A Great Big Thank You Being Sent To Gderr In Ga. From Nicole In The Natural State - Soup Loving Nicole Blog at Allrecipes.com - 192590

Soup Loving Nicole

A great big thank you being sent to gderr in GA. from Nicole in the Natural State 
Aug. 28, 2010 7:16 pm 
Updated: Dec. 29, 2010 4:52 am
Here I sit writing my very first blog and I owe it all to the very generous gderr who made it all possible. Thank you so much for blessing me with the opportunity to be a bigger part of a place that has meant a great deal to me. I used this site for years before discovering the exchange and I enjoyed it then but it has been the interaction with the people from the exchange that has made me a better and more creative cook. Maybe it was seeing how everyone so very much loved to cook that not only did they look forward to it but that they actually tried to find things they could whip up that changed my attitude? Or, maybe it was seeing the big time beginners out there asking questions that I could actually answer? I am really not sure but what I do know is that we eat much better and with a lot more variety than we did even just two years ago. And, I can still stay that I do not absolutely LOVE to cook but I no longer see it as a chore. Don't get me wrong, I have cooked hearty homemade meals from day one of our marriage (13 years now) but not only did I hate it, I saw myself getting into a rut with no variety or creativity. I also had zero confidence in my ability to experiment and try new things and that has changed drastically over this past year. Allrecipes has been a very positive place for me and I have "met" many great people here along the way. Again, thank you very much Gary and Claire for your kindness in blessing me with this gift. And on that note, I want to end with a little funny of my first impression of Gary/gderr.
It has been too long now to remember the exact timing but I remember early on reading Gary's first blog. As I read it, well it touched me dearly however I am a pessimistic by nature and before I could even finish I was like, "Ohhhh....there is no Claire. This is a man using this story to "whew" all of the ladies. I am no fool." Hey, in my defense, gderr's avatar does look something straight out of the 70's or 80's and one that could have been an old prom picture. And, at this time, the newer more updated picture was not in his profile! The blogs however kept on coming and I saw his interaction on the exchange and I quickly dismissed any doubt I originally had. Then, the Christmas card exchange rolled around and I remember seeing a couple of familiar faces on my list which included Gary and Claire. I was excited! I live in the sticks outside this sleepy little town and have to rely on a P.O. Box in town and so I do not get my mail every day. I got home one night to see that hubby had beaten me home and had gone into town to get the mail. He had already sorted it out and there was a stack for me which included a few Christmas cards. I was instantly drawn to one due to the most beautiful handwriting I had ever seen. As I picked it up and looked at the return address...you guessed it...Gary and Claire. It immediately brought back my first original doubts and I had to giggle. No offense Gary but there was no way in Hell this was your writing. LOL! Yes, this perfect handwriting must be that of Claire's. I have followed their story and am sincerely grateful that it had the positive ending that it did and I am also sincerely grateful that I was able to be a part of it in a small way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you both so very much for being yourselves and touching so many lives including my own. You are both gems and I wish you the best in life. Again, thank you for this gift to me. I appreciate it dearly.
Soup Loving Nicole
Aug. 28, 2010 7:22 pm
Yay! She's BLUE and has started her blog! That just goes to show that she not only has improved her cooking skills, but she's pretty darn good at the Saturday Night Game! Thanks Gary, for making this happen! Thanks Nikki for being you!
Aug. 28, 2010 7:40 pm
Awwwwwwww! You made me tear up! And yes, Gary and Claire are very special people! Love the blue!
Aug. 28, 2010 7:41 pm
And what a BEAUTIFUL new pic of you!
Aug. 28, 2010 7:45 pm
Congrats Nicole!! I am also a very lucky reciever of Gary and Claires wonderful gift. They are sweethearts! Hopefullly you will better than me and write more than one blog.
Aug. 28, 2010 7:50 pm
YAY! Great tribute! Looking forward to watching you cook it up GIRL! Hugs! Sally
Aug. 28, 2010 7:52 pm
Wow, what a lovely and loving blog! It is always funny how we think of folks on here at first and then take the time to see how they Really are. Gary and Claire are awesome Peeps! Good way, Nicole, of saying Thank You.:)
Aug. 28, 2010 7:55 pm
So sweet, Nicole (Nikki). Yes, they are very dear people who definitely are in all of our hearts. So are you.
Aug. 28, 2010 7:56 pm
Ahhh - very nice. You deserve to be "blue" - keep on blogging - I want to hear about those hens of yours. With love. Baking Nana :)
Aug. 28, 2010 7:56 pm
Amazing how we make a family here...yes!
Aug. 28, 2010 8:27 pm
Thank you everyone! You are some of the great people I was referring to. Each and every one of you have touched me in your own way. I am thankful to be part of this "family". And Marianne, you just melted me into a big pile of goo thank you very much :)
Aug. 28, 2010 8:42 pm
SLN - I posted on your thread on the recipe exchange before I checked out your blog, so your congrats are on the RE. But just in case, congrats on being blue!
Aug. 28, 2010 9:17 pm
Really heartwarming blog Nicole. Thnaks for reminding me why I love this site so very much.
Aug. 28, 2010 9:40 pm
SLN, our table boasts a varied menu, too, since finding the RE. Good to see the blue star and you together at last.
Aug. 28, 2010 11:57 pm
I don't know whether to jump for joy for you, or to curse you for adding yet another MUST-READ blog to the ever-expanding list - LOL! Super stuff Nicole, and welcome to smurfdom and Blogville.
Aug. 29, 2010 3:09 am
Great tribute to Gary and Claire, no matter what they look like! I'm glad they inspire you with their story! Actually, they inspire many of us!
Aug. 29, 2010 5:06 am
Welcome Soup Loving! LOL I love your story and you know what I thought the same thing of Swiss Phil when I first came on! Poor Phil!
Aug. 29, 2010 5:44 am
SLN ♥ I'm so happy for you!! Thanks gderr! I love your story, seriously. That you don't LOVE cooking, but you DO love taking pictures of your cooking, and you are SOOOOO Good at it!! Bravo! Looking forward to your blog. Love this "family" on AR!!XOXOXOXO
Aug. 29, 2010 6:11 am
Thank you Magnolia! You always give good advice and I admire that.
Aug. 29, 2010 6:12 am
Thank you Jena and Hezzy! I have always enjoyed your contribution to the exchange as well.
Aug. 29, 2010 6:15 am
Thank you Swiss Phil! I now have a whole new respect for how much time and thought you put into your blogs.
Aug. 29, 2010 6:16 am
Thank you sueb and de'Montford! That is really too funny about Swiss Phil.
Aug. 29, 2010 6:21 am
Thank you LadySparkle! You've held a special place in my heart from day one. I still find myself thinking about those giant mushrooms you found this spring and it makes me smile. Thank you for understanding and accepting the fact that I do not LOVE to cook. SOme people have a hard time with that one but it's really rather simple :) I'm just glad I take more pleasure in it now than I ever have. Hugs to you
Aug. 29, 2010 6:40 am
Well Nicole I love to cook and more so I love to feed people...so if you like to eat and come this way be sure to let me know!
Aug. 29, 2010 7:52 am
What a beautiful tribute to a very special couple. Thanks for acknowledging gderr and his beloved. BTW You are one pretty young woman:)
Aug. 29, 2010 8:05 am
Ahhh, that was nice, my hubby thought the same thing at first about many of the relationship/health issues many people on AR/RE share. Thought they are guys looking for attention or whatever... Anyways, it is so nice of gderr to gift you the blue. Enjoy!
Aug. 29, 2010 8:51 am
YAY! You're blue! I love your story! gderr is so sweet and generous!
Aug. 29, 2010 8:59 am
Awe, thank you mauigirl...blushing here :)
Aug. 29, 2010 9:00 am
Thank you CookinAegentina and Brooke! He is very sweet and generous.
Aug. 29, 2010 9:42 am
Nice job Nicole and yes I agree the generosity showed by both Gary and Claire is very touching. So, are you going to give your blogs a theme of sorts? You are the soup queen afterall and can sure shed some insightful knowledge about some of the different soups you've made. And just so you know, I love to cook, always have......but there are days that nothing satisfies like a piece of toast with peanut butter for dinner. We all have our days.
Aug. 29, 2010 9:53 am
Nicole: I agree with you as well that you can't help but pick up some pointers along the way that will motivate all of us in trying some new things in cooking. I love to cook, but not always I considered it a chore as well at one time but that has since changed over the years once the self confidence kicks in. I love soup recipes as well, so keep sharing. I too have enjoyed reading Gary and Claire's blogs and am relieve that things have turned out well for them. It is very kind of you to have included them in your blog.....take care.
