Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where I’ve Been…

Hollllllllllla’ y’all!

Goodness gracious it’s been a long time. Let me just clean these, uh, cobwebs off the ol’ blog.
What’s my login again?

There’s lots of reasons people take breaks from blogging – burnout, lack of motivation, life changes, lots of stuff, ya feel me?
And for a person with undiagnosed ADHD like me (heh), you can imagine what it’s like  when you have 320 tabs open in your brain, and you don’t know where to look next. Ha.

First, I needed a fresh bloggie makeover. I was so fortunate to work with Ana Maria Ciolacu of Visual Pixie. I found her on Etsy and she’s in ITALLLY!? WHAAA?

*my blog has been Italian designed?* YUHESS.

I AM SO CRAZY EXCITED about my new blog banner! I’ve refined my vision.
The Hill Country Cook is a little half hippie, half southern, ya know?
Born in California, but got my little bootie to Texas just as fast as I could.

(Hey, my momma’s got roots here, so I get some cred, k?)

It perfectly captures my sign-off “Peace, Love, and Cooking, Y’all!”

ANYhow, so, girl has a fresh new blog, and a fresh new life.
Well, what’s new with me, you ask?

Welllll…….

  1. We bought a house. Wow. Being a homeowner is crazy. Exciting, but so full of stress, too. Latest project: Operation National Lampoon’s Christmas Light Special.

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2. We got married! Best. Day. Of. My. Life. Period.

 

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3. I got a new job! I’m a middle school counselor, and I get to… COUNSEL KIDS. My current position doesn’t have a lot of the paperwork associated with my counseling jobs in the past. I LOVE IT.

AND I love the people I work with. How many people get to say that?

 

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Also spread out in that year and a half, we got a dog, went to Chicago, went to Costa Rica, I accidentally dyed my hair black, & went to Thailand, San Francisco, and New Orleans.

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Wow. I guess I do have a lot to write about.

 

~ Peace, Love, and fresh starts, y’all!

xoxo

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OXO #WhatAGrillWants

oxo grill 2

Y’all ready for some BBQ? My boyfriend and I grilled up some ribs on the Green Egg this weekend, and I used my new supplies sent to me by OXO.

You would have DIED y’all. Not only does the Green Egg create amazing, mouth-watering BBQ, but my OXO tools sealed the deal.

Anything we’ve cooked on the Green Egg has come out to perfection with little to no effort. We’ve done steaks, brisket, and this time, fall off the bone ribs, y’all.

We started with a dry rub of brown sugar and spices, and then glazed a homemade concoction of BBQ sauce at the end. These ribs were perfect with a crispy, crunchy coating, and moist, tender meat.

green egg, grilling green egg, oxo grilling supplies, #whatagrillwants

Now let me tell you about my OXO tools, y’all. I’m 100% honest when I say I wouldn’t brag about a product unless I truly appreciated its worth and value in my kitchen. I have consistently been pleased and impressed with the quality of any OXO product I’ve bought, in addition to impressed by their customer service and attention to detail. If an OXO product breaks, they’ll be happy to replace it for you.

I’ve also gotten the chance to speak with various OXO representatives from the company, and they tell me *real* stories of meeting the engineers of their products to discuss advantages and disadvantages of various products, and how to better improve them.

They’ve really thought of it all! I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in this summer’s #WhatAGrillWants campaign, and they sent me a variety of products to play with. I received a bladed meat tenderizer (which I really want to make a great Chicken Fried Steak with), Little Salad Dressing Shaker, Corn Stripper, Silicone Basting Brush, and 16″ tongs.

For this particular summer cook-out, I decided to use the Silicone Basting Brush, and 16″ tongs. The basting brush has little gaps in the center bristles to hold liquids for easy spreading, and tapered bristles to baste with ease. The angled head has a comfortable ergonomic feel, and keeps the bristles off the counter top when resting (YES!). Best yet for BBQ, it’s heat resistant to 600 degrees.

You wouldn’t think a basting brush would be a big deal, but I was amazed at how easily it really worked. Also, the silicone bristles made clean-up a BREEZE!

The 16″ tongs came in handy; it’s extra long handle kept our hands out of the fire when moving around our ribs. These tongs have non-slip handles, comfortable finger rests which make it easy to lift and rotate meat, and it locks closed for easy, compact storage.

 

I’ll be sure to share what I use my other products for, perhaps a grilled corn and avocado salad?! Mmm…..

Try an OXO product next time you see it, I often see them at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, and Kohl’s.

~Peace, Love, and BBQ Y’all!

**Ooooh, just a little FYI, I’ll be traveling to THAILAND Y’ALL, in July, so stay tuned for pics of THAT trip and food. IMSOEXCITED.

 

 

*Although I was given these products by OXO, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Howdy all! My new friend Fabi from Not Just Baked invited me and Meagan along on this neat post, and I was excited to accept. Blogging is definitely something that look VASTLY different between each blogger, so it’s very interesting to read about each person’s process.

Fabi and I met at the Blog Her Food convention this past May in Miami, and boy did we tear it up. We met at the Sabra party late one night, and laughed till we cried over some silly game on the iPad, that I can’t remember for the life of me what it was…. guess you had to be there.  It was like a Catch Phrase of sorts where you had to speak in accents and quote movies, and.. and.. we laughed so hard at 1 am that someone may or may not have fallen over the back of a couch.

NO, it was not me.

The cool small world effect comes when Fabi and I realize we both are from Sacramento, but now live in different places, and went to neighboring high schools, know some of the same people -ish, graduated the same year. It was an awesome convo… guess you had to be there. Heh.

Ok, onto to the writing process tour. Here are the Ms. America-styled four required questions:

*water, please. Ahem.*

1) What am I working on?

That’s a big question. I’m working on posting more regularly. I’m not sure what’s holding me back, I still love food, cook all the time, still love taking pictures, still love telling stories about it…. but the whole plugging the camera into the computer and putting it all together thing has really got me stuck this past year… I went through some major life changes a year ago, but this year has been filled a great job, I love where I live, great friends and relationships, I have absolutely nothing to complain about, and have fallen into a rhythm and routine – so now I just need to add blogging back into that. Great things happen when you put the time and energy into it, so I need to get back into it!

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I would say my quirky, conversational tone in my writing style sets me apart from other bloggers. I like to think my niche includes some  small town, quirky charm, filled with old stained, vintage recipes, but I’m not afraid to throw in some quinoa every now and again.

We all come from different backgrounds, and have different stories to tell. Cooking is definitely something that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family, and it’s part of what builds our relationships. I have many great memories watching my mother and grandmother cook, and my grandma letting me roll out crooked pie dough and calling it BEAUTIFUL!

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I love telling a story! Depending on who you ask, their answer may differ in how actually funny they think the story is, but I love, love, love reading an old recipe and wondering what story is that went along with it. Take for example, my Great Aunt Dororthy’s coconut cake. Every time she talks about that dang cake, she tells me about working in the fields, picking cotton and cucumbers, and how Momma made them that sweet cake, and they tied it up in a pillowcase and hung it from a tree branch, saving it for their after lunch snack. Well come to find out, many hot and sweaty hours later, the HORSE had gotten into that cake, had cake and coconut smeared all his furry face. And every single time she tells me that dang story, I crack up laughing, picturing my ol’ granny and her two crazy sisters going crazy over this horse that just ate their cake.

It’s those kinds of kitchen stories that keep me coming back for more, that keep me sharing recipes between friends and readers. Food is all about relationships. And love. And life.

4) How does your writing process work?

I don’t think I have a process, and that’s probably part of my problem. I would probably, no, most definitely be categorized as one of those creative types, that isn’t so good at managing the business side of their business. Every one has room for growth, right? That would explain why I always discover a recipe I want to cook for Valentine’s Day in JULY, and I’ll post it anyways. It’s quirky, sheesh. *winks*

Typically, though, I just cook or bake what I’m in the mood for, snap a picture of it if or when I get time, and post it, sometimes weeks later. Again, I realize this process could use some polishing. I do, though, have a notes page on my phone of dishes I want to make from past trips, or a great meal I want to recreate from going out…. WHICH, by the way, I’m going to Thailand here in a couple weeks, so stay tuned for THOSE pictures and meals. IMSOEXCITED I can hardly breathe.

I hope y’all enjoyed  this insight into a blogger’s life, and keep your eyes peeled for other great bloggers on the tour!

~Peace, Love, and Writing Y’all!