Reflection #8 (week 11)

This is my third week working on my blogging project. I think my first two weeks, I was still trying to get used to blogging about food, and I think this week, I felt the most confident about blogging. I’m getting into a routine of what I want to accomplish every week, and I think what I’m doing seems to be working really well. This week, I decided to focus on meals in the Crock Pot and I think of all the weeks I have planned, I was the most excited to do this week. I absolutely love my Crock Pot because of its convenience. I was excited to share the beef roast recipe that I make, but also share a recipe of a dip that I love to make for parties. I own a Crock Pot Cookbook, so instead of finding a recipe online in another cooking blog or website for this week, I decided to use my cookbook. I have made the beef roast So Simple Supper before, so I was confident that it would turn out great!

THINGS I STRUGGLED WITH THIS WEEK:

I have been noticing sometimes when I post longer posts with different headers, when I publish the page, it comes out with a broken link/page setup HTML code. It doesn’t show up on my page preview and I only see it once its published. Once I go back and edit the page, I can see broken code and can go and delete it and then update the page and it doesn’t show up. I have no idea why the page does that and I’m still doing some investigating on why that shows up. Its an easy fix, but I don’t like that when I share it the first time, it automatically goes to my Feedly looking like that so everyone can see that mistake. After I update the page to not include that mistake, it doesn’t update the Feedly so people have to visit my site to see the fixed post. This irritates me because I don’t want people to see that post with the mistake on it. If anyone knows how to fix this or has suggestions, I’m all-ears.

When it came time to finding information for my blog, I noticed this week was lacking in links. I tried to include everything I used this week, but both my recipes weren’t found online. My beef roast recipe was found in my cookbook and my dip recipe was a friend’s recipe that she taught me. I made sure to link the cookbook so if people are interested in the cookbook, they can purchase it. I also tried finding the recipe online to link it, but I noticed that when I searched “So Simple Supper” for beef roasts, many recipes popped up claiming to be from the cookbook (some having the exact ingredients), but the cook times were different. Being a beginner myself, I would hate if I was following a recipe that said one cook time and then I clicked the link for the online recipe and saw that it was a different cook time. I decided to leave the link out for this reason.

THINGS I LEARNED:

I found this week really interesting about the history of Crock Pots. I am doing this for my class, but I am also learning a lot of the whole cooking process in the meantime. I like that this project isn’t one where I just do it for a grade and move on. I’m learning a lot about cooking, the process, and myself along the way.

Update on blog followers: I gained another follower this week. I probably shouldn’t be this excited for three people following my blog and my fiancé teases me for it, but I am! I feel like I’m a part of something and feel like I’m important. Someone I’ve never met is interested in my blog and what I have to say. Even with the three followers, I still feel that pressure to give my all to this blog. Yes, I want to do a great job for this class, but I have that extra pressure now with followers. I don’t think pressure is a bad thing. It keeps me accountable to produce because people are seeing it. I truly don’t know how bloggers with thousands of followers deal with that pressure.

I am seeing that I have more confidence in blogging AND cooking. I have said from the beginning that I am a true beginner when it comes to cooking, but I have realized that I think part of my problem was just laziness of not wanted to cook. Once I’m making something, I actually enjoy following a recipe and creating something good. I also have noticed, especially this week, that I am more confident in my own skills without a recipe. Like my dip recipe, I have made it so many times, that now I don’t measure exactly and just kind of experiment to know when it is ready. I never would have thought that would be me. The saying goes “practice makes perfect” and now I’m starting to get that. I think the more you make something and get comfortable with it, it becomes second nature and soon you don’t need step-by-step recipes to cook. I’m definitely not there yet, but I can kind of see myself getting there one day. I have decided that next week I will be making a meal with chicken, but I still haven’t decided what exactly I will be making yet. I know whatever I do decide on will all come together.

THINGS I WORKED ON THIS WEEK:

Week 3- Crock Pot

History of Crock Pot

Buffalo Chicken Dip in Crock Pot

Beef Roast in Crock Pot

Beef Roast Recipe Review

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Reflection #7 (Week 10)

This is my second week working on my blogging project. I think the first week with pasta was a good place to start, so I wanted to challenge myself a little this week. I love hamburgers, but my fiancé and I are trying to stay away from unhealthy meals as much as we can in preparation for our wedding. While looking up healthy alternatives to our favorite meals, I came across the idea of turkey burgers. I thought that could be a cool idea for my cooking blog. I have never eaten a turkey burger, let alone cooked one, so I was actually very nervous to make them my meal of the week. I found a recipe for Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers on All Recipes and decided to give it a shot. They turned out really good, so I’m glad I took a risk. I think this week also gave me a boost of confidence, not only in my cooking skills, but also in working on my project. I feel like it is coming together pretty nicely.

Things I struggled with this week:

I need to remember to click on categories when I write a post. I have been writing these posts on word, saving them, and then copying and pasting them into my blog posts. Once I publish it, I then can’t see it. I am constantly forgetting to hit what week it is under. When I don’t specify the week, it doesn’t show up on my blog. I’m glad I realized how to fix it (I just edit my post and unclick uncategorized and click whatever week I want it to show up as).

As far as finding information for my blog, I actually had a way harder time finding things to talk about when it came to turkey burgers. There wasn’t much on the history of turkey burgers (there is tons of information on beef burgers). I did find inspiration when I found many links comparing the two. I thought that could be very interesting for my readers who, like me, were a little hesitant trying something new.

I’m still playing around with added media to my posts. So far, I have liked the options to put a single picture, or make a collage, or even a slideshow with my images. I am still having a hard time incorporating images side by side with the text. I can place the image and write on top or below the image, but when I upload an image into the content, I haven’t found a smooth transition to put the image exactly where I want.

Things I learned:

I actually have things to say. Sometimes when I’m trying to come up with content for the blog posts, I worry I won’t have enough to say. I like to have 3 of my posts at least 500 words long. When I wrote my turkey burger vs. beef burgers post, I aimed for 500 words. At the end of the post, I realized it was almost double that. I am starting to enjoy this process. I am seeing it less like an assignment and more for myself. I am thinking of a real audience instead of thinking it is only for a class.

Speaking of audience, I have real followers (as of this week, I have 1 follower who isn’t a part of the class) I have also been noticing people are liking my posts on my cooking blog that are not in my class (4 different accounts, 2 of them cooking blogs). I know that doesn’t sound like much, and I was never looking for followers, but now that I have some people who I know are reading my posts, I want to give them a quality blog. They have given me a new found pride in my work. I am hoping that they or others comment or email me and give my ideas of things they would like to see. If not, these are my ideas for the weeks to come so far: crock pot recipes, chicken, soup, eggs/breakfast.

Things I worked on this week:

Week 2-Turkey Burgers

What to know about Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers vs. Beef Burgers

Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger Recipe Review

Reflection #6 (Week 9)

This was my first actually cooking week for my blogging project. It was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be. I have been breaking down my weeks by meals. This week I focused on pasta. At the beginning of the week, the first thing I did was decide on the recipe I would be trying. I have really been liking The Pioneer Woman website, and after searching for “easy pasta recipes”, a few websites had her pasta on their list. It felt like fate. I decided that I would make Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce. After I decided on the recipe, I thought the best thing to do was to look up the history of pasta. I can’t believe how much there is to know about pasta. I always thought that pasta originated in Italy, but with my research, I learned that they were making noodles and different types of pasta dishes in Asia, way before it made its way to Europe. Being Italian, this felt like a tiny dagger that pasta wasn’t an original Italian dish, but my hope was restored learning that Italians put their own twist to noodle making and how they cooked the noodles to make it unique to them. I also knew about dried and fresh pasta, since my grandfather used to make his own noodles, but I also learned some new facts. I never knew about why the texture of the noodle was important, but I found out it helps keep the sauce on the noodles with some small abrasions. Smooth noodles don’t hold sauce as well.

Things I learned about blogging:

I’m still working on learning about formatting images once they are inserted in my post. My images would look one way in the writing post page, but the formatting would be off in the actual blog post once it was published. I had to play around and move the images quite a bit. I also struggled getting photos from my iphone onto my computer to use for my blog posts. My jpegs came out huge and it was hard for me to edit them. I ended up making some images into a slide show (an option for selecting more than one image from media content) that made the photos a little smaller. I’m going to keep doing my homework on this though.

So many things didn’t go my way this week! Haha

We learned the hard way not to always trust brands. I bought parmesan cheese (since the recipe called for grated cheese) from Everyday Essentials. I have bought this brand before because I honestly can’t tell the difference with this and the more expensive brands. I opened it and had a few pinches to eat. When it came time to add the cheese, I noticed a piece of grey looking mold on a piece of the cheese. It was tiny, but I still was grossed out. I shook the cheese container around to see the whole middle section was COVERED in greenish blue mold. I looked it up to see if people could still eat cheese with mold on it. I found out that you can still have the cheese and just cut off the moldy parts on hard cheeses like parmesan. Since the cheese was already shredded, the pieces were so small, and I was too grossed out to use any of it in the dish. Since I was almost done with the pasta, I wasn’t going to run to the store for one ingredient. I made it without the parmesan.

LESSON I LEARNED: Check all of your ingredients before starting a meal to make sure everything can be used. I also learned to keep in mind the measurements of things. If a dish is going to make a lot of servings, it’s a good idea to use bigger pots/pans. My pan was overflowing with sauce, and it took forever to cook. For next time, I will use a bigger pan. You live and learn!

Things I did this week:

Week 1- Pasta Week

History of pasta

Fresh and Dry Pasta

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta Recipe Review

Reflection #5 (Week 8)

These past couple weeks have seemed to be very work intensive. I didn’t think coming up with a project was going to be as hard it was. I was going through all different blogs and wikis from past contributors. When I first was thinking about my project, I thought I wanted to focus on something school related, but after looking at other blogs and going through life blogs I follow outside of class, I thought I want to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone. I always have the idea that I want to create a life blog, but I felt like my life wasn’t interesting enough to share. My idea came from Loverlygrey blog, where she shared about trying new products. I knew that I wouldn’t want to try a new product (I wouldn’t have any sponsors to send me things to try), but try and document trying a new activity. My fiancé has always been a good cook, and I always wish I could make something for him. This is where I came up with my project to create a cooking blog.

My plan right now is to come up with delicious meals that are EASY to make. When I say I’m not a good cook is not an understatement. I have caused more than one kitchen fire and blew up a microwave ( I forgot to put water in an instant soup meal). I am the kind of person that I need to follow a recipe to the exact detail. I don’t like when I find meal that looks good and the directions are very vague

“you’ll need chicken, milk, pasta, and sauce” – how much? What kind?

“cook the chicken” –how long? When do I know it’s done? Can I overcook/undercook it?

“put in some spices”- What kind of spices? How much? What is a pinch/dash?

Things I worked on this week:

  • I created my blog that is attached to my student blog. They are separate blogs, but they are on the same email. I didn’t know you could do this. Cooking with Jeanna
  • A huge issue I have had is creating new pages under the blog portion. I had a very tough time creating new pages under blog. I thought I really understood how to use WordPress, and using the admin page, but I really struggled to figure it out. I tried making more pages on the menu, but every time I would add new pages to my blogs and try to post a blog post to only one page, it would show up on all of them!! FRUSTRATING!!!! After struggling with it on my own, I finally looked up Word Press Support  and used my WordPress manual to figure it out. I had to add categories to the blog page when you write a post. Once I did that, then I could make children labels under blog in the menu customizer to have each week show up separately.
  • I made a blog roll on my blog and added all the blogs and websites I will be using for my project. The blog roll will grow once I have more sources and blogs.
  • I also started looking into my first recipe week. My first week will be pasta. So far, I’ve looked at blogs especially the The Pioneer Woman to look for simple pasta recipes.

On my list to figure out is how to get images from my phone on to my blog posts without them getting too big to have a long post.

I’m excited to build my cooking blog and hopefully my cooking skills build (or stick even a little bit). My fiancé is excited that I took this class. He said “Whatever gets you in the kitchen, works for me. Don’t be offended that I’ll be watching to make sure you don’t start a fire” That seems promising right?!