Archives for May 2011

Q&A: How Does Your Garden Grow? (plus my green thumb update)

The next few days are going to be busy ones here at Simple Bites, as our family is getting ready to go on vacation. I’m feeling like June has crept up on me and now there are a ‘zillion’ (as my 5-y-o would quip) items on my to-do list. I have to admit, however: the thought that I’ll be on a distant beach with my kids by the end of the week is tremendous inspiration to have a productive couple of days.

Last year’s vacation was a family reunion, hosted by Danny and I, and while it was enormous fun, it wasn’t exactly relaxing! We are so looking forward to a real ‘getaway’ and this one is bound to be memorable – we are flying south with six of Danny’s brothers, their wives/girlfriends and children, and of course, the grandparents. Nineteen people. Yeah, we like all kinds of crazy.

Although I’ll be in Mexico, things aren’t going to slow down around here. I’ve got a few guest posters lined up that you are going to love, so stay tuned!

Today I thought we’d do something a little different and just chat about one of my favorite topics – gardening. And by gardening, I really mean the vegetable patch, herb pots and greenhouse. I’m not much of a landscaper and don’t have a knack for artistic flower beds; my passion really is the pea patch or anywhere food is produced.

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Weekend Links: Eat Well, Spend Less Edition

Remember when I showed you my pantry? Yeah, that was before Blogher Food ’11, before I helped launch a charity, and just after our Salute Spring! Series. It’s been a little crazy around here.

Well, that pantry post was a part of a nine-blog wide series where we resolved to eat well and spend less. This time we tackled the subject of long-term and bulk food storage and today I’m finally getting a chance to post a round-up.  It will be brief, though, as I’m frantically busily trying to get ready for a ten-day family vacation – and the laundry from my last trip still isn’t washed.

However, if I may recommend Mandi’s comprehensive, yet condensed overview….it’s amazing!

Raise your hand if you’ve got the pantry of your dreams, endless organized freezer storage, and  a place for everything…Yeah, that’s what I thought. We could all use a little help storing food properly and this is exactly what this last installment of Eat Well, Spend Less brought.

There are tons of tips from these real women – and a few surprises. Who would have guessed that a coupon queen survives – nay, thrives – without a deep freeze? Not me!

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BwoB: An Update


Bloggers without Borders (BwoB) is a blogger-based charity whose mission is to help people—bloggers and readers alike—by harnessing the good will of the blogging community. Its founders are Maggy Keet of ThreeManyCooks, Erika Pineda-Ghanny of The Ivory Hut, Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie, and Aimee Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites. BwoB officially launches in July 2011.


UPDATE!
Thanks to everyone who gave so generously, we’ve been able to donate over a thousand dollars each to both Kristan and Sheila and their causes.

You can read their updates here:
Kristan in Arkanasas.
Sheila for Joplin, MO.

* * *

It’s been about 36 hours since we launched Bloggers without Borders and our fundraising efforts for tornado victims, so we thought it was time for a progress report. As of midnight, we had raised over $1,200 for tornado victims across the United States. We can’t thank you enough for your quick and generous response.

After launching our Joplin campaign, another blogger with another need came to our attention. Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen lives 5 minutes from where another tornado hit in Arkansas. Fortunately, lives were spared, but her uncle—a father of four who doesn’t have much insurance—lost the family business when his flooring store was flattened. Family homes were also severely damaged and the overall loss is heartbreaking.

Bloggers without Borders Etna Denning Arkansas tornado
Kristan’s uncle’s family store.

When she learned of Kristan’s situation, Shelia, our Joplin recipient, generously offered to share half of the fundraising proceeds with Kristan’s community. “There is so much need that we definitely need to spread the love,” she said. Kristan will distribute her share of the funds to the most urgent of situations in the Etna/Denning, AR community. She will also give us an update on her blog and share how the money was allotted. Truly, this is bloggers helping bloggers.

As we watch the news and the updates that are coming from these tornado-stricken areas, we feel such deep sadness for these people who have lost everything. Many of you expressed the same sentiment but we no longer feel helpless or hopeless, because together as bloggers, we are actually doing something to help in a real and meaningful way.

Our goal is to raise at least $2,000 so that we can give each blogger and her community $1,000. Please help us reach that goal!

And for those who already have donated, thank you for your support. Your tweets and blog posts touch us, and they encourage us to forge ahead. There is much need, yes, but together we’re making a difference.

With gratitude,

Bloggers without Borders

Donate to Bloggers without Borders!

Want to spread the word? Want to help us raise money? E-mail us and we’ll send you the code for the BwoB badge and donate button.

Lower the iPhone and Wear a Smile: My BlogHer Food ’11 Recap

It’s not easy to get away in the spring, but last weekend Danny and I put our garden plans and yard work on hold while we jetted South to Atlanta for four days. The occasion? Our ninth wedding anniversary. The event? Blogher Food ’11.

Now, I know that’s not exactly a romantic getaway and most men would run at the thought of crashing a party of 400 or so women, but my husband is not your typical guy and we made the most of the weekend. In the mornings we scoured the city for the best coffee  (Octane (sadly now closed), if anyone is wondering), during the day he golfed with friends while I attended BHF, and in the evenings I had a hot escort to the parties. Yep, we hit ’em all.

It was the best and I can highly recommend attending these notoriously draining conferences with someone who can make you laugh, rub your tired shoulders at 5pm – and even iron your blouse in a pinch. After nine years married, Danny still does that and much more.

But this is supposed to be my BHF recap. Yes, I’m straying away from recipes today to give you a glimpse of what goes on at a food blogger’s conference. Grab your Macbook, iPhone, iPad, Canon 5D, Venti Starbucks and let’s go!

Just kidding, you don’t need any of that stuff. Just wear a smile, and don’t be shy to introduce yourself.

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BwoB: Help for Joplin, MO

Bloggers without Borders

Bloggers without Borders (BwoB) is a blogger-based charity whose mission is to help people—bloggers and readers alike—by harnessing the good will of the blogging community. Its founders are Maggy Keet of ThreeManyCooks, Erika Pineda-Ghanny of The Ivory Hut, and Aimee Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites. BwoB officially launches in July 2011.
____________________

Everyone around the country is deeply saddened by the tragedy that has taken place in Joplin, MO. And sadly, the tragedy has closely touched the life of our blogging friend, Sheila from Strawberry Cake. Her great aunt was killed when the nursing home she was living in was hit by the huge tornado that devastated the area. Other members of Sheila’s family were hospitalized with injuries and have damaged homes.

BwoB Help for Joplin MI
Photo Credit: Tom Uhlenbrock, Missouri Department of Natural Resources

We know there are many bloggers out there who would like to help the people of Joplin—but, of course, we are not there. We don’t know what the needs are. So we are raising money for Sheila’s family and the people of Joplin. Rather than give it to a large aid organization, we’re going to give it to Sheila so that she can distribute it to the people, organizations or local efforts that need help.

Once the money is collected and has been dispersed, Sheila will share with us what she did with the money—who it helped and how it helped—so that we can share that with you. You’ll know right where your money went.

So please give $1, $5 or as much as your financial situation allows. This money will go to people directly affected by the disaster—given to the people who need it by someone from our own community.

Thank you for your support,

Maggy, Erika and Aimee
Bloggers without Borders
@bloggerswob

Donate to Bloggers without Borders!

Want to spread the word? Want to help us raise money? E-mail us and we’ll send you the code for the BwoB badge and donate button.