Reflection 11 (Week 15)

This is my seventh and final week working on my blogging project. Last week, I decided to not focus on a certain kind of dish, but a type of cooking; grilling. I had a lot of fun trying new things on our grill. This week was by far my favorite just for the tasting portion. It wasn’t my favorite learning the history of dessert and researching, but I liked the actual making of the desserts. I have always said that I’m a better baker than I am a cook. My fiancé would have to agree with that. He loves when I make cookies or homemade brownies.

THINGS I STRUGGLED WITH THIS WEEK:

I do want to talk a little about last week as well since we didn’t have a reflection. Last week felt very work intensive. We had to keep up with our project for the week, as well as do our studio tours. I was actually very excited to check everyone’s blogs and wikis out (I have clicked on their links, but haven’t had time to look in depth). I didn’t realize how hard I found it to review others’ work. It also made me second-guess a few elements in my blog (Do I have an appropriate format? Should I have added this or that to it? Should I have left that out?). I found others’ work so interesting, but I struggled to write the tours. It took me hours thinking and re-working my words to do the assignment correctly. Even after I posted my tours, I didn’t feel as confident in my work that I thought I would. For this week, I have known that my final week would be the dessert week, but after the work intensive week last week, I felt a little less motivated than the past weeks. It actually bummed me out that I wasn’t as energized, especially being the last week I still enjoyed making the recipes, and documenting my process, but the write-ups took more time than usual. I think a big part of my lack of energy was my fiancé and I brought our new puppy home this week so we have been exhausted with him.

THINGS I LEARNED:

A good thing that I think came out of last week’s studio tours was when I was comparing my project to others, I realized how truly proud I am of my project. I obviously like to get good grades, and like my work to be up well done, but I have taken a whole new pride in my work for this blog. It doesn’t feel like another assignment to do for a class, it has become something I enjoy doing. I have always liked to write, but I never really found something I was passionate about writing about. I have truly enjoyed writing my blog every week, and get very excited when people I don’t know comment or like my blogs. I feel like people are interested in what I have to say. This week also taught me that I need to give myself more credit in my abilities, both in blogging and in cooking. For the homemade brownies, I had the recipe out, but I didn’t even look at it to make them. I have made them so many times, that I’m confident in my abilities to “just do it”. I also have learned that something might make sense in my mind, but I have to explain it a different way in the blog for others to understand. I will re-read my blog posts before I post them and most times, I have to fix a direction because it is either too vague or it doesn’t make sense. I have learned a lot of my style of writing during this project.

THINGS I WORKED ON THIS WEEK:

Week 7-Dessert

Facts about Dessert

Homemade Chocolate Brownies

Philadelphia 3-Step Cheesecake

Philadelphia 3- Step Cheesecake review

Last Week:

Week 6- Grilling

Grilling 101

Grilled Cheeseburgers and Corn on the Cob

Grilled Mexican Lime Chicken

Grilled Mexican Lime Chicken Review

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Reflection 10 (Week #13)

This is my fifth week working on my blogging project. Again like last week with cooking chicken, I was used to making eggs every day. My fiancé and I love eggs and from the beginning, I knew I would incorporate an egg meal at some point. I am actually surprised I like eggs so much. Both my parents don’t like eggs (my dad actually gets sick when he ever eats them), so I didn’t eat a lot of eggs growing up. I started making eggs a lot in college because it was cheap, easy to make, and filling to eat. My fiancé claims he ONLY lived on Omelets in college. I think eggs were a really good choice for my blog because they are a simple meal and you can make them so many ways.

THINGS I STRUGGLED WITH THIS WEEK:

Something I struggled with this week was deciding what exactly I was going to make. Every day, I make myself eggs over hard with a little salt and pepper. It is a two-minute meal and probably could have fit in with my cooking blog, but I also want to challenge myself as a cook and find meals that are still easy, but give people a little more variety in their life. I had the same issue last week because the chicken we make every day at home is pretty bland compared to what we made for the blog. I want there to be a balance because I want to get recipes to represent real life beginner cooks, but I also want the recipes to be something people actually want to go home and make. Another thing I’m already struggling with is finding ideas of what I want to make for next week. I usually have a pretty good idea by the weekend before, and my fiancé and I do all our grocery shopping on Sunday (the work week gets way too crazy to sit down and meal prep and find recipes and still go to the store). My original plan was to make some kind of soup, but since it has been unseasonably warm out for April, the last thing I want to cook and my fiancé wants to eat is hot soup. I have a few ideas, but we’ll see what happens.

