Food & Swine

Liebster Award


I want to thank Heidy from the adorable blog: “The McCallum Shamrock Patch” for nominating our blog for the Liebster Award.  This award is a way to spotlight smaller, local and/or up and coming blogs.  When you are nominated, you answer provided questions and share some random facts so your readers get to know you a bit better.  Part of going forward is nominating others to share the love.  My nominations will be at the end of the post.  This has been fun because I’m just getting into the blog scene and have met so many nice and dedicated people that have helped me immensely. Thanks again Heidy, for showing some love for our new blog.

Heidy’s questions for me:

  1. Why did you start blogging?  I wanted a platform to share and more importantly ‘save’ my most successful contest recipes (and others) and tell stories of our agricultural life with hogs in Iowa.
  1. What are three recipes you fall back on in a pinch?  That is simple!  Prize Winning Dinner Rolls, Healthier Ham Balls and Blueberries and Cream *Lighter Coffee Cake.   These are my favorites, bar none.
  1. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?  I hope to continue to feature heritage recipes and I’d love to feature local cooks and some of the ladies and guys that enter competitive cooking contests.  I have met so many of them through the Iowa State Fair.  I’d love to interview them and use my journalism degree from Drake University a little bit. I’d also love to spotlight some of the producers we work with on a daily basis.  They are really neat people and deserve recognition.
  2. Who is your favorite musician?  George Strait.
  3. If you could meet anyone, alive or passed, who would it be?  My nephew.  I’d love to play with him, hold him and sing him to sleep.
  4. What is your favorite food to eat?  I love sweets.  I love yeast breads and the entire process of making them, the smells they lend to my kitchen and slathering butter on a nice toasted slice of Honey Wheat Bread.
  5. Other than blogging, what do you enjoy doing with your time?  I love to spend time with my family.  Being outdoors is always fun and fishing at our pond is beautiful and makes for great quality time.  Do I like to bait the hooks? NO.
  6. What is your dream vacation?  I’d love to go to a warm climate with my entire family.  Doesn’t matter where, just if they could all be there.  (Most of you will know this is not possible.  We have many animals to look after between all of us and orchestrating that type of departure would be mass chaos!)
  7. What is one skill you wish you had?  I think if I could displace some of the focus I have on baking and creating in the kitchen to a non-calorie hobby like sewing, I’d be skinny #1 and #2 I’d be able to fix my daughters hole-in-the-knee jeans and we’d be money ahead!
  8. Favorite place to do your blogging?  In my coveted ‘big brown chair’ that sits in the middle of my living room.
  9. What is your favorite (or most addicting) form of social media?  I really loathe most of social media and don’t understand it much… having said that, Pinterest is interesting and somewhat addicting if I’m preparing to do a DIY project or throwing a baby shower etc.  Facebook is nice to have so I can keep up with people I normally wouldn’t see.

11– Random facts about me:

  1. My middle name is Cathleen, after my beautiful Aunt Cathy who I never got to meet because she was in a tragic car accident 12 years before I was born.
  2. I give softball pitching lessons to girls ages 7-21 (currently… those ages change every year!).
  3. I grew up on a farm near where I live now.  We raised (and still do) corn and soybeans, cattle and a bit of hay.
  4. I met my husband at a wedding of friends of ours.  I didn’t know him but we teased each other the entire night.
  5. I love to ride horses.
  6. My Mom cooks and bakes more than anyone I know.  My Dad eats every meal at home.  Every. single. one.
  7. My sister played college volleyball and basketball (she’s a 1,000 point scorer for her college), I played college softball and was a pitcher.
  8. This summer at the Iowa State Fair my daughter who was in our tack pen right next to us during the Purebred Swine Show, took it upon herself to walk off with the other 6 year old that she was coloring with. (The 15 year old ‘watching’ them thought that it would be okay if they walked off too.) My husband and I were visiting with my uncle, turned and looked… she was gone.  She went missing for about 5 minutes (she was visiting the goats).  I want to post something about this but I get weak thinking of it.  The scariest thing that has ever happened to our little family.  I’m so thankful for every person in that barn, namely my friends and other Moms I hardly knew who combed the entire barn searching for her.  I’ll never repay the debt I owe them all for helping us find her.  All I could do was run down the aisles screaming her name.  Time stood still.
  9. I stay at home with my children and don’t have a job (other than pitching lessons) outside of the home.
  10. I have a small baking school with 1 or 2 classes a month that I hold in my home.  My friend even built me a custom sturdy table for the classes, thanks Jason!
  11. I have pretty terrible anxiety when it comes to flying!  The only person I am calm around when flying is my Mom.

My questions for the nominees I chose:

What drove you to start  your blog and when did you start it?

Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

How much time do you spend on your blog per day?

Who convinced you to finally start your blog?

What are your three top favorite personal recipes you’ve ever featured?

What topics would you like to cover more in your blog posts?

What is one skill you wish you had?

Where do you see your blog in 5 years?

What is one dish or baked good that you’d love to master?

If you could cook one meal for anyone (alive or passed) who would it be for and what would it be?

What is your advice for someone thinking about starting a blog of their own?

I love to nominate:

Nicole at Farm Girl Facts of Life

Kelli at The Sustainable Couple

Ally at Ally’s Sweet and Savory Eats

Jeni at Jeni Eats

Jenny at In the Kitchen with Jenny

Liebster Award Rules when nominated :

  • Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award and provide a link back to his or her blog.
  • Answer the questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  • Present the Liebster Award to several other bloggers who have blogs whom you feel deserve to be noticed.
  • Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been nominated or email them.
  • Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.


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  • Reply Harney, Lisa J March 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    You ROCK!!! I am so honored to have you as a friend.

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    • Reply Cristen March 11, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Lisa! Love you too! XOXO

  • Reply Heidy L. McCallum March 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I loved reading this!!!

    • Reply Cristen March 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks for the nomination Heidy! I loved reading your responses as well. It is great to learn more about other bloggers. :)

  • Reply Jen Toohey March 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    This is a wonderful blog. I am really enjoying it. We are so proud of you Cristen.

    • Reply Cristen March 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks Jen, it means so much to have the support of my best friends. :)

  • Reply Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats March 12, 2014 at 2:10 am

    Thank you so much for the nomination! Looking forward to reading more on your blog as well:)

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