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. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kitchen update week 4

floors are level and it is one big room 

new windows, drywall is going up   

new cabinets and new cook top and stove

One level floor, what a difference it makes   

I am a little behind on my kitchen remodel posts. The remodel is now in the 4th week. The floors are level and the electrical work is almost complete. They will come back to finish the electrical after the all-important inspection Thursday.

The floors are level and I can see all the possibilities. It seems like so much more room but after the cabinets are in and in all the appliances are in it will probably seem crowded.

new centered larger opening

The electricians have been working for 4 days now and as they were cleaning up I discovered an issue of concern. They had the sink light and the garbage switch in the wrong location and now that I think about it the quad outlet may need to be moved as well. 

wall of cabinets with lots of storage

I am hoping that will not interfere with the schedule or whatever they call a schedule.

Once the electrical work is done then they come back to finish framing the doorways, drywall, flooring install the cabinets, tile and paint, hook up the appliances and finish the details.

We had the original door stripped and it ready to hang.

There is almost light at the end of the tunnel, there is almost light at the end of the tunnel…

I am trying to figure out what to create when it is complete.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kitchen Remodel update week 3

kitchen is down to the bones

Kitchen remodel progress week 3

Well it’s been 3 weeks since the start of renovation to the kitchen. Progress is being made even after a 3 day work stoppage. The windows are in and the stairs to the basement are now straight and not so scary on when you desend.

framing is going in

The schedule so far is stairs, raise the floor in the sun room, dry wall and electrical. 

Two separate rooms are now one, the floor is still uneven

It’s been loud and very dusty, fortunately I get to miss most of that since I am at work while the crews are working! Not sure how the hubster is coping with the noise as he tries to sleep during the day.  My mom is still overseeing the project and will text me with questions of this and that. But it is fun to come home and see the day’s reveal. The work crew put up a blue tarp to cover the entrance when they start and take it down to reveal the daily progress. Ta da!  

The stairs are now straight

I still have yet to destroy the remaining white cabinet. All in due time, perhaps this weekend? Can’t you just hear “It’s good to be a gangsta” in the background as I take a baseball bat to it?? 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tarte owt of Lente

Tarte owt of Lente

I love food and I love history. These two have come together to form the History of Royal Food and Feasting, presented by the University of Reading in the U.K.

It is a five week online course immersing you in the food and history of the English Court from Henry VIII to Queen Victoria.  There are videos, quizzes, study groups and most importantly the recipes. This week lesson focused on the Court of Henry VIII and the feast centered on the Christening of the long awaited proper heir to the throne, Edward I. Henry VIII didn't even attend, after all the divorcing, creating a new church and head chopping I would thought he would attended!  

pie crust in the making and the completed tart

In this first lesson you learn food in the time of Henry VIII and feeding the masses at the court. Ther are some interesting bits of history, Did you know Henry was the only one eating with a fork? He was not the messy, throw the turkey leg over your shoulder eater. And yes they did have table manners. In fact there was a very lengthy edict written for table manners of the court.
 Once you sit place your hands neatly on the table; not on your trencher, and not around your belly.
Don’t wipe your fingers on your clothes; use the napkin or the ‘board cloth’
Napkins were laid across the left shoulder instead of being placed on the lap and no elbows or fists were allowed on the table. No elbows on the table!  Can’t you just hear your mother telling you that?
The  feasts that were brought into the great hall to feed the court twice a day were called "messes" and these messes would serve four at the table. The court consisted of about 600 people. Can you imagine feeding 600 people twice a day? I don’t think I will complain about trying to get dinner on the table for 3 anymore!

well the wall collapsed 

The recipe of the week I am choosing Tart owt of Lente. You can download the PDF here

 It is a cheese pie. Found some old English Cheddar and used a little bit of ricotta cheese as well.  I also used heavy cream. The recipe calls for a shortcrust or other pastry crust. I found this British recipe here  .  I used all butter and it really turned out flaky and buttery. So, in my makeshift kitchen I was able to re-create the tart!