Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where I Am

Well, here it is the end of July. My kiddos are headed back to school in a few days and I am thinking about the direction of my blog. My little tag line at the top is Live, Eat, Laugh, Love, and Take Pictures of it All! This is our life! I am thinking I am going to head further into the food blogging world. Yes, I have been blogging about food for 5 years now! Crazy, right? However, I see all of these beautiful food blogs out there with amazing photos and drool inducing recipes. If I am going to head that way I think I will need to be a bit more invested in creating recipes and in the photography aspect so you will drool when you come to my site.

In September I am headed to IFBC (the International Food Blogger conference) in Seattle. Part of the draw for me is that Dorie Greenspan is the keynote speaker on the opening day. She is, of course, the author of the 3 cookbooks I have been baking through over the past few years. She was also my secret Christmas card buddy a few years ago and she sent me an autographed copy of her Paris Sweets cookbook. Talk about drool worthy! So, needless to say I am quite excited to meet her in person.
International Food Blogger Conference 2013 Seattle

I have ourcrazyblessedife.com and was thinking that would be my photography site but may just include all aspects of my tag line over there. I know I am a mom blogger. One friend suggested Family Friendly Foodie. I am not sure how to categorize myself in the blog world. I started this blog way back in 2006 as kind of a journal and as something for our far away family to follow. As my kids get older and technology improves it is still fun to share what my kiddos are doing but I am feeling I need to pull them back a bit on the blog and maybe keep them for my private Facebook page with family.

Anyway, I met up with a friend that has a fairly successful blog and she told me, for the conference,  I have to have an elevator speech so people will actually talk to me. If I have nothing to offer people will have something better to do. I have no idea what to say at this point. Apparently I also need to order business cards! I need a logo. I am kind of freaking out.

These two posts (from What About the Food and Eat the Love)  have been very helpful though....note to self remember sharpies, extra bags for swag, comfortable shoes, dress business casual...not mom frump, make sure to have a sweater for the conference rooms, bring business cards, have an elevator speech, be prepared for questions about my camera and manual mode, take lots of pictures (duh, have you met me?), don't get overwhelmed.....

I am overwhelmed....

However, people on the Facebook page have been very helpful and are as excited as I am. So far I have 2 roommates for Friday and Saturday night. We have not met yet but it calms me a bit to know that they don't know anyone either. OK, I am feeling a little calmer now. I just have to book my plane ticket and start checking everything else off my to do list!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Super Sunday

Today has been quite a day! Overall it has been super fun! There is a post coming about Munchkin's birthday party but that was yesterday. This is being typed on my phone so short and sweet:
*friends spent the night and kids stayed up all night
*kids played Chopped and made smoothies
*kids presented a play called Tangled 2
*friends went home
* we went to another friend's house and munchkin got to go kayaking for the first time ever, we ate lunch, kids played minecraft
*left friends house and we are now 5 innings into the sounds baseball game.
* kiddos have slept on and off all day

Next stop: bed!

Friday, July 12, 2013

{FFWD} Whole Cherry Clafoutis

Welcome back! It is Friday again and I am actually posting on Friday once again! I made this lovely whole cherry clafoutis (cla-foo-tee) last week when my sweet mother in law was here. She actually knew how to pronounce this so that was very helpful in explaining what it was. I picked up the delectable cherries at Whole Foods the same day I picked up the wheat berries.
In Around My French Table, Dorie explains that it is traditional to leave the pits in the cherries so they keep their flavor. You do have to give a disclaimer though so no one breaks their teeth...or brackets on their braces. Let's just say getting the pits from mouths to the plate was not terribly graceful. At our table it very well could have turned into a pit spitting contest.
 This egg custardy dessert came together very easily. I buttered the pie plate, placed the cherries on the bottom, and poured over the rest of the ingredients. I think I had to bake this a few minutes longer than indicated but that was ok. 
The end result had my husband making a weird face that betrayed his true feelings. He said he liked the bready part because it tasted like pop up pancakes but he would like it better without the cherries. If it had chocolate he probably would have liked it better.

Munchkin said she would have liked it without the pits in the cherries. Little Man didn't eat the cherries. Mom and I both liked our pieces a lot!
 As you can see Munchkin used her fingers to get the pits from her mouth to her plate.
Overall, this seems like it would be a very versatile dessert to make. I may make it again with raspberries and chocolate. I know I will like it! To see how other bakers from around the world liked this recipe check out the LYL on French Fridays with Dorie.
Next week: Swordfish with frilly herb salad.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July Visit with Grandma

Last week we had the pleasure and blessing of having Bobby's mom visit us! Skype and Google Hangouts are a great technological advance but it is not the same as seeing someone in person. You actually get to hug their necks and have face to face conversation.
One day while she was here we went to Centennial Park for Musician's Corner. The kids got to see Gnash from the Predators, we listened to live music, and each got food from the food trucks. By far, the most popular food truck was The Grilled Cheeserie. Mom got her sandwich there and we both got peach ice tea from them. Bobby and Munchkin got wraps from Wrapper's Delight. Little Man got a slice of New York Pizza from Joey's House of Pizza, and I got chicken and waffles from The Waffle Boss. Everyone was satisfied with what they got.

