Saturday, July 19, 2014

Preggo Po'Boys

This winter we celebrated Mardi Gras on Scarlett's Excellent Adventures and I had my first po'boy following a recipe from Ms. enPlace (see the post here). Now that I am pregnant, I still have morning & evening sickness (even at 22 weeks) and I cannot eat chicken, which is the mainstay of our household diet. This leaves me searching for food I can and want to eat. I always have chicken sausage in the freezer, and one day I had a craving for po'boys. I remember how yummy the sausage was cooked in beer, the sweet flavor of the beer sauce, and the whole thing mixed together on a freshly baked baguette. Yum!

I wasn't sure if all the alcohol in the beer boiled off while cooking the sausage, so I decided not to take any chances. A simple solution: root beer! Just replace the beer in the recipe with root beer - and voila! Preggo Po'Boys! They were just as good as I remembered, except the root beer does give the sausage a slightly tin-like taste. I would love to try ginger beer in this recipe as well, so maybe next time. All in all, they were the same sweet and wonderful po'boys I remembered, but safe for the baby.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tips for New Bloggers: All the questions you were afraid to ask

In May I celebrated my first year blogging. To celebrate, I am sharing some tips I have learned about blogging in the past year. Check out Part 1 here

Today I am here with Part 2: All the questions about blogging you were afraid to ask. Enjoy!
    • Everything element you see on other blogs in their design is out there somewhere online. I promise you. When I started my blog everyone else's blogs looked so professional to me. How did they get “beyond the template”? I thought all bloggers came from some impressive web design background. I'm not sure about other bloggers' backgrounds, but I do know that I have found many “how-tos” online from organizing your template, fashioning jump breaks and larger headings, to free social media icons. There aren't many secrets in blogland, so take a look online or at your favorite Bloggers Pinterest boards. Many of us have a “Blog Tips” board, and save our favorite tips there. You can find tips at my board here.
      •  For cute cartoons and social media icons I ended up purchasing some from an Etsy vendor – but keep in mind, even if you do buy some help, there are MANY choices out there, so you do not need to buy an expensive product. I got mine for $5!
    •  Patience: This is something I am still learning and will probably need to be learning my entire life. Blogging is about patience – it's NOT going to happen overnight. We all want to be the next best blog, but there are TONS of blogs out there and chances are we are just going to do OK AND IT WILL TAKE TIME. Repeat that, IT WILL TAKE TIME. I still need to learn this, so I will repeat that again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Surprise! It's a Farmer's Market

LO and I were pleasantly surprised when we came upon a farmer's market the other day. We went to a set of locally owned shops to buy my grandmother a birthday present. There in the courtyard was a beautiful farmer's market. I love farmer's markets, they are so much fun to wander through, looking at all the seasonal produce selections. I love that I am supporting local farmers, and the produce is so much fresher than anything you can get at the grocery store.

This farmer's market was a little high end, so it had tents featuring pizza from a local wood-fire pizza restaurant, wine, goat cheese, iced tea samples, local honey, and of course, produce. All the produce was beautiful, but I was most excited over the organic farm's tent.

This huge pile of carrots is what lead me to the farmer's market.

Beautiful squashes and herbs

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy First Blogoversary! Tips for New Bloggers Part 1

 Happy Blogoversary to me! In May I celebrated my 1st year of blogging. It's exciting that I have made it through my first year blogging. I have learned a lot and have made some great bloggy friends. In my first year, there were many highs and lows, and being a new blogger I devoured all the posts out there with advice for first-timers, but found they said mostly the same things. Many had good advice, but other things I found out on my own. So I have decided to write my own list for the new bloggers out there. Some of this information may blow your mind, and go against what you have been reading, but this is what has worked for me in this first year.
  • Blogger vs Wordpress – This is a big question, and I think the biggest point of angst for new bloggers and I am going to tell you what you want to hear...Using blogger is not the end of the world. There I said it. Everyone says, “start with Wordpress”, “move to Wordpress”, etc. I use blogger, I like blogger. It does everything I need it to do. Since I don't use Wordpress, I can't speak to ease-of-use or plugins, but honestly, it's not an end of the world choice. Blogger is very good and has everything you need to start your blog. It is a bit clunky and I do know some HTML coding which makes things easier, but from what I see out on the blogosphere, everything requires some HTML knowledge. If you don't know it, you can easily find the coding. What I like best about Blogger is: it's free. You don't need to join/pay/pay for hosting. It's free. It's fine – use it.

  • Companies will not take you seriously if you do not have your own domain – This may be somewhat true, but in my opinion, I feel that what content you have on your site is more important than your name. If you have poor quality content, it won't matter what your site is named.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cook with Me! Jerusalem Artichoke Pancakes

Let's be honest here. I've been sick with a horrible cold for 2 weeks now, and being 4 1/2 months pregnant did not make me entirely enthusiastic to bake up some fish. I'm thinking many of you felt the same, because I didn't get a single submission for our Penne with Roasted Salmon & Asparagus dish. We're going to skip it and come back to it when we're in a fish mood. This week we have a new recipe. A little more tummy friendly for me, still with fabulous flavors of spring.

Here in the north, everything has bloomed late, which looks like our produce will be late too. Hopefully we will soon have some fabulous summer fruits and veggies to move into the exciting "summer" section of the book!

Please email or post to Facebook your farmer's market shopping, pics of your dish and your stories of how it went! Please submit all photos and stories by next Monday 6/23.

Let's get cooking!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Preserving Lemons

Pinterest serves as inspiration to many, and that is not different here. When I saw this post for Preserved Lemons from my new friends at Online Sisterhood, I knew I had to try it. Since we have been reading Little House on the Prairie, I thought this would be a perfect tie-in. So in the spirit of Ma Ingalls, I decided to tackle preserving lemons.

This seemed like the perfect recipe to try, since it looked pretty easy.  I also never seem to have fresh lemons in the house, and have to use concentrate in my cooking and baking. Preserved lemons are something I can keep on hand to use in my cooking for months! I also have to admit, in preserving these lemons, I did feel a bit like Ma Ingalls.

Being a novice canner, there were some things that weren't clear in the recipe, so here are some tips for 1st timers:

  • 4 quartered lemons fills 3 8 oz. jelly jars.
  • Here's a tip from epicurious - put 1 tbsp salt at the bottom of the jar before putting in the lemons. I'm sure it helps the preservation process.
  • Squish your lemons in the jars to get them to fit. It's ok, don't be gentle!
  • Make sure the brining liquid COVERS the lemons in the jars. The amount of liquid in the recipe really does cover all 3 jars. 
  • You only need 3 lemons to make 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
    • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, not concentrate.
  • Preserving lemons makes your kitchen smell fabulous. What's better than the smell of fresh lemon?

I just canned my lemons this weekend and since it takes 3 weeks for the process to complete, I will report back to let you know how they worked out!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cook with Me! Penne with Roasted Salmon

Hello Cook with Me friends! Sorry I am posting this week's selection a little late, but better late than never...right? Without further ado, here it is:

Please submit all pictures and stories of how you liked the dish to my email (you can find it using the grey button on the right) by Tuesday 6/3/14. I look forward to cooking with you!