Thank you!

Millie (1)

::insert puppy picture just because::

You guys, my readers, are amazing. From the bottom of my heart, I really appreciate every comment, email and lately, votes for Project Food Blog. I made it to challenge 2, which was very surprising, because there are so many wonderful bloggers out there. I still think of myself as a blogger with 5 readers, and I was so overwhelmed with happiness when you guys pushed me through to round 2.

I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, the talents of other bloggers got the best of me. I didn’t make it to round 3. I will admit that I cried a little, because I’m a girl and girls are emotional :). However, on the bright side of things, I can now fully support/cheer on my awesome blogger friends who are still in the running! I can’t believe one of them can possibly win $10,000! How life changing and amazing is that?!

So, instead of voting for me from now on, can you take a minute to vote for/support these spectacular bloggers? Round 3 was a Luxurious Dinner Party, and I sort of wish I crashed each party. The menus were spectacular and these gals are just so dang creative. :)

Amy of Sing for your Supper
Tara of Smells Like Home
Jessica of The Novice Chef
Serena of Big Apple Nosh
Erin of Milk & Honey

Again, thanks so much for y’all’s support during Project Food Blog! Making it as far as I did gives me warm fuzzies. :)

Caakiri: My First Adventure with Couscous

Caakiri

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate y’alls support during Project Food Blog so far. You better believe I was jumping in my chair when I saw that I get to compete in round 2! So, thank you very much. You guys are the best!

Round 2′s challenge is called The Classics.
Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.

So, with absolutely no clue what to do, I went to my local library and picked up 4 books. 3 of them were Asian inspired and the other one, which was a direct opposite, featured German cuisine. Not exactly sure why I picked that one up, but heck, why not? I flipped through pages and pages, bookmarking some recipes, but none of them felt like it should be the dish for this challenge. I walked away from the books for a while, feeling pretty bummed. What dish was I going to make?

I wanted to find a recipe that was different, featuring ingredients that normally make me turn the other way. I ended up finding this dessert recipe featuring couscous. Can you believe I’ve never tried couscous before? I was intimidated by it..completely.

This recipe also has sour cream, which is an ingredient that does not appeal to me at all. I rarely use it in recipes, because it’s a personal food aversion of mine. So, why not go all out with an ingredient I’ve never tried and an ingredient I really don’t like? Challenge enough, no?

I’m sure you want to know where this dish is from. Ultimately, I ended up going to a whole different continent for this challenge: Africa!

The dish is called Caakiri, which is a yogurt based couscous dessert, originating in Western Africa. The dish tastes a lot like rice pudding, but with a very different texture. I found the dish to be a little too tart for me, probably due to the high amounts of yogurt and sour cream. However, more sugar seemed to help that issue. :)

Caakiri Components

Couscous and yogurt mixture pictured.

The best thing about this dish was that the ingredients weren’t too hard to find, and it introduced me to couscous. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this grain again really soon. :)

Note: this recipe is halved from the original source and it still made PLENTY!

Caakiri
Source: The Congo Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 cups water
  • pat of  butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 can of crushed pineapple, drained

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a medium pot. Add couscous, butter and salt. Stir, cover and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then stir and let couscous cool.
  2. Combine all of the other ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add couscous to yogurt mixture and add sugar to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Pretty Please?

millie1

Hi, I’m Millie. I hijacked my mommy’s blog today for a huge reason today. Not just to show you my major cuteness, but to let you know that voting is now open for Round 1 of Project Food Blog! Whatever that is…

Millie (1)

I’m obviously super happy voting is open…yay GO mommy!

millie4

I think you should vote for my mommy, because my mommy even thinks puppies deserve an extra special treat. She didn’t make this one for me, but because of this treat, I now know that puppies can have a cupcake too. :)

millie3

So let’s get serious here. I can get serious. ::runs to grab a bone::

Ok, I’m back to being serious.

Vote for my mommy. Tell EVERYONE to vote for my mommy.

If she gets through to round 2, she gets to cook up more challenges for you humans. More yummy food! She even promised me pumpkin treats! I love pumpkin. :)

Win-win situation, right?

Note: I have been informed that I get pumpkin treats no matter what, but, uhm, still vote. Pretty please?

My Blog, My Moments

Pumpkin Bread

Since it’s almost Fall, I thought I’d post a picture of this pumpkin bread for y’all.

This post serves as my entry into Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog: Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance and a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 and a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year. Starting next week, Foodbuzz will start the voting for the next food blog star, and I’ll repost a link for y’all to vote for me, if you think I should advance. :) Thanks in advance for all of your support!

Most people think of cooking and baking as simply putting food on the table. I’ve been there. I used to think that way and just dreaded it. I started this food blog after I graduated from college, because I moved back in with my family and wanted to help my parents with dinner. My first ever blogged recipe was for turkey meatballs.

Those meatballs were quite the chore. I dirtied up tons of dishes, which I had to clean, and while my family appreciated the meal, we all knew it wasn’t mouth-watering, amazingness on a plate. It was discouraging, to say the least. Oh, and obviously, I really didn’t care how the photo looked. I just took a photo with my point and shoot and uploaded it.

After blogging for a while, I hit a point where I thought this was really boring. I got maybe 1 comment in a week’s time, I felt as unpopular as the last picked kid on the kickball team and just got super jealous of popular bloggers. I knew nothing big would ever come of this blog, so I just sort of lost interest.

After a couple of years of on and off blogging spurts, I realized that I shouldn’t blog to be popular. The competition out there is crazy, and I should do this for me. I thought back to the days when I could barely form a turkey meatball and looked at how far I came. I came to the conclusion that blogging isn’t about popularity….it’s about the moments you have in the kitchen and sharing them with others.

I remember the moment when I made my first batch of biscotti from scratch. It felt so amazing that something as simple as flour, butter, and sugar could come together to form biscotti. I always made bought them, and thought you had to be an authentic Italian bakery to get those to come out right!

I remember how proud I was when I made that first buttercream rose.

I was so excited when I didn’t make anyone sick after making my first pot roast.

I remember when the yeast actually rose for my first batch of rolls.

I remember hosting my first family get-together.

I found that blogging was so much more fun when I was able actually meet a personal challenge and bask in the moment, whether it be taking that perfect picture of a cupcake or making a dish I found to be intimidating.

While I’m not very well known in the blogging community, I feel that I should be considered to be the next food blog star. My blog is here to show everyone that recipes are completely approachable. Anyone can make an amazing meal or dessert for their families and friends.  Before I ever blogged, I considered my kitchen accomplishments to include heating frozen skillet meals and baking rolls of cookie dough. I didn’t know the names of most ordinary produce. I thought a cup was a cup no matter what type of measuring tool you use. I’ve been there. I’ve messed up, and I still mess up.

It took me a while, but I find that I truly enjoy food blogging now. It’s not a career for me by any means, but it’s a huge passion of mine. I love knowing that my kitchen is a place where you can take simple ingredients and turn it into a great dish. It’s a complete transformation every time, and in my two and a half years of blogging, I don’t see the fun dying down anytime soon.