Happy First Birthday!

Marla Meridith holding Cake

One Year Ago

I cannot believe it is my blog’s first birthday!!  Also my hubs 40th b’day today!  A whole year has gone by and I have learned and grown so much.  40 years of life experiences for Mr. Fresh, but that is another post.  I will never forget the first time I hit the Publish button Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (in the beginning of Summer none the less.)  I started this blog as a fun way to inspire and share creative, healthy recipes.

People kept asking me everywhere I went how I stay fit and what sort of food I ate.  They wanted to learn about the foods I feed my family.  We are not “take-out” types.  I make home cooked meals every chance I get.  Thankfully, I have many methods that keep me in the kitchen as little as possible.  I try to keep bellies fed and smiles on faces (sometimes that is not so easy with a 3 and 6 year old!)

Happy birthday girl with tiara and workout clothes

Fitness & Health

As you guys know I am really into fitness for myself and my family.  I encourage people to eat healthy, high energy foods that make us look and feel fabulous. The goal is to get our kids starting healthy habits early so they have a lifetime of good taste and great health!  Fitness for all.

Kids with dad on hike

Creativity & Being a Mom

When I first had my kids I felt trapped into the full time mom world.  I needed something more than laundry, cleaning and circumventing tantrums.  Now I feel liberated.  Being creative is a part of me that I cannot leave behind.  I thought I could, but I cannot.  I am a better mom & wife when I have my own thing going on.

I love challenges and I take them on with gusto.  Being a mom and launching into my full time blogging career have offered me countless rewards.  My whole family helps keep ticking.  My hubs is my behind the scenes technical genius.  My kids provide constant “reviews” of my cooking and all the love, hugs, kisses and distractions one gal could need.


My photos started on my iPhone.  Yesiree….they were blurry, not so styled and very amateur.  I come from  a professional graphic & textile design background.  I want and love things to look their best.  It took a few months for me to swap over to my DSLR, but of course the photos improved by leaps and bounds!

I learn loads each day through studying the best photographers and stylists the biz.  I take workshops and seminars when they are convenient and I have a few dollars at hand.  This weekend I will head to Boulder, CO to participate in the Food and Light Photography Workshop taught by Jen Yu – Use Real Butter Diane and Todd – White on Rice Couple and Helen Dujardin – Tartlette. Sometimes I have to practice patience with myself.  I expect to learn quickly and sometimes it takes some time for things to sink in.

Life is about challenges and how we over come then.  I jump in with both feet.

Collection of recipe photos

Writing & Recipe Development

Along with the photography & food styling comes the job  of writing about food.  Creating recipes that other folks will understand and love to eat.  When it comes to food, I have an innate sensibility for high-charged flavor combinations.  Yes, I would love to go to culinary school someday, but that is not happening any time soon!  I maintain a focus on balance, simplicity and healthy whole food ingredients.  When I keep my mission and angle, everything comes together quite simply.  I am reading the Dianne Jacob  book Will Write for Foodand Barbara Gibbs Ostmann’s book The Recipe Writer’s Handbook.  They are very helpful for any level of writer.

There is a lot to know and I HIGHLY respect those that do it right….the professionals in the biz.

Friends & Social Life

Prior to launching I did most of my e-mailing from my phone and hardly looked at my computer.  These days I not only have a vibrant “real time” social life around the OC, but I have loads of new friends that cross oceans, states and continents.  It is so fun to know that I can talk to anyone at anytime.  People that have similar interests and a passion for life!  From commenting back and forth on my blog, reading & commenting on other blogs alongside Twitter, Facebook & StumbleUpon……my days are kept very busy!!

Giving Back

How could I do a Birthday post and not give back to you my awesome friends and dedicated readers!  I have a great giveaway that awaits filled with all sorts of goodies I have talked about throughout the year.  Please stop my First Birthday Giveaway Page to enter to win a gift basket of goodies!

*This giveaway has now closed.  The winner is listed on the giveaway link above.  Check back soon for more fun stuff coming your way.*


Chocolate, Cookbooks, Oats, Rice, Apron

~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

45 thoughts on “Happy First Birthday!

  1. haha! such a anniversary celebration style! You and your blog rocks, Marla! Everything on your blog is beautiful…just feast for eyes always!
    Happy 1st anniversary and wish you many many more to come with all success!! 🙂

  2. Congrats! Keep up with the great work! Your blog rules.

    You look really cute on those pictures and so does your little family!

    Great giveaway.



  3. Happy Blog birthday. They grew up so fast don’t they. Hehe. Here’s to many more years sharing your healthy lifestyle with others. You have been such an inspiration to me in eating healthy and trying new things.

  4. Congratulations to” Family Fresh Cooking!!! ” You have come a long way with your blog and cooking skills. Love the pictures of your table settings. Wish you another wonderful, fantastic year. Keep up the good work. Judy

  5. Congratulations! I love that being creative and blogging is such a great outlet for you as a mom and allows you to keep your kids and family healthy at the same time! I would love to go to some of those photo conferences. Your photography is always beautiful. Some of the best out of the blogs I follow!

  6. Well, Marla…for the very short time I’ve been admiring your gusto for life…I can only say that you were certainly created for this position ;o))
    The year must have absolutely flown right by for you.
    Great, happy and maybe sometimes frustrating moments later…and you’re still here entertaining and educating your readers in the most creative and fun way.
    Love the photos of your past recipes. Nice little resumé for ones like me that were not around from the beginning.
    BTW…you’d never guess what my first recipe was?…Mediterranean Shepherd’s pie…and it had sweet potato in it…how funny is that?

    Keep up the amazing work…I really enjoy my visits with you.
    Ciao for now, Claudia

    1. Claudia, I love that your first post was also a Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potatoes. I need to take a look. With a Mediterranean twist, even better. I bet it is fantastic, as I love your recipes.xo

  7. Marla!
    I had no idea you had just begun your writing a year ago – and photos from your phone… really? I was reborn in January. No one knew I existed before then. I started my blog on only because I knew nothing. And, found out shortly after that no one could post comments unless they logged in and became a member… etc… but, they told me it was going to change. I had so much invested, so I kept with them fora year and a half. What bliss, now. When I got my first comment, I cried! But, I love that I have a lot of recipes and writing to refer to – even if no one has ever seen it!
    Congratulations! Your hobby is an important one. Our families and children MUST make better choices! Cute pics of you, too!

    1. Valerie, what a funny story. It is amazing how a blog can start off as a teeny, tiny concept and then become something that needs full time management and commitment. Our blogs start to breath a life of their own and before we know it we have a new baby to take care of! I know, when I got my first comment I walked around with a HUGE grin on my face all day. Now I still get really excited when you guys comment. It is awesome to know that people take the time out of their busy days to look at my creations. xo

  8. Happy Birthday to your baby (your blog) Marla! You have worked so hard over the last year! Your ideas, recipies, photography and ideas have improved immensely over the past year!!! I am so proud of you!
    You are on the cusp of a brave new frontier. You give of yourself. Your heart is so huge. Thank you for continuing to inspire us to be all we can be. You are amazing and I am proud to call you my friend. May this be the first of many more successful blog birthdays to come! You are my sweet potato! xoxo

    1. Oh Angie, you get to hear about my blog baby and my real babies day in and day out. Thanks to you I remain sane and on my mission. Your support is invaluable! xo

  9. I honestly can’t believe this site is only a year old! Happy anniversary! I’ll make sure to enter the giveaway tomorrow. 🙂

  10. I have so enjoyed being a part of the first year of FFC. What a wonderful journey it has been and will continue to be. FFC is truly a reflection of you and is authentic, genuine, real and one-of-a-kind. Just like its’ creator who I am very proud to call my friend.


    1. Victoria, you are such a sweetheart. Thanks for having the patience with me daily. You kindly listen to all my big ideas and help me get through frustrations. Thank you for being such a wonderful, true friend. xxoo

  11. Congratulations, Marla! Your blog looks so very grown up for its age, but you, on the other hand, could be the poster girl for the benefits of healthy living and eating. You do everything so very well here: wonderfully fresh ideas and creativity in your recipes; fab photos, graphics, and STYLE; excellent writing; and such a persuasive message that we all should be listening to. An excellent blog in every way. You have so much to be proud of here.

    1. Barbara, I am so happy that we have recently become blog buddies. I love your recipe creations at Modern Comfort Food. We have a similar sensibility when it comes to letting fresh, whole food ingredients speak for themselves. Food should comfort us in every way…..not toxify our minds and bodies. Your blog is an inspiration to me as well! Thanks for your sweet words. xo

  12. Happy 1st Anniversary! I’m so happy to have discovered your wonderful blog, Marla. You’re such a sweetheart, and your healthy inspiration is abundant here! I can’t wait to see what the years to come bring!

    Happy birthday to your hubby!

  13. Happy Birthday to Family Fresh Cooking! woohoo! Ok, I need some abs like you girl, I’m going to workout stat!! Lol!

    Your kids/family are just beautiful, have a great weekend friend 🙂


  14. Congratulations! You and your blog are truly inspiring and I look forward to following you for years to come.

    Have a great time in Boulder – that’s going to be a great workshop. I just attended the food blogging workshop with Helene (Tartelette) at the EVO conference in Park City. Aside from being incredibly talented, she is very down-to-earth, funny, and generous with her knowledge.

  15. I could definitely learn a few tips from you. Look at those abs!
    That is such a coincidence. I just ordered one of those books on Amazon. JUST!

  16. MArla, I’m so happy that you are part of the blog world, because you contribute so much fun, spunk, ingenuity, and originality! Congratulations on your one year anniversary! And happy birthday to your hubby, too!

  17. Happy 1st Blog anniversary to you & your lovely & inspiring blog!! Hip Hip Hooray!

    I wish you lots of inspiration, fun in testing & creating new & tasty recipes!

    Lovely & fab pictures in here!
    What a cool give away too!

  18. Happy blogiversary!!
    I remember walking on a treadmill and talking to you about how long you are going to blog…
    to many more year!!