I'm headed to Asheville, NC tomorrow for Type A Parent! I've never been to Asheville before, and it's my first time attending this conference, so I'm excited. Out of all the blogging conferences out there (and there are a bajillion), Type A Parent is the one I've heard been compared to Blogalicious the most. Why? I've heard that the laid-back feel, supportive environment, candid conversations and opportunities to engage with brands are all qualities that the two conferences share. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it. I'll also be speaking alongside Linda Sellers and Roxana Soto on Friday on the topic of Profitable Blogging Without Selling Your Soul. Here's the session description: The more the blogosphere grows, the more important it is to find your voice and excel with it. Most bloggers start with good intentions, but get easily sidetracked by reviews, freebies and PR pitches. This session will address how to be able to court brands and publicists without losing your niche topic. I'll be sharing some Brand Ambassador Best Practices that I've learned and implemented over the years working with a slew of brands on all sorts of campaigns. Should be interesting! Of course, on the home front, it's never an ideal time to travel - this week is L'il Buddy's first week at daycare (EVER), the girls' first week of summer camp AND our first week without the nanny in 4 years. So, needless to say I am a bit apprehensive about jetting off amidst our logistical circus. That said, I think it will be good for me to step away for a little while seeing as how I am SO stressed about it all. Today, by the time I dropped the kids off and commuted into the office, it was almost 11am. That is so not gonna work! I'm thinking that a little blog conference love will help ease my state of anxiety some. Not to mention the Asheville Food Tour that I'll be taking tomorrow - woo hoo! I'm sure Hubby will be pulling his hair out after 3 days of handling camp/daycare drop-offs, pick-ups, unpacking and re-packing backpacks, making lunches and dinner/bath time duties, so I'd better come back home refreshed and ready to jump back in the game. Now...what to pack? … [Read more...] about On the Road Again! Destination: #TypeACon
The new season of The Next Food Network Star has started! I love this show and am excited for this new cast of characters. I can already tell poor Juba's fate is sealed. Their first challenge was for the chef-testants to show the judges themselves "on a plate" as a breakfast dish. What fun! I immediately started daydreaming. What breakfast dish represents me? I settled on... Eggs Benedict. French flair. Rich. Savory. Yep. That's so me. What breakfast dish represents you? … [Read more...] about You, On a Plate. For Breakfast.
Here's the thing about dinner: it happens every.night. Sure, when you're in college or when you are single (or even when you're a newlywed), you can get away with cereal or cold pizza for dinner on a regular basis. But once kids enter the picture, the dinner dynamic changes - at least it did for me. I wanted two things: (1) to make dinnertime a place where my family came together to re-connect after a busy day; and (2) to provide my family with a healthful, tasty meal that would nourish and comfort them. I really do like to show my love to family (and friends) through cooking. So what's the issue? Let me share with you my: Top 5 Dinner Challenges: Time. This is the biggie. For the most part, I walk into the house at about 6:15 p.m. My kids have already been out of school for 3 or 4 hours at that point and are starved. Sure, they eat an after school snack (or two), but by this point in the evening, they are craving a meal. And I have about 30 minutes to deliver in the face of homework, bathtime and bedtime. Ingredients. I try to plan out my meals ahead of time. This is the only way I can function! Otherwise, I end up staring into an empty fridge or pantry and puzzling myself with a way to come up with a dish made with a lemon, some sour cream and leftover soup. I need to have my meal components ready to go. Nutrition. I've said this before: part of my strategy in minimizing the Mommy Guilt that I feel from working outside of the house all day is to give my family a meal that is nutritious. I have this obbsessive idea that - if all else fails - and I wasn't at the 11am Math Open House - at least I gave you your veggies, doggonit. Ideas. There are 365 days in the year. I need to come up with dinner ideas for at least 3/4 of those days. How many times can we eat spaghetti or tacos? HELP. Pleasing the Critics. And last, but not least, my family has to like what I make. And I want them to. Id' like for my dinners to be delicious as well as nutritious so that everyone's happy. Enter ReadySetEat.com. Since I was introduced to this site and invited to be on the Shared Tastes Panel, I've found myself consulting it on many a weeknight (and not just because I am a ConAgra Foods Blog Ambassador). The site has taken into account many of the challenges that moms face as the Chief Meals Officer of their families and makes it so easy to find a recipe that suits their needs for that day. I can go to the site, select the main ingredient that I have on hand (i.e. Chicken, Beef, Pasta/Rice, Meatless, Pork, Fish) and then select how much time I have to prepare the meal. The site will consider your needs and serve up options that fit. No brain wrestling needed! Week before last, I made the Lemon Garlic Chicken from Ready Set Eat. I was expecting a quick, decent chicken dish - but I got so much more! The recipe was ridiculously easy to follow and I had all of the ingredients on hand (actually, I substituted Panko … [Read more...] about Solving Your Top 5 Dinner Challenges with ReadySetEat.com
As part of my super duper role as a blog ambassador for ConAgra Foods, I recently had the pleasure of being able to interview celebrity chef George Duran! You've seen him on Food Network, now check out what he had to say to FOODe about his career, background and recipe suggestions for busy moms: FOODe: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I imagine that you are beyond busy. What's a typical day like for you? George Duran: Every day is a different day for me actually. For example, today I've been working with a NYC artist to create these chef portraits in conjunction with their famous dish. It's a project about color, food, and passion. Often I'm traveling throughout the US and there are quite a few months that I'm in production. So it's really a mixed bag. FOODe: I am in awe of your story - majoring in Communications in college, a successful career in Radio and TV...and then culinary school in France? (You won't believe this but I am living a parallel life - I majored in Telecommunications with a specialization in Radio & TV, with plans to produce awards shows and then I took a detour to law school, and now find myself obsessed with cooking.) How did you decide to turn your hobby into a career and make the leap to culinary school? GD: I've always had a passion for mass media and communications. I worked in radio on the air in NYC for quite some time and then began working in television production. From there I decided to host in music television as a VJ, but I wasn't passionate about it. I realized that food was something I loved too much and had quite a few great ideas for food shows. So I decided to move to France to study French cuisine and in less than a year I was introduced to the French cooking network (Cuisine TV). Before you know it I was hosting a show for them! A couple of years later I returned to the US and the rest is history! FOODe: A nice trend in food pop culture these days seems to be an emphasis on ethnic cuisine. How has your Armenian and Venezuelan background influenced your cooking? GD: Everything you've tasted throughout your life will influence what you taste today. As an Armenian growing up in Venezuela I was exposed to a vibrant culinary world and that is what made me open up my mind (and palate) to all foods. FOODe: I have a copy of your cookbook, "Take This Dish and Twist It" that I received at Blissdom 2010 in Nashville (where your cooking demo was great, by the way!) You feature some really fun dishes - are there any that you think are especially great for kids? GD: There are so many kids (and adults!) that hate brussels sprouts and I believe I have solved the problem with my Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts recipe. In fact, I'm often asked to do culinary demos for children and I have kids taste steamed and unflavored brussels sprouts and then my balsamic brussels sprouts. They instantly fall … [Read more...] about My Celeb Chef Interview with George Duran
I am in love with Mexican food. We must eat it at least once every two weeks. Nothing beats the flavors, the comfort, the cheese. In fact, I've often said that I've failed my Caribbean roots because if you ask Giggles what her favorite food, she'll say "tacos!" without hesitation. So when Cinco de Mayo rolls around, I am all too happy to indulge in a Mexican feast. The holiday coincides with Hubby's birthday (he's May 7th), so he ends up having Mexican-themed birthday celebrations. Olé! Another reason that I love preparing (and eating) Mexican food is because it's so easy to do! Here's what we'll be noshing on tomorrow: Recipe courtesy of Williams Sonoma Raspberry-Mint Agua Fresca Ingredients: 1/2 cup superfine sugar 22 raspberries 22 fresh mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish Ice cubes as needed Directions: Select 4 tumblers. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the sugar syrup from the heat and let cool. In a blender, combine 18 of the raspberries, the mint leaves and the sugar syrup and process until a smooth puree forms. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. You should have about 2/3 cup. Add 1 1/3 cups water. Fill the glasses with ice and divide the raspberry mixture among the glasses. Garnish with mint sprigs and the remaining raspberries speared on a cocktail pick. Serve immediately. Serves 4. Recipe Courtesy of Southern Living Grilled Cheesy Corn Ingredients: Ears of fresh corn Salt Melted butter Chili powder Smoked paprika Grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese Fresh lime wedges Directions: Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Pull back husks from ears of fresh corn; remove and discard silks. Tie husks together with kitchen string to form a handle. Soak in cold salted water to cover 10 minutes; drain. Grill corn, covered with grill lid, 15 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove from grill. Brush corn with melted butter; sprinkle with salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, and grated Cotija or Parmesan cheese. Serve with fresh lime wedges. Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Rachael's Super Nachos Ingredients 2 bags corn tortilla chips in 2 colors or different flavors, such as blue corn, red corn, yellow corn, lime flavored, chili flavored or black bean chips -- pick 2 favorites Pico de Gallo Salsa: 4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level 1 small white onion, chopped 1/4 cup, 2 handfuls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped -- substitute parsley if cilantro is not to your liking Salt Beef and Beans Topping: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound ground sirloin 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 small onion, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons dark chili powder 1 1/2 ground cumin, half a palmful 2 … [Read more...] about Our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta