February 21, 2015

15 of My Favorite Photos on 'The Blog' & ANNOUNCEMENTS! {4th Bloggiversary}

15 Favorite Photos from The Kitchen is My Playground

Happy 4th Birthday to The Kitchen is My Playground!

The Kitchen is My Playground turned four this month.  I can hardly believe it's been four years since The Kitchen is My Playground came to be ... all because I was stuck in my house for a week by a freakishly huge {for North Carolina} snow storm.  Yes, that's the story of how The Kitchen is My Playground came to be ... On a whim one night because I was bored, I poked around about this thing called 'blogging' ... and unwittingly launched an adventure I could never have anticipated.

And what an amazing adventure it has been! {and will continue to be, I'm sure.}

In celebration of The Kitchen is My Playground turning four, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of my favorite photos on the blog.  So I went through my posts and pulled out 15 of my faves to share.  It was so fun to look back over the four years!

But before we take a look at the photos, I also have two fun blogging announcements to share ...

First, I am thrilled to announce that I am a ...

Contributing writer for Food.com!

I have been partnering with Food.com for a while on their cooking 'How-To's' website section, but have kept it quiet until they were ready to publish this new feature on their site.  Well, I'm not being quiet anymore ... because I'm happy to report the new Food.com site launched this week!

My role is to photograph and write step-by-step 'how-to' article tutorials for various dishes and basic cooking techniques.  It's so fun!

My articles published so far include:
How To Roll & Cut Cookie Dough
How to Melt Chocolate
How to Frost a Layer Cake
How to Make Buffalo Wings
How to Make a Martini
How to Make a Manhattan

I invite you to check them out! ... and there are many many more to come.

My latest assignments I worked on this week?  How to hard boil eggs and how to make deviled eggs ... Which led to me taking almost 1,000 photos of eggs by the time all was said-and-done!  And provided my hubby Mark with a big ol' tasty plate of one of his favorite foods for snackin'.

Second, I'm excited to share that The Kitchen is My Playground will soon be getting a new look!  I'm currently working with a designer to re-do the blog's look, and we should have it ready to go within the next couple of weeks.  We came up with the color pallet this morning ...

... inspired by this photo:

What do you think???

I'm looking forward to seeing where the final design takes us ... and to sharing it with you!

So now let's take a look at 15 of my favorite photos {in no particular order} from The Kitchen is My Playground's past four years.  It's interesting to me that most of my favorites are not  photos of finished food!  I had so much fun looking through the blog's photos to pick my faves ... and I hope you enjoy seeing and hearing a little about them, too.


The first four photos are taken at my husband's mom's farm, the place where my husband Mark grew up.  Spending time there and working around 'the farm' is still his favorite pastime.  When he's driving his tractor, mowing the fields, and working his bees ~ he's in his glory!

1.  Dill head in my mother-in-law's garden.  I think this dill head is just absolutely beautiful!  {Blog post it's in:  Spicy Pickled Okra}

2.  My husband Mark checking on and cleaning up one of our bee hives.  I love that this photo captures my husband in action doing something he loves so much.  By the way ... our bees are super  gentle, which is why Mark's not dressed in bee keeper's gear ... he's able to check the hives without putting on his suit and gloves.  Don't try this at home!   {Blog post it's in:  Honey Vanilla Granola ... & Robbing Our Bees!}

3.  Fresh figs picked at 'the farm.'  We have two huge fig bushes at the farm ... and popping them in our mouths picked straight off the bush is our favorite way to enjoy fresh figs.  Not only are they tasty, but beautiful, too!  And see those cracks in the skin of the fig in the center? ... that means it's really, really ripe ... and will be really really  good!  {Blog post it's in:  Marinated Fig & Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese & Walnuts}

4.  Cut fresh figs from 'the farm.'  Aren't the inside of figs just so strikingly pretty?  I love the deep crimson-y color inside the ones that grow at 'the farm.'  This particular platter of the beauties is getting ready to become the topping of a fabulous pizza.  {Blog post it's in:  Fig Pizza}

5.  My Mom carrying a huge bowl of chopped vegetables.   This photo was taken very impromptu.  I was visiting Mom and Dad, and Mom and I had baked a batch of Double Blueberry Muffins with Citrus Sugar.  I was out on their deck taking photos of the muffins when Mom walked up carrying this huge bowl of cut up vegetables she was preparing to roast for dinner.  I turned with my camera and just impromptu snapped this photo ... and I love it.   {Blog post it's in:  Summer Roasted Vegetables}

6.  My cookie scoop filled with chocolate cookie dough.  I can't really explain why I like this photo so much ... I just do!  Maybe because it has two of my favorite things in it? ... chocolate cookie dough and one of my favorite kitchen tools, the cookie scoop!   {Blog post it's in:  Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Drops}

The next two photos are from my 1st grade teaching days.  I absolutely loved the privilege of teaching little ones!  While I'm not currently in the classroom, these two photos are making my heart ache to go back.  

7.  Leprechaun trap in my former 1st grade classroom.  Oh, this photo brings back such sweet memories!  One of my former first grade classes decided we needed to try to catch the leprechaun that had appeared in our classroom.  And this is the Leprechaun trap they designed.    {Blog post it's in:  Leprechaun Shakes ... and you can read the story about how the class designed this trap and changed it over time to get better and better.  They were such sweet little darlings!}

8.  Opening dinosaur surprise rocks.  This is another one of my sweet former 1st graders, opening her surprise rock as part of our solid earth materials science unit.  Each year when we studied solid earth materials (rocks, soil types, etc), I would end the unit with a few lessons about fossils.  Then on the last afternoon of the unit, students would get to pretend to be archaeologists and excavate these dinosaur surprise rocks I made for them.  They were always, always, always so enthralled with this!  {Blog post it's in:  Surprise Rocks}

While the majority of my favorite photos are not of finished dishes, there are some finished dish photos that ... for whatever reason ... just strike a cord in me.  The next five photos did just that.

9.  Warm mixed olives.  I just love the way the different olives look together, and the way they're accented by just a touch of rosemary.  So pretty!  (I'm not the only one who thinks food is truly beautiful, am I?)  {Blog post it's in:  Warm Rosemary Olives}

10.  Valentine cookies.  This photo was the first photo I ever took with my DSLR 'big girl' camera.  The gorgeous sprinkles sure made for a great first subject!  {Blog post it's in:  Chocolate Valentine Kiss Cookies}

11.  Sea salt flakes on Dark Chocolate Bourbon Fudge.  Okay ... so this fudge has three of my favorite things ~ dark chocolate, bourbon, and salt.  But that's not what makes me love this photo so much!  No, I love the way the salt flecks show on top of the fudge, and the beautiful 'blur' (bokeh) of the background fudge.  {Blog post it's in:  Salted Dark Chocolate Bourbon Fudge}

12.  'Naked' Gingerbread Cookies.  I think the simplicity of these undecorated gingerbread cookies is so pretty ... which is enough to make me love this photo on its own.  But what makes me love it even more is the handmade Christmas tag from my best friend peeping in from the side!  {Blog post it's in:  Gingerbread Cookies}

13.  Egg nog.  I use our dining room table as my photo studio, but usually have a background board down on the surface of the table ... 1. to protect the table, and 2. because my background board has more texture to it, which I always thought I would like best in my photos.  Well, when taking photos of this egg nog, I had put the background board and my props away in our closet because we had guests coming over.  And I was too lazy to drag it all back out to snap a quick photo of this egg nog.  So ... this is the first photo I ever took with the surface of our dining room table as the backdrop.  Turns out, I love the dining room table's finish in photos!  I also love how simple this photo is.  {Blog post it's in:  Skinnier {Eggless} Egg Nog}

And let's finish up my favorite picks with two 'people' photos.

14.  Me cooking with Sister Schubert.  This past fall, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Sister Schubert's home in Andalusia, Alabama and cook a Thanksgiving dinner with her.  Sister is a dear, sweet, amazingly kind and generous woman, and I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet her.  I just adore this photo of the two of us cooking her Sweet Potato Pie ... for which she so kindly gave me her recipe and let me share it with all of you.   {Blog post it's in:  Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie}

15.  My Mom and Dad walking after Dad's release from the hospital.  Last March, our family's life changed forever in an instant.  On March 8th, the morning after a huge ice storm that hit central North Carolina, my father slipped on the ice while walking out to get the morning newspaper.  He fractured his skull in two places, sustained a traumatic brain injury that has left him with permanent difficulty, and was hospitalized for a month.  We weren't sure he'd ever leave the hospital.  But he did.  We weren't sure he'd ever walk unassisted again.  But he does.  While the journey has been a long one ... and will continue to be a longer one ... Dad is home.  Dad is walking.  Dad is living his life.  And my Mom has been by his side the entire time, just as in this photo of her helping him walk in his first days home from the hospital.  I am so blessed to have these two amazing people as my parents.   {Blog post it's in:  Baked Buffalo Wings {& Life Happenings} }

Thank you so much for reading The Kitchen is My Playground!  I'm looking forward to continuing to see where this blogging adventure leads!

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  1. Congratulations on "food.com". This is a feather in your cap, but they are fortunate to have you on their team! Love the choices of photos in your look back although it must have been a tough decision. There are so many others to love! I, too, love food pictures, consider myself a "foodie" and take photos of my restaurant meals when travelling. Photos make me salivate second only to aroma. Keep up the good work; I look forward to reading all your postings!

    1. You are so sweet, Marguerite! Thank you so very much for your kind words ... I truly, truly appreciate them. And I thank you for reading The Kitchen is My Playground! {and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks food photos are beautiful}

  2. Congratulations.......love your blog. I wish you many more years of success. Prayers for your Dad's full recovery. God Bless you all.

  3. These are great photos. I would like to suggest you to sign up on www.webipics.com and share your photos with your friends and family.

  4. So much to love in this post, I don't know where to begin. The last paragraph...I can relate to a little bit:) counting my blessings tonight.love you, friend. Happy 4 years! I remember "the idea." :)


I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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