{a day in the life} Bluebonnets & Brownies

Today’s “a day in the life” feature is Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies. Amber’s is one of the first blogs I started reading, and I haven’t stopped! Lots of great recipes and great stories. Amber is extremely talented–make sure to check out her site!

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Bluebonnets&Brownies

Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, which is really quite a diverse place because of all the cultural influences that landed there – German, Mexican, Midwestern. San Antonio is even more unique because it’s a huge military town, and the city’s personality has grown with that.

I met my husband online, back before there were even dating sites. I was in Texas, he was in England. Crazy, right? I begged and pleaded with my job at the time for a project over in the U.K. They sent me for 3 months, but the project lasted 2 years! We were married before it even finished.

I was really homesick in England for all the foods I grew up with (Tex-Mex, specifically), so I started teaching myself how to make them at home, as well as some family recipes that my Nan was nice enough to send me. It wasn’t until we moved back to the States that I started reading food blogs… but I just knew it was something I could love. So I started posting those family recipes, mainly as a homage to my grandma.

Take me through your day. Amber-HeadShot

      • My day starts with two very loud, very large Maine Coon cats asking for their breakfast around 6 a.m.
      • The hubs leaves at 7 for work, but I work from home, so I have the luxury of going back to sleep for a while, or getting up and seizing the day.
      • I start my “regular” job at around 8, and work on that almost straight through til 5:30. I’m a “Threat Intelligence Analyst” for a software company, and it’s pretty darn interesting.
      • I break for lunch around 2 or 3, and usually during this time I’ll take photos (good light!) or plan something to make for dinner.
      • Dinner isn’t until around 8 at our house because my husband works so late. So from 5:30 to 7:30, I’m usually working on blog stuff, writing, etc. until he gets home, then I start dinner.
      • After dinner, if I’m not completely wiped, I try to do a little more writing, planning, or baking for new posts.
      • Bed is around 11, but I rarely fall asleep before 1 a.m. Can’t put down my Kindle!

What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?

I hate to sound food blogger-cliché, but after spending all Christmas at my mom’s, who doesn’t have one, it’s got to be my KitchenAid mixer! I use that thing for every kind of baking, and for quickly pulling chicken or pork too. I made like 5 dozen cookies at my mom’s this Christmas with just a hand mixer, and it put me in a distinctly bad mood!

What is the most important part of your day? Why?

The most important part of my day is reconnecting with my husband when he gets home from work. We truly miss each other during the day, and it’s nice to sit down and chat or escape out to our most indulgent purchase ever – our hot tub  – to just talk.

What is your favorite part of your day? Why?

My favorite part of my day probably ties with the most important part, but I also love it when the cats decide they need cuddles before I get out of bed. They’re giants – Milo weighs 30 lbs and Connor’s a svelte 20 lbs, and yet they’re the sweetest, gentlest guys.

What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?

My least favorite part of the day is when my day job bleeds over into my evening, and I don’t get to do things I had planned, like make a certain recipe or photograph things I need to.

If you could choose one room in your house to spend the WHOLE day in, which room would it be? Why? 

I’m sure my answer here is the same as most food bloggers, but it’s definitely my kitchen! I much prefer hanging out there to hanging out in my office.

mykitchen1

mykitchen2

If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?

We were lucky enough to remodel our kitchen a couple years ago, so that’s already been done. If I could pick one room with unlimited budget, it would be our bedroom. We’d upgrade the ½ bath to a full one, and I’d punch out a wall and give us more space and a walk in closet! Sharing a tiny closet with my husband kinda sucks.

What is your favorite day of the week? Why?

I love Saturdays. All week long, I dread waking up early. But on Saturdays, my eyes pop open at 6, and I’m ready to make the most of the unplanned day. It’s like a gift, especially if it’s sunny out!

If you had to choose one place to travel to every year over and over, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?

A lot of people probably know this about me because I never shut up about it, but I’m a Disney fanatic. I worked at Walt Disney World in college, and it is absolutely my happy place. We try to go there at least once a year. For my 30th birthday, my husband got us annual passes. We went 4 times that year. It was the best ever. I never get tired of it.

If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?

Santorini, Greece, and Italy are all on my bucket list, and I’d want to stay in the Mediterranean for at least a month.

What is your favorite quote or verse?

