Disclosure: This Dishin’ It Up – Summer 2018 Edition contains affiliate links, which provides Kitchen Concoctions with referral commissions made through customer purchases at no cost to you. This post also contains some information resulting from complimentary products/events and/or freelance work. See full disclosure below.
WELCOME TO ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF DISHIN’ IT UP – SUMMER 2018 EDITION – WHERE I SHARE MY FAVORITE FOOD AND FUN FROM THE PAST FEW MONTHS!
Happy (almost) fall! I’m here with my monthly (err… quarterly??) Dishin’ It Up series – Dishin’ It Up – Summer 2018 Edition – where I share a tiny peek at a few recent life updates, as well as some of my favorite food and fun (including current reads and favorite things) from the past month (or in this case past few months)!
What I’ve been up to:
In case you missed it, this is summer we welcomed our sweet baby! We are totally loving being parents and are keeping busy with all it entails to be busy working new parents.
When I announced last spring that we were awaiting our little one’s arrival, I shared that I had been busy working hard behind the scenes to get ready to have a baby and keep blogging and working after a short maternity leave. Well, let’s just say things haven’t been going according to plan with all that (as evident by the lack of blog and social media posts); but babes are only little a short amount of time and so I’m soaking up every moment of it. AND, I’m glad you all are sticking with us through this big life change! Thank you!
Even though life has been busy, I did manage to make it out to a few networking events. I was happy I had the chance to attend an ATX Blogger Mixer, hosted by Austin area lifestyle blogger, Jesse Coulter, at the Erin Condren store.
It is always fun to meet new people and this particular event pushed me out of my comfort zone as most of the other bloggers were not food bloggers and I only knew one person!
But I treasure opportunities like this, because when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and put in situations where you are forced to talk to complete strangers in real life (not behind a screen), it can be inspiring and you never know what opportunities or friendships it will bring!
What I’ve been eating:
Since having a baby we haven’t gotten out much to try many new restaurants; but I did have the opportunity to feast with other bloggers, this time food bloggers, at a crawfish boil hosted by Razzoo’s. Crawfish boils are super popular in Texas and Louisiana in late spring and early summer but can be a little bit of work to host yourself. Going to a restaurant like Razzoo’s lets you get your crawfish fix without all the hassle! Plus, if you are new to crawfish, they will walk you through how to eat them. However, I will admit, that a crawfish boil at a restaurant is not quite the same as having one outside with a large group of friends and family enjoying the warm spring weather!
This summer I also tested out the new meal plan service from Snap Kitchen. Even though I love to cook, there are days when I don’t have the time or energy to do so, especially with a new baby. I’ve always loved Snap Kitchen, a food store that offers “grab and go” prepared food, and was quite happy with the convenience this meal plan service provides. Snap Kitchen offers a variety of healthy dishes and the meal plan service allows you to plan 3-5 days of meals based on your dietary needs.
I also got to try super fancy and adorable decorated cookies by local bakery Hayley Cakes. I’m always skeptical of the cute sugar cookies with royal icing because I’ve had some bad ones in my day, but these were good. Really good. They were soft, buttery and sweet but not too sweet, all how a good sugar cookie should be.
What I’ve been reading:
I was doing so well sticking with my new year’s goal to read at least one book a month and then, well, I had a baby and really all hobbies and free time went out the window!
But I did manage to read one book at the beginning of the summer, What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro. This book is was unique and interesting in that it is a historical biography highlighting diets, cooking styles, food trends, entertaining styles, etc. of six famous women throughout history. For the most part I thought this book was extremely fascinating, especially since I’ve spent a lot of time studying the history of certain dishes and recipes; as well as have always been drawn to a woman’s role in history.
However, there were a few small parts of the book that were a little dull and I lost interest, causing me to skim over those parts. Even with that said, I would still recommend this book if you are into food, history and the evolving role of a woman in our culture over time!
What I’ve been watching:
Summer TV bores me (thank goodness all my shows are coming back next week!) but I did find a couple of shows to keep me entertained over the past few months.
First, have you all heard of A Chef’s Life? It’s been on PBS for years, but sadly I just discovered it late last spring and the last season is airing this fall. Luckily PBS plays reruns of a lot of its shows so I’ve been able to see many episodes over the past few months.
