The Country Cook: Why I Don't Have A Published Cookbook...and Cheesecake!
                                                   

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why I Don't Have A Published Cookbook...and Cheesecake!

Note: I am talking today. Talking A LOT. So in between all the talking, I thought I'd throw in some recipes to entice you to get all the way to the bottom of my incessant talking. But if you click away, come back, okay? 
People's opinions and thoughts matter. But not as much as your own. This is a mantra I have to remind myself of daily. 
I'm a people-pleaser from way back. I was the kid always striving to get my parents to shower me with praise by trying to do well in school, or joining orchestra and learning to play the violin, or getting into baseball card collecting because that was something my Dad enjoyed with my brother, or putting on some sort of show for them to entertain them or trying really hard to always keep my room clean and doing chores that I thought would be helpful. 

But what do you do when the praise is hard to come by? When you aren't the prettiest girl or the smartest girl? Well, if you're like me, you keep doing those things that I mentioned above until you eventually burn out and are completely lost and finally come to terms that it's not going to come when you want it and you can't live your life for someone else. That, no matter how hard you try to be the person everyone wants you or expects you to be, it never happens. 

Heck, I was going to college just to be the first one in our family to get a college degree and I didn't even know what I was going for or why. It's because I didn't know my own self. By the way, I totally flunked out. I sucked at college. I knew what other people wanted of me. But I didn't know ME. I spent SO much wasted time and energy trying to get praise. Stupid praise. I craved it! I think it must've been hardwired into me at birth.

I sorta wish there was Facebook back then. I see parents now (including myself) taking photos and giving so much praise for stuff that I did on the daily when I was a kid. Seriously. I was a helluva kid. So much potential! Potential that I looked back on for a long time and thought I had wasted. Because what kid does stuff like that and doesn't become something and someone, right? Look at my baby playing baseball! Look at my baby doing cheer! Look at this beautiful dress she made all by herself! Do you see how much she reads? And so advanced for her age! She's gonna do something big with her life! 
We praise absolutely every little accomplishment of our children like they are the first ones to ever do it and we, in turn, consider ourselves pretty dang amazing by raising these pretty dang amazing offspring. "Behold the awesomeness that I have created!" 

It's important, you know? It's important that every kid has their own personal cheering section in their corner. That no matter how much they flub up later on, that someone is always rooting for them. Because, they will flub up. And we won't be posting that on Facebook. It's important to praise the big things and the little things. But it's important to know that love is not conditional. That our accomplishments don't act as a badge that says "Love me! I'm a lawyer! I make lots of money and all of my kids are perfection! We all volunteer at the food pantry each weekend. Love me. Love us because of all that we are and all that we do!" 

But we all know, in the end, that's not love. Not real love anyway. That's adoration. Love is the kind of thing that sees you at your worst (and that worst may last a long time!) and is right there anyway. 

There is so much hate and judgement and criticism "out there" that we sure as heck don't need it at home too.
Life will beat us all up at some point. No one is immune. Home should be sanctuary. Where we are amazing to this other small group of people who are our tribe. Because let's be honest, most of us and our children are not going to do anything big. They are going to live their lives just like us and be completely normal and not known to a huge audience. 

So, why the deep thoughts today Brandie? Well, ya know Brandie, to answer your question, I do my best thinking in the shower. I really do. I also talk to myself. In my head, of course. Because talking out loud to myself would sound crazy, even to me. 

Recipe ideas, existential thoughts, chores that need to be done - nothing is off limits. But it's my sanctuary for a few minutes to just be and exist and no outside world intrudes. And I started thinking about what I do for a living. I get asked that question - a lot. It's what people talk about. "So, what do you do?" The sarcastic side of me wants to say "I do Brandie." That's it. I'm just me. 
And sometimes I feel like if I don't answer to their satisfaction that I will somehow be lessened in their eyes. I have fought this my whole life because I've never held an occupation, in perhaps the eyes of others, and perhaps in the eyes of my own judgement, that has ever been enough.

I'm a blogger. I'm not a published author. I am not a television personality. I am a blogger. There ya go. That's it. The follow up questions are usually: "So when are you writing a book?" "Have you been on television?" "Are you going to open up a restaurant or bakery?" "Do you do catering?" And my answers to all of those questions are "Um no." And sometimes the look of disappointment appears and sometimes they just lose interest and we move on. 

I have lots of friends in this field - thankfully! Many are becoming successful cookbook authors or successful do-it-yourself authors. They are going on television shows and in general, becoming kinda famous. And I know them! How crazy is that?! And I'm honored and thrilled and (insert amazing adjectives here) to be in their world. 
But....there's always a but, right? Not me. I don't want that for me. Some opportunities have come and gone and each time I kept finding a way to not make it happen. And then I realized something. An epiphany, if you will. 

