Friday, April 24, 2009

Kalyn's Kitchen Celebrates a Birthday with Four Questions for Readers

(Four Year Birthday Graphic from

It sounds like a cliche, but when I wrote the first post on Kalyn's Kitchen four years ago, I never imagined how much this blog would change my life. I was just a fourth grade teacher who liked to cook, and I'd never thought about photographing my food or writing about it on the internet. Now I've got shelves full of "blog dishes," a collection of notebooks filled with recipe notes, and I'm about to trade a 30 year teaching career for the job title of food blogger. I feel constantly thankful for all the good things blogging has brought into my life, not the least of which is connections I've formed with other bloggers and readers from all over the world.

As my nephew Ethan once said to his mom when they arrived home from the store with his birthday party decorations, "Let's get this party started." For my birthday, I'd like to take the day off and let those who are reading talk about themselves for a change. If you feel like playing along, here are some questions to talk about in the comments:
  1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?
  2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?
  3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?
  4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?
Thanks to everyone who's been reading, commenting, or providing moral support these last four years. In the moral support department, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my brother Rand and his partner Bradley who are the design and technological brains behind Kalyn's Kitchen. I'm also grateful for the many blogging friends who inspire, motivate, and nurture me daily as I write this ongoing chronicle of what's on the menu in Kalyn's Kitchen.

More Blog Birthdays:
Kalyn's Kitchen Turns One
Kalyn's Kitchen Turns Two
Kalyn's Kitchen Turns Three
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More to Chew On:


  1. What's one way your own life is different than it was four years ago?

    Wow...Honestly my entire life is completely different now than it was 4 years ago. I'm in a healthy relationship with a fabulous person. I live in a large city. I can cook dinner rather than open boxes or call the delivery man ;)

    How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    When I started writing ErinCooks 3 years ago I also started reading zillions of food blogs. You were always at the top of everyones' must read lists so here I am.

    If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Champagne. Cheesecake. And a really perfect steak.

    What do you think Kalyn should be sure to do once she's retired?

    Publish a cookbook. Travel. Not set an alarm clock anymore.

  2. 1. I now own my own home with my own yard. Both are tiny, but they're mine.
    2. Found the blog through another blog. Don't know which one, don't know how long. Years?
    3. A nice steak cooked on the bbq, with fresh seasonal veggies.
    4. Whatever makes her happy. If it was me, it would be to buy a small cottage on a clean lake with room for a big garden.

  3. Happy blogaversary!

    1. I'm not working.

    2. I don't remember how I found this blog -- probably linked to from another blog.

    3. Surf and turf and a big green salad.

    4. Keep blogging!


  4. Happy Blog Birthday! Kalyn.

    4 years ago, I had no idea what food blogs were.

    I have been following your blog for close to 2 years now.

    On my birthday, would love some Chicken Biryani and Malai Kulfi.

    In retirement how about organizing/teaching about healthy eating.

  5. 1. What's different compared to 4 years ago?

    I've moved back to Estonia from Scotland, have been sharing a life with a very supportive and kind K. - and gave birth to my baby daughter (our first) early this year.

    2. We both started more or less at the same time (me 6 weeks or so later), and back then it was easier to spot the good ones.

    3. If today was my b-day, what would I want on the menu..

    MMmm. Let me think of that. Well, today IS my birthday (how cool to share that with your blog birthday) and my parents and sis are coming for dinner. I'm serving them grilled lamb chops with roasted cauliflower and harissa-spiked couscous salad. For dessert - a strawberry meringue cake :)

    4. Once Kalyn's retired, she should travel and visit friends around the world and eat delicious food wherever she goes :)

  6. 1. What's one way your own life is different than it was four years ago?

    I bake more sweets and do less actual cooking.

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    Looking for dinner!

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    An awesome glass of wine.

    4. What do you think Kalyn should be sure to do once she's retired?

    Travel the world. Go on a repositioning cruise to Dubai.

  7. 1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    Wow, now that I think about it, crazy different. In 2005, I was a college sophomore. I have had gastric bypass (RNY) surgery, lost over 100lbs (still got a lot to go!), graduated from college, living and working in New York City now.

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I'm thinking it's been about two years? I found you on - the high protein diet RNYers try to go by is similar to SB, and someone linked to you at one point. I'm a foodie, and was hooked!

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Hrmmm... grilled ribeye steak (medium rare), some parmesan-y risotto, grilled corn and roasted asparagus. oh, and something delicious and sweet - lime coconut cake?

    4. What do you think Kalyn should be sure to do once she's retired?

    Write a cookbook! Seriously. ;) Happy Birthday, Kalyn!

  8. Congratulations! How life has changed since we started blogging, you started a couple of months before me but I think we both have improved our lives incredibly! I am very happy you started blogging because in this way I met you and we became friends! big hug!

