Ate by Eight

Could it be? Are my numbers correct? Is it even possible that eight full years have passed since BitterSweet first began, all with one hesitating, painfully timid post? Each time this date rolls around, it never fails to knock me off my feet. Reflecting back, I could have never guessed what immense waves such a small endeavor could create, or how strikingly it would come to shape my career. The constant influx of new inspiration tends to bury the painstakingly composed and throwaway posts alike, so I wanted to take this opportunity to really comb through the archives and dust off some treasures lost in time. It would be impossible to single out just eight favorite posts out of over 1,200, and counting, so this list is by no means the best of the best! Just the entries that stood out as worth sharing at least once more… But hopefully for another eight years more, too.

Hold onto your hats and prepare yourself for a trip down memory lane… The road starts out rough, just like the pictures, but it gets better with every passing year. If you can power though the nostalgic love-fest, there’s a little giveaway waiting for you down at the bottom of the post, so let’s get started!

2006: Bake Off!

[See what I mean about those pictures? I swear, I must have once lived in a world of all yellow…]

History in the making, folks. My first big win in any dessert competition, and while the photos themselves are not exactly shining examples of such a landmark victory, this post really marks a turning point in my baking career. The recipe for that award-winning Mocha Devastation Cake went on to join the final lineup in My Sweet Vegan, my first cookbook. Hard to believe it was that long ago when it all began!

2007: Float Away

Though it arrived on the scene so early on in the cupcake craze, hopefully some longtime regulars will recognize this particular frosting-capped treat. Inspiration from the soda shop classic created the foundation for this signature dessert, one that came to define my style as a baker for many years. Experimental, whimsical, and uncomplicated, I believe that this is really the recipe that helped to secure that first book deal. While I must admit I rarely revisit my older recipes after they’ve been thoroughly tested, approved, and published, this is one choice pick that has frequently returned to its place of honor- In my oven.

2008: The White Stuff

Quite possibly my most popular posts to this day, I seem to have struck white gold when I developed my infamous recipe for vegan white chocolate. Nothing makes me happier than to see fresh blog posts still refer back to this formula, especially since it remains a staple in my kitchen, too. Want to knock the socks off of someone special for Valentine’s Day? Just whip up a bar of homemade white chocolate. Trust me: It couldn’t be simpler, but will score you much more than mere brownie points.

2009: Three Tiers of Terror

Oh, dear readers, were you there with me as I struggled with this edible behemoth? I almost forgot about the agony and horror of the ordeal, but now it’s flooding back to me as if it was yesterday. I still haven’t made another wedding cake since, but I couldn’t be more proud to have managed some miracle and pulled this one off. It’s a humbling, character-building experience that every baker should endure at least once.

2010: Of Heartbreak and Hummus

My beloved pizza hummus may have stood me up years ago and still left me hanging, but I’ve recovered from the heartache and moved on to more attractive dips. Homemade is the way to go, naturally! Savory recipes were still largely uncharted territory at this point on the blog, but wild successes like this hummus proved that there was an audience out there, receptive and hungry for more.

2011: Nog-Off!

The post that launched an obsession. Before this head-to-head battle of the non-dairy nogs, I was just a gal who liked nutmeg in my creamy holiday beverages just a little bit more than the rest, but now, I had a purpose. Every time a new vegan nog arrives on the scene, it’s become my solemn duty to put it to the test! I’ve since had one update just this past December, and plan to continue the tradition for as long as manufacturers keep on producing more eggless, milkless festive beverages.

2012: Around the World in 80 Plates: Lyon, France

Where would I be without this carefully composed plated dessert? Probably not in Hawaii, I’ll tell you that much. Prize winnings from this competition afforded me the opportunity to visit the islands in the first place, and it really was love at first sight. While I do adore the layered chocolate confection itself, the implications that it, and my other worldly recipe entries have had on my current trajectory cannot be understated. If there’s anything to blame when I pack up and move out here, it would be this win!

2013: Tuna of the Field

A tuna look-alike made of watermelon! Once the I got the idea into my head, I simply couldn’t resist. The concept may be a bit “out there” for conventional eaters, but as they say: Try it, you’ll like it! Especially when you have a melon that’s sightly less sweet than desired, savory flavors fill the gaps beautifully and transform the fruit into an entirely new entity.

2014: Mochi Madness

The year is still young, but so far, these chewy chocolate bar cookies have taken my heart and run with it. Being surrounded by so many mochi delights here in Hawaii has only served to strengthen that particular craving, and it doesn’t hurt that the recipe is so darned simple. Even the pitiful oven on hand here can manage with good results, and that should say something about the strength of that formula.

So here we are, back in the present. What will the future hold? If past postings are any indication… Then I have no idea, but I trust that it will be delicious. I couldn’t have made it all these years without the love (sometimes necessarily tough,) support, and of course comments from you, my dear reader. This is really your blogoversary in that sense, too.

Now, because it’s just not a party without presents…

I’m thrilled to have a new sponsor on board not only to help fuel new and exciting content here on BitterSweet, but also directly benefit you, the reader! Natalie Quirk, the skilled fiber artist behind Comfort Food Cushions has a real prize-worthy treat in store that will turn this little blogoversary into a genuine celebration. Up for grabs is your choice of a Hot Dog, Taco, or Macaroni Cheese Noodle pillow, depending on your tastes. It will take 1 – 2 weeks for your winnings to arrive, since these high-fiber creations are always handmade to order. Everyone is welcome to enter, but readers located outside of the US would be asked to contribute a $5 shipping fee. Also, it is important to note that items cannot be sent to Italy or Greece as the materials are considered prohibited items.

Click through to Rafflecopter to enter, and don’t forget to leave a comment!

UPDATE: The entry period has now ended. Click the link above to view the winner.

37 thoughts on “Ate by Eight

  1. Thank you so much for the lovely trip to memory lane. Inspired me to dust off My Sweet Vegan, and revisit recipes for upcoming potluck!

  2. Hannah, this is incredible. Without your blog, I would have never met you! Your blog is amazing and your friendship even more amazing. Congratulations, girl!

  3. My favorite post on Bittersweet was the one where you had people guess what the close-up image in a photo was, for a giveaway. I won that, and that was when you and I started communicating via email and blogs :)

    1. Ah, yes, I know that we first got in touch because you won a giveaway, but I totally forgot about which one! I should really do more “guess the picture” contests again…

      So grateful that the blog brought us together! :)

  4. Happy Blogaversary! I love your Nog Off posts and of course all the inspiring sweets that I keep promising myself to make…and share. Because sharing is caring!

  5. I’m blown away Hannah! I haven’t been following you for 8 years but I have for quite a few and didn’t acknowledge how much Bitter Sweet had evolved. I hope you keep it up for many more years to come :)

  6. I loved the look back in time! So fun to see how your photos have developed over time. You are by far my favorite food blog photographer and have really inspired me to up the ante in my own photographs. My favorite posts, besides the gorgeous recipes are where you break down how to photograph hard food- like soups and burritos. While I am still learning those are great tutorials that I reference time and time again. Congrats on 8!

  7. That white chocolate is amaze-balls. Plus, thanks to your recipes my family does no longer believe being vegan means you’re malnourished and eat the same things all day. YummyThankYouMorePlease! :)

  8. My favorite recipe was : the tomato basil bread and for the sweet i loved the super moist chocolate cake you had…..i absolutely love your photography and i would love to see more gluten free vegan good baked recipe. Thank you.

  9. How could I possibly forget that cupcake photo – that is the post and picture that started it all. I can’t believe it has been 7 years!!!

    Those cushions are so cute :)

  10. Oh, Hannah, this 8th anniversary tribute turned out deliciously! I’m so happy you took the idea and ran with it. Can you believe I remembered every single one of these posts and was shocked that certain of them were much earlier in your blog history than I’d thought? Here’s to 80 more years! xoxo

  11. Congratulations on 8 marvelous years!! That is huge! You have really made your blogging time count. A lot has happened in that span of time. I can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon!

  12. Congrats on your blogaversary! I think my favorite posts have been bread related, either yeast or quick breads. I enjoy baking.

  13. I enjoyed this romp down Kaminsky memory lane although as I was being dragged behind you on your 8 year tractor pull I swear I banged my head on that pizza hummus…might have to come back and revisit that one ASAP! The more I look at your past posts the more vindicated I feel in following your blog faithfully when I have dumped more “popular” blogs like hot cakes. Your blog has stood the test of time because it is a unique and delightful mix of you. You aren’t pretentious, you aren’t fussy, you don’t try to make any of us feel like the food you prepare is SO far beyond us we should just grovel at your feet and not even bother to attempt to recreate it. You are one of us Hannah and that is what keeps your dear constant readers so fiercely loyal…oh…that AND the amazingly gorgeous photography…and the food…the FOOD! Who could forget the food…glorious, shining, unctuous, heady, fragrant, whole world cuisine and jaw droppingly innovative food that just keeps coming and just when you think the girl has started to slow down you realise she is just off creating ANOTHER amazing cookbook and is all the while studying?!!! If you ever decide to run for President Hannah, good LUCK to anyone standing against you. Your organisational skills and sheer will power must be formidable :). Cheers for the years that I have been following you. I see I was pretty late onto the scene (and appear to have inherited your “yellow” phase ;) ) but as a stoic Hannah supporter you have my utter and complete loyalty my liege! :) (Just call me narf Lancelot and be done with it ;) ) Oh and you made your 8 year give away world friendly!!! I will refrain from entering because Earl would take great delight in ingesting any prize that I won from this most innovative and wonderful company and the results wouldn’t be pretty from either side :( . Today I will raise a glass of homemade kombucha to you Hannah… “Here’s to Hannah Kaminsky and her amazing mind/eye…long may she rule!” :)

    Oh yeah…that mochi cake is THE BOMB!!!!!!

    1. Oh, my dearest Narf, where do I begin? You are by far my most vocal blog supporter to date (truly: according to the numbers, you were head and shoulders above the second most frequent commenter around here), and I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful I am for all of your kind words. It’s not just quantity, but real quality that you put into your responses, often more thoughtful than the post itself! It feels as though you’ve always been around here because of that incredible presence. It’s amazing to think that you’ve only been following along for a fraction of the blog’s lifespan, but I do hope you’ll stick around for the rest. It wouldn’t be the same without you!

  14. Wow you have come so far in 8 years! Your blog is one of my absolute favourites to visit- it’s gorgeous, your writing is wonderful, personality is warm and friendly and of course the recipes are amazing! Thank you for writing such a wonderful blog, I am so happy to have gotten to read it :)

  15. Congratulations on 8 years! I always look forward to reading your new posts, whether it’s photography, food, or crochet. Some of your amigurumi patterns are among my favorites years later (like the cupcake and hotdog)!

  16. Congrats on 8 years, Hannah. I love your blog and it has always been one of my favourites since going vegan and discovering food blogs, 6 years ago. Here’s to many many more years of beautiful dessert/food photos!!

  17. 8 favorite posts out of over 1,200?! That’s a big number indeed! I am on the same page… few years ago, my photos look so yellow, blurry and not perfect as my current ones! I worked as a fashion editorial photographer in 2010 and became interested in food photography afterward using my skills. And I started my Uni in 2006, hahaha! It takes several years to refine photography! I just discovered your blog in late 2012…so the ones in 2012 & 2013 & 2014 all look amazing! Thank you for sharing this memorable post! How’s Hawaii so far? Cobi xxx

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