Friday, July 30, 2010

Foodie Blogger Interview

Today's foodie blogger is:

Heather Jones

"The Foodie Princess"!

When and why did you start your foodie blog?
I started the blog back in 2007 as a cheap website for the private chef business I was starting. But shortly thereafter I found out I was pregnant with my second child and decided to put the business idea on hold. The Foodie Princess just became another food blog after that. I continued blogging pretty regularly until 2008 than I stopped because I picked up a gig as a regular contributor on the website Project Foodie, which also led to me contributing to the website Cooking Up a Story. I've been featured on Canning Across America and have appeared on Martha Stewart Radio. I re-launched the Foodie Princess blog earlier this month because quite frankly I missed the freedom that having your own blog allows. I still write regularly over at Project Foodie, in addition I'm teaching cooking classes to at-risk youth and doing some recipe development/testing for a few cookbook authors.

Did you teach yourself to cook?
No, I was raised by my mother who was single and my maternal grandparents. My grandmother discouraged me from spending time in the kitchen, she wanted me to go to college and become some hot shot corporate type, so whenever I wanted to help out in the kitchen she'd tell me to go upstairs and read a book. Occasionally I would get to spend time in the kitchen with my grandfather who was a Food Service Director/Caterer/Restaurant Owner. I decided to go to Culinary School after I had been working at Williams-Sonoma as a manager, it was there that I realized just how passionate I was about food. I graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education (Peter Kumps New York Cooking School) in New York City back in 2000.

What's your favorite dish/dessert to make?
I don't really have a favorite because I'm constantly trying something new either of my own creation or testing something for someone else. But I do find myself making homemade pizza on a fairly regular basis and everyone that's ever tasted it tells me I have a real talent for it. I have an aunt who often talks about opening up her own bake/gift shop and she says I have to make pizza to sell in her shop. As for dessert, I love making ice cream. My ice cream maker is probably my most used kitchen appliance.

Who are your favorite foodie bloggers?
Wow there are so many, but the ones I regularly keep up with are Molly Wizenberg (Orangette), Tara Austen Weaver (Tea & Cookies), Heidi Swanson (101 Cookbooks), Susan Russo (Food Blogga), and Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan and her gang from The Kitchn. Those girls are also true writers in addition to being Food bloggers.

What foodie blogger (if any) do you secretly wish you were?
This questions seems a little "Single White Female" don't want anyone to think I'm stalking them. It would have to be Molly Wizenberg, first of all she's beautiful. She has an adorable husband, is an incredible writer and is the owner of new restaurant that's doing exceptionally well. She just seems like she's very genuine and a lot of fun. Maybe I'll get to hang out with her one day.

Any advice for newbie foodie bloggers?
Just getting back into the blogging game myself I feel like there is still so much for me to learn. Number one I would have to say you can only do this if you truly love it because not everyone lands a book deal, or a tv show or has a 100k hits a day. When you're truly enjoying it that passion you have for food just leaps off the screen. Two, network like crazy, the blogsphere is a fun place and I've been blessed to meet some incredible people. Although sometimes it may seem like everyone is out for self, you would be surprised how many successful bloggers there are who will "pay it forward" to help you get to where you want to be.

Lastly, take your time to really develop your voice, and find your niche. Its not all going to happen at once, and with all of the food blogs out there you can start to feel like you have to keep up but that's not going to get you anywhere, work at your own pace and do what works for you. Good photos and recipes that really work aren't a bad thing to have

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Featured Foodie

I'm starting a new series called, Featured Foodie. this week's Foodie Blog is Catherine from Weelicious.

Her blog is filled with great recipes and photos to match! Take it away, Catherine!

When and why did you start your foodie blog?
When I had my son, I had no idea when and what to feed him. I have always been a big foodie and attending culinary school, but when it comes to feeding a baby I didn't know where to start. I began testing all kinds of baby food purees with foods from our local farmers market and educating myself about how to get kids to love a variety of healthy foods from day one!

