Why I Blog

November 24, 2014

Contributed by BOM Katie Johnstonbaugh

I started my blog the year my daughter moseyed off to Southwestern Oklahoma State University to pursue a degree in Communications.  She would call me during the week and say, “Mom, how do I make our sweet potato casserole?”

Fast forward two hours, two dead cell phone batteries, a hurting data plan and my desperate need to want to jump into my SUV and just drive up there to show her how to peel a friggin sweet potato, and I began to think there had to be a better way.

I sat down and Googled “how to start a blog” and within a day had a hideous-looking webpage with a truly bad graphic of a glorious strawberry cake across the top.  I sat down and dashed off my first shiny blog post and sat back and just radiated inwardly with satisfaction.

If you’re a writer like me, you are nodding along with me, because you remember that first moment you hit “Submit” or “Save” on your first blog post, book or article and you know the feelings of delight that are birthed out of you upon completing that latest piece you wrote. It’s inspiration become tangible prose and it can be shared.

I specifically use the word “birthed” because the feelings of birthing a child are, while different, also completely the same. The sense of creation, pride, expression and getting that idea that is sparking around in your brain out in written form brings almost a relief, because to NOT get it down on paper or prose is akin to what an addict must feel when trying to resist their next hit or drink.  Who among you has been found desperately whispering words into the Dictaphone app on your phone during a meeting or your eyes furiously scanning for a napkin or anything to get that thought down before you forget.

It must be done.

So you see,  I blog because of that inspiration.  Because when that feeling hits me,  I cannot resist that urge, and because I cannot sleep sometimes or concentrate on a nonsensical TV show when I could be blogging and creating something truly meaningful and merciful heaven, getting that nagging revelation out of my brain and into reality!

I also think it’s important to note that I believe the success of my blog, including a five year running TV segment and my first book, The Food Lover’s Guide to Oklahoma,  all came about because of my blog.   Because when I blog, I have no limitations, no editor, no deadline and no critic, except for, of course, myself.

Creativity is bred through passion.

I am not forced into a box when I blog,  but only write about what I love to write about.  When you write about what you are passionate about, your writing flourishes.  I love to cook, I love to explore restaurants, I love to garden and I love my family. When I write about those things, I don’t have to force anything and somehow it got noticed.  Others noticed the passion and they shared a like passion with me in return through comments. This is the ultimate high for a writer like myself.  It makes it all worthwhile.  The old adage, “Work at what you are passionate about and you won’t be working at all,” is absolutely bona fide truth.

When I blog, I am utterly immersed in expressing my latest passion, whether it’s the hole-in-the wall place I think everyone needs to know about (and right now!) to get the best street taco with that amazing green sauce on the side, or to experience just how simple it is to make that velvety smooth and creamy pumpkin ice cream I just whipped up the night before.

I blog because blogging satisfies a place in my soul that is otherwise still longing for a fix.  It is like a loofah sponge to satiate a prickling rawness that must be scratched, or a deep thirst that is quenched when the cool wet waters of prose are poured over it.

I also blog because I leave the legacy of old and new family created recipes for my children, and their children’s children and maybe someday even my great-great grandchildren to enjoy for as long as the world wide web stays alive.

Oh yes, and my cell phone battery is alive and well and my data plan rejoices.

Katie JohnstonbergBlogger of the month Katie Johnstonbaugh writes about food at her blog, Dishin & Dishes. Katie works full time in the Putnam City School District and is a wife, mother, grandmother and author. 

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Sunday Potluck

November 23, 2014

Sunday Potluck

Guidelines for the Oklahoma Women Bloggers
Sunday Potluck

  1. Link up your favorite post from the previous week.
  2. The purpose of our weekly link party is to gather and connect with one another, so please visit your neighbors’ blogs in the link up!
  3. If you are not yet a member of OWB, please sign up. We want to get to know you!!

 



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Contributed by Katie Johnstonbaugh, OWB Blogger of the Month

thanksgiving turkey

Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner?

We usually host at our house.  There is quite a huge difference between how things go now compared to my very first attempt at Thanksgiving cooking and hosting the first time.

In Thanksgiving past, I’ve cooked my turkey, only to realize those nasty giblet bits are still packed inside with a plastic gravy bag four hours later.  I’ve burned my forearms taking casseroles out of the oven and I’ve served some pasty and lumpy mashed potatoes.  I’ve boiled over lumpy gravy on the stove element which set off the smoke alarm shortly before my guests were to arrive and we had to open the windows causing the house to be frigid when everyone walked in. That experience almost made me give up on ever hosting again.

Yes, I’ve learned from the best – trial and error.

I can now say that we’ve pretty much got a good system going at our house, thanks in part, to my wonderfully organized husband, with whom I would never get it all done.  Here are some tips I’ve learned to have a smoothly running Thanksgiving.

*Set your table(s) days before or the day before.  Iron or dryer “fluff” your tablecloths, lay out dishes and decorations and silverware, napkins and glassware/stemware.  Or make it easy, if you’re serving a crowd and set things up to serve buffet style at the end of the counter.