  9. Happy Blog Bday Kalyn!!! I loved hearing how your life has changed because of your blog. It's crazy how things turn out sometimes, and how something so (seemingly) small can have a huge impact. You are so lucky to have had a wonderful career as a teacher and now a new career based on your other interests. Many people never find their 'passion,' and it sounds like you've found two. Here are my answers:

    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    This is an interesting question! I am STILL a graduate student, although instead of being a 1st year trying to pick a lab, I'm now a 5th year trying to graduate! I've married my college sweetheart, which has made our relationship even stronger than I thought it could be. I am finally starting to feel like an adult (sometimes), and 4 years ago I never felt that way. I definitely do a LOT more cooking now too!

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I think you know my story, but I found your blog through a Google search for "how to cook asparagus"! I soon discovered your tips on herbs, and your wonderful recipes. I think this was almost 2 years ago, and I've been frequenting your blog ever since. Your blog introduced me to cooking blogs, which was the driving force behind my strong interest in cooking.

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Hmmm that's a tough one! I think I would say Chinese food since I've been craving it lately - maybe Orange Chicken - and some chocolate cheesecake for dessert! Not a healthy meal, but it's my birthday so I don't care! :)

    4. What do you think Kalyn should be sure to do once she's retired?

    I think she should travel!!! There are so many places in the world with amazing sites to see (and fabulous food to experience). Being retired gives you the freedom to come and go as you like.

  10. Congratulations, and happy birthday!

    Lots of changes in the last four years: changed to freelance work status, had a baby, moved. Life is good!

    I found you in 2006 when searching for recipes, have been reading ever since.

    For my birthday, I want a Maine lobster dinner with all the fixings.

    I hope you enjoy retirement! Keep blogging and take time to do things that make you happy.

  11. happy 4-year bday!

    1) four years ago? i was in high school; hadn't had a real first boyfriend and definitely didn't think that i was the type to like to cook or bake.
    2) i don't recall how i found the blog, but i'm sure i was captivated by your photos and recipes and just had to subscribe to you :)
    3) if today were my birthday, i'd like vegetarian steamed dumplings, made by my mother.
    4) kalyn should cook and look into getting a cookbook published! :)

  12. Happy Blogiversary!!!

    1. I'm living in Alabama and loving it!

    2. Found the blog...not sure how. When Terry (my fiance) first got diagnosed as having Diabeates, he was told to go on the SouthBeach diet...I found her blog by serching the internet for South Beach recipes. We've since abandoned the diet as too difficult to maintain but I still love reading her blog!

    3. If today was my birthday I wouldn't want to cook - I definatly would want to go out to eat. And I'd want my favorite...Barbeque!

    4. When Kalyn retires...she should work on her garden, relax and maybe write a cookbook!

  13. Congrats Kalyn! Love your blog and love you! I appreciate your friendship and never ending help!! You are the best!

    I am married now and own a house. That is a big change:)

    You were my neighbor! I had so much fun living next door to you! You taught me all about the blogging world and shared your fabulous garden produce. I miss those days. I need to come by to see the new house!

    I would choose homemade gnocchi with pesto, caprese salad, and gelato!

    I think you should RELAX! Go on a fun trip and enjoy your new house...and maybe host a dinner party so we can catch up..ha!

    Again, I just adore you and your blog! Cheers to you!

  14. Happy blog-birthday, Kalyn! What an amazing milestone. :)

    > 1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?<
    We were lucky enough to spend three years in Seattle and meet some wonderful people, but about three years ago were were even luckier to be able to move back to San Francisco -- our home. Lots of other little differences, but that's the big one!

    >2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?<
    Gosh, it's been so long, I don't even remember! I didn't really start reading food-blogs (other than the ones written by friends) until we started our own, so I guess July '06. And I am guessing I first found you through BlogHer, but that's just a guess.

    >3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?<
    Well, it's definitely not South Beach approved, but: Fried chicken, potato salad, and a custard cream pie (coconut or black-bottom).

    >4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?<
    Come visit San Francisco more often!! :)

  15. 1.My life is different in that I am now retired and I've adopted a very funny dog - welcome to retirement, Kalyn!

    2.I found your blog through facebook, although I have heard of you from other bloggers before.

    3.If today was my birthday, I'd want something My Beloved prepared as a surprise for me.

    4.Based on my long experience (of just one year), I'd say spend the first bit of time indulging in just what you want to do. Take "should" out of your vocabularly and don't wear a watch unless you need to get to an appointment. Then, when that becomes too slow, think about what you can add to your community now that you have more time, and go do that, but don't lose the leisure to sit and think and nap and laugh.

