Welcome to my new site that now includes my photography blog (formerly named Up Close & Tasty) where I share recipes, restaurants and travel stories and advice behind the scenes! I’ve been on my computer correcting some very tedious things that I should have known about a long time ago when it comes to blogging. There is so much that I’ve learned over the last couple of months and I am going to share a lot of those learnings with you. But, let’s keep it simple to start and enjoy a bowl of this Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup, while I share Three Basic (and free) Changes that helped me improve my blog.
Tip 1: Get the Yoast SEO Plugin
I blogged for over three years before I started using the Yoast SEO Plugin. When I reached out to Kiley at Brainchild Studios for SEO advice, this was one of the first things she said to do. It was so tedious to go back and fix every post, so if you are already using Yoast, high five to you. If you’re not, I highly recommend getting started. Good content is always the number one priority, but wouldn’t it be nice to take some little extra steps to help your content get seen?
Here’s what you need to know about Yoast:
1. You can start for free or upgrade to the Premium version for $89 for one site. I chose the free version to start.
2. It’s super simple to install on WordPress.
3. It is a very clear guide with red, orange and green indicators letting you know what’s working and what’s missing before you publish your post.
4. It makes you set a focus keyword and ensures you’re using this keyword in five important areas: the heading, the title, the URL, the body content and your meta description.
5. It lets you know if you’ve used the focus keyword before or not. It’s better to use a unique focus keyword for your posts. Since I share a lot of recipes, my focus keywords center around the recipe. For example, my focus keyword for this post is Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup.
Tip 2: Link to Past Posts
I used to think that mentioning older posts would be redundant in case readers had already read it. But, it’s important to keep in mind that readers are going to find your posts at random times and may or may not be familiar with your blog. If someone likes what they see, they are probably going to want to see more. Linking to relevant past posts helps people know there’s more good stuff to see.
For example, I’m sharing my Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup recipe and if that sounds good, readers might also want to get my Roasted Cauliflower Soup recipe.
Tip 3: Smaller Sections of Text with Headlines
Consider how readable your content looks to the naked eye. When I think about how I view blogs, I love it when I can read the copy easily and see what important goodies they are sharing with me up front. Breaking text up into smaller sections with headlines helps with this. Large blocks of text on a webpage, no matter how well they are written, are simply harder to get through. I tend to skim or skip right to the recipe.
Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup
Speaking of the recipe, this vegetarian soup is simple to make, loaded with flavor and is completely dairy-free. If you can let it sit overnight, it tastes even better the next day. You can always buy a jar of peeled, roasted red bell peppers. However, if you want to use the ones you have in the fridge, I recommend roasting the red peppers and removing the outer skins. It allows the peppers to release more of their sweetness during the preparation of the soup.
Removing the Skins from a Red Bell Pepper
1. Place the red pepper over a burner set to medium-high heat.
2. Using tongs, turn the bell pepper so all sides get nicely charred.
3. Place the charred bell pepper in a medium bowl, tightly sealed with saran wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
4. Remove pepper from bowl and carefully scrape the outer skin off.
Enjoy the recipe!
Beautiful plate by Cats Eye Pottery
ROASTED RED PEPPER & CAULIFLOWER SOUP
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (19 ounces)
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: Microgreens, chopped basil & crispy cauliflower for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place cauliflower florets on a large baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cauliflower is starting to brown and is tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the cauliflower leaving about a cup of the florets in for 10 minutes longer to get a little extra brown to use as garnish.
- Remove from oven and set the extra brown florets aside.
- In a large pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted cauliflower, roasted red peppers, vegetable broth, and paprika. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender or Vitamix, blend the soup until soup is creamy and smooth.
- Stir in the fresh basil.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, microgreens and crispy cauliflower, if desired.
Did you make this recipe?
Show me! Tag @reganbaroni on Instagram.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2018.