Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pride and joy

So Mama’s lil blog turned one year old today!

It’s been one year and, counting this, 359 entries. I’ve definitely evolved as a blogger, as I sort of wince at the pictures my very first entry.

But I’ve really loved having this lil bloggie baby. It’s a creative outlet (one of the few I had in college), and it’s an inspiration. It inspires me to make a proper, tasty, attractive meal for dinner even if I’m just cooking for me! I’ve come up with some good ideas!

My blogiversary was a gorgeous day. I spent almost out of it outside, including part of my time romping about with my friend Indu and her beautiful little girl who is rockin’ her pink trike:


Little Melindi is almost exactly a year older than my blog- she turns two on Tuesday!

My blogiversary also featured my favorite veggie of all time!


Oh artichokes. My sweet love.

I made a trio of dippers for my dad, stepmother, and me (to clarify we all got our own artichokes but only two fit in the frame)


Our dippers were the traditional melted butter and garlic (far right), our family tradition of mayo (far left), and my quasi-alioli of mayo, lemon juice, and garlic (center).

These artichokes were soooooo mammoth and delicious. Hurray for spring!


Along with it, I had something that had been sorely lacking in my life- savory oats!

This bowl was 1/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup water, ~1/2 cup pumpkin, and an egg white topped with Frankie’s and some broccoli.


And then my stepmother put out some yummy looking tofu and I was like “yeah, I could get in on that”.


As for last night’s dinner, I got in touch with my southern pride.

Well, my claims to Southern-ness are dubious. I grew up in WA (Spokane, represent!), and now live in NORTHERN Virginia, which Northern (and Southern, for that matter) Virginians will tell you is more of a liberal extension of DC than Dixie. But I love the South for their food products, and grabbed something I’ve been eyeing at Trader Joe’s for awhile now:


Soy-cotash! I love lima beans (loooooove!) but in its original form succotash is pretty much all starch and more of a side dish. This, however, in encorporating protein-rich edamame with the traditional corn and red pepper, lets you turn it into a complete main dish!

So what’s my faaaaaaaaavorite Southern side dish?


My insane neighbors apparently got like 10 pounds of grits as a gag gift in a White Elephant Christmas gift exchange. How is that a gag gift?! That is an incredible gift! But anyway they were trying to foist them off on the neighbors. Thus our ghetto bag.

Making grits is mad fun!


(Vair dangerous action shot!)

And one should always add some cheese, just for good measure.


Another good measure: serving it in the PIGGY BOWL! Which we inherited from my grandma.


Well of COURSE you want a closeup, on both grits and piggies.


They were smashing. As was the soycotash!


The soycotash is really meant to be a side dish, I think—the first ingredient is corn. So as to instead turn it into a protein-aceous entree, I added some extra edamame, also Trader Joe’s.

Oh, also…  if you’ve made it this far in the post, surprise! Like so many on their blogiversary, I’m having a little giveaway :D

I cannot possibly go through this big box of Newman’s swag all by me onesie!

newman's love

Winner will receive:


Cookies (Newman O’s, Chocolate Newman O’s, Fig Newmans), pretzels, mints, and chocolate

But wait, there’s more!


My respective favorite foot creme and lip balm.

I think it’s hilarious that they both contain food blog-worthy ingredients: coconut oil and pomegranate!

And some fun Asia swag:


Lavender soap from China, elephant keychain I got when I went elephant riding in Thailand, Turkish delight (somewhat of a misnomer- it says it’s Turkish, it’s made by Cadbury, it was purchased in Taiwan!)

and (no I didn’t refinish my floor in seconds, I took one picture at my house and one at my dad’s after raiding the pantry):


Across the top we have some kind of dried berry (no idea what but it’s good), traditional Chinese stripey gummies, and YoYos, a gummy candy that can only be found in Thailand and is insanely fresh tasting- the first fruit gummies you will ever have that taste like (gasp!) fruit.
Across the bottom, twists on two blogger faves: candied sweet potato (!), and sweet Chinese oat drink (you mix it with a lotta hot water til it’s soupy and awesome).

So here’s the deal: If you’d like to win this (or just want to comment!), comment on this post. Please only enter if you live in America... I'm unemployed and low on cash. No bonus entries for talking up the contest or going on Twitter or whatever. I actually couldn’t live with myself if I were responsible for more tweets going out in the world, shuddershuddershudder. I just want to reward someone who reads my blog anyway, without the lure of winning things!

But I’ll ask, as a way to assess entries and cause I’m genuinely curious: as inspired by possibly my favorite Top Chef of all time, if you knew in advance that it would be your last, what would your last meal be? Your mom’s mac and cheese? Deep fried bacon? Oats with bananas and peanut butter? Spill!

For me, I’ve previously stated that it would be fish tacos at Mama Kwan's in the Outer Banks. But gnocchi is also up there, as is a really good burger.

