Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! – The Cookbook Contest Concludes

The HubPages Cookbook Contest has drawn to a close, but the amazing recipes published throughout will live on! We read so many fantastic entries — from frosty drinks to decadent desserts, from culinary classics to untried originals. With a whopping 1828 entries and 792 participants, the judging panel sure had their work cut out for them. It was tough to choose our winners, but we finally did! While these recipes represent some of the best HubPages has to offer, visitors will be enjoying all the recipes submitted during this contest for years to come!

So without any ado whatsoever, your HubPages Cookbook Contest winners!

  • Grand Prize Winner: Curry Corn Chowder With Pancetta by pennylu: This top-of-the-line Hub includes a fantastic step-by-step photo guide with detailed, full-width, original photos, plus ends with a short quiz filled with fun facts!
  • Best Dessert Recipe: Horchata Ice Cream With Bananas & Butter Caramel Sauce by vespawoolf: This recipe has an extremely unique topic that has not already been exhaustively covered online, and includes helpful ice cream making tips.
  • Best Drink Recipe: How to Make Drinks that Glow in the Dark by cocopreme: cocopreme’s Hub features multiple, very unique and playful recipes with cool explanations of the science behind glowing drinks as well as three original videos (added in Video Capsules via YouTube)
  • Best Family Recipe: Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag by ktrapp: Featuring an original video, fun stats on favorite ice cram flavors, this Hub also offers an explanation of what chemically happens during the freezing process!
  • Best Healthy Recipe: Nut Burgers with Shiitake Mushrooms: a Gluten Free Recipe by Melovy: Melovy offers very helpful nutritional information, tips on substitutions, alterations for people with additional dietary restrictions, and a complementary dish recipe.
  • Best Budget-Friendly Recipe: Roast Turkey Thigh and Salad Wraps: A Budget Family Sharing Platter by Gordon Hamilton: This Hub provides readers with a detailed cost evaluation (in two currencies) and helpful explanations of specific ingredients and tools!

Congratulations to all our winners, including all of our Daily Drawing and Weekly Winners (complete list available in the forums). We hope you enjoyed writing these recipes as much as we enjoyed reading them!

Stay tuned for our next contest, coming this fall!

Meet the Judges: Hillary Mickell of

Hillary Mickell

Hillary Mickell, CMO of Foodily

With the HubPages Cookbook Contest underway, it’s a great time to introduce your amazing judging panel. We’re kicking off this blog interview series with a judge whose familiarity with recipes is unparalleled — Hillary Mickell, the CMO and Chief Tastemaker of popular recipe discovery site (and awesome mobile app)

I sent Hillary some questions to help us all get to know her a little better, as well as some great advice for writing contest-winning recipes.


Maddie: Tell us a little bit about Foodily and the inspiration behind it.

Hillary: Foodily stands for “Food, I Love You.” And I do. I love cooking for my family, but at 4:30, it’s a chore to figure out what I want to cook. Searching is painful, I want recommendations from my friends, then there’s what’s in my fridge and what time the kids are coming home etc. The list goes on and on. So my co-founder Andrea and I decided we need to fix the problem. We created Foodily so people could easily find great recipes from across the web, save them in collections, and see what their friends like. Cooking is fun again!

Maddie: What’s your favorite thing to cook at home?

Hillary: I make a mean pureed vegetable soup. Take whatever vegetables I get at the farmers market, potato leek base, then puree the whole thing. Different spices can take it any direction – ginger, cumin, coriander etc.

Maddie: What one piece of kitchen equipment could you never, ever live without?

Hillary: My micro-plane: I use it for zesting, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, chocolate.

Maddie: What key elements do you look for in a good recipe?

Hillary: Fresh fresh fresh! As long as I’m using seasonal, fresh ingredients, (not too many and not too complicated) I’m good.

Maddie: Any other final tips for Hubbers participating in the contest?

Hillary: People eat with their eyes. Nothing replaces a good photo.


Great advice from a judge who knows recipes inside and out! To learn more about Hillary and her favorite recipes, head on over to her Tastemaker blog on Foodily, and be sure to check out their awesome tools for easier recipe discovery!

Many thanks to Hillary for sharing her time and expertise with us. It’s going to be a great contest!



Introducing Your Cookbook Contest Judges!

The HubPages Cookbook Contest is set to launch in just a couple of days, and we’re thrilled to introduce our amazing panel of recipe-savvy judges! We chose foodies with a variety of experiences and expertise to provide a well-rounded judging committee for all the mouth-watering original recipes you have in store for us!

And now, in no particular order and without any ado, I present your HubPages Cookbook Contest judges:



Hillary Mickell

Hillary Mickell

Hillary Mickell is the Chief Tastemaker and CMO for Foodily. Formerly, she held numerous senior level positions at Yahoo!, Netscape and Microsoft. Hillary brings her passion for food and recipes to thousands of people every day. Amongst many roles she plays at Foodily, Hillary manages the Tastemaker program, a group of celebrities, author and bloggers, who people can follow for great recipe recommendations every day.

She is a board member at HOPE for Haiti Foundation.



Joey Lee

Joey Lee

Joey Lee is the manager of The Kids Cook Monday initiative, a project of The Monday Campaigns. Joey is a featured cook on the kid’s nutrition gaming website Zis Boom Bah. In her home kitchen, Joey enjoys experimenting with all types of cuisines, which serves her well while she perfects all the recipes featured on and each week. Joey’s recipes and posts have also been featured on the blogs of other publications, such as Real Simple Magazine, and Parade Magazine.




Jess Kapadia

Jess Kapadia

Jess Kapadia studied print and online journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Journalism, where she co-created and hosted two seasons of cooking show “Dorm Gourmet” on the Trojan Vision Network. She interned at Edible Los Angeles, Saveur Magazine, ABC and the Huffington Post, and has written for publications and websites like Zester Daily, The Daily Meal and Edible Ojai. Jess is currently Assistant Editor, Recipes Editor and test kitchen chef at Manhattan-based men’s food, drink and lifestyle website Food Republic and lives in Brooklyn.




Jennifer Farley

Jennifer Farley

Jennifer Farley is the owner, recipe developer and food photographer of Savory Simple. She graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD where she trained in classic French technique. Jennifer currently works as a cooking instructor, social media marketer and free-lance writer for sites such as Williams-Sonoma and Washington Eats. She resides in the Washington DC metropolitan area and can often be found exploring the local culinary scene in search of new inspiration.



I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know our judges as much as I have. Keep an eye out for more in-depth interviews with each of them here on the HubPages blog!

How to Create a Deliciously Good Online Recipe

Recipes are extremely popular on HubPages and the new Special Layout Options we offer can make these mouthwatering guides better than ever! As you give the new Recipe Capsules a try, we would like to share some best practices with you when it comes to crafting and sharing online recipes. Listen in to this week’s podcast (How to Write Great Recipes) for our expert advice on creating successful recipe Hubs.

Our top tips:

  • Only make a Recipe Hub if you have made that particular dish. The more you can convey the fact that you’ve actually made a dish, the better.
  • Make your instructions as original and detailed as possible. It is very difficult to defend the copyright of things like ingredients lists, however you can easily defend original, detailed instructions.
  • When you prepare a dish at home, photograph it! Original photos make a big difference, and it is much easier to get them before you start your Recipe Hub.
  • When taking photos for recipe Hubs, opt for natural light, avoid flash, and take photos of the preparation process as well as the finished dish.
  • Make sure that the first photo you display in a recipe Hub shows the finished dish.
  • When using the Recipe Capsules on HubPages, be sure to use the Ratings Capsule (set to a Recipe Rating). That part is mandatory if you want your Hub to enjoy special treatment in search engine results.
  • If you are writing a complicated recipe, use the Recipe Capsules to summarize ingredients and basic instructions at the top of your Hub, then go into detail below using Text Capsules (Special Layout Options capsules are best for short summaries).
  • Only use the Nutrition Capsule on HubPages if you can create an accurate calculation.

To learn more about using our dedicated tools for recipe Hubs, check out our Learning Center guides on Special Layout Options, the Recipe Capsules, and writing successful recipe Hubs. If you’re interested in writing recipe Hubs with a more social, kid-friendly skew to them, you might be interested in Kids Cook Monday. To join in on the fun, have a look at Maddie’s blog post with guidelines on participation.

Is there another specific type of other online article that you would like some tips on writing? Tell us about it! Send questions, suggestions, and comments to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

Moderation Policy for Recipe and Review Hubs

With a new feature announcement, new rules aren’t far behind. As Simone announced last week, Hubbers will be able to create Recipes and Review Hubs using Special Layout Options. Here are the rules for this new feature:

1) Don’t use Recipe Capsules for non-recipes

The Recipe Capsules include Cook Time, Ingredients, Instructions, and Nutrition Capsules. Because these capsules are identified as Recipe-related by search engines, they cannot be used in non-Recipe Hubs. If you decide to share your “Recipe for a Romantic Weekend” or your “Recipe for Destruction!” with the world, don’t use these capsules to do so.

2) Ratings Capsules belong only in Review and Recipe Hubs

The Ratings Capsule is the most important capsule for Recipe and Review Hubs, and should only be used in those two types of Hubs. The Ratings Capsule will be based on the subject of a Hub, not a Hub itself.  Up and Down votes are there for Hub feedback.

We will notify authors when they have mistakenly used these capsules, and give them one week to make the necessary changes before unpublishing the content.

To review all of our existing rules, check out the Violations section of the Learning Center. We will not be reviewing all the Recipes and Reviews that are published, so if you notice a Hub in violation of these rules, please flag it!

If you have any questions on these or any other rules, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Special Layout Options are Live!

We are happy to announce that you now have access to our new review and recipe-centric capsules. The next time you visit the HubTool, you will be able to add Ratings, Cook Time, Ingredients, Instructions, and Nutrition Capsules to your review and recipe Hubs, and doing so, as we mentioned in our previous blog post about this feature, can give those Hubs a leg up in search engine results.

In addition to starting new Hubs that utilize these Special Layout Options, you can add our new capsules to existing recipe and review Hubs. For some tips on using these capsules, check out the new guides in our Learning Center.

