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Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas {Blogging: Year One}

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This is a tale of two margaritas: a skinny Lime Margarita and a sultry Chipotle Grapefruit Margarita. Skinny is 1-year old today. Chipotle Grapefruit came to celebrate the occasion.

{Chipotle Grapefruit may also be the best margarita I’ve tasted in my life, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Back to our story…}

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Twelve months ago today, I baked an enormous pan of chicken enchiladas, washed them down with a lime margarita, and for some weird reason thought that The Universe might want to hear about it.

Before you assume I’m a narcissist, do keep in mind that “The Universe” at this time consisted of my mother, my grandmother, and Ben’s aunt, all of whom are a) highly sympathetic and b) stuck with me. Yes, my first recipe post, “Chicken Enchiladas and Skinny Margaritas,” was live, my soul (and my weeknight dinner selection) exposed for all to see. The photos were unappetizing, the web page design a wreck, and I’d somehow forgotten to write anything describing the recipes. Never mind the details, I had published a post! My mom clicked on it! I officially had a food blog!

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At this point in time, the terms “SEO,” “Food Styling,” and “Unique Page Views” meant nothing to me. All that mattered was that I’d prepared a tasty, healthy meal for Ben and myself, written it down, and shared it with my family and a few friends. My high school pal Kathryn emailed to tell me that she’d made the enchiladas and loved them, three people liked my link on Facebook, and I had an indisputable excuse to bake cookies three times a week if I felt like it (blog material!). Life was good.

Next, I hit 50 page views in one day. FIFTY! When a total stranger commented on a post, I freaked out and called Ben at the library. As the months went on, I started focusing on improving my photography, connecting with other bloggers, and growing my audience.  Hitting 100 views happened. Then, 1,000. I celebrated, then asked myself for more—more subscribers, more improved photography, more social media interaction.

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As any semi-serious blogger will tell you, the path to numbers obsession, comparing your blog to others, and losing sight of why you began blogging in the first place is deadlier than a readily accessible bowl of puppy chow. Before you know what’s happened, you’ve got Google Analytics bookmarked, finger cramps from too much Tweeting, and a serious tummy ache.

As I look back on my first year of food blogging, I want to reconnect with the Erin who was completely satisfied to write for only her grandma, who didn’t care if her photos stunk so long as the recipe was solid, and who mixed that first Skinny Margarita.

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Though my Skinny ‘Rita recipe remains a warm-weather staple in our apartment, today I’ll be sharing a slightly more evolved margarita recipe to celebrate my one-year “Blog-iversary”: Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas. Prepare your taste buds for a barrage of tart-sweet-tangy-spicy summer satisfaction.

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Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas are the bridge between where my blog began and where it is today: The foundation (the girl behind the blog and…the tequila) is the same, but the eye appeal, flavor complexity, and overall perspective has an extra kick.

Yes, I just compared myself to tequila. Considering that my second-ever recipe post featured an awkward preschool photo of myself, the self-deprecation aspect of my blog has clearly has remained unscathed. I find this utterly refreshing, not unlike Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas.  The parallels continue.

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At this point in the post, if you hop down to the final two paragraphs and the Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas recipe, I will not be offended. After all, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and those ‘ritas are rockin’.  If, however, you’d care to join me for a bit of blog reflection, I’d love to share a few lessons of this last year with you. Let’s begin.

In the last year of food blogging, I have learned a great deal. The most obvious lessons focus on just how challenging—and time consuming—maintaining a food blog can be, even before I’ve touched a measuring cup:

  • Technical issues I had no idea existed. “What, my RSS-driven email campaign didn’t send because of a failed server connection?”
  • Photography challenges in a dimly lit, teeny-tiny apartment.“Why is Ben’s drying rack visible in every photo, no matter how I angle it?”
  • Keeping Up with Social Media. “So, what exactly is a hashtag anyway?”

Then, I have the real lessons, the ones I am learning over and over again:

  • How will I define success?
  • What does my blog say about me?
  • Why am I pouring so much energy into this crazy thing?
  • Does anyone care? Do I care if they do?

