Steamy Kitchen Recipes | RSS Feed http://steamykitchen.com Steamy Kitchen Food Blog: fast recipes, simple recipes, with fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:52:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Food Blog Forum 2015 | Walt Disney World http://steamykitchen.com/39958-food-blog-forum-2015-walt-disney-world.html http://steamykitchen.com/39958-food-blog-forum-2015-walt-disney-world.html#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:54:57 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=39958 Wow. I can’t believe this has been our 8th Food Blog Forum event! Add that to the additional 6 overseas food blogging events in Ixtapa, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and Cancun that I’ve organized — that makes me a professional event coordinator! What is Food Blog Forum? A not-for-profit company that Scott, myself, Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple created ...

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Wow. I can’t believe this has been our 8th Food Blog Forum event! Add that to the additional 6 overseas food blogging events in Ixtapa, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and Cancun that I’ve organized — that makes me a professional event coordinator!

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What is Food Blog Forum? A not-for-profit company that Scott, myself, Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple created to host events for food bloggers – to teach things like photography, food styling, business of blogging and social media. Our intention has always been to give back to the food community, encourage & mentor bloggers and celebrate our love of food.

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Our 3-time host was Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Having kids, and one big kid (Scott has been a regular to Disney World since 1973), it’s one of our very favorite spots to host an event.

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Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes, Kenji Lopez Alt of Serious Eats // Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple

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Our 120 attendees had an experience of a lifetime — 3 nights at the Grand Floridian Resort, a welcome party at the brand new Four Seasons Resort and an amazing lineup of speakers:

  • Victoria, the Director of Creative, Inc. at Walt Disney World – she’s in charge of inspiring creativity for all of Disney’s employees! When the cast members and magic makers at Disney need a little dose of inspiration – they call Victoria’s team.
  • Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom of Pinch of Yum, Scott and myself taught all about business and blogging.
  • Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple showed us how to create stories through our food photography and styling.
  • Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes and Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats helped with with strategies on blogger burnout.
  • Enid, #4 employee of Pinterest taught us impactful Pinterest strategies for our blogs.

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Scott and I were so happy to FINALLY meet in person our friends Lindsay and Bjork of Pinch of Yum.

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I think our biggest thrill (along with the 10 Disney Fast Passes per person per day!!) was a once in a lifetime luncheon with Walt Disney World at the California Grill restaurant above the Contemporary Resort.

They closed off the entire restaurant, just for us.

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Ten of the Walt Disney World Executive Chefs took off from their regular duties at their respective restaurants to come cook and meet with us.

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If you think amusement park food is all hot dogs and fries, you’re not at Disney World!

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It was such a treat to be the guests of honor, sampling some of Disney World’s finest fare from:

The Be Our Guest Restaurant (located in MAGIC KINGDOM Park), California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), Disney’s Contemporary Resort Bakery, Flying Fish Cafe (Disney’s BoarkWalk), Le Cellier Steakhouse (Epcot), Narcoossee’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), Sanaa (Disney’s Kingdom Lodge), Sunshine Seasons (Epcot), The Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Trattoria al Forno (Disney’s BoardWalk).

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A Food Blog Forum event is never complete without a local food experience. Visit Orlando and the wonderful shop owners of East End Market graciously suprised us with a delicious food event.

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My favorite was Kappa, a Japanese omakase bar with only 7 seats. “Omakase” means chef’s choice, so the menu is different every day, based on what’s fresh and what’s on the chef’s mind. That day, we were treated with Salmon “Oyaokon” which translates to “parent and child.”

In this case, the rice was topped with salmon and salmon eggs (parent and child.) I haven’t had this particular dish since a visit to Japan 18 years ago!

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But what is a trip to Disney, without fun?! Disney sent all of us on a scavenger hunt, and the boys loved it! Uncle Todd and Auntie Diane helped us find each and every clue.

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With the 10 fast passes per day, person – we rode rides over and over and over again. Have you ever been on Everest at Animal Kingdom? It scared the eyelashes off me!

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Big, big thanks to our friends Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil for helping coordinate the event. Without the dynamic duo, Pam Brandon and Karen McClintock of Walt Disney World Dining, this event would have never happened! Pam and Karen have always been big supporters of Food Blog Forum. Many of these photos were shot by our photographer, the one and only Guy Michelier of Simply Recipes – thank you!

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Screenshot 2015-04-09 06.21.17Food Blog Forum also must give a giant thank you to our sponsors, Walt Disney World for hosting our conference and providing magical moments for all of us, PB&G at Four Seasons Resort for the lovely opening party, Visit Orlando and East End Market vendors for their hospitality.

KitchenAid, Florida Dairy Farmers, Oxo and Sabra provided such amazing prizes for our attendees! We love our sponsors for being so passionate about food bloggers and for being our partners!

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New Kitchen Remodel http://steamykitchen.com/39806-new-kitchen-unveiling.html http://steamykitchen.com/39806-new-kitchen-unveiling.html#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 20:13:27 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=39806 Welcome to our new kitchen! It’s been quite some time since the beginning of the remodel, but we didn’t want to shoot photos until every single piece of the kitchen was complete. Our designer was Susan Serra. I met Susan years ago on a trip to Arizona and we’ve been working together for the past 2 years, planning and designing the renovation of ...

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Welcome to our new kitchen!

It’s been quite some time since the beginning of the remodel, but we didn’t want to shoot photos until every single piece of the kitchen was complete.

Our designer was Susan Serra. I met Susan years ago on a trip to Arizona and we’ve been working together for the past 2 years, planning and designing the renovation of this kitchen. It took this long, because we were designing a kitchen that serves both as a workspace AND a home-kitchen, in a small amount of space.

When we first bought the home, we chose the property because of the peaceful outdoor area on 5-acres with 2 ponds, a fishing dock, additional buildings and space for a massive garden.

We didn’t buy it for the kitchen, that’s for sure.

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The kitchen is situated in the center of the home, which meant very little natural lighting. While it had gorgeous high ceilings, the original builder put in these strange looking soffets that cut the space and made the entire room feel dark and smaller than it really was.

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Because of the counter that divided the kitchen from the rest of the room, our guests normally sat at a barstool, on the other side of the kitchen, watching, while I cooked in the kitchen.

I wasn’t a fan of this arrangement – I wanted people to come into the kitchen to play with me!

Susan was able to reimagine the space to be part of our living area, no dividers, no “stadium cooking” – just a natural extension of the family room and breakfast area.

Walls came down, holes were cut into the concrete.

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This is how we lived for a few months:

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We ripped out all the ceiling soffits, which resulted in a bright, airy, wide open space! What a difference that made.

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The result:

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Flooring

If you look at the kitchen photos above, doesn’t it look like hardwood flooring?

It’s not! It’s all tile.

Crossville is a family-owned, American company based in Tennessee, that produces sustainable tiling. We chose their SpeakEasy collection because of the “the look and feel of true American hardwood and the high-proof strength of porcelain stone.”

Take a look at some of these photos in the collection –  absolutely stunning.

We once considered hardwood or laminate, but knew with 3 dogs and 2 kids, the flooring would not last long at all. Cork seemed like a great sustainable option, but again, with spills happening all the time in our family, it wouldn’t last very long either.

We didn’t want standard kitchen tile, since our goal was to combine the family room/kitchen area into one seamless space. At the local flooring stores, they showed us porcelain tile that looked like wood – however, there was only ONE pattern that was printed on each and every tile.

Crossville’s tiles featured a mix of patterns in the same box – so that the flooring would like more natural, like real wood. One day, I’d like to complete the rest of the house flooring with this same tile.

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Kitchen Cabinetry

We also wanted the kitchen cabinetry to look more “furniture-like” than a traditional kitchen, and Susan suggested we go with a very large center island that would serve as food prep, washing, cooking, and also seating. The cabinets in the island had large, deep drawers that could hold all my pots, pans, utensils, and any prep tools.

Susan worked with KraftMaid and their design team to layout a solution that would house all my kitchen stuff (I have a lot of stuff) but still keep storage uncluttered and easy to access.

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We probably spent about three weeks custom designing where each drawer and each cabinet would go — along with what dividers/accessories would make sense. Susan’s design with the wall unit that lifted off the floor gave a more spacious feel to the kitchen, and looked more like a built-in furniture piece, rather than kitchen cabinetry.

We chose a simple, white cabinet design to keep lines clean and the kitchen bright. I also love the “whisper-soft” close of all of the drawers and drawers. No more slamming!

Kitchen Bling

When it came to cabinetry hardware, or “jewelry for your kitchen” as Susan would say, we went for a statement design!

We chose the Chareau Collection from Top Knobs – which included both knobs, bar handles as well as appliance pulls.

I loved the classic feel with modern lines of the Chareau Collection. Not too trendy, but just the right amount of design.

They are sturdy, heavy, solid knobs that will last a lifetime. The bling feels good in your hands – each piece is hand-finished and hand-polished.

Kitchen Countertop

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This was a practice of patience. Scott and I decided to wait for the right material, for the right color, the right thickness and the right company. Susan assured us it was worth the wait.

Boy, was she right.

The countertop is Dekton from Cosentino. It’s made from quartz – zero water absorption, scratch resistant, stain resistant, acid resistant, impact resistant…and anti-bacterial. It’s high-tech, I can’t even explain how it’s made! (just watch their video)

It’s ultra-compact, so that it’s one of the strongest materials ever made. Susan wanted our countertop to be thinner than most typical countertops, and this was the material that could provide us with a 3/4″ thickness — and still be stronger than any other counter materials available.

The thinner counter adds to the “furniture” look that we were going for.

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Kitchen Appliances

My favorite subject! Our partner in this project was KitchenAid. They’ve been long time supporters of both Steamy Kitchen and Food Blog Forum, and we did a trade – I did some freelance writing and recipe development in exchange for appliances.

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A must for our new kitchen was clean lines and seamless integration.

That’s why we chose a built-in refrigerator with a bottom-freezer and a built-in dishwasher, both with the matching cabinet fronts and pretty cabinet pulls.

The dishwasher made a massive difference in our kitchen – it’s so quiet that we often have difficulty determining whether the unit is on or off!

Our previous dishwasher would cling and clang, causing such ruckus that our office doors would have to be closed to take phone calls.

I love the quiet.

The convection microwave/oven combo is so nice to have – for the first time in a long time, my oven heats evenly.

The lower oven has “steam assist” feature. A little pan of water slides right in, and it keeps foods moist during cooking. It also is amazing for bread baking.

My favorite appliance? Right here with a push of this button:

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This is the retractable downdraft vent. When not in use, it hides away in the cabinet, underneath the counter. It keeps my kitchen looking clean, sleek and streamlined. And yes, the vent is powerful, even for my steamiest of stir-fries!

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While my first instinct would be to install a gas stove, we ended up making a better choice with induction. It’s more energy efficient, easier to keep clean and fast fast fast!

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I can boil water in seconds, something that would have taken minutes on a gas or electric stove. In fact, it’s faster to heat up food items on the induction stovetop than it is to microwave.

It’s powerful enough for my stir-fries and steak-searing — and gentle enough to barely simmer delicate sauce.

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That big wall

kitchen-remodel-after-3711 It looks like wallpaper, but it’s actually thin, sturdy fabric-like material! The material is eco-friendly, re-stickable, re-useable and re-moveable. No glues, no paste, just peel, stick and roll to secure.

Customized Walls is the company we worked with. It was so easy and inexpensive!

I knew I wanted a “bamboo forest” background for that big wall, but was afraid a deep, lush green would overwhelm the kitchen.

Laurie, the owner of Customized Walls, suggested that we match the color of our walls to create a tone-on-tone image.

I went to search for high-res photo of a bamboo forest and found one with a stock photography website. Bought the high resolution version for less than $20.

Sent it to Laurie’s team, who resized and matched the wall color (Sherwin Williams Watery Color.) A couple of days later, it showed up at my doorstep.

Installing the mural took a little over an hour, but it was simple. If the piece didn’t line up exact, we peeled it off and re-stuck.

The painting to complete the wall is a Chinese hand-painted scenery on silk that my parents brought back from China on one of their trips.

We framed it with a dark walnut stained frame that has bamboo-like texture.

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Kitchen Sink & Faucet
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So much thought and care was taken when Susan helped me choose our sink and faucets. Whether I like it or not, this is the station that I spend most of my time at – washing produce, prepping, doing dishes. I needed great design as well as the functionality to make the tedious job easier and faster.

The sink and faucets are from Blanco. It’s an 85 year old, family-owned company based in Germany, dedicated to sustainable manufacturing processes and water-saving products.

The sink is undermount (fits underneath the counter) and is the stain resistant, acid resistant, scratch resistant, and heat resistant up to 536F. The variety of natural colors is what drew me in! We chose a dark brown to match our counters.

The faucet is not only beautiful, but saves 20% water because of the 1.8 gpm water flow rate. The hose itself is flexible – which makes filling large pots and cleaning so easy. It’s held in place by a magnet – that clicks the nozzle in place.

Also from Blanco is the built-in compost waste bucket, a product that I never knew I needed so badly! Previously, I had be using a compost bucket that was just sitting on the counter. We dealt with the stink, the flies, the gnats.

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But with this Blanco compost bucket, all the food scraps are contained in a thick, high-grade stainless steel. It’s dishwasher safe and very easy to clean. And, my garden loves it.

That circle thing

On each side of my island, I have a circular thing with a little handle. Do you know what it is?

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It’s a built-in power strip! I love that it hides away when not in use. It’s called the Mockett Power Grommet that’s specifically designed for kitchens and laboratories.

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We’re thrilled with the results, grateful for all of our partners and Susan Serra and so happy!

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photos of family & some of the kitchen photos by Salvatore Brancifort Photography

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Food Too Cute to Eat http://steamykitchen.com/39037-food-cute-eat.html http://steamykitchen.com/39037-food-cute-eat.html#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:39:06 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=39037 Last week, my Mom forwarded us an email with all these incredibly detailed, adorable food photos. The boys insisted sharing these with you! The email was one of those viral emails that was forwarded thousands of times, and we have no idea who originally compiled them. While I track down the original sources to credit, please enjoy! Happy Holidays and Merry ...

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Last week, my Mom forwarded us an email with all these incredibly detailed, adorable food photos. The boys insisted sharing these with you! The email was one of those viral emails that was forwarded thousands of times, and we have no idea who originally compiled them. While I track down the original sources to credit, please enjoy!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, my friends!
-Jaden, Scott, Andrew and Nathan

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Oink! Oink!

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Egg Kitty fell asleep in a cozy wrap!

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Sleepy rice teddy dreaming under the cozy egg blankie.

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These penguins will always have a special space in my… belly!

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Sushi pandas, we have a meeting!

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Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth of Japanese curry! (Have you ever tried Japanese curry?)

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Polar bear in a mushroom and cabbage hot tub.

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Any “bunny” home? Too cute to eat.

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I “doughnut” want to eat these kitties!

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Sugar kitty in coffee — some cream please!

Make some noise, Chewbacca!

Um, excuse me, is that a Wookie in your food? mmarrraaagggghhrrrrrr.

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Let’s go fishing!

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These blankets just look so warm and TOASTY! Wake up little kitties!

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Rice pandas go swimming in Japanese curry.

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“Alpaca” sandwich for lunch rather than eating this. Too cute!

 

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Healthy Chinese Take Out Recipes http://steamykitchen.com/38179-healthy-chinese-take-out-favorite-recipes.html http://steamykitchen.com/38179-healthy-chinese-take-out-favorite-recipes.html#comments Sat, 08 Nov 2014 14:15:26 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=38179 May I introduce my latest book to you? Healthy Chinese Take Out Recipes Here’s a sample of some of the recipes you’ll find in Healthy Chinese Take Out – Favorite Recipes eBook: With dozens of valuable cooking tips, step-by-step photos, and endless recipe variations, you’ll be a master of Chinese Cooking. These basic recipes will build a solid foundation of ...

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May I introduce my latest book to you?

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Fifteen of your favorite Chinese Take Out recipes, healthier, and homemade. Your family and friends will rave about your restaurant-quality meals, without all the fat, calories and sodium.

Easy-to-follow recipes with photos to make sure you can cook with confidence.

Moo Shoo Pork
Egg Flower Soup
Hot and Sour Soup
Wonton Soup
Broccoli Beef
Shrimp Fried Rice
Shrimp with Snow Peas
Orange Chicken
Sweet and Sour Pork
Chow Mein
Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Baby Bok Choy
General Tso’s Chicken
Ground Beef with Beijing Sauce over Noodles
Almond Cookies

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Healthy Chinese Take Out Recipes

Here’s a sample of some of the recipes you’ll find in Healthy Chinese Take Out – Favorite Recipes eBook:

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With dozens of valuable cooking tips, step-by-step photos, and endless recipe variations, you’ll be a master of Chinese Cooking. These basic recipes will build a solid foundation of stir-frying techniques that you’ll be able to use over and over again!

 


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THANK YOU!!

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Order here on Amazon

 

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Asian Wrap and Roll Class on Craftsy http://steamykitchen.com/38245-asian-wrap-roll-class-craftsy.html http://steamykitchen.com/38245-asian-wrap-roll-class-craftsy.html#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:37:42 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=38245 Yeah! We’ve launched! I’m so thrilled to announce the launch of my Asian Wrap and Roll cooking class on Craftsy. Have you heard of Craftsy? They have hundreds of online classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, cooking and many more categories. The best part is that you can learn at your pace with easy-to-follow HD video lessons ...

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Yeah! We’ve launched!

I’m so thrilled to announce the launch of my Asian Wrap and Roll cooking class on Craftsy.

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Have you heard of Craftsy? They have hundreds of online classes in quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, cooking and many more categories. The best part is that you can learn at your pace with easy-to-follow HD video lessons you can access on your computer and mobile device anytime, anytime, anywhere, forever.

You can even bookmark your favorite techniques to return to as often as you’d like with just a click. Plus, ask your expert instructor (like me!) questions for all the personalized guidance you need to succeed.

Craftsy Cooking Class Asian Jaden Hair

Asian Wrap and Roll Craftsy Class

This class will teach you the art of wrapping and rolling your way to delicious and healthy Asian meals that you can eat with your hands!

This Craftsy class will feature the following recipes:

Vietnamese Spring Roll – Fresh and healthy rice paper rolls that are like a salad in a wrap! These Spring Rolls are so easy to make and I’ll show you a technique that even little kids can master.

Craftsy Cooking Class Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Japanese Sushi Rolls – Make your own sushi rolls at home at the fraction of the cost of eating out! Hosting a sushi party is possibly the most fun you’ll ever have. I’ll teach you where to source the best ingredients and how to wrap these cone-shaped hand rolls, an inside out roll and a traditional maki roll. Invite your friends over!

Craftsy cooking class sushi

Korean Tacos – If you’ve heard of the Korean Taco craze, you’re in for a treat. Korean full-flavored marinated “BBQ” style meat is paired with eat-in-hand tortillas. We’ll make it as fiery as you want and I’ll show you more traditional ways of eating this popular Korean dish.

Craftsy Cooking Class Korean BBQ Tacos

Crispy Chinese Egg Rolls – This is my Mom’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls. Delicate, shatteringly crisp skin wrapped around the perfect stir-fry. These are the real deal, you’ll be hard pressed to find them better tasting anywhere else.

Craftsy Cooking Class Chinese Egg Rolls

 

Thai Lettuce Wrap – Lettuce wraps are fun to eat, the cup-like shape of a cool lettuce leaf will hold lightly marinated filling of your choice, fragrant jasmine rice and a crispy noodle topping.

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We shot this class over four days at the Craftsy studios – and produced this class with over three hours of detailed instruction! The Asian Wrap and Roll class is $39.99, have a special launch promotional discount at the end of this post.

Behind the Scenes at the Craftsy Shoot

Want to take a peek of what happens behind the scenes? Makeup, production, video, sound, editing and kitchen prep!

Craftsy Discount Code

Click below to get $10 off the class! $39.99 $29.99

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Why I let my kids eat junk food http://steamykitchen.com/38119-why-i-let-my-kids-eat-junk-food-2.html http://steamykitchen.com/38119-why-i-let-my-kids-eat-junk-food-2.html#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:56:37 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=38119 I’ve written a handful of times how our family has taken on “just eat real food” mantra that we originally heard Underground Wellness podcast. We love it! It makes grocery shopping and deciding what to eat so easy: JERF or not-JERF. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever eat junk food. We’re just conscious of what we are putting in our ...

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I’ve written a handful of times how our family has taken on “just eat real food” mantra that we originally heard Underground Wellness podcast. We love it! It makes grocery shopping and deciding what to eat so easy: JERF or not-JERF.

That doesn’t mean we don’t ever eat junk food. We’re just conscious of what we are putting in our mouths. Want a Snickers bar? Sure! Just know it’s not-JERF, call it for what it is. Not real food. But, enjoy that sugar!

The words you choose are so very important. It’s what shapes your decisions, how you feel, and how you view the world around you. We choose to call soda as, “sugar.” Any food that we can’t grow, hunt, gather or make from scratch, simply, is called,”not-JERF” or “junk.”

For the boys, they fully understand the concept – here’s how we manage our junk food (or not-JERF) consumption, and why, despite all my research and encouraging people to eat more real food, I let my kids eat junk food.

Before you judge our family, please read the entire post.

Why I let my kids eat junk food

I believe in free choice.

I believe in training my children how to evaluate opportunities, understand consequence and have the freedom to choose based on all of the information.

In essence, they are building the muscle that will help them become excellent, responsible, human beings.

Also, we’ve found that the more we banned or denied our kids something, the more they wanted it. Heck, I was like that, too!

But let’s first talk about money

Let’s back up a bit, so that I can explain the junk food thing more clearly. My children do not get an allowance. I don’t believe that they should get used to getting money for free, without work.

I want my kids to grow up not expecting or relying on government freebies, unemployment,  social security (will it even exist? will I even get back what I’ve already put my hard-earned money into?), or any programs. If people are in a dire situation, sure, there are programs that are meant to be a temporary solution, to help people get back on their feet, like unemployment. But, I want to teach my kids to help themselves first, BEFORE expecting someone (or something) else to take care of them.

EDIT: For the record, this has nothing to do with politics. I’m neither a Democrat or Republican, I support different policies of each, but believe the political system is broken, with so many clownhats running the show. I refuse to pigeonhole or label myself as either. I don’t mean to belittle anyone on unemployment or social security. I’ve been on unemployment before, several times. I have family members who depend on their social security checks to buy groceries each month. 

My post is about building the muscle of self-reliance.

My post is on teaching our kids that they have the power and control to make decisions, good or bad — and there are consequences of each. ~Jaden

Instead of an allowance, my kids work

They are free to work in our family business, or to start their own business. We’ve dabbled in them selling our hens’ eggs to friends, but we probably would need a flock of 25 hens to make a decent business.

The boys have found more success in working on Steamy Kitchen. They read and approve comments (and slingshot virtual stink bombs to spammers), create recipes, cook and patiently pose for photographs.

With our 5-acres, there’s always a job to be done. Frankly, it’s too much work for just Scott to handle alone. I’m happy to help when it’s NOT 98-degrees outside with 134% humidity.

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So, Andrew and Nathan earn money pulling weeds, caring for the aquaponics garden, mowing the lawn and any other work that’s outside their scope of “Family Contribution.”

What are Family Contributions? Well, you and I grew up calling them “Chores.”

They are things we have to do together, as a family, to keep our house running clean, smooth, and thriving. They are non-paid activities, they are the baseline for what every member of our family contributes.

There’s a saying that I learned from a baby book, called BabyWise. “Start as you intend to go on.” Meaning, if I want my children to grow up to have a clean home without expecting someone to pay them for doing dishes, or vacuuming, then I start by setting that expectation from the very beginning.

It wasn’t always easy. We used to give weekly allowance, we used to pay our kids extra to do chores, like 50-cents for taking out the trash. But, the boys started expecting and felt entitled to money every time they performed daily household activities.

Very quickly, on our old method, the kids began focusing on the money, and not contribution. “If I wash the dishes, I get $1.00.” vs. “A clean kitchen makes our family feel good.”

Child labor

Andrew is a whiz on the computer. He codes in Java (parents, check out Youth Digital and Code.org!), learns software lightening fast and can type almost as fast as I can.

Have you downloaded the free Asian Masters of Flavor booklet? It’s right there on the sidebar! Well, Andrew helped me design and put it together in Pages, a word processing program on the Mac. He’s awesome in Pages.

Why I let my kids eat junk food-2912

He earned $7.93 per hour, minimum wage in Florida. For one hour’s work, here’s where his money goes:

70% Spending account
20% Savings account
10% Charity account

Andrew earns 8% interest rate.

Nathan helps approve and moderate comments (so please no naughty words in the comments!)

mySuperLamePic_76d7be89ea36c9f99156a451c3f28865

How the kids keep track of money

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We use an app called KidsBank to keep track of all of their money. Unfortunately, I can’t find a bank who will provide free checking account DEBIT card for minors.

I know a lot of banks offer free checking and savings accounts for kids, but I am looking for one that:
1) Is connected to my bank account to make transfers easy
2) Offers a free debit card so that the kids can actively PAY for the item they want with their own debit card. Some banks offer debit cards for 16 year olds and older, but my kids are 9 and 11.

If a bank doesn’t have the free debit card, it’s not worth my time (or the accountant’s time) to have 2 additional checking accounts to keep track of and balance.

Right now, it’s just easier to track via an app. The great thing about KidsBank app is that it gives a very satisfying “cha-ching” sound for transactions!

Spending Saving Giving

Anything in their Spending account is theirs, free to do whatever they want. They’ve earned the right to spend that money, and they are learning responsible spending habits.

This past weekend, they chose to spend their money on junk food.

The money in Savings is for big purchases or gifts they want to buy for Christmas or birthdays.

Their savings account is NOT for college

I don’t want them to save for college or even a car yet. For those big ticket items, I want them to create a business that will generate TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars.

I want them to learn to create value in a big way. Scott and I made a decision from the start to raise our kids with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Do you remember the movie, Robots, Inc.? There’s a quote that I love in the movie, “Find a need, fill a need.” The boys grew up watching that movie.

We’ll wait until they are just a little older to start them on that big journey. Right now, they need to focus on their grades (ahem, Nathan.).

Perhaps, if there is enough interest, I’ll write about business + kids in another post.

The Charity account is self explanatory. Andrew only has 70-cents in his charity account because he purchased a laptop for a student in his school who is incredibly gifted, but is currently in less than ideal family circumstances.

We chose not to know who that student is, we have an understanding with Ms. Douglas, the registrar of the school, that if there is ever an opportunity to help a student in a massive way, to let us know.

Andrew and I went to the store, picked out the laptop and purchased it. He delivered it to Ms. Douglas.

I don’t tell you this to impress you, our giving doesn’t come from a place of ego, but I want to stress the importance of kids giving back in a real, concrete way. In a “right in my backyard” kind of way, to support our local community, right here at home.

We’ve always taught the boys to take care of our fellow neighbors first, do as much as we can to uplift our hometown. I’m not saying that donating money to helping those in other countries is bad in any way — this is just our family choice.

But back to the junk food

Yes, it’s nasty stuff. Full of empty calories and chemicals. But if they spend their own money to purchase the junk, and they cook it themselves, that’s fine by me.

When I shop, I fill my cart with the good stuff, or “JERF.”

If the kids want not-JERF, they have to pay for it themselves. When kids consciously make that decision to spend their hard-earned money on something, they begin to appreciate things more.

Before we took the allowance away, when we would go shopping, they would just toss things into the grocery cart without a thought.

Now, we find what’s on sale. 2-for-1 deals and calculate the biggest value purchase. Or we go without the Cheetos, it’s their choice.

They cook their own junk

If they want a dinner made up of…

“Enriched Macaroni (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Corn Starch, Salt, Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Sugar, Ricotta Cheese* (whey, milkfat, lactic acid, salt), Tomato*, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Paprika, Spice, Color (yellow lakes 5 & 6, yellows 5 & 6), Mono and Diglycerides, Cheddar Cheese* (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Yeast Extract, Enzyme Modified Blue Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Cream, Whey, Enzyme Modified Cheddar Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Butter Oil, Nonfat Milk, Blue Cheese* (milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes), Sodium Caseinate, Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent), Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Caseinate, Enzymes.*Dried”

(basically, those are the ingredients in the Cheeseburger Macaroni), then they have to cook it themselves and clean up afterwards.

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Do you like my temporary outdoor camping stove while my kitchen is being remodeled? I’ve been cooking there for the past 2 months! My kitchen is allllmoooost done!

For a lot of kids, even the hassle of cleanup is such a chore, that they’ll just decide they don’t want the food anyways. But, for Andrew and Nathan, they enjoy cooking and cleanup is part of their everyday family contribution, so that pressure really doesn’t work for us.

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A game at the dinner table

Another thing that we do while we enjoy that yummy, “Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil,” is that we’ll take the box with us at the dinner table and we’ll make a game out going through each and every ingredient and trying to figure out which ingredient is where in the food.

Hmmmcan you taste that chemical Sodium Citrate? Where do you think it is? In the sauce or pasta?”
“Do you see the Yellow 5 & 6 food coloring? What do you think it does to your body?”

Hopefully, these types of conversations will dissuade them from making bad food choices, but at the very least, it makes them think carefully about what they choose to put into their bodies.

Making the conversation more like a game than a lecture definitely helps get through to the kids.

Resources:

kidsbank

KidsBank (iPhone app) $2.99 – they have a free version as well. We’ve been using it for a couple of years now. The interface isn’t as smooth and slick as I’d like it, but it works.

I created a Free Kids Spend/Save/Give Worksheet for you. Would you like a copy? I hope it helps you and your children talk about money, earning money and giving back to the community.

I’d love to hear from you – do you have any strategies to help kids manage their money, spend their money and eat less junk?

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Jump http://steamykitchen.com/37929-jump.html http://steamykitchen.com/37929-jump.html#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:41:40 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=37929 I recently heard this quote by Ray Bradbury, “Jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.” It’s supposed to be an inspirational quote, but I can’t shake off a animated gif of a disastrous ending. If retelling of inspirational quotes is anything like the game of telephone, perhaps Mr. Bradbury’s original quote was more eloquent. I just ...

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I recently heard this quote by Ray Bradbury, “Jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.” It’s supposed to be an inspirational quote, but I can’t shake off a animated gif of a disastrous ending.

If retelling of inspirational quotes is anything like the game of telephone, perhaps Mr. Bradbury’s original quote was more eloquent. I just can’t imagine a wise person (one so wise that people record soundbites from) choosing those specific words.

Perhaps it was a “cloud,” something higher up than a 300 foot cliff.

Perhaps he meant “unfold” instead of build. When I think of “build,” I’ve got Ikea and that stupid hex-wrench. By the time I’m near the ground, I’ve yet to decipher the first step in the instructions book!

After a quick search, I found that Ray also said, “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall”

(Feel free to steal this image below, I made this with an app on my iPhone called Word Swag)

IMG_7803

Now, isn’t that better? Though I still probably would have said, “Jump and you will find out how to unfold your wings and FLY.”

I know, I’m such a quote killer! Argh….are there any HYPER-VISUAL people out there who understand?!

Speaking of visual,what do you think of the new web design? Scott and I worked all weekend and launched it a couple of days ago. It’s funny how some people are so resistant to change, demanding that we go back to the old design! It’s okay, I still adore them.

To tie this back into the quote, “Jump and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall,” this is the metaphor for how we began this web re-design. Armed with only the mission – a useful, delightful reader experience – we sought a new system and design to frame the content and presentation.

With such a big change, it would have been easy to get stuck down the rabbit hole of strategizing, researching, analyzing and not doing a single thing. But I don’t play life that way. Once I decide I want to go in a direction, I dive head-first and see what happens.

I evaluate as I’m going and ask myself this magic question:

Am I moving towards my goal or away from my goal?

TOWARDS: keep going.

AWAY: change 1 thing, adjust and go back to the question.

I go through this round of questioning no more than once a day. Evaluating the answer is how I develop my wings. It’s important to give yourself time in between each round of the magic question.

Sometimes, new actions take time to get used to, or to manifest results. But use your gut. If movement this way just feels so wrong….stop….and change directions.

For the web design, Scott create a test site so that we wouldn’t be playing live on Steamy Kitchen and causing all sorts of havoc — which I’ve done before and seriously broke the site, which caused HOURS of extra work for us!

We picked 3 different WordPress themes* and installed them on the server and tried them all on. Two of the designs were paid, I felt it was worth it to pay the money, try it out and see how it fits. We returned and got a refund for the design that didn’t work out when the answer to the magic question was AWAY.

*What is a WordPress theme? WordPress is like the essential functions of building a house: plumbing, electrical. I’d say WordPress is also the concrete, or the foundation of the house. A “theme” is the framework that is build upon the house. So, like the bedroom over here, the kitchen over here. The living room and the dining room are connected by this doorway. Each theme gives you customization on what color flooring, style of window dressing, paint on the house. 

We jumped right in. Figured out how to use the theme as we went (okay, we’re lucky that Scott is a tech guy – HE figured out things as he went). The themes we chose all had fantastic forums, great documentation and how-to videos (important when choosing a theme!)

Scott figured out the how-to as we went. We researched bit by bit, only digging on the very specific elements that we needed to change.

We’re still jumping – there are little things here and there that still need tweaking. But we are definitely moving TOWARDS.

 

Here are our goals for new website design:

1. Less advertisements – we jacked up the old theme with so many ads that it looked like nighttime streets in Hong Kong with flashing neon signs.

As most of our income comes from advertisement, it was a major business decision, but we felt it was the right thing to do. Our ad revenue had dramatically decreased because advertisers were getting smarter and asking for “viewability” guarantees.

That means, if an advertisement was near the top of the page, but you scrolled down past the ad before 1.5 seconds, the “viewability” of that ad was low. For food blogs, the first thing you normally see at the top of the page is an image.

Generally, people would quickly glance at the image, then scroll down to read the post — all before the 1.5 seconds — which meant we were not getting paid on a good percentage of page views.

This new design comes with a static sidebar built-in, unless you mouse over the sidebar and scroll. Having this feature gives us the freedom to remove a some of the ads! There are only 1 or 2 that are important – and those are to the right.  We’ve started with taking out those long, skinny “skyscraper” ads that used to be on the sidebar, and the footer ad spot that was at the very bottom of every page. This is implemented throughout our site, recipes and blog posts, EXCEPT for the Giveaway pages.

 

2. Cleaner, simpler, easier on the eyes. Thin lines, larger fonts, more space.

3. No more customizations! Our previous design (and our original logo) was customized by our friend Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil. She’s such a talented designer and created our design close to 5 years ago. Well, we’ve mucked it up over the years with me saying, “Hey Scott, can you do your special coding magic and add this feature?” Over time, we added layers upon layers of different customizations that it became very difficult to keep track of how things functioned and difficult to change any type of element on the site.

Customization is great, but it slows down the site, and makes it really heavy. Our old site ran like a diesel engine. Slow, strong, but not pretty.

The new design is called X Theme – one of the most popular WordPress themes available. It’s designed to be easily customized without special coding. You can choose between lots of different layouts, styles and functionality. We are using Icon design from X Theme. Pretty much straight out of the box….err…download.

We added a custom header, chose a
layout style, matched our colors and fonts and that pretty much was it.

 

Well, I hope you’ll get to know this new design and enjoy the clean, uncluttered feel. Scott and I are working super-hard to fix any bips and boops that crop up from time to time. Our goal is to make a more delightful experience for you. I’d love to hear what you think — good or bad – what can we improve?!

 

I’ll leave you with a photo we took today with Cruella! She looks so mean still!

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hens-2750 hens-2742

 

Resources

Word Swag: $2.99 Easily create inspirational quotes or add text to photos

OnOne Lightroom Preset Free. I used “Glow – Subtle Portrait” on my photo; “Gritty-Punch” on Cruella photo)

X Theme: ($69 – affiliate link) Wow, what a powerful theme! We used the X Theme, Icon style on our blog, nearly straight out of the box!

 

 

 

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New logo, new stuff coming! http://steamykitchen.com/37728-new-logo-new-stuff-coming.html http://steamykitchen.com/37728-new-logo-new-stuff-coming.html#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:32:21 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=37728 Ever since our post Needs Reboot, Scott had I have been working so hard re-vitalizing our business. We’ve been listening to podcasts, reading business manifestos, devouring great books, masterminding with smart people and having “Board of Directors” meetings with Nathan and Andrew at the dinner table. The boys have equal say in the business (most of the time), there have been a couple ...

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Ever since our post Needs Reboot, Scott had I have been working so hard re-vitalizing our business. We’ve been listening to podcasts, reading business manifestos, devouring great books, masterminding with smart people and having “Board of Directors” meetings with Nathan and Andrew at the dinner table.

The boys have equal say in the business (most of the time), there have been a couple of situations where Scott and I pulled an “executive veto” on things such as launching a Minecraft “recipe” section of Steamy Kitchen. We’ve also shelved ideas for next year, like building a treehouse as our company headquarters (which would be SO fun, but we currently don’t have a tree on our property strong enough to support a treehouse.

For the past 3 years, Scott and I have really been “coasting,” riding the wave that blogging and the Internet has brought us. While only working 2 days a week has given us precious time to be with the kids, learn new hobbies, volunteer and just plain goof-off, it’s time to get off our butts and create meaning again in our work. “Change the world” kind of work.

What we love doing as a family is growing food, raising chickens, cooking together, helping rescue dogs find new fur-ever homes and encouraging others to eat J.E.R.F. (just eat real food.) Scott and I personally love (and are really, really good) at teaching blog business skills.

There are so many things we want to improve on Steamy Kitchen. Here are the top areas:

1. Less advertisements

I don’t mind an ad or two, but too many get in the way of the good content that we spend HOURS creating. Each of our posts that include a recipe take a minimum of 12 hours to produce, from recipe development, recipe testing, food styling, food photography, editing, uploading, writing, videography, video editing and promotion. It’s a lot of work (and I absolutely LOVE it!) but when we have too many flashy, animated, attention-grabbing ads, it just takes away from all that hard work.

That doesn’t mean we are dropping all ads immediately (that would be shooting ourselves in the foot!) We love love love BlogHer and we’d love to continue to work with them on relevant ad buys and partnerships that make sense.  But it does mean cutting back on the number of ad spots, ad partnerships, and over time, we’ll be creating new ways to earn income that is meaningful, significantly improve other people’s lives and earns great residual income to support our family (more on this later.)

We’re working on the new site! Coming soon!

2. More diversified recipes & JERF

This came as a request from Andrew and Nathan. While they are both rice-eating boys at heart, they would like Steamy Kitchen to be more balanced and have more non-Asian recipes, like Nathan’s hamburger buns!

The specific podcast that has completely changed the way our family thinks about food is The Shawn Stevenson Model Health Show episode #11. There were some concepts I totally didn’t agree with in the podcast, but we learned one important concept that stuck with us. The podcasts features Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness and the saying – “just eat real food” or JERF for shorthand.

JERF is such a catchy, cute name that Scott, Nathan and Andrew really took to. It’s part of our daily language now, “Did you eat JERF at school today?” or “Mom, are Pop-Tarts JERF?”

We’ve all changed our eating habits, we strive for JERF, but sometimes settle for JERF-ish, as the boys say. Here’s Nathan teaching Food Blog Forum participants about JERF:

(Sorry for video and sound quality. I’m only giving you a snippet of this video because I recorded it on my cell phone and later on Nathan plays a game with the audience, “JERF or not-JERF?” I’m like laughing so loud it sounds like a squawking cackle. I won’t subject your ears to such bizarre noise.

 

3. More homesteading

When we first moved to this home three years ago, we were contemplating starting another blog for our homesteading and gardening information, as it just didn’t seem to fit within the “Steamy Kitchen Asian Recipes” mold. We never did (thank goodness), and now homesteading, aquaponics, microgreens, hydroponics, raising chickens, raising animals for food, raised bed gardening, will take just as much spotlight on Steamy Kitchen. We really want to create a “Farm to Fork for Home” experience showing all aspects of food from raising it at home to preparing it for your family. Scott calls it “Garden to Gut” coverage.

One day, I might even tell you about my first (and possibly ONLY time) cleaning and plucking two ducks that we had to shoot, getting instructions via text and cell phone with Hank Shaw. Let’s just say that candle wax + a bottle of tequila + 2 dead ducks = massive disaster.

Oh, Mrs. FlufferNuffer says hi:

 

Mrsfluffernuffer-7783

Here’s what she looked like a few weeks ago.

4. Creating products that massively help others

Steamy Kitchen is a business, and we do have to find a way to sustain and grow the company to support our family. I don’t think being a homeless food blogger is that appealing.

But beyond just “making money to support our family,” Scott and I need to swing the business back to “massively helping and empowering others while happily, abundantly making money.”

There’s a big difference in how you feel just reading those two sentences, right?

By the way, making money is not a bad thing. Bloggers shouldn’t have to feel bad about being successful. If some readers feel offended by our company making money providing free recipes, entertainment, useful information, that’s totally okay. There are so many other food blogs they can visit!

So how does a food blog that’s completely free to access make money? How can I continue to dedicate 12 hours for each recipe post with fewer advertisements, especially if ad revenue is 90% of our income?

We have so many ideas!

1. I’ll still be working 1:1 with companies that matter. These are brands that I know, trust and recommend. But unlike advertisements, the endorsements are clear. I stand behind these products and companies. Next week, I get to show off the kitchen that Scott, myself and Susan Serra been working so hard on the past four weeks. Some of our partners were KitchenAid, KraftMaid and Dekton.

tinybook2. We wrote a new book! This is a series of business strategy ebooks for other food bloggers, teaching them what we’ve learned in the nearly 8 years of food blogging and all the mistakes we’ve made and the massive wins we’ve celebrated.

The topic of Blogging + Business is our sweet spot – it’s what I’ve speaking about, teaching at more than 25 blogging and food conferences. At the last Food Blog Forum in Asheville, I taught this particular topic of Pricing and Negotiation for Food Bloggers and it was one of the best sessions I’ve ever given.

In all honesty, I am a better businesswoman than I am a food blogger!! :-)

Come  take a peek!

3. I can’t tell you about the third one yet – but it has to do with Ninjas.

 

and…Curating products that delight

The only affiliate partnership we currently have is Amazon. So, when you start your Amazon shopping from this little link right here: Shop Amazon, we get around 7.5% commission from the sale.

It’s a fantastic partnership, we ourselves are Amazon Prime members and love the convenience and the price. It’s also low-maintenance. Actually, zero-maintenance. Which is why there’s a lot of opportunity for growth (I’m telling myself that maybe if I paid more attention to the Amazon partnership, we could make more than $1,000 a month that we’re currently getting.)

There are a TON of other companies who offer affiliate programs, we’ll be exploring the ones we absolutely love. I spent this morning shopping at several online stores, testing out product selection, quality and customer service.

I’m bummed that Etsy doesn’t have an affiliate program open, I love Etsy!

In Semi-Conclusion….

(I have so much more to write but my poor arms are in a lot of pain from the typing!)

We’re celebrating with a new logo that we’re currently working on, a new site design that’s simpler, cleaner, less ads (launching soon!), a new book on business for food bloggers.

It also means that a bag of frozen corn draping over my arms is my best friend, from all the computer work. I’ll have to go back to dictation software soon!

jaden-boys-corn-23

Logo work in progress!

We’ve decided to bootstrap any new projects we work on. That means, if we can design a new logo for $10, you can too!

Font: I found a font from DaFont.com that I really love – happy, cheerful and still legible and pretty.

Images: The background images were purchased at Creative Market for less than $10! We just discovered Creative Market this past weekend, and I’ve been playing fumbling in Adobe Illustrator to put together all the elements to create a unique logo.

handcrafted-beige
(Yay, a new affiliate partner!)

Creative Market is sort of like an Etsy for graphic design, logos, fonts, images, photos, etc. I love supporting artists. Even though I could have gotten images or icons, I really loved that we chose to use and pay a small amount to talented artists! The great thing about Creative Market is that they give FREE STUFF EVERY WEEK!

Colors: I spent a good two hours meditating on colors on Design Seed’s website. I chose a couple palettes I really love, did a quick “save-as” on the image, then uploaded it to Adobe’s Kuler, where I got to play with  adjusting the colors. If you use Adobe Creative Cloud,  Adobe Kuler integrates perfectly and you can save the palette (directly into Photoshop or Illustrator) without having to export/import.  Both are free resources (well not Adobe Creative Cloud, but Design Seed and Kuler)

What do you think? Do you like? I was thinking that with the three layouts that look similar, we could change up the nifty little icon based on the subject or category.

SK-new-logo-2

Or how about this?

sk-new-logo

 

chickenbombed

You’ve been chicken-bombed!

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Goodbye Kitchen! http://steamykitchen.com/37445-goodbye-kitchen.html http://steamykitchen.com/37445-goodbye-kitchen.html#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:20:18 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=37445 After 3 years of planning, designing, re-designing and procrastinating, we’ve finally started our kitchen remodel. I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading the start date – three weeks without a kitchen is traumatic. Well, I should say estimated three weeks. Which probably means closer to 3 months in home remodel timeline. I spent all weekend cleaning out the cabinets and ...

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kitchen-remodel-7511

After 3 years of planning, designing, re-designing and procrastinating, we’ve finally started our kitchen remodel. I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading the start date – three weeks without a kitchen is traumatic. Well, I should say estimated three weeks. Which probably means closer to 3 months in home remodel timeline.

I spent all weekend cleaning out the cabinets and boxing/trashing the contents. Those sneaky cabinets and pantry can certainly hold a lot of secrets. Like 6 year old jar of plum sauce. A can of Spam that has no expiration date (7 years ago, I had a hankering for Spam Fried Rice) and all the tops to plastic containers that I thought I had lost.

In the juggle of emptying out my spice and sauce cabinet, and sorting through keep/not keep (I have 5 bottles of soy sauce!), I accidentally knocked over the worst possible thing to knock over in the kitchen.

FISH SAUCE.

What’s the rule of fish sauce???

DO NOT DROP GLASS BOTTLE.

Because if the bottle breaks, your house will reek of rotted sardines for weeks.

Luckily, the fish sauce’s fall was caught by the dog bowl. Wow. Good save.

kitchen-remodel-7509

Side note – We were at Food Blog Forum Asheville last week (I’ll recap with photos soon, but in meantime, come read Diane/Todd’s recap) and asked Diane what her favorite fish sauce was. Red Boat was her answer.

My stores only carry Squid brand (too salty) and Three Crabs (love it), so I ordered from Amazon (yay Amazon!) Haven’t had a chance to try it yet, though if that dog bowl wasn’t there, I could have told you exactly what it smelled like.

kitchen-remodel-7523

Scott spent all day yesterday removing the appliances, counters and cabinets. The appliances went to a friend who desperately needed a new set.

The cabinets were really nice, made of solid wood and still was very good condition. I posted on Craigslist a photo of the cabinets and offered it for free if anyone wanted to come pick them up.

Within SECONDS of hitting “submit” on Craiglist, I was inundated with offers to take the cabinets. Apparently, people in my town are all in need of a kitchen remodel.

In the end, I gave the cabinets away to a woman whose husband passed away before he could finish the kitchen remodel. They were halfway done, cabinets were removed when he died. She’s been living with a half-kitchen and no cabinets since then.

I forgot to warn her that those cabinets like to hide stuff like lids and Spam.

Oh, and I found out exactly where the dogs like to hide dog food that they don’t like. There’s a brand of kibbles that Lainey, Coco and Rocco don’t particularly care for. I bought it because it was on sale. It rhymes with “urina.”  (With three big dogs, designer dog food gets expensive, so sometimes we just get what’s on sale)

Anyways, when we slid out the dishwasher and the range, we found hundreds of kibbles. Well, no wonder why we thought we heard mice in the kitchen a few weeks ago.

Last night was our first night without a kitchen. I created a makeshift food prep station in our dining room, lit the outdoor BBQ grill and pulled out a bottle of fancy wine to celebrate Day 1.

Problem was….somewhere in this mess:

kitchen-remodel-7526

was my wine opener and wine glasses.

Crap.

Ah, what was I thinking, packing the essentials to life????

All these methods to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew?  Too dangerous or too fussy. I mean, really. a bicycle pump? Or smacking a wine bottle against the wall with a book in between?

My Herradura tequila requires no corkscrew.

So here’s the kitchen as of last night. Today, Scott is working on tearing down the soffets that are hanging off the wall and down from ceiling. Then the tile gets taken up.

kitchen-remodel-7522

susanserraThe lovely Susan Serra is designing the kitchen for us, complete with KitchenAid appliances, KraftMaid cabinets, Dekton counters and a ‘family entertaining’ style that makes the kitchen more like an extension of our family room.

We haven’t picked out flooring or wall color yet. I’m toying with Susan’s idea of faint photo mural on one wall of bamboo. I think it would look neat. I could see how awesome that would look in the kitchen. Susan used Customized Walls to turn a photo she took at Martha’s Vineyard into a photographic wall mural – click through to the last couple of photos of this kitchen she designed.

What do you think? I’m not sure I even have a photograph of bamboo forest – but I was thinking something green, lush and peaceful, like this.

 

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Review: iDevices Bluetooth Kitchen Thermometer http://steamykitchen.com/37395-review-idevices-bluetooth-kitchen-thermometer.html http://steamykitchen.com/37395-review-idevices-bluetooth-kitchen-thermometer.html#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=37395 I love this thing! No more having to wonder if my timer went off (while I’m in a different room). My phone syncs with the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer and will zap me when the food is done (just kidding – it just beeps). Or how about when the grill is outside and you’re inside the house?!   Review of the ...

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I love this thing! No more having to wonder if my timer went off (while I’m in a different room). My phone syncs with the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer and will zap me when the food is done (just kidding – it just beeps). Or how about when the grill is outside and you’re inside the house?!

 

Review of the iDevices Bluetooth Kitchen Thermometer

Links:

iDevices Kitchen Thermometers on Amazon 

iDevices homepage

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