This week I sat in on a conference call with Amy Thielan, author and host of Heartland Table on The Food Network. Myself and a handful of other bloggers were able to ask her questions about her experience in New York restaurants, writing a cookbook and hosting her own cooking show on The Food Network.
First and foremost, Amy is a mom. She had a successful career working in high profile restaurants in New York City when she decided to trade it in for a normal midwestern life. When she became pregnant with her son she knew the stressful, fast paced lifestyle of New York restaurants no longer worked for her. She moved back to her roots in Minnesota and started a new career as a columnist and cookbook author.
After Amy moved to Minnesota she started writing for newspapers. She had a regular food column in her local small town paper and it was that success that helped her spring board into cookbook author and eventually cooking show host. She had a blog but it wasn’t very successful because she didn’t put the time and effort into it that it required. Instead she focused on traditional print media. I found that really interesting because now a days it seems that there are so many cooks who have an online presence that the two seem to go hand in hand.
Amy’s mom played a large role in her love for cooking and food. Her mom was a stay at home mom and always in the kitchen. Family conversations often revolved around what they were eating, what they were going to eat next, what they ate last week. I get it. When I’m on vacation with my parents the first thing we decide when we are eating breakfast is where we are going to eat lunch. Then at lunch the topic of discussion is where we will eat dinner. Other families do that too, right? I talk to my mom on a very regular basis and almost ever conversation involves something about what we have made recently in the kitchen. It’s just a part of life.
One thing I took away from this call was that I could never, ever work in a fancy-schmancy restaurant. 12 to 18 hour days, high stress, scrutiny, hazing. No thank you. I’ll stick to my little family kitchen. Negative critiques from my 9 year old are more than enough for me, thank you very much.
Amy’s show, Heartland Table, starts this month, Saturday, March 8, 10:30 am ET/PT on The Food Network. Check it out
You may or may have not noticed that I have gotten a little vlog bug. Better watch out because it is contagious. I enjoyed putting together my lasagna vlog and the grits vlog with my mom so much that I decided it would be fun to do a chat show.
The unofficial name of the show is Hugs, Kisses and Friends. The idea is to just chit chat with friends about topics they care about or find funny or find interesting. I’ve started with one of my best friends, Christine. Christine and I have known each other since 1996 (maybe 1997) when we met in the University Choir at the University of Oklahoma. We have been fast friends ever since. Interesting factoid…the choir director at the time is still conducting us to this day. Only it’s not in the University Choir any more, it’s the church choir.
In our inaugural chat show we talk about Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it and Christine pretty much just hates it. One thing about Facebook that I didn’t get to talk about in the show is the bloggers dependance in Facebook and social media. It’s every bloggers dream for one of their posts to “go viral”. Next thing you know the Huffington Post picks it up and then all of a sudden your numbers are through the roof. Without Facebook and other social media, going viral would be really tough. There also seems to be this success litmus test for bloggers. How many “likes” for followers do you have? Bloggers with likes that can end in “k” love to show that number off. And so they should. Bloggers who don’t have very many followers (like me) think of all sorts of ways to justify the low number.
Anyhoo – Facebook is a necessary evil when it comes to being a blogger. Whether you love it or not, you must embrace it.
So, what do you think? Do you love Facebook? Are you guilty of the over share or the vague share? Are you addicted? Are you a lurker and never post anything? Let us know, seriously. We’re interested.
I’ve discovered something over the past 3 years (3 years?!?) of blogging. You make friends online. Good friends that you may never meet in person, but still really good friends. Bloggers love to support each other. I’ve found one of those good, supportive friends in Chris at The Mom Cafe. Sister is constantly lifting up her fellow bloggers, sharing their posts, commenting all over the place. And today I have the honor of being a guest blogger on her site.
At The Mom Cafe I’m sharing something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Where is the grace for the good girls? I’ve heard speakers tell their grizzly stories of sin and debotchery and then how grace made them whole again. Well, what about those of us who don’t really have a steamy story to tell or a shady past?
Please hope on over to The Mom Cafe to discover my thoughts on grace for the good girls. Then I would love to hear from you. Have you always been a good girl or do you have skeletons in the closet? Either way there is grace enough for us all.
I’ll keep this short so you can get back to whatever important internet surfing you were doing. You know, scrolling through FB, reading Onion articles, uploading selfies. Life changing stuff.
