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introducing: Jen and Company

10 Apr

After many hints and teases, the time has finally come.

Welcome to the new site! What do you think?

I’m super excited about my the new name, the new look, and the new web address.

Why the change?

As many of you know, this blog originally started as a co-blogging partnership and has sense morphed into a me being the main author and having featured contributors to keep it interesting. With all that change, it seemed a new look and a new name were in order. To learn more about how the blog came to be, check out the about page.

The name, Jen and Company, was my sister Jackie’s idea. She gets 100% of the credit. She is an idea machine. She helped me brainstorm (road trips are good for that) and then sent me an email chock full of ideas.  When she brought up this name, we came up with so many different interpretations and I love that. She meant it as I have a company of contributors on the blog. My other sister immediately thought of my love of entertaining. I thought of how I love to run and bike in the company of others. It just made sense.

Because I was making a change, I really made a change – new design, look and feel. This is all thanks to Julie who was great to work with and made things very easy for this non-techy gal.

What I’m not changing is the content. There will still be recipes, race recaps, restaurant reviews and random musings/rants on food and fitness.

So, what do you need to do?

If you subscribed to She said. She said., you’ll need to re-subscribe to Jen & Company.  If you go to the old site, it will re-direct you, but re-subscribing to the new site will make sure you get all the updates. To subscribe, you can just click on the subscribe button in the header above, or you can just follow this link to add this blog into your feed.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/JenAndCompany

If you have my blog on your blog roll (thank you!), I’d love if you can update the name and the web address.

There may be some hiccups on the way so please bear with me. In the meantime, I’d love any feedback!

What do you think?

a little bit of blog love

3 Apr

This weekend was pretty dang awesome. How was yours?

Apparently I needed to complain about my spring training for it to turn around. Willa and I had a fantastic 10 mile run on Saturday that was really key to get both us back into being enthusiastic about training. The 50 degree and sunny weather was key in our spirit lifting run. Yay for spring!

In addition to the great run, I also helped out at a Triathlon 101 clinic put on by Trinona (I’m completely biased, but this is the best triathlon MN has to offer). It is so fun to see newbies to the sport. They are so excited/nervous/anxious and are so fun to talk to.

I also got a much needed massage, finished the taxes and managed to relax with Brette. And as I write this, I’m enjoying pizza (sans meat and cheese) and some red wine. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect weekend.

I thought it would be fun to share with you some recipes and articles that caught my eye recently on other blogs. In addition to reading cookbooks and multiple cooking magazines, I read a LOT of food blogs. It’s a little ridiculous. There is just so much great content out there. So here are a few things you might like.

Articles

Recipes

 

That’s a good list for now. If this is something you like, I’d be happy to post links to things I find interesting more often…just let me know.

 

What have you been reading lately that you found thought provoking or appetite arousing?

the night I cooked at the Corner Table Restaurant

20 Mar

This past week I attended an event specifically for Minnesota Food Bloggers. Getting together with people who like to geek out about food as much as I do is one sweet way to spend an evening.

What makes it even better? I actually got to cook with a fellow food blogger in the kitchen of the Corner Table!

But let me back up.

This evening was the second gathering of local food bloggers and I see it becoming a regular occurrence. This edition was hosted by  Scott Pampuch from the Corner Table. Why? Because Scott is a very smart man. You’ll see why by reading the following.

Upon arriving, we got to mingle with fellow food lovers which is always super fun. Plus, I got to speak with Scott himself and tell him how much I enjoyed my experience at his restaurant (you can read my review here).

Photo by Amy Peterson

I may or may not have touched his arm about 12 times. Apparently I was a little star struck. I’m confident he dug that, but was sick of me touching him. We all have our social awkwardness. Touching other’s arms is mine.

During all the chatting, bloggers feasted on an amazing spread that consisted of a very large charcuterie platter and various breads and relishes. It was nothing short of amazing and it got rave reviews from fellow bloggers. Us bloggers, we like to rave about good food.

