10 Blogging Tips and Savory Baked Oatmeal

I  was thumbing through my American Dietetic Association Times publication yesterday and the first article caught my eye: Ten Rule for Better Blogging. Page one. Blogging is hot hot hot!

A must-read, indeed. And here’s what ADA author Jacqui Cook suggests to bloggers:

  1. Pick one topic and stick to it.
  2. Update early and often — followers want material at least once daily, and internet traffic is highest in the morning and lunch time hours.
  3. Keep it short. Posts longer than 400 words lose reader’s attention. (Note: I could not agree with this more! Working on this myself…)
  4. Link early and often — link to resources, allowing them the in-depth explanation
  5. Tag and categorize your posts.
  6. Don’t get too cute. Search engines cannot recognize humor, so it’s best to keep the cute to a minimum (Note: I like cute blogs, search engine savvy or not!)
  7. Encourage comments. (Yes, you! I want to hear your opinions on things!)
  8. Respect your host (where applicable)
  9. Have realistic expectations. The more you blog, the better chance you have at building an audience.
  10. Take the plunge. Just do it! Blogging is a wonderful outlet for leisure, learning, friendship, and beyond!

Blueberry-Coconut Baked Oatmeal adapted from Healthy Food for Living
serves 6

canola oil cooking spray
2 medium bananas, sliced thinly
3/4 1 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened dried blueberries (I had cherries on hand, so I used those)
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch each ground nutmeg, cloves, and salt
2 cups skim milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp margarine or butter Smart Balance Light, melted & cooled, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375*F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square or round baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the banana slices over the bottom of the dish and top with the frozen blueberries. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, brown sugar, pepitas, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, 1 Tbsp of the margarine, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Set aside.

Spoon the oat mixture on top of the bananas and blueberries. Pour the milk mixture over the oat mixture, and drizzle with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp melted margarine.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top layer is lightly browned and crisp. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 389 calories; 10.3 g. fat; 37.5 mg. cholesterol; 83 mg. sodium; 67 g. carbohydrate; 6.5 g. fiber; 9.3 g. protein

This oatmeal bake is out of this world — something anyone would love to start their day with. My breakfast-hating Valentine even gave it a thumbs up this morning! (Little does he know it had coconut in it…he “hates” coconut…)

Question to the bloggers: Which of the 10 blogging tips do you feel you could improve on most?

Question to the blog readers: When you think about your favorite blogs, what makes them your favorite? Appearance? Topic? Pictures? Humor?

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve to all! Hubby and I got an early start to celebrating V-day and went to our favorite wine bar and Italian bistro for wine and supper and then to see “Brothers”. Love date nights 😉

P.S. Kristen over at Change of Pace is giving away Bobo Oat bars! Enter here!

Share With Your Friends!

36 Comments

  1. February 13, 2010 / 11:53 am

    those are some GREAT tips!! and that recipe looks amazing. that sounds like such a cute date-i really wana see brothers! (and valentines day)

  2. February 13, 2010 / 11:58 am

    I think those tips would apply to someone looking for “blogging success,” but for me, I don’t like to stick to any rules or guidelines. I just like to be me and be involved in the amazing community of healthy bloggers. I do totally agree that the longer posts easily lose me, so I try to not get to lengthy in my own.

    Your baked oatmeal looks wonderful!! 🙂 Andrew and I got an early start on Valentine’s Day as well. He bought me sunflowers (my fave!!) and made me an amazing GF buffalo chicken pizza and we watched one of our favorite movies, Garden State! 🙂 Perfect night!! 🙂 Hope you and your husband continue to have a lovely weekend!!!! 🙂

  3. February 13, 2010 / 12:10 pm

    What a great looking recipe! I will add it to my ever-growing “to make list”

    Thanks for the blogging tips. I try to be consistent in my blogging every day but have recently fell off that bandwagon…I need to get myself better organized.

