Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Let’s Talk About the Blog… and Backlog

Hey, everyone! It’s really nice to finally be back on the blog and back to cooking up new recipes for you! I took a bit of a break (obviously), starting with the holidays, but January has been a bit introspective for me. I sat down at the beginning of January, talked to some amazing bloggers about their “New Year Resolutions” and tried to come up with a few goals for this blog. But instead of discovering new, exciting changes to try to implement, coming up with some unattainable numbers goal, or even settling down for a mediocre goal, it turned into some deep thinking about what I even want out of this experience.

I started this blog as a way to talk about the things I love in a space and community that felt the same. I was feeling really lonely, really unfulfilled, and ready for a new project. This became that new project. And with that came a host of exciting new adventures! I met new people who loved cooking, baking, and especially gaming. I’ve been able to participate in some amazing community events and become friends with some really great, intelligent people. And I’ve been able to push myself creatively in both baking/cooking and writing.

And as I realized where I started, what I thought I wanted, and where I thought this blog was going, I realized I had my priorities wrong. I thought this blog was my “in” to making a cookbook. And, quite frankly, I haven’t given up on that. It’d be really nice to, down the road, get some kind of deal going with Nintendo to make an official BotW cookbook. But when I delved into the roots of what I love about this blog it wasn’t that hanging dread of numbers, influence, and what it would take to become a cookbook writer. It was interacting with all of you – the readers, the other bloggers, the new chefs and the old bakers alike – that made this blog such a good experience for me.

So I’m going to stop having this mental background of “how do I make this a career” and start focusing on the reasons I love blogging. I have some pretty smart people, people who write amazing blogs and who have been so supportive of me through thick and thin, to thank for this epiphany. If lightening couldn’t strike my brain at least it struck theirs (well that must have hurt). So let’s just forget about the dread of not posting and the dread of not meeting some imaginary numbers game that shouldn’t exist anyway and get back to blogging, interacting, and making myself and others happy. Because that’s what this is really all about, right?

And now for the changes that’ll come with that. Guys, I’m switching days on you. Thursdays will now be my Breath of the Wild posts. I’ve realized that cooking new recipes over the weekend doesn’t always work out. I make plans, go out of town, get busy, and then it’s Tuesday and I have nothing to show. I do most of my big cooking during the week, leaving weekends to pizza, eating out, or macaroni and cheese in an attempt to squeeze everything in. So expect Thursdays to become Breath of the Wild posts and, hopefully, that’ll mean a new post every week – with very few excuses (other than illness) to mess it all up!

But that means my Thursday posts need somewhere to go. Why not simply switch them, right? Tuesdays will now be my Gaming and Thankful posts. I’ll try to post one BotW post every week, one Gaming post every month, and one Thankful post every month. I want to participate in at least one community event every quarter, to make sure I get to help other amazing bloggers with their blogs. And I’m also going to run (sort of) a community event twice a year. Instead of doing gaming or thankful posts one month of spring and one month of autumn I want you, my friends and followers, to help me pick a fandom, and then pick 3 foods from that fandom to create recipes for. I’ll post each one and then round it all off with a reason why I love that fandom. What do you think? Sound like a good plan?!

But Teri, you say, there’s only 2 Tuesdays left this month. When will you do your posts? Ah, never fear. Today’s post will be my gaming post and, trust me, it’s a short one. So many wonderful bloggers and gamers talk about backlog. The complex ways they deal with it, the struggle of finding time to work on and finish games they want to play. So let me tell you my incredibly simple way to deal with backlog. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until a conversation with a friend pointed it out to me. You want to know my secret?

I don’t have a backlog.

That’s right – I don’t have a backlog. Oh, I have games I want to play, and games I haven’t started yet, but the way I keep my backlog non-existent is by not purchasing a game until I’m ready to play it. That means that I don’t buy new games until I finish the one I’m currently playing. It means that when the time comes to purchase a new game, my priority already exists, because it’s the game I want to play most. Yeah, it means I get really far behind in playing games, but I don’t ever feel the stress of those titles I’ve never gotten around to staring me down from their shelf (or menu, if you purchase digital games).

So how do you deal with backlog? How do you keep your priorities straight when it comes to choosing a game or picking what to purchase?

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

Veggies Cream Soup and New Year Resolutions

I’m back!  But this time I’m not just attempting to be back because I’ve made a goal/new year resolution to get back into this.  I’ve never really been a resolutions kind of girl.  I’ve always had the opinion that if you have a goal then start now, don’t wait for the new year and risk losing momentum before you’ve even started!  But this year (mostly because of timing, partly because of my intense need to organize everything perfectly to fit in time grids) I’ve decided to start my very own set of resolutions.

One of my best friends from high school started making goals in sets of 4 and I think it’s incredibly clever to do it this way!  It gives you enough to make changes in every aspect of your life, but not so much that you give up.  They are goals in mental (i.e. knowledge), spiritual, physical, and social health.  So what are my goals, you ask?  They are:

Mental/Wisdom: Master all the Tartine and Tartine No. 3 bread recipes

Spiritual: Actually, I don’t really want to share this here, as it’s pretty personal and would take a very long time to explain.  But suffice it to say that I have one!

Physical: The proverbial “Get Healthy”, but I actually have a plan for how to do this, so it’s not just a plea in the dark

And last but not least, Social, the reason I’m boring you with all of this: My goal is to improve my blog and my community here by being more regular in recipes, in the quality of my work, and being committed to the schedule I’m about to propose.  They always say you’re more apt to accomplish goals if you tell people what they are so this is me requesting that you hold me accountable!  The new sort-of-schedule is going to be:

A new recipe each week

One “Thankful” recipe per month

One Gaming Thoughts post per month

And, potentially, if I’m able to keep all those other posts regular, one collaboration per quarter.

Yeah, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a schedule I think I can stick to and a schedule I feel comfortable making a commitment to.  Also, there will be an element of surprise to it all, since I’m not specifying posting days this time!  Let’s see if that works and if it does maybe I’ll go back to specific days…  So hopefully you guys can help me stick this goal through and I hope this will produce a better blog for you to give your limited time to and a better chance for me to be a part of your community!

And now, after all that, your recipe.

Veggie Cream SoupHeader and Meter

ingredients photo

Lets start with stripping the herbs and cutting up all the veggies.  When you’re using fresh herbs they need to be taken off the stems.  This can seem incredibly daunting but i promise, it’s actually not that bad.  If you’re using dried herbs, just skip this step and move on!  Start by washing (obviously) and shaking dry the herbs as much as you can.  Place the edge of your knife against the herb stem below the leaves, tight, but not cutting through.  Once you’re in place simply pull the stem and drag the leaves along the blade of the knife.  Don’t move the knife, just the stem.  The leaves will strip off and the stem will pull through!  Easy peasy!  Any more questions, just watch this video:

Strip the herbs

Next, we cut the vegetables.  Just slice and dice them into bite-size chunks, larger or smaller depending on your preferences.  I prefer large chunks.  I feel like you get a better flavor from them!

Once everything is prepped add a tiny bit of butter (or oil) to a pan with some height.  We are going to be simmering in it later, so we want to make sure there’s enough room for the liquid.  Start by frying the onion until it’s tender and opaque.  Then add all the fresh veggies and saute for about a minute or two, just until they are all shiny.  And guys, I know my photos have the zucchini added at this step.  My advice, don’t follow the photos!  While it was easy, it made the zucchini a little overcooked, which is not what we’re going for.  We’ll add it later.  Promise.

Add broth to the veggies

Once everything is nice and shiny add the vegetable broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.  We want everything nice and tender before we add it to the sauce!  If you’re using fresh peas and corn (because it’s summer or you’re very lucky) go ahead and add them to the simmering veggies.  If not, I used frozen peas and canned corn.   I like the taste of canned corn better in soup, but you can use frozen if you prefer.  While your fresh veggies are simmering just heat up the peas and corn.  Make sure all the water is drained and set them aside for later.

Next, we make a roux.  We talked about the pitfalls of making a roux when we made Fish Pie, so I won’t go over them in detail again.  Let’s just do the basics.

Melt your butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Wait until the butter is completely melted and bubbly.  Once it is, whisk in half the flour.  Once all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again add the remaining flour.  Whisk is continually until it starts to melt again.  Whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.

Once your roux is ready we start slowly adding the milk.  Add about half the milk at a time.  The roux may ball up on itself when you do but just keep whisking and it’ll sort itself out!  Whisk until the mixture is homogeneous and slightly thick.  Add the remaining milk and repeat.  If the mixture is too thick you may have added too much flour.  Add regular milk until it reaches a gravy-like consistency.

Once your sauce is ready simply add all the veggies (including the zucchini, peas, and corn at this point!), herbs, and remaining broth to the sauce, stir until well combined, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine!  If you skip this part the herbs won’t have done their job and it’ll be a bit bland.  Be patient.  It’ll be worth it!

close up of stew

P.S. I don’t recommend adding a raw carrot at the end… The price we pay for matching photos, right?

Link’s Veggie Cream Soup

    • Fresh Milk
    • Rock Salt
    • Any Carrot or Pumpkin

Veggie Cream Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Vegetables in a thick, creamy soup


Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 15 oz can of corn
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 3/4 tablespoon dried thyme)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 3/4 tablespoon dried oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (or 1/2 tablespoon dried chives)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Directions

  1. If using fresh herbs, strip the oregano and thyme from their stalks and finely dice the chives. Set aside.
  2. Slice the carrots and zucchini into large, bite-sized pieces. Remove the stalk and leaves of the cauliflower and chop into large bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion.
  3. Add a small amount of oil or butter to a pan and heat on medium until the fat is hot. Add the onion and cook until translucent and tender. Add the cauliflower and carrots and saute until shiny. Add all the vegetable broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While the vegetables are simmering thaw the peas and drain the corn and peas. Set aside.
  5. Begin the roux by melting the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and bubbling whisk in half the flour.  Whisk continually until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture starts to melt and become a bit liquidy again. Add the remaining flour and repeat. Once all the flour is incorporated whisk constantly for 2 minutes until your roux reaches the blond stage.
  6. Slowly add half the milk and whisk until the mixture is thick.  Add the remaining milk and whisk until the mixture has thickened to a gravy-like consistency.
  7. Add all the simmering vegetables and broth, corn, peas, zucchini, herbs, salt, and pepper to the sauce and stir until well combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors and spices to combine.