Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MENU OF THE WEEK #3 - Autumn in New England and BlogHer Boston '08 Rocks!

Winston’s Meatloaf
Scalloped Potatoes with Horseradish
Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad
Apple Nut Torte

I've been out of town, enjoying the stunning foliage in New England. A big dose of crisp temperatures and autumn colors made me crave some of my favorite foods, so this week Prairie Wood Kitchen has a savory seasonal menu and a shopping list to help you bid welcome to fall.

I'm back from a very busy week in beautiful New Hampshire. The foliage was just beginning to come into full color, but there always seems to be so many more golds and reds to the autumn landscape in New England than here in the Midwest -- simply stunning. No wonder so many people make a special trip to see it every year!

We stayed with our friends, Jerry and Sally (view above is Lake Winnipesaukee from their house), and covered a lot of territory in NH and MA, visiting Elliot and Jean at their new retirement community digs, Annya and Keith, in their first house and Daniel and Crystal, and their adorable little ones, Jack and Olivia, in their cozy and kid friendly first home. I always like to see the places my friends call home -- it helps to picture them when we talk on the phone, email, or I just take a moment to enjoy a pleasant thought about them. Gee, for never having lived in NH, we sure have a lot of good friends there, which is a perfect excuse to drop in every now and then to enjoy their company and the beautiful scenery!

At the end of our trip we headed over to Burlington, MA, where I was scheduled to attend my first blogging conference. The event was sponsored by BlogHer, a network for women bloggers and it was a day full of panel discussions and presentations geared toward every kind of blogger. Of course, I was there to learn as much as I could about the blogging community, especially food bloggers, and that is exactly what I did.

The entire conference was amazing! I was blown away by the whole experience and I still haven't had time to check out all the information I collected -- but I will! Now I can't wait to attend the annual conference held during the summer. Someone in the know hinted that the conference might even be in the Midwest. I'm there!

From a whole day of memorable highlights, some of the best would have to be making friends with some great food bloggers. Right off the bat, I met Renee, a food blogger, and her sister-in-law, Melissa, who blogs about collections. Renee and I are making plans to collaborate on an exciting, though, as-yet, undetermined blog event. During the "speed-dating" exercise, I met Kerri who has a great blog for people living with diabetes. At one of the panel discussions, I also talked with Sherry and Liz and was able to get some good tech info and actually share some of my own. Wow -- that was a powerful feeling!

As a novice, I have spent a lot of time reading and studying some of the best blogs out there to learn what works. One of my favorites has been Kalyn's Kitchen, produced by Kalyn Denny. I'll admit that one of the reasons I wanted to go to Boston was to sit in on the food blogging panel discussion, which included Kalyn. As luck would have it, I ran into her early in the day and introduced myself -- even though I felt like some kind of blogger groupie! Kalyn, like every single person I met all day, was gracious and friendly and invited me to dinner with the entire food blogging panel. Dean and I had a very nice time -- Lydia's husband was there too, so Dean had someone to talk to too. It was fun getting to know Kalyn, Lydia, Nika, Sarah, Maris and Candelaria. What a day!

Thanks to all my friends, old and new, who made our trip to New England so enjoyable and delicious -- the food was especially good at Lemongrass and Mise En Place (more later about that.) Oh, and Sally, I finally got those fried clams I was craving at Legal!


Anonymous said...

Cora, it was a pleasure to meet you and break bread together at Legal Seafood. What a day! I am so glad to have meet so many wonderful, generous, intelligent women who understand why I blog. Hope you had a safe trip home!

Kalyn Denny said...

Cora, great fun meeting you in Boston! Look forward to keeping up on your blog.

I do hope you come to the summer BlogHer. Every time I've gone I've loved it! I feel lucky to have learned about BlogHer very early in my blogging career.

Cora said...

Sarah and Kalyn, thanks again for the warm welcome at Blogher. I too am happy to have found people who share my love for food, friends and above all, writing. Until we meet again. . . and we will!

Anonymous said...

cora, you are great! thanks for being brave and sitting down at our table. i am looking forward to our collaborations.

i am still buzzing from blogher boston. see ya next summer!