DIY Moving Blog Workstation

Y’all, I’m gonna be completely transparent here.  I started this post 7 years ago. SEVEN.YEARS.AGO. For some reason, I just kept procrastinating. Maybe because it wasn’t food? I honestly have no idea, but it’s happening today, my dear www friends.

THIS is something that has completely changed how I work from a photography standpoint. My (now) ex-husband made this based on what I told him I needed. I absolutely adore this thing. 

This all-in-one workstation has wheels, storage space on the bottom, interchangeable wood slats in different colors, and metal pipe poles on the back holding interchangeable backdrops. I wanted to share this will y’all because I get so many inquiries regarding it. I’m going to show you photos, and give you a list of materials at the end of this post. The only thing I would have done differently is use wheels (casters) with brakes. 

Now, what you see below looks a bit different than what it looks like today. Not only have my prop and photography collections grown, but this handmade piece of furniture is so important to me and my work.

2013 – 
Blog Workstation on Wheels
Continue reading

2019 – 

Notice the difference here; we added galvanized pipes on the back side to hold interchangeable backdrops.

Where’s the little photog props on the bottom you ask?

They’re right here – 

Now I have shelving to hold my props, and that’s not even ALL of it. This is what 9 years into food blogging looks like!

Mark named my rolling station a BWOW (blog workstation on wheels). Now, he just calls it my WOW. If there’s one thing I could say about Mark – he just loves to make shit. If I mention something I have in mind that will make life easier for me, typically he’ll make it happen.

“THIS is something that has completely changed how I work from a photography standpoint.”

Me

If he doesn’t know how to do something, he’ll figure it out. At that point it becomes personal for him and the end result is usually better than what I had in mind to begin with. Needless to say, he’s type A and a little OCD.

IMGP670

I wanted something that I could use as a photo shoot table, that would store most of my blog props (yeah, right), and be portable. I was sick of the whole setting up and taking down job in the middle of my kitchen floor by the windows.

This is really no big deal if you’re comfortable using a table saw. You won’t catch my ass using it, but I’m fortunate that he’s a skilled man.

This is Mark cutting the boards to make the frame.

IMGP6721

Frame built.

IMGP6810

IMGP6826 He made interchangeable wooden planks that he sanded down for a distressed finish after painting, however, this is optional.  IMGP6793

IMGP6727

Planks before sanding.

IMGP6872

Planks after sanding.

IMGP8178

The wheels on the bottom are 4″ Carlisle casters. The only thing I would have done differently is to buy the casters with locks.

Remember when I told y’all that he’s my Sparky? Look – he really is…

IMGP6811

sparky Ha!

Here’s your list for Home Depot!

1 sheet 3/4″ plywood
4 2x4x8 framing studs
10 feet 1 inch molding
2 4x4x8 posts
1 box 1/2 in wood screws
1 box 2 1/2 in wood screws
9 1x4x8 pine boards
4  4″ casters
Paint
Stain
Sandpaper
2  3′ x 1/2″ round threaded galvanized pipes
2 1/2″ pipe flanges

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Heart Healthy Nicoise Tacos

This post is sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.

Did you know that February is National Heart Month? What better time to think about how your food
choices impact your heart health?!

Cholesterol is, of course, a key player in the heart health conversation. High cholesterol is a major risk
factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. It can be deceiving
because you can’t see or feel it like some other conditions, but it can have serious consequences.

Fortunately, it’s simple to make small changes in your diet that can support heart health. Need some
inspiration for heart-healthy meal planning? After you finish reading here, visit Take Cholesterol to
Heart to find everyday ways to manage high cholesterol, including smart substitutions for cooking.
Because cardiac disease runs in my family, I have started to pay more attention to the foods I eat and
become more intentional about making time for exercise.

My father, unfortunately, passed away due to heart complications, and since heart disease runs in our
family, it’s become even more apparent that I need to teach my two children the importance of making
heart-healthy choices. Along with regular exercise, diet is a critical part of maintaining healthy
cholesterol levels. It’s not that time consuming to grab a piece of fruit on your way out to work, or sub
broccoli for a butter and cheese-laden side dish. Instead of frying your food, experiment with boiling,
grilling, roasting, or poaching.
Continue reading

Diet considerations and lifestyle changes may help, but if you’re still not able to get your cholesterol
under control, your doctor may also prescribe a statin medication. And, if you’re currently being treated
for high cholesterol, you might want to double check with your doctor to make sure the statin you’re
taking is the one that’s most appropriate for you.

I’ve created these Nicoise Tacos to show you how easy it is to eat heart-healthy. In this recipe, I’ve used
white beans in place of the hardboiled egg typically seen in a nicoise dish. The dish also includes tuna,
a lean source of protein. The olives and olive oil in the vinaigrette are both a source of healthy fats. I typically
serve this dish with guacamole, which is another heart-healthy snack.

Here’s your video tutorial!

Here’s your taco printable ==> 

Heart Healthy Nicoise Tacos

Heart Healthy Nicoise Tacos

Ingredients

    For the Tacos
  • 4 flour tortillas, soft taco size
  • 2 cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 1 can white Northern beans (or your favorite beans)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 cup olives, chopped (I use black, but any olive will do)
  • 1 handful red leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
  • For the Dressing
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Add the dressing ingredients to a mason jar or dressing container, cover and shake.
  • Prep a grill pan with nonstick spray over medium heat.
  • Brown tortillas on each side and remove from heat.
  • Assemble tacos by adding tuna, beans, artichokes, tomato, olives and lettuce to tortillas.
  • Drizzle tacos with dressing and serve.
https://www.dixiechikcooks.com/heart-healthy-nicoise-tacos/

Find additional resources at Take Cholesterol to Heart.

This post is sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and should not be construed to constitute medical advice. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own. I am not a medical professional and am not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.

 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

You’re going to love these.
IMGP8759 Ok, so first let me tell you about my first experience eating at a food truck.

I had been craving not only fish, but fish tacos for whatever reason. So, when I found out that three of B’ham food trucks were making a stop at the hospital where I work I was so excited. The anticipation I had was probably not even on a normal level.

Finally 12:00 came and it was lunchtime – Cantina on Wheels is here!

Continue reading

I can’t wait to see the menu!

Oh, look, they have fish tacos!!

My 12 hour shift just became beautiful!

Wait, what? The fish is fried? Shit. The fish is fried. I know, I know a lot of you enjoy them. I guess I’m weird about that. Kind of like the quirky thing I have about rice being in a burrito – it makes me want to hurl. I don’t know why because I love burritos and I love many types of rice. But I can’t stand the two together. And you all know I’m not a picky eater.

To me, fried fish just doesn’t seem to go with a soft flour tortilla. That’s just my opinion, and, again, maybe it’s quirky. I want it to be nice and light, lots of pico, grilled seafood, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, maybe some slaw or lettuce. Not deep fried. Please don’t think I’m knocking this food truck – or fried food for that matter (I’ve deep fried many things). The service was fantastic, they’re just as sweet as they could be. That sounded so Southern, didn’t it? (Bless their hearts).

I ended up ordering the fish tacos with grilled chicken instead, which was topped with their cilantro slaw – off the chizain. And their Pico – so fresh.

I have since continued to crave fish tacos, so I made them myself.
IMGP8776 Because damnit, if you want something done right (or at least your way), you just have to do it yourself.

Right? Right.

This is the taco I had in mind – grilled tilapia, fresh mango salsa, guacamole, bibb lettuce, Cholula hot sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. And more Cholula.

I’m making them again (I have many different versions in mind) but this time I’m gonna top them with cilantro slaw and grilled jalapenos! I’ll probably think of more things to stuff in there by the time I make them.

Here’s your printable-

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Grilled Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Ingredients

    For the Mango Salsa and Guacamole
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced (divided)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • For the Tacos
  • 1 lb. Tilapia fillets
  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 handful Bibb lettuce, washed and chopped
  • Cholula hot sauce

Instructions

  • To make the salsa, combine mango through salt; taste and adjust seasonings if you need to; refrigerate.
  • Make guacamole by mashing avocado with 1 cup of mango salsa; refrigerate.
  • Drizzle olive oil over fish and sprinkle with Old Bay. Grill or bake until done.
  • Wrap flour tortillas in paper towels and microwave for about 20 seconds to soften.
  • Assemble tacos by adding fish, salsa, guacamole, lettuce and hot sauce.
  • Oh, and add more hot sauce 😉
https://www.dixiechikcooks.com/grilled-fish-tacos-with-mango-salsa/

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“On Toast” Party Foods Your Guests Can’t Resist

This is a collaborative post, and contains affiliate links.

Image Credit: Unsplash

The festive season may be over but that doesn’t mean that you can enjoy some great food and drinks with friends. But, while you may not fancy hosting a full dinner party, there are plenty of nibbles you can put on without too much fuss but with plenty of flavor!

Toast is the perfect little plate for all kinds of ingredients and combinations. This is just what you need at a drinks party to soak up a little bit of the alcohol and have fun. You can easily whip up most “on toast” recipes the night before but since many are just a case of assembly, they won’t take too long to put together while your guests sip their drinks.

Continue reading

Crab and Swiss Melts

With a few ingredients and a bit of imagination, you would be surprised at just what you can do with some soft shell crabs, cream cheese and a hot sauce.

This recipe is borrowed and adapted from allrecipes.

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup of cooked crab meat
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 ½ cups grated swiss cheese
Salad chilies, finely sliced
2 avocados, sliced
Salt and pepper
A french bread baton, sliced
Fresh parsley garnish

Instructions:
Whip the cream cheese in a bowl and then add in the crab, crushed garlic, chilli slices and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix gently.
Lay the avocado slices on the bread and then top with the crab mix.
Sprinkle the swiss cheese on top.
Bake for around 15 minutes at 425 fahrenheit to melt the cheese
Load your nibbles onto a tray and sprinkle over with the parsley garnish

Easy Pizza Bites

If you’re a fan of the humble grilled cheese, you will certainly love this simple, fail-safe recipe. Once you have the basic recipe down, feel free to improvise with your toppings! Cooked meats, vegetables and all kinds of different cheeses work beautifully so play around with different combinations.

This recipe is adapted from the genius cook Nigella Lawson.

Ingredients:
1 naan bread
Simple tomato pasta sauce from a jar
Mozzarella pizza cheese
A few basil leaves for garnish
Any toppings you fancy

Instructions:
Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on your naan bread, load up with your favourite toppings and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for around 5 minutes at 425 fahrenheit or until the cheese is bubbling.
Chop into slices and garnish with the basil leaves.

Blue Cheese, Pear and Walnut Crostini

Crostini is a fancy Italian kind of toast and you can add pretty much any topping you like. All you need to do is toast your bread under the grill until it is dry and golden. This combination of ingredients adds a little sweetness to your table without overdoing it.

Blue cheese and pear is a classic combination which can be greatly improved with honey glazed walnuts.

Ingredients:
Blue cheese
Pears
Honey glazed walnuts
Runny honey to drizzle over the top

Instructions:
Slice the pears thinly and arrange on top of the bread.
Crumble over the blue cheese.
Add the walnuts and drizzle over a little honey.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Part II

Just when I thought I had found them all…

Remember my first grilled cheese sandwich roundup? This is America’s very favorite sandwich, amped way up.

Sausage and Pepper Chipotle Grilled Cheese by Peas and Carrots

Apparently, the grilled cheese has a rather simple history. It originated in the 1920s, when inexpensive white bread and American cheese became readily available. It was an affordable, hearty and tasty meal. Very few people have an aversion to this classic, ooey, gooey, cheesy, kinda salty and buttery, almost perfect handheld food.

Guinness Grilled Cheese by This Is How I Cook

The first roundup was fantastic – let’s see how you like these! Go here to see the gallery.

This article was originally published on Parade Food & Drink by me.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email