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I think it's finally spring here in Chicago which means it's finally patio time!! I'm looking forward to many fun summer afternoons and evenings out there!
When I'm planning blog posts, I often come up with ideas or thoughts about somewhat random things - what fantastic sounding recipe did I see on another blog and am dying to try, what new kitchen thing or cooking tip did I find, what interesting things did I discover on the internet, or what great blogging tips or ideas have I come across. Instead of randomly trying to incorporate these into other blog posts, I thought I'd start writing a monthly post to share some of them. So....welcome to my first Monthly Musings post!
Things I'm Loving
I came across this Urban Garden from Perry Clark Home in a PureWow Chicago post. I loved the idea and immediately ordered it! While it was designed as a window sill herb garden it doubles nicely as a creative way to display cut flowers. I tested it out recently, putting the Italian parsley in on a Sunday afternoon. It was still usable when I got home on Wednesday evening.
Kitchen Tips & Tricks
So, I'm super jealous of those of you can grill all-year around. Here in the Midwest we technically can, however it typically involves the need to bundle up and brave the elements! So, now that grilling season is officially here, I find myself thinking that I really need to clean up my grill a bit (it gets really heavy use in the summer). These grill care tips were provided by the team at Napoleon Grills.
- Clean the searing grids. Soak the cooking grills in warm water and soap before giving them a good cleaning to get rid of the grease and food crust that has been burnt on. Season them for the coming season and get ready from incredible grilled flavours all summer long.
- Clean the grease cup. The more you use your grill, the more you will have to clean or replace your grease cup. Before firing up your grill, take out the old and put in the new.
- Scrape off the grease tray. All the grease and food remnants from past meals collect and char on the grease tray. No need to get out the soap and water for this one, but give it a good scrape with a spatula or putty knife to clean off all the bits.
- Check for leaks. Inspect your hose and fittings to ensure everything is in order and that there are no leaks. Do a soap test to be safe: in a spray bottle or small bowl, mix one part water to one part dish soap. Apply the mixture (spritz it or apply with a small brush) to all fittings. Make sure your lid is open and all the control knobs are turned off. Turn on your gas – any growing bubbles are a sign of a leak that needs to be addressed.
- Clean the igniter and burners. While your searing grids are soaking, remove the heat shields (give them a good scrape as well) so you can run your barbecue brush over the burners. This is also a good time to check your igniter and rear burner to make sure all is in working order.
I'm a little bit obsessed with reading other blogs; there so many bloggers that share great recipes and other info, and I love catching up on my favorites while I ride the bus to work each morning. I recently joined the Windy City Blogger Collective, which has introduced me a whole slew of new blogs and bloggers. One of my newest favorites is Engineering in Style. Katherine writes some great posts and takes beautiful photos; I found this post about Putting Away your Winter Wardrobe to be very useful.
I saw this recipe for Tequila Orange Truffles from the Wicked Spatula and immediately added it to my "must try" recipe list!
One of the the resources I wish I'd taken advantage of sooner is Food Blogger Pro (FBP). The video tutorials are so helpful and the community forum is an amazing resource. If you are a food blogger I'd highly recommend making the investment in FBP, as the tips and support the forum offers have been truly invaluable.