My Bizzy Kitchen Turns 9!

And just like that, I blinked and my blog turned 9 years old today.  I am sure I’ve said it in the last anniversaries of this blog that if someone would have asked me if I would still be blogging NINE YEARS after I started, I don’t think that I would have believed them.  My first post was September 4, 2008.  This was my first food photograph.  Is it me, or does that look like dog food with melted cheese on top?!

firstpost

Tony was my biggest fan of the blog.  Anyone we met, he’d mention “my wife has a food blog!” and he’d call me at work after he woke up and let me know if I had any spelling mistakes.  His only complaint I think would be that because I am a food blogger, so many times I’d make a dish, he would love it, and I’d never make it again for varieties sake.  But I realize I don’t mind eating the same things over and over.

Case in point:  lasagna soup.  I have Brenda of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles for coming up with the original recipe.  If you have not tried this soup yet after the dozens (hundreds!) of times I’ve made it on this blog, you really need to get your shit together and make it this fall.  I promise it will become a family favorite.  I love how customizable it is – switch out the pasta, add the cheezy goodness, leave it out.  Add veggies.  The possibilities are endless!

lasagna soup

One of Tony’s favorite dishes that I did make a lot for him was my Company Salisbury Steak.  This is delicious, and I love that it’s a quick weeknight dinner.

company salisbury steak

It’s to no surprise for anyone who has been following me for any amount of time, that I kind of like beef.  Like a lot.  If you are afraid to cook steak at home, here is a look back on my post about how to cook the perfect steak at home.

howtocooktheperfectsteak

I’ve tried so many different kinds of ethnic dishes too – you know, the ones that Tony used to say “what smells like ass?!”  Chicken Tikka Masala is high up on the list of one of my favorite dishes that I don’t make enough.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love breakfast foods – one of my favorites when I meal plan is potato crusted quiche.  You can use canned potatoes, like I did in this recipe, or baked potatoes that were cooked earlier in the week, like this recipe.

potatocrustedquiche

One of my Mom’s favorite dishes of mine is the Cheese Souffle for One.  It’s light, airy and delicious.  And here’s more proof that my food photography has improved over the years.

cheesesouffleforone

I won $5,000 with my Buffalo Chicken Chili.  That remains a favorite in the fall and is one of my most viewed recipes from September through November every year since I posted it in 2010.  And everyone who has entered an office or block party chili contest, has won with this chili – at least 15 people that I know of.  How cool is that?!

buffalochickenchili

I’ve had the privilege of being in a Cooking Club that is going into our third year already.  Courtney (hostess with the mostest!) has been a generous host.  And it’s been nice getting to know Julie, Tina, Catherine, Mary Beth, Lindsay and Donna these past couple years and look forward to kicking off  the beginning of year three in October.  I’ve also tried and loved halibut and salmon, two things I just told myself I didn’t like and they are delicious!

cookingclub

When I started this blog Hannah was 16 years old.  When she was 17,  we bought her a car.  Here is the video to that – still makes me teary when I watch it!  You’ve seen her graduate high school, move out of the house at age 20, move back into the house at age 23 with Jacob and the dogs after Tony passed away.  Oh, and did I mention that she and Jacob are getting MARRIED in October?!  Jacob’s grandma is sick, she’s still getting tests done so we are unsure of her prognosis.  And in true Hannah fashion she didn’t want anything fancy.  They are getting married at the Court House on Friday the 13th, then we’ll have dinner out with my Mom, Jacob’s parents and grandparents. 

hannah

Joe was almost 18 when I wrote my first post.  I am just so proud of the man he has become, and can’t believe he’s been married to Lizz for nearly five years this November already!  They too got married at the Justice of the Peace in Austin, and his Mom threw him and Lizz a reception that Thanksgiving weekend, that we were not invited to.   I may or may not still be bitter about that one, but whatevs!  I may not have mentioned it on the blog before, but Tony and Joe’s Mom didn’t get along at all.  In fact, before I married Tony, Tony’s Mom did all the communicating with picking up Joe and then I took over when we got married.   He and Lizz bought a house, have two dogs and a cat, and are living life to the fullest, which makes me so happy.  I love Lizz so much as if she were my own daughter, and couldn’t be prouder of her starting her own vegan channel on YouTube showing what she eats in a day on a vegan diet.  Go here and subscribe!   Joe, I know your Dad was so proud of you!!  I was also happy making you grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread, monkey bread and anything else with copious amounts of cinnamon. 

joe

Here is my favorite picture of Hannah and Joe – it was when Hannah graduated 8th grade.  They look so much alike in this picture, you’d never know there was no blood relation at all.