  4. February 13, 2010 / 12:15 pm

    I agree with most of the blogging tips. I think I could improve on sticking to one topic! I tend to blab about my life, exercise, food, work, and everything else in between.

  5. February 13, 2010 / 12:35 pm

    Eek! I never tag or categorize my posts!!! Oh well 🙂

  6. February 13, 2010 / 12:41 pm

    I could probably work on the length of my blogs…oops. As far as reading other peoples, topic always gets me there, but good pictures to go along with the content really help keep my attention!

  7. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    February 13, 2010 / 12:56 pm

    i never tag my posts, i can get too cutesy, and i blog at night. sometimes my posts are hella long too! haha i guess i have some work to do ;). fun tips. if it means anything your blog is one of my faves, it’s always succinct, nails one topic per post, has so much great information esp nutrition related (obviously) and is sprinkled with humor and wit! oooh that baked oatmeal sounds so easy and delicious!

  8. February 13, 2010 / 1:15 pm

    The oatmeal looks great! I couldn’t agree more with those blogging tips… The more pictures you use and the less words I find is best. Well not too many pictures… You know 🙂

  9. February 13, 2010 / 1:25 pm

    so agree with the tips!! I havent been able to blog as much as I like though. (work has me mad slammed right now) But hopefully i will get better at it. Its my goal!

    Baked oatmeal looks awesome! I love anything with oatmeal so this is so on my to make list. I hope you have an amazing weekend hon!

  10. terrid614
    February 13, 2010 / 3:02 pm

    thanks for the blogging tips! as a ‘new’ blogger, i am always looking for great ideas!! p.s. the baked oatmeal looks delish!! ~terri

  11. February 13, 2010 / 3:03 pm

    I’ve heard Brothers is an intense movie! I want to see it!
    Great blogging tips! Definitely agree with most of these!

    I don’t agree with #6 I like cute/clever blogs. Who cares if traffic isn’t brought in from a search engine? I guess everyone has a different purpose for writing a blog 🙂

  12. February 13, 2010 / 3:10 pm

    Those are great tips, many of which I try to follow. My blog posts used to be sooo long. Not only was this time consuming for me, but also everyone seems to love quick reads, so I’m really trying to scale back on this. Also, posting in the morning is def. key! That recipe looks delish!

  13. February 13, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I could improve on #5 as I haven’t tagged any of my posts yet.

    As for what gets me to put folks on my feed list: some are just singularaly for what you suggested and some are a combination of them all.

  14. February 13, 2010 / 5:17 pm

    I’m seeing baked oatmeal all over blogs these days. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? I use quick cook oats and they’re so quick I don’t even want to bother baking my oatmeal. Is it really that much better?

    • Nicole
      Author
      February 13, 2010 / 5:24 pm

      It was my first baked oatmeal attempt and it was truly wonderful! I’ll be enjoying it throughout the week! Mmm!

  15. February 13, 2010 / 5:26 pm

    Nicole! How cool you are from Oak Park! I actually never made it there – my Mom had too much going on, and my meeting her for lunch was just one thing she couldn’t squeeze in.

    I went to OPRF – graduated in 1986. The field hockey field I played on is now the two story parking garage next to the football stadium.

    What draws me to blogs is different depending on the person – I come to you because you always have good facts about diabetes, etc. There are blogs I go to because I know the food photography is great, but overall I like the blogs that feel like I am catching up with an old friend – whether they talk about their child starting kindergarten, or getting in a fender bender – and then there are some I visit once and for whatever reason just move on.

    Talk about long comments – yikes! I just type too fast! Fingers crossed the chili works out for you guys! 😀

  16. February 13, 2010 / 5:41 pm

    Search engines be danged, I like the funny girls. Marisa for example at Loser for Life always makes me laugh so I check her out first pretty much every day. And I love good food pictures. Which is why I read everything Jaime at Embracing Balance posts. She’s a true lover of beautiful food. I like the bloggers who blog like they would speak. It sounds more sincere.

  17. February 13, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    The blogging tips are awesome! Thank you for the great resource!

    I’m absolutely swooning over your gorgeous baked oatmeal… I would love this for breakfast or dessert! 🙂 SO perfect for winter weather too – I can’t wait to fix it sooooon!

  18. February 13, 2010 / 5:52 pm

    I’m sure I could improve on MANY of those tips. I think uniqueness is what I look for in bloggers. I like blogs that can teach me things I don’t already know.

    That granola looks sooooo good! Happy V-Day!!!

  19. February 13, 2010 / 7:56 pm

    ok first off, Happy Valentines Day to you and the hubby!!!!! Sounds like you had an amazing dinner and a great movie!!!!

    Your baked oatmeal looks so good!!!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

    I love the blogging tips!!!! Thanks for those!!!

    I need to tag my posts, and need to work on making my posts short and sweet!!!

    xoxo

  20. February 13, 2010 / 10:47 pm

    The oatmeal looks & sounds great!!!

    Great rules to create a successful blog. I know I’m breaking some of the rules, but I’ve decided that my blog is supposed to enrich my life first, so anything goes… 🙂

    I read a variety of blogs and like each one of them for a different reason. I really appreciate shorter posts that have something (can be big or small) I can take away from them (recipe, idea, inspiration, beautiful phot0, nutrition info…).

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

  21. February 14, 2010 / 6:29 am

    Thanks for the tips! oooh those oats look great!

  22. February 14, 2010 / 7:06 am

    The tip about keeping your posts short really resonates with me! It’s something I really need to work on. I always intend for them to be short, but somehow I just keep writing!

  23. February 14, 2010 / 8:51 am

    These baked oats look great!! Made a huge batch of oats yesterday. Next time I need to bake ’em!
    Thanks for the blog tips. I think I tend to get too wordy. It is hard to get through, but so fun to share!
    I love great recipes, stories, real-life stuff and healthy living tips when I read blogs…oh and great design & photos 🙂

  24. February 14, 2010 / 12:52 pm

    Amen to sticking to one topic and keeping it short! That describes the blogs I like most. Unfortunately, not many people do that. They babble on and on.

    That being said, I do need to make my own posts shorter from time to time!

  25. February 14, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    I love those tips!

    I of course rarely stick to one topic – thats probably due to the fact that I have the attention span of a peanut.

  26. February 14, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    Those tips are great. My favourite blogs are faves for different reasons, appearance is really the only one that doesn’t do it for me, but considering the last place I lived it took 3 years to put anything on the plain walls, that has just never been a big deal. Humour is key and I agree I’d rather have some humour that search engines don’t understand.
    Recipes and Pictures draw me in but without something of substance I rarely linger. That oatmeal looks fantastic, must try soon.

  27. February 14, 2010 / 6:41 pm

    Great tips – I’m working on keeping my posts shorter too. Your oatmeal looks yummy!!

  28. February 15, 2010 / 9:36 am

    Couldn’t agree more with those tips! I should definitely link more though.
    Those oats look amazing!!

  29. February 15, 2010 / 12:03 pm

    Those are helpful tips! Thank you for sharing them 🙂

  30. February 15, 2010 / 1:37 pm

    Great tips!! I know I just have to keep updating and providing readers with good info and easy to find topics, etc. You gave some helpful info…thank you! Yummi recipe…looks delicous!

    Jen 🙂

  31. February 16, 2010 / 8:29 am

    I bet that baked oatmeal tastes like a giant oatmeal cookie–yummy! The blogs I read keep me lured in with recipes, but also humor and just general appeal.

  32. February 16, 2010 / 8:52 am

    Wow- so interesting- I’m working on a project on the use of blogs by dietitians and thought the ADA (and Dietitians of Canada here) had ignored the issue … but I guess they haven’t!
    Do you know if that article is available to the public?!
    Thanks for posting this…! 🙂

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