Showing Up Fashionably Late For 2017

HI YOU GUYS! It’s been a long time. But that’s about to change. I’ve got a lot of things to share today.

First things first, let’s address the fact that I haven’t posted since early December. Since my husband is on deployment and I fortunately work from home, I headed back to Massachusetts right before Thanksgiving and just got back to California a few days ago. It was amazing to spend the whole holiday season with my family and friends back on the east coast, but it terms of cooking and blogging, I started slacking.

I got to see so many people while I was home, which resulted in going out to eat quite a bit. Not that I’m complaining. You know when you take a trip to somewhere you once lived and a list of your favorite places to eat automatically surfaces in your mind? Yeah. You do. In my opinion half the fun of travel is the food.

Coming up with new recipes wasn’t a priority while I was home. When it was my turn to prepare a family meal, I made them a lot of my past recipes. I’m not one to experiment when I’m serving a group. It was also really nice to share dishes I’d come up with this past year with my family, who hadn’t tried any of them yet. Shrimp tacos were a success, my ricotta stuffed chicken was an easy weeknight meal and twice baked potatoes made an appearance on Christmas!

I did post a couple times early in my visit, but I quickly realized my priority should be spending time with my loved ones. I would have plenty of time to cook and blog once I left. And eventually, sadly, I left.

I made my 5th cross country drive in two years (!!!), except this was a whole new experience because it was the first time I did it alone. Mona was with me, but she didn’t help with any of the driving. Also a big shout out to my friends Brian & Kelli who wined & dined me in Chicago and let me crash for the night, and to Sarah & Brad in Denver for doing the same thing a couple nights later. It was awesome to have those visits to break up a looooong trip!

Let’s take a moment to look at some road trip food highlights:

I popped in to Melt Bar & Grilled in Cleveland for a little chicken & waffles grilled cheese to go. Needless to say, I’m glad I only ordered a half sandwich, because it was HUGE.

This pizza from Piece Chicago was topped with local Honey Butter Fried Chicken & pimento-buffalo cheese sauce and made all my dreams come true. We also headed to The Revel Room for some adult beverages, as pictured in the feature photo.

I was craving something fresh when I got to Denver, so this pear & brie sandwich with balsamic fig jam & arugula from Bacon Social House hit the spot.

The only fast food worth posting because Popeye’s is the best and I love when they surprise me with a bonus biscuit!

With all the time alone in the car last week, I ended up thinking a lot about the past year. 2016 was a weird year, man. There were extreme highs and extreme lows, and judging from my social media feeds, I don’t seem to be the only one looking forward to a new year. The clearest give & take example from my life is my wedding took place in May, but my husband also had to go overseas a few months later. 2016 was an emotional year.

I have high hopes for 2017, at least personally. (I can’t comment on the state of rest the world.) My husband is coming home, we are going to go on our very belated honeymoon, my family is visiting me in the summer… lots of good things to look forward to. So I spent my car ride planning it all out. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with days worth of self reflection, plans and ideas, just the stuff that has to do with The Picky Gourmet.

I started this blog on January 18th, 2016, almost exactly a year ago, for fun. I figured my friends would like it, and it would keep me motivated to learn more about cooking and food. It’s astonishing how much people have responded to this little project. I can’t thank everyone enough for being so supportive, and I’m happy that what I love to do is enjoyable to so many other people.

The Picky Gourmet may go through some more cosmetic changes over the next few weeks. I’m going to be working on an official logo soon, so that will be coming soon as well. I have also decided to reserve posts to every other Monday. There could be some exceptions, like special holiday posts or things like that, but you can follow The Picky Gourmet on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date.

This was definitely a different kind of post for me, but I wanted to start fresh for the new year. The second year of The Picky Gourmet. 2017 feels like the beginning of a new chapter, one that has the potential for a lot of growth and fun, new adventures.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season like I did and that you are all welcoming 2017 in whatever way makes you happy. Check back here in two weeks for a brand new recipe!

Mona & the rainbow that welcomed us back across the California border

Supporting The Blog Community

So this morning I recieved a comment that I was nominated for a Liebster Award. Say what? I googled it, and while it’s not a physical award, it is an honor. Essentially it’s bloggers recognizing other bloggers and letting them know they appreciate their work. And of course in the process, we share with our followers to help promote each other and discover new blogs. It’s really a lovely idea to help support and grow our community.

First things first, thank you to Taylor of Peas Romaine Calm for the nomination! Like she says in her post about the Liebster, I was happily surprised by the recognition. I started this blog as a way to hold myself accountable and keep trying new foods and recipes. I’m humbled by how much people enjoy and support it.

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Copy and paste the Liebster Award badge to your post.
  3. Nominate 10 new bloggers.
  4. Answer the 10 questions the person who nominated you asked you.
  5. Create 10 new questions to ask the bloggers you nominate.
  6. Notify the bloggers you have nominated by leaving them a comment on their blog.

Check and check on rules number 1 & 2. Here’s my list of nominees AKA blogs that I think are super cool:

  1. The Foodie Battle
  2. Kat’s Confessional
  3. Happy Healthy Tash
  5. Unwed Housewife
  6. One Taste at a Time
  7. Yummy with No Money
  8. The Chesire Cook
  9. All The Pasta
  10. Jess Learns To Cook

And now the questions Taylor asked us to answer:

  1. How did you pick your blog’s name? I was a painfully picky eater growing up. It wasn’t until college when I taught myself to cook that I found the freedom to really expand my tastes. I call myself a “reformed” picky eater now, and hope I can show others that food doesn’t have to be scary if you take control of it.
  2. Describe yourself in three words. Silly, perfectionist, fun-loving.
  3. What is your guiltiest pleasure? Cooking shows. Not that it’s a secret, I’m pretty open about my guilty pleasures. 
  4. What single quality do you most appreciate in people? A sense of humor. 
  5. What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)Tough to pick, but probably my post I Love: Trying New Things because it was my first entry that I really spoke about myself candidly.
  6. Where do you get your inspiration to write? By what’s in my pantry! I stick by the write what you know rule, and so far it’s done me well. 
  7. What is your all time favorite type of cake? A fluffy vanilla cake with fresh strawberries in the center and whipped cream frosting. 
  8. Would you still blog if you knew nobody was going to read it? Yes, I never thought anyone really would haha. I try not to overthink when I’m writing, I don’t have a desire to sound poetic or contrived. I write my thoughts as they come up, then go back and just clean it up a little.
  9. What’s your favourite (non-blog) website? I’m always browsing Reddit when I am bored. 
  10. If any Hollywood star, dead or alive, could play you in a movie of your life, who would it be? If it was a drama, Rooney Mara. If it was a comedy (more likely), Zooey Deschanel. 

OK, home stretch! Here’s my questions for my nominees:

  1. What made you decide to start your blog?
  2. What’s the best vacation you ever took?
  3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
  4. What’s your favorite food?
  5. What food would you never eat or eat again?
  6. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  7. What would your spirit animal be?
  8. What movie could you watch over and over again?
  9. Do you like to write outside your blog? (Journal, poetry, etc)
  10. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Again, this is all just for fun and community, so don’t feel pressured to have to do this. I just think it’s a really great way to discover new blogs and show some fellow bloggers support. It takes some bravery to put your thoughts and ideas out in the world, and everyone deserves some encouragement and positive feedback. Thanks again to Taylor for the nomination, I had fun participating.

If any of my nominees decide to post, lease me a comment so I don’t miss it!

Check back in a couple days for a new post straight from my kitchen. Thanks to all my followers!