Liebster Blog Award & Many Thanks!

Happy Thursday friends! I had a blog post and recipe set up for you today, but my plans have changed slightly. I, personally, think it’s a good change. I have been blogging about food for almost one year. In fact, next Wednesday is my FIRST BLOGIVERSARY! I cannot believe that I have continued for an entire year. That is the truth.

For a few months prior to starting my blog, I created other blogs. I thought I wanted to have an online journal that would chronicle my journey in life. That journal was going to include recipes that I picked up along the way or tried along the way. At the end of the summer 2010, Nick and I had both successfully finished our educational pursuits {for the time} and were about to become nomads. I moved all of my stuff from my Pittsburgh apartment back to my mom’s house; and, all of Nick’s stuff in Williamsport was moved back to his parent’s house. Essentially, we were shuffling back and forth from Williamsport and Elizabethtown. See what I mean? We were Nomads.

As a result, I thought that I could chronicle my pilgrimage toward {blank}. It was really going to be a journal about everything and anything I could think of. I mean, seriously, I would talk about a garbage can if I could make it interesting. I didn’t know what my journal was going to look like or how it would read, I just wanted to start it.

It did not work. I tried several times and I was bored of it.

Then Nick and I traveled to the Mexican border and I knew eating out every day was not going to be acceptable for us. I needed to learn how to cook. When I started I was not even confident in cooking scrambled eggs. It was the worst feeling ever.

I have come a long way. I am still in my infancy of cooking, but I am having fun. And I am excited to share with my friends and meet new people.

Somewhere along the line {in February/March} I started my Cooking with Mel Facebook Page. I was the first person to like my page. Then Pippy, Nick and my mom liked it. I thought it would end there. Never could I have imagined that 6 or 7 months later I would have 2000+ followers and friends on Facebook who would be interested in my website; who would be interested in talking with me; and who would be interested in my friendship & advice.

You all make each day very special and exciting. I could not continue to do this without you all and I want to take this moment to say THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!! I LOVE YOU ALL and I HOPE THAT YOU GET AS MUCH JOY FROM OUR CONVERSATION AS I DO!!!!

Now, are you wondering why I am writing all of this without some sort of picture of food and recipe? I will tell you. On Monday my friend Candi over at The Devilish Dish gave me the Liebster {foodie} award. My intent was to blog about it on Wednesday but I got caught up in other things, including those Buffalo Chicken wonton cups you all saw yesterday. So today when I signed on I noticed that my dear friend Patti from gave me the same award! I knew that I HAD to get on this award today.

First, thank you both for thinking of me. You two are so very special to me and I am so glad that I am in the presence of such wonderful foodies. Each of these lovely ladies makes my mouth water all of the time. Don’t forget to go check out their websites. They are so lovely; you will not regret it! I am changing the award rules slightly. Because two of my favorites sent me this award, instead of 5 people I am awarding this to 10 foodies.

The rules that come along for the recipient of this blog award are simple:

1)  Show your thanks to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.

2)  Reveal your Top 5 Picks by leaving a comment on their blog.

3)  Post the award on your blog.

4)  Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the internet.

Here are my choices in no particular order

Isabelle at Home: I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but it happened. I found a friend in Iz. She is such a lovely person. And I have NEVER met her. She is my virtual foodie friend and I know how lovely she is because it permeates the virtual world. I love her and I, regularly, ask her to move closer to me. Even though I have all of this gushy stuff to say about her, you should know that her food is as lovely as she is. Each day I take a peek at what she has for us and I have never regretted it. Go take a look at what she has to offer. You will be so glad that you did!

Basilmomma: A Busy Mom That Likes to Cook: Oh boy. Where do I begin with Heather?! I love her, too. Heather and Iz are like two peas in a pod; yes, I’m totally jealous. They are friends in REAL LIFE. Oh Em Gee, I died when I found that out. Aside from my jealousy, I have a love affair with Heather’s blog almost every day. Her food makes my mouth water almost every day and I am always bookmarking her recipes. You should totally try her Blue Cheese Potato Soup. It is TO – DIE – FOR! If you’re anything like me, you’ll happily spend time each day taking a look at the food she has for us.

What’s For Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen: Ally is wonderful! She is always so upbeat and when she pops in to say hello I instantly smile. She’s sweet and positive, genuine and lovely; I cannot say enough nice things about her. Her food is always so delectable and I could never imagine eating it. I have a hard time eating pretty looking food; it seems like a sin. Her kitty, Bimmer, has no problem eating what she dishes out though. If he doesn’t have a problem, maybe I should not either? It doesn’t matter, you’ll fall in love with Ally, her positive attitude and her beautiful food as soon as you click over. So go ahead, click away!

Sumptuous Spoonfuls: The name says it all, right? I feel like Ann needs no explanation, but I’ll give one anyway {because let’s be honest, I never turn away a moment to talk or type}. Ann says she’s an engineer and not a chef? I always roll my eyes at that. She may be a classically trained engineer, but her food is always amazing.  I guess her classical skills really help her engineer delicious looking pictures and wonderful recipes. I mean, go check out her website right now. I almost fell over earlier when I saw that Rosemary Rustic Bread. Seriously. I almost fell off the bar stool. She’s so lovely and I feel so blessed to know her!

Celebrating Home with Karie Engels: Um, I do not even know where to start with Karie. I know I have said this before, but I love Karie. She is always lurking around {in an absolutely positive way, because she is no creeper} just waiting to stumble upon beautiful, delicious and amazing looking dishes, recipes, articles, etc. Then she shares them with all of us. It’s like the best of the world at our fingertips without much effort; Karie does all of the hard work for us. She’s amazing. I love waking up; going over to her site to see what I have missed and losing time exploring all of her suggestions. There is nobody around us much like Karie. While I’m focusing so much of my attention on recipes, ingredients and kitchen utensils, she reminds me there are other things out there to explore and appreciate. Thank you, Karie for everything that you do! J

Simply Gourmet Photography: I stumbled upon Sherron a few months ago and I am so happy I did. I instantly fell in love with her and her website. She’s not only a master of photography and food; she’s a master of being a lovely person. Her love for food and photography easily shows through on her website, and, like the others, you will drool on your keyboard if you do not watch out.  Sherron lives a hop, skip and jump away from me so hopefully one day we can meet up over some delicious food {that we have don’t have to make} and gossip about the life of a foodie. She’s so warm and welcoming that I sometimes forget that she is not one of my long lost college friends!

Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen: First of all, Bobbi & I are kind of like mother-in-laws. See her puppy and Pippy are virtually dating. {Let’s hope that her puppy, Ginger, is not reading this, because Pippy also has a girlfriend Evie, too.} Yikes. Life could get a little sticky if Pippy’s love affairs were known. Bobbi is totally awesome. She is on a food pilgrimage just like me AND she has a weight loss story very similar to mine. She has lost a great deal of weight and is cooking up a storm to keep it off. She inspires me and makes me laugh almost every day; and when I’m not laughing, she’s making me feel loved with her words of encouragement and her delicious food. Yep, I feel loved when I see some of that delicious food she shares. Bobbi is one of a kind and I’m so glad that she is my foodie friend! You will want her to be your friend, too!

Lark’s Country Heart:  Lark is simply amazing. There is nothing more simple or complex that I can say that could better describe her. She has a warm heart; she is compassionate; and, she has some pretty delicious food posted over on her website. No kidding! Each week she allows us all to share our recipes with her and I’m always so excited to see who is sharing what and all that I have to bookmark for the future! Oh, and did I mention, she is a ‘lifer’ of the WW program? *High Five* so am I! Any person who can completely sympathize, empathize, understand the challenge of food, is okay in my book. I love Lark. I love her recipes, especially the Dorito Casserole, Chewy Caramel Corn, Triple ‘S’ Popcorn Mess, and those Mini Cinnabon Bites. Seriously, just thinking about some of her food makes my stomach rumble. Go check it all out. You’ll fall head-over-heels instantly.

Simple Fare, Fairly Simple: Oh boy, where do I start with Val?? I wish I could say I love her. I love her. I love her. And be done with it all. Those three little words really sums it up for me, but I know some of you may be wondering why. Well, I will tell you. She’s absolutely wonderful. She inspires me. She encourages me. She has welcomed me into her virtual foodie life. She shares with us all. She has a personality that lights up even the virtual world. I don’t know how that happens, but she’s mastered it. When I see her little name pop up in my news feed or I see her sharing something, I stop everything instantly and lose time looking through her page. I really don’t know how it happens, but I do. Nothing she shares with us should go unnoticed. You should ALL go over and say hi to her today!

Mia’s Domain: Mia’s claim to fame is: Simple/Organic/Cuisine. Let me be the first to tell you that nothing Mia shares with us is simple. Well, I take that back. EVERYTHING she shares with us is SIMP{ly} Amazing. For example, I spent 10 minutes drooling over ONE picture of hers last night. It’s the Parmesan Fried Chicken with Pesto Bechamel. I was going crazy because I could not access her website to see the recipe for it. Thank goodness I could this morning, but seriously? Parmesan Fried Chicken? Simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Mia never misses the mark. She is always so sweet and is, for me at least, a huge inspiration! Everything she shares with us is fabulous and I feel honored to know her!!

Last, but not least, is Coupon Loving Chicks: Mary & Vanessa are a mother – daughter combo that brings us daily deals, steals and tips about saving our precious money. I ran into them recently and am so glad I did. I felt an instant connection with both of them; they have a bubbly personality and always brighten my day a little. I have wanted to start couponing in the last few months but am so apprehensive about how overwhelming it could be, but having friends like these lovely ladies making it seem so easy gives me hope! They host a weekly forum during TLC’s Extreme Couponing Show where everybody is encouraged to log in and talk about what is going on. Not only are they couponing queens, they also whip up mean recipes. Just this week they shared a delicious recipe on my website. Don’t forget to stop by & say hi! You will be so glad that you did!!

There you have it. These are some tremendous bloggers and friends. Yep, I consider each of these wonderful people my friend. The unfortunate part about this post is that there are a TON of other bloggers and people that I want to thank; I want to gush about; I want to demand the world go visit, but it would take me a week to get through all of them.

I want to send a special thank you to everybody who has encouraged & inspired me and who has befriended me. Each and every one of you has had a positive impact on my life and I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH.

Until Next Time,

Happy Thursday!