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Losing My Balance (Trout Almondine)

When I first started [1] SGCC last September, I had so much to say. I was literally bursting with ideas of recipes I wanted to share with you, and stories I wanted to tell. I spent almost every spare moment that I wasn’t cooking, writing, rewriting and finessing my posts. In my prolific frenzy, I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. It was so liberating to be able to voice my opinions and tell my stories without anyone arguing or disagreeing with me. The Internet was like a new best friend I’d found that I wanted to tell everything to, so it would feel like it had known me forever.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as much lately? It’s true, but not because I haven’t tried. It’s not because I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen either, because I’ve actually been cooking quite a bit. I’ve just been having a really hard time motivating myself to write about it. I’ve been running with this whole blogging thing for months at full throttle and now I think I’ve hit the wall. I won’t say that I’m burned out, but maybe all of the countless hours of writing posts, reading posts and commenting on posts has begun to take its toll. As much as I love doing it, sometimes it feels a little overwhelming.

Before I started blogging, there were many different things that I enjoyed doing. I loved to read, and not just cookbooks, but books with actual plots. I played tennis three or four times a week. I wrote a lot of poetry and did a lot of composing and musical arrangments. I liked to go for bike rides and take impromptu shoe-shopping trips. I went to movies, concerts and gallery openings. I went out to lunch with my girlfriends. Hell, I even made time to clean my house once in a while too! I feel it’s safe to say that the pre-blog SGCC was a pretty well-rounded person.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t do most of those things anymore. I seem to have sacrificed a lot of my other interests, including spending quality time with family and friends, for the sake of “the blog”, as it has become known around here.

Mini SGCC: Mom, can we–
Me: Not now! I’m trying to finish this post!
Mr. SGCC: Hey, what do you think about–
Me: Later! I need to catch up on these comments! Oh, wait – someone’s tweeting me!
Mini & Mr. SGCC: We’re hungry!
Me: Move! You’re in my light! Can’t you see I’m trying to take pictures here!?!?
Do you see where I’m going with this?

The thing that finally made me sit up and take notice happened on the 4th of July. Every year on the 4th at sundown, our community sponsors a huge fireworks spectacular on the bayfront. It is always impossibly crowded, but we’ve found a special place just a few blocks from our house, with an unobstructed view, where we can watch the show. We’ve been doing this every year since Mini SGCC was a toddler. It’s tradition! This year, they went without me. They weren’t mean about it or anything. They just assumed that I was busy with “the blog”. As I was sitting at the computer catching up on some emails, they packed some lawn chairs in the car and headed out.

Me: Hey, where are you going?
Them: We’re going to watch the fireworks.
Me: But, what about me?
Them: We thought you were busy with “the blog”.
Me: I’m not THAT busy.
Them: Oh. (uncomfortable silence) Well, we don’t have much time. If you really want to come, we can put an extra chair in the car…….
Me: Never mind. You guys go and have fun. I guess I can watch it on TV.
Them: Okay. See you later.
Me: (feeling incredibly hurt) Um, bye…….


So, I guess I got a little depressed, which made me apathetic, which made me unproductive, which made me more depressed, which made me feel like sh*t. And that, dear readers, is why I haven’t been posting or commenting as much lately.

What happened? When did this little hobby of mine become an all-consuming obsession? When did I stop caring about the other things I used to like to do? When did I lose my balance?

I realized that I needed to make some changes. I am not Wonder Woman. I cannot do it all and yet, I don’t want to be a one-trick pony. So, I’ve started spending more time doing other things and a little less time glued to the computer. I’m working on that skyscraper stack of novels piled next to my bed. I’ve signed up for the ladies tennis league at my club. I’m catching up on all those DVDs I bought and never watched (with my husband and daughter). I’m planning a Girls Nite with my friends. I’m set to start a Photoshop class next month. And, I’m preparing some delicious meals for my family to enjoy with no ulterior motive. I feel better already!

Rest assured, I have no intention of abandoning SGCC. It is one of the most fulfilling, rewarding and fun things in my life. But, I am going to try to do a better job of juggling it in with the rest of my life. I’m going to try to focus on quality over quantity in my posts. I’m also going to do my best at keeping up with comments and making the rounds to all of your blogs too. With over a thousand Daring Bakers [2] and over two hundred TWDers [3], that is not going to be easy! Please know that if I haven’t visited or left a comment in a while, it is not personal. I adore seeing what you all are up to and your comments mean so much to me, but with almost 300 food blogs in my Google Reader and great new ones discovered every day, it is virtually impossible to hit them all, all the time!

So, let me propose some questions to you. How do you balance blogging (and everything associated with it) with the rest of your lives? Do you have a full-time job? Are you married with children to look after? How often do you post each week? How long does it take for you to get a post up from start to finish? How much time do you spend tweaking your blogs? On social networking? Do any of you ever feel frustrated and overwhelmed, or is it just me? How much time do you spend blog-hopping and commenting? What is your most favorite and least favorite aspect of blogging?

I am very interested in your input, not only for myself, but for others out there who might also be struggling with the same issues. Maybe by sharing our blogging trials and tribulations, we can help each other.

Now, if you’re still reading this, (and I hope you are), the least I can do is give you some food for your trouble. This is a dish I cooked up a few weeks ago when I found some incredibly fresh and gorgeous rainbow trout at the market. I’d never made rainbow trout before, but Mr. SGCC has mentioned many times that he really likes it. So, I bought some.

Rainbow trout is a mild, small white fish that reminds me of flounder, tastewise. My fishmonger said that he likes to pan fry it in bacon fat. That sounded pretty good, but I didn’t have bacon, so I decided to try a makeshift trout almondine. I call it makeshift because I didn’t follow a recipe and have no idea if what I did was actually “authentic”. I did use almonds and butter, so I’m calling it almondine. If I’m wrong, I’m sure I’ll hear about it. I prepared the trout pretty simply by dredging it in flour mixed with ground almonds, pan frying it in a little butter and finishing it off in the oven.

I thought it was a very successful dish. The fish was nice and flaky on the inside and nutty and crunchy on the outside. We all enjoyed it very much. An added bonus was that it took very little time to prepare. Because the filets were thin, they cooked up quickly. I served it with an easy, cheesy potato casserole and a salad and called it a meal.

Trout Almondine
(Printable Recipe) [4]
[5]6 rainbow trout filets
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds or almond meal
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix flour and ground almonds in a pie plate or other deep dish with sides.

Season filets with salt and pepper and dredge each in flour mixture, coating on both sides.

Melt butter in a large frying pan or skillet over medium high heat.

Pan fry fish in the skillet on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer trout to a baking sheet and sprinkle sliced almonds over each filet. Pour any remaining melted butter from the skillet over the fish.

Bake for about 7-8 minutes or until cooked through.