Follow That Blogger!

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I LOVE going to Santa Monica on Wednesday mornings when The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories does their “Follow That Chef” series!

You get to follow a Chef/Cookbook Author/Totally Cool person around the Santa Monica Farmers Market, then go back to the school for a free demo using the items the Chef picked up at Market. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do and I have met some incredible people through this series. It’s ok. You know who you are. Don’t be shy!

Our first Chef, back in December of 2011, was Chef Jeremy of Sonoma Wine Garden.

He taught us to make our own Ricotta cheese. He probably taught us other things too, but I remember the cheese! I was so excited to go home and make my own! I haven’t bought ricotta since that day. It’s so simple and easy to do. Once you learn, you’ll never go back. That’s the BEST thing about Follow That Chef. Not only do you meet interesting people, you learn so many things. I’ve learned great recipes, awesome tips and tricks for cooking at home, I’ve learned about vegetables and fruits I never knew existed! It’s amazing!

If someone said to me last year, as we were following Chef Jeremy, that exactly a year later, the “Chef” leading the tour the first week of December would be me, I’d have laughed. Probably laughed so hard, I’d be in tears over what a ridiculous idea it would be to follow me, a simple food blogger, around the market.

Guess what? I’m not laughing now. I’m actually doing it! I don’t know what we’re making yet, but it will be awesome! It’s going to be my first live demo – you know, beyond pretending in my own kitchen with my friends and family – so I’m a little nervous, but most of all, I am beyond excited for this opportunity to share what I love!

Someone on my Facebook page asked who was going to take pictures and do the review, if I was the Chef? Well don’t worry! I have a friend who is a photographer who is coming along and I will be posting my review, so you can see what it’s like on the other side of the stove! Won’t that be exciting?

If you live in or near Santa Monica or Los Angeles, I’d love to see you December 5th! Here is the link with all the info: Follow That Blogger!

See you there! There might even be cookies. 🙂

Tastes of Texas!

Howdy from Houston, Texas!

Today begins a work Convention here in Houston, but the last few days have been a blur of friends, food and a lot of driving! Thank goodness my rental car has unlimited miles and the navigator on my phone has gotten me safely to every destination. I’ve named my navigator David. David and I are friends.

Friday I flew to Houston amid a rain storm. Have y’all (See, I’m getting the Texas twang down!) ever driven in a strange city, in a strange car, when there are sheets of water falling from the sky? Well, that was my introduction to the Houston freeway system. My first destination: a little town just outside of San Antonio. I managed to make it part of the way from Houston to San Antonio the first night, even with the flashing freeway signs that said “If there is water on the ground, turn around so you don’t drown.” Reassuring, right?

I woke up Saturday to more rain. Then, more rain. Then, guess what? Yep! More rain! That was ok though, the sun broke through the clouds when I arrived at the home of my wonderful friend Michelle. Michelle was the Maid of Honor in our wedding. We haven’t seen each other in over 20 years! I feel so blessed to see her after all this time! We caught up on family and our lives. She is the kind of person you can talk to without any hesitation. I love that about her! Plus, I finally got to meet everyone I’ve only heard about through letters, Facebook etc. Her husband and her girls are so delightful. Her Church family was warm and welcoming. We had a great time!

Some random thoughts on the differences between home and Texas: The sky is HUGE compared to home. At home, we are in the middle of a basin with mountains all around us. Here, there are no mountains, just SKY. You can see forever driving through the little towns. Of course, I didn’t know this until Sunday because of the rain, but I digress… BIG SKY plus lots of puffy clouds equals a very happy Sara!

The freeways have signs painted on the ground. If a freeway merges with another, the names and directions of the freeway are painted on the specific lanes to show you where you are. They also have them above the freeway in the regular places, but seeing them on the ground was different!

I was told by several people I had to go to Buc-ee’s. “The Disneyland of Truck Stops” is how it was described to me. Texans are very proud of Buc-ee’s, so of course I had to stop in for Beaver Nuggets and a little window-shopping…


Texan’s obviously have a great sense of humor about Buc-ee’s!

Moving on… 🙂

Can you believe I’ve been here five days and haven’t had a single bite of Texas BBQ? It’s true! I have had some fabulous meals however! Tex-Mex, Homemade Italian, Seafood straight from the Gulf and Cajun food. Every bite so delicious! I don’t have pictures of everything (scandalous for a food blogger, I know!) but here is a small sample of what I’ve eaten here so far:
Michelle made a fabulous Italian dinner on Sunday night! Pasta, Spinach, Toasted bread with Bruschetta and this fabulous Caprese Salad!

At Fisherman’s Warf near The Strand in Galveston on Monday night, I had fried catfish and fried oysters (Oysters are one of my FAVORITE things!) and finished with this homemade bread pudding. It was so huge, I had no chance of finishing even half of it, but it was delicious!

Tuesday brought me back to Houston and dinner at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen!
Rum Berry Lemonade

Jumbo Shrimp wrapped in bacon and stuffed with pepper jack cheese on a bed of dirty rice. This is going on the list of “Must learn to make at home!”

Dessert was a stunning presentation of Key Lime Pie…

The food and the people have been wonderful while I’ve been here. I do have to tell you though, I went into a grocery store yesterday (My first visit to an H.E.B.) and almost cried. All those fresh ingredients and me without a kitchen to make anything. I miss my kitchen! I miss cooking. The time spent with old friends is precious, but nothing compares to being at home.

So, now I am off to return my rental car and catch a bus back to the Convention Center to start my work week. I’m sure I’ll be posting more as the week goes on!

Have a delightful and delicious rest of your week everyone! Thanks for reading! XOXOX

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