THINGS I LEARNED:

I have been practicing with editing my photos some more this week. A coworker told me you could edit your photos on Photoshop software before uploading the photos to the blog media content. I am not sure if I’m ready for that step yet. I don’t want my photos to be too edited. Like my Instagram, I don’t use that many filters and I thought, especially for a beginner cooking blog, I want it to look like how I see it in person, the real life cooking for beginners. Another thing I have learned this week came from my research on eggs. I never knew what labels meant (nor did I ever take the time to look). I learned this week that if your eggs say “no hormones added” that is just a way to sell you more expensive eggs when ALL eggs can’t have hormones added according to FDA guidelines. I also don’t like when things are labeled “organic”. What does that mean? Well, in the eggs case, it doesn’t mean anything. Eggs aren’t organic. It just means the chickens were only fed with ingredients that don’t have any pesticides. I know I say this every week, but I really am learning more than I ever thought I would and have enjoyed learning.

THINGS I WORKED ON THIS WEEK:

Week 5-Eggs

Everything to Know about Eggs

The Basic French Omelette

The Basic French Omelette Recipe Review

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Italian Egg Bake

Reflection 9 (week 12)

This is my fourth week working on my blogging project. I got really into the project this week. My fiancé are constantly cooking and eating chicken and so it felt right to add a week about chicken. It wasn’t hard talking about chicken meals because lately that’s all we’ve been eating. My fiancé teases me because of how into the project I have been getting. I am really enjoying researching my meals and learning the history. I have also been sharing my newfound knowledge with my students, who mostly rolled their eyes when I told them a new fun fact about chickens. Since my fiancé and I are watching what we are eating for our upcoming wedding, I wanted to incorporate a healthier option meal, but I also found some really fun (not so healthy) chicken meals.

Things I struggled with this week:

Personally, I struggled with wanting to make these elaborate calorie filled chicken goodness recipes I was finding, but also knew that if I ate those kinds of meals, I would never get into my wedding dress at this rate. I want my recipes I choose for the blog something people can enjoy and are less bland than baked chicken breasts and green beans. I love that meal, but to me, it just didn’t seem to fit into my blog style. I want easy meals, but I also want people like me to try new things and get out of their cooking comfort zone. If I stuck only to what I know, then I wouldn’t be able to build on my skills (both blogging and cooking). I decided on two meals again this week; one a little healthier (chicken fajitas) and one not healthy (chicken fries). I’m still working on finding a balance that I will be comfortable with.

Things I learned:

I learned how to edit pictures! While I’m making my recipe, I am taking pictures with my iPhone and then uploading them to my computer to upload to my media content on my blog. I noticed last week that some of the pictures were not that great and that I should’ve cropped some of the background out. While I was choosing my images for this week, I noticed the edit button!! It does the bare minimum (crop, rotate, zoom) but that’s all I need. I could crop out some the background. Also, I took one of my photos sideways because I needed to fit more into the frame, and all I had to do was rotate it to make it look good for my blog.

Speaking of pictures, I also need to just take better pictures in general. I know it is just a amateur blog that was originally designed for a class, but I haven’t been happy with some of my photos. Some of them look good, but my end result with the chicken fajitas in the tortilla doesn’t look as appetizing as it could be. When I am looking through a cooking recipes, that’s the first thing I look at: the end product. If it doesn’t look good, I might stay away from making it. I don’t like that because my fajitas were delicious, and I wish the picture showed how good they really were.

 

Things I worked on this week:

Week 4- Chicken

History of Chicken

Easy Chicken Fajitas

Easy Chicken Fajitas Recipe Review

Chicken Fries with Tamarind BBQ sauce

Chicken Fries Recipe Review

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

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

Weekly Reflection #2 (week 3)

So let me just start with saying I am so much more confident in my blogging abilities than I thought I would be. Since setting it up last week, I now know there are many places to look to get help if I have questions online. Google has become my best friend.

I’ve also learned some new tools on WordPress. I like the option that you can respond to others within the notification tab (the bell icon at the right top of the blog page). I used to go back and forth between blogs to respond to comments. I like that I can comment on the notification tab without having to switch and have four or five tabs open at a time of all different blogs. I’m still trying to find the same function on the app on my phone. I like the phone app for being able to post things whenever, but the format isn’t as easy to use for me like the computer.

I also learned how to make links in the comments of other people’s blogs. This HTML code is now saved on my computer for easy access for the next time I want to link in a classmate’s comment section. If anyone has been able to find an easier way than this, I would love to know.

