I think many of us can agree that bacon makes life better, or at least it makes certain recipes better. My daughter’s sole argument against becoming a vegetarian is the existence of bacon, and pancakes cooked in bacon leavings are dangerously good. I didn’t even like pancakes until I tried them this way. The health experts will argue that this method of cooking isn’t food guide approved, but it’s not as though eating pancakes cooked in bacon fat five or six times a year is any worse than eating the occasional cupcake. The point is bacon is tasty and can turn ho-hum dishes into can’t-get-enough treats.
Good friends are the ones we turn to when life throws us lemons — not the good kinds we use for drinks, but the mushy ones that taste of old dust (trust me on this). They’re also there when we need a good belly laugh or we’re hungry and feeling lazy and they just combined two of your favourite foods: cheese and bacon. The moral is: find friends who cook and make you laugh.
This recipe is adapted from Jeni Marinucci, YMC’s Panic Button Years writer, and my go-to for cheese stuffed jalapeños. Because it wouldn’t be appropriate to show up when random jalapeño appetizer cravings struck I asked her for the recipe and made it for my family, and now you get to as well.
Cut jalapeños in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Leave a few seeds in if you want more of a kick. Set aside.
Keep 20 (or more if you like spicy food) jalapeño seeds and grind these using a mortar and pestle.
Cut the cream cheese into chunks and combine it with the cheddar, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, and crushed jalapeño seeds using a fork. Mix until smooth.
Fill the jalapeño halves with the cheese mixture using a spoon.
Slice bacon in half, lengthwise, and wrap around the jalapeños. Tuck the ends in and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Bake at 375F for 32-35 minutes, or until bacon is cooked.
Makes 24 stuffed jalapeño halves.
When I decided to attend a social media conference in 2012, I had no idea what I was walking into. I knew no one. I’d barely begun navigating the waters of social media. I hardly knew what I was doing with my blog, or why I was doing it. But I went with a clear idea of what my plan of attack would be.
1. Check Your Insecurities At The Door.
Can you love conversation and be shy? Uh-huh. Does walking into a room full of strangers leave you slightly nauseated and keyed up? Hell, ya. Is attending a social media event the craziest thing you’ve ever done? No. Drinking crappy wine while at university in Wales, and then hanging out your second floor window belting out Black Crowes songs takes that prize.
But making the decision to attend a weekend conference where you’ll fight your natural inclination to hang back is kind of crazy. Try to remember that 87% (give or take, these numbers are sketchy) of attendees are feeling just as sick, and as long as no one loses their lunch on anyone’s heels (why are you wearing heels? Converse are way more comfortable!) you will learn something. You'll fine tune why you’re at the conference and where you’re going.
2. Start Listening And Then Start Talking.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and believe that everyone but you has a firm plan. They don’t. Once you hear what other conference goers’ goals and concerns are, you’ll realize everyone is in a similar place, or was once there. The people who have solidified their goals, for blogging, writing, or social media, will share their knowledge. Listen and learn, and then talk to someone. You might be the one who makes another person feel they’re not fumbling in the dark.
3. Cut People Some Slack.
At my first conference, I was nervous. When I’m nervous I go from super energetic to wanting to hide in a corner or, because this is social media, behind a phone. Whether you’re outgoing or a hermit, there’s a place for you at Blissdom. Not everybody deals with new situations in the same way, and if you see someone buzzing by, laughing loudly, and making groaner jokes, cut them some slack. It might be her way of making an uncomfortable situation easier, for everyone.
4. Suck It Up, Buttercup.
You’re nervous. You don’t know anyone. I get it. But if you have children, what would you tell them to do? Say hi. Go introduce yourself. Invite her to play. And because I do get it, I’ll tell you what I say to my children when they tell me they’re scared of getting out of their comfort zone, “Suck it up, buttercup. Imagine how scared she/he/they are.” I also tell them (and myself) that it’s not fun to be the one left sitting on the park bench when everyone has gone off to play because you were too afraid to say hi.
5. Make Friends And Have Fun.
This one is really the key. If you go into a new situation with positive expectations, planning on making connections with at least one or two people of like mind, you will. These connections might turn into real friendships, which means you’ll have fun, and when we have fun we’re more open to learning.
I can’t guarantee you’ll leave BlissDom knowing the secrets of life, but if you get out of your comfort zone, you might just have a clearer idea of what the plan is for your writing, blogging, and social media career.
So, you’re at a conference with a bunch of women, staying awake past your bedtime, carrying around a coffee drip to stay upright, and jumping out of your comfort zone. Know what goes well with that? Comfort food.
Check out these 5 favourites you can bring with you to see you through the weekend:
Bon appétit! And enjoy BlissDom!
For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.
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Every year I plant a vegetable garden and every year I'm a bit ambitious about just how many tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini a family of four can eat. One year, I planted 8 different types of vegetables, started a strawberry patch — which is paying off nicely this year, so booyah to planning ahead (or accidental luck) — and grew my own watermelon. Our lawn still hasn't recovered. Who can relate?
This year we have so many cucumbers that I won't be buying any all summer and I have enough to keep our juicer working overtime. And then there's the zucchini... Not only can zucchini be stuffed with meat and spices, but they're also the base for some of my family's favourite baked goods, like muffins and cake.
My brother refuses to let us celebrate his birthday, but since I'm his older sister and he's not the boss of me, I can pretty much do what I want, so every year I bake him zucchini bread. This year I added coconut and dark chocolate because of the health benefits, people! Really, it's because I wanted options and I thought you might like some, too.
Preheat oven to 350F/177C and butter a 5.25” x 9.25” (13 cm x 23.5 cm) loaf pan.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
Melt the butter over low heat, but don’t boil, or use a microwave to melt the butter.
While the butter is melting, beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.
Once the eggs are fluffy, scoop in the crème fraîche and mix well using a fork or whisk. Add vanilla and continue stirring.
Pour the melted butter into the crème fraiche combo and add sugar. Mix well, removing any sugar clumps.
Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and combine well. Use a fork and stir until completely blended.
Mix in the zucchini and coconut and then add 3/4 of the chocolate to the batter. Stir. Sprinkle the remaining chunks over the top of the cake.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until the skewer or knife comes out clean. Allow to sit until cooled before serving.