Then came for the main event and the reason he invited us into his establishment for the evening. He spoke to us about all he’s doing to elevate the local food movement – he is the best in the city about working with local farmers. Seriously. Most importantly, he wanted to tell us about his latest project: Community Supported Kitchen (or CSK). Similar to the concept of a CSA, a CSK box includes locally sourced meats, dairy and prepared products like chicken stock, pickled carrots, braised cabbage or similar items that are in season. It’s a pretty cool idea and would be a great compliment to those who have a CSA. The project will be starting soon and has options for families of 2, 4, and 6 and it’s very flexible as far as the commitment is concerned. Keep your eye on their web site for more details and while you’re there, check out the menu.

After hearing from those who had piloted the program (all feedback was positive), Scott allowed us to tear into the CSK boxes and head to the kitchen.

Ummm…excuse me? I can cook in the Corner Table kitchen and you will provide me with everything I need? Um…okay. You’ll even let us use chef Dan to cater to our every whim? Check.

I followed fellow blogger, Kate, when she jumped up and grabbed a box before Scott could stop talking.  With very little prodding, we ran headed into the kitchen and got cooking. The crowd of camera-crazed bloggers followed.

Kate tackled the marinated chicken and also cooked up the sausages in a lovely red wine reduction. As a bed for the sausages, I put together somewhat of a hash out of bacon, onion, apple and the braised cabbage. And yes, I had Chef Dan cut up my apple. I had to have him do it twice – and can’t believe I told him what to do. He was so nice about it too!

Here’s what it looked like after it was finished…and a few bites were taken. (Yes, I tasted it. I was not going to serve food bloggers something I didn’t try! I’m hoping my fellow vegan lent participants forgive me. )

Thanks to fellow bloggers, Joy and Amy, here is a photo journey of the evening.

Here’s me telling Scott what’s up. Clearly, he is impressed.

Photo by Joy

Maybe not.

Photo by Joy

Inside the CSK Box…

Photo by Amy

Surely if we point to the contents in the box long enough, we’ll figure out what to do with them…..

Photo by Amy

Kate praying that I don’t slice my finger open.

Photo by Amy

 

Feeling the pressure….

Photo by Amy

I can’t believe I’m cooking in this kitchen!

Photo by Amy

 

Please don’t let me mess this up.

Photo by Amy

 

Stacks of All-Clad pans – a dream come true.

Photo by Joy

 

And scene.

After we finished our stint, other bloggers and Scott and Dan all got cooking in the kitchen. Burger, eggs and lots of bacon were enjoyed by all. Well not all, I abstained…except for that one bite!

Photo by Amy

 

Having cooked with the contents of the CSK box, here are my thoughts.

The food is high quality and is better than anything you’re going to find at the store.

This would work well for a family who likes to cook and has confidence in the kitchen. Recipes are not provided. Scott is against providing recipes and while I can understand him wanting people to learn technique and then get creative, I do think some general suggestions would be nice. Something like, “this chicken would go really well with the following in-season produce”. Somewhat of a roadmap without getting as specific as a recipe would be nice.

Families who are busy (and who isn’t) that want to eat quality food from quality sources and like meat (the box was very meat-heavy), this is for you. You’ll still need to go to the farmer’s market or grocery store to round things out, but this saves you many steps and will provide some yummy eats.

Vegetarians, this might not be for you. However, maybe if it goes over well, Scott will consider a vegetarian box? Just a thought.

 

So, have you figured out why Scott is such a smart man? Clearly, if you invite food bloggers to your restaurant and let them cook (and eat. and drink), we will take photos and write about it.

 

What do you think of the CSK idea? Would it be something you would get involved with?

 

Note: The food and experience provided at this event was free. However, my opinions are my own and I was not asked to write about it.

 

 

 

 

 

friday highlights

18 Mar

Since I’m lacking the time and the brainpower to put together an in-depth meaningful post, I thought I’d share some highlights of my week. Some of which I will expound on in later posts.

