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(Looky Looky) Many Thanks.

Would you just look at this gorgeous bar of chocolate I received in the mail last week? It was from my favorite CheeseWench over at Cheese is Alive! She did a post telling us all about her visit to Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park (Chicago-area) and preceded to tease...uh, tell us about the amazing Dark Chocolate Gouda Bar she tried. DARK CHOCOLATE GOUDA BAR!!!! Are you kidding me? Suddenly, I couldn't think straight. I was salivating. How long would it take me to get to Oak Park? Mmmmm..dark chocolate. Is there a link to their website? Mmmmm..Gouda. What did she say the name of that place was? Et cetera, et cetera. When I finished reading the rest of the post (I'm sure I did, though all I can remember is dark chocolate Gouda bar) I promptly found the website for Marion Street Cheese Market...wait a minute! No order form! What! Seriously, I need to get to Chicago. Fast forward to some time later, after many deep breaths and slow counting. CheeseWench has posted an update! Marion Street Cheese Market will ship these. But, since she is so awesome, she offered to send a bar to the first ten readers who emailed her (and vowed to send her something yummy in return)! Can you say Lightning Fingers? Anxiety that I was too late? Losing nails in anticipation? But YES I did it. I made it into the top 10. And she's quick. When I walked in the door from work a few days later, there was a beautiful manila package addressed to me sitting on the kitchen table. Here, my dear friends, is what it contained: I didn't know whether to rip it open with wild abandon or carefully pick the sticker off with my somewhat re-grown fingernails. So, I took a deep breath and proceeded midway between the two. I ripped that stick on the back right in half and slowly peeled back the plastic while that warm, cocoa smell wafted gently, yet forcefully toward my nose. It was so beautiful; so lovingly hand crafted. I broke off a few squares to expose the shards of aged Gouda that were nestled inside.

I didn't really want to shove the whole thing in my mouth (well, I kind of did) because I knew this was it. It was meant to be savored...enjoyed...reveled in. So, I ate three squares and folded the rest back into the wrapper for later. It was like heaven on my tongue. The chocolate was so smooth and creamy. The Gouda was generously studded was salty and almost tasted smokey; it was a bit crumbly, because it's been aged for 2 years and it was perfect! I am the kind of person who equally enjoys sweet and salty. If I eat a piece of chocolate, I like a salty nut to balance it out (think Raisinettes in your popcorn...oh, or Reese's pieces in your popcorn...that's me). So, it is my dream bar of chocolate. Thank you so much have made my week. I will be getting a hold of you next time I head to Chicago (to stock up on these if nothing else). I made myself save 1 little square until I was done publicly worshipping it...goodbye lovely chocolate...until next time.

I also wanted to take this time to thank some people who have blessed me with some awards recently. Giz and Psychgrad over at Equal Opportunity Kitchen have given me:

Thank you, I love it...and I always look forward to reading your blog! If you don't know this awesome mother and daughter team, head on over to Equal Opportunity Kitchen and pay them a visit! There are so many blogs that I find adorable and love to read. I have passed awards on to many in the past, but would like to pass this on to a couple of my newest foodie blogger friends: Teresa at A Blog About Food Kim at The Ungourmet and to my (non-foodie, in that she doesn't blog about food. But she does like food and visits me often to let me know that!) blogger friend: Tanielle at The Polka Dot Daisy. Teresa at A Blog about Food passed the Premio Meme award my way...since I shared 7 of my personality traits with you HERE, I won't put you through it again. But, if you didn't see them and want to...they've pretty much stayed the same. Thank you Teresa :) And, since I did pass it on to some people not too long ago, I'll hold off on passing it for now...UNLESS of course you want to grab the badge and share with us...I'm always up to learn more about my favorite bloggers!

I also want to give a BIG, SPARKLY thank you to Kim from The Ungourmet for calling me Awe-Summm (I do think I'm the Queen of ALLL Things, at least at home...or so I'm told)! For this award, we're supposed to share 7 Awe-Summm things about our self. Hmmm.... 1. I'm modest...I have a hard time naming awesome things about myself (unless it comes to my food...then I'm pretty straight-forward).

2. I am a wonderful babies are my world and I would give, do, or say anything at all for them. They have made me a better, smarter, kinder, gentler, wiser person.

3. I once bought two fat bags and filled them with groceries to give to a woman on the side of the road (with a sign...she was down on her luck). I had the kiddos with me...hope they will always practice compassion and kindness and sharing.

4. I've been to 26 Dave Matthews concerts (and countless others)...I love live music!

5. I am a shareholder in an Organic, Grass-fed Dairy Farm. I milk cows. I drink raw milk.

6. I dazzle Mexicans with my homemade Mexican food...mexichef is actually Mexican...I only cook like it ;)

7. I want to make the world a better place in any little way that I can. And I mean it.

So, who should I pass this on to? There are a lot of Awe-Summm people out there.... how about:

Donna at My Tasty Treasures

Jenn at Bread + Butter

Jaime and Jen at Jaime & Jenn Dish

Liz and Lisa at Chick Lit is Not Dead

Thanks again for all of this fun stuff and go check out the other blogs if you don't visit them already...they're all great!

***I almost forgot to remind you about my HOT giveaway for May....don't forget to enter!***