Hey there! This is a double-duty post. We kick off for some soul-searching regarding 2017 and where Bear & Bug might go in 2018. If you just want the recipe, scroll down for my non-alcoholic Sparkling Cranberry “Sangria” (with an alcoholic option, of course) and a bunch of other fun posts for a pre-New Year’s #CocktailParty!
If you noticed around October that I missed a couple of posts, you may have wondered what happened. If you typically come here from my social media posts, then you might have wondered if I stopped blogging altogether (I didn’t, but I stopped posting on Facebook). What actually happened was this: I got pregnant and lost almost all motivation for blogging.
Backing up: I blog for several reasons. One is because writing is an important way for me to be creative. Two is because I love food and talking about food. And three is because I hope(d) to make an income from this blog.
The lofty goal was to have something like a full income from this blog by the time I had a baby. The baby’s coming soon, but the income is not. And that’s even when I feel like I’m busting my butt just to get quality recipes out and post on social media, not to mention what can feel like the incessant slog of planning, testing, photography, re-cooking, photography reshoots, social media, email, resesarch, reaching out to potential sponsors, being turned down by potential sponsors, and wondering if I’m doing enough. Because the fact is that, as with many things in life, I could always be working harder.
I’m a part of a couple of blogging communities. The general trend with food blogs is that to get to the level of earning a decent income, you need to work like crazy (50+ hours/week) for a year, or for several years at a comparable amount of time (so if 10 hours/week, then 5+ years). I’ve been at this part-time for about two years now, and here’s another hard truth: while I’ve been paying to maintain this blog all that time, I just made my first revenue–for the grand total of $65.
I asked Robby if I should just give up the blog, if he even thought it was still worth it. His answer was a very firm “Yes,” and so I stuck it out through the end of the year, with the intention of refocusing after that.
So what does that mean for 2018? Most importantly: I’ll still be here. I’ll still be posting weekly (probably) and working hard behind the scenes to improve quality and to increase my income.
There are a ton of fun events and things coming up in January (National Peanut Butter Day, anyone?), but around them, I
might will take a couple of weeks off in order to refocus and plan for the year. That should also give me some time to mentally relax a little bit.
I’ll be out for much of the summer post-baby, of course. I’m leaving it open-ended because I have no idea what recovery (physical, emotional, mental) will be like, but I’ll certainly be back afterwards!
My motto for 2018 is: I can do anything, but not everything. Practically, that means prioritizing, and then focusing like crazy on said priorities. Goal-setting is hard for me, but if I want results, this is what has to happen.
Now, who’s ready for a lighter topic?
Sparkling Cranberry “Sangria”
I have an easy mocktail recipe for you today! The only things I miss about not drinking alcohol are bubbles and fun cocktails. Robby helped me develop something that checks both boxes.
Sangria is traditionally wine + liquor + fruit. Red sangria often uses berries and red apples; white sangria tends to use citrus and green apples and grapes. This is a take on a rosé sangria, the ideal middle ground. I chose berries (favorite!) and oranges, and rounded off the rosé look with cranberry ginger ale.
I wrote this as a by-the-glass recipe so that each serving is perfectly bubbly. If you would rather make a big batch all at once, I’ve made some notes on that as well: just muddle all the berries and juices together ahead of time. This has the added benefit of allowing the flavors to mingle a bit longer. You can even pre-portion the berry mix into glasses, then top with the cranberry ginger ale just as people hold out their hands.
Like all sangrias, this recipe is forgiving. Use any mix of berries that you have on hand, more or less orange juice, and any pink fruity soda will do. Or if you like a more traditional sangria, swap out the cranberry ginger ale for any fruity sparkling rosé. This is an easy way to make one fun drink for people of all ages and preferences at one party!
(Also, you’ll be left with a ton of squashed, orange-flavored berries. For the love of fruit, EAT THESE. It is a delicious, delicious mush.)
Juice of 1/4 medium orange
Optional: Juice of 1/4 lime
3/4 cup sliced berries (I used 4 strawberries, 8 raspberries, 16 blueberries)
Chilled cranberry ginger ale
Juice of 1 medium orange
Optional: Juice of 1 lime
3 cups sliced berries
Chilled cranberry ginger ale
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle berries with fresh citrus juice. Strain into a champagne flute.
Top with cranberry ginger ale; garnish with orange wedge and fresh berries.
For a large batch, muddle berries and citrus juices together up to 24 hours ahead of time.
Other great recipes from the #CocktailParty!
- Cranberry Apple Cider Sparkler by The Redhead Baker
- Cranberry Ginger Whiskey Smash by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cranberry Key Lime Mimosa by Family Around the Table
- Mincemeat Manhattan by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Perfect Harmony Cocktail by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Sparkling Cranberry Lime Mocktail by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Strawberry Ginger Champagne Cocktail by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings