Alright folks! May 2011 marks the beginning of the my blog when I first started sharing my recipes, puppy and 3 month old daughter with the world. Soon after I began my blog I also joined a fabulous online cooking group, French Fridays with Dorie, which met once a week through our individual posts on the recipe assignment of the week to share our stories, woes and trysts with the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table.” Then just a couple months ago, the inaugural group that spawned the French Fridays group, Tuesdays with Dorie, began their second baking cookbook and opened their group to new participants – of course we jumped right in!
So this year has been full of milestones, meeting new people and delicious morsels!! My strengths in the kitchen has grown quite a bit in the past year and my friends and family have been happy to share the many recipes that have passed through my kitchen, often requesting treats and dinners to which I happily oblige! My husband gets almost as excited as I do each week for the new French Fridays recipes and what makes the monthly schedule and we certainly enjoy picking apart each recipe once it is made and sharing our opinions of each finished plate.
Mei has learned many valuable skills and knows what certain utensils are for and is eager to help out with each recipe – since she spent most of her first year of life sitting on the counter surrounded by bowls, whisks, spatulas and mixers watching each veggie and fruit get cut-up, mixed together with flour and sugar to become the delicious scones, muffins, bread and other yummy things pouring out of the oven or off the stove. The kitchen is a place she knows well and will certainly navigate more and more proficiently as time goes on. It will be great to have her helping out with peeling veggies and mixing things as she gets older if she remains interested in cooking!
This blog has become like a child. I have nurtured it, made mistakes, more importantly learned from them and am constantly challenging myself to make it better and more meaningful to everyone that reads it; whether it be in the recipe itself, photography, or writing skills, it’s all a work in progress and I’m so glad you are all here to witness my journey. Generally, I would probably spend about an hour per week reading various food blogs and combing through Saveur’s website for recipes to try out and just keep interesting things coming out of my kitchen for the fun of it. Once I had decided to create my own blog it was all I could work on for about a month. I was scouring other food blogs to see what features they had and what I liked and didn’t like so that I could make my own blod as user-friendly and fun to visit as the ones I fell in love with throughout this process.
I have made wonderful friendships with people that live all over the world, many of which have the same passion for food and life as myself. We share each others successes and joy and I’m so blessed to have found, and be a part of this wonderful foodie community. Now, I can’t imagine not being a food blogger!
At first, it was about building a blog, focusing on things that would get my posts “Freshly Pressed,” readership up, my posts getting exposure in the foodie world and getting as many recipes up as I could possibly get each week. I even set a goal of publishing 356 recipes within the first year of my blog and I have come dangerously close at just over 280 recipes!
And I’ll confess, there were times when I would be laying in bed thinking “Did I schedule that post?” or “Don’t forget to to make something new with that chicken your making tomorrow night so you can take a picture of it”. It’s all good. Do what you love, the fun comes naturally! Eventually I decided to limit my posts to once per day so I wouldn’t have to put any pressure on myself to post more than seven times a week and then try to just post once every other day so that I could focus on Patella and Mei more, enjoying our time together.
Also, I’m so fortunate to have family and friends who are loving, supportive and encourage me all the time, but life of a food blogger isn’t all roses for them. For example, before they can eat anything, I have to take a picture of it or make extra to photograph it at another time. It’s especially fun when it’s during a holiday “Don’t eat that yet, I just have to take one more shot!” LOL!
THANK YOU all from the bottom of my heart for taking the time out of your day to read what I have to say each day. I am truly grateful and I love hearing your comments whether it’s here on the blog or Facebook. It just makes it that more meaningful knowing that you’re enjoying these recipes as much as I’ve had creating them! Now let me share a little review of the first year of my blog!
Patella Starscream was born March 8, 2010 and had just turned one year old when we began our blog.
9 weeks old and a mere five pounds herself!
just over a year old, about the time we started our blog
Mei was born on Jan 13, 2011 weighing a mere 5 lbs 10 oz! We took our first plane ride together when she was just two months old to visit our family in the States.
our first picture for our blog!
one year later!
