March, 2021

The Best Egg Cooker

Posted on March 28, 2021

How do you say good bye to The Best Egg Cooker EVER? Death has come to my egg cooker. She lays in the trash next to an old bag of chips. So undignified for one of the best kitchen appliances ever invented.

I use Affiliate links If you buy something there is a chance I may make a little cash from the transaction

I went to make hard-boiled eggs the idea was to make a bunch and give some recipes. Now I realize I can boil water and drop the eggs in and still achieve a hard-boiled egg. But that is really not the point.

You must travel back with me to a time before the year 2000, I think. I’m a little fuzzy on time but it was back when I stilled lived in Chicago. I had a second job so I could hang out with super cool people. You know who you are!! It helped also that I got free cookware and knives and gadgets just for selling cookware.

I may never have gotten married but I did not need a stinking shower for I had Chefs Catalog to outfit my kitchen(the most important room in the home), Yes, Yes some of you will argue that the bedroom is the most important but that’s only because you lack imagination and clearly have never made love by the glow of a refrigerator light!

But back to the task at hand. Laying to rest the best egg cooker on the planet. Yes I got it for free that made it better. I think we told the makers what we thought of the thing and at the time I said it was the dumbest appliance on the planet. For Gods sake we all had a pot and some water we could boil eggs the old fashioned way!

Oh, what a fool I was. The Egg Cooker by Salton was the most glorious of kitchen tools. Oh, the things you could do. Scrambled eggs, poached eggs(the fancy kind where you cut the top off), hard-boiled eggs, coddled eggs. It did it all. Today she tried mightily to cook her last batch of eggs but to no avail the bottom blew, boiling water ran from one end of the counter to the other the best egg cooker dying, taking her last gasps as her beeper/buzzer let out one last squeak.

I have searched I can buy a used one(gross) on eBay for over 30$ with shipping, they say it maybe back on Amazon in April but the rest of the internet indicates that just is probably not the case. So I have options but none of them will be the salton.

Will I buy this one its fancy and stainless, Cusinart Is a great name and I have other products but this just seems like over kill but If you like it go-ahead and buy it!

There are some sweet retro cool looking egg cookers, and cookers of all colors and even different sizes. That egg shape seems to be popular go figure!

I have am leaning towards this one.

But I am going to take a few days to morn the best egg cooker a girl could have asked for. Let me know if you have an egg cooker and what You like about it! Im in a vulnerable spot I may just buy what you suggest! and Honestly if You do not own one of these I would suggest you get yourself one ASAP.. it may very well be the best thing you ever buy yourself.

#eggcookers #bestkitchenappliance

Amazing Blackberry Muffins: Food Insecurity Series

Posted on March 21, 2021

My neighbor made Amazing Blackberry Muffins for me yesterday. Made from blackberries I got at the Midohio Food Pantry. I am nearly two weeks into my Food Insecurity Series and it has left me with so many feelings that I am not sure a month of writing will cover all I want and need to say.

Please be aware I use affiliate links and could make some cash if you click on those links.

We don’t talk about it

The conversations that have started over the food insecurity series have been amazing. from is it right I am eating this food, to how do we help people in my community of Westerville. where on the face of it food insecurity is not a problem, but it’s not a problem not because it’s not here but because we don’t talk about it.

Why is that? Why don’t we talk about the fact that even in this community of privilege 1 in 3 kids in our schools face Food Insecurity? We are not a food desert. That means grocery stores and other places with food operate their businesses here. It is viable for them to do so.

Amazing Blackberry Muffins

This last week when I went to Mid Ohio Food Bank I was given a flat of blackberries. Along with a lot of other food. I am a one-person household so I cannot always eat all the fresh fruit and veggies I am given. I have started to share what I am doing with this series with my neighbors. My sharing includes my writing and some of the food I have received.

I did so not because I know they need food and are hungry or because I’m making a judgement. I did so because I had an abundance of something and I had no need to hoard the food.

Food no matter your socio-economic standing is a way to bridge barriers and relate to people. In giving of the food, I have started speaking with neighbors and hearing about friends and families. I have also gotten some delicious recipes. and even two Amazing Blackberry Muffins on a plate delivered to my door!

