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Top 5 Food Blogs I love learning from right now

standard August 22, 2016 Please Comment
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The Top 5 Food Blogs I love learning from right now are incredible blogs. I have so much respect for each one. They are the same, yet they are very different. Each one has a special, unique flare for how their websites look, how they choose which items to create, and how they style their food and pics. They have years of experience under their belts. Hours upon hours of taking pics. I have been observing and taking notebooks of notes just trying to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to have a successful food blog, all while trying to bring out my natural style and flare just like I’m sure they discovered along the way as well.

When I first started my food blog, I looked at 3 or 4 “Top Food Blogs in the US” lists. These blogs were pretty much at the top of the list. I knew they didn’t get there by chance. So, I went to each page to look at their “About” page to see their stories. I also wanted to see how long they have had their blogs. Over and over again, I read a familiar, “I didn’t really do anything specific or special. I just posted about something I love and I was consistent …” Granted, when you look at their content, it’s pretty spectacular. So having really amazing content also had a lot to do with it.

The goal was to list the blogs with what I think makes them special and why they are at the top. I didn’t want to take pictures from their sites and post them because certain ones have different wishes about their content being posted on other sites. I want to respect that. Please visit their sites though, and leave a comment or drop a like or two! Here’s a simple picture of a pie I just made to satisfy your need to see a food pic. ūüôā First time I made chess pie and I have to say it is a pretty tasty dessert! Just snapped with my camera phone along with a pie slicer I got at a thrift store for .99 cents.

Top 5 Blogs I love learning from right now

The Top 5 Food Blogs I love learning from right now

  1. Pinch of Yum – This is a powerhouse couple where Lindsay takes the pics and Bjork is tech support. She was a 4th grade teacher before blogging full time and creating an amazing business a few amazing avenues of business. They not only create incredible content…they host food photography workshops at their studio and have started a site called Food Blogger Pro¬†(a website/group/forum dedicated to food bloggers).¬†As of now, the group is closed to new clients, but there is a waiting list. They also have an ebook you can download, as well as really great tips for growing food bloggers.
  2. Damn Delicious РI am drawn to this blog so much! I LOVE her pictures, her food choices, the way she displays her food, all of the above. I draw so much inspiration from her beautiful layouts and gorgeous photography. She started her blog in 2011, lives in California and she also has a new cookbook coming out SOON, so go out and grab a copy! **Bonus, and probably the best thing about this blog (just kidding) but not really is her freaking cute dog, Butters. I love to watch her Insta stories to see what Butters is up to today.
  3. What’s Gaby Cooking – Harry Potter and Margaritas. You get a sense really quickly what Gaby likes when you visit her “about” page. Harry Potter, Margaritas, Yoga Pants and excursions across Africa are just some. Not only would I love to just sample a lot of her dishes, but it sounds like she would be a blast to hang out with! I’m not sure how long her blog has been around, but she’s another California girl who probably has access to amazing fresh food year round. She has been featured on many television segments and has been featured in People, and Whole Foods.
  4. Joy The Baker – This one is simple. NOLA girl now. She moved from CA to New Orleans in 2014. Having grown up just 2 hours from there myself, I know how much culture inspires you down in the bayou. Spend a few days in New Orleans and you’ll see what I mean. She started her blog in 2008¬†and also has a couple of cookbooks under her belt. One of her most popular dishes? Her Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I just love her pictures, love her creativity and her writing!
  5. The Pioneer Woman – ¬†I could not do this list without listing The Pioneer Woman. This is one of the first food blogs I remember reading when I started to venture into cooking on my own. The everyday cook. The everyday housewife and mom. Women and men who just want¬†to learn how to boil an egg possibly. I found her page helpful, not too fussy and straight to the point. It’s about her life and all of the food she has enjoyed cooking and being around since she was younger. One of the truest forms of “being authentic gains a following” I can think of.

Thank you

The top 5 food blogs I love learning from right now have taught me a lot in these last few weeks. I want to get better. They push me to produce really amazing content. They also remind me to sit back and enjoy the journey day by day. I love seeing their lives, seeing what moves them and brings them such joy. I thank you for the beauty you have brought into the world!

–Jamie

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

standard August 20, 2016 Please Comment
Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas
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Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas is just outside of Kansas City – about 15 miles south of KC. It’s in this cool, little shopping center near Leawood Town Center, where there are lots of restaurants and retail stores.

We are on a mini vacation this week from taking our daughter off to college at KU. My goal was to write at least 5 blogs, but I didn’t specify if I was going to make all of them myself, or if Clint and I were going to venture out and try a lot of different restaurants during that time. We found Red Door Woodfired Grill in Leawood Kansas a few weeks ago.

Without Wood, things just don’t taste the same

It was apparent from the start they pride themselves on smoking things with different kinds of wood. I am a huge fan of that. It’s so interesting how a different choice of wood can send any item over the top in flavor. Cherry does something different to chicken, than apple does to fish or ribs. It was evident they were wood smoke scientists! The sign hangs proudly over the bar area.

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

 

For the firs time, we went on a Monday night and knew instantly that we had found a great place. It was packed, it was loud, it was full of life. I think that night he got a burger, and I got the Chilean Sea Bass.  We also got the wings as an appetizer. I want to say the Royals were playing, so we were pretty enthralled in the game, but the nightlife was a close second. The wings were ah-mazing. The smoke flavor came through and they were so flavorful and messy. Just how you want your wings to be. The sea bass was incredible also. It was melt in your mouth delicious -as was his burger.

This time

The second time we went (a couple of days ago), we decided on calamari as the appetizer. I am a HUGE fan of calamari.

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

My favorite kind of calamari is on the kind of crunchy side, thinner and that perfect consistency of crunchy and a tiny bit chewy. Red Door Woodfired Grill’s calarmari¬†was¬†the only negative thing (and I mean minor) negative thing about both experiences. It was a little on the thick side for us. It was also very chewy. The two sauces that complimented the calamari were delicious. We just weren’t fans of how they serve their calamari. No big deal though.

Next came our entrees. Clint had the fish and chips and I had a reuben. Red Door Grill’s¬†reuben was one of the best reubens I have ever had. I have lived in New York, Florida, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and now Kansas. One of the best I have ever had. The beef was delicious, the bread amazing, and the ratio from dressing to meat to sour kraut was perfection. It was steaming hot, it was melty, it was amazing. Usually greasy diners corner the market on reubens and patty melts, but I would take this one over a diner any day. It was THAT GOOD.

Clint loved his fish and chips also. HUGE (as you can see) chunks of fish fried in a light, crispy, beer batter. The fish was delicate and juicy. So good!!

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

We really enjoyed our meals both times we were there and will be returning to Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas many more times. It’s a really cool, trendy spot where they take pride in putting out amazing quality ingredients, and delicious dishes. The artwork throughout is pretty cool, too!

Red Door Woodfired Grill Leawood Kansas

 

The Burger Stand at The Casbah Lawrence Kansas

standard August 19, 2016 Please Comment
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The Burger Stand at The Casbah¬†in Lawrence Kansas popped up on one of those lists you see on social media as “the best this or that in the state” for burgers. It ¬†is just off Massachusetts street -where there are a ton of cute, trendy restaurants on both sides of the street. You could easily walk a mile and get every type of food you are craving. This part of Lawrence reminded¬†me so much of certain areas in Austin, Texas. It has a little bit of a hippy vibe to it. A lot of diverse types of foods you can choose from and a love for music and art throughout the streets.

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

Front Entrance to The Casbah

We just dropped our oldest, Kenzie off for her first year of college at KU….which I handled like a pro, I might add. We both read the article and it was a unanimous decision to go there.¬†The parking is a little iffy. One time we went down there and had an easy time finding a parking place (which are metered by the way). The next time, there wasn’t a place in sight for a mile. There is a parking lot almost behind the restaurant that is meter free, so if you can park there and walk behind the restaurant to the front, that’s probably your best bet.

The Menu

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

At first glance, there are 4 types of burgers, a chicken sandwich and a catfish Po-boy. There are also salads, and many sides. Hubby got the Smoke burger and I got the Kobe. We both shared the fries…which I’m glad we did, because as you can see they were huge. The burgers were delicious and fresh. The meat was tender and packed delicious flavors. I have to say I enjoyed Clint’s more than mine though. I love kobe. I also love pickled onions. I didn’t care for the combination of the pickled onion with the sauce they used. Just wasn’t my favorite. I loved Clint’s, however. We also LOVED the sauce bar. You can choose a sauce you can either dunk your fries in, or burger in. My fries took a dip in the roasted Parmesan aioli…. several times in fact…. so many times their little fingers were all pruned up.

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

A sauce bar

We definitely enjoyed our lunch there and would return when we visit Kenzie. I can also see how it is a huge draw to the college crowd. Someone was practicing or just playing around on the drums downstairs while we were there. Very good burgers and fries, good beer on tap and great atmosphere!

The Burger Stand at the Casbah Lawrence Kansas

A Jayhawk across from the parking lot at a business

Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

standard August 15, 2016 4 responses
Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie
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Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

This one is going to be a rough one. Our oldest and first born is off to college. We move her out of our home, and into her dorm in just 2 days. This was Kenzie.

Our big blue eyed, sweet, chunky monkey. Ever so curious and always catching on to things at lightening speed.

Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

You hear that mothers and daughters can have complicated relationships, sweet relationship, strained relationships – all of the above. Kenzie was (and is) the most amazing child to raise. If we said, “No, that will burn you. Don’t touch.” She wouldn’t touch. If you said, “Hmmm, they don’t seem like they are good friends to keep. Let’s evaluate what the relationships really are and if they are all positive.” She would end friendships that were not good for her, or were not a positive influence in her life.

Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

Her teen years were pretty much a breeze as well. We rarely had to have serious discussions with her. We rarely had to deal with slamming doors, rolling eyes or horrible Twilight, Kristen Stewart(ish) angst. There was an occasional “come to Jesus” meeting where we had to get some things back in line. Those were rare and it was often taken care of in one talk.

Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

Moving three times in a matter of a few years (and having to move out of state for her senior year) was probably the biggest challenge she has had to face. It was extremely hard having to make those decisions and put her in those positions, but when I look back, I think that has been a time in her life where she has pushed herself the most. I think she has grown the most from it too.

It hasn’t hit me yet, I don’t think. I get a little teary eyed every now and then when I think, “This is it. No more her running down the stairs to see what smells so good.” That’s when it hits. Kenzie¬†will just be 30 minutes away, but it’s still going to be hard. Come Wednesday, I will need some extra tissues on hand. I know it will hit me when I look back and see those big, blue, wide eyes looking at me from her dorm room as her dad and I leave her. It’s like daycare only we aren’t going back to pick her up.

We couldn’t be more proud. Still going to be gut wrenching, but we couldn’t be more proud. We love you to the moon and back McFrench. Now I need to stop writing because my eyes are about to pour buckets right now.

xoxo – Mommy and Daddy

Weekly Update No 2 Kenzie

Sushi in Kansas City Bob Wasabi

gallery August 13, 2016 Leave a response
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Sushi in Kansas City Bob Wasabi

There was a place near Dallas that was my absolute favorite place to get sushi. My favorite roll was called “The love roll,” and I was pretty much in love with it. Accurate. Check. Check. It had scallops and avocado wrapped around the outside with shrimp tempura and crab on the inside. I had my favorite two sauces: the spicy mayo sauce, and eel sauce. So, when I set out for sushi in Kansas City, Bob Wasabi¬†on 39th had some pretty big shoes to fill.

Sushi in Kansas City Bob Wasabi

We have been to about 4 other places for sushi in Kansas City. Each place was pretty good, but still didn’t hold a candle to my fave back home. We still haven’t been to one that recently made one of those headline grabber articles on Facebook. That one is on my list for next time. Someone just mentioned in passing that they really liked Bob Wasabi Kitchen, so we decided to give it a try.

At first glance

I am new to the area, so I remembered going down to that area of Kansas City a few times before and I remember how difficult it was to find parking right off of 39th. There are some really cool, trendy places on or right off 39th. Q39 (BBQ)  is also on my list and I plan on doing a review as soon as I do. Another is Jazz, a Louisiana Kitchen. I ate there not long after we moved here and it was really great cajun food. Bob Wasabi Kitchen is a little further east than Jazz but not as far as Q39. Both are on the north side of the street.

As I suspected, it was difficult to find parking immediately in the same parking lot as Bob Wasabi, but we were extremely lucky that someone was leaving just as we arrived. The place looked a little small with 15 tables, give or take a few. The foodie in me recognized right away that I would be able to take pretty amazing photos with the amount of sunlight peering into the front glass windows.