Did you teach yourself to cook?
I attended the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC, but I've been cooking since I was a child.

What's your favorite dish/dessert to make?
Right now it's Peach Crumble. I'm obsessed with the sweet peaches at our farmers market!
Who are your favorite foodie bloggers?
Gluten Free Girl, Simply Recipes, Laura's Best Recipes, Steamy Kitchen and David Lebovitz

What foodie blogger (if any) do you secretly wish you were?
I'm happy just being me :)
Any advice for newbie foodie bloggers?
Get yourself educated and involved in social media (facebook, twitter, flickr) asap!!
Would you like to be featured? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Strawberry and Chocolate Cupcakes-A Celebration.

My daughter's baby shower was yesterday and we went with pink and brown for the theme. We wanted to do cupcakes instead of a boring cake.

We went with a mixture of strawberry and chocolate cupcakes and put chocolate frosting on the strawberry cupcakes and strawberry frosting on the chocolate cupcakes. I came up with the idea of putting fresh strawberries on top of each of them at the last minute and it really added to the look.

I love the cupcake holders that Michaels carries, so I picked up one and we made it the centerpiece.

The bowl at the bottom of the photo is just some salsa in case you were wondering. For variety, I wanted some simple appetizers, so I scoured the Internet and found a recipe for these.

They are called French Dip Appetizers. I used Ritz crackers instead of wheat thins. They went fast. We still ended up with lots of leftovers because we had a lot of girls cancel, so I sent them all home with little mama.

Big brother will surely help her with eating them!

Make it:

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream together:
2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces)1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)1 cup light brown sugar (7-3/4 ounces)
4 large eggs (one at a time)6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chocolate should be melted, then cooled for approximately 15 minutes before being added)
Add and alternate:
2 cups cake flour (9-1/4 ounces)1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cupcake paper into each cup of 2 muffin pans (each pan yielding 12 muffins). Then fill each cup with 1 leveled off scoop of an ice cream scooper.
Bake at 350°F in regular oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Yields 24 to 27 cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes Recipe

10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon strawberry extract
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries, drained

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease 12 cupcake pan cups or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the strawberry extract. Combine the self-rising flour and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in strawberries last. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with desired frosting.

Frosting-I used ready-made.


French Dip Appetizers Recipe


Roast beef lunch meat

Box of Ritz crackers

Block of chedder cheese

Container of fried onions

Directions: Place crackers on serving tray or plate. Tear off an inch of roast beef slice and fold over and place on cracker; repeat for all crackers. Slice thin slices of cheese and cut into one inch squares and place on each cracker. Place in microwave and set timer for 15 secs or just until cheese melts. Take out and put a couple of fried onions on each cracker as topping.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Whipped Lime Yogurt Dessert

After making the pound cake a couple of days ago, I found myself with lots of pound cake left over. In our house, I'm the one with the big sweet tooth, but I was not going to eat that whole thing. What to do with tons of pound cake in a house of non-sweet-eating-people?

I checked the fridge and found a container of lime flavored whipped yogurt and thought, why not? So, I opened it and got out the pound cake. I took the pound cake and cut up some squares and layered them in a small dessert glass, alternating with a layer of yogurt.

This is what I got.

You can't really see the lime green color of the yogurt in the photos, but the lime flavor really complimented the pound cake. I light snack or dessert that doesn't make you feel guilty afterwards. My five year old, Emily ate the rest and asked when I was going to take some more yummy food photos. lol.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blueberry Pound Cake

Usually when I go to the grocery store, I rush through, hurrying to get out of that darn place. I never know what to get. What to make for dinner each night. Going grocery shopping gave me a pain in my shoulder just thinking about it.

Last night when I went, I had a whole new attitude towards the whole food shopping thing. I went up and down the aisles with with my eyes open this time and I discovered things that I never saw before. I was even excited. I made a mental note of what I wanted to make for meals. I'm going to take it slow, but I am anxious for my next learning experience.