At the moment, those questions will remain rhetorical, because I don’t have the answers.

Here is what I do know after one year of food blogging:

  • The only truly unique feature I can offer my readers is myself. Think my brownies look amazing? I can find you 100 other, more drool-worthy photos on other food sites. Love the way I described that sticky cinnamon roll? Other bloggers are pretty good at it too. In the end, the internet is loaded with wonderful bloggers with skills that far surpass my own. There is, however, only one person who can overuse alliteration, compare pizza toppings to outlandish dance moves, and confess to jamming out to “Call Me Maybe” on a treadmill, and that person is me, The Law Student’s Wife.
  • Have a life outside the blog. Want a mindless list of recipe upon recipe? Get a cookbook. Food blogs are fun because their authors inject energy into the recipes and place them in the context of a broader, fuller life. If I chain myself to my oven (and my laptop) full-time, I can’t give you that energy. Plus, I don’t really get paid for this, and I’d like to think that Ben would miss me.
  • Be real. Every word I write, every recipe I post, every embarrassing detail I reveal is the gosh darn truth. I like to look myself in the eye in the morning, and I value your trust. Nothing will ever be worth compromising that confidence. I already drink diet soda. That’s enough artificial for both of us.
  • The world will not end if I miss a post. Yep, it’s happened. I went out of town for the weekend and missed my usual Monday/Tuesday update. Reality check: you didn’t notice. It’s OK—my pride can handle it.
  • People think I’m crazy. It’s cool. My family, friends, and sometimes even Ben don’t quite understand why I pour as much time into my blog as I do. They also don’t understand why I’m still listening to Matchbox 20 and Shania Twain. My music selection and my blog make me happy; I can handle a few raised eyebrows.
  • One day at a time. I still can’t properly capture maple syrup streaming from the bottle and oozing over a stack of buttery pancakes. Maybe someday I will. For today, I’ll just keep learning.
  • Remember why I’m doing this. I love food, writing, and my readers. In the end, the page views, brand partnerships, ad revenue, and technical stuff are all just background music. Passion for creating and sharing wonderful recipes, offering relatable, enjoyable stories, and interacting with you at the other end of my posts is what keeps me blogging.  Now that is worth celebrating.

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I’d like to propose a toast: To you. Whether you’ve been with me since that first awkward post or are visiting my site for the first time today, I’m thrilled to have you here. Thanks for being a part of my blog and for making The Law Student’s Wife meaningful.

To one year of recipes, of learning, and of sharing, with full glasses of Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas in hand. Cheers!

 

Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 1 Margarita

Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas

Sweet, tangy, and with a subtle kick, Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas offer summer satisfaction with every sip.

Ingredients

    Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas
  • 2 thick round slices grapefruit (about 1/2 inch wide), plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt, for glass rim (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle juice (from canned chipotle)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 and 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice
  • Simple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Make the simple syrup: In a small pot, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  2. For a salt rim: Rub a grapefruit or lime slice around the edge of the glass and then dip the rim of the glass lightly in a plate of kosher salt. Set aside.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, muddle grapefruit slices with chipotle juice and lime juice. Add tequila, triple sec, and simple syrup, then fill the shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly for 1 minute. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice, and garnish with a grapefruit slice. Enjoy immediately.
http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2013/05/chipotle-grapefruit-margaritas/

Author: Erin Clarke

I'm Erin, and I'm on a mission to cook everything that's tasty, {mostly} healthy, and budget-friendly—all while Mr. Right is in the library. I'm convinced that cheese and chocolate are the answer, that you can love sweets and veggies equally, and that delicious, satisfying food should be accessible to everyone. The recipes here are affordable, approachable, and delectable, and I can't wait to share them with you!

43 Comments

  1. Happy 1st Blogiversary! I love every word in your post. I also threw up in my mouth at the idea of book marking analytics. I hope I never do that. Ever. BTW – your photos are stunning. Your stories are wonderful. Your recipes are incredible. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for you!!

