1
The Great Big Bacon Picnic, What a Ride.
2
Turkey Peanut Butter Bacon Burger
3
What’s Growing in the Garden!
4
Spoiling Kitties With KitNipBox
5
Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!
6
Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing
7
No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables – Quick Dinner Recipe!
8
How to Build Cat Shelves That Your Cat Will Love
9
Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!
10
Is Your Laptop Your Best Friend? Meet My YOGA 3 Pro + I’m giving away one! (Worth $1499!)
11
Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!
12
Chocolate Lovers Cocoa Banana Mug Cake
13
Spring Cleaning the Tea Cabinet, Tea Party With teapigs
14
First Planting In The Garden This Year….
15
Betty’s Swedish Meatballs Recipe – Mad Men Post!
16
Meet Me In the Kitchen For Creamy Ranch Potato Salad (With Video!) + $100 Visa giftcard giveaway!
17
SNICKERS Cracker Sandwiches – Great for snacking!
18
Vanilla PB Donuts with Matcha Green Tea Frosting
19
Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
20
Staying Connected with Family and Clients When Traveling

The Great Big Bacon Picnic, What a Ride.

After you attend a picnic called “The Great Big Bacon Picnic” you say things like “What a ride” afterwards.  You’re in a different state. You’re not the same person you were when you walked into that picnic.  Your taste buds are going wild.  You tell yourself you can’t eat anything else.  You need a nap.  

Brooklyn’s FIRST bacon festival, The Great Big Bacon Picnic, happened May 16th and May 17th.  The event featured three different sessions of inspired bite-sized bacon dishes with the best in craft beers and local craft spirits, giving bacon lovers a truly unique culinary experience.  Also, The Great Big Bacon Picnic had the FIRST EVER “Bacon Bar” – yes, a bar supplied only with different varieties of bacon.  I won’t tell you how many times I stopped by that bacon bar.  
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(This is 1/3rd of the bacon bar!)

There was even a “Boss Hog” awarded to Bareburger who received the highest percentage of Licks (votes) for all the sessions.  Other awards went to Streets who had a Tuna-Bacon-Truffle Roll With a Roasted Jalapeño- Avocado Creme Fraiche and a Kimchi Aioli. Goodness, that was good.  For Creativity URBO won with their Smoked Bacon Stuffed Oreos which was well deserved.  I wanted to go back for Oreos every 2 minutes but I feared they would tell me “no more!”. 
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Turkey Peanut Butter Bacon Burger

If I ask what my husband he wants for dinner, more than likely he will say “burgers.” This recipe is a twist on the usual burgers and packs a big taste punch with the creamy peanut butter and Worcestershire sauce. If you’re anything like me then a burger needs to be covered in cheese, bacon, and many slices of pickles and tomatoes.

Turkey Peanut Butter Bacon Burger_2

Turkey Peanut Butter Bacon Burger
You all know I’m a pickles and tomatoes kinda girl with burgers!

Hop on over to Peanut Butter & Co for the recipe.  Who knew peanut butter in a burger could be so good? But then again, doesn’t peanut butter make everything better?

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What’s Growing in the Garden!

Hey friends,
Happy Monday – did you have a good weekend?  How’s your garden looking?  Have you started planting your veggies?

Here’s a garden update with MANY photos!  I wanted to show you how we have expanded the garden and also what’s growing in it.    So let’s take a look around the garden!

Welcome….!
Garden May 15 2015

Hey Matthew!
Garden May 15 2015_46

Broccoli – we spotted our first head!
Garden May 15 2015_1

 

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Spoiling Kitties With KitNipBox

I love our cats.  A whole lot. So it might not surprise you I like to spoil them.

The cats have a big container of toys, to the point of whenever we’re at a pet store and I see something new Matthew is like “They have so many toys!”.  Well, yes, they do.  But they don’t have THIS! And I know they’re going to love for this for a whole 8 minutes, so just let me get it.

