One night over the Christmas holidays, I was lying in bed with my OH reading a “blogging for dummies” manual. I had taken it out from the library a few weeks earlier and was pouring over every word, going through every possibility, trying to decide if writing my own blog was really something I should pursue. Would I be able to do it properly with the limited knowledge I had managed to gather from my reading as well viewing a number of blogs already online? It had been a long time since I had tried anything outside of my little box. My life was comfortable; could I take a chance and really put myself out there?
On this particular night I asked my OH whether he thought I should go ahead and do it. He said, “sometimes you just have to jump in and worry about what you don’t know later. You can learn as you go along”. He was right. I knew there would never be a time when I would know enough. I had been longing for an outlet for my writing and a purpose to all the baking I did! From what I could see, a blog seemed like the perfect medium to achieve both of those things. It was now or never (as the saying goes).
A lot has happened in the months since January when I first posted. Not only is the blog very much a part of my daily life, it has now been nominated for Best New Mad Blog in The Mads 2010. On the cooking side, I have baked a variety of things from Chocolate Root Beer Bundt Cake to Mini Pink Pavlova and climbed a massive learning curve in terms of food photography. I joined Tuesdays With Dorie, The Daring Bakers, a Food Blog Forum and I am going to attend Food Bloggers Connect 2010 the first weekend of June.
When I started the blog a friend asked what it was going to be about, “Food, “I replied, “there’s no way I am blogging about motherhood.” How wrong I was. Not only have I used many posts to write about that very subject but I have also embraced the whole Mummy blogging community. From my first days on British Mummy Bloggers where many of my questions regarding things like Twitter, Word Press and Stumpleupon were so heartily answered to next weeks meet up in Reading.
I guess you can say it’s been a whirlwind!
One aspect of blogging that I never anticipated is the people. Without sounding OTT (as my kids might say) I have “virtually” met so many fantastic bloggers, some of whom have also been nominated for Mads, but many who have not. Women, mostly, from as far afield as India to my home country America, who are creating some thing amazing through pictures and words. It’s their stories that make each of their blogs so unique and interesting and how they retell the very ordinary and make it seem so extraordinary. Some of my very favourite blogs are listed under Blogs I Follow so please have a look at them and spread the love! (I have updated this list so please look at it even if you have done so before.) I can’t begin to name even a small fraction of the number of excellent blogs that are out there but these bloggers have in some way spoken to me. I am sure the list will continue to grow as time goes on.
The four other blogs I am up against for best New MAD Blog are all in the running because they speak to an audience and what they’re saying is making an impact. Please have a look at what they are doing before casting any votes. They are Angels & Urchins, Baby Budgeting, Three Kids & A Cat, Slummy Single Mummy and you can find all of us listed here http://the-mads.com/best-new-mad-blog.htm.
All I can say is that I am so pleased I took that leap and decided to get out of my box by taking a chance on this blog. I have loved every minute of it and there is not many things in life you can say that about. I am honoured (and humbled) to be up for this award amongst so many other bloggers that I admire and respect.
Whatever happens I feel like I have won already.
Last night my 17-year-old daughter handed me Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook as a present. In it she inscribed the following: “as a proud supporter of your cooking, baking and blogging I figured I should contribute, give something back. So as we both have little crushes on the one and only Jamie Oliver I thought this book would be perfect. It’s a little bit of me to add to your cooking. Enjoy. Thanks for everything! So proud of you Mum – someone I truly aspire to be.”
Finally, I leave you with a recipe for a cookie that will not fail to disappoint: Compost Cookies. It’s what this blog is all about after all.
Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tbsp golden/corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
4.5 weight oz flour (If you don’t have a scale, fluff up the flour and scoop up 1 heaping cup. Sweep top flat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cups semi-sweet or good chocolate chips (I also used plain M&Ms)
3/4 cup (more or less) broken pretzels, potato chips, peanuts and pecans/walnuts
Add eggs and vanilla and stir to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and run mixer for 10 full minutes. During this time the sugar granules will dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and mixture will double in size.
Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, stir in the flour mixture – don’t beat it in or the cookies won’t be as tender. Stir in sweet and salty things.
Using about a heaping 1/3 cup measure or a stingy 4 oz measure, scoop up dough and form rounds. My scooped rounds weighed a little less than 4 oz each. Put the shaped rounds on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or until ready to bake – the longer the better.
DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
Heat the conventional oven to 400F. Arrange chilled cookie dough balls on a parchment or non-stick foil lined cookie sheet. If your cookie sheets are thin, you might want to stack two and bake the cookies on the stacked cookies sheets.
Bake 12-14 mins. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread. The cookies should be a light brown throughout and not doughy. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if needed. All ovens are different so you’ll need to watch the cookies, specifically the edges.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan before transferring to a serving plate or storage container.