Wow!  Now I know that number isn’t big to some blogs, but it is to me! 😀  In fact, last February, Tony did a guest post for hitting my 40,000 view – it took me nearly seven months to get that number, and now I’ve gotten 160,000 since then!

One thing that pushed me to start this blog (other than my sister copying my recipes 😀 ) was that after I told my co-worker (the one I share my food with) that I started a food blog for my recipes she said “finally you are sharing yourself with the world!”

A huge thank you goes out to my husband and kids, who put up with my “me” time of blogging.  I am proud to say that they are no longer embarrassed when I whip out my camera in a restaurant, and they are patient when I am trying to take “just one more picture” of dinner before we eat! 😀

That being said, I have cherished all the people I have “met” whether it be in person or not.  This is such a wonderful community of people, and I am glad Tony can finally realize that I am not the only one who thinks about food 24/7!

In this past year:

My friend Shelley has completed one full year of training with professional trainers, and all her hard work has paid off!  She is a daily inspiration to me.

My friend Lara and her husband moved back to her beloved hometown in California from London – it was such a ride to wait for her husband to get his Visa to get here, but they are finally settling in on their married life, after a wonderful first anniversary trip to Italy (okay, a bit jealous of that!)

My friend Meghann started dating Derek this past year – I’ll never forget in my January 2009 post I asked people to comment on what their resolutions were for the year – she said “to date more!”  I think she’s accomplished that, oh, and she’s got a couple marathons under her belt too! 😀  (and just recently turned 25 – ah, so young!)

And my friends Cathy and Robin Sue – both amazing cooks in their own right and whose photography is amazing.   These were the first food blogs of people (ahem!) my age and I was thrilled to find both of them!

And I get a kick out of K and her writing style and the way she repeats her eats – mostly English muffins with cottage cheese (with the occasional hot sauce sprinkled on!) and lots of peppers and mushrooms in pitas!  I always call myself her blog mutti, because she’s young enough to be my daughter!

And I watched Jen hit her 100 pound weight loss almost 2 years to the date she started her weight loss journey.  Her plan was to use a sledge hammer to crush her scale!  Sadly, the night before her final weigh in, she lost her Mom in a freak car accident.  She’s still struggling with that loss and her Mom’s birthday was this past Wednesday, which makes it exceptionally hard.  But she sticks with it, has her good days and bad – very inspiring the way she’s trying to move on!

And my friend Judy is struggling with her son’s impending brain surgery.  I still want to do a virtual blogger bake sale for her, but I am waiting for her nod.  Hugs that everything works out well with the surgeon Judy!

And I absolutely love the writing styles of these three ladies!  You have to check them out if you haven’t already!

The Kitchen Witch, The Water Witch’s Daughter, and In Praise of Leftovers. You guys are amazing writers!!

The point I am trying to make is that even though I haven’t met these incredible women, my life is that much more enriched for knowing them.

I am so grateful for everyone who takes time out of their day to read what I have to say, laugh when I set the smoke detectors off when I cook, or just say nice things about how a particular dish looks – it means a lot!

But, I have also met these ladies in real life!  Know what the best part is about that?  Since we “know” so much about each other because of our respective blogs, its like having lunch with an old friend!

So thanks for taking time to meet with me this past year: Mel (and J!), Christina, Michelle and Mara!

Okay, enough of the gushy stuff – let’s get to the Loot!

William of Eat Smart Products graciously has offered their company’s nutritional food scale.  This thing is amazing!

This is the mother of all food scales!  First of all – it retails for $75! Here are some of the wonderful features:

The only scale on the market which analyzes the nutritional content of food by portion size for both labeled and unlabelled foods.

The EatSmart Scale will instantly calculate the following cardiovascular nutrients essential for overall wellbeing:

  • Calories / Carbohydrates / Fiber
  • Sodium / Potassium / Magnesium
  • Total Fat / Saturated Fat / Cholesterol
  • Calcium / Protein / Vitamin K

The scale has two operating modes (find instructions here):

  1. Database – Internal database stores nutritional values for approximately 1,000 whole foods, including most fruits, vegetables, meats and other fresh foods Americans actually eat!
  2. EatSmart Nutrition Facts Calculator – Proprietary algorithm allows you to calculate nutrients for any food with a USDA Nutrition Facts label. One of a kind!

Isn’t that awesome??  But wait – there is more!

Hannah won a raffle at the community college open house – a 1 GB iPod shuffle!  Since she has an iPod already, and she is Type A and doesn’t like the fact that you don’t know what song is coming on next, she has donated it to this giveaway – thanks Hannah!  The retail value is: $45!

But wait, there is more!

I have to DVR Robin Miller because I love her idea of taking one item and morphing it into meals later in the week.  I never know when her show is on so its hit or miss!  But you could win this cookbook!

I got this at Tuesday Morning of all places - never checked out their cookbook section before - total steal at $4.99!

But wait, there’s more! Yep, I am finally going to part with some of my cooking magazines.  I’ve copied the recipes I needed, so now you can see what a magazine whore I am.  And sadly, these aren’t all of them! 😀

But wait, there’s more! Okay what Biz giveaway would it be if you didn’t get a bottle of this?

So how do you enter? Simply leave me a comment on what your favorite song is that gives you inspiration when you need it – whether to finish the last mile on a race, or just walking around your neighborhood.

For an extra entry, link back to this giveaway, and send me an email at letting me know you did so I know to enter you twice.  The giveaway runs from this Friday morning until midnight on Monday, February 15.  I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday’s post.

Good luck and thanks again for such a wonderful year! 😀

I’ll leave you with my Clean Eating Mac N Cheese I made last night – so good!

the perfect bite with Frank's hot sauce!