With work busy, I wanted to spoil the cats with a new boxing ritual.  We would receive a box in the mail once a month full of new toys and treats, and then we would all sprawl out on the floor and play the heck out of those toys.  That’s what we did last week.     There’s subscription boxes for clothes, beauty products, books, food and dog toys.  But for some reason I have never heard of a cat box.   I found out about KitNipBox while searching for a monthly subscription service and immediately fell in love. 

For May’s box they teamed up with Noah’s Animal House of Las Vegas to bring love and cheer to kitties in need.   Noah’s Animal House is a veterinary and boarding sanctuary , providing shelter for pets of domestic abuse victims.   A portion of May proceeds with be donated to Noah’s Animal House to keep our fur families safe.  So this is great cause too. 

KitNipBox_7

This month the box was full of toys and a bag of treats.  If you add up the prices of the toys then it was well worth the monthly subscription price.   Many of the toys were catnip scented which our critters love.   Two of them were “crinkle” toys which the cats love to drag around the loft to hear the sound.   
KitNipBox

 

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Bringing the Garden Inside, Easy Herb Growing – Win a $100 American Express gift card to start your garden!


So you’ve just made a beautiful lasagna.  Your kitchen smells like the best Italian kitchen in the world and you can’t wait to cut a big cheesy slice.  What would be perfect?  Throwing some fresh oregano or basil on top.    Wouldn’t you love to just walk on over to your window, reach into a pot, grab a few pieces and then *hocus pocus* you have fresh herbs on top of your lasagna and you’re ready to dig in?  Well you can!
Planting Herbs Inside to Add some Apartment Green_9
We grow lots of vegetables and herbs in our rooftop garden, but I also love growing herbs inside.   Growing herbs inside is a great idea for many reasons. First, it’s easily accessible.  Need fresh oregano? No need to throw your shoes on (and maybe pants – let’s be honest) to run to the garden. Second, you can grow herbs all year inside.  It’s easy to grow basil, oregano, mint and more inside next to your window no matter the season. Lastly, it sure looks pretty.   Want to spruce your home up with some greens and life?  Grow herbs and visit Burpee Home Gardens!
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Lots of friends often ask me about growing their own herbs and they tend to be a bit scared.  They have many questions and many fears behind all of them.  I always give them a hug and tell them it will be ok!  Sure, you can grow herbs from seeds (which is very economical) but you can also get herb plants that have already started to grow.  This is perfect for both beginning gardeners and experienced ones who want something quickly to plant.    You can find these herb plants at your local home store which is what I did when I bought oregano and cilantro. 
 

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Happy Hour In The Garden, What’s Growing

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  Hope you like what’s growing in the garden! #CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias

Coke-Happy-Hour_4-combo

Hey guys,

Sorry I’ve been a bit missing here at Brooklyn Farm Girl.  If you follow me on Instagram (I hope you are!) then you know I’m still around, but it’s been a busy few months. Right now we’re putting finishing touches on a Mother’s Day video that I will post on Friday – get ready for bling bling envy!   Besides working and trying to find time for the cats (I miss them so much when we work to midnight!) we also need to spend time in the garden! Right now the Spring garden is planted and we are putting aside a day this weekend to bring in the Summer plants (tomatoes! tomatillos! peppers! more!).    With such a busy schedule right now I really value our time in the garden as it’s the best time to relax (sometimes I even leave my phone downstairs so no phone calls or emails, gasp!).     Happy Hour in the garden is the best time, it’s around 6-7PM where the sun set is setting and you can see it glaring off the skyscrapers in Manhattan.  We cheers with some Diet Coke, hold hands, and marvel at our baby broccoli plants.  I think we all need a garden moment.
I think our plants grow so well because of the view they see everyday.  #strawberry #skyline #worldtradetower #sunset #sky #vegetablegarden #rooftop #NYC #Brooklyn #vegetables #healthyeating #garden #gardening #urbanfarming #urbangarden #containergarden #

 

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No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables – Quick Dinner Recipe!

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Barilla®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #OnePotPasta http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

It’s not often that taking photos of a recipe actually takes longer than how long it took me to make the dish!

We’ve been busy with work lately so when we get home we usually want a quick  meal so we can gather in front of the television and watch NBA playoffs (best time of the year, go Cavs, go Net).  Pasta is a great quick meal but are you ever so hungry that you can’t even wait for the water to boil?    Let me introduce you to Barilla’s Pronto pasta which is one pan, no boil, no drain pasta.   I wasn’t sold on it when I first heard about it – I mean seriously, I didn’t have to boil the water? But after multiple recipes, I’m hooked.  A great tasting pasta dish with fresh vegetables that actually only takes 10 minutes?  Totally sold.  

No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables_1

Say hello to No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables, it’s my new favorite quick dinner recipe. Fact: We had it for dinner last night!  This recipe calls for red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes and basil so it’s a fresh harvest meal!  I can’t wait until Summer time when I can pick our peppers and tomatoes from our garden and throw them right in this dish.   This dish is entirely customizable too,  add whatever vegetables you want!  It’s a great dish to clean out that refrigerator!   Never let a pepper go bad, life motto to live by. :D)
No-Boil-Rotini-Pasta-With-Plenty-of-Vegetables_Combo-1

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How to Build Cat Shelves That Your Cat Will Love

If you have a cat your goal in life is to probably wow them.   If it isnt, then you should get on it right away.  There’s a cat waiting!

Ways to wow them? You can try:
Singing and dancing to them, or even better with them. Most likely they won’t be wow’d at all and will ask you to put them down.
Buying them a new toy.  They might get wow’d, but most likely they are going to like the box it came in better.
Buying them a new bowl.  They don’t care, it only matters what goes in it.
Dressing up like a cat. Ok, I did this over the weekend and the cats were just weirded out by it.

Mom and babies.

 

What I found is that the best way to wow them is to make them feel special.  Rub their bellies when they provide it, rub under their chin for a few seconds longer than expected, or next time you’re reading snuggle up with your cat and let them sprawl out as big as they want.

What else do they love? Entertainment that doesn’t involve a human.  Sure, they love when you play “chase the fly” with them but you aren’t always home.   They love to sleep while you’re going (so they can store up all their energy for when you’re trying to sleep)  but they also love to play by themselves.   Instead of a cat tree, we decided that we were going to build cat shelves on our wall.  This would be a spot for the cats to climb, sleep and let the cats show each other who’s boss (answer always: Xanadu).

The outcome is a series of brightly colored shelves for our kitties to climb up.  Goblin loves relaxing on the shelves.  He’s a little guy so he doesn’t go very high.
How to Build Cat Shelves_13

 

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Here comes the onions and kale… more Spring planting!

Every time it rains I remind myself I need to get a raincoat.  Then the raining stops and I forget.  Then it rains again and I remind myself I need to get a raincoat. Then the raining stops…  Does this happen to anyone else?   April showers bring May flowers they say and this week is a rainy one.   

On Saturday it was near 80 degrees (too soon!).  We no longer have to worry about frost during the night.  Now it’s the usual garden business to worry about.   One thing that is looking good is all the Spring seedlings.  Besides the carrots and radishes, the Spring garden is officially planted.  We were able to get the onions, kale and pak choi planted a day after we planted the broccoli and friends.  It feels nice to be back up on the roof everyday checking on the plants and watering the containers.  

So the Spring garden is: broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, onions, kale, pak choi, sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes.    Don’t forget you can follow along with planting dates in my seed calendar too.  

