Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

                                                               inspiringinterns.com
 I love new years. Not New Years! Just new years.
I know its cliche but I love the idea of starting fresh.
New year resolutions.
New year plans.
New life.

I'm not sad this year is over. To be honest, it's been a rough year.
So I'm ready to start fresh.
Ready to spend more time on my blog.
Ready to really crack down and eat healthy. 
Ready to make 2012 my most active year.

Maybe in 2012 I'll run a marathon.
Maybe I'll go back to school.
Don't know yet. But that's what excites me.

What are you excited about in the new year? What are your resolutions?
Whatever they may be I hope you go for it with all your being.

Hope you all have a great time tonight!
Get your glitter on!
See ya next year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Traditions: Christmas Eve

Happy Holidays!
I'm a little late for the Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays still works hehe

I hope everyone had a very special and joyous Christmas (or are still enjoying their last night of Hanukkah). I know my Christmas was filled with family and there for it was the best. How about yours? Did you stay home with your immediate family? Travel to see extended family or in-laws? Or maybe you spent it with your dearest friends? Either way I hope it was magical.

Our Christmas season starts around Christmas Eve, or at least it did this year. I can't tell you how fast Christmas came this year. All of a sudden, BAM, I'm wrapping gifts and scrabbling around for that last present for Mom. Not the way I usually work. I'm a planner, you see, but like I said... Christmas came out of nowhere this year!

And now it's already after Christmas and I didn't even say Merry Christmas to you all. TERRIBLE! Well I'm saying it now. Merry (belated) Christmas!

But on the bright side because it has past Christmas so I get to recap all the wonderful traditions I celebrate on Christmas Eve. I'm really into traditions. So this will the be first of many "traditions" posts. I think it's important to capture these important moments and archive them forever and for all to see!

 The first tradition on Christmas Eve is Eggplant Parmigiana.

Did I hear you say you don't like eggplant?!
That's okay. Me either.
So trust me when I say this stuff will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Now I can't give you recipe. I know I know. But If I did give you the recipe, I'd have to kill you. And I don't wanna do that. I kinda like you guys. So lets just accept that if you ever wanna try my Great Great Grandma's Famous DELICIOUS Eggplant Parm you'll have to come over for Christmas Eve dinner.

And if you decide you really don't like it, there's always a TON of other food. We Fazio's know how to party!

After Eggplant is finished, the tree gets some attention. 


I know, I know it's Christmas Eve, why'd you wait until then to decorate the tree? Well, welcome to my family. It always turns out so beautifully though. We also have 3 menorahs in the house. I don't any of them have the correct amount of candles on them at this point. I love my family :0)

On that tree I have a couple of favorite ornaments.

This is the newest ornament. I got it for my mom this Christmas. As soon as I saw it I knew she'd love it. She loves wacky ornaments.
 

This is an ornament from when I was a baby. It has my full name on it. If you didn't know my full before, there it is. Amelia! After Amelia Earhart.

This is another baby ornament with my name.

 This is the ornament that reminds me of Christmas the most. I get really excited to put it on the tree. I push and shove and grab until it's mine.

This ornament, albeit fuzzy, is of Santa in a reindeer innertube. It comes with a story about my dad... 


"One day at one of those wet and wild amusement parks my dad managed to get himself stuck in an innertube. Well he ducked behind a shed to get himself lose. At the same time my mom was passing by looking for where my dad had gone. Seeing her he started to whisper *marie* *marie* *MARIE* Turning around she saw my dad. Naturally she starts laughing at the sight of my dad in the innertube ducked behind a shed. Well my mom laughing got my dad laughing, which made the innertube start jiggling, which made my mom laugh harder, which made my dad laugh harder. Well needless to say my dad eventually got out of the innertube and the moment will forever be commemorated by this Christmas ornament."

The next Christmas Eve tradition is Midnight Mass at Mission Dolores Basilica.

It's a wonderfully beautiful grand church and on Christmas Eve it's even more beautiful. This is church connected to my elementary school, it's where I had my first communion, my confirmation and eventually I'll get married here.

They have their own traditions at my church, of course. My mom's favorite is the trumpets. She hates to miss it. They also do the mass in half Spanish half English. Because of the strong Hispanic community the church does "Las Posadas" which is a recreation of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. It's very dramatic and symbolic. They knock a couple times on the door of the church and the choir sings. It just gives me chills :0)

And after we drag ourselves back home from church, half asleep, we immediately fall asleep.