Friday is a good day for bullets, don’t ya think?

  • I ate at the all-raw restaurant, Ecopolitan, Monday night with Meghan and Willa. It confirmed that I’m not completely hippy, but I can survive among them happily.

  • I got a flat tire one block from my house. Be careful of large puddles of water. There are pot holes underneath them just waiting to bite you.
  • Thanks to Liza, the local vegan lent participants participated in a meal swap. It was awesome.
  • I ran….outside! I’m very hopeful that spring has finally sprung and the rest of this snow will disappear quickly.
  • I have very strange leg pain going on that is either concerning or a sign that I’m aging.
  • I made this dish in the Corner Table Kitchen with Kate. I will definitely expound on this evening. Holy crap was it cool.

  • Aside from the above, I haven’t cooked anything all week. It was awesome and sad all at the same time.
  • I am very excited for my weekend as it includes running outside and Gourmet Dinner Club: Mexican style. I’m attempting vegan enchiladas. Wish me luck.

Did you have any highlights of the week? Anything you’re looking forward to this weekend?

Amanda’s 25 Things

4 Mar

This is the final introduction to the new featured contributors to the blog. Please welcome Amanda!  You can read more about all of these lovely ladies on the new Featured Contributors Page.

 

1. My favorite song is ‘Groove is in the Heart” by Deeee-Lite. My husband, Dave, and I walked down the aisle to it after saying, “I Do.”

2. I’ll try any food once. I think.

3. I’m a lover of languages, but only speak one fluently: English.

4. Favorite movies: Amadeus and Ghandi.

5. I don’t like microwaving things, but I’m becoming more of a believer thanks to busy schedules. Boo.

6. I’ve done a handful of triathlons, but didn’t really enjoy them. Still, I’m glad I challenged myself.

7. I used to own a pogo stick. I loved it, but it squeaked.

8. I’ve got two brothers (both in L.A.) and a sister in Minnesota.

9. I lived with three male Packers cheerleaders in college.

10. I used to collect hats. I don’t remember why I stopped.

11.  I consider myself to be one of the ‘lucky ones’ with amazing in-laws!

12. During my solo, “On My Own” from Les Miserables, in Paris, I forgot the words!

13. The first time I dyed my hair was when I was 19 at a hair show in Green Bay. Unless you count the times I used kool-aid to color it in high school.

14. My husband and I have weekly battles on how much I spend on groceries.

15. I used to have a dream of being a motivational speaker.

16. I’ve lived in three different countries outside of the U.S. and hope to live in at least one or two more!

17.  I took Tabla (drum) lessons while living in Bangladesh.

18. I wrote depressing poetry in high school.

19.  I was the Easter Bunny at the Mall of America in 2002. Worst job ever.

20. I have a hard time saying “No.”

21. Pizza…pretty sure I eat nothing else for the rest of my life if need be!

22.  With just a few months to go before completing the 27 months of Peace Corps service in Bangladesh, my group was evacuated because of 9/11.

23. Indian and Thai food? Anytime! All the time!

24. I believe in the power of positive thinking.

25. My students teach me something new everyday.

25 things – Willa

28 Feb

Meet Willa – one of the new contributors to the blog.  I’m so excited that my running buddy is joining the team!

A few details to enhance our acquaintance.

1.       I was born in Marin County California. Although I have not lived there for many years, I still consider myself to be Californian.

2.       My mom packed a lunch for me every day until I graduated from high school. They were extraordinary too, often including inspirational notes for the day. These details do make a difference.

3.       Canning scares me. Or, maybe it is just that I perceive it to be so much work.

4.       I want to inspire others the way that I have been inspired.

5.       I love grocery shopping.

6.       My bookshelves are overflowing with cookbooks covering everything from South American to Vegetarian food. I am admittedly enticed by their lovely photos and delicious words.

