Starting at the Beginning

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Best Time of the Year

Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is gorgeous, it starts to cool down, and I can finally wear a sweater without sweating with one of my favorite scarves. The leaves change to beautiful hues of orange and red and the excitement of the holidays coming up puts me in a great mood. Fall is the inspiration for the next blog I am posting about: Autumn Cozy.

I have posted a number of times about picture blogs and this is another one of those. I have said time and again, “Who doesn’t love a pretty picture?!” And that rings true for this blog. Autumn Cozy is filled with beautiful pictures of fall. It is a great reminder of why I love this season so much. Looking at this blog is like stepping into the coziest room full of everything you love plus hot coco and fluffy blankets.

The author, who’s name happens to be Autumn, posts many different fall-related photos. There are a lot of fall dessert pictures:

And, of course, there are many pictures of the colorful fall leaves:

There are pictures of fall clothing, and I love fall clothing:

mrsjuliejones:clubmonaco:Cashmere blanket in buffalo plaid. Perfect for your chilly cabin. I’m kind of obsessed with buffalo check plaid…

And plenty of fall coziness:

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<p> winter ♥<br /><br />

f-a-s-c-i-n-a-c-a-o:Aisha Yusaf Photography 

I could seriously spend hours on this blog scrolling through the thousands of pictures on it. There’s something about fall that makes me feel so comfortable, and looking at this brings that right to me on my computer screen.

It’s That Time of the Year…

To indulge! Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, which means (for me at least) an abundance of sweet treats will be made and eaten. This foodie blog is different than others that I post about. With one quick scroll through Two Peas & Their Pod, one can see that these two love cooking delicious treats and desserts.

This blog is also different from others I have written about because this one is maintained by a married couple. I like this because its not your typical cooking blog where a mom posts her recipes and meals she makes for her family every night. Both the man and the woman do the cooking and they enjoy doing it together!

One recipe that caught my eye right away were their Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. First of all, I love cookies so naturally that word alone got my attention. But these massive cookies have a center filled with warm Nutella that oozes out when you take I bite. I will definitely be giving these a try!

The duo also posts a list of ingredients and step-by-step directions for each recipe. Below are both for these cookies.

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Another recipe that I would love to try out would be perfect for a Thanksgiving treat. These Ooey Gooey Caramel Pumpkin Blondies look amazing and would be a hit with my family, I’m sure. People are obsessed with anything pumpkin flavored in the fall and who doesn’t love something that is ooey and gooey?!

I (Still) Heart NYC

It has been quite some time since I have blogged about New York City, but no worries, I still love it. I am graduating in December and, therefore, have been applying to (many, many) jobs. Since I have high hopes to go back to the city I fell in love with two summers ago, most of the jobs I’m applying for are in NYC. Needless to say, New York has been on my mind even more so than normal lately.

This brings me to the next blog I am blogging about: this is why i love ny.

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The woman who writes this blog (her identity is not part of the blog) will either post random things that make her love the city or will write longer-form posts that go more in-depth of why she loves NYC. I like that she combines both styles because sometimes I don’t want to do a lot of reading but more seeing.

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In this post, she said she loved NYC for the creation of a new food genre: Japanese-Jewish food. This is matzo ball ramen soup from Shalom Japan, a new restaurant in New York.

The author also excepts pictures and explanations of why YOU love New York. You can submit them on her blog or you can instragram a picture with the hashtag #thisiswhyiloveny.

so cloudy, still #beautiful: the #empirestatebuilding. Submitted by David Hanjani. #thisiswhyiloveny #nyc #nyskyline #love
This is a submission from one of her followers. She included his name and his caption along with the picture.

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Recently, she wrote a post called “How Desirable Is Unavailable? A ‘Bachelorette’s’ Human Experiment.” Her and a few friends had a fake bachelorette party where they took turns being the bachelorette at each bar. They discovered some pretty cool things about men and it’s worth checking out. In fact, Huffington Post, Fox 5 News, and The Frisky spoke about her post on their news segments!
If you’re a lover of NYC but cannot currently be there, this is definitely something that helps cope.

One That Covers It All

Ever now and then, I come across a blog that covers a wide variety of topics. That’s exactly what the blog The Pioneer Woman does.

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer WomanYou may know that The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, has her own cooking show on Food Network known as The Pioneer Woman. She got a show on Food Network because of her blog, which has won numerous awards, and her best-selling cookbook. However, I discovered her on Food Network because I have a mild (more like huge) obsession with Food Network shows. I really don’t know why…

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Later, I discovered her blog and man, oh, man does she do a great job blogging! She lives in the middle of nowhere on a cattle ranch with her husband and four kids. One might wonder how she has so much to blog about then. Well, I’m assuming living in the middle of no where with four kids forces one to come up with interesting stuff to do.

Her blog has a number of sections making it easy to search through this wide-ranging blog. The Confessions section includes photos and stories of her husband and children and the animals on the farm.

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The Cooking section includes step-by-step photos of all the cowboy-friendly dishes she taught herself to cook through the years. There’s butter involved.

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In her Photography section, Ree gives tips to starting photographers and photoshop tutorials.

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In the Home & Garden section, Ree shows the step-by-step saga of a start-to-finish remodeling project of an old guest house on the ranch, as well as general home tips and photos of things she loves.

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And in the Homeschooling section, she discuss the adventure of homeschooling four children on an isolated cattle ranch, hold regular “Smartypants” trivia quizzes so readers can test their brain matter, and share Words of the Day, interesting trivia, and occasional brainteasers.

There is so much on this blog. So many great recipes, so many amazing photographs, great stories, and more.

For the Skinny in All of Us

Since I am constantly trying to come up with new meal ideas (I’m getting really sick of veggie stir fry and chicken), I have been searching for new foodie blogs to read. I recently came across one that I really like. It is called Skinnytaste.

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One reason I love this blog is because all of the recipes are “skinny” aka they are low in calories, low-fat, and are healthy and delicious. Gina, the author, takes everyday recipes and makes them better and healthier. She even lists all of the important nutrition information, including Weight Watcher’s point, which is great for the weight conscious readers.

Baked Spaghetti Squash and CheeseSkinnytaste.com 
Servings: 7  • Serving Size: 1 cup • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 165 • Fat: 8 g • Protein: 10 g • Carb: 16 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 6.5 g
Sodium:
 278.5 mg (without salt)

And of course, Gina lists all of her recipes and cooking directions with photos to help. And, man, do those photos help… make me hungry!

  Cheesy-Baked-Spaghetti-squash-casserole Baked-Spaghetti-squash-and-cheese

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from about 2 small)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup flour (use 2 tbsp corn starch for gf)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetable broth for vegetarian)
  • 8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (about 4 oz) baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan

This blog also has a Recipe Index to make it easy to search for what you’re looking for. Gina has all kinds of recipes and many of them.

I cannot wait to try out the recipe above and many more, and I’m super excited to try these Low-fat Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies this fall!

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Health Nut

I recently came across a new blog that I love! I try to eat very healthy and clean during the week (and give myself eating freedom on the weekends) and exercise a lot, so that is why I love the blog Peanut Butter Fingers.

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The author Julie, who is a personal trainer and healthy-food-lover, dedicates this blog to giving readers new, healthy recipes and workout ideas. She documents something or multiple things she eats each day and her workout. This blog is perfect for someone who loves healthy food and exercising because she is very creative with both and is constantly coming up with new stuff.

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Today, Julie blogged about her breakfast, which was an egg white and oatmeal protein pancake with a side of sliced pear. Since she had already made one before and featured it on her blog, she linked to the recipe. She always includes a recipe for every meal she blogs about.

I love hearing about ways to make healthy food delicious and enjoyable. This is something Julie really focuses on.

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In the same post today, Julie included the workout she did. I love that she details exactly what she does herself during her workouts. If I am going to follow a personal trainer, I want to know how she eats and how she works out, not just random recipes and workouts she finds somewhere.

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Bachelorette party

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Dog Sadie

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Husband Ryan

Another thing I like about this blog is that she details her life outside of eating healthy and exercising. Obviously no one’s entire life consists of just doing these two things.

P.S. Julie’s definition of peanut butter fingers: “Take your finger, dip it in the peanut butter jar and voila! Peanut butter fingers. So simple, yet so, so delicious.” Yum!

Pinning is my Interest

While this my not exactly be considered a blog, it sort of acts like one. In fact, most of the content comes from blogs. And I absolutely love it and am on it quite a lot. Let me introduce you to Pinterest.

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The way Pinterest describes itself is “a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” For a better description, it’s a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other users’ pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or “like” photos. If you double click on photos, almost all of them lead to a website.

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For instance, if you double click on a picture of a shoe, a new page might open with the website for where that shoe is from. On other instances, images might bring you to the blog where the image was originally pinned from.

Pinterest also has an easy pin button. If you are on a webpage and see an image you like, you can click the pin button, which is located at the end of the web address slot. When you click the button, the images on the page you are on pop up and you can choose the image you would like to put on your Pinterest page.

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Pin Button

For me (and I know for many others), Pinterest inspires me. I get inspiration for clothing ideas, decoration ideas, food and recipes, weddings, pretty much everything. And I find things that I’ve never seen before. There are so many great recipes and DIY projects for anything and everything. I could, and do, spend hours on Pinterest.

Merry pinning!

Nom nom nom

On to one of my most passionate passions: FOOD! Cue inappropriate fat jokes. Honestly, I don’t understand people who DON’T love food. My love for food has definitely grown over the years. It most likely stems from when I discovered the Food Network and couldn’t – and still can’t – stop watching. I watch Giada at HomeBarefoot ContessaPaula’s Best Dishes30 Minute MealsAce of Cakes,Chopped, and my favorite, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Side note: I do NOT watch these shows daily. Then the show Top Chef started, and I fell in love (it really is a good show. Check it out!).
But then, of course, I discovered food blogs (duh)! Food blogs are awesome. These blogs introduce readers to easy access to recipes, new foods and recipes they haven’t seen before, ways to transform everyday eats into something new and different, easy ways to make meals and so much more. The plus? All of this is at your fingertips. I would suggest to anyone looking to do something different with their daily eating routine to take a few quick glances at some food blogs. There are endless meal ideas. Food blogs can easily help anyone looking for a change in food pace.
One of my favorite food blogs is Dinner: A Love Story. It’s a very popular food blog and one of my other favorite blogs has mentioned this one a few times. The reason I love this blog is because the author, Jenny, is constantly posting new recipes with pictures and a story behind it. But I love this blog for more than her recipes because her blog is so much more than recipes. DALS is very family oriented, so Jenny has done posts on “How to Talk to Kids About Healthy Eating” and how to control overeating dessert. Recently, she did a post on the “100 Rules of Dinner” that I loved. Since I love all blogs so much, the fact that this is not soley recipe-centered food blog, made me a follower. I think one of the reasons I love blogs so much is that you get to learn about other people’s lives and what they’re doing with them. I find it so interesting. Anyway, here are some pictures and posts from DALS.
Burrito bowl:
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Jenny gives a weeknight and weekend version (the weeknight being an easier recipe). She gives directions for making the chicken, beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole! Awesome.
Some rules I liked are:
1. “Acid” is usually the answer when you taste a dish and wonder ‘What’s missing?’
9. There are very few problems in a kid’s life that aren’t momentarily solved by a stack of chocolate chip pancakes on Saturday morning.
11. No need to sift. Whisking is just as effective.
37. When someone says they drink “one to two” glasses of wine a night, you can pretty much assume its two.
I could keep going. These rules are great.
While I do love a food blog that gets off topic, I wanted one that just gave me its best recipes (well, with just a tad of outside life). And that’s exactly what smitten kitchen does! Deb, the author, posts (almost) weekly recipes of the things she makes from her tiny New York City kitchen. The main reason I love this food blog is because she posts great photos for each step of the recipe, which are helpful for those who actually attempt to make them. And who doesn’t love looking at beautiful pictures of food?! Here are some of Deb’s recipes.
One of Jen’s recipes that looks delectable: salted caramel brownies
 pour onto a parchment-lined plate            chop up the firm salted caramel
 ready to bake, caramel gems on top            runny salted caramel brownies