I hate to sound cliché, but WHERE DID 2014 GO? It’s almost hard to believe we are once again at the end of another year. But also not so hard to believe, because SCIENCE and all that jazz about the Earth orbiting around the sun. That’s good stuff.
I thought it would be fun to share some of my highlights. So here we go:
I quit a job, I got another job, then I quit that job.
I chose myself.
I attended my first ever food blogging conference. Six weeks later I attended my second.
I moved across the country, trading my lake view for an ocean view.
I stayed at the hotel where they filmed Dirty Dancing.
I visited 16 states and 2 provinces.
I got re-acquainted with old friends. I made many new friends.
I met David Lebovitz (whoa!) and Joy the Baker (bonkers awesome!).
This little blog grew and grew and grew. And keeps growing every single day (Thank YOU ALL!).
I took 9,290 photographs (wow!).
And I published 135 recipes (double wow!).
Now lets talk about a few of those recipes. Like last year, I tried to pick out my Five Favorites from the year. Which isn’t an easy task. Because if I don’t love something, I don’t publish it here. So whittling 135 recipes down to five is like trying to pick out your favorite child. Not that I know anything about that. I’m just trying to be relatable. My mom says I should try and be more relatable…
Here are the standouts:
1. Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Coconut-Lime Rice and Peach Salsa. The perfect summertime meal. This dish packs tons of flavor and just the right amount of heat.
2. Flourless Brownie + Espresso-Caramel Buttermilk Ice Cream Sandwiches. Because you can never go wrong with this combination.
3. Crusted Goat Cheese Caprese Stacks. A twist on a classic with a stunning presentation.
4. Squash and Apple Soup with Fried Sage and Halloumi. An uncomplicated fall soup jazzed up with yummy toppings.
5. Braided Cardamom and Chocolate-Hazelnut Bread. So much more than just a pretty face.
What were your highlights in 2014, food or otherwise? I’d love to hear them!
Looking forward to spending another delicious year with you. Thanks for making 2014 so great! I appreciate each and everyone of you!
Hi Everyone! Instead of talking about food today, I’m going to talk about myself. I hope you don’t mind! But have no fear. I’ll be back with more delicious recipes very soon!
About a month ago, Lisa from Healthy Nibbles & Bits nominated me for a Liebster Award. It’s an award that bloggers pass along to each other, in particular to bloggers that are newer (whatever that really means) on the blogging scene. It’s a way for us to get to know each other better and for our readers to get to know us a little bit better as well.
So here is how it works. I share 11 random facts about myself. And I answer the 11 questions that Lisa asked me. Then I pass the award onto a handful of other bloggers and ask them 11 questions. And on and on and on. Pretty simple.
So let’s get started…..
11 random facts about myself:
1. My dog Sheri was my 30th birthday present to myself. I adopted her from the animal shelter when she was around 2 years old. Best present I ever got myself.
2. I’m obsessed with Anthropologie. The clothes, the bedding, the kitchen stuff. I want it all! I refuse to live anywhere that’s more than an hours drive to a store. I know you can shop online. But it’s totally not the same thing AT ALL.
3. I’m an only child.
4. I was a terrible eater for the first 18+ years of my life. If it wasn’t a grilled cheese, peanut butter and fluff or plain chicken I didn’t want anything to do with it. I don’t know how my parents dealt with me (see number 3).
5. I have super sensitive eyes, so I can generally be found wearing sunglasses. Even on grey, rainy days. Even inside my house sometimes. I swear I’m not trying to look cool.
6. I really hate olives. I can’t even stand to smell them. My hatred for olives is so strong that I briefly considered “Hold the Olives” as a potential blog name.
7. I clean my house every morning before starting work. I sweep, dust, vacuum, put away all the dishes and wipe down all the counters. I just can’t focus until stuff is clean. I know. I’m kind of a freak.
8. In 2012 I drove approximately 7,000 miles over the course of 4 weeks all by myself (well, technically with my dog but she wasn’t much help with the driving part) on an epic cross country trip. It was great!
9. I’ve had every pet you can imagine. Dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, rats, snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, fish……
10. Every time I enter the water I’m pretty convinced that a shark is going to get me. Even when I’m in fresh water. And sometimes even in pools, if the mood strikes me.
11. I think proper grammar and punctuation is sexy. Seriously. It’s important stuff. Don’t take it for granted.
OK, so hopefully you guys aren’t thinking I’m too weird now….
11 questions from Lisa:
1. What was the most challenging dish that you cooked?
I’d have to say it was the Lavender Éclairs. Mostly because I had a lot of mishaps surrounding this recipe. My first attempt was on a rainy day, so the pâte à choux didn’t puff up as much as it should have. Then on my second attempt I dropped the ENTIRE tray after I had finished filling and frosting them. I still have the stains on my carpet from where the chocolate glaze hit (of course they landed chocolate glaze side down). So it took me three tries to get a decent batch. I was pretty frustrated. But in the end, they came out beautiful and they were delicious!
2. Why did you decide to start blogging?
First and foremost, it’s because I’m incredibly enthusiastic about food. And not just the cooking and the eating parts. Also the sharing parts. I love to create meals for other people, exchange recipes, talk about my favorite restaurants, etc. So running a food blog is a pretty good way to do all those things.
Also, before I started Floating Kitchen I was really struggling with the age old question “what should I do with my life?”. I wasn’t particularly happy with my current job situation and I was looking for something new and different. I loved food and was confident in my cooking skills. So I made a radical change. I left my career as a research scientist, started cooking in restaurants and created Floating Kitchen. I don’t know what all this will lead too (a cookbook? my own restaurant?), but I’m loving the journey!
3. Morning tea or coffee? Or do you go sans-caffeine?
Coffee. Always coffee. And always black.
4. What blogs/websites do you follow daily?
This is a tough question, because there are so many blogs that I love. But if I’m forced to narrow it down to just a handful I’d say Foodie Crush, Joy the Baker, How Sweet It Is, Table for Two, Love and Olive Oil, Half Baked Harvest, Seasons and Suppers, Cookie + Kate, Pinch of Yum……and like a billion others. I’m obsessed with food bloggers and their sites!
5. Any hidden talents?
I am ridiculously good at putting together puzzles. I get into a zen-like trance when I’m working on them. I’m a machine!
6. If you only had 30 minutes to prepare a delicious meal, what would you cook?
My go-to meal is usually some type of quinoa salad. I roast up whatever vegetables I have on hand while the quinoa is cooking. Then I toss them both together with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix in some dried fruit, nuts or crumbled cheese and voila! Dinner (or lunch) is served!
7. What is one thing you’d like to accomplish before the year is over?
How about figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. HA! Unlikely. But it’s good to have a goal!
8. What is your fondest memory with food?
I don’t have one particular moment in mind. My fondest food memories involve my Great Auntie Dot. She was the best cook in our family. And she always let me help her in the kitchen. I felt pretty privileged to be by her side. We always had the best Thanksgiving celebrations at her house. I think about her all the time when I’m in my kitchen now.
9. What is your favorite blog post?
My favorite post is my Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto. It’s incredibly delicious and easy to make. But that’s not why it’s my favorite. It’s because that post was the first time I said to myself “hey, I’m getting the hang of this food photography thing”. It was at that moment that the idea of turning my hobby into a career suddenly seemed achievable.
10. If you could travel anywhere, where would that be?
I would love travel to Greece. It has so much history, great food and beaches surrounded by water that looks almost too good to be true.
11. What’s your favorite snack?
Trail mix. It’s got that salty-sweet thing going on that just hits all the right notes for me. Any kind is good in my book. As long as it has lots of chocolate in it!
And now here’s the fun part where I pass the torch along. I’m nominating these fellow bloggers because I’d love to learn more about them and I think you all would too!
1. Tori from Gringalicious
2. Kelly and Stephanie from Long Distance Baking
3. Elizabeth, Allison and Janie from Three Beans on a String
4. Connie from Sprig and Flours
5. Emily from Emily Always Cooks
6. Kat from Clayton Family Kitchen
7. Rachel from The Country Contessa
8. Krystal from The Barnyard Bistro
9. Mandy from Kitchen Joy
10. Gayle from Pumpkin ‘N Spice
11. Stephanie from The Cozy Cook
My 11 questions for the nominees:
1. What is your favorite thing to cook?
2. What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
3. Which blogs do you follow regularly?
4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
5. Which blog post are you the most proud of?
6. Are you a night owl or an early bird?
7. When is the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt?
8. What is the last book you read?
9. What song/artist do you listen to when you’re in need of a pick-me-up?
10. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
11. What did you want to be when you grew up (and are you currently doing it?)
Thanks for reading and thanks for playing along!