Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I quit.

photo c/o Jessica Joan Pinkstone

"Hello. It's me. I've written this post a thousand times and then just pressed delete." - If Adele was a blogger.

I've been writing this post for close to two years. Some days just in my head, on a few occasions I even wrote it down. One brave day I even typed the post up in blogger. My life changed a lot in between those times and somewhere I pressed delete.

Stir and Scribble was created as a safe place for me to practice writing and food photography. Very few readers will remember that it was once a Tumblr page, but, before Tumblr was a thing. I look back at most of the old posts and cringe. The writing was bad, the photos were silly. But it was my lovely little corner of the internet anyways.

I got it in my head that blogging full time would be the next step in my career.  I had already spent the better part of a decade working for Alton Brown, and honestly I'm still not really sure what the 'next step' from that kind of work might be, but blogging was going to be the thing.

I took every class. I attended every workshop. I rebranded. I moved to wordpress. I tweeted, I pinned. I did all the things that the good, big bad bloggers do. And a terrible thing happened: I lost my voice.
So much time was spent trying to catch 'some big break' as a food blogger, so many hours wasted on pin-able images, that I lost sight of the whole thing.

The silliest part, of course, is that I basically had the dream culinary job already.  I worked full time for one of the biggest names in food media. I worked on New York Times best selling book series. I got to write recipes, cook, talk about food, and occasionally take pictures at my day job. 

In the last two years, in between all the drafts of this post - the written and unwritten - I've learned a lot. I stopped working for Alton full time. I had another baby. I freelanced as a food stylist and some times copywriter. I went back to work for Alton. And I've pulled back from this place.

I'd like to get back to where I started. I still need a place to write awkwardly, to take crappy photos, and to find my voice. Frankly I'm tired of being another white-brunette-lady-food-bloggers who is equally earnest and witty. I need more deep conversation, more interesting images, and I think the internet might need that too. I'm not quitting this space, I'm just quitting this photo, text, recipe formula familiar to blogs.

Fair warning that I'm about to delete a bunch of old posts and things are going to get awkwardly bad around here again while I try to figure it all out. Hope you'll join me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thirsty Thursday | Watermelon Hibiscus Aqua Fuerte

Pink drinks have become a thing for Stir and Scribble: There was the Dirty Shirley, the blood orange Salty Dog, pink milk, a Strawberry Shrub, this Rhubarb Margarita, and a Watermelon Punch. Hell, even this Shandy is pretty in pink. So do you really need another rosey refreshment from me?! 

Yes, yes you do. 

Hear me out here: This Watermelon Hibiscus Aqua Fuerte is summer fruit, iced tea, and TEQUILA. It is pretty much perfect for sipping on a patio, by the pool, or in a hammock. It has margarita vibes without all the sugar and way more personality. 

Hibiscus tea is brewed from the dried leaves of the hibiscus flower and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Its sweet tart flavor is loved around the world but is popular in tropical climates where the flowers flourish. Dried hibiscus flowers can be found at your local Latin market or online

Watermelon Hibiscus Aqua Fuerte 
makes 8-10 servings

2 cups water
2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup light agave syrup 
1 small seedless watermelon, about 5 pounds
3 cups tequila blanco, preferably Gran Centenario Plata
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving 
2 cups club soda

Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, add the hibiscus flowers, and steep for 15 minutes. Add the agave syrup and stir until dissolved. Strain the hibiscus tea into a pitcher and refrigerate until cold. You can use the spent hibiscus flowers to make ice cubes by placing the leaves in an ice tray covering with water and freezing until solid. 

Chop the watermelon - discarding the rind - then puree the melon in a food processor or blender. Strain the watermelon puree, add to the hibiscus tea, and refrigerate until cold. 

Before serving add the tequila, lime juice, and soda. Serve over ice. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Six First Foods for Baby (that aren't cereal)

That little chunk is six-months old this week. The time with baby number two is flying by in hyper speed. Breast feeding was way more successful for me with my second, but he seemed to be growing so fast that at his four month appointment I asked the doctor about starting real food. A lot has changed since we started our first on solids almost 3 years ago. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that parents wait until their babies are 6 months old before introducing food. They're also changing some recommendation of what baby's first foods should be. Rice or oat cereal was the norm just a few short years ago. 

As we work on changing our diet as a family - the idea of feeding Emmett super processed rice cereal became less and less appealing to me. We talked this out with our pediatrician and she supported us taking an alternate route. As with anything baby related - this is just what we decided would be best for our family and we sought the advice of professionals along the way. Emmett's first meal (at about 5 months, again with the support of our doctor) was a smashed avocado. Since then he has tried a variety of vegetable and fruit purees - and even homemade cereal:  

Avocado: Full of healthy fat, protein and fiber, Avocado is arguably one of the worlds most perfect foods. It doesn't even have to be cooked to give to baby. We smash our by hand with a little bit of water to thin it out enough for baby. 

Banana: Another easy to prepare first food, bananas are high in potassium and just sweet enough. Again you can smash a super ripe banana with a fork or puree it with a little water for baby. 

Sweet Potato: We love love love a sweet potato - they are high in beta carotene, fiber and a good source of carbohydrates. Its super easy to throw a couple sweet potatoes in the oven to roast on a Sunday and then puree the 'meat' of the potato after it has cooled. 

Apple: Steamed and pureed apples are a favorite in our house. Our three year old even loves to eat this apple sauce.  

Zucchini: Zucchini is such an awesome starter starch for little ones - the taste is slightly sweet, not too 'green'. I love to roast them before pureeing with a little bit of water. 

Oatmeal: Not all cereal is bad! Oats are actually a pretty awesome, but stay away from instant oats and try to buy gluten free oats if you can. Here's a simple oat cereal recipe perfect for baby: 

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup water

Pour the water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium high heat. Grind your oats into a fine powder, a food processor or high powered blender will do the trick. Gradually whisk these into the boiling water, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
Cool and serve.

If you're looking to improve the eating habits of your whole family - from your littlest bits to your meat-and-potatoes husband - look no further than Prescribe Nutrition's Kids Rule Program! I'll be playing along and you can get 30% off with the code STIRANDSCRIBBLE.