Sunday, November 29, 2009

My One Year Anniversary as a Food Blogger. What fun!


It's amazing how fast one year can fly-- SNAP-- just like that! It was a year ago, today, that I sat with my laptop and created a blog called "A Feast for the Eyes".  I  thought that a blog would be an efficient way for me to store recipes, with photos, that I could share with friends and family members.  I also  remember handing my husband our digital camera and asking him to take some photos for me-- because I didn't feel confident that I could take a decent picture.  For the first few weeks, I copied other people's photos-- making sure to give them credit-- and I didn't really expect to receive a comment. In truth, I secretly hoped that someone would find my blog.

I began to find food blogs that I was impressed with, and I started to leave comments. Still, visitors to my blog were few and far  between-- and I was lucky to get just one comment. It was usually from a friend I had sent the link to. One of the first food blogger friends I ever met was Stacey, of Stacey Snacks. I was so surprised when she responded to one of my comments!  As the weeks rolled by, I began to chat with other food bloggers and the addiction took on a life of it's own. I was hooked on food blogging!

One day, my husband showed me  how to use the macro feature (so that's what that little flower icon is!), and I began to learn how to work with natural lighting and to get the hang of zooming in on the food-- not the darn plate, or kitchen counter!  For the record, Craig is lucky if I let him touch the camera, these days!

Here's the very first photo I ever took of a food dish-- talk about underexposed and flash photography! Yikes! It was for a shrimp fried rice recipe that remains at ZERO comments!  I had a lot to learn about photography, at this time.

Someday, I'll re-do this photo, because the recipe is quite tasty. I'm smiling to myself at how much I've learned about natural lighting-- and I never, EVER, use flash photography anymore.

I think this shot of a Sugar Bar Cookie was my "Aha" moment on using the macro lens and natural light. It took almost three months for me to get the hang of photographing food. 

My #1 most viewed recipe remains my "Blue plate Meatloaf Recipe". It amazes me how many people love meatloaf, because it's googled every single day!
My photography was beginning to improve, by now...

In the year that I've been blogging, I have been inspired by so many of you. I have conquered my fear of making new recipes for the very first time and it's been so much fun sharing my results.

I made my first souffle' ever, and that was a lot of fun for me to try, as part of the Barefoot Bloggers group, that I recently joined.

I made my first (and last) tomato puree, from our homegrown tomatoes. What a pain that was! But, at least I can say that I did it. The soup was great, though. 

One of my greatest accomplishments was teaching myself how to do my own canning. My garage has a cache of homemade strawberry jam, olallieberry jam, fig jam, apricot-pineapple and raspberry jam.  This is the one and only photo that made it to Tastespotting, by the way! I haven't had a single photo accepted by them,since!

Ah, yes! Here's the "never uploaded" photo of my Rainbow Cake at the Wilton Cake Decorating Class.  I flunked.  I couldn't make a Wilton rose that didn't look like a wilted cabbage. I ate most of my homework, literally. I learned to conquer the fear of a piping bag, and have an impressive assortment of decorator tips.  I'll leave the artwork photos to the better bakers in blogosphere. I can bake a moist cake, but mine would probably be featured on the hilarious blog, Cake Wrecks.

My one year Blogoversary is an important milestone for me, so I've decided that I wanted to give recognition to some of the many followers and friends I've made in one year.  In other words, I wanted to spotlight some of the people who have made my one year of food blogging so much fund and so rewarding--

"Food Bloggers I would love to be invited to their home for dinner".

I am mentioning these lovely people, because they consistently  cook in the style and with the ingredients that I love!

Stacey, of Stacey Snacks-- thanks for all your delightful emails and for inspiring me on what to to add, and to not add, to my recipes.  Thank you, too, for teaching me how to spell r-a-s-p-b-e-r-r-y, so that I could correct it when I posted about these beautiful berries. . My whole life, I always thought is was rasberries. Who knew?

Mary, of One Perfect Bite-- She's a master of recipes and photography. I would feel so honored to personally eat one of her meals-- let alone, follow her around in a kitchen. Love her blog!

George Gaston, of A nod is as good as a wink to blind horse".  If I wasn't so madly in-love with my husband, and so happily married, I'd be winking at you, George! You're an equestrian, like me, and I love your recipes.  One day, I'd love to know what made you choose the longest name for a food blog I've ever seen!

Phoo-D - Her photography is beautiful. She's so talented and diverse with her recipes. Her blog deserves more recognition and I hope that you will pay her a visit. I've made some of her recipes, and they're terrific.

Marie, of Proud Italian Cook - She's royalty, in my eyes, in Blogosphere. Beautiful photographs, and she's inspiring me to learn to make more Italian dishes. I feel so honored when she pops into my blog kitchen, and leaves such sweet comments.

Special acknowledgment and special hugs goes to: 

Monica, of Lick the Bowl Good.  This summer, when I had lots of time to blog and chat with friends, we exchanged a flurry of email.  She's young enough to be my daughter, and I'm so proud of her maturity and talent.  Like me, she doesn't have a fancy high-end camera. But her photos are always artistic and her desserts-- wow, she's so creative and talented!  I would love to be the recipient of one of her beautiful cakes.
She is very near and dear to my heart.

Food & Baking Blog that deserves to be noticed
Frieda, of "Lovin' From the Oven" - This lovely lady can bake. She has great tutorials and I hope to have her guest blogging on "A Feast for the Eyes" in the near future. She's very talented and friendly, too.

Funny, funny, food blogger:

The Kitchen Witch - I almost spit coffee reading her Thanksgiving food rant.  I warn you, though-- this is not G-Rated, but it's Erma Bombeck with some sass.  I'm addicted to her style of writing-- hilarious.

There are so many people whose blogs I love visiting, and who are such loyal visitors to mine-- Many of you are on my blog roll, because I don't want to miss a single posting. I wish I could list all of you!   I hope that each and every person, who takes the time to visit me and to leave a comments, realizes how appreciative I am of you.  I try to visit your blogs, if you're brand new to me. It's fun to see who you are and what you're cooking, or baking.

If I didn't mention your name-- Donna of My Tasty Treasures, Kim of Stirring the Pot, Kate of  A Spoonful of Thyme, Roz, Mattie, Ingrid, "Pie Oh My"...oh, I feel like I'm at the Academy Awards, and the music is starting to play!  Thank you for making this year so much fun.

I want to give a present to someone, as my way of saying "thanks" for making me feel so special. I wish I could send one to each of you, but I didn't win the lottery.  I wish I had the budget that Pioneer Woman does, and I could give away a fancy Kitchen Aid Stand...or a set of All-Clad pans. But, I want to share some of my favorite things. I want to giveaway something I think any "foodie" would appreciate.

I think I chose the perfect prize for a giveaway.  I want to give a $40.00 gift card to shop at one of my very favorite shopping websites-- King Arthur Flour!  This is a toy store for me-- I could go crazy buying so many things. I subscribe to their blog "Baker's Banter", which is very well done. They're customer service is excellent, as well as their baker's hotline. Have a question? They'll answer it, with courtesy.

I love this stoneware baking pan, that I bought from them.

I buy their parchment paper, perfect cut to fit my cookie sheets. So handy!

These white sugar sparkles make cookie and puff pastry baking so much fun.

I love their special ingredients for baking-- that really work! I can't find them in stores, and I just love them.

King Arthur Flour has generously offered to include one bag of their White Whole Wheat Flour with my giveaway.   If you have never tried King Arthur Flour products, then you are missing out! Honestly, this is the only brand that I buy, now.   

All you need to do to be entered to win the $40.00 King Arthur Flour Online Gift Card (pictured above) and a bag of White Whole Wheat Flour is to leave a comment and answer this one question:

Who is your favorite chef, and if they were coming to visit you-- what is the signature dish you would make for them?  As many of you know, I got to meet Tyler Florence last September-- seriously, I got to really meet him, as in talk to him and he said he'd been to my blog!  I even got to taste a plate of beautiful food he made, while he watched my trembling hands try to eat like a lady. My answer to my own question is-- if I was going to cook for Tyler Florence, I'd make my Austrian Goulash and all the side dishes to go with it. I think it's my comfort zone and signature dish. Sorry, Tyler, Ina Garten remains pretty high on my list of favorite chefs-- and Huber Keller, too. So, how about you?

I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 2nd.  One entry per person, please. Valid to United States only, sorry.  If you TWEET my giveaway, or mention it on your blog (please email your permalink or TWITTER address; mine is @foodiewife) or to foodiewife (at), you'll get two entries.

Monday, November 30th, Muneeba and I will announce the two winners of a copy of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook (even if you own a copy, this will make a great Christmas gift).  So, don't forget to enter by tomorrow!  See the Blog Badge on the left sidebar and click to JUMP to that new food blog. Oh, yes! Muneeba, of An Edible Symphony!  Here's another delightful and funny food blogger who is co-hosting "Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman Cooks".  Thanks, Muneeba, for your help.

Thanks again, for making food blogging so much fun! I still want to learn how to make German stollen, biscottti and to improve my cake decorating skills.  The inspiration to keep blogging about what I'm making for my husband-- and son, who visits us-- is to share my successes and new discoveries. My pictorial format is what I enjoy most-- if I can inspire a beginner cook to break free of processed foods and to try something new-- it's all worth the time and effort of photographing, editing and writing.

I have to thank my husband-- Craig-- for his support and patience with me and my food blog.  He has learned to patiently wait while I photograph his dinner. You're the best, Sweetie! XOXO

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Susan said...

What a fantastically beautiful posting! Many more blogging years are ahead of you. I have learned so much for you already. I really need to enter this contest. I love King Arthur Flour. I wish you could have seen and smelled and tasted what they were pulling out of the oven left and right when I was there!

My favorite chef would have to be Ina Garten. I would make what is comfortable to my German heritage; rouladen, red cabbage and spaetzle. Apfel strudel for dessert.

Stacey Snacks said...

I would be honored to have you at my table! maybe Marie can come too.......I am sure we will meet in the foodie future, it's meant to be! Thank you for the nice words and happy blog anniversary.
(if you look at my first pics, they were done with my cell phone!).

ahalya said...

I hesitate to call her my favorite, but if I could have one chef over for dinner it would definitely be Paula Deen, because she cracks me up. I'd probably make her a baked macaroni and cheese with lots of Pepper Jack, because I think it would make her happy. :]

Trish said...

My goodness...what a journey you took us on! Can't believe it is only one year for have progressed in the world of blogging in such leaps and bounds...while others of us are still struggling. What an inspiration. My favorite chef? My mother...she has no claim to fame...except to those who had the opportunity to meet her in her 86 years here with us. She was renowned for her pies and all her German baking really. What would I ask her? How she managed to make such delicate and flaky pie crusts....hers was amazing! No one, I mean no one has ever conquered her pie making least, not to my satisfaction. Happy Anniversary there and keep on blogging!!!!

TKW said...

Happy One Year Anniversary! What a huge accomplishment!

And can I just say how impressed I am at how far you've gone with your photos. I'm still pretty hopeless, but I need to learn (I need to make time to learn!!) It's too important to ignore...and yet...

I look forward to checking out some new faces from this post...and love that you mentioned my dear friend Phoo-d. You are right, she deserves more recognition!

My fave is Ina, even though a lot of her recipes are ass-busters! :)

Kate said...

Debby, you are inspiring! I enjoyed your lovely post summarizing your year blogging. What an adventure! I have never been to the King Arthur site I will need to visit!

Of course, I have two chefs...Annemarie Huste and Ina Garten. I would be inclined to make salmon, Blue Cheese and Mulled Pear salad, roasted vegetables, and apple cinnamon cheesecake! Yum!

Mary said...

Congratulations on one full year of blogging. It really is an accomplishment. I played with extending an invitation to one of our great living chefs but then thought that would be pretentious. So, I've narrowed my choice to two more approachable food writers and recipe developers - Patricia Wells and Susan Loomis. I'd like to have them together to enjoy Cotes du Porc A L'Auvergnate - Braised Pork with Cream and Cabbage - served with a simple salad of endive, watercress with caramelized walnuts. Dessert would be a molded French apple pudding.

stacief said...

what a great post and happy blogiversary! I would love to have tyler florence and make clam chowder, my specialty!

Sylwia said...

Happy 1st Anniversary Debby!!! I am seriously jelaous you met Tyler Florence. He is definitely my favorite chef and I'd love to have him over for dinner. I think I'd make my saurkraut stew or pierogi, it would be a tough choice between the two.

Valerina said...

Happy Blogiversary Deb! And many, many more.
I also cringe my old photos, who knew that a flash was a bad thing when it comes to food? :)

One of my many favourite chefs is Paula Deen. I'm shy, neurotic, and too uptight so it would be healthy for me to be around someone like her. I would love to try some of her onion burgers. If she could make me shove food in my mouth without a napkin or a thought to who is watching, I think that would count as a miracle!

Keep up the beautiful work.

Monica H said...

This was such a sweet post- I loved it and it felt so sincere. You are one of my favorite bloggers because you too cook the way I'd want to eat and you are so talented in the kitchen. You have such unique recipes and your photography is stellar. I wish I could give you a hug too.

Funny thing..I had a dream about Tyler last night. I don't really know what it wa about but I remember telling him about you and Donna being such big fans- ha ha! I think he's fun to look at and I'd take a breakfast created by him anyday, but I really love Ina.

She just seems so real to me. I'd want her to make me her lobster bake and a cake!

And even though Paula is not a chef, I love her just the same and she's so gand funny! I'd want her to make me a wonderful southern meal complete with fried green tomatoes, biscuits and pie!

bella said...

Happy Birthday Debbie! In just one year, you have one of the top blogs out there! Yesterday, yes, yesterday, I must have had a little fairy remind me of your birthday today, so I sent you a reward for helping all of us 'build a friendly blogging community', which I remember reading in your bio about you. Oh yes, I must enter your contest now: my favorite chef is Marcella Hazan, one of the first Italian cookbook authors from the 70s when I started to cook. She and my mother helped my cooking abilities. Keep up the great work, girl . . . and please stop by for your gift! Love, Roz

Velva said...

Debbie, this was a wonderful post. Happy first birthday to you! I am still a newbie and learning new blogging ideas and tips everyday.
You have a beautiful blog and I enjoy reading each of your posts.

Phoo-D said...

Congratulations on one year of fantastic blogging! It has been so much fun to watch your site grow and evolve over the last year. I love reading about your latest creations and would be thrilled to have you over for a meal! I would love to have Mark Bittman over for dinner. His dry sense of humor and intelligent wit would make it a very fun evening.

George Gaston said...

Debby… Congratulations on your first year blogging! I absolutely love to see what you are creating in your kitchen. You always have the most beautiful photographs and I love that you walk us through the process. No television food host has anything on your style, your wit or your creativity.

I must say that I a blushing bright red from your endearing comments, but my sentiments are returned in spades & more. I know that both of us being horse enthusiast and having a passion for giving to others are very similar. We could likely have been separated at birth, because we are like ‘two peas in a pod’ when it comes to family and friends.

As for my favorite chef… after my dear mother, I’d have to say Michael Chiarello; a chef I list in my cookbook list. I love his casual style and approach he brings to cooking and his tremendous love for food. I first saw him on the Food Network and watched his shows simple because I knew he would be fixing something good to eat. All of his cookbooks are wonderful and if you are ever in Napa; you have to stop by his incredible ~ Bottega Ristorante. It is like going to his home for a dinner with the family.

I look forward to many more years of reading the adventures of Debby @ “A feast for the Eyes”. Craig is one lucky man and you are truly a creativity, gifted lady!

Proud Italian Cook said...

First of all Debby, Happy blogiversary to you. Looking at the quality of your blog it's hard to imagine you've been doing this for only 1 year. You have an open invitation to dinner at my home anytime, how fun would that be?
I'm embarased at my first photo's too, when I discoved macro and daylight a whole new world opened up. Your photo's are always inticing and I love your step by step, you can truely see your food is made with love. Thank you for the kind words you're a doll and I'm happy to have "met" you Deb.
Hugs to you,

Future Grown-Up said...

I'm just amazed that you've only been food blogging for a year. I always figured you'd been doing that for years and years considering how tasty and wonderful everything always looks.

I'd have to invite Ina Garten as she seems so down to earth, she would still be gracious to me when I served her less than perfect food.

PJ said...

I would make my Sweet & Sour Chicken, a modification of a recipe my father brought back from Japan about 55 years ago which quickly became a family favorite.

Linda said...

Congratulations on 1 year! May your next year be just as delicious.

If she were still alive, I would invite Julia Child to dinner. I met her years ago and was touched by her humility and good natured humor. I'd make a Japanese dish like sukiyaki, with green tea ice cream and mochi for dessert.

Rebecca said...

Congrats on your anniversary. I just started seeing your blog and I love it! The photgraphy is wonderful.

If I had someone over for dinner, I would love to have Julia Child, I know she is old fashioned but I love watching her old cooking shows. Of'course I would have to serve something wonderful, not quite sure what that would be, but wouldn't it be great to get to cook with her?

Keep up the great site, I will definately be following.

ARLENE said...

Happy 1st Blogoversary, Debbie. That was a wonderful post. Like you, I am amazed by the talent that I see day in and day out as I surf my favorite foodie sites. I, too, love the KA site and think your choice of a giveaway is great.
It's hard to choose a favorite chef; there are so many. I'll have to go with one of my current favorites and say Ina Garten. I love her calm in the kitchen and her recipes seldom disappoint. I would, however, love to cook Ina MY spaghetti and meatballs, along with an antipasto and some great garlic bread.

Irene said...

Congratulations on your one year food blogging. Thanks, I love it. I guess I would have to say Paula Deen. She would be a lot of fun and I suppose I would make my cauliflower au gratin. It is always a pleaser and I think she would appreciate the cheesy dish.

Niecey said...

My favorite chef is Jamie Oliver. I would be scared to death to cook for him, but would probably make paneer Makahni and pakora, with sticky pecan danish pastries and cream for dessert

mattie said...

Debby, Congratulations on your blog turning one! Quite an accomplishment. I am so glad that I found you. Your recipes are easy to prepare, the directions are so clear and your pictures are incredible! What a gift you have.

My favorite chef would be Ina Garten. I'd make rouladen, red cabbage, and potato dumplings with haselnusskuchen for dessert. Maybe she can come on Friday since I'll be making this for my son's 11th birthday!!

Frieda said...

Debby~ thank YOU so much for introducing me to some of your favorite bloggers! Congratulations on your first year of blogging ~ I, too, have several early blurry photo shots that I plan to redo someday.

I would be too nervous to have someone famous at my dinner table. What would be so fun is to have a handful of bloggers (YOU included) to each come with your fave side/appetizer/dessert and join me for Bowtie Chicken in Asiago cream sauce served with a huge loaf of Italian bread, fresh from my oven!

Jen_from_NJ said...

Congratulations Debby! I am amazed at how wonderful your blog is and after only one year! It is gorgeous and so professional. Amazing! I have only been blogging for a few months so hopefully my photos and content will improve if I keep at it :) You are super talented - I look forward to all of the great things that you will post this coming year! I think that I will go with Lidia Bastianich as my current favorite chef - it is so hard to choose. I always have loved Sara Moulton and of course Julia Child. Oh and Michael Psilakis!

suburban prep said...

I love Ina Garten. I love all her cookbooks and read them like they are novels.
There are so many things I would love her to make for me. I think though one of the many would be the Pasta, Pesto, and Peas.

Teena in Toronto said...

Happy blogoversary!

Donna-FFW said...

Congrats on your one year!! Gosh favorite chef.. I use so many of Cooks Illustrated recipes, I guess it would have to be Christopher Kimball.. does he count? What would I make for him, my stove top stuffed peppers.
Loved this post..
Thanks for the chance.

food with style said...

congrats on your one year, i love your blog, you are a wonderful cook and love all you postings! fun to see who you admire too, great way to meet wonderful new chefs~ great post!

Cheryl said...

Hi Debby, just came to wish you a Happy Blogaversary! I truly love your blog. Thank you for all the other blogs that you blog about, I have visited many of them and am so glad you recommended them. Wow, what a great giveaway also.

If I were invite my favorite Chef over it would be Ina Garten, although that would be so intimidating. I would serve a Fruit Glazed Corned Beef with roasted root vegetables and maybe a nice hearty Irish Soda bread to sop up all the yummy juices.

Again Happy Blogaversary to you!

jezinthekitchen said...

Congratulations on your first anniversary! A commendable accomplishment, and look how much you've learned - I am quite impressed!!
So hard to choose one chef, but I think I'd have to go with Mario Batali ... my Italian cooking isn't anywhere near up to par and I'm sure he could teach me tons during one meal :)

Oklahoma Granny said...

I am brand new to your blog today having found it through a comment on Framed. Happy Anniversary to you!

I've heard so many things about King Arthur products and would love to try them for myself.

I'd have to say my fave chef is Paula Deen and I'd love to try pretty much anything she fries. LOL!

Thanks for letting me visit and I'll be back soon.

Cristie said...

A full year! I'm still in my first year and can appreciate your learning curve, because I'm in the beginning stages of my own. Your post was beautiful and I so appreciate your gratefulness to so many along your way.

My chef would have to my grandmothers- both who couldn't come at this point, but who have left me with delicious recipes to follow. I'd make a pork roast with all the trimmings and serve it to a crowd of family members.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Happy 1st year anniversary!!! Your photography has improved soooo much, I'm sure you are very proud to see how gorgeous your pics look now!

My favorite chef is Anthony Bourdain. I'd make him risotto alla Milanese with ossobuco, and I'd probably also serve a lot of wine and booze to calm my nerves (and because both him and I like drinking!)

Mom2Be said...

happy blogiversary! I'm looking forward to seeing another year of your delicious recipes! I would love to meet Ina Garten...I'd make her her Perfect Roast Turkey. I made it for Thanksgiving (1st time making a turkey ever!) and it turned out great, I was so proud! : )

Cheryl said...

Happy Anniversary! I love the food blogging world for many of the same reasons!

My favorite Chef would be Paul Deen and I would have her make me something deep fried! Maybe cheesecake

Anonymous said...

Happy One Year!! My photos still need work, and half the time I forget to take pictures until I have already started eating..when will I ever learn?

I would definitely have to have Ina Garten over...but I think I would be too nervous to cook for her. However, I would try to channel her, "how easy is that" motto and just wing it!

Marguerite said...

What a fabulous post! Happy 1st Blogiversary and many more! Your blog is awesome!

Debinhawaii said...

Great post! I can't believe it has only been a year--congrats on your Bloggerversary! ;-)

Although very hard to narrow it down, I think my all time favorite chef is Tom Douglas from Seattle. Not as famous as some--although he did beat one of my other favorites--Morimoto on Iron Chef. His restaurants in Seattle are among my favorites. If I had him to dinner, I would make him cook! (Just kidding sort of!) I would make some local fish of some sort and do a few dishes with some island flavors.

Annemarie said...

I can't really say I have a favorite but to pick one - I would pick Paula Deen and would make her our Turkey dinner with all the trimmings (with my husband's help, he's the turkey chef around here)

andrea said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.