By the time our one year mark for our blog came around, Mei is over a year old and I’m pregnant again with our second daughter due to arrive in late July 2012. Our first post was just an introduction to the expanse of the internet and blogging world, followed by our first actual recipe – a classic, chocolate chip cookies!
The BEST chocolate chip cookie ever!
During our first year, we experimented with growing tomatoes, among other things, in our garden. We were successful and I named the first tomato that grew through to “adulthood,” Doyle, before I ate him.
A young Doyle!
He was delicious!
We are preparing our second garden – although it is going to consist of over a dozen veggies and a few varieties of some of the veggies including a trial run at using a potato box to grow up to 100 pounds worth of potatoes in 2 square foot box. There has been so much to celebrate in the past year! Triumphs in the garden, travelling all over the world, recipes shared with our friends and family, and so much that we love and learned to love about living in England that we would love to share a little bundle of some of our favorite things with you in our first ever giveaway!
Thinking long and hard about what I would give away, I decided on some of my favorite things from England, along with a few other little special items including a screen-printed T-shirt and a painting for your kitchen (or other space), made especially with cooking in mind for that lucky winner! Pictured below are the items that will be included in the bundle.
- one 125 g package of Wilkinson’s of Norwich “Royale” Loose Leaf Tea Blend
- one 50 g package of Wilkinson’s of Norwich “Mediterranean” Loose Leaf Tea Blend
- one box of Twinings “Cleanse: Nettle & Sweet Fennel” Tea, 50 tea bags
- one London tea bag & spoon rest, shaped as a tea kettle
- one loose leaf tea ball
- a selection of Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate (Dark, Milk & White Chocolate)
- one pink sugar mouse (used to dip in your tea until it is sugared to your liking, then set aside to dry and re-use)
- one package of Dean’s Scottish Shortbread slices
- 300 g of assorted British penny candy (Apple, Raspberry and Strawberry bon bons and Tom Thumbs)
- one package of 25 recipe cards
- one copy of “Lucky Peach” magazine, Issue 2 Fall/Winter
- ** the tea cup, saucer and dish are not included in the giveaway and were used for presentation only**
- 11 in X 14 in Mixed Media Collage by NakedCarly Art
- one baby pink screen printed Woman’s tee by NakedCarly Art
The winner will also win this piece by NakedCarly Art! It is an original mixed media collage on canvas, 11 in X 14 in. This piece comes ready to hand with eyelet hooks and wire secured tot he back of the canvas and covered with a UV protective coating to help prevent sun damage, valued at $95.00 USD.
A beautifully commissioned work by Carly Swenson over at NakedCarly Art
Lastly, this woman’s printed screen tee (size M) also created by fabulous NakedCarly Art!
To enter the giveaway, you must do two things:
1. Leave a comment answering this question “What do you like best about cooking (or eating, as they case may be!)” Also, include an email address or some way to contact you.
2. Visit Nakedcarly Art and leave a comment telling me which of her pieces or sketches strike you. She lives on beautiful Terceira Island in the Azores and so many of her works inspired by the beautiful island are truly amazing, one of a kind opportunity and an artist’s dream!
1. Follow A Mama, Baby & Shar-Pei in the Kitchen on Facebook
2. Subscribe to A Mama, Baby & Shar-Pei in the Kitchen’s email updates by clicking on the email subscription button located on the sidebar.
3. Follow Nakedcarly Art on Facebook
4. Subscribe to Nakedcarly Art’s email updates
5. Leave a link to this post on your own Facebook page or your blog’s Facebook page and leave a comment with a link to the post.
PLEASE REMEMBER: Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries AND bonus entries, or only one entry will be counted.
**If you already follow A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen or Nakedcarly Art on Facebook and/or already subscribe to either of our blogs leave a comment for each since these count as additional entries.
The giveaway starts on 5/26/2012 and will run until 6/2/2012 at 11:59 pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Official Rules: Giveaway is open to U.S., UK & residents of Portugal only as well as any APO/FPO addresses. To enter leave a comment. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. I will email the winner and they will have up to 3 days to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. One winner will be selected at random to receive all the items listed above. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.