This week has been all about blogs. I think everyone has heard the word blog or blogging. I knew the basic idea of what it was, but I was just at the surface of what a blog can be and what bloggers do.

Things I’ve learned about blogging:

  • I’ve been blogging for years without knowing it. (I use my Instagram as my blog)
  • In my Rettberg and Blood Readings post, I learned about the three main categories of blogs: Diary, topic-driven, and filter.
  • After doing my own research to find more info on blogging, I was faced with the scary side of blogging. Be cautious about what you post. Be aware of what you share.
  • In my final comments about blogging, I found that blogs can be a learning opportunity, especially for teachers. I can use blogs to teach students how to be critical readers and writers of what is out there.
  • Bloggers show you only what they want to show you. You might be only getting one side of things. An example is a blog I follow Love Taza. She writes and shares moments about her life and family, but going through these posts, you don’t see the (toddler tantrums, fights with husband, things that make us human). You only see a snapshot of her life, dictated by her. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but it’s good to be aware that what we see/read might not be the whole picture.

This past week has been crazy with the new semester starting at school. I have been trying to survive posting last minute grades, getting used to a new class schedule (gaining a new class), and working with new students. I noticed my personal posts come across as more of a quick little anecdote for the day. Sometimes, I think that is ok not having to read/write a big long post, and just having a blurb into my day.

Other posts for this week included:

Just a little moment in my day (I’m still laughing at this)

Thought for the Day

Is it weird that at the end of these posts, I want to sign my name or do something to let my reader know it is finished? This coming week, I’ll look at other blogs to see how they finish their posts for some inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bootcamp 2017 Reflection

First of all, let me start off with saying how terrified I was of taking this class. As I said in my introduction, I am not very good with technology. It definitely is pushing me out of my comfort zone and testing my patience while learning what feels like a new language, technology language. I don’t like the feeling of not knowing how to do something and when I’m not automatically good at it, I don’t like it right away (sounds bratty, I know). I had to remind myself several times what I tell my students all the time: “Calm down. If something doesn’t immediately make sense, you might have to read it again. Read carefully. Be patient. JUST TRY IT”. So far as setting up my blog goes, it has been a lot of trial and error and re-reading, but once something clicks, it seems way easier and gives me that boost of confidence in my abilities for this class. I truly think this class will be good for me being a teacher where some students “just get it” and some need more time and practice before they are able to do it. I definitely have more empathy already. I sometimes forget what being a student is like. Things that I teach make sense to me, but it is not the same for my students, who are trying new things for the first time. I think these weekly posts will help me reflect both on this class AND how my own teaching helps students who are learning. I’ve learned so many new things in the past two weeks, but I’m going to break it up into the things I found most important/helpful!

  1. That RSS is a life saver. My RSS post raves about how easy it is to keep all my sites organized in one place, and I can keep track of everything I’ve read.
  2. Linking keeps me sane! Again with my obsession to keep things neat looking, I love that you can link text into your document instead of having big long URLs in the middle of your blog post.
  3. I finally know the difference between tags and categories and am in love with both! It all clicked for me when I read from Lorelle on WordPress that “Categories are the site’s table of contents. Tags are the index words.” This was an excellent analogy for me. I added both widgets to my page so it’s helpful to find what I’m looking for. It’s also helpful for me to view other blogs to look up something by either categories, or key words instead of scrolling down the entire list to try and find something.
  4. Creative Commons is very customizable to fit every author’s needs, which is important in the ever growing and changing needs of the internet. In my CC post, I chose attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike (CC BY NC-SA) because I want people to be able to use my work, but still credit me and not be able to profit off of it.
  5. I’m still struggling with flickr helper. The flickr cc attribution helper has not been working for me in the way the guides and YouTube tutorials have showed me. The hints pop-ups tell me it might be my theme I’ve chosen for my blog is not compatible. Instead of the menu option Medium.com attributor, I have to use the default setting. If anyone else had similar issues or know any way to fix this, I would love to know.

EXTRA: I wasn’t prepared to like posting about my personal life. I love to write, but I don’t usually like to share things, especially to people I have never met. I have found that writing to an unknown audience feels empowering. I don’t feel judged or self-conscious about the things I’m talking about in my posts. Maybe it’s because I don’t see or know my audience, or maybe because I can be  in the comfort of my own bed sharing the thoughts I have, but either way, I like it! 🙂 Some things I’ve shared:

Gifts from Students

Sunday Night

Quote

Donkey Basketball

Ice Fishing