Now to the planting, first up, the onions.  Like the sugar snap peas, we went a bit crazy with onions this year.  We planted 68 onions this year, which is about 48 more than we were planning.  What happens is you plant what you were going to, and then you look at the sad leftover onion seedlings and know they will just go to waste if you don’t plant them.  So you save those onions and make room in other containers.  The funny part of all this is that onions are one thing in the garden I don’t eat. I’ve never been a onion fan so I’m going to leave it to Matthew to eat all those onions, good luck! 
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015

Onion seeds are itty bitty tiny little things, so when you see how big this little seeds roots are already before you plant, you need to smile.
Planting Onions and Kale Spring 2015_5

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Is Your Laptop Your Best Friend? Meet My YOGA 3 Pro + I’m giving away one! (Worth $1499!)

First, I’m so happy to make this post because I’m giving away a Lenovo YOGA 3 Pro Laptop (worth 1,499.99) to one of my readers.   Please make sure to enter because I know you’ll love it as much as I do!  Now keep reading….

There’s a photo of me taken once.  I’m at a party, dressed like Hello Kitty sitting on a couch.  Sitting on my lap isn’t a drink, it’s a laptop.  I’m on a laptop at a party dressed like Hello Kitty.  If we had some cats sprawled out on my lap too it would be the perfect description of my life.

My laptop is one of my best friends, I can’t live without it.   It goes to work with me, it travels with me on flights, it goes to bed with me, it helps me in the kitchen, it inspires me, it lets me create films and animations and it lets me communicate with you guys on Brooklyn Farm Girl.  It’s the perfect fit for my artist + blogger + cat  mama lifestyle. 

If my laptop is reading this, because it totally is because I’m typing this on it, then this is for you.
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 Are you guys ready to meet my BFF? Ok, here she is (yes, it’s a girl).  Her name is Computer!  She enjoys tea and cats too.  Of course my beloved Essy is on my desktop photo. :)
Lenovo YOGA 3 Pro _16

 

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Planting Sugar Snap Peas for Spring!

It’s that time of the year again… a sugar snap pea planting post!
Every year I post about them with pretty much the same pictures and details, and every single year I post about them with crazy enthusiasm.  I mean there’s no garden without sugar snap peas growing!  

Last year we grew a bunch of sugar snap pea plants but this year (as always) we kicked it up a bit.  There will be 93 sugar snap pea plants!  There’s 22 in one 4×4 box in the back, 22 in another 4×4 box in the back and then 49 plants that will take up a entire 4×4 box.   We’re one sugar snap pea loving family as you can tell. 

About a week ago we started pre-sprouting the peas inside.  Pre-sprouting will make sure your peas will grow once they’re in the soil as you’ll visually see they have already started.   This makes growing more stress free as if it’s already pre-sprouted you can be pretty sure it will pop through the soil in a few days and that it’s not rotting underneath.  Here’s a how to pre-sprout your peas tutorial I made a couple years ago.

After they sit in their plastic baggy for a few days, you’ll take them out and see they’ve all sprouted.  That means they’re ready for the ground!

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015

Sugar Snap Pea Planting Spring 2015_1

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Chocolate Lovers Cocoa Banana Mug Cake

Do you ever have that moment where you make something but you aren’t sure if it’s going to turn out that amazing?  And then you take a bite and you’re like “hot diggity dog, this is incredible”. Yup, that’s what happened with this Cocoa Banana Mug Cake.

I’ve had some success with making cakes in mugs, but sometimes they turned out on the dry side which caused me to silently curse myself for wasting my chocolate chips on it.  So when I began making this mug cake I crossed my fingers and anxiously awaited for the microwave to beep.

Banana bread is the best way to use ripe bananas, but I like to push it even further and use ripe frozen bananas.  If bananas are ripe and I know there’s no bread making in my near future I will throw the bananas whole in my freezer. In fact if you open up my freezer now you’ll see a few frozen bananas hanging out with frozen herbs and a pint of ice cream. Bananas stay great frozen for a long time.  The banana I’m using in this recipe is months old.   So don’t waste bananas.  Freeze them and then make cake. Everyone wins.
Chocolate Lovers Cocoa Banana Mug Cake_1
(My frozen banana, to defrost I just let it sit out for a few minutes). 