Helpful Guides to Get You Started

You’re probably excited about publishing new recipe and review Hubs as well as adding these new search-friendly capsules to your existing recipe and reviews. To do so with the greatest success possible, we recommend checking out the following Learning Center guides:

We hope you have fun using these capsules!

Why do Microformats Matter?

Microformats are, simply put, open data formats built upon widely accepted standards. Microformats are somewhat like MLA bibliographies in that MLA-style bibliographies share different specific pieces of information (such as citations to movies, books, radio shows, talks, etc.), while following a common, standardized format.

In the case of microformats, the common standards involve specific tags that are added to particular types of information, such as thumbnails in videos, star ratings in reviews, ingredients, instructions, nutrition, and cook time information in recipes, dates and times in calendar events, and names and employers resumes. These tags make it easier for search engines to recognize and present (not to mention filter) this format-specific information.

Online videos, recipes, reviews, and other articles and posts that incorporate microformat tags enjoy several benefits, especially when it comes to the attractiveness of your work in search results. Listen in to this week’s podcast (Why Microformats Matter) to learn more about these perks.

We hope this podcast gets you excited about microformats, and that you take advantage of the easy-to-use special layout options we’ll soon be offering that make it easy to add review and recipe microformat tags to recipe and review Hubs!

Is there another online-related vocabulary word or standard that you’re unfamiliar with? Tell us about it in an email to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com! We may very well discuss it in a future podcast.

Introducing Special Layout Options for Reviews and Recipes

One big perk associated with publishing Videos as opposed to traditional Hubs is that your Videos get special treatment in search engine results: next to Videos’ titles and summaries, online searchers see an enticing thumbnail image that makes them more likely to select your work over that of the thumbnail-less competition.

We are now rolling out an additional feature on HubPages that applies this same search-friendly principle to recipes and reviews. In the HubTool, you will soon see several new Capsules organized under Special Layout Options.

  • These Capsules include:
  • The Ratings Capsule
  • The Cook Time Capsule
  • The Ingredients Capsule
  • The Instructions Capsule
  • The Nutrition Capsule

You will also see an option to add all of the Recipe Capsules in bulk.

By using the Ratings Capsule when reviewing products, places, and services, and by using the Recipe Capsules in your recipe Hubs, you will be adding cool features such as star ratings, thumbnail images, cook time to Hubs presented in search engine results.

You can see what these special search results like by Googling a recipe. Aren’t you more interested in the recipes that are presented with star ratings and attractive photos? By using our Special Layout Options, you’ll be able to give your Hubs the competitive edge enjoyed by those other review and recipe-optimized search results.

The new capsules will be available soon, so get your recipes ready for publication- and consider which recipe Hubs you might like to update!

Your Thanksgiving Checklist!

Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday in the entire year. All that unlimited eating and drinking, with the family gathered together around the table, with none of the stress around buying gifts and wrapping presents that accompanies Christmas… I must say there’s  nothing about Thanksgiving that I don’t love.

Except perhaps the planning. What to cook, how much to cook, how to accommodate my vegetarian brother-in-law; I can drive myself a little bit nuts during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  I am sure that I am not the only one. So to help you in these next few days leading to the big Turkey day, here are Hubs that offer all the guidance you need.

First of course there’s the turkey. If you were planning on brining it this year, there’s no better resource than Marye Audet’s Hub, tellingly labeled How to Brine a Turkey! Already an expert on the brining, but need a bit of guidance on the actual cooking part? Who better than RedElf to help you! In the wonderful Hub, How to cook a Turkey, RedElf offers all the guidance she’s been saving for the day her son calls to ask for the recipe! Through her Hub, you get many years of wisdom, culled from many, many instances of cooking the thanksgiving fowl. But no, you say, roasting is so boring, you’ll be deep frying it instead? Well, please read Whitney05’s detailed Hub on the same topic, which includes some key safety measures and an equipment list.

But what about the vegetarians in your family? You had nearly forgotten about them, hadn’t you? Well, no more! Hubber Techygran will help you get this sorted with Vegetarian Turkey recipes. Like Marye Audet has got you sorted with a recipe for the all important pumpkin pie!

It’s not all about the eating and drinking, wonderful though it is. Thanksgiving is a time rich in history, as Chuck describes in his wonderfully researched Hub, aptly titled Thanksgiving.

Yet, of all the traditions surrounding Thanksgiving, my favorite one has to be the actual giving of thanks for all that we have received this year, and all that we are grateful for. For this, Hubber NaomiR has written a Hub on the top ten things she is grateful for, for which, I, for one, am most grateful!

[Image by D Sharon Pruitt / Pink Sherbert Photography on flickr]

Documenting with Photos

Online Writing InsiderTaking photos for use in your own online articles is ridiculously easy, and seeing as they add so much value to your work, there is no excuse not to use them!

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Documenting with Photos), Jason Menayan and Her Brilliance (moi) share tips on documenting projects and other events (plus taking stock photos) for use in online articles.

Is there any sort of advice you’d like us to give in future Online Writing Insider podcasts?  Send your suggestions to us in an email!