This week celebrates 4 years of Baked Bree. I could not be more proud or feel more a part of something special. When I started Baked Bree, I knew nothing of the food blogging world, I had never heard of Pioneer Woman, and I really thought that a food blog was my own idea. How’s that for living under a rock?
I started Baked Bree at a time when I really needed something to do and focus on. A hobby. I had just shut down my photography business and wanted to focus on my family and being a mom. I decided to chronicle family recipes and keep track of what I cooked online. I thought that maybe my mom and my best friend might take a look at it every once in awhile. I had no idea that it would become what it is today – a business that has allowed me to meet incredible people, see many new places, and do some pretty freakin’ amazing things.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you that comes here to grab a new recipe, cook a meal for someone you love, and participate in the community of gracious and lovely readers. I read every single comment and try my absolute best to respond to all of them. I love to see pictures of Baked Bree recipes that you are cooking on Instagram, Facebook, and your own blogs. It makes me happier than you could possibly ever know.
So thank you. Thank you for being here for the last 4 years, and I hope to see you for the next 4 and beyond.
I find a certain irony in the fact that I have never posted a recipe for Baked Brie until now. Having people misspell my name for my entire life came in handy when it came time to name my blog. I actually make it frequently, but the simple truth is that baked brie is really hard to take a nice picture of. I feel this is a good way to circle back and celebrate this birthday. In the beginning, I knew nothing. I still don’t know a lot, but one of the things that I am most proud of is that I tried and I didn’t give up. I worked very hard to take better pictures, improve my writing, and be a better blogger.
You have to be good at a lot of things when it comes to blogging. You need to be a really good cook, take beautiful pictures, write well, know lots of tech-y website stuff, be a marketer, network, engage, basically wear all. of. the. hats. I am still not at a place where I can say that I am good at all of those things, but what I can say is that I have gotten to a place where I do it my own way and figure it out as I go, and I am totally fine with it. If you are just starting a blog, here are 4 things I wish that I would have known on my first day of running this little space on the Interwebs.
1. It takes a lot of work. As I mentioned, there are a lot of moving pieces. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Keep plugging along. When I first started (and finally figured out who this Pioneer Woman was that I kept hearing about) I would look at other blogs that were super successful and get so discouraged. You cannot compare their middle to your beginning. Everyone in this blogging world started from a single post.
2. Do your own thing. It is very easy to see other’s that are successful and use their formula to try to emulate the same look, feel, or voice. Your actual readership, the ones that come day after day, are coming for YOU. They really don’t care about the brownies or the chicken recipe as much as they want to hear your stories and find out who you are. You are unique and that is what will make your blog special.
3. If you started a blog solely for the purpose of making money, I am sorry to say that you are missing out on the good stuff. Do I make money from this blog? Yes. But would do it every single day even if I didn’t make a dime? Absolutely. I love it so much. I get to use my creative gifts every single day. I have made amazing friends with readers. And other bloggers? OH MY GOD, some of the most loving and supportive people on the planet. Some of the deepest and most meaningful relationships in my life are with people that I have never hugged in real life. And some I have because this community is real, and we are here for each other. It’s amazing.
4. Have fun. Seriously, this blogging thing is a lot of fun. Could I do more to grow my blog and work on new projects, have a million Twitter followers, and all kinds of other stuff? Sure. We all have only so many hours in a day. I love cooking, taking pictures, and writing to you. That is where my priorities are. Don’t let the business-y stuff take you away from the thing that really matters; doing what you love and engaging with people. It is easy to get wrapped up in so much of the little things that it clouds the big picture.
Show up, have fun, and work hard. You’ll do a lotta dishes, but I promise, it is totally worth it.
This is my favorite way to make and eat baked brie. I prefer to add condiments to my cheese after I bake it. I heat the cheese in the oven until it is gooey and melty. I toast the almonds in butter (my mom always made them this way, so I do too) and then add honey or jam to the platter. I add some fresh and dried fruits, crackers, and toasted bread. I add some brie to a toasted piece of bread, drizzle some honey, and add almonds. The perfect bite of sharp, sweet, and crunch.
1 wheel brie cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons butter
Jam or honey
Fresh fruit (apples, pears, grapes, and strawberries are the ones I use the most)
Dried fruit (figs, apricots, cranberries)
Score the cheese. Place on a baking sheet and put in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the almonds and toast until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool. Arrange the fruits, crackers, and bread on a platter. Add the almonds to a bowl and set out honey.