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Spring Cleaning the Tea Cabinet, Tea Party With teapigs

With the garden ready for Spring, I set my sights on something that needed cleaning.  No, not the windows, or floors or closet, this was a big job…

THE TEA CABINET! (insert detective drama music here).

I have a tea cabinet.  Actually, I have 2.  Actually I have 2 tea cabinets and a place on top of the countertop that is visible that is storing my new tea treasures.  When I took over the bottom cabinet Matthew was ok with it, after all, I love tea. When I took over the 4 shelf cabinet next to the stove with tea, he gave me a side glance and a little mumble under his breath.  When he noticed the tea boxes sitting next to the cooking utensils on the counter a few days ago he said “Really?”.  Ok, Ok! I will clean it up.  But I have so much tea.  And it’s so pretty! And why are you making me do this! It’s so unfair.  Can’t I fill the kitchen with tea?  

Tea Party With teapigs_2

So muttering under my own breath, talking sweetly to my teas, I ventured into the kitchen yesterday to finally straighten out the tea area.  Boxes were recycled, teas were sorted by green and black, loose tea that is seasonal was moved to the back, teas that I will never learn to love were boxed up for tea loving friends and memories were had with each smell of the leaves.  

If you’re a tea lover, then you probably know the feeling, which is why it’s a great time of the year to clean out your teas!   By cleaning out your shelves you might find that special jasmine tea that you loved last Spring but totally forgot was there.  Also, the more you clean out the more room it leaves to try new brands and varieties. No, I’m not saying fill up those cabinets again with tea, but when you’re browsing the tea aisle maybe you won’t feel as bad buying that one new box.

Tea Party With teapigs_13

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First Planting In The Garden This Year….

With the weather slowly transitioning to Spring we decided to make use of the 55 degree temperatures (but windy!) this weekend and get the garden rolling out.  In January we planted our Spring seeds and they have anxiously been waiting to move outside.  The broccoli grew so tall inside that we couldn’t raise our grow lights anymore.  Besides the sugar snap peas, carrots and radishes that will be planted directly into the soil, here’s the lineup of the Spring garden.
First-Planting-of-the-Year-2015-Seedlings

This year we planted many more broccoli plants then cauliflower.   We use broccoli in so many more dishes and it freezes great so it seemed like the best choice to take advantage of the container space.  We also have a ton of onions for Matthew to enjoy.   We are going to be trying to grow collard greens for the first time this year and I’m hoping for success so I can make this recipe every single day.

The seedlings were moved outside a few days ago to slowly transition.  We do this so they can harden off and not get shocked by the new weather they’re experiencing.  For the first week we’ll throw fabric on top of the seedlings to protect then from the sun. Everyday they’ll be exposed to the sun a bit longer so by the time the week is over they will be able to hand it completely.
First Planting of the Year 2015 Broccoli

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Betty’s Swedish Meatballs Recipe – Mad Men Post!

“Hot or cold? Swedish meatballs or chicken salad” asks Betty Draper when Don comes home late from work one evening.  Don chooses the chicken salad, but in my opinion he misses out. Betty’s Swedish Meatballs are where the magic is at.

If you’re reading this and wondering who Betty Draper or Don it, let me grab you for a quick hug and tell you what you’re missing out on.   The Drapers (or previously were – no spoilers!) are 2 of the main characters on the hit show Mad Men which I’ve been obsessed with since the beginning.   On Sunday night they will air the first episode from the final season – weep weep.   If you’re a Mad Men fan, do you have predictions?  How’s it going to end?  How’s Don going to end up?  Are you rooting for him?  Do you think Don Draper is amazingly sexy no matter what horrible things he does?  Me too, I can’t help it.  Smoking, drinking, overtly sexual, heart breaker, etc. “Don Draper cheats on his wife, never does any housework, hardly spends time with his kids—he shouldn’t be sexy, but he is.”    All the things that your mother told you to stay way from.  Except with Don he chases you in and you’re like “Ok”. Why do you have to be so complicated Mr. Draper?

