Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Joining Up as Co-Host of Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

Hearth & Soul HopWhen you think of the word "nourishment", what is the first association that comes to mind? Is it a picture of boxed mac and cheese, or some frozen pizza? Or do you associate nourishment with something a little deeper, something more heartwarming, food made with love to fill your belly?

There is a story I've heard about a king who passed by a peasant's home. He smelled the most delicious smell emanating from this pauper's kitchen, knocked on the door, and was fed some of this poor person's stew whose tantalizing aroma had enticed the king to enter. The king said that this stew was some of the best food he had ever eaten, and asked to be given the recipe. The pauper obliged and gave the king exact instructions how to make that stew.
The king went home and gave the recipe to his cook, and waited impatiently for the terrific food to arrive, but when it did, alas, it was just not as good as the food he had eaten at the pauper's house, even though the cook followed the recipe precisely.
The king made a second trip to the poor man's house, demanding to know what secret ingredient the man had left out when he gave his recipe. The man, flustered, insisted that he wrote the recipe in its entirety, didn't leave out any ingredients. The only thing missing, he realized, was that when his wife made the dish, she made it with love, and put her soul into the food. That, he noted, is something that perhaps the cook wasn't able to replicate.

Why do I share this story?
Because food, dear readers, is more than just ingredients put together. When you create something, be it artwork, or music, or a delectable dish, a part of you, a bit of your soul goes into what you've made. This is one of the reasons why homemade food is almost always a million times tastier than prepackaged food. Because the food you make, with love, has that extra ingredient in it, love, that makes it taste delicious.

There's a blog hop I've been participating in for a while called the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, and I think this story reflects what the blog hop is about. The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop is a weekly food carnival about food that not only nourishes our bodies, but our souls.
It has been hosted until now by Alea of Premeditated Leftovers, April of The 21st Century Housewife, Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen, and Melyinda of Mom's Sunday Cafe.
I am thrilled to announce that as of today, I am now a co-host, and if you've never heard of the blog hop before, this is its official mission statement.

Hearth and Soul Mission

It’s about food from your hearth, made for your soul. Food that follows your intuition. Preparing food from scratch to nourish your family…body, mind AND soul! Food made with your own hands…infused with energy and passion and intent. Real food made by real people to feed real families (big and small, in blood or spirit). Ingredients from scratch, be it something grown in your garden or raised on your land…food foraged in the field or woods…food from local farms, farmers, or farmers markets…or even ingredients chosen by you from your local market that will be turned into something that feeds your soul. Tapping the food memory that each of us has stored inside; letting it guide and influence our own time in the kitchen.

We hope to embrace not only the “expected” areas of real food, but also those who want to incorporate healthier choices without sacrificing their love of food…how it tastes, the memories it conjures up, the comfort it brings. Yes, we’re trying to steer clear of packaged, processed, and boxed foods in favor of real foods….without absolutely excluding the sometimes frowned upon white sugar or flour (because the body craves what it craves…and sometimes things just don’t taste the same when you replace these). Making conscious choices and being present in the now with what your body needs…and taking steps towards exploring and enjoying healthier choices. If you take the time to listen, your body will tell you what it needs.

The warm comfort of the home hearth…stories, anecdotes, lessons, adventures, journeys, recipes, meals, beverages…we want to share the “why” of how food feeds more than just our bodies…how it also feeds our souls. After all, aren’t these the essential ingredients in defining real food? Please share links from your Hearth ‘n Soul with us each week.

Rules for linking:

Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome.

If you are new to a blog carnival, or blog hop, it is very easy to learn how to join in the fun! Simply go to the blog post for that carnival and scroll down to the bottom where you will see a small box that will say, You’re Next or Your link here. When you click on that link, you will be asked to enter the URL of your recipe or article.

Please link to your article only and not directly to your blog front page.

Place a link back to one of the blog hosts, which means adding in the URL of the blog hop post which you can copy from your browser address bar and insert at the bottom of your post. You could also choose to place a blog badge into your post.

Please link a post that closely fits into the mission. You don’t have to link up every week…link up when you can. We welcome posts that are shared in other events. If you have an older, archived post that you want to add, we welcome that…as long as you go in and add a link back to Hearth and Soul.

-Linky will stay open from 10 pm Monday to 11:59 pm Thursday (Eastern time).
Please feel free to use and share the Hearth and Soul Hop badge listed below to promote the Blog Hop.

Hearth & Soul Hop
Why Link Up Your Posts?
Now, in case you never participated in a blog hop and wonder what the point would be in doing so, the answer is this-
You can write some really awesome terrific posts, but if no one knows about them, people won't find their way to your blog. If you want more visits to your blog, linking up your posts is a great way to do it. Not every single person who comes and checks out your posts will become a follower of your blog, but if your post is enticing enough, there's a good chance that people will decide to follow or subscribe to your blog.
Even if this doesn't happen this week, if you start posting links to posts you write on a regular basis, you'll become a "familiar face" to people participating in the Hearth and Soul blog hop, and there's a good chance they'll subscribe to your site in the future.
Just a few hints- to get more hits:
1) Try to link up to the blog party earlier on in the game. The later on you add your participating post, the fewer visits you'll likely get.
2) Try making the title as interesting and eye catching (but relevant!) as possible. If you write "Healthy Food" as your title, you'll probably get fewer hits than if you write "Some Amazing New Info That'll Keep Your Body Strong!" as the blog post title.
3) If your post has interesting perks, like if its frugal, or gluten free, or allergy friendly, or vegan, try to include those in the title so that people looking for those types of posts can find you more easily.

Well, what are you waiting for? Lets get this party started!

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