Ok, Ok…but how was the sushi!?

I ordered the sesame house salad and was pleasantly delighted. Every other place I have had sushi in Kansas City has disappointed me a bit. Their ginger salad dressing was either way too tart with vinegar, or some other concoction that didn’t resemble a ginger dressing one bit. This one (if I had to close my eyes) would have been hard to tell the difference between my fave back home and Bob Wasabi’s. The only complaint and I mean it’s super minor is that the carrot design on top (though beautiful and artistic) was harder to eat because each carrot piece¬†was about 2 ft long held out in length. It’s not like pho where you can chomp down on a long noodle and boom, you’re done. There’s a little more gnaw to this. The taste = amazing.

Sushi in Kansas City Bob Wasabi

The sushi came. We asked for our favorite sauces (spicy mayo and eel) and the waitress was informative, helpful, attentive, and really sweet. We ordered 2 rolls and I also ordered salmon nigiri. (Nigiri is just the piece of fish on top of a dab of wasabi and then on top of a little mound of rice).

Sushi in Kansas City Bob Wasabi

The rolls and the sushi were packed with flavor. The salmon was fresh, buttery, velvety and delicious. The rainbow roll was incredible as well. Hubby got a shrimp tempura roll and it was packed with fresh flavors upon flavors. The rolls were pretty good sized also.

I would love to say I’m going to visit this place every week, but the prices were just a bit steep for us. The same meal back home would have cost us about $15 cheaper. Was the food worth it? Yes, I think so. I think it’s just a matter of location. That area and the demand for this quality of sushi can ask what they ask. We just see it more as a treat than a once a week outing. I think we also could have shared a roll, as they were pretty big. We also did not get any alcohol as it was a Friday lunch and I had to get back to work.

If you’re out and about in Kansas City and want top quality, delicious sushi, go to Bob Wasabi Kitchen on 39th Street. It will not disappoint!

Weekly Update No 1

gallery August 8, 2016 Leave a response
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Weekly Update No 1

I am finally writing Foodiemarvel Weekly Update No 1 ! Warning: this update may be a little random…but this is honestly how my life is most times with 3 kids!

In the beginning

I started this blog a few weeks ago, starting it off with ¬†This is the beginning. I really wanted a great reference point to look back on (and hopefully be extremely proud of.) Hubby helped me construct a DIY softbox where I could practice my photography skills in non-natural sunlight setting. I took a minimum of 100 photos per subject. I guess that was the inner chef in me, not wanting to send photographs out there (like a chef not wanting to send a bad dish out) into the world. Now I totally see why bloggers and photographers say natural sunlight is best. I now monitor the weather channel like nobody’s business, praying for sunlight before a big blog!

Reminder of why I started to begin with

I would be lying if I said I haven’t gone from tears to joy to aggravation to happiness to excitement to agony… in the scope of 2 weeks. I care so much about what I put out into the world. I care so much about this blog. I have a vision of what I really want it to be. So I put a lot of pressure on myself.

I recently read from a huge blogger that you have to really relax, and enjoy the process. Remember why you started the blog in the first place. Not obsess over the little things or you’ll drive yourself crazy over them. ¬†I have fallen back into this mindset this week. I have really been enjoying the process. I just LOVE food. I love setting the pictures up. I love researching recipes. I love the end result when I have knocked it out of the park and have a FANTASTIC photo. I haven’t been obsessing over SEO and metas and whether or not the print button should be at the top or the bottom, big or small, icon and text or just icon…. ya feel me?

The next big thing

Other than that, our soon to be 19 year old will be off to KU in about a week. It’s only fitting I start with Weekly Update No 1 the same time our 19 year old is starting her new venture as well.

I have mixed emotions I think. Part of me is so sad that this phase of her life with us is over. I have wiped her nose. I have talked her through mean 12 year old girl situations. Late night counseling sessions. Then there’s that part of me that has realized she is one step away from being completely independent¬†and I think I’m finally ok with that.¬†I think there are complexities that come with some at that age. They are just ready to jump. Ready to spread their wings. She will be studying medicine eventually, and we couldn’t be more proud. She has a giving heart and I have no doubt she will be a comfort to thousands she comes into contact with.

(she took this pic -by the way) My little shutterbug.  Photo Cred: Kenzie

Weekly update No 1

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