Don-Draper-has-so-much-control-seduction-situation

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Meet Me In the Kitchen For Creamy Ranch Potato Salad (With Video!) + $100 Visa giftcard giveaway!


I feel like I’ve been starting out every recipe lately by talking about the weather.  This winter has been very cold in NYC and we’re all looking forward to the spring.  When it comes summer, I will probably be complaining about how hot it is, but right now I could use some warmth and comfort. Creamy Ranch Potato Salad_3
 
Potato salad is a family staple at so many events, but especially at picnics.  Maybe it’s for a graduation, or a family get together, or a bbq; most likely there is a big bowl of potato salad there.  I love how versatile potato salad can be.  When chilled in the summer, it’s the perfect food to cool off with next to your hot dog.  In the winter time, you can serve it right off the stove to warm you up.
Creamy Ranch Potato Salad_2  
 

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SNICKERS Cracker Sandwiches – Great for snacking!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

Do you know who I am when I’m hungry?  I’m this person here who thinks a delicious SNICKERS® Almond (yum) bar should be plated and be called dinner.  Forget about a full meal.  I’m hungry and therefor cranky.   Have you ever tried to decide what to have for dinner while hungry?  Do you end up sitting on the kitchen floor banging your head against the cabinet because you just want food to magically appear?  Ok, me too.
Snickers Cracker Sandwiches

Because I don’t want you to turn all cranky on me,  I’m giving you a nice little snack.  This is perfect for a afternoon pick me up and super perfect for a fun party appetizer. Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Salt = Yes, please.  Hi Snickers Cracker Sandwiches, say hi to my friends.
Snickers Cracker Sandwiches_9

You only need 3 things to make these little irresistible sandwiches, SNICKERS Peanut Butter Squares, crackers and a little bit of salt.  

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Vanilla PB Donuts with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

Green tea is totally my favorite cup of the moment. I go in between green jasmine and jasmine pearl because it’s so hard to pick a favorite.  My tea preference changes on the weather, so with Spring visibly right around the corner (hopefully) my morning cup has changed from dark to a light green tea.  In the Spring I crave freshness, seeing the markets slowly have more fruits gets me excited.  I’ve been buying raspberries and watermelon to get ready for our own garden season (coming soon).  

When Peanut Butter & Co. asked me to be part of their #MYSTERYIngredient Challenge, I accepted right away. Bu when they sent me Matcha Green Tea Powder as my ingredient, I was a bit hestitate.  You see, I love green tea.  Love, Love, Love. But I’ve never done anything with green tea powder.  I know lots of smoothie recipes call for it, but I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to make something that come be included in a Spring lunch, birthday party or a tea party.  

Vanilla PB Donuts with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

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Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup – love, love love.  

I used to get tortilla soup all the time from a local Mexican restaurant but one day I got some near closing time and it was a big disappointment   It was like they gave me the entire bottom of the pot that was sitting all day long with every ingredient soggy.  I was very upset.  That night I told myself I would match their tortilla soup with my own.  I would set up a table outside their restaurant serving small cups of my own soup and compare it to theirs.  The neighborhood would love mine.  They would put me on their shoulders, parading me down the streets while chanting “tortilla soup, tortilla soup!”.  Well one of those things came true, I came up with a tortilla soup recipe that (dare I say) is better than theirs.  *High Fives*

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup_7

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Staying Connected with Family and Clients When Traveling


The month of March is has been full of traveling. We started out in London, flew to NYC for a few days, and then flew to Doha, Qatar for 2 weeks.  Traveling is not always luxurious; I always prefer to work and shoot in NYC if at all possible.  One main reason is that I miss my family, friends and most importantly (sorry family) our cats.  We have a live webcam set up in our home that we can tune in and watch the cats throughout the day, but what I need is live interaction.
 

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For more information contact Pamela at pamela@pamelareed.com.