    Happy birthday to Kalyn's Kitchen and Happy retirement to you! By the way, my fourth grade teacher made a huge difference in my life in all kinds of ways. Mrs. Vohs - I've never forgotten her. I'm sure you have made a similar difference in your students' lives. I wrote today about another teacher I loved, too, if you'd care to read it:

  16. Congrats Kalyn!!

    4 years ago: Finishing up my last year of teaching (like you!!!) My life is full of freedom now. Love being able to do what I want, when I want.

    Yours was one of the first blogs I found. Not sure how. It might have been when I was doing South Beach diet. I've been reading for a couple of years now.

    My bday menu: Spaghetti Carbonara, a really great salad, cheesecake, cannoli & pinot noir. All horribly evil things that I avoid like the plague (except the wine & salad, of course).

    What should your next move be in retirement: A cookbook!!!

    Best of luck w/ your next year. I can only imagine that Kalyn's Kitchen is going to get even better :)

  17. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?
    I hope my cooking is better. I try new things with a bit more confidence. I'm less intimidated perhaps.
    How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?
    I think you were one of the first ones. I just googled cooking blogs. I didn't leave a comment for months and months. Talk about intimidated.
    If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?
    Roasted cauliflower!
    What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?

  18. Happy blog birthday and congratulations on your retirement!

    1. My daughter left for college, my son started high school and my husband was out of the country on business. (I consoled myself by eating A LOT OF BAD FOOD!)

    2. I don't really remember how I found your blog but I suspect I was searching the internet for help for my bad food addiction.

    3. Cajun shrimp fettuccine.

    4. Do whatever you want and best wishes to you.

  19. Kalyn!!!! (That's four exclamation points for four terrific years.) That's so exciting, and congratulations.

    My answers:
    1. Four years ago I hadn't even left DC yet, so I was still a Teamster, living in my sweet apartment with a miraculous view, and not even beginning to think about blogging.

    2. I can't remember exactly how I found you, but I know it wasn't long after I started the blog. I'm pretty sure I stumbled across someone else's Weekend Herb Blogging post, which led me back to you, of course, and then I started participating in that and the rest is history!

    3. Definitely champagne. And maybe some really good fried chicken. ;-)

    4. I like the suggestion that you not set an alarm clock. And the traveling suggestion (my house is always open to you!). And if you write a cookbook, I will most definitely buy it.

  20. This is even more fun than I had hoped it would be. It sounds like there are lots of people whose lives change a lot in four years. I love noticing that there are quite a few comments here from people I've met in person, wonderful friends I would have never known if it wasn't for blogging. Also there are a some of you I'll definitely meet someday (Ilva, you know that you're one of those!)

    As for what I'll do when I'm retired, traveling is big on the list. I'm hoping to go all over the U.S. and the world, meeting some of the amazing people I know online and sharing a meal in their kitchens, limited only by my traveling budget, we'll see how that goes. I haven't given any serious thought to writing a cookbook, but thanks for the votes of confidence! Of course I might consider the right offer, but truthfully I like the immediacy of blogging quite a bit. I do have some plans for changes to the blog, and maybe a sister blog that complements this one.

    Hugs to you all. I'm planning to stick around for quite a while!

  21. 1. I'm retired and have much more time for cooking. Yeah!
    2.Several years ago I went on the South Beach Diet and was looking for recipes so probably found your blog through one of my searches.
    3. I'd eat anything as long as my husband and two children (living in another state) were there to eat it with me. Though cassoulet has been on my mind lately...
    4. Go for walks in the SLC area. Lots of lovely places to go.

  22. 1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?
    Four years ago my youngest was leaving the nest. Since then I have found myself more and enjoy the peace and tranquility of living alone.
    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?
    I found the blog when I joined Twitter. I had found foodaphillia and you were listed on their site.
    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?
    Most likely surf and turf and a good greek salad.
    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?
    Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!! Lucky you!!

  23. 1. Writing a food blog from abroad. :)
    2. Through BlogHer, I think, just over a year ago
    3. Fresh cool soba, Wagyu beef, sushi, plum sorbet or (to step out of the Japanese thread) creme brulee
    4. Continue blogging...maybe from some nice tropical or Mediterranean spot.
    Happy 4th, Kalyn!

  24. Happy Anniversary!

    Let's see:
    #1 I found out I had high BP & cholesterol for the first time. But now, I have both under control, in many ways due to your blog.

    #2 a chance conversation with a customer led me to check out your blog for South Beach recipes. My Doc had suggested the diet and I was floundering. Now I eat right, eat wonderful food, tasty & interesting food without a lot of wierd ingredients (OK--I've added Agave, white WW flour, Spike etc to my pantry!).

    #3 I'd like to have lobster, green salad with oranges & avocado, broccoli & cauliflower and the perfect scoop of VERY vanilla ice cream.

    #retirement? I just saw an ad on TV that talked about sunrises...I think you should enjoy more sunrises and sunsets..this would be bliss for my life!

  25. Happy, happy blogiversary Kalyn! You're an inspiration, I hope my little blog is still plodding along a few years from now!

    1. I moved from Los Angeles to a small city in Oregon, I worked in pharmaceuticals and now I'm a social worker, and I'm married!!

    2. I can't remember how I first came across your blog, but it was definitely one of the first I ever subscribed to.

    3. Mmm... sushi.

    4. I love everyone else's ideas: travel, write a cookbook, and keep blogging!

  26. Happy Birthday to Kalyn's Kitchen! Kalyn- I continue to enjoy your friendly voice and the fresh ingredients and recipes you share here."Kalyn's Kitchen" has such a neat layout and informative links- here's wishing you many happy years of food and blogging and great new opportunities.

    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?I now have a much better idea of what I want to do with my life. I took a chance and went back to school for a different track and I am honestly so happy about it.

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?Gosh- I just can't remember- it has been so long! I do know that it was one of the first blogs I started reading regularly.

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?I'd love a big brunch. And today is almost my birthday...I turn 30 in 2 days :)

    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?I can't decide between 2 suggestions so I will share them both: (a)Go spend weekends in different places and write about the local up with local food bloggers in these places too, (b) Volunteer to teach cooking classes to get others in the community to love home-cooked food.

  27. Happy Blog Birthday!

    1. I'm blogging from New Mexico instead of Cape Cod.

    2. I've been reading your blog since October 2005 when I discovered food blogging. You have been an inspiration to me ever since.

    3. Enchiladas and margaritas.

    4. Meet me in Venice, CA for enchiladas and margaritas, of course!


  28. Congratulations on four wonderful years, Kalyn!

    1. My life is so dramatically different than it was four years ago, so it's hard to name one way it's changed ... but I guess one big change was shifting my career goals. Four years ago, I was deeply entrenched in being a newspaper journalist. Today, although I still write for newspapers, much of my work involves writing content for online. And my goal has changed from being the top editor of a newspaper to being a successful writer with work in all forms (magazines, books, online, etc).
    2. I've been reading for about three and a half years. I am not entirely sure how I found Kalyn's Kitchen, but I was instantly smitten with your blog and have visited often since, though I don't comment as often as I should.
    3. Sushi! Sushi! Sushi!
    4. Kalyn should be sure to come back to the east coast and have a very fun girl's lunch date with Cate @ Sweetnicks, Maris @ In Good Taste, Lydia @ The Perfect Pantry, Nika @ Nika's Culinaria and me!

  29. Warmest congratulations Kalyn. Happy 4th!

    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    Funny enough, April through around August 2005 was the worst time in my life for many reasons, so I think the biggest difference would be that I'm happy!

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I found you officially last July when I made your mustard mint parsley sauce for my broiled salmon, but I had seen your link on many a blogroll in months preceding that.

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Lots and lots of various Thai dishes and a huge platter of sushi

    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?

    I agree with some of the other comments here - publish a cookbook! I also liked the "not set an alarm clock anymore" suggestion. Have a grand time. :)

  30. 1. I'm married! Just celebrated my first year anniversary. Four years ago I was single and had not me my husband yet.
    2. Just a few weeks ago. I need to lose some weight for many reasons. My mom lost over 30 pounds a couple of years ago on SB, and I decided to try it too. I found this site, and it has been so helpful making it through Phase I (just a few days to go).
    3. Birthday is a day to have a little "cheat." I would have some banana creme brulee.
    4. Keep blogging, travel, enjoy the day outside (during the day).

    Happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful blog!

  31. Happy Bloggy Birthday! What a fun way to celebrate... here are my answers:

    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    I moved from Atlanta to my hometown in Central NY--so big, big changes!

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I found KK thru other blog links; have been reading on-and-off for about 3 years now.

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Dinner @ Japanese Hibachi Restaurant with my husband. Whatever they cook is fine with me!

    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?

    Write a cookbook!

  32. Happy blog birthday! Yours was one of the first blogs I discovered, because you were kind enough to leave one of the first non-family non-friend comments on my blog. I've been a loyal reader ever since, and have watched your blog get better and better each year. You've set the bar high.

    1. Life is completely different in some ways: I live year-round in a log house in the woods (quite a change for a city girl); I'm a blogger; I founded a small nonprofit organization; I'm trying to learn to love cauliflower; my hair is more grey than brown now.

    2. I found your blog because you found me. I'm forever grateful.

    3. If it were my birthday, I'd want a Chinese banquet -- in China.

    4. When you retire, I hope you'll relax with morning coffee, read all the books you want to read, go to movies and dinner with friends, and travel to your heart's content. Most important, though, is to have fun: you've earned it.

  33. Happy Blog Birthday!

    This is my first comment, but I just want to thank you for starting this food blog! I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and so South Beach was recommended to me by my doc, and although I've tried the diet before, I've never been able to suceed. I found this website and now a month later, 10 lbs, and lots of yummy recipes under my belt, I feel like I have a handle on my PCOS and am on my way. I would never have been able to plan my meals ahead and suceed without the help of your blog. Thanks so much!!!

  34. 1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    This one's easy for me, because my daughter's 4th birthday is in two days. In 4 years, I've gone from a worried, over worked, pregnant graduate student to a happy, healthy stay at home mom of two crazy kids. Oh, and I lost 100 pounds since then, thanks to South Beach and exercise!

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I found the blog through Google, while I was looking for new South Beach recipes. I've been reading for almost a year now and try nearly every recipe, especially the ones for chicken or the great Costco port chops.

    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Something with bleu cheese.

    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?
    Anything you've always wanted to do, but couldn't find the time. Write a book, knit a sweater, plant a garden, travel with friends, take a class in something about which you've always been curious.

  35. Happy Birthday!

    Let's see:
    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?
    I added a set of twins to the family.

    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?
    I googled your name and this blog came up. I've been reading since and I believe that was 3 1/2 years ago.
    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?
    Chicken Paprikash with homemade dumplings.
    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?
    Anything you want!

  36. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I found your blog today and it is amazing. My fiance and I are on day 3 of phase one and I was in need of some creative recipes. My fiance can't eat shellfish and doesn't like salmon so the recipes in the book are somewhat limited. Your blog is such a find! I will definitely be back.

  37. Happy Birthday, Kalyn!!!

    Four years is impressive! I have enjoyed your blog for the last year - give or take. And, I still keep coming back for more.

    Thank you for everything you have shared with us!!


    ~ Paula

  38. After celebrating my first blog birthday a few months ago, the most precious gift I could think of in the world of blogging is TIME. Wishing you many, many more delightful days, but also many mornings without worrying about the alarm going off and charging off to work. The few mornings I've had like that are magical - and that's my wish for you! Happy Blog Birthday!

  39. my life is totally different, i'm married to the best person i've ever met, moved from cali to az, my son is grown so much (now 6). im happier than i've ever been!

    ive been reading a whole 2 days! found it on google searching for a tzatziki recipe.

    i would want sushi, lot of it. and banana cream pie for dessert!

    you should do whatever your heart desires! every day!

  40. wow, your site is wonderful!
    i will enjoy reading it!
    XOXO Diet Diva!

    (Sorry to edit, but I can't allow people to leave links like that in comments or I'll be overwhelmed with that kind of comment.

  41. Happy Blogiverary! and Happy retirement!!

  42. I eat a lot cleaner and healthier than 4 years ago.

    I came across your blog from googling for a recipe and linked me to your blog. It's been about a year since I've been reading your blog.

    I would like to have grilled salmon, grain side dish, roasted vegetables.

    Kalyn should continue blogging. Go to Paris or Italy and learn how to cook well...then blog and share. That is probably what I would like to do when I retire.

  43. I am having so much fun reading the comments as I publish them! Lots of fun retirement ideas too. Thanks everyone for taking time to play along.

  44. Can't believe it's four years.

    1. It's weird but people know who I am for my blog not my published writing.

    2. I found you as a refuge in Weekend Herb Blogging during the craze of weekend cat and dog blogging. remember those crazy days? So I've been reading from nearly the beginning.

    3. White peaches and prosecco.

    4. Come visit Australian food bloggers. If you can make MArch 2010 maybe you could join the food blogger conference we are trying to plan as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Always welcome to stay as long as you don't mind small dogs.

  45. Congratulations, Kalyn! I'm up for playing along. :)

    1. In the past four years I've gotten a promotion, gotten married, quit that job, moved to another state, and started a food blog.
    2. I have been reading your blog for about a year. I started noticing that your recipes kept coming up again and again when I was bookmarking recipes I like and added it to my feed reader.
    3. Not sure, but I would want to go to my favorite local restaurant and get something seasonal-- preferable involving morels or ramps.
    4. Travel! You have no restrictions on your time!

  46. Happy Blog Birthday Kalyn!

    1) I think as I'm growing older, I'm feeling more sure of myself.
    2) Probably through a Weekend Herb Blogging post on someone else's blog. At least 3 years.
    3) Chocolate
    4) You have to definitely come visit Australia! :)

  47. 1. I took a nap almost every day.

    2. My smart, talented sister told me about it.

    3. Big thick frosted sugar cookies that are soft and chewy in the middle.

    4. Visit California more often.

    Congrats on turning four. Amazing. I love you.

  48. Happy Birthday Kalyn!

    I think you could help new teachers, like me who got discouraged. and quit. (a blog?) : )

    You have so inspired me, not just by your cooking, but the overall tone of your blog. Thank you!

  49. Four years ago, eh? After I'd decided to quit teaching--English, high school and middle school--after a disastrous year under the thumb of a tyrannical principal, I was pursuing a new dream: I wanted to be a book editor living in NYC.

    I was just finishing my first year of grad school four years ago, and two weeks from taking a trip that would forever change the course of my life. (I flew 4000 miles to meet a friend I'd met through Bookcrossing, who I afterward couldn't imagine living without and who I married in Dec 2007 and move to BC with shortly thereafter.)

    As to what you should do post-retirement (congrats, by the way!)... never, ever be bored. I encourage local travel. I've always been amazed at how many fun things are happening within an hour of anyplace I've lived. Do you have volunteering on your list of things to do?

    I don't know what social facilities you have in your area, but if you were here, I might be asking you to volunteer with a kind of occupational rehab through our brain injury society--so many people with brain injuries can't handle making even boxed mac & cheese anymore. One of our clients said she's scorched every pot and pan in her kitchen since her accident. (Don't know what you know about brain injury--highly recommend these books for further reading if you're interested: &

  50. Happy Blogiversary!

    1. I'm in a better job and am in a healthier frame of mind than 4 years ago.
    2. I found your awesome blog through another site earlier this month.
    3. For my birthday, I'd probably opt for Chinese or Thai cuisine.
    4. Maybe publish a cookbook of all the recipes from your blog - but definitely keep the blog rolling!!!! Also enjoy retirement, whatever you decide to do.

  51. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago? I read online instead of paper (still buy newspaper subscription and magazine subscriptions, but most of my reading time is via the internet).

    How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading? I believe I googled for South Beach Diet recipes or meals. Kept on reading because the content is enjoyable: the friendly tone, the pictures, the step-by-step instructions and the links to products I might want to try.

    I suppose I've been reading over a year but less than one year?
    This is one of the few food blogs I forward to recipe collectors.

    If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu? Migas Enchiladas with Chipotle sauce from Trudy's Austin TX
    Bloody Mary, also at Trudy's (very flavorful and they are generous with the garnishment)
    My Mom's cheesecake with blueberry topping

    What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired? Let us know how it is, the good and the bad and any warnings for those of us contemplating it too.


  52. Happy Birthday! Love your blog and have tried many of your recipes.
    4 years ago we lived in AZ, now we live in KS. We also only had three boys, now we four!
    Found your blog most likely through Anna at Cookie Madness.
    Dinner--hmmm, almost anything I didn't have to make myself!
    Once you've retired from teaching, definitely get in to the food world more and don't leave us! ;)

  53. Happy Birthday Kalyn!

    1. I am 55 pounds lighter and much healthier thanks to South Beach Diet.

    2. I found your blog thru a South Beach Yahoo group

    3. A beautiful steak and King Crab Legs, baked sweet potatoe and baby portabello mushrooms

    4. Go on a Panama Canal Cruise! We did one for our 30th wedding anniversary and it was the best 2 weeks!

  54. Happy birthday!

    What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago? We bought a house three years ago so now my life is filled with all those "home-owner" things including gardening which I love.

    How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading? I do not remember how long I've been reading, but I remember Laura Black and Robin Frodge talking about it which is why I looked it up in the first place. Maybe three years?

    If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu? I am silly. My favorite bday dinner is what I would always ask my mom for: chicken divan casserole and a cake from Mrs. Backer's.

    What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired? Keep on enjoying life, traveling, writing, reading....and be proud of your 30 years in the classroom - that is a huge accomplishment that has touched thousands of lives.

  55. Hi Kalyn,

    Happy Birthday and nice to meet you!


  56. Happy Blog Birthday! Don't remember how I found your blog but I'm glad I did. I love it. Keep up the great work here.


  57. Happy Blog Birthday!

    1. Four years ago, I was 25lbs heavier and not too happy with my life. Today I'm an avid runner and sports fanatic, and I have a great group of friends.

    2. I've been reading your blog for a few years now... I think I linked to it... possibly from Cookie Madness.

    3. Sweet potato fries, your baked chicken stuffed with pesto and cheese, and my mom's strawberry shortcake.

    4. Definitely travel. You HAVE to see how other cultures do food. I know it's changed the way I cook. And work out in your garden. I bet you could grow some decent-sized vegetables and win some contests! Oh, and it seems you like taking pictures.. how about getting into food photography? Wouldn't it be neat to see your picture (of your recipe) on the cover of Good Housekeeping?!

    Congrats again! -Rhapsody

  58. First, Happy Birthday! And thanks very much for your blog. It's been very helpful to me. And now to your questions:

    1. Four years ago, I wasn't diabetic; now I am, but with better blood sugar and lipid scores than I've ever had in my life (to my knowledge).

    2. I found this blog, oh, about two years ago, while searching for South Beach recipes!

    3. Strawberry cake made with, among other things, coconut flour, coconut milk, real strawberries (heck, throw in some raspberries, too!), and sweetened with some stevia and a little honey.

    4. Uh, don't. Retire, I mean. At least not from blogging. :)

    I eat a mostly paleo diet, which of course tends to be low glycemic. Your blog has given me lots of food ideas, and so it's helped to keep life interesting these last couple of years. Thanks very much!

  59. 1- I'm happier than I was 4 years ago. With age comes wisdom. Oh, and acceptance of the things we can't change.

    2- I can't remember who's blog led me to yours, but when I enjoy someone's blog I'll check out the blogs that they follow. I check yours daily, tried some of your recipes & even checked out some of the blogs you follow.

    3- For my birthday dinner I would want a great grilled steak, grilled veggies, light spring(ish) salad. No cake please, just homemade ice cream with fresh fruit. (Cuz I would have given myself the ice-cream maker of my dreams for my bd!)

    4- Kalyn should do whatever makes Kalyn happy when she retires. She should also keep up her recipe blog, because it makes Val happy too!

    HAPPY B-DAY!!!!!

  60. Hi everyone,
    Very busy day cooking and taking photos today, but I'm enjoying all the comments as I publish them. Since a couple of people have mentioned it, just thought I'd clarify that I am not retiring from blogging, just from my teaching job. In fact, I'll probably be blogging even more when I don't have to teach school all day (ya think?)!

  61. Happy happy birthday and the selfish side of me wishes you many many more!!

    1) Taking care of my Type 2 Diabetes is now just continuing good habits instead of a constant deliberate battle.

    2) Several years ago via google I was hunting hard for some easy way to convert from 95% high fat drive through eating to an at home diet with at least 50% veges. (not to be vegetarian but to correct a deep fried meat only pattern)

    3) I hate my own birthdays but love celebrating others so you get to pick!

    4) What ever she wants :) but I highly recommend asking "If I died tomorrow I would regret not . . ." If there are any answers - go for em! Even if you hate the thing, you will have tried it. My own list grows longer with the more things I try :) It's very fun.

  62. Here's to four fabulous years! Congratulations, and thank you for all the recipes and more. All the best to you (and the blog) as you enter the next phase . . .

  63. Hi Kalyn...

    My mom just died about two weeks for the first time in my life I am without a mom on Mother's Day...from the first card I ever made her to the giant floral bouquets and extravagant gifts most lately...I will have no mom to give a gift to this Mother's that is how my life is unique...

    I found your blog quite accidentally when I stopped teaching...I taught 2nd grade for 24.61 years...and stopped a few years ago...

    You will love your new will organize your house and lunch with your friends and have time to read and cook and will have the opportunity to just sit and stare out the window for an hour if you want enjoy...I love every minute...

  64. Patty, my own mom died in 1998, so I know how that feels, and I'm very sorry for your loss. It will get better, but I know this Mother's day will be a hard day for you.

    Absolutely can not wait to be retired. Lunch with friends sounds like heaven right now.

  65. Happy, Happy Blog Day, Kalyn, albeit belated as I'm just seeing this in my reader.

    1. How has my life changed in the last 4 years? While it's not exactly turned 180-degrees, my life has become richer due to being a food blogger, more so because I'm proud to call people like you friend.

    2. I think you left a comment on my blog, then I went to your site, the rest is history! :)

    3. Hmmm... grilled oysters, grilled fresh vegetables and home made ice cream. Wait! That's what we're having tonight!

    4. I think you should come out here and cook with Simona and me for at least a week. After that, I just know that whatever you do will be the right thing for you.

  66. 1. Healthy, happy. I'm a dogmom & an aunt now. 4 years ago I was unhappy with my spiritual path, now I am finding my way and much happier. No more blood sugar spikes & crashes. Today I'm wearing shorts that are the size I wore in junior high! Life is good, 4 years ago it just was.

    2. March, 2008. Found the taco salad recipe and fell in love! I had been on SB for 3 weeks and didn't know how I was going to do it. So taco salad made my day!

    3. "tea" the whole shebang. Probably the one thing I haven't been able to find a good replacement for

    4. Travel, enjoy life. We'll understand if you retire from blogging too, but you could re-post stuff & I'd be happy!

    Thank you for all that you have done for us!!

  67. Happy Belated Birthday, Kalyn. I am very glad your life took the turn it did four years ago. Here are my answers:

    1) My oldest son is graduating from high school next month and will be going off to college, so my life is in the process of changing quite a bit. I am also panicked about how we will pay for it, since our invested college savings is now pretty worthless.

