On returning to the world, and getting up on time.

You’ve probably noticed – or maybe you haven’t, I don’t know – that I haven’t been around lately. That’s because Cullen and I have moved, yet again. Now I’m realizing a dream because we’re finally at home, my hometown, and I couldn’t be happier. We both have jobs, paid-for vehicles and a house that’s comfortable for us, three dogs and anyone else who may show up. I’ve been working on this for years, literally, and it’s gratifying and humbling to see it realized. At this point, we don’t have Internet at the house or satellite, but that’s to come soon. In the meantime, I’m trying to make up some buffer posts (including white chocolate chip pancake cookies, jam pie, back posts about Louisville and a neat little place in PKY called The Rock), but I haven’t gotten much done on a computer since I’m still working on getting all our boxes unpacked and put away. We’ve got time, though – I don’t plan on moving away from this house for a long, long time.

The purpose of this post, on the other hand, has not very much to do with food and everything to do with 1) saying hello; 2) giving a short shout-out to a friend of mine in Lexington who just started her own food blog, Dancing in the Kitchen; and 3) giving another, longer shout-out to the October Maximize Your Mornings group at Inspired to Action (ItA). ItA is a Christian, mom-centric website run by Kat dedicated to giving moms tips and advice on raising children, keeping house, staying sane and giving back to Him (in addition to other things, of course). Maximize Your Mornings started out as Kat’s free ebook, which focuses on using the quiet early morning as “you-time” – time for coffee, exercise, Bible study and whatever you want to use it for. She has partnered up with Michelle at So I Married a Mennonite to do another MYM challenge for October – if you’re interested in joining up with the rest of us, check out the Week 1 start-up post linked above; #hellomornings, @inspiredtoaction and @michellebygrace on Twitter; and the ItA BlogFrog forum.

See you soon!

Happy Friday Wakeup… Email!

The first thing I do every morning, usually, is check my email, Facebook and HootSuite, usually in that order. I didn’t even have time to check Facebook and HootSuite – my email had a notification in it that I had won a giveaway! Thanks to Jaime at Sophistimom and the awesome folks at Bertolli, I won a Heart of Italy gift package that includes a Cuisinart ice cream maker, a Bialetti espresso machine and coupons for Bertolli frozen meals! How awesome! All these things are going to be extremely useful in my house from the time they come out of the box. I’ve been experimenting with an old Krups machine that my mother gifted me, but it has some issues (although it does possess a frother), and now that summer’s coming up fast, two ice cream makers in the house will be great. Two flavors churning at once! I’m going to have to buy more plastic containers. And ironically enough, my husband and I bought a Bertolli frozen meal last week and loved it! Now we get more chances to try them out (and I don’t have to cook)! Thank you again to Jaime and Bertolli!

In other news, I’m editing the site (again). You might have noticed the new header and therefore, “new” title. I’ve thought for a while that the original was a little long, and I found myself abbreviating it. I figured I’d just drop the extras and whittle it down to bare bones. Now this is boonie foodie – same ol’ blog, just a slightly different name. I’m also going to try my best to go back in the archives and re-write some of the recipes. Inspired by this article on Food Blog Forum, I went back and looked at all my old recipes. Nothing follows a set format, and as a dutiful child of hobby journalism and proper English format, that bothers me. So, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reformatting a few recipes. And last but not least, I’ll be adding a gardening section to the blog as well, under a different page tab, obviously. I don’t have any blank journals to record my gardening attempts in, but I’ve got a perfectly good section of Internet, so why not? I figure it will be there when I need it, encourage anyone who hasn’t started gardening (but wants to) to take off and go, and it will offer a minor record of successes and screwups, so anyone who actually knows what they’re doing can help me out. :) That section will be much less… regimented than this one, if you could call the food side of the blog “regimented.” What I’m trying to say is that the gardening section will be posted as I get to it, while I try to post on something of a schedule as far as the food side goes. (Although I’m failing miserably at that lately. I need a camera of my own. One day.)

A new post should be up this weekend: roasted pork loin and corn fritters. For a throw-together supper, I was pretty impressed with us. See you in a couple of days!

No cooking lately?

If it was feasible, believe me, I would be. As it is, all I’m doing lately is thinking about cooking.That’s about all you can do when your new place is full of boxes, you have no real cooking utensils or apparati, you’re still organizing your kitchen (and reorganizing the pantry for the third time), and you happen to be leaving the state in T-3 days to go home for a week. What’s the point in cooking when it’ll just go bad in storage?

I have a tiny kitchen that, while it kind of scares me with how tiny it really is, I’m itching to test out. (I’ve only made tea and pain perdu, currently. Nothing w.r.t. real food.) Will I be able to cook anything effectively? How am I going to have to change my techniques, my movements, my thought process, to better use my space? I would really like to use my island as it was meant to be used – a cooking and utensil storage space, not a ‘stack-stuff-on-top-because-there’s-nowhere-else-to-put-it’ space. I need a butcher block or cutting board to put on it, first, because I don’t want to slice through the polyurethane. 354 has a slab of white granite on the back of his truck, but I really only want a piece of it for a cold board. A 2’x1′ piece of it would be perfect for making homemade pasta, or slab ice cream scoops, or kneading bread dough… and I like it better than marble. Maybe it’s the country girl in me, but why should I want to pay obscene amounts of money for a slab of rock? Granite and marble are still heavy when you drop them on your foot, and granite is sparkly.