7.       It should be no surprise to know that I adore cooking and consider myself to be knowledgeable in the kitchen.

8.       I am in constant search of my “calling” in life. At least I have determined that I love food and cooking.

9.     Frequently, my decision making process is paralyzed by too much information.

10.   While I have a desire for perfection, I am flexible as a result of my own laziness.

11.   I love running and feel very fortunate to be able to run.

12.   My gratitude is endless for the friendships that have grown as a result of running.

13.   I want to run faster.

14.   I am uncertain as to whether or not I want to run farther but might be persuaded to do so.

15.   I am a very proud wife of an amazing Army National Guard soldier.

16.   I make a concerted effort to enjoy every moment and I know that health is central to being able to do this.

17.   My undergraduate degree is in Spanish and Portuguese. I speak Spanish fluently but would love to be even better; my Portuguese is very rusty.

18.   I studied for one semester in Toledo, Spain and wish I would have stayed longer.

19.   The focus of my college thesis was how food, restaurants, and grocery stores are central to the preservation/continuation/introduction of immigrant cultures in the Twin Cities and, moreover, how food is often the first, and key, introduction that people have to a different culture.

20.   I love simple recipes with short ingredient lists.

21.   I am having a difficult time thinking of a type of food that I don’t like.

22.   I once made a winter vegetable stew including what I thought was a parsnip; it was actually horseradish.

23.   I admire chefs and restaurant owners but don’t know that I would want to be one myself.

24.   I absolutely hate it when people add seasoning or sauce to something they have been served before they have even tasted it.

25.   Along similar lines, I don’t understand why people don’t taste their food as they are cooking it.

Missed the other new faces around here?

Meet Meghan

Meet Liza

25 Things – Liza

22 Feb

This is an introduction to one of the new contributors here on She said. She said.  Welcome Liza!

  1. I believe in the 80/20 philosophy when it comes to eating.  Eating healthy and consciously 80% of the time and not worrying about the other 20%.
  2. I have never read a book twice.  I love to read so much and I figure I have thousands of books to read yet, why would I take the time to repeat one?
  3. I will pretty much eat anything except for mushrooms.  I have tried them numerous times and can’t get past the texture.
  4. Tiramisu is my favorite dessert of all-time.
  5. I swore I would never own a minivan, guess what we just bought?
  6. I believe in past lives.
  7. Breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out.  A runny egg on anything is my idea of a fabulous morning.
  8. I wish I was more eloquent and graceful; I tend to be a bit blunt and aggressive.
  9. I want to learn how to meditate well.
  10. I am not a morning person.  I am at my best from about 2pm-10pm.
  11. Growing up I ate a lot of pizza, cereal and taco salads.  I was a skinny-minny and thought I was fat then.  Oh how I would kill for that body now.
  12. I would like to live in NYC some day.  It is my favorite city in the world.
  13. I find cooking to be cathartic not stressful.
  14. My husband is also a great cook, nothing is sexier in a man in my opinion.
  15. I often dream things and then they happen weeks later.  I only know they are about to happen a couple of minutes before they do.
  16. I grew up in Wisconsin and have a deep love for any kind of cheese.
  17. I wish more people were honest about saying what they really thought.
  18. I am addicted to reading food blogs and bookmarking recipes.  No seriously I read about 50 food blogs, it is a problem…
  19. At no time do I have less than eight tubes of lipstick in my purse.
  20. I worked at a Pizza Hut in high school and college summers in my hometown.  Pizza is still one of my favorite foods.
  21. I met my husband in college.  We were both in the University of Minnesota Marching Band.  I play clarinet and he plays tuba.  Yup band nerds…
  22. Last year I traveled to Scotland and learned to like Scotch.
  23. I have never liked the taste of beer.  Ironic being from Sconnie huh?
  24. I have had naturally curly hair since I was 10.  I used to fight it, straitening in it which only made it frizzy.  I accepted it at about age 15 and have loved it ever since.
  25. When I was a kid I wanted to be a professional tap dancer.  I took lessons for 10 years.

If you missed it:
Meet Meghan