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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting My Blog On:

What a fabulous time I had last weekend attending my first Foodblog South conference, in Birmingham, AL.  My partners in crime for the weekend were Chef Nancy Waldeck and Chef Stacy Maple.  The three of us are at various stages of our blogging careers, raging from years of experience, not much at all and somewhere in between.  Each of us came with different expectations of what we wanted to get out of the weekend.  Personally my goals were to work on my networking skills, and find some new motivation and inspiration, since I had slacked off on my blog postings in recent months.  So, while my networking skills, are still a major work in progress, my motivation and inspiration are abundant.

Stacy, Nancy and me at Foodbloog South 2013

I attended a variety of sessions, ranging from blogging strategies and recipe writing to advanced photography and food styling, to name a few.  While each session focused on a specific element of blogging, there was an underlying theme, or buzzwords as I like to call them, running through the entire conference.  These buzzwords were: passion, community, journey and personal.  When I came home and looked at the homepage of my blog, I realized that two of these words were right there in front of me.  Passionate, as in "Passionate Plate" was front and center, my name and identifier.  I must be on the right track.  Follow my culinary "journey", is written in my bio.  "Personal", well this is all personal.  They are my words, my ideas, my experiences.  And while my current "community" may be small, it is my intention for it to expand as I move forward.

I also learned that each blogger defines his or her own success and that your definition of success can change as you progress.  This is a concept I can live with.  Additionally, I was taught the importance of keeping to a schedule.  So, now that I have ownership of my own blog, rather than guest posting on, I'm going to have to step up my game.  My goal for now is to post once a week on Thursdays and work up from there.

There are so many food bloggers out there, and being in a room with close to two hundred people who share the same enthusiasm for food is exciting to me. Building relationships with like-minded people is a privilege.  It was a great weekend and I hope the creative steam that was generated will last indefinitely.

Finally, I learned from keynote speaker, Kenji Alt-Lopez of Serious Eats, that recipes for Chili, are the most searched recipes on the internet.  So what kind of blogging student would I be, if I did not post my chili recipe this week?  It is super bowl weekend after all. 

Enjoy a bowl of my healthy chili, this cold super bowl weekend and remember to make every thing on your plate (or in your bowl) something to be passionate about.

Comforting Vegetarian Chili:

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped
1 12 oz package of Soyrizo, removed from casing
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
4 TB Chili Powder
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
2 15 oz cans, Red Kidney Beans,drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans, Pinto Beans,drained and rinsed
1 28oz can, Fire Roasted Tomatoes, diced
1 12 oz bottle of Light Beer, I used Miller Lite
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, optional
Shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese, optional
Chopped Cilantro, optional
Chopped Scallions,optional
Hot Sauce, optional

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and add onion and peppers. Stir until softened, but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add Soyrizo to pan and stir to break up the mixture into crumbles. Add spices and stir to combine, before adding the beans, tomatoes and beer. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about and hour or until thicked to desired consistency. Serve in individual bowls with desired garnishes. Serves 4-6.


  1. Look forward to your "passionate" journey into all of our lives. Looking forward to many creative delights to prepare for my family.
    Best wishes
    Caroline Mixon
    Flowery Branch, GA