Thursday, January 22, 2009

Interview Redux ...

Fasten your seat belts ... as I'm about to present part two of Diva, The Interview. Can you stand the excitement?! This meme appeared on Sassy's blog around the same time as the other and she very graciously sent me a list of five questions that I thought were quite provocative. Sassy was probably my first "blog friend" and I simply adore her. If you've not paid a visit to her blog, why not pop in and find out if you're Sassified?

1. What is your advice to a mother of 3 young (somewhat picky) children who is completely stuck in a cooking rut?

My advice to all parents is to cook with your kids. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but its also a nice way to get your children to try new things. If they've had a hand in making the meal, they're more likely to give the end results a try. I've had great success in getting my niece and nephew to try new veggies ... after they've used them to decorate a homemade pizza - so I know it works. Its fun to cook with kids and doing so will create lasting memories for your family. Who knows, you may have a budding chef right there in your household?!

As for getting out of a cooking rut - we've all been there. I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest coming to Beach Eats for new recipes! ~Ahem~ Beyond that, there are several sites online with easy to follow, kid friendly recipes. The FoodNetwork is a great resource, Recipe Zaar and All Recipes can also be useful. Try typing "cooking with kids" into the search box on the FoodNetwork site and see if anything tempts you. When I find myself in a rut, I'll usually pull out my cookbooks and start flipping through them. Trying something new, or revisiting a recipe you haven't made in a while, is a good way to get the culinary creativity simmering again.

2. How do you look at a recipe and KNOW it's going to be something you'd enjoy? I always get so weirded out by some food combinations, so it keeps me from even attempting them. (example, someone made a sandwich the other day with sauteed onions and apples on pastrami. The onion/apple combo scared me.)

True, some combinations do seem odd at first ... but you never know until you try. Apple and onion are spectacular when paired together ... in the right recipe, of course. (And I'm not sure I'd like them with pastrami!) I can look at a recipe and know that I'll like it - but I think that comes from experience. I've cooked enough to know what I like and what works well together. For those less experienced, I think you have to take chances, be daring, experiment.

3. Food is so expensive. Making things homemade SEEMS like it'd cost so much more. Do you find this to be true?

Actually, I don't find that to be true. I think its far more economical to make things from scratch than to buy packaged or prepared products - healthier too! A loaf of bread, for example, which costs upwards of $4.00 these days can be made far more cheaply from ingredients that are likely already in your own pantry. Does it take time? Yes ... but its worth it.

If you don't have a well stocked pantry or spice cabinet, you will need to make a small investment in staple ingredients. Once your pantry is stocked, though, you're ready to rock. Roast a large whole chicken or turkey breast and serve it on Sunday. On Monday, turn the leftover meat into turkey chili and serve it over rice with a side salad. Later in the week take the leftover chili and turn it into quesadillas by adding some cheese, some fresh veggies and stuffing it all between two whole grain tortillas. Brown the quesadillas in a tiny bit of oil in a non-stick pan, steam up some veggies as a side and voila - you've made your third meal from one investment!

If Mexican food isn't your bag, use half the leftover turkey or chicken to make a delicious veggie-laden pot pie, then take the other half and make soup. Its amazing how far you can stretch one main meal if you just get creative. My point is that using fresh ingredients is not only healthier, its more economical too. Eating well on budget takes some planning, of course. My suggestion is to pre-plan your menu for the week ... similar to what I've described above. recently did a feature on The Top Ten Money-Saving Ingredients - its a wonderful resource full of great tips and the article includes links to some terrific recipes. Check it out and get cooking!

4. What is your ultimate goal with your blog? What could happen with it that would make you say, "I did it! I'm a success?"

My goals are simple: world domination ... a la Martha Stewart.

Kidding. I do intend to write a cookbook at some point. And getting real traffic on the blog would certainly feel like success to me ... though I've so far done nothing in terms of marketing. I hope to have time to do that over the summer. Beyond that, I would sincerely like someone to pay me for what I do.(Someone other than my blog sponsor that is.) When I get my first check for a writing gig - food related or otherwise - I will be a happy Diva indeed.

I'd be delighted if I could turn this into some kind of profitable operation, I guess that's my ultimate goal - but in a strange way I already do feel like Beach Eats is a success. Though my readership is not as large as I'd like, my peeps are loyal and they seem to enjoy what I'm doing. My intentions were simple when I began the blog - I wanted a place to warehouse my recipes and an easy way to share them with family and friends. Initially, I didn't anticipate the small readership that I've developed - but now that I have, I'd like to build on that.

I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out so far ... but if the Food Network rings ... I'll take the call!

5. What do you think is the main difference between a good blog and a bad blog? What is it about a blog that makes you keep coming back for more?

The main difference between a good blog and a bad blog? Seduction. A good blog has well-crafted posts that reveal themselves, and indeed the author, to the reader layer by layer ... like some linguistic dance of the seven veils. A good blog tantalizes the reader, leaves them wanting more; while a bad blog just ... spews. Let's face it, all bloggers are to a certain extent exhibitionists - but how we go about exhibiting ourselves makes all the difference. Good blogs seduce; bad blogs simply vent. Or, at least that's my opinion.

I read so many blogs and all of them for different reasons. That being said, its largely about the writing for me. If the blog is well written, I'll be back for more. I'm not fond of grammatically challenged blogs, and if the blog is rife with malapropisms that's a turn off as well. I'm not talking about typos - I'm the queen of typos - I'm talking about gross misuse of language ... really cringe-worthy stuff. That, I cannot abide. I do love me some humor though. (Gross misuse of language there!) Make me laugh and I will surely return.
And there you have it, part two of the Diva interview, courtesy of Sass. These questions were spectacular, Sassy - and I only hope I can live up to them when I interview Scarlet later this week. Thanks so much, Sass, I really enjoyed doing this!

Same rules apply here, if you'd like me to interview you, leave a comment asking me to do so and I'll get back to you.

Bon appetite!


Anonymous said...

Really cool answers Diva, enjoyed the read.


Sass said...

For starters, the irritation with the removal of the last letter of my name ONLY applies when spoken, not typed. Don't know why. Guess when it's typed I just add it on in my head. So all sins are forgiven. That DID give me quite a chuckle when I read the email though. ;)

And next, thank you for answering these. I subscribe to a couple of different cooking magazines, and actually make a two week menu for our family. Every two weeks, I USED to sit down and had to select 4 new recipes to try. Then it cut back to 2. Then one, and now...well, you get the picture.

You motivate me to want to try, though. ;)

Love ya!!!

CityRachel said...

So, I'll admit I was a bit disappointed to not see evidence of our regime change celebrated in your blog - but life and food DO go on! Anyway - I've a moment to write - so, it's a non-food entry - but I've two new favorite products to share - both from Mac cosmetics - and even though the overly done matte lips and false eyelashes are not my daily style - I do like the staying power of their stuff, as well as their political leanings...
I'm very much enjoying their permaplum eyeliner - stays all day and doesn't seem to drift into my below eye crevices, (not that there ARE any ;-) - and their lip conditioner - in perfect plum - very subtle - makes my lips seemingly plumper, (without that nasty stinging sensation,) and they just look and feel so much better. Of course it contains spf - 'cause even in winter, we mut protect ourselves from the sun! Enjoy - and, just because it SO bears repeating - (from my perspective) - good bye George, and HELLO Obama!


I think the living on homemade food thing is actually true - I watched a programme the other day where one family lived off the cheapest brand of supermarket food for a moneth and another had to live off locally-sourced food.

While a little bit more expensive than the supermarket, the locally-sourced people found that their overall shopping bill was reduced by half! Also, it looked so much nicer than the ready-made stuff.

The only thing is, I don't think I could find the time to be making home-cooked meals all the time. Apart from the fact that it would take me ages because in some respects I'm a terrible cook, my life is simply too hectic to even contemplate doing it!

Scarlet xx

Astra Libris said...

I loved the interview! Your answers are so richly informative!

I'm delighted that you tried and liked the chickpea flour in the quickbread!! Hooray!!

pixelgal said...

I like trying new things (especially Diva recipes) but I absolutely draw the line @ onions, apples and pastrami!!! UGH! It's like the Woody Allen film about pastrami on white with mayo. Certain things are best left unchanged. However I do agree that it's cheaper to eat at home most of the time. If there are just two of you you can sometimes find a restaurant with good food that's reasonable and you working peeps should indeed treat yourselves to a meal or meals out. Loved the 'world domination' part. Go for it!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks, AG!

Sass - Phew, I was afraid when I saw your post about dropping the last letter. ;) I'm glad you're motivated, now get cooking and report back! Loved your questions, thanks a million!

CityRachel - Thanks for the great Mac tips, both products sound good. As for the inauguration ... anyone who's paying attention will know I've celebrating. ;)

Scarlet - how interesting about that program and the two families. I'm not a bit surprised with how it turned out, but I would like to see the show. Very cool. I know, it does take time to cook for yourself - but I think we're worth that time ... though I know its doubly hard for those with busy jobs and such. Sigh.

Astra - Aw, thanks! And thanks again for the chickpea flour tip, the bread was delicious! Next time I'll up the chickpea flour and cut down on the white.

Pixelgal - true, we all need to treat ourselves to dinner now and then. And I agree about the pastrami ... then again, I don't eat pastrami ... or mayo for that matter! LOL