Crisp fall air and leaves turning shades of red and burnished orange, the crackle of them under your feet as you walk down the street with hands snuggled deep inside your pockets. Autumn is by far my favorite season. The temperatures begin to cool down at night, calling for an extra blanket or a down comforter. This is something I miss now that I live south of the Mason Dixon line. It’s only been 3 and a half years, but I doubt I’ll ever really get used to the lack of (distinguishable) seasons.
Greetings, All! I am away in Idaho this week with my friends from Idaho Potato! In lieu of posting a new recipe, I wanted to share some awesome recipes from my super talented friends.
I do hope you will check out their recipes, as I happen to think they are pretty great! Besides being amazing in the kitchen, they are good humans and I am lucky to know them. I can’t wait to tell you all about Idaho and the fun things happening there right now! I’m updating and sharing pics on social media every day, so if you want to see what we’re up to, check out my Facebook page, Instagram account or Twitter feed for the latest shenanigans.
I love my “swirly” bundt pan, but it’s a tad smaller than the average bundt and I always have leftover batter. This may not seem like an issue, but sometimes I don’t want to make extra cupcakes or little cakes. I just want One Big Bundt! So, after dropping a few subtle hints and finally telling my Mom that I was planning a heist and the prize was her Classic Bundt pan… Voila! She told me that one was on it’s way to me! Thanks, Mom! (sometimes, a girl needs to resort to extreme measures) Continue reading
The three most dreaded words in my vocabulary “Bathing Suit Season”. It’s not that I have an issue wearing one, I hate shopping for them. Come on, Girls out there… Please tell me you have my back. It could nearly be classified as torture. I have to psych myself up for the task, give myself a little pep talk and promise myself a reward if I get it accomplished in record time.
When life gives you lemons, make a vinaigrette ~ Me.
The point is, we are eating ALOT of salads these days. We always eat salad, but lately we are eating enough greens for a small village. We have a few favorites, like this Butternut Arugula Salad, but I like to change it up fairly often. One of the best ways to do that is with the dressing. Last year, we were at a family reunion and I was lucky enough to score 2 lbs of raw honey from a cousin who has bees. That honey is incredible and makes the best vinaigrettes! Making your own vinaigrette at home takes about 5 minutes and one of the advantages in doing it yourself is total control over the ingredients. You know exactly what is in there. No red dye #5, no high-fructose corn syrup, no need for a PhD to decipher ingredients! Just squeeze a few lemons, add in a little honey, blitz it & stir in whole grain mustard. Easy Peasy, Lemony Squeezy.
This vinaigrette is good for more than just salad, I use it in a summer pasta salad (post coming soon) and it’s a great marinade for chicken! This recipe makes about 3 cups of dressing and it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 – 7 days. Five minutes of work for a vinaigrette you can use all week! That’s a pretty good deal.
- 6 fl. oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 big lemons)
- 6 TB raw honey
- 1 TB whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups canola or grapeseed oil
- Combine lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a deep bowl or container. I like to use quart containers (Tall deli containers or large soup containers from takeout)
- With an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine all ingredients for about 15 seconds and SLOWLY drizzle in olive oil, then canola oil.
- The texture and color will begin to lighten as it emulsifies.
- You will see oil on top and then suddenly, it will be a perfectly blended dressing that holds together instead of looking separated.
- When dressing is nice and thick, add in whole grain mustard and give it one last blast with the immersion blender to combine everything & Voila! Dressing, Done!
In a few short weeks, I will head to Orlando once again to attend the Food Wine Conference. This is one of my favorite blogging conferences for many reasons. I get to see my friends, have lots of laughs (which is always needed) and I have the opportunity to learn so many things.
I cook for a living. Six days a week, I’m in front of a stove and this is a nice change of pace to be able to put my “blogger hat” on for a few days and learn about blog-related things. This conference isn’t just for bloggers or Chefs, it’s for anyone who really has a passion for food and likes eating, drinking wine, hanging out with super fun people and learning along the way. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Speaking of learning… I am MOST excited about 3 of the speakers this year: Lenny & Denise of Chez Us, Denise Vivaldo, Food Stylist Extraordinaire and Kita Roberts of Girl Carnivore. I will be the nerdiest nerd with my notebook in hand, ready to soak up every tidbit of knowledge they are droppin’.
Another bonus for me this year is getting to meet some of the #SundaySupper people in person. Isabel started The Sunday Supper Movement about 6 years ago and it has grown exponentially since it’s launch. So much so, that this conference is a direct result of it. As a blogger, the world in which we exist is inside our computers or phones. We don’t have offices to go to every morning or company lunches where we all hang out. We have the internet. It can be a little isolating at times, but the beauty of these groups that we belong to is the camaraderie that comes with it. Thanks to the social media sharing, it’s not all that odd to see people taking photos of food anymore, but we don’t just snap a pic and move on. We have to check the lighting, adjust a single piece of lettuce, wipe a smudge on a plate, etc. This isn’t weird to ANYONE else in the blogging world, that’s just a normal day. It’s nice to be around people who “get me” and don’t look at me sideways for taking 73 photos of the same thing before I’ll eat it.
As if that’s not enough, I was chosen as a Brand Ambassador this year. I’m beyond excited and I can’t wait to find out who my brand partner is and start working with them! There are so many great sponsors this year from Florida Strawberries to Cabot Cheese, you know there will be lots of good things to eat! And, as a brand ambassador, I get to pass a little savings along to you! How great is that?!
Oh yeah, and did I mention where we stay?! I have to tell you, Rosen Shingle Creek Resort is stunning. I mean it, it is absolutely beautiful. Don’t believe me? Here’s some hard evidence:
We get to stay here!!!! There are pools, bars, restaurants, huge meeting rooms, etc. and the best thing of all?! A culinary school On. The. Property! I nearly lost my mind when I found that out on my first visit.
As you can tell, I’m a little excited about this conference. You can head over to the website now to REGISTER and use my special code: PooksPantry to save $50.
Hope to see you there!
As a brand ambassador, I receive a credit when my code is used.
A few months ago, we were in Vancouver for our honeymoon. Whenever we tell people that we spent our honeymoon in Vancouver, it goes one of two ways: If they’ve never been, they automatically ask “Why Vancouver?” and for those that have been, it’s usually a smile and a sigh. They get it. There’s a reason I had to tell you a bit of backstory… I planned for MONTHS for this trip. Every single detail, including activities and eating. Ok, it was mostly eating… One of the “must do” activities was biking the perimeter of Stanley Park. The weather did not cooperate with us and it rained almost every single day of our trip.
A few months ago, The Girl and I went to New Orleans for a little getaway. As a properly organized food person, I had a list (a very long list) of places to eat. That was pretty much my agenda. Sure, there are tons of things to do in New Orleans and we did a few of them, but my main objective was food. How could it not be?
So, our itinerary pretty much looked like this Every Single Day (swapping out restaurants, of course):
- breakfast : Café du Monde
- lunch: Antoine’s
- dinner: Pesche
Oh, did I mention it was restaurant week when we were there?! Yeah, that’s like putting a fat kid in a candy store and telling him to only pick 3 things. Not likely…
So here we are smack in the middle of the holiday season and there are pumpkin, gingerbread & peppermint recipes coming out of people’s ears and what am I making? Lavender scones.
I don’t mean to swim upstream, it just seems to happen… I’ve been on a bit of a scone kick lately. I will admit I’ve been making cranberry scones too and THOSE are holiday’ish, but I needed a break from the sea of cinnamon and nutmeg.
They are ridiculously easy (especially the drop kind like these) and they take very little time, which is a blessing during this frenzied time of year when time and energy are in short supply.
Last night as I was driving to do a little Christmas shopping, I witnessed some Very Rude Behavior. The Girl (with whom I was speaking at the time) was subjected to a five minute tirade by yours truly and stories of similar behavior that I had been witness to during previous Holiday seasons in New York.
Instead of rehashing stories highlighting the “not-so-proud” moments, let’s instead focus on something positive. People I happen to think are fantastic! Some of them I know in real life and some only through the world of food blogging, but these are folks that I really, truly enjoy and I know you will too.
They are all very genuine and lovely people. They are riotously funny and can bring you to tears in the same post. Their recipes make you want to chip a tooth on the screen trying (in vain) to get just a little nibble…
They are a talented, kind and wonderful lot, please do check them out and say “hi” for me while you’re there.
Jenni, otherwise known as “Sissy” of Pastry Chef Online. Jenni is the Best. Plain & Simple. She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful, her recipes are swoon-worthy and she is one of my favorite people on the planet. This bread recipe absolutely fascinated me.
Jamie writes some of the most beautiful words you will ever read. Her blog Life’s a Feast is one of my favorites. The recipes and the stories that go with them are wonderful. I can’t even tell you how many I have bookmarked to make someday… But, this one is next.
Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic is high-larious. She is my Canadian connection! Her recipes are straight-forward and delicious, she cooks and bakes with passion, loves to share the wealth with our food blogger community and is an all around great gal. Her slow cooker pulled pork recipe is something you need. Trust me…
Rebecca of Foodie with Family is just that. She is a Mom of some of the cutest, funniest boys and her food consistently elicits the “Pavlov’s dog” drool reaction. I met Rebecca at a food blog conference this year and we decided to trade goods… I was the recipient of this. It was magic in a mason jar. Seriously. I’ve never had anything like it and I cook for a living. I can’t say enough about how good it was. I ate it with a spoon while no one was watching…
Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake is a delight. Her food and photos are beautiful and her archive of recipes is massive. If you are looking for something in particular, chances are you’ll find it over there! Here is an example: I was looking for a fun something for a breakfast/brunch and this called my name. Loudly.
David Leite. Where do I even begin… He is amazing, his writing is so honest and genuine that he makes you feel as if you are having a conversation. I’ve met David a few times and believe me when I tell you, he is just as genuine in person. His site is wildly popular, his book is beautiful and his “Blahg” is like a little peek into his life. His post about the Thanksgiving debacle had me howling with laughter… He really paints a picture.
Becca of It’s Yummi! is without a doubt one of the sweetest people that I’ve never met 😉 She is a chef living in Wisconsin, she loves football (so you know we get along!) and she makes a mean bowl of soup. She is also a newlywed, so go on over and give her some love.
Well, friends… That about does it. In the spirit of giving, these are the people that are a gift to me through their words, their food and their friendship. Go check them out and cook something wonderful tonight. <3