Closing out 2013

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Another year comes to a close and I am full of gratitude. 2013 was an amazing year for me–one that brought many wonderful people into my life and a bevy of fabulous opportunities and events that I attended. I could not have predicted what the year held for me–nor would I change a thing.


I didn’t have the time to write about it, unfortunately, but I also attended the Family Garden Picnic at the New York Botanical Gardens in June, where I (literally) brushed elbows with Mario Batali. I, along with Amie of The Healthy Apple and Caroline of Devil and Egg, participated in a food blogging feature in the family events room. There, we encouraged children to write about herbs like a food blogger would, using all their senses. I was able to bring my mom and kids to the event with me–which they adored–and after we watched Mario Batali and Daphne Oz perform a cooking demonstration. The kids loved the cocktail hour that followed, where we sampled recipes from the demonstration. My son could not get enough of the strawberries. I sipped a delightful sparkling grapefruit beverage with thyme. My mom found a friend who helped us procure the much sought-after raviolis being served. Chef Batali walked right by us and my mother said hi to him, but I was too chicken to make a squawk. Eep! It poured that day and we were shuttled from building to building for the different events, but that didn’t matter. I loved every minute of it!

I participated in a food photography workshop in NYC and invested in a real light system (well, one Lowel Ego light). I keep on learning new things and trying to apply them. It’s not always easy with the busy lives we lead, but I do my best. That’s all I can really do, after all.

Top 5 Posts of the Year

Drumroll please…
Top 5 of 2013 - poet in the pantry

  1. Red Velvet Cake Shot
    • I discovered Pinnacle Cake-Flavored Vodka in 2011 and it looks like you still are loving it with me! There are a few recipes in this post, but the Red Velvet Cake Shot is my favorite of them.
  2. Irish Nachos
    • I have a confession to make–I almost never posted this. It was one of my first experiments with my hacked light set-up and I really wasn’t all that happy with how the photos came out. But I loved the concept and taste, so I held my breath, pressed publish and gave it a shot. I’m glad I did!
  3. Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
    • Bacon, bacon, bacon. What can I say? I’m a little addicted. Some naysayers will tell you bacon doesn’t belong in dessert. They can kiss my pig. The salty smokiness of bacon adds such a wonderful dimension to plain old chocolate chip cookies. These are one of my favorite cookies, too!
  4. Strawberry Shortcake Gelatin Shot
    • One of the things I adore about this post in particular is that it came at the end of my Bachelor’s Degree program. I was elated to have finally finished and start the next phase of my life. The gelatin shots were just the icing on the cake. Still, a tasty one and great for parties at this time of year.
  5. Italian Stuffed Peppers
    • You all surprised me with this in the Top 5. For a blog that focuses mostly on the sweet side of life, I didn’t expect to see a savory dish get so many pageviews. Are you trying to tell me something? This needs to be investigated further in 2014…


What comes next? More local events, I hope. I really do love sharing the gems in my area with everyone. I also have a few ideas on fundamentals I’d like to master this year–and help you master, too. We’re in this together! First on the First will continue to be a part of our lives, pushing our limits in the kitchen, month after month. After that, the sky is the limit! I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the year to come! I hope you’ll be there with me to share in the joys in my kitchen! Thank you!

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