Live Real. Eat Real.

Surprise!

Hmmm…things look a little different around here today.

I’ve been working on a major site redesign for some time; I wanted something a little more “professional” looking and more well-structured than the simple layout I’d had for the last five years.  (Five years?  Wow…)  It’s been an arduous and rather stressful process, but it’s finally done, and I’m quite happy with it.

If you pop over to the Home Page, there’s a slide show – click on the title of the slide in the lower left-hand corner and it will take you to the blog portion of the site and list the category of recipes the slide is about.  The neat thing about that is that they can be changed very easily, reflecting seasons, holidays and trends.

Beneath the slides are 3 “call-out” boxes, similar to what was on the “old site.  I’ve done away with the link to the photography category, basically since I haven’t really taken a photo of anything that isn’t food or my grandson in quite awhile.  I’ve replaced it with a box titled “Resumé” that takes you to the “About” page (and because it goes well with “Recipes” and “Rants” – I’m all about alliteration these days).  I’m working on rewriting that, too, while I’m at it.

Beneath the call-out boxes is a section listing my 3 latest posts, 4 latest tweets, and pages I decided I needed to keep, but didn’t feel belonged on the “main” menu at the top – my blogrolls (which is going to get, you guessed it, cleaned up and re-organized), the section of my old “SAD” recipes, and the disclaimer I think is silly but is apparently necessary.  And lastly, at the very bottom is the copyright notice and links to my Facebook page, Twitter feed, Google+ profile and RSS feed.

I think it’s nice.

The About and Contact pages haven’t changed, but the Blog feed has.  If you land there, you have to click through to read the entire post, and you’ll notice the sidebars have changed.  I’m still working on this, so things will probably change a little on the right side over the next few days.  The format of the posts haven’t changed much, other than listing the meta information on the left, rather than at the bottom, making the area for the actual post more narrow, necessitating slightly smaller photos.  (If you go back to some older posts, you’ll see that the photos are running over into the right-hand sidebar – yes, I’m working on that, too).

The biggest change is the “Recipe” drop-down on the main menu.  I’ve had several requests over the last few months for a recipe index to make it easier to find specific recipes on the site.  I can understand that; when I started the blog in February 2008, I had no idea it was going to grow the way it has (60,000 unique visitors and 250,000 pageviews each month) and the category and tag structure leaves something to be desired.  The new recipe drop-down on the menu is going to do a lot to resolve this issue.

However, there is a drawback:  it has to be built entirely by hand, and I could not begin to build it until I implemented the new theme.  Right now, there are only a few recipes under appetizers and the grass-fed beef section of main courses.  Please understand this is a work in progress, and recipes will be added on a regular basis – daily, if I can manage it.  In the meantime, the categories and tags for the recipes are still intact, and the search function has been improved so hopefully that will help you find the exact recipe you’re looking for.

There are a few bugs to work out – mainly how the comments sections displays the stars when you rate a recipe – but I have to say I’m really very pleased with how it’s all turned out.  Do you like it?  Hate it?  Let me know – I really want to hear what you think!





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