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Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Around Chez Ary, Kitchen Tools | 0 comments

Natural Stone Trivets

Natural Stone Trivets

These beauties were made and given to me by my father-in-law. Not only are they beautiful, they are incredibly handy, too. They are wonderful when pulling a hot pan or dish out of the oven; it can go straight on top.

They give height to serving dishes on the table at a party for visual interest, and they would work great for a cheese course. The added height is a also bonus if I’m using my computer or phone for a recipe to keep the device out of harms way. The stone coordinates perfectly with my countertops and kitchen decor. Can you tell I love them?

If you’re not familiar with the term trivet, it is an alternative to a cloth potholder that protects your counter or table from heat. Trivets are usually made from wood, metal, ceramic, or cork.

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Around Chez Ary | 0 comments

My Inspiration

Ree and Me

I thought I’d share a list of my favorite food bloggers.

These blogs provide endless ideas for things I have incorporated into our regular schedule and introduced dishes I only dream about making. I’ve learned dozens of new techniques and delighted in the delicious photography. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond

I stood in line for about 4 hours one cold, rainy night to get my cookbook autographed by the great Ree herself. I use it often. (Update: I now have her second cookbook and children’s book, Charlie the Ranch Dog.)

Smitten Kitchen | Deb Perelman

Keeping Up with the Joneses | Kendall Jones

Plain Chicken | Steph

Cagnes Gourmand | Karen

Ezra Pound Cake | Rebecca Crump

Bakerella | Angie Dudley

Simple Bites | Aimee Wimbush-Bourque

Farm Flavor | I’m a guest blogger sometimes!

Food on Fifth | Teresa Blackburn

Here are a few others that I enjoy that aren’t cooking related:

Bower Power | Katie Bower

Dooce | Heather Armstrong

MODG | Amanda

My Milk Toof | Inhae

PostSecret | Frank Warren

 

 

Read more about some of my blog favorites!

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Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Around Chez Ary, Kitchen Tools, On the Basics | 4 comments

Grocery Planning

My Grocery List

There are two things that allow me to cook on a regular basis.

The first is my saint of a husband who cleans up after me. Every morning before he goes to work, he runs a load of dishes. It helps me be motivated to cook a meal after a long day when to the kitchen is all reset when I get home after work. The second thing is grocery planning, which means planning for the week ahead and keeping a well-stocked pantry.

One of the tools I use is the grocery list attached. The top part is my meal planner, and the bottom is my shopping list. I have a stock of them, but I keep one taped inside my cabinet door or on my fridge to jot down the ingredients I’ll need for the coming week or when things that I keep stocked are running low.

Coming up with what we’re going to eat can be the hardest part. I have a recipe binder with our favorites that I flip through for inspiration. When I come across new recipes online that I think we’d like, I send them to my email and keep them in a folder there to peruse when nothing else sounds good. It also helps to refer back to old lists to see what was on the menu in the past so I hang on to old ones in a file. Ideally, I like to go to the grocery on the same day every week with my meals planned and list ready to go a day in advance. This helps me stay on track and breaks up a time consuming task into manageable chunks. I use reusable shopping bags so I put my list/plan in my bags and put them in the car so I can stop at the store the next time I’m out.

Sometimes, I have to refer back to my list to remember what the heck I’m supposed to be cooking. I don’t end up cooking the meal I planned on the given day. I just want to make sure that I have enough stuff planned out. I like to cook up several meals on Saturday or Sunday so that I don’t have to do as much during the week. I’ve found that this system saves time and money.

My template is attached. It is customized to my usual grocery store’s layout and our typical eating patterns (not all aisles are listed). I made it in Excel. I put down ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (B, L, D) at the top. On Fridays, Mr. J and I usually go out with co-workers for lunch or have a Lunch & Learn (L&L) at work. We strive to go out only once per week and usually take leftovers the other days. Get the template and customize it for your next shopping trip!

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Posted by on Jan 29, 2011 in Around Chez Ary | 0 comments

About

That’s Me! Photo credit: Laura Moseley

Who is Betty Becca?

My name is Becca, but I’ve been called Betty Crocker more than once.

You may be surprised to learn that before I got married, my boyfriend (now husband) of seven years did all the cooking. I’d never done even the basics like making spaghetti and browning ground beef. I knew enough to feed myself: boxed pasta and rice meals and cookies. However, when it came to putting a meal together (and multi-tasking…gasp), I had no idea what I was doing. I’ll admit; I was scared.

Well, flashback to that fateful time as a newly married woman with no domestic skills, I had to conquer my fear and get going. You should know that I had recently graduated from college and moved to a new city. My freshly minted degree was in marketing, and it was the beginning of the lovely recession. Naturally, that meant I didn’t have a job. I knew that I had to bite the bullet and take care of our household, and that meant learning to prepare meals. I think a lot of folks in my generation are in my situation. We rely on restaurants and processed food because of our lack of skills and experience (and bravery) in the kitchen.

My mantra became “no excuses.” If I come across a recipe that interests me, I give it a try. I’ve learned a lot through trial, and I really haven’t had that many nightmare experiences. I’m here to give you my notes from the lessons I’ve picked up along the way, in the kitchen and around the house. I hope you learn something new and gain a little confidence along the way.

In the years I’ve been blogging, some things have changed. It’s kinda neat how your ways in the kitchen evolve as you grow from a single person just out on your own to a newlywed to a family. Now that I have a toddler running around, I have a whole new frontier to cover. There’s a little more planning involved, and I’m still loving finding our way in the world of food. Here’s my taste profile and my inspiration (a blogroll).

 

Work with me:

Let’s talk: BettyBecca [at] Gmail [dot] com

  • Recipe development
  • Prop sourcing and styling
  • Food styling
  • Events (planning, floral, decorating, etc.)
  • Brand collaboration
  • Blog collaboration

Disclaimer: From time to time, I will mention products specifically in a post to serve as a reference for the products we have chosen to use in our household. If a relationship exists with a brand, I will expressly note it within the post. Views and opinions expressed here are mine alone and do not imply the same of my family, friends, or employer.

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