1. Saturday morning I was enjoying coffee and a store bought muffin in my robe and slippers. Half way through the muffin I felt a hair in my mouth. I was about to be disgusted (and already mentally composing a strongly worded letter to the store) when I discovered it was my dog’s hair. Whew #narrowlyescapedthatone
2. No amount of vacuuming will pick up the dead leaves and grass brought in by those tromping in and out of my house. #thecrossibear
3. I’ve decided what I’m going to do for Lent this year. I’m already dreading the next 40 days and thinking of loop holes. #jesusrollinghiseyes
4. Last month I participated in an art walk with my fabric mosaic art. Not one thing sold. Not one. The next day I emailed a boutique owner in my parent’s small town and sold the lot to her. #takethatsnobbyartcommunity
5. I agreed to participate in a Neilson TV viewing survey thinking it would be kinda interesting to record what we watched all week. Turns out the only thing we watched were the same three DVRed episodes of Jungle Junction. #thatwasawasteoftime
Today I was introduced to Brene’ Brown. Well, not literally introduced to her in person. I new friend turned me on to her wisdom. I watched her TED Talk video about vulnerability. Twice. As she was talking about human connection she defined courage as telling your story with your whole heart. Whoa. It hit me and I scrambled for my scratch pad and a pencil.
If courage means telling your story using your whole heart then that means being vulnerable. Nobody really likes being vulnerable because we associate it with weakness. Allowing others to see us for who we really are is scary. But in order to make connections, discover who we are, do something new, take a chance, we have to put ourselves out there; showing vulnerability. That takes courage.
So in order to have courage to do something really hard (like tell someone how we really feel about them, go back to school, starting a new career) we must show some vulnerability. Because doing something really hard exposes us to the prospect of failure and facing our fears takes a lot of courage. It’s a cycle of courage, vulnerability, courage that me need to experience each time we want to authentically tell our story and live wholehearted.
There is so much more in this Brene Brown Ted Talk than just defining courage. She deconstructs vulnerability, why we fear it and how we mask it. Good stuff here, people. Take 20 minutes, you won’t regret it.
You know what I love? Jiffy cornbread mix. When I was a kid I made this with my mom all the time. Except she would add an extra egg and half a cup of sugar and turn it into a cornbread cake. Food purists, you have every right to your opinion and I know what you think about Jiffy. That’s why you have your blogs and I have mine.
One chilly fall day I stood in front of the pantry waiting for some magical dinner fairy to make dinner for me. It didn’t happen. Then my eyes fell on the Jiffy box and a few sweet potatoes. Eureka! I whipped up some mashed sweet potatoes, put it in a baking dish then poured Jiffy mix around it. Ta-da! Sweet potato and cornbread mashup was born. Show choirs have their pop song mashups. I have perfect food combination mashups.
Sweet Potato and Cornbread
A perfect blend of mashed sweet potatoes and cornbread.
About a year ago I heard about this thing called Listen To Your Mother. It’s a show where women from all walks of life read their story on stage. In front of real people. Anything about moms, mothering, being a mother, having a mother, grandmothers, etc. There are shows all over the country and last year was the first year Oklahoma City had a show. In order to participate in the show you need to audition. I thought about it last year and then realized that the weekend of the show I would be on a trip…with my own mother. Ah, the irony. So I forgot about it. Until a couple of months ago.
I saw on the FB that submissions for the Oklahoma City show were being accepted. I wrote something, at midnight, and submitted it. Dear Husband and an English major friend of mine were the only people who saw my submission, so they could edit it. I didn’t tell anybody about it because I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get chosen to audition.
Then a funny thing happened. I was asked to do a live audition of my piece. I convinced myself that only 3 people submitted and they were desperate so that’s why they asked me.
So I did my live read, via FaceTime (it’s a long story). Dear Husband and I were hanging with some friends in a posh hotel when all of this happened. As the day was winding down and we were drinking wine another funny thing happened. I got a call that I was part of the cast. What? For reals? The wine and fancy hotel combined with the acceptance phone call and I started to feel like a celeb. I started to watch my phone for a call from David Letterman’s office. Or GMA at the very least. I’m expecting a call from Ellen. Any. Minute. Now.
So, on May 4th, I’m going to read my essay along with 14 other women in front of a audience. If you are in Oklahoma city I would love, love, love, love, love for you to be there with me. Details on tickets as we get closer to the date.
You’re not the only person in this house and not everything revolves around you.
This is a statement that I say to my 9 year old on a regular basis. He’s selfish and self-absorbed, it’s called being a kid. We teach our kids from day one that they are the most amazing thing in the world and then when they start to act like it we get frustrated with their behavior. It’s nothing new. Over time they have to unlearn the concept they they are not the center of the universe. It’s a hard lesson to unlearn. Heck, I’m still unlearning it.
When my kids don’t jump up and race to get their shoes on the second I say it, I’m seriously put out because I said it and it should be so. Why can’t they understand that I’m in charge and they should be waiting with baited breath for my next command? When I arrive at a doctor appointment on time and then they make me sit in a cold room for 45 minutes my anxiety level is through the roof. By the time I walk out of their I’m ready to convert to some religious group that doesn’t believe in seeing doctors because “this is just ridiculous”. When I’m in a hurry and need to get somewhere 5 minutes ago and find myself behind some slowpoke driver I understand what the term road rage really means. How dare they take a Sunday drive on a Wednesday morning. And who takes Sunday drives any more any way? Don’t they know that I have places to be? How dare the wind blow so hard. Doesn’t it know that I am sick and tired of looking like a dust bowl rag-a-muffin all the time? Geez.
In all of these circumstances (and so many more) it’s all about me. I’m being inconvenienced in some way, my time is more valuable than theirs, my hard work and plans are not being appreciated.
Last week I was having a bad day. The universe seemed to be conspiring against me and on top of that my goals and plans seemed to be at a stand still. I was having a serious pity party. I cried out to God for help. Amidst all that anguish a friend popped into my head. I friend who I knew was having a worse day than me. I knew that I needed to pray for her instead. So I did and tears flowed. I realized that no matter my circumstance there is always going to be someone who is having a worse day than me. It’s not always all about me. It’s humbling and we all need a little humility every now and then.
Newsflash, I haven’t figured out all of my problems. The doubt and angst is still there but it’s not so overwhelming. It ebbs and flows and that’s okay. I’m sure that I will continue to become enraged at slow drivers and incensed at the wait at the doctors office (I mean, seriously, that really is just rediculous). I have no doubt that I will become an insane woman when I have to ask my kids 15 times to get their shoes on. Nobody ignored Capt. Picard when he said make it so, I want to have that much power.
However, I will think twice when my pity party drags me down. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it’s not all about me.
I’m back this Wednesday co-hosting the Mommy Is Coocoo Google Plus link party. I’ve been participating in this blog hop/link party since before December and already have grown my G+ exposure by leaps and bounds. Over 300 people have me in their circles and I have over 400 people in my circles. All thanks to this link party.
When it comes to G+ there is definitely a learning curve. I’m still figuring things out but every week it gets a little more clear. One of my biggest stumbling blocks is what is the difference between Facebook and Google+? This post by Mommy Mentionables does a great job of breaking down Facebook vs. Google+.
So, if you’re a blogger please join me on Google+ today. Here’s how it works:
Is one of your 2014 blog goals to grow your presence (circles) on google+? I hope you’ll join us every other Wednesday for the google+ link party. Google+ is the place to be for better SEO and increased website exposure. Welcome to the mommy is coocoo Google+ Link Party HOP!
My mom came for a visit this weekend. The big boys were away on a ski trip so it was just us, Harry and the dog. Whenever my parents come to visit it’s always a nice combo of eating in and eating out. We both love to cook but love eating out just as much. They live in a small town so the restaurant options are limited.
I knew I wanted to make Cheese Grits this weekend and planned ahead by buying Fontina cheese and Gruyere cheese on my last shopping trip.
Some observations about this vlog…the lighting is really terrible because most of this was done in the evening. I’ve told myself that I’m just keeping it real and you, dear reader, would much rather see something genuine rather than an over produced video. Right???
Harry may have seemed happy to gobble up his cheese grits but we’ve discovered he’s quite a little actor when the camera was on him. After that he decided cheese grits weren’t for him. He’s more of a ham kinda guy.
Bring water to a boil. Add 1 Tbs. salt. Slowly pour in grits while whisking. Simmer on low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butter and stir until combined. Add cheese and incorporate until melted. Add white pepper, Tabasco and salt to taste.
Serve with crumbled bacon or chopped ham that has been quickly sautéed in butter.
By Stephanie Clinton
Hugs, Kisses and Snot http://hugskissesandsnot.com/