I am bucking the system. Opportunities have come. This isn't just the talk of a raving woman (ok, slightly raving woman.) But there has been a part of me, maybe subconsciously, that is fighting back against what others are telling me I should be doing. My whole life, I've heard about what is considered "successful" and what isn't. Going to college: successful. Becoming a doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur (insert job that gives you a title and keeps you financially secure here): successful. Becoming a published author (like on paper, not on the internets): successful. Being on television so all of the world knows how amazing you are too: successful. 
Here's the thing. I have no desire for any of that. I really don't. It might not sound real, because so many people would LOVE that. But it's just not for me. I have no desire to be on television or have a cooking show. Not at all. I have no desire to spend every waking day and night trying to write a cookbook. And I really do not want to open a restaurant or do catering. Do y'all know how hard those jobs are? So much work, effort and sacrifice for not a lot of pay.  I am honestly, and truly happy just doing this right here. I don't want to psychoanalyze myself too much (because, ick, scary) but I imagine a part of me started blogging to get some of that praise that I desperately wanted for many years. At the time, I didn't know it would come with lots of insults too. Who knew people would get so upset over sweet tea? Not me. 
These are words and terms that are in our vernacular. Doctor. Lawyer. Teacher. Author. Business Owner. We know them. We love them. They are warm and fuzzy words of success to us. But blogger? Isn't that just what some kid in his parent's basement does? Even us bloggers do it. I've done it to myself for heaven's sake. It's a word that most of us have a hard time using to describe ourselves. We didn't grow up with this word. Shoot, most of us were in our twenties when we got our first computer. Back in the dark ages when Microsoft didn't even have Windows yet. 

Some of us press hard to become "authors" so we don't have to use that dirty word: blogger. Ick. Blogger. No darling, I am an author and television personality. Because author? Successful. Blogger? Not so much. We want to prove to the world and ourselves that we are more. More than what everyone thinks we are. 
It's so weird out in the world having to explain what I do. What I *love* doing. It's exhausting if I'm being honest. "What do you do?" "Well, I'm a blogger." (dramatic pause, listen for crickets) "What is that?" "How do you make money?" "So, you just work on the internet?" "Are you going to be the next Paula Deen?"

And the questions continue...and usually I am looking forward to when I can go back into the cocoon and safety of my house. Because I'm an introvert and I don't like to talk about myself. And I do my best work alone. In the darkness of my parent's basement. And I speak sarcasm as I second language.
I like people. I really do. But I feel like I've spent a lifetime defending myself. Defending why I am not doing this that or the other. Now it's answering why I haven't published a paper cookbook. Why I won't become an "Author?" (said in my best snobby, British accent.) 

Here is what my snobby, terribly rude, inner voice has said to me my entire life. She's a bit of a twit, so be warned. 

"Darling, you just aren't successful and are not bringing honor to your family unless you do these things. You have to have a title that people understand. How do I explain to everyone what you do for a living? I can't tell them you're a blogger. No one knows what that is. They'll think you live in your parent's basement. They'll think you do this as a hobby and your husband pays for everything and you just sit at home playing on the computer with your cute little hobby. Must be nice! Wish I could do that! For goodness sake, you aren't even a trained chef. You're just a cook. A college dropout. You have no experience. No proper training. You've bounced around from job to job your whole life because your husband was in the Navy and you moved all the time. Give us something we can work with? Become an author. Then I can show your book to everyone with your name on it. Then you'll have really done something with your life!"

Please note: none of these things have ever been said to me by a family member. These are the thoughts I have put on myself from years of being a people pleaser. And trying hard to earn praise that just didn't come often enough for me. 
So here it goes. My reasons include: because it's expensive, you have to go on television a lot and I'm actually okay being on television but it takes too much time away from the blog and my family. You have to travel a ton to promote it and as stated in my previous reason: I don't like being away from my family and my daily routine (because hello? I'm a hermit and an introvert) and to be honest, most authors really don't make that much money from it to justify any of my other reasons. 