My mother is giving me the old Cuisinart ice cream maker, which thrills me to no end even though I’ll have to store all my freezer goods either in a cooler or clean the freezer altogether before making ice cream so I can store the container. Or use one of the other freezers in the building (I could trade scoops of homemade for freezer space, right?). But I want to make homemade ice cream before the heat leaves (which I never thought I’d say, and in Georgia, I’ve got time). I love making homemade, especially the powerful gourmet vanilla that I’m so fond of.

The photos in this post almost made me tear up, they were so vivid. I wish that I could actually lick the screen and taste the vanilla, because that is what those photos say. ‘Eat me, I’m real!’ Sadly, no; at least, not in a tangible kind of way for me, just for Hannah. (And I’m supremely jealous of her because of that.) After I pushed away all my sadfacing over a lack of that gelato-looking beauty, I read the entry and it got me thinking: How would coconut cream do as an ice cream base? I have two cans sitting in my pantry, waiting patiently to be used in tom kha gai or a silky curry, but it’s too hot as far as I’m concerned. What would the effects of that coconut cream be in my gourmet vanilla? Or a Dutch-process cocoa? Or in a Vietnamese coffee-flavored frozen treat? Cookies and cream? The possibilities could be endless! And delicious!

But what would you have to change?

In the meantime, I bought bologna and cheese last night after karate, so I’d have something to eat for the next few meals of the week while I’m still in Georgia. (Don’t knock it. I’m well aware that bologna, like hot dogs, are made of chicken lips, phonebooks and pig knuckles, and I love it anyway.) I told myself that I wouldn’t buy anything that wouldn’t keep while I was gone – and then I bought a ready-mix bag of salad, and some limes, and two mangoes, and a red onion. I didn’t buy dressing, because I was convinced that I’d make my own damn dressing and it would be tasty. And then I realized that I have no dressing recipes, and my olive oil vinaigrettes never turn out tasting like anything but oil and vinegar. So I’ve been perusing the Internet for salad dressing, and come up with some pretty basic – and some not so basic – recipes that I like. They’re posted with credit under the cut. Tonight I’m going to go home, hard boil some eggs, open and drain a can of black beans and a can of beets, sliver up some sharp cheddar and grate some Parmesan and have a little salad party of my very own. That is, in between unpacking boxes and doing financial accounting spreadsheets and packing my bag(s) for next week.

Never heard of a salad party, have you?

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This might be stupid.

It has little to nothing to do with food. Except for that the blog has to do with food, and this has to do with the blog, so in a six (three?) degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way, this has to do with food.

I’m new to blogging, specfically food blogging, but also to blogging for an audience. That is, after all, what I’m doing: trying to create a reader base to share my recipes, poor-quality photos and anecdotes with (and to read yours in return). So there are some things that I’m unsure about.

Maybe some of you have noticed my apparent penchant for changing the layout every other week. Or that I can’t decide how I want to format my replies to comments (via email, via another comment with attn to the commenter, or inside the actual comment). There are a few other things that I can’t think of that have to do with WordPress that I just need to figure out, and will do with time. But I’d like to ask you, instead.

  1. What kind of theme would you like to see on here? Is the current one okay? Readable?
  2. How should I respond to comments? Inside the original? With a reply-comment? Via email?
  3. What kind of camera would you recommend for a poor, budding food photographer?
  4. What tips and tutorials would you recommend for someone who wanted to learn the best way to photograph food?

Okay, so those last two have little to do with the blog directly. But I’d still like to know. Please respond! I’d like to know your thoughts.

Granola forthcoming.

Tomorrow morning (or afternoon), I will endeavor to replace this post with “Granola – Part Two.” I’ll go ahead and drop a spoiler: Julie’s recipe did not let me down!

Tomorrow is also DB’s 24th birthday. I get the actual birthday dinner (me for the win!) and his family gets Friday night. I bought some thin-cut boneless pork loin chops, whole yellow and white corn (for grilling in the husk) and I have that buttermilk loaf recipe (that you’ve probably heard enough about already in the last two days). Also, I have a recipe for white chocolate creme brulee, the only creme brulee I’ve ever made (and only the second kind I’ve ever eaten). Can you believe I used to hate anything with ‘creme brulee’ listed on it? For some reason in high school, I thought that creme brulee meant… coffee. Don’t ask me where I got that idea. Sometimes my brain goes ‘flicted. He only knows about the creme brulee; he still thinks I’m cooking him steak. I also need to get some baking potatoes… definitely forgot those at the store today.

But anyway, the whole point of this was to say GRANOLA! Tomorrow! Pinky promise!