Monday, November 29, 2010

My Two Year Anniversary - Thank you!

This morning, I decided to double-check what my two year Blog Annivesary is.  With a gasp, I realized that it's today!  The cake photo is a "Tuxedo Cake" that I made a year ago.  It's made with my favorite chocolate cake recipe, and filled with a white chocolate mousse.   I never tasted the finished product, because I donated it to a church function. I have no idea why I don't post more baked goods on my blog.  I even took a cake decorating class, but I just can't seem to find the patience time to make fancy schmancy cakes!  See what I mean?

I have at least a dozen recipes I've photographed, but little time to edit the photos and write a post. So much for my brilliant plans I had-- like to post my favorite cake recipe... to write an updated bio of myself and to announce a CSN giveaway.  Alas, I have 15 minutes to write a post, and so my fingers are flying.   In case you've wondered (or not), I spend about 1 1/2 hours per post, creating a photo tutorial.  It's a labor of love, but I work full-time.  I just wanted to share some thoughts:

Like so many other food bloggers, I started my own blog as a place to store and share recipes with family and friends.  Little did I know that my blog would teach me so many things, such as:
  • There are countless food blogs out there, and I have collected more recipes "to make" than I'll ever live long enough to make.  I'm so thankful for those of you who visit my blog on a regular basis.  The odds are, if you're on my SIDE BAR Blogroll (left side, towards the bottom), you feel like family to me. I'm so honored when I see myself on someone else's blogroll, too.  It is such an honor and thank you!
  • There are so many food bloggers I am still getting to know.  If you leave a comment on my posts, odds are that I am coming to visit your blog.  I feel like I'm finding a treasure trove of folks who love baking, cooking, writing about food and photography as much as I do.  You inspire me to try new things. I love it.
  • I am thrilled when someone tries one of my recipes, and takes the time to tell me.  It means a lot to me. Just so you know, I've been told that someone has made a recipe of mine and they didn't like it.  Interestingly, they usually are anonymous.  Otherwise, I wouldn't take offense, but it would be nice to find out what might have gone wrong!
  • As I look back to my earliest photos, I'm determined to take new shots.  They are awful-- I have learned that flash photography makes food look ugly less appetizing. I have come a long way from using my inexpensive Fujifilm Finepix Point-and-shoot camera!  I am the owner of a spanking new Canon Rebel T1i EOS digital camera.  I'm still playing around with learning about white balance, ISO's and the bells and whistles that goes with it.  I can honestly say that as much as I love making a new recipe, it's photographing the process that I really enjoy.
  • If I could afford to make a living at teaching people how to cook, I would.  Still I am thankful for my job, my salary and the benefits that come with it and I'll have to wait until winning the lottery retirement so that I can  blog more often. For now,  I'm lucky to blog once or twice a week.
  • My husband has finally learned that when I yell "Dinner!", he waits for when I actually turn off my camera and put it away before he comes to the table.   Most every dish you see on my blog, is the "trophy plate" shot that ends up being served to my husband.
  • My husband and son are the driving force behind my love of blogging.  I pour so much love into each recipe, and their opinion of how it tastes and looks carries so much value to me.  
  • I'd love to go to a culinary school.  One day.  When my ship comes in. 
  • Being a food blogger has opened me up to trying new recipes-- and particularly, something that challenges me to try an ingredient, or process, that is new to me.  I am retraining my palate to try eating things I thought I hated, for most of my life. I am completely self-taught, but I've learned so many of my tricks and tips from recording countless Food Network and America's Test Kitchen episodes.
(I've set myself up for the perfect way of saying that I want to share with you one of my favorite things-- in a scaled down Oprah Winfrey moment..)

I want to give one lucky winner a set of America's Test Kitchen DVD' s from Season 10.  I love this show! But, I also want to give the same lucky winner a one year subscription to Cook's Illustrated Online!  I have subscribed to Cook's Illustrated for years, and their recipes never fail me.  With an online subscription, you can look up, store and print the recipes you'll see on the DVD (and more).  I've posted several of their recipes and have more to share (back to the lack of free time problem...)  GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED!

I am paying for this myself, by the way. Nobody is sponsoring this giveaway! 

To enter, please leave a comment and tell me something most of us probably don't know about yourself-- that is,  tell me something funny kitchen disaster story, or about something that you've always wanted to learn how  to make, or even who is your greatest inspiration as a homecook or baker?  I'd like to get to know you a little bit better.  If you can't think of anything, just say hello, where you are from and why you like me. Okay, skip the third thing. Just say hello.  I'll give you an example about me-- something you don't know...until now... ready?

I have a habit of heating my dinner plates, in the oven, before plating food. Why? I don't like to serve lukewarm food! 

Okay, one more...

I alphabetize my spices.  Oh, c'mon, I know I'm not the only person who does that?! Am I?

Thank you for making these last two years so much fun for me. I have more giveaways planned, so if you don't win this one... there's more to come.

Back to work-- it's my 4pm to 8pm night shift.(Oh, and it took more than 15 minutes to write this, but under 30. Shhhhh)

Thank you for two years of friendship and fun,

****THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AT 7PM PST****  I will announce the lucky winner tomorrow.

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Monica H said...

Happy happy 2nd blog anniversary Debby!

I'm happy to finally see that gorgeous cake of yours. I remember when you made it and think you did a great job!

"If you're not on Facebook, then what's wrong with you. you are missing out!" Are you talking to me here? eh?

One interesting or funny thing about me: When I'm done eating and I am bored, I start playing with my food :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Debby. Happy blogoversary to you! Thanks for the chance to enter your giveaway.

BTW, I don't know if I ever let you know that I made your cat-head biscuits, which were a big hit.

I never tire of baking, though sometimes I'm just not in the mood to cook; however, when I get started in meal prep, I always enjoy it.



Susan said...

Happy blog-versary Debby. I have enjoyed getting to know you for a long time. Our German backgrounds make us kindred spirits. I guess one thing you might not know about me is that every meal is planned around the wine we want to serve. It's kind of a European habit that we have gotten accustomed to.

Phoo-D said...

Happy 2nd blog birthday! I am right there with you in alphabetizing my spices. I have so many that I would never find the right one if they weren't organized by letter!

Joanne said...

Happy bloggiversary Debbie! Oh I am SOOOO happy for you! Such an accomplishment.

Um and damn that cake is glorious. Really. Glorious. I'm amazed. I really need to take a cake decorating class. Obviously.

Let's see, one funny thing about me: I spend more time blogging than I do studying. Seriously.

Mark said...

Congrats! btw, I love your blog.

Something funny about me?
Gosh...where do I start.
My 3 kids have never called me Dad, Daddy, Pai, Papa, just Buddy.
We don't remember why or how it started but I hope its an indication of my dedication. ;-)

Mom24 said...

Happy Anniversary.

Hmm, an interesting thing...when I cook a big feast I'm too tired to eat it. :)

Kim said...

Debby - Happy 2 year anniversary to you! I am so happy to have gotten to know you over the past couple years. Like you, my blogging friends hold a special place in my heart.

I love that you warm your plates in the oven before serving. In fact, that leads me to something that I can share about myself.

I'm not picky by any means and will eat just about anything, even if it's not that great, BUT it has to be hot. I can't stand lukewarm or cold food. Won't touch it with a ten foot pole. I think I'd fit right in at your house. LOL!

Faith said...

Hey Debby, Happy two year anniversary...I bet that is a great feeling! Thanks for hosting the wonderful giveaway! Such cool stuff!!! I just wanted to say thank you again for the chili gravy recipe. Seriously. Its so damn good Im making it again this week! Only with beef enchilidas I think. Or maybe chicken... or...:) Seriously. It helped with my homesickness. Ohh there is something about me :) I have lived in five different states and I associate a different dish/flavor with each one. Texas is where my family is from and tex mex is the flavor so family=texmex chili gravy=home=happiness :)

Krystle C. said...

Something I've always wanted to learn how to make is homemade pierogies. One day I'm determined I will! Love your blog by the way!

lynn said...

Happy 2nd Blogiversary Debby! That is so exciting!

Lets see, something about me...I want to start a food blog also but am so nervous about it. I have been working on it and am hoping to have it up by the new year. So any encouraging words of wisdom for a newbie? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

Again Happy Blogiversary Debby and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am extremely picky. I hate vegetables in fact. But right now I'm working on trying to find ways that I can actually enjoy them.

farida said...

Congratulation ...! with 2 years anniversary, success for you.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That is such an achievement. Your blog is great. Keep on going.

Julz said...

Congrats on your 2 yr blogoversary! I am sorry to say that I have only recently found your blog, but I am subscribed and have been reading your recent as well as older posts. I can't wait to try some of your recipes. Thanks,

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Debby, Happy, Happy Blogiversary! Your blog has heart and soul and it's very evident in all your posts. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, I can't wait to see what you do with that new camera! You won't find my spices in alphabetic order here in fact you would probably fant if you seen mine. lol! But hey I have no problem finding things just everyone else does!

Allie said...

Yayy! Happy 2 years :) Such an accomplishment! I am very happy for you. So glad I've gotten a chance to meet you and that I am given the opportunity to read all of your posts...they are all amazing!

So something interesting about me in the kitchen!?

I have a bit of OCD when I'm cooking and will put away ingredients in sets of 2 or 3s so that a huge mess doesn't accumulate. So I keep going back and forth cleaning everything the whole time so that it isn't a disaster at the end!

I also usually eat the food that is pictured because I usually have played around with it and feel bad having anyone else eat it!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are so pretty! I swear I could stick my finger right in that frosting.

I would love to go to culinary school too, someday...sigh...

I got hooked on cooking with my Grandma Betty and then discovered cooking shows as a young stay at home mom with PBS shows featuring Graham Kerr and Natalie Dupree.

Happy Anniversary!


Noelle said...

2 years?! I hope to be as accomplished as your sweet and savory self at 2 years! The spice alphabet... i'm impressed. do you trim your herbs like chia pets too? :-) jk

Past grocery store memory: Trader Joes- backed myself into an entire end cap of wine. 50+ bottles came tumbling down. Worst moment of my life, it was a culinary crime scene.

Recent table moment: Parents visiting- mom says "Noelle do you want to light the candles?" I say "sure" and come out with a flash light. more wine please.

love you Debby!!!

Bill Weiss said...

I love love love to cook... but I'm too busy these days to do so :( My partner is doing all the cooking these days. Luckily she's keeping our blog up to date while I'm working.

Frieda said...

Happy Anniversary!! I can't believe how much we have in common....I don't have cable and totally rely on ATK and Cook's Country for their shows on tips, cookware and recipes.

I think I have the hang of baking and I'm craptastic at candy making, so I'm going to learn all I can about making it the next month or so.

Kate said...

Happy Blogging Anniversary, Debby. I am so happy that I discovered your blog and "met" you. It has been a great friendship!

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Debby!! Happy 2 years!!! I don't alphabetize my spices {but I now I may!} but I do have seperate baskets for sweet and savory spices!! I also agree that I have more recipes "to make" then I ever will get to in my lifetime!! Cheers!

Ashley said...

Great giveaway! I'm a follower and my baking inspiration is my grandma.

hewella1 at gmail dot com said...

Congrats Debbie! If I tried to do a blog 2 years I would be in rehab right now!
Here is my screwie kitchen thing, I must have 49 plus kinds of salt in my cabinet from all around the world. I use Morton's Kosher 99% of the time! What up with that??

Kim said...

Happy Anniversary Debby. I just found your site today, but love the pictures. I'm still trying to take better pictures and my husband will complete empathise with yours. With winter setting in, I sometimes need to rewarm his "trophy plate" in the microwave as it gets too cold while I'm trying to photograph it :)

Keep posting

Donna-FFW said...

Oh boy, is the G rated comment for me? LOL, Ive been a good girl.

Happy 2nd anniversary!!!!!!!!

Something no one knows.. I am in charge of charity runs in my area for house fire victims.

From the Kitchen said...

Happy anniversary! I love Cooks Illustrated and it's one of my favorite gifts to give young people just starting in the kitchen.

Something about me: When my younger son was in elementary school, he was the child whose mother had the most herbs and spices in her cabinet (47 and they were alphabetized!). I can't recall why the teacher wanted to know this.

I heat my plates every day--not just for company.

I'm glad to hear that your "beginning" food photos were not so wonderful as they now are. It gives me hope (and you've given me good help).

Lastly, why isn't Monica on Facebook?

I've been "following" you for a long time.


Kelly said...

Happy 2nd Blogiversary! I'm obsessed with reading your blog and every recipe I've tried has been a huge success.

I get my inspiration from my great grandmother, or Grammy Cuckoo as we called her. She made the best apple pie. I'm proud to say I still have a cookbook that was hers from the 1950's. I love the fact that it's covered with spills and old food stains.

Thanks for all of the great recipes!

kimt said...

i think you do a great job. i too have too many recipes to try and i alphabetize my spices. just makes it faster. news item: i hate dull knives and have mine professionally sharpened regularly. have to warn my helpers!

TKW said...

Happy 2 years! That's a gorgeous cake!

Trying to think here...what's NOT odd about me? :) Okay, I'll pick something. I love (absolutely love!) cottage cheese. Isn't that dorky? Who loves cottage cheese?

Anonymous said...