Radical Solidarity

In asking above why don’t we talk about Food Insecurity? There are so many things that lead to us being quiet. Embarrassment, not knowing how to get help, fear of judgment and so many more are natural feelings especially in the society we have lived in up until this moment.

I was at a memorial last night for the Atlanta 8 and a woman spoke and her words were powerful. They also called for us to do something out of our comfort zone. She called for us to stand in Radical Solidarity.

It meant something different last night when referring to the Asian Hate that is taking place in America right now. but I feel it can be applied to the fight to feed people.

What does Radical Solidarity mean and what does it look like in this movement to feed people? Below is what I feel it means and what you will see myself and Tripping Vittles Practicing sometimes to my own discomfort.

Radical Solidarity in Food for All

Acknowledging and talking about your own food insecurity

Speaking out against laws that make it harder to get food into the hands of those that need it

Mutual Aide: churches working with the community, cities helping citizens, social justice groups standing together, and then all of us working together.

Volunteering can look like many things. restaurants getting leftover food to human beings and not trash cans, driving boxes of food to those that can’t drive, taking food to the elderly homes that need it, writing checks. If you have more than enough money be sure to share with organizations that feed people. Cash is far more important than an old can of beans. Cash allows food pantries to buy what their shoppers want and need.

Setting up a Little Pantry in your yard or in front of your business so you can allow people to pick up food not under scrutiny, Do not tie the receiving of food to a message of faith. You can be faith-driven but to force that faith on someone just so they can eat is not the best way to share the gospel. Try just leading and those that feel the love will follow but forced faith is false phosphatizing

Keep Practicing Radical Solidarity

Push for some of the larger food pantries to make it easier and less stigmatized to get food from you. I’m looking at you WARM. If covid has done nothing else it has forced or encouraged many places to stop with so many rules about who and how you get food.

Start holding corporations accountable for the amount of food insecurity in this country. How is it that most of what I get from Mid Ohio comes from Kroger, Walmart, and Sams Club? And yet those same places do not pay their employees enough to make a living wage. They refuse to put their stores in food deserts. Yes, they help feed people through donations of food but they also contribute to people being hungry. That simply is fucked up!

Acknowledge that we as white people have for the most part (yes there are exceptions) have it easier to feed ourselves than our BIPOC counterparts. start to learn the reasons for this. Learn what a food desert is. Learn what working poor means. Make it completely natural to do your shopping at a Food Pantry as it is going to Costco. White folks, it is our responsibility to tear down some of these walls, we built the damn things and reeducate ourselves on how we have benefited from Capitalism and colonialism. we can feed our neighbors and our nation

Food is a right! No one should go hungry!

How Will You Practice Radical Solidarity

Food Insecurity a Series: Blueberry Simple Syrup and a Cocktail

Posted on March 13, 2021

... I think you all know I am trying to make a living one day at this so if you click a link on this blog there is always a chance I will make a little cash. All opinions are mine and mine alone. now that business is done on to You Can Be Food Insecure: And Enjoy A Cocktail...
Tripping Vittles

Try to think of a positive character in film or television that is not a muppet who is food insecure. From the cartoons we saw as kids — “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a burger today” — to the subtle images of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games getting a loaf of bread from Peta. Somehow at the root of food insecurity is the idea that you must be a con artist like Wimpy, or have mental illness and not care for your kids properly like Katniss’ mother. How many other images have we been bombarded with that tell us there is some defect at the heart of why someone is food insecure?

How do we see food insecurity

I am just talking entertainment images, not even taking into account what the politicians have bombarded us with about those that are hungry and need food.  For so many, they lost their job, don’t get paid enough for their work, hours have been cut.  This last year it has become glaringly obvious that we do not value the most essential workers in this society enough to pay them a living wage. 

And yet we still want to make the hungry in this country have something else wrong with them: drug addicts, prostitutes, gang members, “welfare queens” scamming the system.  We tell ourselves that food insecurity comes from a lack of financial planning, scamming the system, wasting their money on cars and phones and sneakers, so they do not have the money for food. Not ever acknowledging that you need all those things just to survive in society today. Could you do your job without a car? Phone? Shoes? If your job did not pay a living wage, what would you cut to keep your car payment or the roof over your head?  

It’s Not Us Against Them Its A We Issue

The biggest issue with what I just wrote is that I used the word “they” a lot.  Well, it’s me, it’s you, and it’s us. It’s our neighbors and our relatives. There are nearly 60 million people in this country who are food insecure. Nearly 12 million of them are kids. Almost 40% of us in this country are one paycheck away from poverty. 

We do not think people on “welfare,” “assistance,” or the government dime should have the same things we have. We limit the foods and drinks they can buy—no boozy cocktails for you. You are poor!
We have a society based on Loverboy, “Working for the Weekend,” Jimmy Buffet and Alan Jackson telling us, “It’s 5o’clock somewhere”. Advertisers tell us that after a hard day’s work, it’s “Miller Time.” 

But if you need help getting food or rent assistance, you are not supposed to use the food you get to make fancy cocktails or mixers for those cocktails. We have this idea you should toil away in your jobs and go home like you are in punishment. Or If you are not employed, you have no right to any fun like those of us that do work can have. 

Bullshit…You can be food insecure and enjoy a cocktail

Well, I say BULLSHIT to that!!  We will make cocktail mixers, and from those, we will make cocktails, and we will toast each other. 

You can be food insecure and still enjoy a fancy cocktail

Let’s start with the blueberries I got at Mid-Ohio Food Bank. They gave me a whole flat!  It was over 15 pounds of berries.  I ate them raw and prepared a few other items that you will see in recipes. In this blog post, the idea I wanted to share is that everyone deserves to “Pour a Little Cherry Wine.”  and relax as Nas sings.

Two Recipes One for the Syrup One for the Cocktail

One of my favorite things about making simple syrups is: first, it is simple! Second, it is sweet! (Yep, I like a sugary cocktail.) And third, they are versatile.  This one added to lemonade is amazing! But the following is a cocktail made entirely from ingredients that came from the food pantry.  (With the exception of the tequila: that came from George Clooney.) As I stated above you can be food insecure and still enjoy a fancy cocktail.

Rules of Engagement on Food Insecurity

Posted on March 11, 2021

I have been trying to figure out how to set rules of engagement for my series on Food Insecurity. If you have not read my blog yet, I will tell the story of food insecurity by eating almost all food pantry food for the next month.  I will live food insecure for the next month, but what does that look like?


I face some unique challenges So I am trying to set rules of engagement on the food insecurity series. One, I write a food and travel blog. I  usually take photos of food that sometimes cost as much as what a person has to spend on food for a week or month.  If I am going to do this challenge, I have to admit that part of what Tripping Vittles does is a privileged way to look at food.

 Since its inception, the concept behind the Vittles was uniting people over food. That has not changed, so I am comfortable telling this story of Food Insecurity. We need to unite and what better way to do that than over food.

 The next part is more complicated. I am not using this series to sell anything; that is not why I am doing it.  It comes about by being touched and finally finding a way I, Lauri, can make a difference globally, where 35 years in the foodservice business and what has taken place the last year.  These circumstances helped me find my passion for helping people and becoming more of a community citizen. 

Do I Change My Writing?

That said, do I change how I write? Do I remove my affiliate links? And do I not talk about Tripping Vittles products from spices to coffee? I have wrestled with this, and there are some things I have to say that will lead me to my rules of engagement for the next month. The first. It is not my place to decide how anyone food insecure or not spends their money.  I will continue adding my affiliate links where it is essential to the writing. If I cook with an air fryer, there will be a link to the blog post’s air fryer.  I am still a business, and that does not stop me from telling this story. The second all the things I have in my cupboards are fair game.  So yes, if I have a spice in my cabinet, I may use it. It may be my spice, or it may be some other brand, but my cupboards are fair game.

Rules of Engagment on Food Insecurity: The Freezer if off limits

 What is not a fair game is my freezer. What is in the freezer is mainly a quarter a cow; it is not to say someone that is not food insecure cannot have steaks or roasts; it just would not be valid if I kept going to my freezer to make a meal. The only thing that will come out of the freezer to cook is what I put in from a food pantry. 

Will I make gourmet food and other things with the food I get? Yes, Yes, I will! It is who I am. I cooked gourmet food with an iron and a tea kettle in college. Why would I stop when I have been given some wonderful and beautiful ingredients. College was 101 ways to make noodles taste different. I have many better ingredients now than back then.

Eating Out

Lastly, I am trying to put into words about going out to restaurants I will probably eat out this month, this is a quandary for me and I am not ready to talk about why. What I will say is I will as I always have, make an adjustment to my budget to afford a restaurant meal. These are choices we all make. I am sure I will discuss it in a future post. but I had to include it in my rules of engagement.

A Month-Long Series: Surviving Food Insecurity

Posted on March 7, 2021

Hello Tripping Vittles followers. This is a little something different than I have done before. This is going to be a month-long series. Surviving food insecurity or as I have come to call it “no shame in needing help”

Why This Topic Now?

I am embarking on this project that I feel is super important, but I want it to strike the right tone and give the correct information as not to offend.  I have dubbed this project “no shame in needing help.” It is a way to make people feel comfortable in asking for help feeding themselves and their families.

 A few things have happened over the last two months or so.  The first being I have found the way I want to give myself to my community and people in need.  I have learned a great deal over the last few years about food insecurity. With the pandemic,  many more people who have never worried about putting food on their tables now wonder how to feed themselves and their families.  Others are caring for more people in their homes and could use extra help to find more food and new ways to cook the food they get. 

What Am I doing?

After having some lengthy conversations with friends and people I look up to in the food donation world, I have decided to do a one-month project. I am going to use the resources around Columbus to eat for a month. I am going to show you how you can use these resources. And with what I get, I will show you some possibly new and different, and I hope tasty ways to use the food to make it feed more, stretch longer and taste delicious. 

I very much look up to The Food Soldier, and yesterday she gave me her stamp of approval not only as a great idea but also a much-needed element for food-insecure people. 

What is Food Insecurity?

At this stage, I would like to explain a little bit about food insecurity.  Someone asked me to explain what it is and who is affected.  I appreciated a person who was not themselves food insecure taking the time and care to understand. The following is how I explained it. 

The common definition is not knowing where your next meal is coming from. But it goes deeper and it looks like many things to many people.
If you have ever not had food in your possession to eat when you are hungry. Have you had to choose between feeding yourself or your kids, that is food insecurity.

 Have you had to take a pet to a shelter because you cannot afford to provide the pet and yourself food? That is food insecurity.

When the first of the month rolls around, and you choose to pay rent vs. buy groceries, that is food insecurity.

 Nearly all of us in the suburbs need a car to get to work( we can discuss the need for public transportation another time). Have you had to pick your car payment or gas over food? That is food insecurity.

When I Realized I was Food Insecure

At the first of the month, I realized I was food insecure in that time between jobs where the money is tight, and I had been working in a restaurant where I got a meal a day, five days a week.  Pay rent or go to the grocery store?  I am beyond privileged, and I could dip into a savings account and get a little money, but the realization is if I used that money to eat today, it might not be there for what it was intended later on in life.  The Thing is I am not alone; I have spent money earmarked for my later years to survive the last year.

If this is happening to me for the first time in 53 years. I imagine it must be happening to other people, and as I volunteered and heard people’s stories, it was and is. 

How the Month-Long Project Surviving Food Insecurity was Born

My story is how this project came to fruition. I needed to acknowledge it is ok to ask for help. Yes, it is super scary, but it is also super easy, and the road is paved with fantastic, kind, and generous people. 

How to Survive Food Insecurity

Tomorrow I start on this journey of Surviving Food Insecurity. Today I do a little planning. 

Lesson # 1  Finding Food. 

There are two resources I will share with you today that will help us find food to eat. The first is the aforementioned Food Soldier. Follow her on Facebook. The second is mapping out where to get food and the process. I will do this on Sundays using Freshtrak. You just put in your zip code, and a wealth of food options come up. Over the next month, I will share videos and recipes, and I will show you the food you get. And maybe most importantly, I will show you how a sense of community and caring can make it, so no one is hungry or alone in this world. There will be blog posts, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos I may even tweet some! Follow along, please, and share because we are all in this together!

My Cousin Author SJ Tilly and Mr. Sin

Posted on March 5, 2021

My cousin Author SJ Tilly (Sarah) is published and rocking the romance literary world!

oops… Gotta do business…. I think you all know I am trying to make a living one day at this so if you click a link on this blog there is always a chance I will make a little cash. All opinions are mine and mine alone

Tripping Vittles

This starts with a bit of Jealousy. My cousin Author SJ Tilly is officially a published writer. I personally have been writing a book for 10 years now… It has 5 maybe 6 chapters. I am jealous! She did it!

Have I read the book?

Nope! Full disclosure I have not read the book. But today is payday, and I am ordering it! You can too.. Book In a perfect world I would have read the book and been able to rap on about how outstanding it is. I have heard from multiple people its great and that is good enough for me.

For years I have dreamed of telling peoples stories. I fantasize of having a podcast where I sit with people and we have a fun discussion while hitting some questions that would give cause to more and more conversation. My cousin author SJ Tilly (Sarah) has agreed to be my first interview.

Its not a Podcast but it is still fun

I am no where near financially ready to set in motion a podcast. But I am dreaming about it so one day it will come. until then I have decided to tell a story through a brief interview.

The Explanation

I should disclose that I feel a bit more like an Aunt to Sarah than a cousin. Our family has a past… nothing sordid like I hope takes place in the Mr. Sin book.

My mom and her sister had their babies many years apart. My first memories of Sarahs mom Karen were this super cool chick with long flowing hair and bell bottom jeans. she was an adult by the time I was forming memories. I was going off to college when Sarah and her sister were forming memories. So we were not cousins that played in the sandbox together.

I have stood in amazement at what an amazing young woman my cousin Sarah has become and with that I present to you our interview.

The Interview

Hi, Sarah this is your cousin. I am so thrilled about your book can we talk? I want to know a little more about SJ Tilly the author and her character Mr. Sin without giving anything away.  

Thankfully she agreed to this interview or I would have just written the above for no good reason!

Question 1

How and when did you decide to write, and then how did you become published?

Maybe this will help me get past the 6th chapter in my book!

I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve always had an overactive imagination. If we want to go way back, my fourth grade teacher (shout out to Mrs. Woxland) would excuse me from English class so I could go write short stories in the library. That probably started my obsession.

Being raised in a family that loves to read also helped to stoke my creativity. Flashing forward – I’ve always been the type of person who daydreams. And over the past few years those daydreams turned into full on sagas. Every book I’ve written (currently a total of 5) all start with one scene. One moment. One interaction, confrontation, spark of passion… and from there the story builds. I wait until I have an outline done (or mostly done) before I start typing out my book. So far, each book has taken about a month and half to two months to write.

I love the insight she gives to her experience of getting published!

It’s the editing and the re-reads that kill me! So that process started almost 2 years ago. (Two years this summer since I started my first manuscript.) But then there I was, with 5 completed books and no idea what the freak to do with them. I tried going the traditional route of reaching out to literary agents. I had a few reply. A few of those that requested more of my book. And ultimately no takers.

(A side note that will become important to my story – I’m in all sorts of reader groups on Facebook. All for different authors or subsets of romance. And all full of amazingly fun people.)

Then this past Thanksgiving I was on Facebook and saw that a group of my favorite authors were putting on an auction with all proceeds going to a charity. And one of the items up for bid was a “mini-mentorship” with one of my favorite authors. Jaymin Eve

. Long story short, I stressed the F out. I drank too much wine. I did a last minute asshole bid and won the auction. #noregrets It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Jaymin is not only one of my favorite authors to read, she’s also one of the nicest people ever. (She’s also in Australia so it’s super entertaining to listen to her talk!) She helped convince me that self-publishing as an indie (independent) author is the way to go. And when I told her I had 5 books, she cheered and told me “launch them all”.