Again, these are my reasons. I can't speak for anyone else at all. I would be doing this for a title: author. Nothing more. I would be doing this to make other people feel more comfortable about what I am doing with my life. I would be doing this for praise I have so longed for my whole life. I would be doing it for my own ego. 
credit: thinkpozitive.com
And no matter how much I said to myself "My readers have been really wanting me to write a cookbook and I want to give the people what they want!" I would know, deep down, in my soul, that I would be doing it, once again, to please everyone else and finally get the praise I think I deserve. And I just can't. I'm exhausted y'all. Exhausted of justifying myself to the world. To others. The need to feel like I have to show everyone my bank account to say "See? I make money! I pay for our mortgage and I pay myself so that I can retire one day and I pay the government 28% of all my earnings and they suck the life out of me in the process and I pay for our child's needs and I pay! I pay! I pay!" See world? I am successful! And I try to convince myself, once again, that I am enough. I am enough without the titles. 
And then I go back to my corner and wonder why? Why do I feel the need to answer anyone's questions about my life and what I choose to do with it? It's no one's business or concern but my own. And you know what? I am super proud of myself. I may not get the praise that I have desperately wanted my whole life from others.

But in my forty years on this earth, I am finally learning who I am. Who God created me to be. And I have to know that it is enough. To be fulfilled with this blessing He has given me. To reach so many amazing women (and there's a few guys in there too) through the internet. I mean, how crazy is that? 
I may not have a title that people are comfortable with. That sometimes I am still not comfortable with. But I know I love what I do. I love that I can finally be comfortable (most of the time) with being a complete failure in college, being a marginal employee out in the workforce and saying "I'm a blogger." 

It's not all of me. 

I'm a Momma. I'm a wife. I'm a helluva supporter for women. All women. I like sharing recipes. Simple ones that makes that gal on the other side of a computer screen (who is busy living her life and following her dreams) feel like a rock star. Even if just for a moment. That is our connection to each other. And maybe. Just maybe. She'll come back and give me that little bit of praise that I crave (that I hate to admit that I crave) and she'll keep me going another day. And hopefully I'll keep her going too. 
And ya know, I'll make some money from "just being a blogger."  Because a few folks out there in the world came to my blog. Just a blog. Not a cookbook. Not a television show. And they supported this other woman out there just trying to live a life that makes her happy. 

Advertisements will pop up on their screen when they come to this "just a blog" and maybe they'll click on it and maybe they won't. And I make a few cents off each of those advertisements. And companies will sometimes come and ask me to try their products and either I'll love it or hate it and maybe they'll pay me to create a recipe if I love it.

And each day I will pinch myself that God brought me here. I failed at so many other things in my life. I tried so hard to impress others and I failed time and time again. And yet, He brought me here. To live a life that is me. Not the me that is the little girl trying to impress my parents or my husband. Not the me that is always looking for the nod of approval from others. 
And I don't go to church. And I want to go to church because I want people to approve of me for being a good, church going girl. But I don't. And I don't know why I don't. Wait, yes. I sort of do. Because I have a hard time being around large groups of people (again: introvert) who may or may not want me to cook because they heard I have a cooking blog. And that's a lot of pressure, ya know? Because church ladies can cook

But I love God. Man, do I love God. I'm a HUGE supporter of God. 
But I fear people will look at me as "the one that cooks" and maybe they'll expect me to be much better than I really am and honestly, I can't take the pressure. I just want to be me. Brandie. And I want other people to see that is enough. To not expect me to be anything more. To not want me to bake a cake or bring food. Because that is the first question that almost always comes up and why I hesitate to tell people what I do. "Do you cater?" "Can you make food for all of our bake sales?" "Can you bake a cake for my daughter's birthday." And then I'll have to disappoint them, and as I've already discussed in previous paragraphs, I will have to disappoint them many times and I really hate disappointing people. 

I just want everyone to accept me as me, and that has been hard to come by, if I'm being honest. Because it's not how the world works. 

Isn't that what everyone wants? To just be accepted for the imperfect, hot messes that we almost always are?
Because I'm an over-thinker. And over-analyzer. I mean, hello? This post says anal retentive, right? I'm a people pleaser from way back. I don't want to disappoint. And I'm learning that folks, out there, in my real world, on this side of the computer, are just gonna have to be disappointed in me. There I said it. And I need to be okay with that. 

I can't bake for every single bake sale. I don't have the time or the energy frankly. I'm over here doing my calling. And just because I'm at home doesn't mean I am not working. And to be brutally honest, chances are, I will be using a boxed brownie mix when I do volunteer to bake brownies for the bake sale. 
And you know what else? I make food sometimes that totally sucks and my family tells me so. Did I mention I am not a chef? I am hardest on myself. I overseason chicken. A LOT. And in the back of my mind I know people are expecting better. They are expecting more. Because hello? I am a food blogger. That is what I do, right?

But I am more than that. I am an imperfect hot mess and I hope that's why folks keep coming back to my blog. They will know that I went through a recipe 5 times before sharing it because it sucked the first 4. Or maybe I'll get super lucky and get it right the first time and we can all high-five each other. And they will know I work so hard to get pictures of everything I did to make the recipe so that they can rock it in the kitchen and not have to go it alone. 
I'll be there. Walking them through. Strangers...yet not. Helping them not make mistakes like I did the first four times I made it. And I will remind them to GRAB A POTHOLDER because that pan is HOT and don't burn your thumbs like I did. 

And I hope I will never make them feel "less than" because they really wanted to make something yummy for their new boyfriend but they can barely make ramen noodle soup. And they will know, out there in the world, that there is another hot mess, just like them, trying to get through a day in this life with a little bit of happiness and joy in whatever way we can find it.
I get hit hard by comments sometimes. People can be cruel, right? But other times I am lifted up by this little connection I have with other people. 

Maybe someone made a recipe I shared and they enjoyed the simple process of making the food and eating it and enjoying it and it brought a little, small, teeny tiny bit of sunshine that they needed. And they don't mind that I start my sentences with "And". And they don't mind that I use run-on sentences. 
I know that behind every comment there are maybe a hundred more from folks that just didn't have the time or want to say anything but I know they are there. Because they come back.

They come back.

And I come back.

And that is enough.

I am enough. Just me. Just Brandie. Just this blogger that makes food. Nobody special except in the eyes of God. 
There are many things I am not: I am not a chef, I am not a professional writer, I am not a college graduate, I am not that great at parenting (or at wife-ing), I am not good at dieting, I am not a runner, I am not great at eating healthy and I'm not above using swear words when the need arises.
But I am enough. The world is great at telling us what we are not. It's up to us to tell ourselves what we are. I am a loving Momma. I am a supportive wife. I am really good in an emergency. I will always be there for the people that need me. I am good at creating recipes. I am fulfilled in blogging. And that is enough.

You are enough. Just you. Not you with a fancy title. Just you being you. Who you were created to be. It's odd that we have to "fight" to be us. But that is the truth of it. 

Thank you for being you.  

Thank you for coming here. Helping me to be me and do what I love. For letting me be enough with these humble little recipes. 

And that's why I don't have a published cookbook. Because this blog is enough. You, being here, grabbing recipes - it's enough.
I also don't know what the future holds. I do know that I am planning on writing an e-book. I know everyone is waiting on the edge of their seats for that (sarcasm, it just won't quit.) 

And yes, it will be something published on the internet, not an actual book. Because that is something I can afford to do and will have time to do and want to do. And it won't bring me fame or fortune or be on a best-sellers list. I won't have anything to pull out at parties and show everyone. Besides, I don't host parties anyways. But it will be totally me. No editors. No filtering. Just me. And that will be enough. 
And by the way: blogging is totally cool to teenagers and twenty-somethings. They grew up with the word. So I'm thinking by the time I am a Grandma, I will be like the coolest Grandma ever to my grandkids. So, there's always that to look forward to. 





84 comments :

  1. I just have to say, I love that you're focused on what will make you happy. I've made similar choices in my life because at the end of the day if I'm happy with me and my family is doing good then all is right with the world.

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    1. Mary Beth, you honor me with your comment. THANK YOU!! ((Hugs))

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  2. Amen! That is the best thing I've read in a very long time! Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I've enjoyed many of the recipes you've shared here, but this is my very favorite post! You pretty much hit the nail on the head and I think it's high time we a started celebrating who we are instead of who the world thinks we ought to be.

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    1. Yes! AMEN!! It is high time! Thank you for such a supportive comment!

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  3. I don't even know how to thank you for writing this. It hit home, made the bell go ding, punched all the buttons, and I found myself kicking my shoes off, crossing my legs to get comfy, and yelling at the screen like I see men do when sports are on.
    Thank you so much for every single word, comma, and meme. Thank you for sharing your heart, because it touched mine in a way that nothing else I've read ever has.
    I always felt like I was the last puppy in the box, the one no one chose. But God has shown me how valuable I am these past years, to Him, to my family, to those that are most important to me. I kinda feel like you may have been that last puppy at one time, too, and just wanted to tell you that I'd pick you first any day.
    Gratefully,
    C J

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    1. Christy, you have always had a way with words. You summarized my heart in only the way you could. Love you for saying that - thank you!

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  4. Bran- I LOVED this post. I'm so happy you wrote it. I can relate to it in a million ways. You are amazing and I am so proud and honored to have met you through our blogging journeys. Love ya ❤️

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    1. Love you too Holly! It means so much that you read this and it meant something to you. Thank you!!