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – it’s a Walt Disney quote, and it’s so true. People tell you all the time that something is impossible. Do it anyway.

What is your favorite cookbook?

My favorite cookbook is the Better Homes & Gardens basic one that my grandma gave me when I turned 17. It’s the first cookbook I ever received, and I treasure it to this day.

What recipe on your blog are you most proud of? 

I love my Movie Theatre Cookies recipe. Who knew popcorn in a cookie could be SO good? I really wasn’t sure how they would turn out, but man, are they perfect.

movietheatrecookies

What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?

The recipe that gets the most love on Bluebonnets & Brownies is my copycat recipe for Rudy’s Cream Corn. Rudy’s is a barbecue restaurant back in Texas. Their first restaurant was attached to a gas station in this tiny little town on the outskirts of San Antonio, called Leon Springs. They’re famous for their barbecue (the smoked turkey and brisket are to DIE for), but the most loved thing on their menu is their creamed corn. It’s nothing like the stuff in the can. I can eat an embarrassing amount of it in one sitting.

rudyscreamedcorn

What is your guilty food pleasure that you’re embarrassed to fess up to? Kraft Mac & Cheese? Spagetti-o’s? Canned cheese? We promise not to judge!

I adore Velveeta shells and cheese, and I was so excited when they started making it in single serving pots. My husband hates cheesy sauces, so I had stopped making it all together, but now I can enjoy just one for me. I also have a serious Diet Coke addiction that I’m trying to curb.

What have you learned since you began blogging?

Since I began blogging, I’ve learned that I’m a deadline-oriented person. I need a deadline or I just languish and procrastinate. I didn’t know that about myself before I started blogging. I’ve also learned that the social aspects of high school don’t ever go away. But neither do really fantastic friendships born out of a common passion. The friendships I’ve made over the past 5 years are really worth everything we put into this adventure.

What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?

I think the most challenging part of blogging is not letting yourself get caught up in someone else’s hype. We’re never all going to agree on how to be a food blogger, and sometimes it’s hard to see someone with very different ethics have more success than you. You’ve got to just worry about yourself, and make sure that you’re truly happy with your blog, rather than doing stuff that’s just going to get you more traffic. I think we all occasionally fall into that trap, and it can be hard to dig yourself out.

Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?

Do it! Just start making stuff. Find your passion. I thought I was a cook before I started blogging, but through blogging I’ve learned that I’m equally in love with baking, and can be even more passionate about it than cooking. Don’t worry about anyone else (as much as you can), and just have fun!

Who would you like to see featured here in the future?

Shaina – Food for my Family

Megan – Stetted

Christina – Dessert for Two 

Is there anything else you would like to tell the world about yourself?

Can I share a huge pet peeve? I think everyone knows by now that I’m a tried and true Texan, and that Tex-Mex cuisine is necessary to my existence. But I’d really like to say, people, please stop making enchiladas with flour tortillas.

I think that trend was started somewhere along the way by Pillsbury or Campbell’s trying to create a friendly casserole, but it is just wrong, wrong, wrong! True, delicious, perfect enchiladas are made with lightly fried corn tortillas.

Every time I see a recipe on a blog that uses flour tortillas, I cringe when I think about the mushy enchiladas that resulted, and curse the food companies for taking such a perfect dish and destroying it.

And also, words like burrito, quesadilla, tostada and taco are words that define how a tortilla is folded. They are not interchangeable. Unless the ends of the tortilla are tucked in, it is not a burrito. I’m lookin’ at you, McDonald’s.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

 

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Thanks Amber! I love your backsplash! So pretty.  

PS: I think I have enchiladas on my site made with flour tortillas. Don’t hate me! I actually think I like them better with flour tortillas. And this is why I live in MI. 

You can find more of Amber on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

When you make a recipe from my site tag it with #RachelCooks!
I love to see what you're creating!

25 comments

  1. I love this post! Thanks for finding all these fantastic bloggers for us all to read about and start following! :-)

  2. *Commence scouring the internet for corn tortilla enchilada recipes*

    If my cats weighed 20 or 30 pounds, they’d smother me (they like to sleep on my face). I’m amazed (but glad) you’re still alive.

  3. I love these glimpses into other people’s lives!!! I’m like a nosy old neighbor! Amber, love you and your kitchen, OMG. Oh and those cookies…sweet mother of pearl. Just. Love.

  4. Hi ladies!
    What a fun guest-post, thank you for stopping by Amber! :-)
    Awesome kitchen, you have. I have to admit that my favorite room in my house is the kitchen.
    It’s a fun packed eating and meeting room.
    I have to say that whatever type of tortilla you like best for enchiladas is all that counts….BUT….. a slightly fried CORN tortilla is the BEST and only way to truly enjoy your enchiladas!!
    Have a nice day!

  5. What a great interview – I “met” Amber last summer, and she is such a sweet person! So helpful to me!

  6. Yes corn tortillas are for enchiladas! But corn of flour, make them yourself! You’ll never buy them again! It’s really easy; and I’m a blonde headed white girl! And thank you, thank you, for the Rudy’s creamed corn recipe. I’ve made it many times since I moved to a small town with no Rudy’s. The day I found that recipe was a magical day!

  7. Oh my goodness!! I currently live in San Antonio and got to try Rudy’s corn last year at a wedding. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be able to recreate it. I’m definitely going to check out all of Amber’s blog. Also, she’s so right about enchiladas needing to be made with corn tortillas (for me, anyway). Flour is just too thick.

  8. Thanks for another great interview Rachel!

  9. Great write up! I’m off to subscribe and check out that creamed corn :)

  10. I LOVE AMBER! She is the best and thanks to her I know to make enchiladas with corn tortillas. If you haven’t made the enchiladas from her site, you MUST! Also you got to try her Mama’s Salsa. To. Die. For.

  11. Love the story about Amber and her husband! So sweet. Also, YES PLEASE to those movie theater cookies!

  12. Loved this post today! I laughed when she mentioned people using flour tortillas and I have to say that in Texas that is a big no-no. It’s still good though especially with homemade flour tortillas.

  13. Amber was one of the very first food bloggers I ever met–in real life as opposed to via the computer! This was a great interview, and it was easy to tell what a sweetheart she is. :)

    (And to add to the chorus–oh my gosh, that backsplash!!)

  14. I love getting to know Amber more! I also love the classic BHG cookbook. And I just learned this weekend that you shouldn’t use flour tortillas for enchiladas…now I can’t wait to try with corn tortillas!

  15. Huzzah! My favorite enchiladas are made with flour tortillas. I hate myself now;-) Lovin’ that backsplash, too and I pinned those cookies!

  16. “Since I began blogging, I’ve learned that I’m a deadline-oriented person. I need a deadline or I just languish and procrastinate. I didn’t know that about myself before I started blogging. I’ve also learned that the social aspects of high school don’t ever go away. But neither do really fantastic friendships born out of a common passion. The friendships I’ve made over the past 5 years are really worth everything we put into this adventure.”

    Best. Paragraph. Ever. I totally agree!! Great interview Amber and Rachel!

  17. I love every single word of this post, and it proves why I learn something from Amber every day: pray tell, how does one pull pork in a KitchenAid mixer? Do you use the paddle attachment or the dough hook? This pulled pork addict’s gotta know!

  18. I loved this!

    And yes, AMEN! As a fellow Texan, enchiladas are NOT made with flour tortillas! Thank you for setting the world straight, Amber :)

  19. Pingback: A Day in the Life | Bluebonnets & Brownies

  20. Rachel, thank you so much for letting me participate in this fun series. I really enjoyed answering all the questions!

    That backsplash is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. It’s polished river rock, and it was actually WAY easier to install than normal tiles, because it comes in sheets, and you don’t have to be “perfect” in your application.

    I promise, I don’t hate you or your enchiladas.. I just really think if you tried some either in a San Antonio restaurant or maybe even my kitchen, you might change your mind about corn tortillas. Most of the time, people think they don’t like corn tortillas because they’ve only ever been served them raw. It’s a great injustice! Corn tortillas are transcendent, when they’re COOKED. Chains like Chili’s make the mistake of serving corn tortillas without first grilling, griddling, steaming, or shallow frying them. It’s a crying shame, because it just perpetuates the opinion that corn tortillas are gross.

  21. I was just thinking how pretty the backsplash was too! Another great interview Rachel, love finding out more about Amber and I’ve suddenly realised why I’ve never seen the appeal of enchiladas in the UK. I’, on a mission to find some corn tortillas!

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