh!
Healthy eating is not easy and that makes it frustrating. Many of you are trying to lose weight. David and I both could stand to shed off some pounds too. We both love food and that makes it hard to lose weight! I also think a big part of not eating healthy is TIME! It isn’t easy to come home and cook after a long day of work and it is tempting to grab takeout or heat up a frozen meal. Eating healthy requires a lot of time and energy. That’s why I am going to consider some healthy meal prep recipes to help you, David and I lose some weight. Preparing healthy food that tastes good just takes a little more effort when you have more free time, like on the weekends.
Almost half of you are in a rut. I totally get it and that’s where I am currently. For me, it is not that I make the same things over, it’s more of an energy and time situation. If you are currently in a rut, I wrote a blog post called: 7 Ways to Become Inspired to Cook. In this post, you will learn 7 ways that I bring myself out of a rut in the kitchen. I also share with you ways to become inspired by food and recipes and provide tips on where to look for recipes and how to stock your pantry.
I learned from the survey results that you like the same things we do but have some struggles that perhaps we can help you out with and THAT alone inspires me!
Which of these would you like to see MORE of on The Mountain Kitchen? Give us your top two or three!
You are here for the food and that’s primarily what we love to talk about the most. We love food and want to share our joy of cooking with you. You all seem pleased with the content that is being shared and the format. You also have interests in the same things I was steering towards. This is all great news!
What kind of RECIPES would you like to see most in the coming year? Choose one or two.
What’s for dinner? Seems to be the common question for everyone and it looks like you want the dinner recipes quick and easy and healthy, either grilled or in the crock-pot. Also, I realize I need to harness my budget a little better to make the ingredients more affordable. That is important and will definitely keep it in mind going forward.
What you love most about The Mountain kitchen
I’ll be completely honest, I have never been a reader. I sucked at it and it took me a really long time to get good at reading. I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with dyslexia, but I’m pretty sure that may be a lot of where my problems with reading stemmed growing up. Reading wasn’t something that came naturally to me. So I am shocked that I write well enough for anyone to understand how I want them to feel and understand where I am coming from. I had some really good training in college and some challenging teachers. Somehow I always seemed to excel when it came to writing papers for school. Some of that knowledge kind of sunk in, although I know I still make mistakes. The important thing is that you understand what I am trying to convey and I cannot thank you enough for the compliments that pertain to my writing. I enjoy writing and I am glad to know that people want to read what I have to say.
When you visit my blog, I really do want you to feel like you are sitting across the kitchen table talking to me, while enjoying something good to eat. After all, you are my friends and I am glad you feel that way.
You seem to like the recipes and say that they turn out delicious, but I really wish you’d share pictures with me!! It’s ok if you don’t. I completely understand your avoidance to share on social media.
I am glad you love the mountain views. I am trying to share more photos of our backyard. It’s my favorite place on this earth and David, His Royal Highness and I love to share that with people.
Here are some quotes from what you love most about TMK:
“The recipes! The food looks and tastes good!”
“Your story! You make the blog so personable and your personality shines through.”
“I love feeling you and David’s love for cooking and sharing with us all.”
Your Favorite Recipes:
“All the smoker ones!”
“I have tried so many and there truly isn’t a favorite”
Hmmm… Can’t pick just one!”
“Haven’t made any, but they inspire ideas of my own.”
“Too many to list just one.”
“I love the jalapeno pepper poppers! Spicy food in general.”
“The smoked beef roast – got us hooked!”
“All have been hits. But personally, I love the rolled lasagna/stuffed shells and homemade sauce!!”
Specific Recipes: Sheet Pan Cajun Dinner, Mama Rosa’s Potato Salad, Meatloaf, The Sexier Pork Chops, Classic Chicken Pot Pie, Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Easy Cherry Cream Cheese Danish, Italian Sausage Soup
What you love LEAST about The Mountain Kitchen
You all seem to be pleased with the content and the format of my blog posts and said not to change a thing, but I think there were a few comments and suggestions worth talking about.
First of all, email frequency. Personally, I do not like it when you sign up for email subscriptions and get bombarded with emails, so I try not to bug the heck out of readers by bombarding them with emails. At one point, I agree, I was sending out way too many emails. As if you had nothing better to do other than to read my blog posts. Right?!?! A reader that took the survey acknowledged that they were getting too many emails, not only from this blog, but others as well. They are now pleased with the frequency of the emails. I hope everyone feels the same.
Second, some of you just come to get the recipes. One reader writes:
“Have the recipe readily available. All the other stuff may be needed for your other readers but I just want the recipes.”