If you haven’t seen A Chef’s Life, it is about chef Vivian Howard and her restaurant in a small town in North Carolina. The show, and her restaurant, focuses on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients, classic southern recipes and traditions; as well as updated takes on classic recipes. Being a chef from the south, of course I love this show as I can relate to it so much; but I can guarantee you’ll love it too!
After seeing first hand the devastation hurricanes cause, after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last year, my heart hurts to see North and South Carolina dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence right now. If you feel inclined, consider making a small donation to help our neighbors in need.
We also watched the Hulu series Castle Rock. Have you seen it? No spoiler alerts here, but if you like shows with mysterious, thrilling plot lines, you’ll like this show!
What I’ve been loving:
1. I recently discovered the blog The Pancake Princess and immediately started following. Erika, the author of The Pancake Princess, shares recipes on her blog, but what drew me in were her Bake Off Challenges. This is where she takes a popular dessert/baked good, say brownies, pancakes, pumpkin pie, etc., and makes 8-10 hugely popular recipes for these baked goods. She then has 30 or so friends blind taste test each version and they vote on different things like taste and appearance. Erika then writes up a lengthy blog post with the results, which includes charts, pie graphs and photos.
My friends and I have done something like this before, but have done blind taste tests of favorite store bought items, like vanilla ice cream and salsa, but I’ve always wanted to do a taste test like this to find the “best of” for popular recipes. However, that takes a lot of work and ingredients; so, I’m glad I discovered The Pancake Princess and can follow along on Erika’s Bake Off adventures!
2. If you are in central Texas this weekend, consider competing in the Oodles of Noodles Cookoff, benefiting the non-profit the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. If cooking is not your thing, then buy a ticket and go taste your way through a variety noodle of dishes inspired by flavors from around the world. The event is this Sunday, September 23rd from 2-4 pm at The Brew and Brew in Austin, Texas. P.S. The first 50 people in the door get a free swag bag with some awesome swag and coupons!
3. I LOVED this pregnancy journal from Erin Condred!! It has pages for you to plan your baby shower and registry, plan what to pack in your hospital bag, plan your baby to do list and then has a page for each week of your pregnancy with baby facts, places for you to make notes about how you are feeling and even include an ultrasound photo. This was a fun way to make each week of the pregnancy go by and document all the changes.
Erin Condred also makes a baby journal; however, I was really disappointed in it. It is more of a journal to log feedings, diaper changes, etc. and I was hoping for something that would prompt me to write down baby milestones. SO, if you know of something like this PLEASE let me know!
Kitchen Concoctions around the web:
I know I haven’t been posting as much here on Kitchen Concoctions, but I have been working hard hustling and trying to find my way as a work from home and a work outside the home Mom. And even though my posts here and on social media have been spotty, at best, I’ve had my regular on going freelance writing gigs going on.
The past few months I’ve shared two new posts over on White Cloud World Teas. First up 10 Vegan Dessert Recipes and Tea Pairings that are perfect for any summer brunch or fall gathering! And since it’s been so hot lately, I shared a tutorial on How To Make Loose Leaf Iced Tea, plus a round up of 10 Flavorful Iced Tea recipes.
Then on the SoFab Food blog I shared two of our favorite recipes – Raspberry Kiwi Smoothies and Lemon Lime Grilled Chicken. We LOVE grilling in the summer and this Lemon Lime Grilled Chicken is SUPER tender and juicy. As for the Raspberry Kiwi Smoothie, it has been my go to breakfast for months now as it is packed with fiber and probiotics.
Well, after 1,600+ words, that’s it for now! LOL! What have you been up to lately? Share in the comments below!
For more up to the minute peeks into my favorite eats and fun, follow Kitchen Concoctions on Instagram!
*Disclosure: I am a paid SoFab Food and White Cloud World Tea contributor. I was invited to a special media event for Razoos and received complimentary food and drinks. I am a Snap Kitchen partner and earn a small commission for referrals. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. No other products and places mentioned in this post are sponsors or part of any partnerships, I just love sharing what I’ve been up to and some of my favorite things as part of my Dishin’ It Up series! All thoughts and opinions are my own. To read more about my disclosure polices, click here.