Last week I shared a Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup recipe and talked about Three Basic (and free) Changes that you can do to improve your food blog. This week, I’m nibbling on this super fresh and Simple Tomato Crostini and sharing three investments that you can do to improve your food blog.

Tomato CrostiniTomato Crostini

1. Get the SSL Certificate

In my own “simplified” words, an SSL Certificate makes sure that your site is secure. This is very important if you’re collecting any kind of information from people or just want people to feel safe browsing your site. You can tell if a site is secure because it will read “https” in the url instead of just “http.”

How to get an SSL Certificate

Contact your web host to setup your SSL Certificate. My host made this very easy to do. I am currently using GoDaddy for my hosting and purchased their Standard SSL Certificate.


A two-year Standard SSL Certificate cost me $119.98. It’s worth it to know that I’m providing a secure site for my readers.

Tomato CrostiniTomato Crostini

2. Get the Cookbook Recipe Plugin

I have not used a recipe plugin with my blog before. (gasp!) I know, that was a mistake on my part. I share food photography and recipes, so why wouldn’t I have a recipe plugin?

The truth is, there are a lot of options out there and my research started with the freebies. The main issues I had with the free plugins were that they looked terrible on my site and I couldn’t reach anyone when I had questions. You get what you pay for, right?

During the redesign of my site/blog, I knew that I would need to invest in a good plugin and I decided to work with CookBook.

Why I Chose CookBook

I’m not a developer, so I’m not going to get too technical on you here. I will tell you that if you’re currently using a recipe plugin and might want to switch to Cookbook, you can! Going through each recipe would be really tedious, but they can help you make the switch and save you a ton of time.

Here are the main reasons I chose this plugin:

1. It Looks Beautiful

As a professional photographer (and a former art director), I am a visual person and I want things to be easy to use and look really good at the same time.

2. Excellent Customer Service

The team at Cookbook is responsive, super helpful and oh-so-friendly. And, they were all of these things BEFORE I made the investment. Instant win.

3. Easy to Install and Use

This is key for me, because I don’t have the time to try to figure something out. If I’m paying for a plugin, I want it to be easy to use. Feel free to check out more information here and see what you think.


The Cookbook Plugin is billed annually at $59.99 to ensure the longevity of the plugin and keep it functioning correctly. Right now they are offering $10 off your first year. Woo Hoo! Totally worth it to me.

Tomato CrosiniTomato Crostini

3. Hire A Developer

As a photographer and blogger, I wear many hats. However, there are some hats I am not meant to wear. Web development is definitely one of them. I simply don’t have the time to learn how to do backend coding with my site/blog. Most templates and themes are great on the surface, but after you buy one, it can be a challenge to figure out how to customize certain things to reflect your brand.

My developer, Raine Dalusong, is a fabulous developer. I also worked with Kiley over at Brainchild Studios to learn some basic SEO practices. I highly recommend working with a developer if development isn’t your thing. It will save you so much time and you’re supporting local businesses in the process.


This will vary by developer. Look around and talk to people. They don’t have to be local to you either. Brainchild Studios has offices in Chicago and Milwaukee and Raine lives in Seattle. We work remotely together.

Tomato Crostini

Simple Tomato Crostini

Now that I’ve given you some good information, check out this recipe. It’s is full of fresh cherry tomatoes mixed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic and fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours at room temperature before serving on grilled slices of a baguette. So easy, right? It makes a lot, so invite your friends over and have a party!



  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes on the vine, chopped & rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 baguette cut into diagonal slices, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienne cut
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Balsamic vineager


  1. Combine the chopped tomatoes and garlic in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Add olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix everything together.
  4. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
  5. Stir occasionally.
  6. Brush the sliced baguette with olive oil.
  7. Place baguette slices on a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  8. Allow grill marks to form so the toasts get crispy.
  9. Add chopped basil to the tomato mixture and mix well.
  10. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Scoop tomato mixture over toasted baguette slices and lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support. 

All images ©Regan Baroni 2018.

  1. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous images as always… an incredible recipe as always… and I am really loving the tips – it’s super helpful for me, since I’m just starting my blog up!

    • Regan says:

      Awesome, Amanda! Congrats on getting started! I’m sharing a lot more information to come, so stick around or feel free to reach out with questions! Cheers!

  2. Mike says:

    Great Post Regs! I’m starving now… and the content is a huge plus! Thank you!

    • Regan says:

      Thanks, Mikey! There’s leftovers in the fridge! 😉

  3. Katy says:

    I’m running to the store to make some tonight! It’s almost 80 in SF today! Need to find one of your fabulous grill recipes to go with it! Any recommendations?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *