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If you’re not familiar with the “Musings of Bri” series, it’s just a category for the more personally-inclined blog posts I publish. In these posts I share what’s been cooking in my brain, ask for your feedback, and share pictures that may or may not have a lot to do with the subject matter of the post. Case in point, the pictures in this post are from a recent trip I took to attend a wedding in Ontario. I got to stop at Niagara Falls on the way up and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI, on the way home. The picture above was taken in the Robert Frost House at Greenfield Village, and I thought it fitting for my life in general as well as this post.
People keep asking me, “So if you write another cookbook, will it be in the same genre as your old one?” In some ways, yes, absolutely. Always budget friendly, always geared toward family, always low-glycemic. But I can tell my approach to testing recipes has changed with everything I learned in the last project. Now I think more often with allergies in mind, and I also try to keep things on the lighter side because that’s what my own body needs. I’m creating more E(nergizing) and F(uel) P(ull) recipes and not focusing on S(atisfying) so much. Most of all, I’m putting more thought into the science behind the recipes and balancing ingredients in a trickier way. Sure, I could bang out ten S ice cream recipes in a week and most of them would turn out on the first try, but these days, I’m zeroing in on things like, “How can I make a scoopable, protein-centered, low-calorie ice cream?” And I’ve tested the recipe at least six or seven times and I’m still not there. But that’s OK, because I have all the time in the world. No deadlines. It’s so much fun!
On the trip, I got to stop in and say hi to my folks at Carlisle Printing – and spend the typical hour in Leroy’s office hashing new project ideas. Love it. This place is where the cookbook magic happens; in the picture above, you can see some distinctive teal spirals if you look real close.
Hypothesizing, researching, experimenting – I never would’ve guessed that such a scientific approach could be taken in the food blogging realm. These days, instead of just creating healthy renditions of family favorites, I’m trying to go one step further and fill a niche. As I write this post and look at the last 9 recipes on the homepage of my blog, I think the following:
- “Chewy Peanut Butter Protein Bites. Lots of protein. Not much fat except for the coconut oil. Pretty clean-burning.”
- “Easy Mixed Rice & Beans. Make-ahead lunch option. Convenient. Quick and easy. E meal. No special ingredients.”
- “Dairy-Free Light Chocolate Ice Cream. Um…dairy free. Deep S. Need I say more?”
- “Strawberry Shortcake Waffle. Fuel Pull. And just happens to be the best waffle I’ve ever made.”
- “Classic Strawberry Milkshake. OK, that was a normal recipe for all the normal people out there. No funky vegetables.”
- “PB&J Protein Waffle. Boatload of protein! Fuel Pull!”
- “Strawberry Chia ‘Tapioca’. Dairy free! Light breakfast.”
- “Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. Super easy meal-in-one idea. Various fuel type options. Kid friendly.”
- “Creamy PB&J Oatmeal. Extra protein. E breakfast.”
Always filling a niche – that’s my goal. Sometimes I see deliciously Heavy S recipes “going viral” and I get jealous of their popularity, but I want to stay true to my own food philosophy. That philosophy is changing based on my own personal experience as well as input from new influences in my life. As you can read in a blog post I published a few weeks ago, I’m becoming more conscious of overdoing the calorie load because my body just can’t handle it! Maybe you can drink heavy whipping cream by the gallon and still lose weight, but I unfortunately cannot. As many of you already know, I’ve been committed to the Trim Healthy Mama healthy eating lifestyle for coming up on four years now, and Pearl and Serene have always been proponents of balance: calorie conscious, not calorie obsessed. However, in our leap from obsession, maybe we’ve overcorrected and completely forgotten that calories still exist whether we count them or not. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t count calories and I don’t plan to start. However, if I can develop recipes that hold up the lighter end of the spectrum, I will do that as a service to myself, and hopefully to you all as well.
In the Heinz house at Greenfield Village I saw all kinds of cool marketing paraphernalia, including the post card above. It reads, “Take yourself off to one corner and say to yourself straight and fair in the face, am I a salesman.” Who am I? Stay true to what you have been called to do.
All that being said, there is a place for special occasion treats, like this Special Occasion Ice Cream that calls for 2 whole cups of cream or a delectable Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. If you check out my ice cream or dessert recipe index, you’ll find plenty of indulgent treats to choose from. However, I’m trying to add some lighter fare to the ranks as well as focus more on non-dessert items. By the time the next cookbook rolls around, hopefully you’ll find a better balance in that regard. Necessary Food will always hold a very special place in my heart because it was a) my first tangible publishing project and b) a healthy remake of all our family favorites, but the next one? The next one will reveal a smarter Briana.
Above: Niagara Falls! I got to experience the Maid of the Mist. This was my first time in New York (that I remember).
Below: Roundhouse at the picturesque Greenfield Village created by Henry Ford
Speaking of projects, I recently took a road trip with a very entrepreneurial individual during which we had many lively discussions about my business and projects and how I can expand existing projects and add new ones. I came back home with sticky notes covered in scrawled ideas, and the ideas haven’t stopped percolating yet. After January when I finally got Necessary Food out the door, I was ready to take a break. My trip to South Africa for three weeks was a great reminder that business pursuits are not the end-all; relationships matter. When I got back, I enjoyed slowing down and just keeping up with blog stuff instead of having to juggle cookbook and blog…and I actually took life pretty easy on the blogging side as well. This was great because it let me get some things done, like decluttering my room and sewing some new dresses and actually reading a few chapters in a book now and then. But after this recent road trip, the ideas are spiraling again. Will I be able to find a balance between pursuing new projects and taking time for the things that matter? I hope so, because that sounds idyllic. By God’s grace, I will. If anyone has any practical ideas for balancing work and relationships, I would love to hear them in the comments down below! This is one of the biggest issues I’m currently musing on.
I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the “calorie conscious versus calorie obsessed” topic! Have you thought about this recently? Can you relate with my new direction? Got any recipe ideas for me? Talk to me in the comments below. I read every comment even if I don’t have the time to respond to all of them, and I love hearing your perspectives. Getting feedback from others is crucial.
FYI – I’m heading to Shenandoah Christian Music Camp today, so this post was prescheduled (I wrote it on Wednesday). I have other posts scheduled to go out while I’m gone as well. I will probably have some internet while at camp, but my response to comments and emails may be slow. I’ll get to them eventually, though! After a week of camp, I’ll be going on tour with Chamber Choir for an additional week (during which my internet work time will probably be very limited). In case you’re interested in coming to hear us, here’s our itinerary:
- June 13 – Center Amish Mennonite – Hutchinson, KS – 7:30 pm
- June 14 – Osceola Christian Fellowship – Itasca, TX – 7:30 pm
- June 15 – Faith Mennonite Fellowship – Crawford, MS – 7:30 pm
- June 16 – Shiloh Mennonite – Due West, SC – 7:00 pm
- June 17 – Faith Mennonite – South Boston, VA – 7:00 pm
- June 18 – Trinity Mennonite – Prospect, VA – 10:00 am
- June 18 – Park View Mennonite – Harrisonburg, VA – 7:00 pm
PS – SCMC recently uploaded quite a few videos of the 2016 closing program, and you can see those here.
Don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts!