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Best of Future Expat: Top 20 Recipes and Articles for 2014


Last year, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and write a year in review of my 20 most popular articles of the year. I’ve decided to make it a tradition and have assembled for you my 20 most visited articles during 2014.

If you missed any of these when they were first published, be sure to sign up for my weekly email of latest posts.

Top 20 Recipes and Articles for 2014 | Future Expat

This year, I decided to add a few of my favorites that didn’t make the top 20 list to the annual best of list. There are a lot of reasons that a great article doesn’t hit the top 20 list, especially on a website like this one that has recipes go viral on Pinterest. Those recipes push some great content off the list that deserve more attention.

While  it’s been almost 3 1/2 years since I started Future Expat, the process of redoing the header earlier this year made me really think about what I wanted the focus of this blog to be in the future.

I moved the St. Louis articles to my other blog, Arch City Homes, so every article on Future Expat could be relevant for every reader. I trimmed down my categories and reorganized the ones I kept to make it easier for you to find what interests you.

Today, the focus of Future Expat is:

  • dogs (my dog Milo and pet rescue)
  • food (recipes and talk)
  • travel (one of these days I’ll get all of the trips I’ve taken posted here!)
  • blogger tips (simple tech tips anyone can use but written for bloggers or social media fanatics)
  • life (my perspective on a variety of topics)
  • sponsored reviews (products have to fit into my other topics and be something I think adds value for my readers)

Just to be clear, while I love it when something I write gets a lot of traffic, that’s not why I write this blog.

  • I blog because I like writing. This blog is my creative outlet.
  • I blog because I like sharing things that might help you. Deep down, I’ve got a teacher in me.
  • I blog because I want you to know more about the things that are important to me. 

I don’t need a lot of people to read what I write to make it worthwhile. If something I write has helped you or expanded your perspective, that’s all I need.

That said, it sure is fun when something I write gets oodles of traffic!

If you like something you find on my blog, please share it on your favorite social media channel and help it make the top 20 list next year!

Top 20 Recipes and Articles in 2014:

Some of these articles came from the 2011-2013 archives but continue to get regular readers, and some were newly published this year.

French Toast Casserole - Future Expat1. Easy Breakfast Recipe: French Toast Casserole

When I posted this recipe in March 2014, I had no idea it would be so popular. Traffic from Pinterest has exploded for this recipe. It is the most viewed page on Future Expat almost every day. On Christmas morning, this recipe pushed my traffic up to twice its normal level. It really feels good to know that something I shared might become part of another family’s holiday tradition.

Crockpot Beer Pulled Pork - Future Expat2. Crock Pot Recipe: Beer Pulled Pork

I had a feeling that this recipe would be popular, but I never expected anything like the traffic that I’ve gotten from this one. On the days when the French Toast Casserole recipe isn’t number one, its because this recipe pushed it out of that spot.

Balsamic Baked Chicken collage3. Easy Chicken Recipe: Balsamic Baked Chicken

This recipe was #2 last year. Pinterest continues to drive tons of traffic to this easy chicken dinner recipe.

Pan Style Cinnamon Roll Cake - Future Expat

4. Easy Dessert Recipe: Pan Style Cinnamon Roll Cake

This recipe was #1 in 2013 and continues to be popular even though my pictures of this recipe are terrible. I need to make it again and work on some food styling photos.

Quick and Easy Oatmeal Cookies

5. Quick & Easy: Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

This is one recipe that is more popular this year than it was in 2013. Published just before Christmas 2013, it still hit the #7 mark last year with only 2 weeks left in the year to earn that spot. With the entire year to get traffic, this easy recipe moved up to #5.

Chicken and rice recipe without canned soup - Future Expat6. Quick & Easy Recipe: Chicken and Rice Bake without Canned Soup

I grew up eating the canned soup version of this recipe, but in recent years I’ve really tried to cut canned soup from my diet. This recipe is almost as easy as the original and tastes great. Readers must agree because it has continued to get daily traffic since I published it last December.

Pinterest Tool: Combining Multiple Photos into a Single Pin | Future Expat

7. Pinterest Tool: Combining Multiple Photos into a Single Pin

As Pinterest has gotten more popular, so have the articles that share tips on how to use it better. I just used this tip again today to create a new pin for the the Bacon Roll-Ups (#13).

Netflix Hidden Gems - Future Expat8. Netflix Hidden Gems: 20 More Great Movies 

When I put together my first Netflix list (#12), it was such a big hit on Pinterest that I decided to write a sequel with more movies I liked. This time I put a bit more effort into the post and added genres and the Netflix screenshot for each movie to make it easier to spot the movies when browsing Netflix.

Healthy Muffins that Don’t Taste Low Fat: Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins | Future Expat9. Healthy Muffins that Don’t Taste Low Fat: Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

I love muffins and just had to share this one when pumpkin season hit. The combination of healthy, oatmeal and pumpkin was enough to get these tasty morsels into the top 10.

Fotor - create multiple picture pins for Pinterest10. Create Multiple Picture Image Pins for Pinterest

Number 3 on the list last year, this tutorial teaches people how to make a photo collage to use in a Pinterest pin. Plus the puppies are cute!

Tips for 1st Time Train Travelers | Future Expat11. Tips for 1st Time Train Travelers

I really enjoyed traveling from St. Louis to Chicago via Amtrak but having these tips in advance would have made the trip easier. Now that I know the ropes, I need to plan another train trip soon.

Netflix movies - 20 favorite hidden gems to watch via FutureExpat.com12. Netflix Movies: 20 Favorite Hidden Gems

Apparently lots of people want Netflix movie ideas beyond what Netflix recommends for you. This roundup of 20 movies I enjoyed on Netflix was #4 last year and stayed in the top 20 this year.

Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups13. Easy Appetizer: Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups Recipe

Here’s another recipe that continues to be popular even though I need better pictures. It was #13 last year too and continues to get lots of Google search traffic. Honestly, these little morsels are SO good…they go into the oven just before serving and give you a toasty cream cheese bacon bite.

Bathroom remodel 114. Small Bathroom Remodel on a Budget

Bathroom remodels can really have an impact on your home, and my budget remodel laid out every purchase (and the cost) for this project. While it moved down from #10 last year, it remains my most popular home renovation post.

Jewish Noodle kugel recipe

15. Comfort Food: Jewish Noodle Kugel Recipe

I’m thrilled that my noodle kugel stayed on the list, even though it did drop from #14 to #15 this year. This custardy noodle dish is my very favorite side dish and should be a winner for anyone who likes mac and cheese, quiche or fettuccine alfredo.

Make your own ground cinnamon | Future Expat16. Make Your Own Ground Cinnamon

In the last few years, I’ve jumped on the DIY craze…in the kitchen…and have started making my own pantry items instead of buying highly processed foods. With cinnamon and other spices, I normally use store bought dried spices but one day I ran out of cinnamon in the middle of a recipe, so I got creative.

New bathroom granite vanity top from remnant17. Update Your Bathrooms with a Granite Vanity Top

If you are looking for an easy way to give your bathroom a more expensive look and can swing a few hundred dollars, consider getting a granite vanity top. I lay out your options in this popular post which was #15 on the 2013 list.

Product Review - Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill (4)18. Product Review: Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

While I do paid sponsored reviews for brands that I like, I also share my thoughts on products I use simply because I like them. My non-paid coffee grinder review was #16 on the 2013 list and continues to be popular today.

Insightly Review: The Best FREE Way for Real Estate Agents, Bloggers & Small Businesses to Manage Contacts19. Insightly Review: The Best FREE Way for Real Estate Agents, Bloggers & Small Businesses to Manage Contacts

Insightly was the first company to give me a chance and hire me to write a sponsored post for their product. This article continues to show people how the Insightly contact management software (which I still use) is the best free way to manage your contacts.

Amish Baked Oatmeal | Future Expat20. Eating Healthy Recipe: Amish Baked Oatmeal

While my Amish Baked Oatmeal barely made the list this year, it was #9 last year. It’s one of my favorite breakfasts and I make it over and over throughout the year.

My Favorites from 2014:

Every blogger knows that some things you write just mean more to you, even if they don’t get as much traffic as the top posts. Here are a four of my favorites from 2014 that didn’t make the top 20 list.

Gateway Outreach in East St. Louis - Future ExpatCommunity Outreach & Puppy Rescues in Impoverished East St. Louis

It’s hard to believe that none of my dog posts made the top 20 list, but it’s probably because I haven’t been as involved with pet rescue since April and those were the most compelling dog posts I’ve written.

This post was written after spending a day in impoverished East St. Louis during a stretch of dangerously low temperatures. We gave out dog houses, fed strays and rescued puppies. It is one of my favorites of the year because it reminds me why I’m in dog rescue. Plus, it helped me raise over $1400 for Gateway Pet Guardians!

Rescuing Frankie from Animal Control - Future ExpatRescuing Frankie from Animal Control

This year I spent a few months working with a brand new rescue group and had the chance to save a few dogs from animal control that might not have been pulled by another rescue for one reason or another. Frankie was the first dog I pulled from the shelter and I’ll never forget him. I also am proud of the video I made which shows how a session at the groomers can transform a dirty matted stray. I hope it inspires more people to take a closer look at these dogs and give them another chance for a happy life.

5 Steps to Excellent Credit - Future ExpatHow I Got a Credit Score Over 800 and You Can Too!

No one’s life is going to be changed because they discovered a new recipe on my blog, but a post like this one where I share tips on how to improve your credit really could change someone’s life. I was thrilled that I was hired by Credit Karma™ to share credit tips and how the free website helps people manage their finances.

Milo Settles into Our New Home with Alpo Wholesome Dog Biscuit Review - Future ExpatMilo Settles into Our New Home with #AlpoDogBiscuit

This post didn’t have a chance to make the top 20 list because I just posted it last week. While it is always exciting to be hired to write a sponsored post, it is one of my favorites because I managed to create a video which captures Milo’s personality. Plus it’s the first post (many more to come!) about my new home and how I will transform it from a fixer upper to exactly what I want.

Planning for the Future:

I’m paying attention to what you like to read.

The top 20 included:

  • 11 recipes
  • 3 tech tips
  • 2 home renovation articles
  • 2 product reviews
  • 2 movie recommendation lists
  • 1 travel tip article

Stick around…you’ll see more of these type of articles and recipes in 2015. Plus more of the compelling dog rescue stories you saw last year.

Top 20 for 2013 - Future ExpatSee last year’s top 20!

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2 Responses

  1. Love the bacon cream cheese roll ups! Thanks for sharing on Tasty Tuesdays!

  2. Marty says:

    I just have to say, the food pictures you have here really got to me. Stomach is beginning to rumble. Great stuff!

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