Posts Tagged Girls Inc.

Happy Earth Day!

First off, I want to give a shout out to my peeps, Jonathan, Heather, Darren, and Michelle. Thank you for following Heather’s Homegrown. I soooo appreciate you!!

I’m writing today to wish you a happy Earth Day. I hope everyone takes a moment to appreciate the amazing planet upon which we reside. Plant something, rescue a chameleon from your cat’s mouth, hug a tree. It certainly is a beautiful day in Birmingham, Ala., and I’m happy to say that many beneficial and positive events have transpired since my last post.

On April 14th, I spent much of the day with Jake volunteering our time at a fundraiser for Girls, Inc. in Linn Park. It was a long, productive, and rewarding day starting with the second annual Cajun Cook-Off. I’m not ashamed to say our team’s vittles, Crawfish and Shrimp Po’ Boys, practically had a cult following by the end of the day. (Not bad for 3 Yankees, a Creole, and a trooper of a woman from Georgia named Kristi.)

I’m really proud of how the team did and I am compelled to share some footage.  You need to know, I wasn’t a cook (I wasn’t even allowed to touch the food according to the cook-off rules); I was a “consultant,” historian, and the Fran Drescher-esque laugh behind the video camera. I’m hoping the team doesn’t get mad at me for posting these videos and photos. One dude, who shall remain nameless, only wanted his hands in the video, hence the faceless-neighbor-from-Home-Improvement element. If you catch him, it’s because he leaned into the camera. However, I’m not thinking this will go viral so I feel our identities are safe.  😉

This first video is the cooking team in the initial phases of prototype creation, which we did on the Thursday evening before Saturday’s cook-off. The team had a ton to accomplish in a few short hours, including attempting to assemble a fish fryer after a long day at work and the grocery store. We decided to develop two recipes and three different versions, and then settle on a prototype for Saturday.

Our entry had to be something that could be cooked and assembled outside under a tent. No advance prep allowed! It was quite a daunting task to undertake and I am extremely proud of the team, which was headed up by my friend and colleague, Marianne. By the end of the evening, I felt as if I’d been baptized with these folks. Dipped in the river. Little did we know how much the hard work would pay off, which is always rewarding in retrospect.

Anyway, in this next video, Marianne and Kristi explain the two different breading methods and recipes used.

The fish fryer was a pain to assemble and the gas grill promptly ran out of propane, so we moved the frying indoors.

Heating Up The Oil

The Hands Preparing For Frying

Assembling The Prototype

Assembling The Prototype

Long story short, we ended up falling in love with the first version we tasted, and not just because we were famished by that time of night. I cannot disclose the secret recipe, but it was a combo of ideas and techniques, which was adapted to become The MudBuggers own unique recipe. In my humble opinion, The MudBuggers Crawfish & Shrimp Po’ Boy was phenomenal.

On the day of the event, it was pretty obvious it was. We had a continuous line all day long. People even asked us where we were “located” – as if we had a restaurant! LOL

How’d we do in the cook-off?!

No less than Second Place in the Judges Choice Cajun Open category.

Here’s  a partial representation of the Oakstone Publishing MudBuggers – those who remained to attend the award ceremony. The four chefs are pictured front and center; our new, (and very cool) CEO is in the back center; and various and sundry esteemed colleagues scattered about.  🙂

cajun cook-off 2nd place judges choice with Crawfish & Shrimp Po'Boy

Oakstone Publishing MudBuggers
2nd Place, Judges Choice: Cajun Open Category
Entry - Crawfish & Shrimp Po'Boys

I had planned to continue with the rest of the day and tell you about the garden, which is the reason for this blog in the first place, but I have to run and stop the pitching process on a batch of homebrew I’m making in the here and now. My next post, entitled ‘Stake and Ale’ will be forthcoming.

Again, thank you followers and happy Earth Day!

I leave you with this:



To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

Comments (1)

Stake and Ale

So me and Jake drove home from the Girls, Inc. 2nd Annual Cajun Cook-off, weary…

cajun cook-off 2nd place judges choice with Crawfish & Shrimp Po'Boy

Oakstone Publishing MudBuggers, 2nd Place, Judges Choice – Crawfish & Shrimp Po’ Boys

..but WINNING.

It just goes to show what good, hard work, perseverance, and a positive attitude will get you. Now, it’s on to the next event. Thankfully, we can stay home for this one because we’re tired, thirsty, and in need of refreshment.

Much to my delight and wonderment, at the end of my last post, I left you with this:


Life 🙂

I had convinced myself it was dead.

So, with Gurney’s replacement (thanks again Gurney’s), I’ll now have three grapevines growing. Surely, that’ll be enough to make wine? Oh, which reminds me… I have a naysayer. Hard to believe, I know.

Of all people, Mum read my blog and chuckled incredulously at the prospect of me growing grapes in a box on my balcony.

She laughed, “Grapes take three years to get established. And even then, you have to grow them in the ground!”

She elaborated, “Don’t you remember when Martin chopped down one of the grapevines when we lived in Connecticut? And, how upset we were?!”

Seven years my senior, Martin is my brother and only sibling. I remembered.

The pitch rising in her voice, she explained, “We couldn’t figure out how he did it?! He was using the push mower for goodness sake!”

Apparently, my parents deduced that he blatantly and egregiously committed herbicide so he could get out of mowing the lawn henceforth.

Yeah. That sounds about right.

Undaunted (and a firm believer in miracles), I sensed it was time to assemble and install the EarthBox staking systems in the boxes containing the grapes. In fact, I sensed “The Stick” would be teaming with life before long and growing, growing, growing. Might as well get her started right, growing up the staking system.

But, first? Thirst.

I am thrilled to announce that I twisted the cap off my first ever batch of home-brewed beer that fine day! It took a month from start to finish, and I had been dying to see if it was carbonated, and how it tasted.

pouring beer

Pouring: West Coast Pale Ale

Nice pour. Good head. Lovin’ the bubbles.

west coast pale ale

Admiring: West Coast Pale Ale
My first bottle of homebrew ever!!

OMG, it was Heaven in a glass. And not just because I was “starving of thirst,” as my youngest, Chuck, would say. And not just because I’d made it myself, although that did give me a huge feeling of accomplishment. It really tasted great! Please leave a comment if you are interested in knowing how to do this yourself, and I’ll blog about it. After this batch, I’m going to make a batch of Bewitched Red Ale. Just so you know, one batch produces 8 – 1.5 liter bottles.

So, I sipped my beer, read the instructions, assembled away like an eager beaver, and completed the first staking system — one down, one to go. I think I may have made a mistake in the top part of the assembly, but it worked nevertheless, so I rolled with it (plus, I couldn’t get the pieces apart again — Doh!)

assembled EarthBox staking system

EarthBox Staking System Assembled
(Somewhat Properly)

Good job, Heather’s Homegrown! Grow little grapes! Grow like there’s no tomorrow! And, now it’s on to staking system number two.

But, first? I think I deserve another beer for a job well done. Maybe two…  😛

To Mother Earth,

Heather's Homegrown Signature

Comments (4)