*Make sure you start thawing your turkey at the proper time. The first Thanksgiving, I had no idea it took days to thaw my turkey.  Put your turkey in the refrigerator at the correct time to thaw according to the poundage it is.  We usually get a big  bird and end up thawing it on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Now that we use the dry brine technique, we do it even earlier.

*It’s perfectly fine to make some dishes ahead of time.  Write out your menu on one sheet and then list all the ingredients on another for your grocery shopping list.  Look at your menu and decide what can be made ahead of time.  We usually do our Good as Dessert Sweet Potatoes, the stuffing, and our pies ahead of time.  They are perfect dishes to pull out and let come to room temperature and then pop in the oven at the correct time the day of Thanksgiving.

*Assign your family dishes to cook. This is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. Each one of my kids and my husband has their favorite dishes that they cook every year. We all get into the kitchen and make a huge mess that morning (which cleans up easily) and makes everyone a part of the final meal.  From early on, my kids were pretty proud to be able to say that they made this or that and in the process, just imagine….my kids learned to cook and I didn’t have to make twelve dishes myself!

*Write down each dish and how long it needs to cook. Then make another list, that you will organize when things will go into the oven and their cooking times.  The biggest challenge by far on Thanksgiving is how to serve all those dishes piping hot and have them go in and out of the oven and finish at the same time.  Here is an example of ours.  This would be for a 7 PM. Dinner:

DAY OF:

10 a.m. Start Mulled Cider in the Crockpot
3:30 pm. –Turkey
4:00 Make Fresh cranberry relish
Make whipped cream
5:00 bring premade dishes to room temperature
5:30 peel potatoes and boil
5:30 peel and dress vegetables for Roasted Root Vegetables
6:15 Put in Bacon Mushroom Walnut Stuffing
6:15 Start Green Beans Almondine on stovetop
6:15 Put in Poblano Spoonbread
6:15 Put in Good as Dessert Sweet Potatoes
6:15 Put Roasted Root Vegetables in oven
6:30 Start Brussels Sprouts on stovetop
6:30 Remove turkey to rest – gather drippings for gravy

6:30 Put in plain stuffing
6:30 Put in Green Bean Casserole
6:40 Put in Sweet Potato Biscuits
6:45 Make Gravy on stovetop
6:45 Remove potatoes and drain to mash
6:45 Toss salad and dress

successful thanksgiving

*Above all else – remember to have fun. Thanksgiving is about being grateful. It’s about getting together with family and friends and talking and laughing and playing games and eating some magnificent food.  One thing we do is put out pretty paper plates we buy along with plastic forks and napkins.  Once the main meal is cleaned up, this allows for no more dishes so we can go relax with our family and friends. It also serves to have dessert available to any late comers who may drop in that night when we’re exhausted from the morning of cooking.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are truly blessed to be around those you love this year.

 

 

 

 

Katie JohnstonbergBlogger of the month Katie Johnstonbaugh writes about food at her blog, Dishin & Dishes. Katie works full time in the Putnam City School District and is a wife, mother, grandmother and author. 

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Sunday Potluck

November 16, 2014

Guidelines for the Oklahoma Women Bloggers Sunday Potluck Link up your favorite post from the previous week. The purpose of our weekly link party is to gather and connect with one another, so please visit your neighbors’ blogs in the link up! If you are not yet a member of OWB, please sign up. We […]

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Don’t Be An Autumn Couch Potato

November 10, 2014

Contributed by Katie Johnstonbaugh, OWB Blogger of the Month Fall is my favorite time for being active.  Since our summers keep me cowering in the house from the blazing hot Oklahoma temperatures throughout July and August, when the cool fall air hits, I am outside!! I drink coffee on the patio every morning and evening […]

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Sunday Potluck

November 9, 2014

Guidelines for the Oklahoma Women Bloggers Sunday Potluck Link up your favorite post from the previous week. The purpose of our weekly link party is to gather and connect with one another, so please visit your neighbors’ blogs in the link up! If you are not yet a member of OWB, please sign up. We […]

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Anniversary Chicken

November 7, 2014

Submitted by OWB Member Peggy Chambers My friend and co-worker DeAndrea Warren shared a recipe with me that is something her family uses for special occasions. They call it “Anniversary Chicken.” The original recipe comes from her step-father, the master of the grill. Texans are known for their barbeque and this recipe is no exception. […]

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Pumpkin Spiced Ice Cream with Candied Butter Pecans

November 3, 2014

Submitted by Blogger of the Month Katie Johnstonbaugh I grew up in a large German family. Both of my grandparents had heavy thick German accents and frequently broke out in long strings of German sentences that I never understood. My Grandpa and uncles got together a few time a year to make homemade bratwurst and […]

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Sunday Potluck

November 2, 2014

Guidelines for the Oklahoma Women Bloggers Sunday Potluck Link up your favorite post from the previous week. The purpose of our weekly link party is to gather and connect with one another, so please visit your neighbors’ blogs in the link up! If you are not yet a member of OWB, please sign up. We […]

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Welcome to November

November 1, 2014

Submitted by OWB Admin Mari Farthing I don’t know about you, but I’m breathing in a deep sigh of relief that it seems like fall may be finally here in Oklahoma. After a week with highs near 90, there is nothing at all I hate about a freeze warning and highs about half of what […]

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