Cut to Jan, and I set the date for Mr. Sin to launch March 1st. And every day since then has been a blur. Mr. Sin is now out. By March 3rd I’d sold over 120 books. And I’m quickly counting down to my April 1st launch of Sin Too. Then May, June, July I’m launching my Sleet series. So the entire first half of 2021 I’m going to be a goddamn hot mess.

Question 2

 Does author SJ Tilly lead a different life than my cousin Sarah? Does Ms Tilly have a favorite food or cocktail? 

It is Tripping Vittles after all gotta talk food and drink!

Author S.J. Tilly gets to publicly say all the shit that Sarah can’t. S.J. is also more fun because she doesn’t have a real job. When I’m S.J. I’m all in. If I’m going to write a scene where the characters are drunk, I’m going to get a little drunk. And if I have the ability to drink what they’re drinking, I will. Margarita, wine, beer, coffee, I’ll try to match. Call it method writing. Or call it weird. But it helps. I want to feel what my characters feel. Both physically and emotionally. Books are supposed to pull you in to their world. And if I can’t make myself laugh or cry then how can I expect anyone else to.

Question 3

Does Mr. Sin cook? What is his favorite food? 

I wanted to ask about the book but I did not want anything given away

Mr. Sin knows his way around the kitchen. About halfway through the book you’ll find out why. But the man is Italian and his mama passed on her best recipes. Her lasagna is his favorite meal. And it’s not a stereotype when it’s that’s damn delicious. He’s also good at breakfast. ????

Here is the nitty Gritty of the interview. The Tripping Vittles 4 Questions. I hope to make these the corners of the interviews moving forward. They may need some fine tuning but I think you get where I am going.

The following are 4 questions I will ask all my interviews. You can answer these as Mr. Sin or as SJ Tilly or as my cousin Sarah! 

This is a work in progress send me your thoughts on questions or questions you would like to see asked.

Cousin Sarah is answering as S.J. Tilly Author

This thrills me
Nitty Gritty 1

If you could travel anywhere in the whole world where would you go? 

I day dream everyday about this question

In 2023 there is a romance conference called BABE (Books and Ballgowns Event) and it’s in Sydney, Australia. I currently have my name on a list to try to attend as an author. A lot of my favorite authors live in Australia so not only would it be amazing to be an author at a large event, it would be absolutely mind-blowing to be an author at an event beside those legends. But even if I don’t get selected as a an author, I do plan to go. I can attend as a reader and that will be nearly as awesome. Plus… Australia!

Nitty Gritty 2

If you could take a plus one and attend any event in history who would your plus one be and what event would you go?

I wish we would normalize taking people other than our husbands, wives or partners to events.

Jesus woman, you don’t ask easy questions! Ahahahah Okay – I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Egypt and the pyramids and the pharaohs and just that whole period of time. I don’t know my history well enough to name a particular moment, but I would just love to witness that opulence in person.  It was a brutal time. And awful for so many of the people. But I find it all very fascinating. And a little bit terrifying. Which is why I’d bring my husband. He’s a giant in modern times, so he’d be a monster in ancient times. He can come with as my bodyguard.

I did not know that was a hard question and then she throws the wrench and picks her husband as her plus one and yet he is a giant so it seems perfect!

I still wish we would normalize not having a plus one or that one being something other than the person you sleep with.
Nitty Gritty 3

If money were no object what would you buy yourself and why?

I think this can be a very telling question about someones heart and soul!

A house in the mountains. Like right in the middle of the mountains. With giant windows and no neighbors. I can’t think of a more wonderful place to live peacefully and to write my stories.

This is where our whole family seems to be in agreement. Mountains good! Open spaces good! places to read and write ESSENTIAL!

Its in our blood
Nitty Gritty 4

If for one night you could trade places with someone who would that someone be and would it be on a specific night? 

I did not specify Real or Fictional and I love she gave both!

Real person – Jeff Bezos. And while I’m him, I’d give away 90% of his money. He’d still be super rich, so he can’t get that mad.

Fictional person – Kit Davenport. Girl has magical powers. And a harem.

Thank You

I cannot thank Sarah/ author S.J. Tilly enough for being my first interview. She has 5 books in this series and I cannot wait to share them all with you! You can follow Author S.J Tilly on Facebook to keep up on all her amazing writing.