    • Liz, thank you!!!! Totally blushing :) You just put serious pep in my step, and I’m so happy to have “met” you. As far as never-ever bookmarking GA: I’ll drink to that. Cheers!

  2. I’d say this drink is a great way to celebrate your blogiversary!

  3. Congrats on a year of blogging, Erin! I’m so glad you started so that I could get to know you and drool over your yummy recipes :) And thanks so much for sharing those nuggets of wisdom — you are so spot-on and I love that you are doing this because you love it so much. It shows! :)

    • Thank you so much Steph–that really means a lot! I am so happy to have met you too (and to have found the ultimate carb-lovers dream in your blog). Here’s to many more culinary adventures :)

  4. Happy 1st Blogiversary! This is very exciting and I love reading ever word of you post! I can relate to so much of it!!

  5. Happy one year Blogiversary! Just found your site today. What a great reflection of year one. I’m almost at my second year and still have so much to learn.

  6. I will happily join you in a toast, and I wish you a hearty congratulations!! Blogging truly is a learning experience, and it really is easy to get caught up in the “I’ve got to get a post up!” feeling. I’ve sort of come full circle as I found that on occasion I put the blog before my family. When the kids say things like, “Oh your writing, ok… I’ll talk to you later” I know I’ve got my priorities messed up!
    Balance is key!
    Congratulations!! I’m so glad you entered the blogging world or I would never have come to know you, and it’s a true pleasure that I do!
    Fabulous margarita girl, Cheers!!

  7. happy 1st blogiversary- even though I found you little too late – i am glad to be here and reading your adventure from now on :)

  8. Happy first year of blogging, Erin! You’ve obviously come a long way and learned so much, and I can’t wait to follow along for many more years! These margaritas look so refreshing and I love the flavor. Cheers!

  9. Happy Blogiversary!! Cheers with these fabulous margs, def going to have to try grapefruit in our next batch :)

  10. I’m so glad I found this post. I just started a food blog two months ago after being on the fence about it for two years. I’m all in now, and though I’m interested in my traffic, I’m trying to stay focused on just writing about what I love. Congratulations on making it a whole year. You seem wildly successful. I hope I can get 100 views some day. Cheers!

    • Hi Renee! I’m so happy your found my site and congrats on starting your blog! It sounds like you have a perfect attitude. Looking forward to seeing what you cook up :-)

  11. I love this post, Erin! You are so right on every angle. You have made amazing strides in only one year and I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you! Cheers!!

  12. beautiful post! and these margaritas…deeelish! new reader here. happy 1 year!

  13. This is beautiful and sounds so amazing! Congratus on your blogiversary! ;) Definitely trying these out soon!

  14. Happy blogiversary!!! Tequila and I have a complicated relationship, but I loooove all these flavors and would totally throw back quite a few of these!

  15. Cheers to a great year! Love ya! xo

  16. Happy Blogiversary Erin!! These margs are definitely the way to celebrate!

  17. Yay! Congrats on year 1! I’m so glad you thought the world needed you and your recipes, because we do! :-) xoxo

  18. WooHoo!! Congrats on your first year food blogging!!
    I always enjoy reading your post, they’re always spot on and funny!
    It’s nice to know you take life as it comes and share it with us.
    I thank you for taking the time to ‘spice’ up my life with your food and stories!
    Wishing you much joy, happiness and more food adventures!!
    Also, my waistline thanks you!! :-)
    Cheers to you!!

  19. Congrats on the blogiversary! I 100% agree with all your observations on your first year of blogging. You have come so far! You deserve a margarita… or three… tonight to celebrate. I am the world’s worst mixologist, but LOVE a good margarita, so I am for sure going to try these.

  20. Congrats on your first year of blogging! These cocktails sound totally amazing!

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  23. Erin,

    Thanks for giving me the link to include in my upcoming Band Fruit Fundraiser Recipe Round Up! It will be published on 12/4/2013!

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