Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dream Kitchen and new FARGRIK

TA DA my long awaited dream kitchen

I love when things happen when you are not around, don’t you? It seems like magic. One day there is cardboard protecting the floors and plum lines chalked on the walls and poof you come home from work or a trip and the cardboard is gone, countertops are installed and things are magically getting done.
The new kitchen being installed and the old kitchen

The Sektion cabinets

My new baking area

That is how this kitchen renovation project has been going. Eight weeks of loud banging, dust, hammering, painting and tiling. I have been at work for 99% of the renovation and my mom and the hubster, and the dog have suffered through the worst of it.

I left town for the last of it. I came home to my dream kitchen.

Cooktop, oven and backsplash 

There is so much more storage, no more storing pots on the stove or under workstations. My cookies sheets are lined up. No more pulling 4 cookie sheets out when I only need one! My rarely used appliances will now be stored properly. Even my spices are nice and neat. Not alphabetized, because that's just crazy, well wait a minute that’s a good idea.

The workhorse of the kithen

My baking supplies are still in one cabinet but it is time for some serious restocking. Can you say hello, King Arthur Flour shopping extravaganza? Cocoas and chocolate and the flavorings!  

Looking into the kitchen from the baking workroom 

New floor, cabinets, windows and the old original door and reclaimed wood shelves
I will probably get rid of more items as I begin the task of unpacking and trying to figure out the best areas to store what. I will finally get to use my mid-century glassware and I discovered you can't have a new kitchen without new flatware and dishes.

Successful shopping trip with new Fargriks, snuddas and sinnerlig or two!

My first shopping trip to IKEA and my list was long and full of VARIERAS, SNUDDAS, ANVANDBARs, BESKURENS, FILURS, and lots of FARGRIK. You can’t have a new kitchen without new FARGRIKS. Translation =dishes! I definitely need a lot more VARIERAS and one more FILUR for the dog food.    

Dog approved!
 After I bake something I'm going to destroy that cabinet. Cue music ...    
Done. Buh bye.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Julia's birthday and a classic dish

This post was written before my big kitchen remodel. I like to go to see her kitchen when I need some inspiration.
So, today would have been Julia Child's 104th birthday. In need of something, my recent trip to her kitchen at the National American History Museum (it's right next door to my office), was a chance to get some inspiration. Standing in the doorway peering into the kitchen I was inspired not only to cook but I decided to hang my pans like she did.

Julia's kitchen, my source of inspiration.

One small DIY project later my pans were hung up on  peg board just like she did (well the hubster really did the work).
DIY pan hanging project
I wanted to make something iconic and not too complicated to honor her life. Should I make 
a cake or a dessert? Not sure to what to make and I was getting some what obsessed about it. Then it hit me,   Boeuf Bourguignon, the dish that started it all. I started at noon and four hot hours later it was finally ready. It seemed more liquid like a stew and not as thick as maybe it should be. And not as simple but it only took one taste from the hubster and he was hooked. 
A recipe, mushroom, bacon and the finished dish

 Holy Crap, damn that's good, were a few of our comments. Wishing for cooler weather and I'm going to make this again. 

Boeuf Bourginion 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tips on Attending a food blogging conference

***DISCLAIMER: I have been giving a discount on registration in exchange for writing 3 blogs on my experiences at the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC). This is the first of the 3 blogs. ***

My solo trip to Sacramento in late July will be to attend my 5th food blogging conference.  I have learned a lot since my first conference in New Orleans. I wanted to pass on some advice to those who have never attended one or if this is your first conference.

  1. Take two suitcases. A small one in a larger one. Food conferences do not disappoint with the swag. The first year I had to leave a lot in my hotel room. One year I thought I brought a big enough suitcase but I di not and had to mail my swag home. Last year I wised up and brought a carry on bag in a medium sized suitcase. Packed my swag in the bigger bag that was checked for free and had my carry on filled with clothes and swag I did not want to pack. So I will do the same this year.
  2. Take lots of business cards. You hear this advise all the time so I will repeat it. You will hopefully make lots of contacts at the conference. My cards are pretty simple blog name, and social media icons that I am active. You can get great cards from Moo, Vistaprint and there are others. Pick a design you like or create your own. But bring a lot.  
  3. Network, Network, Network. This is the hardest part of attending conferences. I consider myself a shy person so I find it hard to do that. One trick I do is to go over the list of attendees. Review the blogs and other social media and make notes of some of the bloggers or speakers I want to meet. And then, I go for it. Making my way to talk to bloggers. Remember you have something in common, food. GO for it and don't be shy. I once bought a book on how to work a room and that didn't workout. So skip the books and just mingle.
  4. If there are separate excursions, go on one. They are great for getting to know the area and a chance to learn new things, meet new people on a smaller scale and maybe for blog inspiration. 
  5. Take notes. I always carry a moleskin and write down ideas during the sessions. I end up writing on the plane ride home. 
  6. Take lots of pictures. It is all about the food so make sure you have plenty of space on your smart phone or camera. I used to take my DSLR and my smartphone but now I am all about the smartphone. There are lots of fun apps so down load a few or ask some of the attendees what they use.    
  7. Have fun! Explore. Try a restaurant that you have read about, see the sights if time permits. I usually schedule a day to myself to explore  and walk around.
  8. Keep it simple, at least with technology. I used to bring cameras, iPads, a computer and a smartphone. I have lightened the load and only bring my iPad and iPhone. I can write and upload photos from both of those devices. It saves me some time in the process.   
I wanted to have 10 tips to share but I only came up with 8. I'm sure others can add to this.