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They say you should mark your 100th post with something special. They say that. Who are they? I don’t know, they are them, the people who say you should mark the 100th post special.

I could, for instance, post a GIF like this one, from passion & possibility:

Or create food art, a la Growing Up in the Garden:

Even do a 100th post giveaway, just as Mia Loves Pretty did:

(Hey, I just did Zero to Hero #23, with that roundup!)

To mark my 100th post, however, I decided to do something else. If you’re participating in the Zero to Hero Challenge, then you’d know that challenge #22 was to create a post and submit it to a blog event. I’ve done this many times already, and I can tell you first hand that my viewership always spikes each time I do it, even more so if my post becomes a featured post.

Obviously, this is an important task that you should not skip if you want to grow your views. But since I’ve already done this, multiple times, and since this is my 100th post, how about I kick it up a notch, Zero to Hero? How about I create the blog event? And have people submit their posts to me, instead?

That’s an idea, anyway. Before I make it official, I would like to know first if any of my blogger buddies will be interested in joining the event or challenge or party, as I prefer to call it. ‘Cause what’s the point of having a party if nobody comes. 

I will call this blog party “Fiesta Friday.” Remember my Fondue Fiesta Friday post? Where I talked about finding ways to kick it up a notch to make thank-God-it’s-Friday days special? It’s the same idea. I would like for you to link up what you make or eat or do to mark the day special.

It could be a recipe or an activity or an idea. If you see an interesting movie or read a compelling book, talk about it and link that. If you decide to wear a particularly daring outfit to start your weekend on an upbeat mood, share a photo. Or maybe you would prefer to just tell us about the reactions you get from friends and co-workers. Maybe you have a joke or an uplifting quote to share, please do.

As you can see, there is plenty of ways for you to join the party. Even though The Novice Gardener is mainly a “fooden” blog (food + garden, a portmanteau I created for my blog), my interests are varied and I appreciate all kinds of pretty and fun things and many forms of entertainment.

So, what do you think, peeps? Are you interested? It’ll only happen if I get you on board. I’ll have to work out the details as to how and when links should be submitted, but first let me know what you think.

Now, onto that pie. Did you know Thursday was the National Pie Day? To mark the special day, I made shepherd’s pie, using my trusty old recipe, the one with tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. It was very good, and the family devoured it.

But since I’m doing a Fiesta Friday post and this being the 100th post and all that, and after talking it over with Johnny, I am presenting to you the kick-it-up-a-notch version. Now, tell me this wouldn’t have gotten your weekend started on a tasty note?

mini shepherd's pie

Kick-it-up-a-notch Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 lb lamb, diced
1/2 lb beef, diced
2 tsp flour
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup caramelized onion
Salt & pepper

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add carrots and celery and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked.

2. Sprinkle meat with the flour and toss to combine. Add the meat and stir to break up any lumps. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Add oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt & pepper, stir to combine.

3. Add broth, wine, and frozen peas. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until sauce is thickened. Add the caramelized onion, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

4. Transfer to a casserole dish or mini pots. Spoon or pipe mashed potatoes decoratively over filling. Bake in a 375° oven for about 30 minutes, or until juices bubble around the edges and potatoes are brown.

Mashed potatoes
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
Salt & pepper

1. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender.

2. Place milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, and cover to keep milk warm.

3. Drain potatoes, then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes, add the milk mixture, season with salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk and mix until well combined.

Caramelized onion recipe can be found here.

So, what did you do to start your weekend? To mark your TGIF day special? Tell us about it in the comments or link up your post. If this becomes official, I will have to learn how to use linky tools.


By the way, have you heard of today’s Zero to Hero assignment, #25? If you haven’t, go look it up now. I just think it’s brilliant the way some of the sample blogs use customization. I’m taking a cue from them and will start incorporating my own artwork for a more customized look. There is so much to learn!