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  5. Brandie, you are fearless for writing this. I know, you may not feel fearless but, you are one incredible woman and one I am delighted to call you my friend. If it wasn't for blogging we likely would have never met and I say, stay true to what makes you happy. Writing my first cookbook was a personal goal for me and one I'm happy that I made however, it's not for everyone and that's OK. Blogging and sharing is what we do every single day and you do it well. Hugs and kisses I like you just the way you are...don't ever change.

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    1. Melissa, you know I admire you SO much for accomplishing all that you have. It is in no way at dig at my most AMAZING friends who have created amazing works! I am so proud of you and I have to pinch myself that we are friends. And for that, I am so very grateful. And I am ALWAYS cheering you on!

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  6. Girl- You know I'm with you on this post and the book thing 100 percent. And, you girlfriend have always been enough. Thank you for such a brave and honest post.

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    1. You've always been the best cheerleader and I am beyond thankful to know you!

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  7. You are perfect! Thank you so much for writing this. I am bad with words and this expresses exactly what I have been trying to tell someone near and dear to me. Gotta go- need a tissue

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    1. Don't get me started crying again! ;) It means SO much that you took the time to leave a comment to let me know you were moved by this blog post. And I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in these thoughts.

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  8. Tell that inner Brandie to stick a sock in it! Because you are amazing at so many things (meme-sharing not being the least of those things) and you don't need to do anything else to prove yourself. I totally get it, though. My inner voice is a twit too. I work full-time outside my house at a job I worked really hard to get then come home and work really hard on my blog till I go to bed and my inner twit totally tears me down all the time. I'm thinking she might need to end up at the bottom of the Tennessee River wearing cement shoes.

    You rock, Brandie! Thanks for a dose of inspiration!

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    1. YES! Those stupid twits are the worst! It sounds like a band name "The Twits" They need to go on tour and leave us alone. No one tears us down like ourselves. I try to remember that nothing worth having comes easy. Let's not be so hard on ourselves ;)

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  9. PREACH! It is so much easier to do what you love and not worry about others!

    I'm happy being just a blogger too. I LOVE the look of disappointment when I tell people what I do. Person - "What do you do?" Me - "I'm a food & travel blogger." Person "Oh........"

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    1. Hahaa! Steph, you know I can totally visualize that! LOL! Thank you friend!

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  10. I love your website! One of my favourite recipes is your homemade ranch dressing...yum! Keep it up😄

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  11. Hello,
    Very well said. If you don't love what you do in this life, it is not living. Keep being Brandi.
    From, "just another blogger" in Washington state.

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    1. Exactly! We just need to consistently remind ourselves of that. We get bogged down with such tedious worries. We got this!

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  12. Thank you for publishing this. I know I will come back to this. A lot. I needed to hear this. And I will need to hear it again. At the end of the day, we need to do things that make us happy.

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    1. There was this part of me that needed to get it out for just that reason. So I can go back when I need reminding. I am so grateful that you found something in this that resonated with you too. Thank you for saying that!

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  13. Well said girl, I am sure that there are many of us out here that feel we do not live up to what the world expects of us. Maybe we are just assuming the world expects these things because when you don't fit the general criteria of social existence you feel like everyone is just shaking their heads. The problem is accepting yourself for you without wondering if you should be different. Your blog is wonderful so keep on rocking. My blog is just me being me and as I don't really know what I am doing I don't get many readers except family. This is okay even though sometimes it would be nice to have some people not close to me see who I am even though I understand about the cruelty of internet comments. The weird thing about blogging is the knowledge that it is out there and you never know who might stumble upon it and wonder about you. Keep on blogging and doing you.

    Blessings from Jackie

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    1. Awww Jackie - your comment means the world to me! Many of us go years with hardly any readers. I get that! I think my Mom was my only reader for the first couple of years. Ha! And we don't have a network of people around us who understand and get it. We don't have traditional co-workers to lean on. But we do have each other even if it's across the internet. Thank you for such a sweet comment!!

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  14. Thank you! I subscribe and unsubscribe to many blogs that I come across through Pinterest. Your is one of my keepers! You publish recipes that I love and, although I love cookbooks, I hate having to dig through them to find something I like! I can go to your site and find just about anything I want. I went to college and got the degree - had 2 small children to support after a divorce. "The job" and working are not everything they are hyped to be! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are my hero. Women have it harder than most of us will admit. And then we go and beat our own selves up on top of all that. Ain't nobody got time for that! Thank you for your comment - I can't tell you how it warms my heart to know you are out there and reading and we are connected through this little blog.