Anytime there is live music there is always that one person that gives in to the music more than everyone else. They dance like no one is watching. :)

On another day we went to the Red Bicycle Coffee and Crepes for lunch followed by a trip to the Ryman. In all the years we have lived in Tennessee I had never been to this venue. I have considered getting tickets for different shows but it just hasn't happened yet. It was so fun to tour the venue and see the different displays they had posted around the building. They have one section of the old balcony where the paint has been stripped away so you can see some old stenciling that wasn't recorded in the history of the building. It was pretty nifty to stand on the stage where so many legends have stood before! :)
For the most part we hung out and talked, played games like headbanz and spoons, and just enjoyed each others company. The last night Mom was here she hung out with the kids while Bobby and I went on a movie date. We don't go out all that often because it is so expensive! We were thankful for a little date while our kiddos got some quality time with their Grandma!
Now we need to make sure it is not another 3-4 years before we see each other in person again! That was far too long! Love you mom! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Independence Day 2013

This year 4th of July came with a whole lot of rain! We grilled out the day before when it was nice so we didn't have plans aside from checking out the fireworks at a local shopping area. However, our parade was rained out and the decision was made to postpone those fireworks until the 5th.

We hadn't even bought any fireworks yet to set off with our kiddos. That was soon remedied though as we crossed county lines in search of our very own pyrotechnic stash. We dashed from our car through the monsoon to the striped tent that was beckoning to us from the side of the road. We spent a whole $25 on fireworks we thought our kiddos would enjoy. And enjoy they did! :)

We didn't even get sparklers last year because it was so dry we didn't want to take any chances.
We were not sure we were going to get a chance to set off the fountains or other bigger fireworks because the rain kept coming. We finally decided to do the monster poppers (you know, the ones the kids like to throw at each others feet and they make a nice loud pop) and a few sparklers on the porch. Our kiddos loved these but we discovered quickly that the green sparklers may have had an initial green flame but they were duds overall.
We live in a really cool, vibey neighborhood most of the time. The one exception seems to be around the 4th of July when I need to remember to ignore the neighborhood facebook page. There are just a couple of people who make the worst comments and seem to hate everyone. I haven't even met the people that make the comments but I take things really personally and get upset about it. As soon as the first firework goes off there is whining and bellyaching and general stereotyping. From the few come the phrases: redneck, drunks, drug addicts, welfare recipients who do not buy insurance but buy alcohol and fireworks, animal haters, and idiots. I totally get being frustrated with the people shooting off the giant fireworks right over houses and the people still shooting them off after midnight.

If you were to go out and watch in the earlier evening when the comments start you would see families in large concrete parking lots. You would also see them cleaning up after themselves when they were done. You would see families creating memories and celebrating the freedom to do just that. I talk to my students often about personal responsibility and you can see the people who are teaching it to their children.

So on that note here are my rules for enjoying future Independence Days:
1. Ignore all neighborhood commentary from July 1st - 10th.
2. Continue to do all of the fun things that we do as a family to celebrate.
3. Continue to teach my children about safety and personal responsibility
4. Have fun. :)
It probably took us about 20 minutes to set off all of our fireworks. That was a good things as it started to sprinkle again. Even though the fireworks had been postponed in one area we were still able to make the drive down to Nashville to check out the display there. The symphony was supposed to perform but they ended up using a recording of the performance instead. I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to play my flute in a monsoon either. We thought about parking by Cumberland Park but ended up in a church parking lot. It was a pretty good location and if we had crossed the road we wouldn't have had wires in the way. In past years I have been able to capture some pretty good fireworks pictures..this year..not so much. My favorite though is of my daughter sitting on my husband's lap watching the show. Just a few minutes before my son had been sitting on my lap and I kept wondering how many more 4th's of July will our kiddos want to sit on our laps? It was a sweet moment with our quickly growing babies.

I love Independence day (and so does my hubs)! The family time, the fireworks, the BBQ's, and teaching our kiddos why we celebrate with "bombs bursting in air". I hope you enjoyed your 4th of July!! :)

Friday, July 05, 2013

{FFWD} Wheat Berries and Chicken Salad

When I was growing up my mom made delicious meals on a regular basis. The one meal I was not really a fan of was tuna casserole. I don't really remember her making it often but I just know I didn't like it. Tuna is on my short list of items I do not like to eat. So, when this recipe called for wheat berries (which I had never heard of) and tuna I was not sure I was going to like it. An easy fix was to switch out the tuna for chicken and it worked just fine.

My next issue with this came in wondering where the heck I was going to get wheat berries. I googled and saw you could get them for about $10 a bag. I had a thought though and called Whole Foods. It is a drive to get there but I was able to get a pound of wheat berries for $1.99 in the bulk section!! I also picked up the cherries for next week's recipe as well. I have to say, Whole Foods is expensive but I am a fan of the bulk section!

On Sunday morning I woke up early and boiled the wheat berries for about an hour, mixed up the vinaigrette, and let the berries soak while we went to church. I also boiled 3 eggs for the salad knowing I would eat one to make sure they were cooked correctly.
When we got home all I had to do was put the salad together. Outside of boiling the wheat berries (informative article about wheat berries here) the most time consuming part of making this dish was slicing the avocado.

My sweet mother in law was here this week and she was game to try out any of the crazy things I was making. I even thought about making the swordfish recipe for later this month but she did say she wasn't a big fan of swordfish. I put that one on the back burner for another day. She likes avocados and tomatoes so I plated this salad for her. Mine was lacking tomatoes and my hubs was missing avocado. I put the wheatberries on a sandwich for Little Man and Munchkin had everything but tomatoes as well.
The general consensus (outside of Little Man) was that this was a pretty good recipe unless you got a disproportionate amount of wheatberries in one bite.  Munchkin said they were good at first and then not so good. Bobby, Mom, and I all liked it. I do have quite a bit of wheatberry salad left over though so I may be eating it again tomorrow. Do wheatberries go bad? I guess I will find out!
Don't forget to check out all the other Doristas who made this recipe this week! :) Next week Whole Cherry Clafoutis.