I have solved this issue for you! For those of you who only visit The Mountain Kitchen for the recipes only, I have incorporated two buttons that are located at the top center of each recipe post. One button says “JUMP TO RECIPE” and the other says “PRINT RECIPE”. These buttons are designed to make it easy for you to skip all of my babbling and go straight to the recipe, to view it or to print it. However, I would like to point out that the written recipe within the blog post is a little more detailed and offers links to ingredients, etc., but don’t worry, the basics of the recipe are all there for you to cook up something good!
Third, someone mentioned there are too many prep pictures. This is something I have always wondered about. I know from this survey that a lot of you know your way around the kitchen pretty well and probably do not need a lot of prep photos. I always include them, because I have never really liked recipes that don’t have pictures. I always felt blind and didn’t know if the food was looking quite the way it should at certain points of the recipe. I will definitely take this into consideration and will eliminate pictures that aren’t really necessary. It actually will save me a lot of time putting together the recipes posts, which gives me more time in the kitchen creating more dishes. In fact, I have already started incorporated eliminations when editing my posts.
Someone wanted to move the sharing buttons from the left side of the screen. They found that these buttons made it hard for them to read the posts. David has also made this very same comment on more than one occasion, so I went in and removed the docked share buttons from the left side of the screen. I encourage you to share my posts and our recipes with everyone. The share buttons are always located at the end of each post.
Lastly, I wanted to leave you with some of the comments. The first comment comes all the way from a reader in Russia. I have no way of tracking the comments back to readers, but I knew this comment was from Russia because I had to use Google Translate to translate Russian into English. Wow, The Mountain Kitchen is known in Russia! How exciting! Thanks for reading!
“Мне нравятся рецепты, традиционные для Вашего места проживания” ~ TRANSLATION: I like the recipes, traditional for your place of residence.
“Don’t change a thing.”
“Love your site.” ?
“I just like the recipes.”
“I think it’s great!”
“Keep it coming”
“There are some recipes that just don’t appeal to me, but that’s probably because of the ingredients, but there are just things we don’t eat, either because we don’t care for them or can’t afford the ingredients. They aren’t bad; they just don’t suit our taste.”
“Would like to see more about your adventures and photos of the surrounding area.”
“As someone who knows nothing about wine – I would love to see more posts about your trips to wineries, and what you’re tasting that you like and what you’re learning! Also what pairs with what meals!”
“There is a lot of grilling recipes, which I love over the spring and summer, but I would love to see more variety. For example; Holiday themed dinners, camping meals, crock-pots, canning recipes, etc.”
“Gardening in that soil. It’s similar to ours.”
Is there something you would like to share? Do you have suggestions or is there something you want to know more about?
“Always remembering the posts about your Melanoma and hoping that you are doing well still.”
“I don’t know if you already do this or not, but sometimes others have good recipes or ideas they could pass on to you and you could maybe pass those ideas on to others. Maybe even gardening ideas. Raising good food is next to preparing it. Like herbs for instance. I grow several.”
“I really enjoy most everything about your site. You share a lot with us and that’s nice. Hope you and your family have good health. Thanks for all the time you take to share your life and recipes with us. Love those mountain pictures. I was raised in Boone County, West Virginia. I now live in Florida, and although I’m sure I couldn’t take the weather anymore, sometimes I sure miss those mountains.”
“Mountain Kitchen really is one of my favorite blogs!”
“BBQ and smoking.”
“Make ahead dinners. I have no time after work to bring a recipe. Need something I can just make in the weekend and heat during the week”
“Love the interesting recipes!”
“Вам здоровья и любви, а остальное можно купить” ~ TRANSLATION: “You health and love, and the rest can be purchased.” ~ I love this quote, so very true!!”
“I share the emails and Instagram posts with friends and family. Love the pictures and stories! I enjoy following and making your recipes.”
“Smoking and outdoor cooking.”
Survey results and quick facts:
YEAR-TO-DATE TOTAL PAGEVIEWS: 1,457,298
All information was taken the at time of survey results and tracks back only to January 2015.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the survey results. I’m not sure why I got so nervous about this survey. The survey results were summarized, but not altered in any way. I didn’t conveniently leave anything out because there was nothing to leave out. For the most part, you like what The Mountain Kitchen is serving up.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much for reading this blog. I am grateful to each of you who took time to send your feedback and help me improve The Mountain Kitchen. Thank you for being a reader! I love sharing a bit about myself, our cooking, and our life here on the mountain with each of you, but I love getting to know you, even more! Please do not be a stranger! I always welcome comments and emails, so please feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me via my Contact Page, or leave a comment on any of my posts.
I love getting to know you all. It’s important for me to share the survey results with you, so you can voice your opinion. If you didn’t get a chance to take the survey and you have anything that you would like to add in regards to these subjects, please feel free to let me know. I’d love to hear your comments regarding the survey results!
Thanks for reading all this and thanks again for your help!
p.s. Don’t miss another recipe, SUBSCRIBE HERE!
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