And then, because all us chillins are grown, we let everyone sleep in as late as possible before opening gifts. The perks of getting old ;0) Santa was very good to us this year. For that I am grateful.

So, what's one of your Christmas Eve traditions? I'd love to hear them!
All the best to you and yours!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Easy Cheesy Crispy Potato Cups

I have four words for you: 
Crispy. Cheesy. Potato. Cups.

By themselves, they are wonderful. But together they spell my new favoritest thing ever!

Every Thanksgiving I am responsible for the potatoes. The past couple years it had been my Individual Potato Gratins. This year my Dad and Brother came across a new spin on my popular potato dish. This recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. The ingredients are almost exactly the same as my previous potato cup recipe just the execution is different.

And to be honest... it's better!
It's the crispy crust that KICKS IT UP A NOTCH! BAM! hehe Sorry. But really, not only does the crispy crust make the dish more appealing, it makes it more portable. It was a breeze to pop out of the tray and serve.

Not only was this a perfect for Thanksgiving but I imagine I will be making this many, many more times through out the year. It was just so easy.

So easy in fact my beautiful sister was able help with most of it. Haha I'm teasing Beck! But really, super easy. Maybe that's another word I should add to the list. Easy.

Easy Cheesy Crispy Potato Cups

I like that. It has a nice ring to it. Haha However now I feel like Jenny from Picky Palate. Hehe If you read her FABULOUS blog you'll know exactly what I mean. She always has the LONGEST names for her food. Like her Black Bottom Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites or her Chocolate Cake Reese Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies. Hehe I've only got 5 in this title but I'm working on it, Jenny! How long is your longest recipe title?

Easy Cheesy Crispy Potato Cups
Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Makes approx 12 cups
Ingredients:
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled
1 1/4 cup half and half
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 1/3 cups cheese, shredded**
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup of cooked bacon, crumbled
**Don't use shredded cheese here, according to Cooks Illustrated. The recipe calls for cheddar, which would be great but for Thanksgiving I felt Jarlsberg and Gruyere would be more appropriate. Swiss would also work really well here.

Directions:
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse panko in food processor until finely ground, about 5 pulses. Evenly coat each non-stick muffin cup with softened butter and then with ground panko. 

2. Cut each potato in hlaf lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 wedges. Cut each wedge crosswise into 1/4 in think slices. Combine potatoes, half and half salt and peper in large bowl and microwave cvered until just tender 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once. 

3. Meanwhile, toss cheese, Parmesan, and cornstarch together in bowl; reserve 1/3 cup for topping. Add remaining cheese mixture to hot potato mixture, stirring until smooth. Divide potato-cheese mixture evenly among muffin cups and smooth. Sprinkle cups with reserved cheese.

4. Cover muffin tin with aluminum foil sprayed with vegetable oil spray and bake for 10 mins. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, 13 to 15 mins.

5. Run pairing knife around perimeter of the muffin cup. Let potato cups cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Place rimmed baking sheet on top of muffin tin and invert potato cups, topping on muffin tin to release cups. Invert cups onto wire rack and let cool for 5 mins. Serve!

6. Share with the whole family!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The New Cupcake

                                                                                  Photo from SGCC
Have you seen it? 
Has it caught your eye yet? 

 I've been reading all over the internet about the newest foodie trend. They are calling it the "new cupcake." Wanna take a guess at what people are starting to find way more exciting than sweet little cups of cake?

You bet your sweet booty!
It's savory little cups of deliciousness!

I knew folks would come around eventually. Savory cups, muffin sized treats, mini meals, they all make sense. Why wouldn't you want your meal miniaturized if dessert is mini too??

Now don't get me wrong, I don't believe to be on the forefront of this trend. I know folks are out there who, heaven forbid, don't read Do You Know the Muffin Pan?, but for those who do I bet you think of me when you see someone else post a muffin pan recipe? Admit it! You think about me!

*blush* :0)

But I digress. I need to show you some of the recipes I found before you turn away and look for a new muffin sized leader!**

The first recipe I want to steal that caught my eye in this internet trend was Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread. How clever is that? Perfect for hungry little children!