And if you just want to say hi, say hi! I’m curious to see who comes back to my lil pride and joy :D

I’ll draw it on Friday. Unless I forget.


Kristina said...

If I had to have one last meal, I think it would have to be either lasagna or something with banana and peanut butter.

Love the giveaway! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Blogiversary! :) This is a hard question to answer... I'd have to say a burrito from this small hut in san diego where I used to live. Sooo delish.

Molly said...

YAY for 1 year of blogging! THAT is so awesome! Those muffins on your first post look so interesting, but I bet they were awesome :o)

I gotta throw it out there I loooove grits! LOVE them! I rarely have them, because I never think to buy them, but yum! Love Southern foods.

If it were my last meal I would request it would be a feast not a meal: veggies/hummus/pita, salsa/chips as appetizers, oatmeal with banana and pb, and dessert of brownies and ice cream washed down with a Guiness... that kind of sounds really gross all together but what a hard ? to answer!

Tamara Marnell said...

To be totally honest, if I knew in advance that I was about to eat my last meal, nothing would taste good. Good food is very important in my daily life, but if I was about to die, there's no way I could give even the most divine dish on the planet my full attention. So, I'd have to tell the waiter/prison guard/angel/whoever, "Screw the food. Get my Sweetie, my family, and my roommate from college here stat. There are issues to be resolved and hugs to be had."

Oh, and happy "blogiversary" :D

Maya said...

Happy blogiversary! I love elephants and would love an elephant keychain!

I don't know of i cod settle on a last meal but I definitely think that peanut butter and sweet potatoes would have to be involved. And a super rich, fudgy chocolate cake!

Anonymous said...

Probably Morrocan lamb tangine or a heart stew of some sort. Gotta have fuel for my crossing. And almond cake!

I love artichokes. Seriously, them + asparagus are pretty much the only things that make spring an actual season here rather than just a layover to summer.

Anonymous said...

I would have Indian food and Red velvet cheesecake from the cheesecake factory!!! mmmmm

Susan said...

Happy blog birthday girl!

MelindaRD said...

My last meal would be mattar paneer with naan bread and then a big slice of choc cake. (I have a US address even though we are stationed overseas, have no fear!).

Congrats on your blogiversary, That is so exciting.

Rachana said...

Happy blog birthday dear:)

Kristen @ Change of Pace said...

I have got to try savory oats! What a great idea... My last meal would definitely be pesto pasta :)

Happy blog bday by the way! So exciting!

Rachel said...

Congrats on your 1 year blogiversary!

I'm not sure what I would want my last meal to be. Probably an absurd amount of small plates. For sure, I would end with TONS of delicious chocolate dessert goodness!

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

Happy Blogiversary!!! That's so exciting!

But I have to say, I LOVE grits. I was never a southern girl, growing up in Northern VA, until I went down south for school - and started dating a boy from Georgia. And now I LOVE grits and say "y'all" - it's sad. The succotash looks good, but blech - lima beans are one of the very few veggies I do NOT like.

Anyway - if I could only have one meal, I think I would want it to be a big fat steak and garlic mashed potatoes. I havent had red meat in like 4 years, and it's what I miss the most.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely have my grandmums German dinner for my last meal. Comforting and delicious :)

and happy anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Happy blogiversary!! Too awesome.
I've had so many great meals lately, that I honestly can't even think of just one!! I meannn...I loveee my oats...but would I want them as my last meal? Or something with my beloved sweet potato? Or an all-out breakfast? Or a turkey dinner?! Shrimp scampi loaded with garlic, basil, and evoo?! gahhh! I don't know!!! haha.

Anais said...

I'm not sure if it's too late to enter, but here is my answer:

On my last meal, I think I would have pizza from Naples. It would have to be flown in, or even better, I could be flown there. :) Oh, and a lot of red wine!

Ashley said...

Happy blogiversary!! My last meal would be very rich... crepes topped with lots of strawberries and whipped cream :-).

Michal said...

Happy belated blog-aversary! :) I wish you many more years of happy blogging. This is such a generous giveaway thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Hmm... if I had to pick my last meal I think it would have to be some type of hummus/falafle/pita combo with a vegan blondie on the side!

Astra Libris said...

Oh, Lele, congratulations on your blog-anniversary!! Your blog is truly wonderful - your enthusiasm, witty writing, and gorgeous dishes always brighten my day!

I am in awe of this gorgeous, amazing, generous, out of this world incredible giveaway!!! Soooo beautiful! :-)

Ah, your question is a very powerful one... I always get choked up answering this one, as I've known my answer for quite some time... Definitely my Grandmother's black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, and cornbread. She has Alzheimers now, so she can't cook anymore the way she used to love to do, but now I get to cook for her... :-) I will always remember how happy, safe, and loved I felt, standing with my Grandmother in the kitchen while she stirred the tomatoes and sifted the flour for the cornbread, the scent of cozy, simple cooking in the air...

OK, I'll stop getting choked up and mushy now, I promise! :-)