Friday, December 31, 2010

Things I have Learned as a Food Blooger on Foodbuzz! and Hanky Panks

 I started blogging out of my passion for baking and cooking, which coincided with seeing the movie Julie & Julia. Since I joined Foodbuzz in July 2010, I have had several revelations. The first and foremost thing I discovered was that there is such a wonderful, caring community on the other side of my computer screen.  Due to my naivete, I never knew that there were so many food bloggers. I want to thank all of my friends that have supported me, and offered suggestions.  At this point, I still feel like my blog is a WIP, Work In Progress.

The second revelation was that if you are a food blogger, you have to be a baker or chef/cook, writer, food stylist, photographer, and  marketing manager. Whew, that's a lot of hats to wear, and more to being a food blogger, than I first realized.  It's a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and made wonderful friends.

The third revelation I had was that I need to learn a whole lot more about photography in general, and food photography, in particular, since I knew nothing about photography, when I started blogging.. I am in awe of so many food bloggers pictures and cameras, Also,  I have to get a new camera.  Santa brought me a new food processor, so I have to get the camera.  I probably can't get a D-SLR yet, so I need suggestions for a good point and shoot camera.

In addition to the wonderful friends, there are so many wonderful and delicious recipes to try.  I have discovered the beautiful pomegranates, quinoa, the ease of making pie crust,  the many joys of pumpkin and squashes, the world of candy in baked goods, cupcakes, and so many more too numerous to mention.  So as the year ends, I'll give you the recipe for this family tradition, Hanky Panks.

What are Hanky Panks you ask? Well, they are an appetizer recipe handed down from my late mother-in-law.  Cocktail rye is topped  with a mixture of ground beef, italian sausage, spices. and  melted velveeta cheese and baked or microwaved.  This recipe has evolved over the years, as health concerns and  food preferences surfaced, and now my sons are making these, too.It isn't Christmas without them. 

The top row of the plate is made with the traditional ground beef, Italian sausage, and Velveeta cheese.  The bottom row is made with ground turkey, chicken sausage from Trader Joe's, and Velveeta cheese.  The beauty of this recipe is that the Hanky Panks can be made ahead of time, assembled, and put in freezer bags.  then when you want to use them, take as many as you want out of the freezer and microwave them or bake them.  Also, this recipe makes a lot, big enough for a crowd. these will be going a  neighborhood New Years Eve party.  I want t wish all of my Foodbuzz friends a very Happy New Year and Great 2011.

Hanky Panks
1lb of ground beef or turkey
1 lb. of bulk Italian sausage, turkey sausage, or chicken sausage
1lb. Velveeta cheese
1Tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 loaves coscktail party rye

1. Brown ground beef or ground turkey and sausage, and spices.
2. Drain meats; Add velveeta cheese cut in chunks and heat until cheese is melted.
3. Broil one side of party rye in oven till lightly brown.
4.Put meat and cheese mixture on rye breads.
5. At this point, you can put the rye breads on a cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour.  Remove from cookie sheet and put in freezer bag for future use. Take out as many as needed and microwave or heat in the oven, 350 degrees for about 10 min.  Enjoy


  1. Becky, I think you pretty much summed up all the job requirements! It's exhausting sometimes just thinking about it. I seen you grow so much in such a short time and that is no small task. It's been my pleasure to be able to watch it. That is the great thing, we get to learn new things every day. These look so yummy, I see why your family keeps asking for them.
    Happy New Year!

  2. it really did turn out to be more than any of us imagined! I have been partial to Canon's but I think any good make point and shoot, perhaps one with a macro setting so you can get in close. And if you have a camera store frequented by hobbiest, you never know you may be able to find an inexpensive dslr that was traded in.
    as for your hanky panks, any thing with Velvetta is ok with me!
    Have a happy and healthy new year!

  3. Happy New Year, Becky! I'm hoping it's not too cold for you.
    I've truly enjoyed reading your blog this year and always enjoy your writing and recipes. You really did sum up the job! I'm a newbie as well, and sometimes it all gets overwhelming, but then I realize it's OK to take a few days off and them start again. I also have been amazed at the amount of support and friendships that have come out of blogging! We do indeed have a wonderful community!

  4. Gina-Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support. I appreciate them so much.
    Happy New Year!

    Chef Dennis- Thank you for your camera tips. that was my plan to go to a camera store first. good idea about getting a used one.
    Happy New year!

    Kim- Thank you for kind words and support. I love reading about you and Liv and your wonderful recipes. Today it is going to be in the 50's and then the temps will fall to the 20"s overnight. go figure. If you live in Chicago land and don't like the weather, wait 5 min, and it will change.

    Happy New Year to you, Liv, and your family!

    Happy new year to you and Liv

  5. Happy New Year..Best wishes for 2011!!!:)

  6. Sandra- Happy New Year to you, too.

  7. Hanky panks look very delicious and healthy. I love the rye bread.
    All the best for 2011!

  8. Angie- Thank you for your comments.
    Happy 2011 to you and your family!

  9. Happy New Year! Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog. Blogging is a ton of work, but it's so much fun! If you are ever in St. Louis, drop me an email.

  10. Thanks for visiting my blog! I may be in the St. Louis area next week. I'll let you know.

    Have a great 2011!

  11. I have been very happy with my Canon point-and-shoot ( It has a viewfinder, and I use it in manual mode. It has a macro setting for close-ups. I just got a Joby Gorillapod tripod for Christmas and it makes a HUGE difference. 2010 has been a real learning experience in food photography for me...I still have a lot to learn! :)

    Happy New Year!

  12. Kath- Thanks for the camera tips. I'll check them out.

    Happy 2011!

  13. Happy New Year! You have pretty much summed up my feelings. It is a steep learning curve when you first start out. Thankfully there are wonderful people out there willing to share their knowledge and encourage you. I look forward to enjoying your blog through the year.

  14. Smile. I love the name of these eats...and I love how easy they sound to throw together. I know I've been learning so much over the past several months, and like you, I feel blessed by so many of the people I've met through blogging. You always bring me such joy with your kind and encouraging words...and your great recipes!

  15. Becky,
    I am also new to blogging and started in July last year. You are absolutely right t say that to be a food blogger, you have many hats to wear. However, I find it really rewarding when I see a comment left by a foodie friend and it inspired me to write better, and take better photos. I cannot agree with you more that we can make wonderful friends in the bloggers community and there are so many beautiful people out there who take time to leave kind comments on our blog. I look forward to read more of your wonderful recipes and be a part of your culinary journey!

  16. Felice- Thank you for your kind words. I do get encouraged by other foodie comments, and reading other blogs.

    Monet- Thank you for all of the support and encouragement that you have given to me. It means so much, and I love all of your recipes.

    Quay Po- I look forward to being part of your culinary journey, as well. Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration.
    Happy 2011.

  17. I'm with DEnnis that a Canon is probably my preferred point and shoot. Love the Hanky Panks! Mom made them for cocktail parties when I was growing up. She also did just shredded cheddar, dried onion, worcestershire and mayo ones. Now, we do what we call slices of happiness:

  18. As a fairly new blogger (six months and counting) I still need lots of practice at photography too! The blogging community is a great one, isn't it?

  19. Kate- I'll check out the Canons, too. Then, I'll have to make slices of happiness. So many recipes t try, so little time.

    Beth- Yes, the blogging community is a great one, and I never knew it existed, until I started blogging!

  20. Happy 2011 Becky! It's been fun getting to know you on here and watching both of us learn more about cooking and the blogging world. Looking forward to what this year has to offer.

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