I had decided to make pound cake with blueberry sauce, since I had a lot of blueberrie sitting in my fridge. I gathered up the ingredients (I did buy some sea salt-not part of the ingredients, but I've always wanted to buy some) and I drove home and started.

I mixed the ingredients together for the pound cake and stuck it in the oven. I prepared the sauce while waiting. Everything went well, except for the pound cake sticking a bit. Okay. This isn't so hard. Maybe I can do this after all!

The finished product.

The photo above was taken inside.

This one was taken outside.

Which one do you like better?

Make it:
Pound Cake with Blueberry Sauce
Pound Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
5 eggs
2 teaspoons
Blueberry Sauce
4 c. berries
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2-3 c. water

Preheat oven to 350:F Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one Add flour, beat until smooth. Pour into greased baking pan and place into oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
Make blueberry sauce while cake is in oven.
Mix ingredients together and simmer in a sauce pan. Check cake for dry cracks on top. Cool for about 15 to 20 minutes on rack, remove from pan and pour blueberry sauce over the cake.
Makes 8.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Playing with food

Okay, I'm hitting the grocery store tomorrow for my first "assignment" ingredients. I've decided to make a dessert dish first. I'm not telling you what it is-that, you'll have to come back and see. I can give you a hint-it's something that involves blueberries (I have some that need to be used before they go bad).

In the meantime, I've been photographing objects around the house to get my backgrounds together and testing them.

Here's a simple photo of some Necco Wafers.

Don't you remember these when you were a kid? We used to go up to our local candy store and buy candy and we always made sure we got a roll of these too.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

A New Food Journey

I haven't done much lately with this blog. I've been spending all my time over at my other blog, Six Feet Under Blog . I've been blogging over there for some time now, but accomplishing very little. I've weighed my options with the whole "blogging thing" and realized that I wanted more from my blogging and get into more of a niche blogging. I want to set a goal and have a purpose to my blogging. Blogging about my family life is fun, but not something I want to spend all my free time doing. I will still be blogging on that blog, but I'm going to start a fun new journey over here.

If you've read my other blog, you've had to put up with me whining about how I love foodie blogs. Foodie bloggers are kind and helping individuals. They won't shun you and everyone helps everyone when it comes to food. I also love beautiful photos of food. As a photographer, I would love to take wonderful food photos as well. The only thing is, I CAN'T COOK. Yep. Just ask the kids and hubby.

I started this blog originally as a food review blog-I figured that if I couldn't cook, I could do the next best thing and review food that somebody other then I created. It was fun. I still plan on doing reviews, I just want to do more.

So, I have decided to use Moody Food Reviews to document my journey of learning how to cook and to become a food photographer-or close to. How fun! I hope to build a readership of supporters (and critics) to help me a long the way. Yes. I need your help. Your advice. Your hugs when (if) I do something right.

I want to clue you into just how much I don't know how to cook. I am starting at square one of cooking 101. I'm documenting my first "dish" for this journey with cinnamon toast. lol. I know. This will be a LONG journey. Hopefully a year from now, I will be posting some fabulous dish that I made and the photograph of it will be fabulous.

So, here was breakfast and my first "shot" (pun intended) at food photography.

What do you think? Give it to me, or if you like it, I'd love to hear about it as well. I have started studying food photography already and I have been practising on different still life. I have to tell you, I love coffee cups, so they have been doing some major modeling work. In fact, I have to show you my favorite cup.

You will probably be seeing this cup in a lot of photos. Don't worry though, I have many other cups too that might find their way into a photo or two.

Now, along with doing product reviews, showing the end product of my latest creation and learning how to take food photos, I want to do some local restaurant reviews. Unfortunately, I don't live in a major city, but I hope to come across an interesting eating place or two.

I'm hoping to keep you coming back by running some contests as well.

I may never learn how to be a brilliant chef or famous food photographer, but I sure will try my hardest and have fun along the way! ;)

Blog topics:

desserts, cakes, cookies, meats, mixers, knives, lobster, cooking, cooking books, recipes, food contests, cupcakes, dips, breakfast.