Have you ever attended an event that you’re pretty sure will change your life? Maybe that sounds dramatic, but there was something so invigorating about being at BlogHer Food all weekend. Among people who share the same passions as me, but in so many different ways. There were non-stop moments during the weekend that made me want to scream, “I love blogging!” And so many times when I just wanted to run to my laptop and blog my little heart out. You know, if the internet at the Westin in Atlanta had actually worked.
But the conference also brought forth so many things that make me thinking I’m blogging all wrong. That make me think I’m the worst food blogger in the world. Questions running through my head, preventing me from actually getting a post down.
For instance: I have a Master’s Degree in writing, so why is my writing so bland and boring? Why do I rely on the endless use of adverbs and adjectives in my prose? Why am I not more creative with my cooking or inventive with my recipes? Why do I never ask permission when I adapt a recipe from someone else? Why don’t I comment on more blogs and immerse myself deeper into the community? Why don’t I know the difference between “1 T parsley, chopped” and “1 T chopped parsley”? Why do I often blog with Days of Our Lives on in the background, despite the fact I don’t watch Days of Our Lives and it’s simply what’s on after the 12:00 news and I’m too lazy to find the remote and turn it off? And, of course, the infamous- Will my readers think I have a problem because I post an alcoholic beverage or dessert every Friday it’s my turn to post?
You can see why I’m paranoid, right? While all of this blogging talk was informative, it was also paralyzing. How will I ever write my next post knowing what I now know? Being among so many incredible bloggers (See? Another adjective) had me craving to be better myself. Better at writing, better in the kitchen, better in the blogging community. And if I couldn’t be better, how could I be anything?
But then I remember why we started blogging in the first place. How it was to show the world that, unlike Martha Stewart, we are not perfect. We are constantly striving to be, but we know perfection is a lofty (impossible) goal. How perfection is overrated. And how many of you probably wouldn’t be interested in reading this blog if we were perfect. I think (hope) part of the reason you keep coming back here is because you can relate to us in some way. And because you have the same goals and ambitions that we do.
I think about all the people I’ve met who I never would have crossed paths with if not for blogging. I remember the first time I met a blog friend across state lines. And I think about this little life I’ve carved out for myself that I never in a million years could have imagined. I never thought I’d be traveling across the country to talk about blogging. Or calling people I met over the Internet my true friends. Or hanging out in a hotel in Georgia all weekend long sitting and conversing with people I feel like I’ve known my entire life. That, to me, is what blogging is about. And despite all my flaws- in writing, in the kitchen, and in life in general, I’m pretty content here with this little blog and what it’s grown to be.
Yes, I know I used “I” about a million times in this post so far; a major no-no. But I don’t care. Because this post really is about me. But it might also be about you, too. I hope it is.
With that said, here’s a recipe for Wheatberry Salad with Chipotle Chicken. I know I need to work on my segues. I’ll worry about that after my next blogging conference. For now, I’m just happy I figured out how to spell segue.
Wheatberry Salad with Chipotle Chicken (serves 8-10):
Print this recipe!
• 1 C wheatberries
• 1/2 t salt
• 4 chicken breasts
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 chipotle chiles in adobo
• 1 T olive oil
• 12 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
• 2 red peppers, chopped
• 2 C yellow corn kernels, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw)
• 4 green onions, thinly sliced
• 5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
• 1 T lime juice
(The wheatberries are missing from the photo above since they were busy boiling away)
Start by rinsing your wheatberries in a strainer. Put about 3 1/2 C of water in a medium saucepan with wheatberries and salt. Bring to a boil over heavy heat and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for about an hour, until the wheatberries start splitting and get chewy. Drain and cool.
Despite what you might have heard, you don’t need to soak wheatberries overnight. Trust me, I didn’t. And I thought they were the perfect consistency.
Now, move onto the chicken. Mix chipotle peppers and garlic. Brush over chicken breasts and place in a dish. Let marinate for at least 40 minutes. I put my chicken back in the refrigerator while it was marinating.
Heat 1 T olive oil in a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken to pan. Cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through.
Let chicken cool while you get all of your veggies ready.
Cook green beans in a small saucepan of boiling water for about 3-4 minutes. I like my green beans best al dente. Place in strainer and rinse under cold water immediately after cooking.
Once the chicken is cooled, cut it into cubes, fit for a salad.
Put wheatberries in a bowl and add in chicken, green beans, corn, red peppers, and green onions. Crumble goat cheese over the top.
There were so many flavors in this dish, I didn’t want to overdo it with a heavy dressing, so I simply sprinkled about a tablespoon of lime juice over the top. The perfect tart touch. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Many of this salad’s flavors contrasted with each other. And I found that fact to be part of what made it so delightful. The spiciness of the chicken was balanced by the creamy zing of the goat cheese. And both of those flavors were tempered by the cool crisp of the veggies.
Plus, since I live with Chris and Chris alone, there were plenty of leftovers. I mean, this salad serves 8-10 and there are 2 of us. You do the math (Fine. Even though I hate math, even I can do it when it’s that simple). We were eating this salad as a main dish, but it would also make the perfect picnic or BBQ side dish.
But as an entree, the chicken combined with the wheatberries did make for a deliciously filling and satisfying meal. You may even be able to tempt salad skeptics to the light side.
Of course, you can add and/or omit any vegetables or ingredients you want. That’s part of the beauty of the salad.
I’m already looking forward to the next blogging conference, so I can learn to be better at what I love to do so much. And while I know a simple panel or course won’t improve my blogging and cooking on its own, every little bit of knowledge I soak in will change me in some small way. And little by little, improvements will start to show.
Do you ever feel paralyzed by wanting so badly to be better at something?
My best advice (and I’m certainly no expert) is to simply continue on with what you love and what you’re passionate about and results will start to show… Eventually.