    2) I found your blog while looking for more interesting SBD recipes. My husband needed to lose weight and I needed to eat healthier.

    3) On my next birthday, I would like an authentic Italian Italy.

    4)Do whatever you want during your retirement. That's what retirement is all about.

  68. Happy Birthday - so many good recipes

    1)- my life has changed more than I can say over 4 years but 2) it is only almost 2 years that I have been reading your blog - I discovered it very soon after I started blogging. 3) Chocolate cake is a must for birthdays in my life. 4) when you retire the one thing I think you should make sure of is some time to relax - I imagine you will be a busy 'retiree' like my mum who seems even busier now than when she was working - and if you haven't been to Australia I would highly recommend it!

  69. Happy Blog Birthdayyyyyyyyy!!!

    - What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?

    Not so much except for cooking which is improving day after day thanks to all blogs I meet!

    - How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?

    I came along for WHB, one of my favorite event but can't remember which blog led me to.

    - If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?

    Fish, spicey bread and a wonderful fresh raspberries dessert, and above all sparkling wine!

    - What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?

    Who knows? She is so active and eclectic she might do more than she has done by now! For sure she will be happy she had a great time!

  70. Oh happy, happy blog birthday!

    What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?
    I'm fitter as I have gone back to gym - with enthusiasm! Who knew...! Oh yes, and I will soon be living in my own house again - we are buying after 9 years of renting in London.

    How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?
    Can't rememebr any more - probably via other blogs I was reading at the time. Have been reading for at least 3 of the 4 years :)

    If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?
    A plate of Spanish acorn-fed ham to start; an excellent grilled salmon caesar salad for mains; and a strawberry pavlova with heavily brandied cream for dessert.

    What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?
    Blog! And travel - we have a BIG spare bedroom in our new house in London... :)

  71. Still really enjoying reading these answers as they come in. It's fun finding out a bit more about who's reading. And of course, I'm taking notes of people to have lunch with and/or visit when I'm retired!

  72. Happy Birthday!!! Wishing you all the best.
    If it was my birthday, oh how i wish it was already haha. I'd include in the menu all my favorites: mozzarella sticks, chicken parmigiana, and some really moist, delicious, over-the-top chocolate cake, yum!!!

  73. Happy Birthday! My life is much the same, except for the blog and several friends on the Internet. I think I found your blog through WHB mentions. I would like lots of crisp salads and cheesecake. Travel, meet people (and sample different foods) from around the world if you have the interest - I'd like to do that now but am nowhere near retiring.

  74. Hi Kalyn!
    Happy Blog Birthday! I've enjoyed reading your blog.

    #1. Four years ago, I had a lot more spare time. Now, I work full time for my husbands company and work hard to try and maintain daily posts on our blog. My son is now in high school and in several activities,that he stills needs driven to and from.

    #2 I think I found your blog through Cookie Madness just about a year ago. Have been a subscriber ever since!

    #3 Champagne and seafood!

    #4 Travel, cook, and blog.

  75. Happy Belated Birthday! What a fun idea!

    Four years baby was almost 6 months old. I was living in a tiny apartment in NY and had no idea what blogging even was!

    I found your blog three years ago. I can't for the life of me remember how. But I was hooked--even more so when I found out you were from Utah. :)

    If today was my birthday, I'd want a juicy hamburger, thick fries, and a shake.

    You should take it easy and enjoy more gardening when you retire. Thirty years is such a great accomplishment. Congrats on your retirement. I hope the last few weeks of school go well.

  76. Late again, but I have an excuse this time as I've just finished moving home and only just connected back on the web.

    1. What's one way your life is different than it was four years ago?Incomparable. Exactly four years ago I'd just finished my first ever work experience in a local café. Now I'm working in the kitchens of Spain's Chef of the Year.
    2. How did you find the blog and how long have you been reading?I've been reading this blog since I started blogging myself in 2006 and you were one of the very first people to offer me help and support.
    3. If today was your birthday, what would you want on the menu?Sashimi with a saki, wild mushroom and truffle risotto with a Telmo Rodríguez and Catalan chocolate, olive oil & Maldon salt dessert with a Pedro Ximénez. And my best friends at the table.
    4. What should Kalyn be sure to do once she's retired?Keep on cooking, eating and blogging.

  77. I can't believe I missed this post Kalyn! Anyway many happy returns for a belated blog day!

    My life is very different than 4 years ago as I no longer have a terrible two year old toddler, and I'm eating better for it! haha

    I think you found me and that's how I found the lovely you!

    Garlic prawns/shrimp and some baguette with a glass of Chardonnay would be just great on my birthday.

    I think Kalyn better come visit me in NZ when she is retired ;-) if only for a big fat bear hug! xxx


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