New Orleans or Bust?

In a little less than a month, my hometown (well, not exactly hometown, since I live in a suburb outside) of New Orleans will be hosting several amazing food bloggers for IFBC.

Originally, when I heard the announcement of IFBC being hosted in NOLA, I was very excited about going. I was definitely going…definitely.

But then the price tag hit me. $350. It was a little steep for me, and since we’re currently saving to get a bigger house in the near future, I just could not justify the expense on my hobby, as much as I wanted to go.

Then, IFBC tweeted today that they are graciously gifting 3 bloggers with free registration. To enter, all I have to do is write about why I want to attend. Where do I start?

Mom and I at a painting class

I’ve been food blogging for over 3 years, and have never had the opportunity to go to a food conference. Usually, they fall on weekends that just run into family events/birthdays. As lame as that can sound, I’m a huge family person. I just don’t skip family things, if I can help it. August 26-28th is free in my calendar. No birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, graduations, etc.

Strawberry Cream Cake

While food blogging is strictly a hobby for me, I’d love to hear from inspiring, successful speakers to learn how to take my blogging to the next level. Some of the sessions I’ve especially got my eye on are food photography (Hello, have you seen my inconsistent photos? I sometimes think I have no clue what I’m doing with my DSLR!), recipe writing and development (I’d love to dabble in this on my blog and share more original recipes.), time management (Yeah, I have no idea where my time goes), and eating on a budget (Our grocery bills are way too high lately!).

mardigras

IFBC this year is in my hometown. New Orleans is about an hour away from where I currently reside, Baton Rouge. Doesn’t everyone love a local? :-)

I look up to my elders. Literally.

Shameless cute picture. Millie can play with Dixie all weekend. Millie is my dog. Dixie is my family’s dog. They are sort of besties, and would love to spend a weekend together. :-)

IMG_3156

The food. SO many wonderful restaurants will be feeding the attendees at the conference, including one of my favorite bakeries: Sucre. Aren’t those macarons just gorgeous?

Image source (this is the link to the blogger who took this picture, since I never take pictures of myself) — Me (right) and Big Apple Nosh

Actually putting names to faces in the food blogger community. I’ve seen the blog roll of the attendees, and I would be absolutely stoked to meet everyone. I met a bunch of fellow wedding bloggers from Weddingbee this April, and had an absolute blast. It’s so fun to meet Internet friends. :-)

Whew…that was a lot to share!

As you can see, I have many reasons to attend this conference. Thanks so much for sticking around and reading this post, by the way. Please cross your fingers and toes for me to get chosen to attend! :-)

 

 

Share our Strength

It’s so great to read about how much Yahoo!’s $20,000 commitment to Share our Strength has been buzzing around in the social media world amongst other food bloggers! I’m just in awe of all the awareness that has been brought forward, because of this great contribution to help our youth.

I’ve learned so much about the astounding numbers involving child hunger while being an ambassador for Foodbuzz. I really had no idea that 1 in 4 children are hungry in this country. Numbers like that make you really truly count your blessings and realize that there are a lot of children who need our help!

There are so many ways that we can help, too. From donating money to contributing our talents and time (hint hint to the bakers out there…Great American Bake Sale), every little bit helps. If you can’t even do that, take a small step now by showing your support of Yahoo!’s commitment to Share our Strength by making Yahoo! your homepage now. (click on the button in my sidebar or click here) and/or share the campaign with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

I can’t wait to see the impact that Share our Strength has on our youth in the near future, and I appreciate everyone who has read about this wonderful cause. I know it’s not the norm on here to post about something other than recipes, but I’m really glad that I was able to write about this organization on here.

Share our Strength

Last week, I posted about how Yahoo has generously donated $20,000 to Share our Strength on behalf of Foodbuzz bloggers and readers. It’s amazing how many children this amount of money can help!

Since Share our Strength is a national organization, there are many parts of the US that are taking strides locally through No Kid Hungry. Since I’m from the New Orleans area, I was especially interested in reading about the endeavors out there.

No Kid Hungry in New Orleans partnered with local organizations, such as Second Harvest, Greater New Orleans Afterschool Partnership, Kingsley House, Tulane Community Health Care Centers, marketumbrella.org and Edible Schoolyard NOLA to help children in New Orleans have nutritious meals in the school and summer programs, as well as at home. I’m also glad to read that head start programs in New Orleans hold classes for low income families called “Cooking Matters“, which helps families plan and make nutritious meals for their families on a limited budget.

It’s so wonderful to read about the programs being offered in New Orleans. While it’s known as a great spot to travel, there are well over 32,000 students in New Orleans alone who qualify for free or reduced lunch programs, so a program like No Kid Hungry is definitely a necessity in the New Orleans area!

More information about the No Kid Hungry program in New Orleans can be found here.

Here’s more information about other state and city partnerships that are taking place with Share our Strength and No Kid Hungry! It’s amazing reading what everyone around the country is doing, and seeing that there are so many ways that we can all help with this fight against childhood hunger!

And don’t forget to join me in support of Yahoo!’s $20,000 commitment to Share our Strength!

Here are two quick things you can do raise awareness about this important cause:

1. Make Yahoo! your homepage now. (click on the button in my sidebar or click here)
2. Share the campaign with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

Share Our Strength

I usually don’t post about anything but recipes on this blog, but please read this post…it’s an important one!

Child hunger.

It’s a very sad reality, but in America alone, 1 in every 4 kids is struggling with hunger. 25%!

I know one of the things that you’re immediately thinking about…free lunch programs at schools. Sadly, did you know that the federal nutrition programs are so underutilized that over 16 million children who are eligible for the meals do not receive them?

There’s an organization out there called Share our Strength, whose goal is to end child hunger. A hefty goal, but I am so glad to see the strides that this organization is taking to help our youth. You might have heard of some of their fundraising efforts, like Taste of the Nation and the Great American Bake Sale.

In addition to those fundraisers, larger companies are starting to help with the fight against child hunger as well!

Yahoo! has generously committed to donate $20,000 to Share Our Strength on behalf of all of us, the Foodbuzz community of publishers and readers. Isn’t that awesome!?

To put things in perspective, just $1 will feed 10 nutritious meals to children this summer, so this donation will impact so many of our youth.

Why am I posting this?

 I was chosen as one of the Brand Ambassadors for the  Foodbuzz/Yahoo! Support Share our Strength Program! I decided to apply as an Ambassador, because I love helping when I can, and if I can use my blog to raise awareness, why not? I was offered a gift card to restaurants.com for being an ambassador, but I opted to not receive it since they also gave me the option of donating the gift card to this cause. :-)

And I’ll be honest with y’all..there is a tiny chance of a perk…one of the Ambassadors will get an all-expense paid trip to the 2011 Foodbuzz Festival! (crosses fingers)

However, I would have definitely applied to be an Ambassador anyway. Like I said, I love that I can use my blog to raise awareness for a good cause. :-)

How you can help.

You have the opportunity to show your support of this partnership by setting Yahoo! as your homepage by clicking on this link. Like what they’re doing? Let them know by changing your homepage! You can also tweet or Facebook about the Foodbuzz/Yahoo! Support Share our Strength program to bring awareness to the cause. :-)

Giveaway Winner!

I’m pretty bummed that the original winner didn’t claim her prize. However, that gives y’all a second chance to win the $100 credit to Joss & Main.

::drumroll:

The winner is:

Holly (commenter #54), who said:

I love this site, I’m already a member. Today I like the Cube Chair in Canary Moss Style. Thanks for an awesome giveaway!

CONGRATS Holly! Please contact me at niftyfoodie@gmail.com within 48 hours to get your prize!

 

Blogiversary Winners!

Thanks so much for the comments! I loved reading them, and I really appreciate your ideas on what you’d like to see on The Nifty Foodie in the future!

Ok, so you wanna know who won the Blogiversary giveaways?

Blogiversary Giveaway #1:
Jenn, who said “I would get an ice cream maker!”

Blogiversary Giveaway #2:
Lindsay Tjarks, who said “I’m guessing an apron!”

Blogiversary Giveaway #3:

Amanda, who said “I loved your tomato paste entry which I thought was so smart because I rarely need a whole can. So, I’d love more “nifty tips” and Louisiana dishes would be great as well.”

Congrats y’all!

If you won, please contact me at niftyfoodie@gmail.com to claim your prizes!

Blogiversary Giveaway #3

I hope everyone has had an awesome week!  I’ve had a blast reading your comments for giveaway #1 and giveaway #2 (both of which you can still enter). Giveaway #2, especially, because y’all are giving me handmade ideas for future giveaways. :-)

This last giveaway is actually a request from a couple of you. Last year, I held a similar giveaway, because I know that some of y’all aren’t able to find some ingredients that I consider staples in our Louisiana kitchen. It was probably the most comments I’ve ever received from a giveaway, which to me, shows that y’all want some Louisiana staples in your kitchen, for sure! (Can’t say I don’t blame you!)

New Orleans Giveaway Redux

So, here it is folks. Quite a few of these are things we use in our home regularly. The crawfish boil makes for some AMAZING mashed potatoes (and of course, boiled seafood). Tony Chachere’s seasoning is like the salt & pepper in the house, especially for my husband, who loves things WAY spicier than I do. Community Coffee with Chicory is a CRAZY strong coffee. While we don’t make coffee in our house regularly, I do get this stuff at the local coffee shop. This is NOT your typical Starbucks-like coffee. :-) Gumbo File is an ingredient that is a must-have for making gumbo. My friend in NYC said this stuff was no where to be found, so here it is..up for grabs. And of course, Zatarain’s Jambalaya, Gumbo and Pastalaya mixes for easy peasy weeknight dinners. :-)

Here’s the deets:

All you have to do to enter is comment telling me, what would you like to see more of on The Nifty Foodie?

For an additional giveaway entry, post this on your Twitter and comment back with the Twitter link: “I just entered @niftyfoodie’s Blogiversary Giveaway: Louisiana Staples for the Kitchen. Enter here! http://bit.ly/eyaKt3

You have until Monday, January, 24th at 11:59pm to comment.

Just a note: Only continental US readers can enter this giveaway.

FTC Disclosure: These prizes are provided by The Nifty Foodie.

Thanks so much for reading this blog for the past three years. I’ve had so much fun sharing my kitchen adventures with you, and best of luck with the giveaways!

Blogiversary Giveaway #2

I absolutely love reading your comments from the CSN store giveaway! Some of y’all are making me think I actually may ::need:: more kitchen gadgets. 😉

Speaking of gadgets, giveaway #2 is ALL about gadgets. A book written by my favorite Food Network chef: Alton Brown!

Source

My friend actually introduced me to this particular book, and after skimming it at the bookstore, I was hooked! I knew I had to offer it to y’all as a giveaway!

Source

If you watch Alton’s show, you’ll love this book. He shows you the essentials in your kitchen, and also tells you what you don’t really need. I kind of wish I had this book back in the engaged days (when we made our registry). I really think y’all would enjoy it!

Also, as an added surprise, this giveaway includes a kitchen related surprise from my craft room. The winner is going to get something handmade from me that you will LOVE having in your kitchen, but shh….that prize is a secret! 😉

All you have to do to enter is comment telling me, what do you think the handmade surprise will be? :-)

For an additional giveaway entry, post this on your Twitter and comment back with the Twitter link: “I just entered @niftyfoodie’s Blogiversary Giveaway: a book by Alton Brown & a handmade kitchen surprise. Enter here! http://bit.ly/gqfvSE

You have until Saturday, January, 22nd at 11:59pm to comment.

Just a note: Only continental US readers can enter this giveaway.

FTC Disclosure: These prizes are provided by The Nifty Foodie. :-)

I can’t wait to read what your guesses will be! 😉 Stay tuned for tomorrow’s final giveaway….it will definitely make you hungry!

Blogiversary Giveaway #1!

I hope y’all had a great weekend! For us, it was a pretty long, 3-day weekend that resulted in getting a good bit of housework done. I’m ashamed to admit that the kitchen was basically closed most of the weekend (we ate out…a lot.), but hey, it’s ok to take a cooking/baking break every once in a while!

I’m sure you want me to stop rambling and get to the good stuff. 😉

The first of the blogiversary giveaways is for a $20 credit to CSN stores! I actually really never knew about them until a few blogger friends held giveaways, and after winning one myself, I was able to see if they are a good online store or not. I ended up not buying anything food related, since I have WAY too many kitchen gadgets as it is!

I was actually first looking at their luggage stores for a few upcoming trips I’m taking, but I ended up purchasing something for crafting (typical). I’m happy to say that I got my order within a week, which is pretty awesome since I didn’t pay extra for shipping.

So, when CSN reached out to have a giveaway at The Nifty Foodie, I knew I couldn’t say no! Free moolah? Why not go for this?!

All you have to do to enter is comment telling me, what you would buy from CSN stores with the credit. :)

For an additional giveaway entry, post this on your Twitter and comment back with the Twitter link: “I just entered @niftyfoodie’s Blogiversary Giveaway: $20 credit to @csnstores. Enter here! http://bit.ly/hRWZB2

You have until Friday, January, 21st at 11:59pm to comment.

Just a note: only US/Canada readers can enter this giveaway. (Just as an FYI to Canadian readers, CSN’s shipping may cost more due to international shipping charges.)

FTC Disclosure: This prize is provided by CSN Stores. :-)

Best of luck! Oh, and stay tuned….tomorrow’s giveaway is going to feature my FAVORITE guy from Food Network! :-) 

 

 

Three years ago..

Three years ago, I sat in my parents’ kitchen trying to figure out a way to surprise them with dinner. My skills were limited to scrambled eggs, boiling hot dogs and reheating Chef Boyardee. I was feeling ambitious, so I went to the store and bought the ingredients to make Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs.

I can’t tell you how intimidating it was to cook a real meal, but after fleeing from the kitchen fighting onion tears, washing my hands multiple times because raw meat scares me, making sure to take pictures of something (since I wanted to start a blog) and meticulously measuring each individual ingredient, the meatballs were in the oven. It was all up to the oven to make sure that my meatballs actually came out….and they did. Oh, and they were YUMMY!

I love to look back on my old posts. This was my very first blog post. Unorganized, full of small, awkward pictures, but I love it. Those were my first real kitchen successes, and they were all delicious!

In fact, one of those recipes from my first post is actually now a family tradition during the holidays: the white chocolate cranberry pistachio biscotti.

Biscotti

So, here I am 3 years later. An identity crisis solved since, well, I’m not the perfect dieter. I’m still learning how to cook/bake, and I’m loving it. I love sharing my cooking adventures with y’all too! As lame as this may sound, I still get butterflies in my stomach when y’all leave comments. I love it!

Since you guys have been super awesome, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for every year that you’ve been around. So, there will be 3 giveaways next week! That’s right…3! I hope y’all don’t mind. :)

Thanks again for reading! Here’s to another yummy year! :)