Aug. 29, 2010 9:58 am
Thank you Avon! To be honest I haven't given the blogs much thought yet. The whole thing really drug out as I am sure everyone is aware of and I was just at that point that I thought it wasn't going to happen and I just kind of had to let it go and dismiss it so that it didn't bring me down. I never got an email or anything so you can imgaine my surprise Friday evening when I logged in and saw the star. My first priority was getting my thank you written up. I am not a writer so it took most of the afternoon yesterday to get this together. Soup queen huh? You know with winter coming on, that might not be a bad idea. I'll give it some thought today. Thank you for stopping by and for being one of those great friends I've met along the way.
Aug. 29, 2010 10:06 am
Thank you Janet and I'm glad to see that I wasn't alone with the whole chore thing. A chore to me is something that must be done regardless if you feel like doing it or not. Like cleaning, laundry, etc., people have to eat (not optional) and so it felt like a chore. To clarify, my mom didn't let me in the kitchen all growing up so it was just kind of thrown on me when I got married. I had no clue what I was doing or even where to start and I can't help think that contributed to my "chore" attitude. Anyway, my Taste of Homes started my change in attitude but it was Allrecipes that made cooking more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. I will admit that I enjoy my meal planning more than the actual cooking itself but hey, it's a start :)
Aug. 29, 2010 10:57 am
congratulation, SLN on being blue. i, like you consider cooking a chore for the same reasons. i was raised by my grandma and she hardly ever cooked. we had frozen Swanson dinners most of the time, but if she did cook something i was barred from the kitchen. plus i have a very picky DH who dislikes most of what i cook. i love AL and the RE b/c i get good answers to my questions and find the courage to (sometimes) try new things. the pics help a lot and yours are wonderful! really looking forward to your blogs.
Aug. 29, 2010 1:18 pm
Thank you Hot Coco!
Aug. 29, 2010 1:59 pm
Great blog, Nicole! :)
Aug. 29, 2010 2:43 pm
Thank you Jammin! How did your daughters contest go with the wonderful video?
Aug. 29, 2010 4:25 pm
So happy you are blue! Thanks to gderr too!
Aug. 29, 2010 4:26 pm
Hey Nicole, so sweet of you to ask! They didn't win :( but she and her friend had so much fun, so I am proud of them! Looking forward to more of your blogs, how fun for you!!
Aug. 29, 2010 7:01 pm
SLN: How sweet of you to honor Gary and Claire with your first blog. They are such an integral part of the RE family. I can't wait to see more blogs from you. They'll be filled with those beautiful photos that you take. Maybe you'll inspire me to make more soup!
Aug. 29, 2010 7:19 pm
Congratulations SLN. I could not agree with you more, I consider Gary and Claire to be dear friends and they are both very special people. Thanks for honoring them in your blog.
Aug. 29, 2010 7:36 pm
Welcome to Smurfdom! Great blog!
Aug. 30, 2010 7:55 am
hi nikki! love ya gal...it did take awhile didn't it! our picture, claire and i, is from the middle 80's. i always liked that one. we have changed but not too much...you would certainly still reconize us together. she is still a knockout...she can't help it. she looks like grace kelly to me. about the christmas cards...yes, claire did all the writing. she had only been out of the shepherd center a short time and i wanted her to get more confident in her writing skills. she used to earn( donate her calligraphy skills at her school by addressing awards and such...and as a gift to her fellow teachers wedding invations or bar/bat mitzhahs(sp). we are a tight-knit group here at ar., i've enjoyed the many kind folks that expressed compassion in our time of need...it was an extremely rough time. i've always been truthful here and of course will do so in the future. ok nikki...grab that camera and make my mouth water...as usual! thank you for your nice sentiments! love the, derrs.
Aug. 30, 2010 8:28 am
I was like you SLN! I had no account, and just looked for recipe's for a long time. Then got an account, but for months never found the RE. It is AMAZING isn't it? Helped me SO much in my time of need.
Aug. 30, 2010 2:45 pm
Nicole, blue is definately your color girl!! I loved your blog and your tribute to Gary and Claire. They have been adopted by all of here on RE as our "special" family members! I look forward to your blog about soups as I am a soup lover too. I used to love to cook but now that I am by myself, it is not much fun but I will still be making home made soup especially with winter coming on. I am all ready beginning to crave some soup! I wish I had found you before I moved from Arkansas. Maybe we could have met somewhere when I went to visit my brother in Springdale! Love ya girl....Ginny
Aug. 30, 2010 3:17 pm
Great blog and another thanks to the Derrs! Yours will be a most welcome voice around here, Nikki!! Blog on!
Aug. 31, 2010 3:36 pm
Thanks again everyone! You guys are the BEST!
Aug. 31, 2010 9:22 pm
SLN - I hadn't had a chance to read anymore comments after I left my congrats. Wow, lots of great comments. But I am so with you on it being OK to not "loving to cook". I like to cook for the most part, and like buzzing through the blogs and the RE for recipes and lots of great kitchen tips! These people really know their stuff. I very rarely make technical cooking comments, if you know what I mean. Again, welcome!
Oct. 14, 2010 3:05 am
Dear Nicole: I enjoy looking at the recipes you have posted and when I check this site I get a moment of happiness when I see Souplovinnicole somehow attached. I don't have a great deal of time because of the nature and seriousness of my profession. I wanted to check out your blog. Nice pic but I kinda liked the one with you in the Superman getup. Take care and have a good day. nina
Nov. 3, 2010 7:55 pm
Nikki, Your blog resounded with me. I have been married 20 years and I only seriously started cooking in 2009. I became a member when I realized how this site was shaping me. Many times, after having a question answered, I was truly moved by how much I appreciated the AR folks for ACTUALLY caring about how my cooking went. My mother never liked cooking and stopped as soon as she could. So, no cozy memories here either, Nikki. I went from being overwhelmed by it and cooking sporadically to seeing it as an adventure. I enjoy it and my husband, Randy, says I am obsessed. We too eat much better. I ACTUALY made a roast tonight. Very simple compared to Mousaka I made and other cool stuff. And one of the absolutely coolest things is this. I no longer hang out in the cookie isle at the store or buy the latest goody i have not tried yet. Now, I breeze on by, thinking I can make that and it will taste better! Just LOVE that feeling. Your input is always great...see you on the exchange :) maureen
Nov. 19, 2010 5:30 pm
I loooooooooooooove your pics. That's all I wanted to say. Keep it up. Brooke (from Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies)
Dec. 29, 2010 4:52 am
Hi Nichole, I'm Renee from Michigan. I somehow got on your pitcher and thought it was a nichole I know, suprising, you two look alot alike. Anyhow, I wanted to let you know that gravy isn't hard to make, you just need practice. You take chicken drippings if you want chicken gravy, and use about half a cup, slowly add milk say half a cup, then add flour, slowly add the flour about tablespoon at a time till it thickens, if you don't want to use flour you could always use cornstarch. This works with any gravy. Just practice and you'll get it gal.Add your salt and pepper! Good Luck!
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Soup Loving Nicole

Home Town
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Living In
West Fork, Arkansas, USA

Member Since
Feb. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Quick & Easy

Gardening, Fishing

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About Me
Hello, my name is Nicole. I am 40 years old, have been married to my wonderful high school sweetheart for 15 years now. We don't have (or ever wanted) any children but we do live on 8 acres and have 3 dogs, a cat, 11 hens, 1 rooster, and a ton of deer that come down and feed that think they are part of the family too. I have to be honest and say that I do not LOVE cooking but I do cook every night and love browsing this site for new and interesting things. I have an acre pond and absolutely love fishing and that is where I spend most of my time in the summer. There is nothing like sipping on a cold Corona while waiting for a nice 8 pound catfish to grab your bait. When not fishing I'm typically in my garden, flowerbeds, or riding my dirtbike.
My favorite things to cook
Soups, Mexican, Italian, Asian, and grilling
My favorite family cooking traditions
I don't really have any so I have started my own. Allrecipes has taught me to "think outside the box". I love trying new and unusual things that I would have never dared or even thought of before discovering this place.
My cooking triumphs
When I got married, I honestly had 0% experinece in the kitchen. My mom was the kind that wanted the whole kitchen to herself so that nobody was in her way and I was only allowed in there to grab the plates, utensils, etc. to set the table. I really never thought about what I was going to cook until we got back from our honeymoon and then I was like, "uh oh!". Amazingly enough it all came pretty natural and I am happy to say that I have never ruined a meal forcing us to order take-out.
My cooking tragedies
GRAVY! I cannot make a decent gravy for the life of me so I've just given up altogether.
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