Ok, so I’m a few weeks late on this post… but it was a monster to write up and I’m badly in need of a new computer, so I’ve been avoiding anything that needs to be done on my computer, like photo editing.
In the Kitchen & Beyond!
This spring saw heavy comfort foods get kicked to the curb in favor of lighter options. We grill out at least twice a week. I usually keep it simple with a salt and pepper rub or a store-brought marinate, but this Apple Butter Pork Tenderloin from Eazy Peazy Mealz has been a favorite for the past couple of years. I also revamped an old standby – Chicken Scaloppini Saltimbocca – with new photos and some post revisions, as the post was super old and badly needed a face lift.
I’ve also enjoyed making several summery beverages at home. I could drink this super light Strawberry Basil Darjeeling Iced Tea all summer. And this Pomegranate Grapefruit Vodka Martini – a twist on the classic cosmo – is so good that I can’t keep the ingredients on hand, otherwise I might enjoy a cocktail every night.
Food-related but beyond the kitchen, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I attended the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando, FL last month (a few photos from the weekend above). It was my first time attending but it was the conference’s 5th year (congrats to Isabel and the #SundaySupper Movement on this milestone!). I had a blast and could seriously write several posts on the amazing bloggers I met, the wonderful food, the inspiring stories, and the important lessons learned. Instead of that, I’ll give you some highlights and references.
- Food and Wine Conference official website – so that you can watch for next year’s event.
- Representatives from Certified Angus Beef, Florida Strawberries, and Florida Dairy Association participated in panels where I gained insight into the families that support U.S. agriculture and produce. The passion that these representatives showed was amazing. It makes me realize how much I still have to learn about how this portion of the economy works, to include sustainability. It also made me appreciate those that support these businesses even more, as family businesses, with every member of the family participating.
- On a more business front, today really is the digital age, where microinfluencers (bloggers like yours truly) and social media rockstars bring as much to the table for brands and big name companies – if not more – than formal advertising. Stay true to yourself but recognize the power you have.
- I have pages of notes on how to shoot videos, which is starting to overtake traditional still photography as critical aspects of food blogging. I’ve always found the prospect super intimidating but a couple of helpful talks and lots of Q&A have helped get me over the hurdle. After the conference, I even made and published my first video!
- Look for opportunities to not just improve, but to pivot. Where can expertise gained from blogging, recipe development, photography, etc. be used to change your direction in the future?
On My Bookshelf
I read quite a bit in early spring, with my pace slowing down as the weather grew nicer. However, most of what I read this spring were knock-outs that I loved. As usual, you can follow what I’m reading in real time on Goodreads, but if you’re not on Goodreads, here are some of my favorites from this spring:
- The Freedom Broker (by K.J. Howe) – Howe’s debute novel, this mystery/suspense novel starred a kidnap-and-ransom expert searching for her kidnapped father
- The Great Library Series (by Rachel Caine) – a young adult series with lots of action, it is based on an alternate version of history.
- The Women in the Castle (by Jessica Shattuck) – a historical fiction novel set in Nazi Germany, about three widows surviving the way and rebuilding their lives
I’m now anxiously awaiting the third book in The Great Library series, which was released a few days ago. I should get it as soon as the book arrives at and gets processed into my local library.
Ever since we moved into this house (almost 5 years ago), I’ve wanted my own garden. I did small boxes of herbs a year or two, but this year, I finally got the garden I’ve wanted. I owe my hubby big time for building the raised bed.
We planted a couple varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, jalapeno, serrano peppers, baby bell peppers, and an assortment of herbs. I’m honestly amazing at how well the garden is doing. I’ve had to restake the tomato plant that were toppling under the weight of the green tomatoes. I’ve had to relocate some herbs that were overtaken by the zucchini. I’ve already harvested a couple of baby bell peppers, a half dozen tomatoes, and two zucchini. Not to mention the sage leaves I froze and the two batches of both cilantro and basil pesto I made and stashed in my freezer.
But the best part of the garden is how much my little ones love it. I have daily helpers watering, weeding, and looking for ripe vegetables to pick. My daughter – the World’s Pickiest Eater – took pleasure in picking the first baby bell pepper and taking a huge bite out of it. And then a second and a third bite! Definitely a win in my book.
Crafting has slowed this spring, as travel, time outside, and other stuff have picked up. I did finish and gift a baby blanket to my dear sister-in-law, who had her second son this spring. (Two boys, under 15 months apart – she’s like Superwoman!)
I’m in the middle of what feels like a zillion projects – a crochet blanket, a knit pillow case, a knit poncho, a knit shawl, a couple of counted cross stitch Christmas stockings, a couple of digital and paper scrapbooks… I either haven’t been able to focus on anything for very long due to attention span or to travel (I try to bring small projects with me, if any) or have just been too busy to pick any up. A couple projects are near completion or are just super easy, so I’m hoping to finish a few this summer, but we’ll see if that happens. It’s shaping up to be a busy summer with either travel or house guests almost every other week.
I hope you all had a wonderful spring and have a great summer lined up!
All the Best!