hannah and joe 1

And that brings me to Tony.   I have come to terms with the knowledge that I came into his life when he needed me the most.  He was sick on and off again from 2007 until he died in December 2014.  I can’t believe this year will mark three years that he’s been gone already.  He survived countless trips to the hospital, starting with a heart valve replacement in 2007.  That illness took him a long time to get over, not only physically, but mentally.  He almost died.  He was having trouble breathing, I got home from work and took one look at him and said “we are going to the ER.”  He said he didn’t want to go at night, and finally agreed to go the next day.  They weren’t sure what was wrong with him.  We were watching a John Wayne movie on t.v., when the doctor was doing rounds with medical students and minded if I just stepped out for a moment.  Within five minutes lights were flashing, hospital staff were running into his room and I walked back in to find him flat laying flat on his back, tubes coming out of his mouth and he was unconscious.  WTF?!

He was in the hospital for 18 days, but I didn’t want him to know that.  He was so tired, whenever I was with him, he would just fall asleep.  It wasn’t until the day of discharge, when a doctor came in who was just on call, but had to give us the go ahead to get the most coveted “going home” yellow envelope (you can’t leave the hospital without that one) and declared “so this is they guy who almost died!”  I cringed, and Tony took one look at me and was dumbfounded.  He never thought it was as serious as it was because I downplayed it because I knew he would cling to the fact that he almost died – and it also put a strain on our marriage because he thought he couldn’t trust me to tell him the truth because I “withheld” information about how sick he was.  I thought I was doing the right thing, but he couldn’t wrap his brain about how long he was in the hospital, how he got there (he didn’t remember) and it was nearly a night occurrence for months that he would want me to recall the events leading up to his open heart surgery and the 16 days that followed.

tony

This time of year is an emotional one for me.  Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of my Dad passing away.  Tony’s birthday is on the 22nd of this month – he would have been 57 years old this year.  My Dad died when he was 59.  I think they both knew they weren’t going to live long, and I find a lot of similarities in their personalities, probably why I was gravitated to Tony in the first place.   In September of 2014 I had no idea he would be gone in three months.  I left him to go to New York to meet up with Lauren, Shauna and Megan for Extended Stay America’s recipe contest with Sunny Anderson as the judge.

cooking contest

I was hesitant to go and leave Tony alone, but he begged me to go.  I called him right before I was supposed to give my on air presentation of my dish.  I was hoping he’d be able to give me a pep talk, but when I called him, he said four words “I don’t feel good” and then started throwing up.  I literally about ripped the microphone off my shirt to get the hockey puck out of there, but he told me he would be fine and wished me luck. (You can see the recipe compilation video here).   It’s always haunted me that those few days I was away was the beginning of the end.  What if I had been home to push him to go the hospital?  I knew he wouldn’t voluntarily go on his own. 

last selfie

That’s our last picture together.  And not too long after that he was unable to communicate at all.  It’s funny, because I don’t think we ever really said goodbye to each other.  It was as if we both knew that it was his time to go.  I remember after he closed his eyes a few days before he died, I told him it was okay to let go, that I would be okay. 

tony cigar

tony sick 3

I just miss him.  His laugh, the way he made me laugh, his company.  We literally spent every waking minute together that we could in nearly 14 years, and that’s still taking time to get used to.  I used to not wait to come home to him after work, and now I find myself in no particular hurry to come home.  I am lonely while not being alone if that makes any sense.  I miss our every day banter, even his temper and the fact that he thought he was always right, no matter how much you disagreed.  I want to assure you that in no way was our marriage perfect, because it was far from it, but we got each other on such a deep level from the beginning of meeting, that we never could imagine our lives with anyone else.

We didn’t get to buy a house on a lake so Tony could go fishing that had a giant kitchen window overlooking the lake so that I could watch him fish.  He had so many dreams of what he wanted his life to be, and sadly he never saw a lot of those come to fruition.  So I remind myself every day that there is a purpose of getting up and putting one foot in front of the other.  He wouldn’t want me dwelling on the past for something I can’t change.  And I am trying to do that.  It gets a little bit easier every day.

So THANK YOU to everyone who has been following me whether it’s been a week, a month, a year or the whole damn 9 years.  Your support over the years held me up and gave me so much comfort after Tony died, the cards, letters and gifts I have received from you are all cherished – from bottles of hot sauce, to my pillow from Kym that says “Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

tony insanity

I better start pedaling that bike a bit faster to keep my balance. Open-mouthed smile

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I thought I’d do a small giveaway today – either a subscription of Weight Watchers magazine or Cooking Light – the winner’s choice!  Just leave a comment – it could be anything from maybe a recipe you tried, or where you are from, or how long you’ve been following me.  I’ll pick a random winner on Friday.  Happy Labor Day!

47 thoughts on “My Bizzy Kitchen Turns 9!

  1. Hi Biz, I don't think I've read from the very beginning, so I liked this review. I liked reading about your family and about Tony. And all your food creations. I don't always follow your recipes exactly, but they inspire me. And the lasagne soup... thanks for the reminder. It is SO good!!
  2. Carol B
    Have been with you from almost the beginning. Best recipe that I've tried (would like to try more) is the Chili receipe! You never know what curve ball life will through at you. However, I do know that Tony would be proud. Congratulation on your blogiversary! 🎉🎉🎆🎆
  3. Beth Sher
    Hi Biz I've been reading you for many years! I remember reading the post that Tony had passed and I was so sad. I hope one day to meet in person!
  4. Susan (Eastendmom)
    Hi Biz! I really don't know how long I've been following - five or six years, maybe? This post on Tony made me very teary. I can't believe it's been nearly 3 years already; as always, the days may drag but the years fly. I was widowed at a young age also, so my heart absolutely went out to you and I ached for what the days ahead would hold. But you are really moving forward, no doubt about it, remaking your life (even your home!) and Tony would be more than proud. Congrats on Hannah's upcoming wedding & continued blessings to you and your family.
  5. Ashley Casas
    I can't beleive it's 9 years! Congratulations! I haven't been reading for all 9, I started reading while you had the BSI going. I don't always get a chance to stay up to date with the blog, (life happens work and school!) But I see instagram dailt! Oregon_girl_in_Florida.
  6. Lisa Jones
    I've been following you on connect, really cool to get some extra insight on your life!! I always love looking at your food/recipes!!
  7. Diana
    I started following your blog and weight watchers connect account some time last year. I love your vulnerability as well as your creativity with food! It's so sweet to hear how proud of your blog your husband was and what his favorite dishes were :)
  8. Steph
    Hey Biz - I haven't been following you all nine years, but it must be somewhere close to the start when I found you and started reading about your food, and life, and ups and downs. It's been a gift, and I appreciate the work you put into it and your willingness to share the good, the bad and the ugly. It's a reminder that we're all very similar deep down, and not to take things for granted. Cheers to the next nine years of adventure... in whatever form that may be!
  9. Paula Velasco
    Hello, my WW buddy! Thanks for sharing about your family, hubby, and all you have endured while maintaining this blog for the past nine years. You amaze me! I've been following you for a few months since we connected on WW. You're cooking really inspires me in the kitchen to get creative and plate my dishes when entertaining. As a matter of fact, Saturday night I was complimented on how my presentation was on point! I owe that to you!! 💕 Thank you for always sharing your recipes and for the attitude you have while doing it. 🤗
  10. Lynn
    Way to go on nine years of blogging! Very impressive! I've been a reader for the past few years and now your blog is the only one I read faithfully when I get home from work! Woo Hoo! I love your Breakfast Biscuits and can't wait to make your famous Buffalo Chicken Chili! I love that fall is here and that means soup weather!!!! Thank you Biz for sharing your recipes and life with us! I appreciate how honest and open you are; it's a rarity these days! Sending you lots of hugs and blog love from NC! 😘
  11. Mary
    Happy Blogaversary!! I've been following you for quite a few years -- I think I found you through Brooke Not on a Diet? The first recipe of yours I tried was the breakfast egg muffins with broccoli, egg whites, cheese and I believe sopprasetta. I'm from San Francisco but am reading today from Rio de Janeiro!!! Mary
  12. Randi MacDonald
    I always admired you, how you put your family first and stood by Tony though all the trials and tribulations. I'll never forget that weekend when he came home and then died. It was shocking to all your "friends". I hope all your memories bring you some comfort.
  13. Katelyn
    I've only been reading your blog for the past few months but your voice is so honest and open I've come to look for your new posts. Please do keep blogging!
  14. I love sharing your journey ... it's funny how you feel like you *know* someone after years of sharing experiences ... wishing you another fantastic year of blogging (and attaining your weight loss goals).
  15. NicoleG
    I haven't been following your blog for very long but every day when I come home from work it's the first thing I look at on my tablet or computer! It just seems to always put me in the right kind of mood to get me off my butt and get dinner started :) I finally got to go to Trader Joe's (which is over 50 miles away!!) and picked up some things you mentioned like the Everything but the Bagel seasoning and chicken won tons! Can't wait to try them!
  16. Jessica H
    I'm not for sure how long I have been following you, but it's been a long time! I am from Eastern Iowa, and I enjoy reading your blog!
  17. Patti
    Biz I am a long time reader. I always enjoyed reading about Tony, he was like one of my brothers. (I'm Italian :) ) I prayed so hard for him all the time. I can relate about your Dad, I loss my Dad when he was 57, 43 yrs ago.. Have a good week. Thanks for being You!
  18. Susan
    I think I found your blog back in 2010 from a link Shelly had on her blog. Happy Blogaversary! Thanks for sharing your family and your food with us your readers.
  19. emily
    Hey Biz. I love following you, one of my favorite blogs. I love how real and open you are. And call me crazy- but that first pic looks like yummy comfort food. But I heart anything with melty cheesy goodness!
  20. Diana
    What a great post, I love reading you and am always cheering you on through this new life you have. Lasagna soup and the Buffalo Chili are two of my favorite but you also inspired me to make deep dish pizza!
  21. ruth m.
    Not sure how long I've been reading your blog. But you should know that I think you are so incredibly brave to share your life online... so thank you! :-)
  22. SharonF
    I love how you tell it like it is. And how you get back on the right track when you have had a bad day, or two. Keep up the good work.
  23. Annette
    Love your blog, it pops up daily and always brightens my day. I've been following you for a while now and enjoy your recipes and hearing about your journey in life and weight loss. Best to you and have a wonderful week.
  24. I love this post, Beth. I am so very honored to have met you, although it was braless in one of the most dismal of situations. :) I can't wait to try that chili and lasagna soup as the temps cool off, they sound fabulous. You have a heart of gold and are a warrior for every step you take, each and every day. Give yourself grace this season of life, you are doing fabulously. Cheers.
  25. Nine years! A lot has changed in that time - thanks for the trip down memory lane, bittersweet as it was. Very happy to be able to say that I've not only known you for nearly as long as you've been blogging, but that we've also met in person. :)
  26. Julia
    I have been reading for years. I dont know why the "peek-sy" into your life and cooking and working out is so comforting to me. Keep it up please. I love "knowing" you.
  27. Lisa
    Happy Blogiversary!! Thanks for showing me how to enjoy potatoes with my eggs and sharing the recipes for Lasagna Soup and Buffalo Chicken chili! I enjoy reading your posts, love looking at your food and am thankful that you share your food adventures and some of your life with us.
  28. Kris
    Pretty sure I also found you through Shelley but even before we met in person I felt like we were old friends.... well "young" friends ! Congrats your blog is one of my day's highlights!
  29. Judy A
    I haven't been reading for 9 years. I think I 'found' you through another blog but I don't know which one. I enjoy your writing. You did a nice review of the nine years. Keep writing.
  30. Michelle B
    I've only been reading for less than a year - I found you on Instagram first. Love your blog and love you! My good friend's husband died in a motorcycle accident 2 years ago when he was 39 and it has been tough for her (of course). Reading your older blog entries helped me relate to her better so I really thank you for sharing your life (and recipes!). Keep it up! xoxo.
  31. Kimberly
    I have been a faithful reader for about four years. Your blog is definitely one of my favorites and so authentic. You put yourself out there and I appreciate that!
  32. MaryBe
    I've been reading since the beginning! Love your blog. Loved watching Hannah and Joe grow up. Miss Tony's guest posts. He was so funny. I make a lot of your recipes, yum! Love seeing Chicago behind the scenes too. We WILL meetup some day :D
  33. Sherry Werth
    This post just reminds me of why I have read your blog for many years. I may not get to check in everyday but I always go back & catch up. You have a way of letting us in & being a part of your life even though it's only through words. You have a good soul Biz! Happy 9th Blog Birthday! :-D
  34. Katie
    I've been reading for a few years now, and I live in Chicago, too. I almost never go downtown despite living within city limits, so I live vicariously through your lunchtime adventures! I recommended you recently to a coworker who was recently diagnosed with diabetes and is trying to lose weight, so you're going to continue to inspire others :)
  35. Carol
    Hi Biz, I'm not sure how and when I stumbled on your blog, but I've been following you for years. The fact that you keep it real is why I continue to follow you. You are the reason I have pizza party Fridays! I've made your buffalo chicken chili (tasty) and everytime you make lasagna soup and the yoghurt parfaits, I get a hankering. Although Tony isn't here to cheer you on, I hope you take some comfort in knowing you have lots of readers who are in your corner. Tony would be so proud of you! You are an inspiration to so many!
  36. Aide
    Biz!! Congrats on your 9 yrs! I think I've been following you for about 8 years now. The day I found you, I thought you were the funniest. That day I had to go back and read all your entries from the beginning...and they didn't disappoint. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!!!
  37. Kym
    Wow, 9 years!I'm hoping you will be writing another nine. I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting in real life one day soon. Thanks for not only your positive attitude and great recipes but for allowing us a glimpse into your life. Your honesty and openness is refreshing. Happy anniversary.

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