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  15. Geesh- I just love you to pieces! You took so many things right out of my head, from what I tell people I do, to being an introvert, to turning down opportunities because of all these reasons I have created to make a comfort zone. Oh how we could be fast friends- it's nice to be around or know others that share these feelings & understand it all. I am actually self-publishing some cookbooks- but mainly to broaden the income stream. After seeing what others have been through with publishers & their unrealistic demands- I'm 99.9% sure that's not my gig. What we do is quite unconventional- even with as dependent people are on the internet. It's like they search for things- like a recipe, land on a page & never stop to think that there is someone on the other side of that screen creating that for them. I'm not sure how they think it gets there. But the idea of people making recipes, learning how to rock their camera to make it look as amazing as it tastes & sharing it all online still is so foreign to the majority of people.

    You keep doing what you are doing! It's working for you because it's what you LOVE- that's all that matters. We will all be here supporting you every step of the way.

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    1. Gina - we are a sisterhood for sure! I felt compelled like a mad woman to get this out of me. I think we all needed to hear it and remind ourselves of it. We're all fighting our own battles. It's too bad we don't have cubicles right next to each other - ha! You're the sweetest Gina and thank you so much for the love!

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  16. What Great reading this fine morning and I applaud you for standing up and saying what you believe in and what makes You happy and doing what you so enjoy; being a mother, a family person and a great blogger.
    Keep on doing what you do best and what you, yourself enjoy doing.
    I enjoy coming here as well as the great recipes that you so freely share with us all.
    With that, I say Thank You and keep up what you do best.
    Enjoy your day and have a wonderful and fruitful week.

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    1. Colleen - thank you for that! Thank you for taking the time to lift me up and making me feel so special. It means more than you know!

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  17. Whew, I am so glad I made it to the end of your post. I couldn't stop reading really. We should all listen to our inner self like that. So many of us would be so much happier all day long. Haha, box brownies! I am sure you would at least add pecans. Thanks for sharing your heart with the world. You fill my Pinterest cooking boards, so who needs a cookbook anyway! My family thinks I am a genius baker every time I make your Praline Pecan Cake with that BUTTER sauce.

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    1. That cake is hands-down my most favorite cake!! So glad you love it!! Thank you for the comment - I'm giggling about the brownie comment!! I would totally add sprinkles. LOL

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  18. Lori from PittsburghApril 27, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    BRANDIE YOU ARE ENOUGH! :)

    What is it with us women?? I have never ever met one man who is successful, that feels as though hes STILL not enough! Like you Brandie, I am a wife, mother and help run a successful business and I DAILY feel as though I should be doing M O R E. WHYYYYY????

    I loved everything you wrote. In fact, you could probably just put "insert name here" and most of us could probably just substitute our own names for yours. Thanks for putting into words what most of us are feeling.

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    1. I know, right? No one is harder on us than ourselves. That is the cold, hard truth! Thank you for dropping a comment here and making me feel sane and not alone! Women need to high-five each other more often! :)

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  19. Never thought about you writing a cookbook, I just enjoy looking at the recipes you post. Often wonder how you find or create all of these. I have tried some and most I have enjoyed. I think "Brandie" is written on many of the pages in my own cookbook. If I ever asked a questions about being a blogger, it's because I would want to know how it works, what your world is like. Also, please go to church for God and not for anyone else. I couldn't wait to get there last Sunday because I wanted to feel His presence and hear good words of faith. And, I needed to see my friends in the faith. Not being judgmental, just encouraging you that church is more about the types of people that are there. It's more than just a crowd. Enjoy about what you do...it's the best thing you can do!!

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    1. You have such a sweet heart! Thank you for thinking of me and for the encouragement. I can't even begin to describe how much these comments have lifted me up! So appreciated and not taken for granted!

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  20. Boy, we have a lot in common, and by we, I mean you, me and I'm sure a million other people. We always try to please and think what we do isn't good enough. I also have a wonderful and supportive family that appreciates all I do, the good , the bad and the ugly. I am 54 and am finally learning to get over it. I used to be devastated if something didn't turn out perfect. Thank you for all you do. You work hard at all this and we all truly appreciate it :) We like you for who you are.

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    1. Why do we do this to ourselves?? I am with you! It's not easy to set all the baggage aside and give ourselves a break but I say we owe it to us, right? Thank you for your sweet comment and for cheering me on. I am so, so grateful!

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  21. I am so happy that you shared your thoughts with us. I enjoy your blog and recipes and look forward to getting my e-mail from you. I totally understand that this is who and what you are and I congratulate you for voicing your opinion. I do not think we need to justify being happy with who we are. I sometimes think those that criticize are actually jealous!!
    I am the same way. I would actually love to start a blog, but do not feel confident enough with my computer skills to start. Maybe someday I will find a way. My husband says you can do this, but I need to know that I can before I start.
    I love your short cut recipes for the home cook. I use cake mixes too and doctor them so that they are not so "cake mixie". I have been doing that forever. Be yourself Brandie, you are worth it!

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    1. I knew my people were out there! I refuse to feel guilty about short cuts. When we make food for people we love - *that* is what matters above all else! Thank you SO much for leaving a comment and for sharing your heart and spreading some love!

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  22. Thank you so much for this post Brandie. I have always enjoyed your blog and I can't even count the number of your recipes I have made for my family. And they were all so good! I think most of us feel the same as you no matter what we do - after all, I'm "just a secretary"...but I've had the same job for 34 years and helped build this company. I'm fine with that. This was my calling. However I can't tell you how many people say "I can't believe you didn't go to law school and just become a lawyer and get "the big bucks"." No thanks! Happy with who and what I am. I'm glad you are too.

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    1. Yes Donna! Why can't folks just look at us and see we are happy right where we are. That you can be a nurse without wanting to be a doctor. Just trust that people know their own hearts and be accepting of that. Thank you so much for such a supportive comment. It really means the world!

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  23. This was a wonderful post and I will be re=reading it again. The Words of Wisdom are priceless.
    Thanks for the recipes and good thoughts you share with all of us.

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    1. You lift me up with your comment! I am even more grateful that this post spoke to you. Thank you!

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  24. Brandie - I love what you wrote!! You are a jewel who makes my day everyday when I read your blog & check out what recipes you're sharing with us today! Your blog found me as I was looking for a specific recipe for green beans & new potatoes & I've been reading you ever since google found you for me! I'm glad you found something that makes you happy when you do it. Many people never find that Brandie so you're way ahead of them! I remember I wrote a comment to you after I fixed the green beans & new potatoe recipe to let you know how it turned out & you answered me which I thought was cool. Keep doing what you're doing girlfriend you're doing it all right:)

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    1. Oh Jill - thank you SO very much for that! I'm just sitting here going through these comments and I'm in tears! To see women coming here and leaving such supportive and loving comments. Thank you for being here and supporting me and I hope I can bring lots of recipes to share for a long time to come!

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  25. I have to say Brandie that you have just described me completely. I love your recipes and your little things you write. I would love to be a "blogger" also, but alas I have no idea how to do that. Hang in there and just keep being who you are, one awesome lady with lots of love and caring for what is important to her..
    Hugs to you and thank you for your wonderful blog today.
    Joan Abbott

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    1. Joan, I still feel like I don't know how to do it! I am just waiting for the world to figure out that I actually have no idea what I'm doing. Ha! Thank you so, so very much for leaving a comment. I will come back to this post often when I am being hard on myself again and remember there are these amazing and supportive women out there rooting me on! :)

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  26. Thank you for talking so much. You made me feel like I am not a total loser for being me. I just love your recipes. They are wonderful and something that I can actual do.

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    1. Never, ever a loser Toni - not ever!! We're in this life together. This is how it should be. Women showing each other love and support and lifting each other up. We're not alone (hugs)

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  27. Brandie...You.Are.Awesome.
    That's why we come back.

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    1. You are awesome for saying so! Thank you SO much for the love & support!!

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  28. Brandie, thank you for sharing a real life, honest post. Life is too much about non reality (la la land) as I like to call it these days. Please keep being Brandie and I will keep being Lori Ann and hopefully lots of other wonderful bloggers will continue finding their "true happy place" as well

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    1. Lori Ann - you are just so incredibly sweet!

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  29. Sweet Brandie, you are a rock star. I admire your success and your you-ness. (Is that a word?) Blogging is so your thing. Anyone who spends 5 minutes with you knows that. And you do it with wonderful and welcome honesty and integrity. You just keep doing your thing.

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    1. Thanks so much Jen! That means so much coming from you - my hero!

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  30. I love all your recipes and after reading this blog I love you also! I am an introvert that always wants to be an extrovert until i try it and then i am like nope I am an introvert! Keep posting! You are awesome!

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    1. Emmylou - you get me totally then! Ha! I am with you sister!

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  31. And now you can add ESP to your accomplishments, I was just thinking about this the other day and now you have answered my question, I was gonna search and see it you had a cookbook. Thank YOU for clearing that up. Just so you know, YOU are obviously doing something right because we keep coming back, maybe not as often as we(I) should BUT we do. I wish I had the courage or knowledge to do something like this. Keep up the GREAT work and THANKS!!

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    1. Angela - I never know what the future holds. It may happen when all the planets align and they offer me a million dollars (NOT!) But I never rule anything out. Thank you so very much for the love and support. I just can't tell you how much that means!

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  32. Thank you!! You said things that resonated SO much with me! I feel like I've found a friend who "gets" me...and I want to be just like her.
    And you make yummy recipes, too!

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    1. Thank you for commenting Judy. It feels so good not to be alone with my thoughts!!

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  33. I remember a teacher asking my 5 yr old what mommy does. Dead silence. I thought I made a better impression than that. Guess not. I laugh about it now though. Enjoyed your blog today. We do get smarter as we age.

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    1. Yes! My son said once "She makes a lot of food." That is what my whole life was reduced to. LOL! God love 'em! Thank the good Lord that we do get smarter. Or hopefully smarter...and wiser!

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  34. Hi, just a note to let you know that you owe nothing to anyone and you, only you, know what is best for you. That being said, a big thank you for sharing your recipes and thoughts on your site. Love to visit and try out recipes that are not "froo froo" 'cause I'm just "folks" too - nothing more, nothing less and it's *all* good!

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    1. Thank you for your comment - I can feel the love over here!

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  35. I too am of a generation of women that has allowed society to rule far too many of my thoughts and decisions. I'm too am familiar with the awkward conversations of "What do you DO?" followed by "Oh..." and then we move on.
    I recently decided to rebel against society bombarding me with how I must look. I'm growing out my gray hair. And I am at a young enough age that society is definitely not going to approve! Yet somehow I doubt the world will end.
    Oh, and I loved your comment about people being so mean over sweet tea. I've seen the meanness over such trivia. It's very bizarre isn't it? :) Whatever happened to "each to her own opinion"?
    I personally prefer several recipe options for the same thing. I do trial and error and pull the best from each. Lastly - let's all ditch societal pressures :)

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    1. Dee - exactly! I hope the next generation of women won't have that weight on their shoulders like so many of us grew up with. We spent so much time pleasing the whole world but ourselves. I absolutely loved reading your comment - especially the rebel part - heck yes! ;) Thank you SO much for the love and support!

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  36. Brandie, I am one of those people who comes back over and over, but I haven't written a comment before. This post demanded that I write and tell you how much it meant to me. I knew there were more things I liked about your blog than just the recipes. I identify with you and your desire for praise and fear of disappointing people. I hope I can remember your wise words and use them to bolster my self-confidence and keep me thinking more positively about my own life. Thank you!

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    1. Even if you never write another comment again - this is enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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  37. I am so pleased I took the time to read this entire article which was so thought provoking. Keep up doing what you love and we all love your wonderful recipes.

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    1. It's like a book, huh? Ha! Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment. I *so* appreciate you being here!

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  38. THANK YOU for sharing your heart. I sat here reading every word, relating to each one, and holding my breath because I was afraid you were saying Good-Bye! Your blog takes me to my happy place - food, photos and recipes! Simple, honest yum-a-liciousness...my kind of cooking.

    So...have you ever though about becoming a motivational speaker???



    Linda in PA

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  39. Such a thoughtful, heartfelt blog. I think it is great that you are staying true to yourself. Thank you for sharing your life and recipes with us. Blogger = Happiness to Others!

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  40. This is one of the most heartfelt posts I have ever read! I love your recipes, and also love that you are true to yourself!

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  41. I commend you for being true to yourself. As Dr. Seuss once wrote "Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who matter don't care and those who care don't matter". You are the one that matters. Do what makes YOU happy. Keep posting your great recipes.

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  42. From one people pleaser to another.....you are enough!!! Thank you for sharing w/ all of us and keep rocking YOU!!! Robin

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  43. Brandie, you strike a chord in every single person who reads your amazing story written from your heart. What a ministry God has blessed you with. I felt as though I was getting to know a new friend and was inspired, encouraged and reminded that we need to let God Who created and designed us to define us and not our perception of expectations from other fallible humans. You are being used by God in a wonderful and personal way. Shine on Brandie!

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  44. I've never actually left a comment on a blog, but I felt motivated to do so this time. Thank you for this post. I felt like I was reading about myself! It's a wonderful reminder that we ARE enough. I will bookmark this page and read it again when I'm feeling overwhelmed or have the "need to please!" Thank you!

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  45. I am so happy to have found your blog! I have made so many of your recipes and every single one of them has been a huge hit!! My favorite is still the Carnitas recipe. I get rave reviews every time I make it. I share your recipes all the time and I tell my friends to check out your blog for awesome recipes that are easy to make, taste amazing, and will become family favorites.
    Thank you for being you! I honor you and your talent!!!

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  46. Thank you for sharing your heart. <3

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