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
Recipe and Photo from What's Gaby Cooking 



Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups Bread flour
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni slices, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup Pizza sauce
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the Bread flour, AP flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the active yeast and water in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Let it sit for a few minutes to make sure your yeast is working. Add the sugar and mix for a quick second. Add the flour mixture in batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Let the dough hook work its magic for 5-6 minutes until the dough has come together into a large mass. Remove the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise for 60 minutes.
  4. After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and cut into small 1/2 inch cubes. Dust with flour to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside.
  5. Spray 6 small bundt pans with PAM or cooking spray. (You could also use a large bundt pan)
  6. Melt the butter in a small bowl.
  7. Combine the cheese, pepperoni, oregano, salt and garlic in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and mix together with a spoon. Toss in the cut dough and make sure it all gets a coat of the butter mixture. Start layering the cubes into the bundt pans until they are 3/4 of the way full. Let sit for 30 minutes for the dough to rise a little more.
  8. Place bundt pans into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread and cheese is golden brown. Serve with warmed marinara sauce or pizza sauce.
  9. Eat a couple before your kids get a hold of them!
Notes:
You can easily use store bought buttermilk biscuits rather than making homemade dough. Just preheat the oven and skip to step 5

**Disclaimer: I do not claim to be muffin sized. Amen.
__________________________

The second recipe I'm going to claim I invented next time I make it I found super exciting was Spicy, Chocolate chunk Cornbread Muffins with Chocolate Ganache. If you aren't a savory sweet person, or maybe not as adventurous NO JUDGMENTS this might not be for you. Chicken. But, did I mention this is a super duper easy box recipe, i.e. you can make it in a "jiffy!" hehe

Spicy Chocolate Chunk Cornbread with Chocolate Ganache
Recipe and Photo from The Nap Time Chef via Babble

Ingredients:
1 box corn muffin mix like Jiffy
1 cup dark chocolate baking chunks
1 teaspoon chili powder or 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

Directions:
Ganache: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup heavy cream melted together

1. Prepare the corn muffin mix according to directions and mix in the chili powder/chipotle pepper and baking chunks. Bake the cupcakes for the allotted amount of time on the box instructions.

2. Prepare the ganache while the cupcakes are baking and allow it to cool slightly. Once the cupcakes have baked and cooled dip the tops in the ganache and serve.

3. Make everyone try them so they can get over their fear of the savory and sweet combo!

Hope you are excited to try some new savory "cupcake" recipes!
If you have any recipe suggestions, toss them my way.

P.s. I published this at 11:11am on 11/11/11. I think that's so neat! Oh and Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Serenity Prayer


 Remember me?
The girl who used to blog about all things muffin sized and used to experiment with food and engage her readers?

Well, for the past month or two I have not been that girl.
I almost don't recognize myself.

I have been the girl who's stress eating, obsessing over work and family, and general grumpiness with everyone has kept her away from the computer and friends. Seriously. I've have been avoiding them like the plague.
But things are gonna change. I have a prayer that I think sums things up exactly. It speaks volumes about the way I want to live my life. You don't have to be religious to get the powerful meaning behind these words.



"God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference

Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles 

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless."
- Serenity Prayer

 
I am going to accept that the only person I can change is myself. I am going to do my best to make things better for everyone if I can. I'm not going to dwell on the negative and only look at the positive. As my friend Betty would say, "I'm only drinking positive shots!" I am going to accept that all of this, the serenity, courage, wisdom, appreciation, tolerance, and strength are all gonna take lots and lots of patience AMEN!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Stacks

I've said it before and I'll say it again: 
I like canned chicken.

I know this might revoke any "foodie" title I may have acquired being a food blogger but I don't care. I love its simplicity and ease of use. The following recipe has canned chicken in it. And guess what? It's frickin' tasty!

I came up with this recipe for Enchilada Stacks, like most, on the fly. I needed something to satisfy both my lunch and dinner needs for the weekend. The BF was off to LA for a "boys weekend." Robert would have me believe it was a fun filled weekend of partying. But I know these boys, and there's a good chance they sat around, played video games, drank beers and ate sushi. Actually I'm positive that's what they did. Hehe but I let him think he's convinced me his boys weekends are "wild and crazy."

So while he was off "partying" I was making these enchilada stacks. We both live very exciting lives, together or apart.

I would also like to point out this is another "not-so-exact-measurements" recipe.
Use your creativity. Substitute, add additional things, you can even leave out the canned chicken and opt for the fresh stuff if you'd like (or if you're scared...Oooo) hehe

 Recipe by Me!

Ingredients:
Corn or small flour tortillas
1 can chicken
1/2 can black beans
1 med bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 small onion, chopped
2-4 tbsp enchilada sauce
1/2 seeded jalepeno, diced (optional)
goat cheese or queso fresco (optional)

Directions:
1. Using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter cut out circles from the tortillas. Each tortilla should make 2 or 3 circles and then some. Save all the pieces.

2. Combine all the ingredients, aside from the tortillas, in a bowl. Mix with a fork until combined.

3. Start layering, use one of the tortilla circles as the base. Spoon a portion of the mixture on top, about a tbsp. Then, using the pieces, add another layer of tortillas. Add another spoonful of the mixture. Add a final tortilla circle. Top with a bit more enchilada sauce and queso fresco or goat cheese. Or even more shredded cheese. Whatever you have. I like the goat cheese cause it doesn't melt as easily and it's super creamy.

4. Bake at 350f for about 15 mins. We are only heating up the mixture and melting the cheeses. Also baking the tortillas a bit. It may take a little less or more time depending on your oven. If you're in a hurry you may turn up the oven to 450f but that'll make the tortillas extra crispy

5. Eat them all at once, save them for a whole weekend, or serve them up to your family. Either way, enjoy them!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Special Giveaway: Digital Scrapbooking with My Memories!

 WINNER ANNOUNCED! 
Congrats Becky @lovetobeinthekitchen!
You are the lucky winner! Please email me asap at amy [at] doyouknowthemuffinpan [dot] com to claim your prize!

Like any normal human being, I've gone through many creative phases in my life: coloring books, sticker books, photo albums, scrapbooks, and now my blog. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that many of you out there have gone through very similar phases. Don't lie. The first step is admitting it.

And, again, like most human beings, I have remnants of each of these "hobbies" in boxes, on shelves, and on the walls all around my house. Especially the scrapbook stuff. That was one of my more expensive obsessions.

Well recently I've decided to do a big purge of the scrapbooking materials. It's hard to think about but it's time. Even with the materials gone, I don't think the bug will ever be gone. Which is why it was almost eery that the day I made the "decision" to clean out the craft closet My Memories would email me an offer to test and GIVE AWAY a copy of their digital scrapbooking software. Coincidence? I think no. I think this is the high powers telling me it's time to go digital!

I downloaded the software and went to town. Here's what I was able to do with software in just the first few minutes. There's so much more than just scrap pages. Even if you aren't a big scraper, you can find the perfect fit for you in this software. I had to look through a few tutorials to get a really good grasp of it but once I did, it was pretty fun figuring out what I could do.

Take this fun recipe card, for example!
 The possibilities are vast. Birthday cards, invitations, calendars, etc. I'm pretty excited to explore some more.

So, how would you like to go digital?

How to Enter:
You have 3 chances receive a digital copy of the My Memories v2 Digital Scrapbooking Suite!
1. *Mandatory* Visit MyMemories.com and leave a comment back here letting me know which of their scrapbook kits is your favorite.

2. Become a follower of MyMemories on Twitter and let me know that you did!

3. Like MyMemories on Facebook and again, tell me you showed them love.

And that's it. This sweet software could be yours!
Giveaway closes Thursday Sept 8th @11:59 PST.
Winner will be announced on Friday.

Oh no, didn't win? Have no fear! I've got a coupon. Head over to MyMemories.com for $10 off your order! That's about 25% off! Just copy and paste the coupon code: STMMMS27917 when you check out and you'll get $10 off!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy 1 Year Blogiversary!


Today is my 1 year blogiversary!
A year ago today I wrote my first post, a simple potato dish I saw on TV. As I watched Melissa d'Arabian present her potato gratin in cute little muffin sized portions I thought "That is really cute and super clever! I could do that."

And Do You Know the Muffin Pan? was born!

I've learned so much about myself this year of blogging. I've learned to be more open, talk about my feelings (still kinda gross), put myself out there and meet new people. I started the blog because I was bored, new in town, and without many resources for social outlets. And because I did, I am hardly ever bored, don't feel like such an outsider and I've met lots of people, made friends even.


A month ago I had the extreme pleasure of going to BlogHer (see Day 1 Day 2 and Day 3). If I didn't believe this community was where I belonged before, there was no doubting it after. Being at BlogHer was like being surrounded by friends I hadn't made yet. That sounds cheesy but it's true. Ask anyone whos interacted with other bloggers. They'll tell you that the community of bloggers is one of the most loyal, caring group they've ever been a part of. My friend Hailey who stayed with me during BlogHer is a testament to that. She and I never met outside our blogs and the occasional tweet. But thanks to our shared passion for food, blogging, and being lazy on the beach/at the pool we were able to bond like we had known each other for ages.


That's blogging. We're like one big, fun, loving (and slightly dysfunctional) family. But we do what's right for our own, like a family, like for Jennie. I'm hoping by now you've heard about the Fund for Jennie. A woman who, after losing her husband, has seen $64,000+ come from the hearts of her fellow bloggers, thanks to Bloggers With Out Borders. After thousands of dollars worth of donations, some amazing auction items, and one very cool San Diego Gift basket, Jennie has enough money to pay for her kids health benefits for many years to come. Now I don't ever wish bad upon myself or anyone, but it's nice to know if it did happen, my blogging community would have my back.

Okay, enough with the mushy stuff, its not really my style. I wanna share food. That's why I started and that's how I'd like to start this next blogging year. These are a few of my favorite recipes I've posted over the last year. Enjoy!

Posted September 5th, 2010


These little savory sweet gems were for a friends house warming party. I needed to find something quick cause she asked a couple hours before the party if I could bring something to snack on. I headed to the fridge and inspiration came! At your next potluck, impress folks with these!


Posted Novemeber 24th, 2010



I first made these for my family. I was thinking of new recipes I wanted to try and I came across Lasagna Cups online. They looked fun but the idea of wonton skins or boiling and cutting lasagna noodles was not on my list of fun things to do. So I thought hard for substitutions. "Well ravioli are noodles with the cheese built in." I know, I'm so smart ;0) These are PERFECT for dinner and lunch the next day!


Posted April 28th, 2011


These mini quiche were so good this was the only photo I took. Hehe I couldn't even save them long enough to photograph. I think that's a good sign. I made two other types of quiche that day but the mini ones were by far the favorite.


Posted March 22nd, 2011


Cupcakes + Booze = Perfection! I made these for St. Patty's day, of course! I made them once more that month for a girlfriends birthday party as well. Both times they were a big hit. The frosting was by far my favorite!

Thank you to everyone who followed, commented, tweeted, said nice things, tried a recipe, linked back, and supported me in any way. You will always be held in a special place in my heart. And if that wasn't enough, check back here tomorrow! I may or may not be doing a giveaway... I'm just saying. :0)

To another fabulous fun-filled year! 
Cheers!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Amazing BlogHer Weekend: Final

On the last day Hailey was in town I decided to top off our BlogHer experience with a very important educational outing... the Beach! Where better to teach her about San Diego than the beach! OB (Ocean Beach) to be precise.
 
(Does this picture look familar? It's my signature beach/pool pose. I have issues, I know.)

We only two goals this educational beach day: Sun and Fish Tacos. If a drink was thrown in the mix, neither of us would toss it back.

After soaking up about all the sun we could handle, we headed across the street to fish tacos. Even though Hailey had some really good fish tacos in Mexico, I was confident these would be just as good. I mean San Diego has some amazing features, but their fish tacos, in my opinion are on the best parts. AND I HATE FISH! So that's saying something.

Those look good huh? Classic beer battered Baja fish taco and a fancy schmancy swordfish with terriyaki and pineapple glaze. I will say, I'm a bigger fan of the classic. Something about the fried helps me forget its actually fish. Needless to say, we both liked the tacos... a lot!

After tacos, we walked next store and used what little room we had left in our dessert stomach (yes there is such a thing) and had some yummy ice cream.

Was such a great way to top of a perfect weekend!
A big THANKS to Hailey who was a wonderful guest, who after this long day/weekend was fine to just sit on the couch, watch TV and drink margaritas hehe the perfect house guest!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Pie for Mikey & A Fund for Jennie

 I want to take a minute, interrupt my recap of BlogHer to share something really special with you all.
 
If you are a food blogger, chances are you've heard the story about Jennie Perillo. If not I would like to share something really amazing that has happened within the blogging community over the past couple weeks.

Jennie Perillo, a food blogger at In Jennie's Kitchen, lost her husband, Mikey, very suddenly to a heart attack. Jennie, in all her wisdom, asked that we, within the food blogging community, do something special to show our loved ones how much we care. It was a tribute to Mikey. So that Friday hundreds of food bloggers paid tribute by making Mikey's favorite dessert: a peanut butter pie. 

                                                                     (from Steamy Kitchen)

And so began one of the biggest out pouring of love for a relative stranger I have ever seen. So many people wanted her to know she was in their thoughts, prayers, and even in their pie's made with love.

But a pie just didn't seem like enough. So some very clever and generous bloggers got together and created a site called Bloggers With Out Borders. BWOB is a site for helping folks within the blogging community. The first project:


Shauna, from the wildly popular Gluten-Free Girl and a friend of Jennies, put together an auction to help her with all the financial burdens she'll be facing. Shauna writes:

"[Jennie] just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay will be more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone."

I don't know about you but as soon as I heard this I knew I wanted to help. And if you ARE like me, there are ways for you to help.

The San Diego Food Bloggers, which is becoming a rather tight nit community, has put together a gift basket of what we think represents the finest of San Diego food, sports, and past times. Our fearless leader, Marie at Meandering Eats, is hosting the auction at her site. So PLEASE go take a look at it. It's for a wonderful cause!

Some goodies from the basket, including my fish taco kit!

The bidding will start at $150 and the auction will be open until Friday, September 2, at 11:59pm PST. So hurry on over!
And if you'd like, let them know you came from DYKTMP? It will make my life to know that my followers have the biggest hearts! There are so many other items to bid on as well. Just head on over and check it out! 

Also, if you would like to donate, click on the button on the side bar label "For Jennie." 100% of the donations and money earned through the auction goes to Jennie. So far, we have raised over $14,000 for her. That is just plain awesome!

I love being a part of this blogging community. I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Amazing BlogHer Weekend: Part 2

With all the obvious "hardwork" Hailey and I did on Day 1, we deserved a very luxurious Day 2 of BlogHer hehe.

After a relaxing car ride, which meant not taking the bus at 6:30am, we headed right into the Expo Hall. And who did we spot as we walked in?

The Jimmy Dean Sun! Hehe Hailey and I heard he was there the day before but had failed to spot him. We were very excited to have our picture take with this "Super Star." Get it, Super Star? lol I couldnt resist. 

Next on our list of very important matters was cheering our friend Amanda on from What Were Eating and Food Porn Daily in the Knorr Cook-Off.

She made Mahi Mahi with Chorizo, Poblano and Caramelized Onion Sourdough Stuffing and a Roasted Garlic Sauce. MMMMmmm! It looked SO GOOD! Of course she won...cause she's awesome!

 After the big win, Hailey and I continued around, "shopping" through the Expo Hall until we truly felt we could take no more.

In the end, this is what we came home with. Three bags filled with tupperware, clothes, food, coupons, face cream and god knows what else. Thank goodness for driving or we would have suffered, big time.

Our way from the car to the next session, look who we had the pleasure of running into! Ms. Amanda from KevinandAmanda and Ms. Jenny from Picky-Palate. If you don't know already, I think these ladies are awesome. As demonstrated here and here!

After saying our hellos and goodbyes, Hailey and I headed over to what will be considered the most important and informative session we will attend at all of BlogHer... and it wasn't even a BlogHer sponsored session!

Hillshire Farms (Go Meat!) was holding a very informative and small session on...drum roll please... Food Styling!


This was exactly what we had been hoping for. The info from this session will stick with me for a long time. We learned how to make the best of what you already have i.e. low lighting, no props, repetitive food, etc.

We learned to think outside the box. Use materials you have at your disposal to create beautiful and interesting looking "tables" and backdrops. Move the food outside, move it to the garage, the front door, wherever you think the light is the best. Don't be afraid to use your own style. I really liked that. With food that seems to be a repetative shape like mine, its important to keep the staging in the photo visually diverse so as not to bore my readers.

We also learned that not everyone can pull of Pioneer Woman's style, nor should we try. Sometimes too much is really too much. I really really liked that. I think that with a little practice (and a better camera *hint hint*) I can start taking some really awesome photos!

And so after our wonderful session, with all the learning and knowledge, we treated ourselves to a relaxing afternoon/evening.

It went something like this:
Pool.

Booze.

Dancing.

Really, just a tough day indeed!

But it doesn't stop there! Stay tuned for the 3rd and final day of our fabulous BlogHer experience, including what I've learned about blogging so far. :0)

P.S. I couldn't leave without sharing my favorite picture of the night. This is from CheeseburgHer, where Hailey and I only stayed a moment to dance the Cupid Shuffle cause the smell of burgers and fries was really too much. But I couldn't get enough of this scene I saw unfold.
I imagined it went something like this:
 Girl 1: Let me just get that for you *wiggles bag hat* Aw perfect. Now you look cute!  
Girl 2: Thanks! Wasn't sure what to wear with this beautiful sparkly skirt!
Okay now I'm done :0)
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