My dear Grandma Clark was my first inspiration. She was the original "little Red Hen": make the garden, harvest the garden, prep the veggies and occasional chicken, prepare the whole Sunday dinner, and clean up. I can't remember not being interested in this process, and have hundreds of recipes - can't seem to stop collecting them! Your blog inspires me because I sense a kindred spirit. My husband has been gone almost 3 years now, and I have lost my biggest fan. Still cook and bake as I feel like it, but my muse is not here. Anyways, I do enjoy what you prepare for your family. Thank you!

kim said...

Happy 2 year Anniversary! I love your blog. One thing about me- I am obsessed with food blogs and would love to go to pastry school one day. I guess that was actually two things :)

Tania said...

Happy blogoversary!

My maternal grandmother is definitely my culinary inspiration. She started cooking when she got married to my grandfather but wasn't very good at it and said that it took several several years before my grandfather and her ate well. That always inspired me to keep practicing with cooking.

Holly said...

Happy Bloggiversary!

My grandmother is my inspiration - she is with me everytime I am in the kitchen. The good, bad, and even ugly times I know she is there with me in spirit.

Terry said...

Funny story we are all sitting around the kitchen trying to decide what left-overs to have for dinner the day after Christmas.
My mom says, We can have Ham or Turkey or Hey we can have Shrimp!
My youngest son stopped dead in his tracks, Mimi!! We don't eat HAY!!
I have laughed over that for years!
BTW, Your cheese & Onion enchiladas have everyone at work drooling!!

Adele said...

Happy 2nd Blogiversary! I have loved trying so many of your recipes! Your photos are beautiful and I am so jealous of the beautiful shots you take... I have such a hard time getting good food shots because I am still using a dumb point and shoot... Maybe someday I'll have the money to buy a nice one!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Congrats on two years of blogging. I remember I first discovered your blog when I saw your profile photo on someone else's blog and it contained a horsey photo. It was thrilling to see another horse-loving food blogger!

What a beautiful cake. It made me drool as soon as I saw it. Sorry you had to give it away!

I should alphabetize my spices since I'm always searching for them!

Judith said...

Happy 2nd Anniversary. I really enjoy reading your blogs and seeing your recipes. They all look soooo good. On Thanksgiving we have turkey and Saturday night we have Hot Browns. We all enjoy them as much as the Thanksgiving meal. I also alphabetize my spices on a turntable. They needed redoing last week but I didn't have time to do it. So, we all had a hard time finding the right spices. It's got to be done this week! Thanks for giving us so much enjoyment.

debbie said...

I love your site. That cake looks so yummy. I love America's Test Kitchen. I've made many of the recipes. I love to bake and their creme caramel recipe is to die for good.
My kitchen secret - mm.. love special gadgets and cookware. I have too much, but I always find something else I need to have like a popover pan!

Carole said...

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!

Not only do I alphabetize my spices, but my canned goods, too. It makes it easier to find things.

I haven't started a blog yet, but I'm vacillating between Blogger and WordPress. I just can't decide.

I happily follow your blog via GFC & e-mail.
I "liked" you on FB a while ago.

I so enjoy your blog, Debby. Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful foodie adventures.

Ingrid said...

Happy two year Blogiverary, Debby! :)

Believe me I understand trying to work full-time and blog. It's hard to do. I also have three children vying for my attention, a dog,a honey, and volunteer at my daughter's school. Most of my blogging time comes at the expense of sleep. :) BUT I wouldn't change a thing except hope my body gets accustomed to only 6 hours of sleep. lol Thanks for putting in the time to bring us such delicious food and all your photo tutorials. The ones you did on pie crust (dough) has been a HUGE help.

All Things Yummy said...

Congratulations on 2 years. I adore your blog and your photos are always so beautiful.
I got my love of cooking and baking from my grandmother. Every time I visit her I head right to the kitchen when I get home.
Something a little funny, as a kid my mom would let me experiment in the kitchen and one day I really wanted to make a mint cake. I substituted mint extract for vanilla only I added half the bottle rather than a teaspoon thinking more is better. Oh boy, so so so bad. One bite and I didn't have mint anything for quite a while. I definitely learned to follow the directions for baking at a young age.

Anonymous said...

two years? I must have found you just right about when you started.
something about me...I love food. all food and I do mean ALL food except, liver and buttermilk. And I am a germaphobe with my kitchen which means I put on latex gloves and wipe down everything (countertops, handles, pulls,sink, faucetts,etc...)with a bleach water once and sometimes twice a week. Happy Anniversary from me, Laura -email addy

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

happy anniversary Debby! Keep the posts coming, I love reading them and I love your photos and recipes!

Anonymous said...

Happy 2nd blog anniversary to you - keep it going. One thing many people do not know about me is although they think I am a good cook - deep down, I am not that confident about my cooking.

Raechel Slaughter said...

Happy 2nd Blog-iversery!

I absolutely LOVE your blog! I make a point to check what you're cooking several times a week & have made several of your fantastic recipes. Best pancakes ever! Yum!

Interesting fact: While I love eating meat & could never give it up - I absolutely hate the smell of raw meat! It grosses me out so bad that once when make pork carnitas, the smell of the raw roast yucked me out so bad, I couldn't eat the dinner I took hours making!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Liz said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a follower. Something weird about me: I drink a lot of Coke, and I have all these odd, borderline-OCD rules about it.

Coke must be refrigerated. Warm Coke + ice = gross. Ice only goes in fountain cokes. Coke does not go in a glass, unless it is a fountain Coke, in which case it must have ice and a straw. If for some reason non-fountain Coke must go in a glass (e.g., there's a 2-liter of it), it must not have ice or a straw. However, I occasionally do put a straw in a can or bottle of Coke. Coke with ice in a glass without a straw is undrinkable.

The funny thing is, I once met a girl who had the exact same system as I do!

Congrats on two years!

eemoody77 at gmail dot com

Amber said...

I've only been checking out your blog for a few weeks now, but I just loved it so much and attached it to my own blog bar.
I come from a family of food lovers, but it is only in the past few years that I've discovered my love for baking. I have two personalities. There is "morning me" who wakes up and runs 5 miles 5 days a week and eats healthy. Then there is "night me" who forgets who "morning me" is and loves to bake and eat and looks at blogs and recipes!

pippirose said...

Happy 2nd Blogiversary!
That cake looks fabulous.
One thing I've always wanted to make: a Buche de Noel. It's probably not even that difficult, but I've never even attempted a regular jelly roll.
I'll put it on my bucket list.
pippirose59 at gmail dot com

Indie.Tea said...

Congrats on the blog-versary! And the new camera.
And I don't alphabetize my spices, but I arrange them by regional origin...

Patti said...

Happy two year blogiversary Debby!!

Cherine said...

Happy bloggiversary!! I love your blog!

Lisa said...

Congrats!! I alphabetize my spices too!!

I love your blog!


Beth said...

I'm still learning a lot about blog photography too. I've got a long way to go!

I alphabetize my spices, and I'm not even a neat freak.

Oh, and I'm Canadian -- thanks for the love!

Jean O'Neil said...

Happy Anniversary!

Love your blog - the recipes and the photographs are great! My personal kitchen 'skeleton' is that although I can beautiful cakes etc like the one in your photo, I still cannot make gravy after 20 of trying.....any tips?

Jill (jillpickle, jillpickle74) said...

Happy Blogday to you Debby! Let's see...what to post entering your giveaway...hmm. I really want to learn to bake better and make homemade pasta. I've never had the nerve to even try! Perhaps this is the year! :)

SoCalKal said...

Happy Anniversary Deb! Raising a toast (proseco bellini) to many years of magical memory making moments in the kitchen and life. Your blog is an inspiration and a welcome place to come in the back door and get comfy for awhile.

A kitchen secret about me....I alphabetize within categories AND generally. I clean as I go lest I become overwhelmed. I HAVE to remove the little squiggly white thing on eggs before using them after accidentally getting a fertilized egg years ago when making a german chocolate cake and spending YEARS not eating eggs or even cooking with them much (very difficult to do).

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Happy anniversary Debby! I like you because your food photos are indeed beautiful! Take that tuxedo cake for example ...
Here's a dirty little secret about me. I love to cook and find it very satisfying, but when I tired of cooking (it is strenuous) I can eat peanut butter and fluff sandwiches for days at a time! Don't tell. Our secret ...

Carey Ann said...

I live in Hawai'iand it's tropical... thus there are tons of creepy crawlers. I am very very very afraid of geckos, roaches, spiders, etc. I have cried and peed in my pants over fear of these creatures. It's not fun, but, I manage... and I love Hawai'i!

Happy 2nd blog anniversary!

Yvonne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yvonne said...

Happy anniversary, Debby!

For my story, I'll pick up on the cold food thread... My boyfriend and I had once picked up some fast food and we were planning to drive to the nearby park to eat. On our way, he ran into a friend and started a conversation against my wishes. After too long, I finally got so frustrated with the long delay and the then COLD unappetizing food that I threw the whole meal right out the window! Drinks and all!! LOL I guess I don't like cold food either!

Stacey Snacks said...

How did I miss this one?
Happy Anniversary my friend!
That cake is a masterpiece.
The Non-Baker

URBakin'MeCrazyy said...

This cake looks beautiful.!