Brenda Sickles from Become Betty (Transcript)

Season One - Episode 4

September 26, 2018

Transcript - Brenda Sickles from Become Betty

Nicole:                                       00:00                     Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman. Aloha friends and fellow foodies, and welcome back. Today I'm getting the chance to interview Brenda Sickles, a full time teacher and the woman behind the blog Become Betty. Brenda's blog is dedicated to providing high quality consumer information about all things Trader Joe's and Stew Leonard's. Become Betty was inspired by several famous Bettys, and was created to give a more personalized response to the consumer product questions. The blog shares easy recipes and drink ideas, and gives Brenda's take on the many products that she samples on behalf of her readers. Hi Brenda, welcome to the show.

Brenda:                                     00:49                      Hi, thank you so much for having me.

Nicole:                                       00:51                       Oh, well thank you so much for coming on. So, by now folks usually anticipate there's three questions I like to ask at the beginning of every interview that I get to do. So, you ready?

Brenda:                                     01:05                       I'm ready.

Nicole:                                       01:06                       All right, so what's the last meal you've cooked for yourself?

Brenda:                                     01:10                        All right, the last thing I cooked for myself is salmon. I'm in New York, it is hot as anything, so when in doubt, sea food is my go to meal.

Nicole:                                       01:18                        Salmon, so more specific. Did you grill it? Did you fry it? What'd you do?

Brenda:                                     01:22                       Oh, basically I have a really good non-stick pan, and basically just high heat and a little bit of salt and pepper and just enjoyed.

Nicole:                                       01:32                       Wow. Did you eat anything with that?

Brenda:                                     01:34                       I'm trying to think. I think I made a pilaf with it, so just simple dinner, just way too hot to be cooking at this point outside. The humidity is near 100%. It's tough.

Nicole:                                       01:45                       Oh my goodness.

Brenda:                                     01:47                        So just typical New York summers.

Nicole:                                       01:53                       Okay, and so I have to ask. Did you get that from Trader Joe's?

Brenda:                                     01:56                       Of course I did.

Nicole:                                       02:00                     Do they sell, is it just one type of salmon? Or, forgive me, I'm in Hawaii, we don't have Trader Joe's here.

Brenda:                                     02:06                      Oh, I'm so sorry.

Nicole:                                       02:07                      It is a travesty. Shout out to all the Hawaiians that want Trader Joe's to come to the island. We're still, maybe someday although they've said that-

Brenda:                                     02:16                       One day.

Nicole:                                       02:18                       Yeah, they said they're not, but that's okay, we still love them. And so there is a specific type of salmon or they just have [inaudible 00:02:28] just salmon.

Brenda:                                     02:28                      Nope, they have farm raised and wild.

Nicole:                                       02:32                      Oh my gosh, that's pretty impressive.

Brenda:                                     02:34                      And to be honest, there's a difference, all right? So when people tell you that there's a difference between the two, they are not anything alike at all. Try the wild one at least once in your life.

Nicole:                                       02:45                      Okay, I'm gonna absolutely do that. Probably not from Trader Joe's, because it's not here in Hawaii, but I'm not bitter about that. Okay, so tell me about a meal that brings you back to your childhood.

Brenda:                                     02:58                      Okay, so childhood, I'm gonna rewind to a certain time of year, it would be Christmas. And every year my mom would sit down and she would commit to the task of making homemade, from scratch, double risen cinnamon rolls. That was our always Christmas morning, that was always our break between opening presents. It was like, all right open a couple presents, open your stocking, all right let's break for breakfast, and let's continue and eventually we'll get to dinner. Just the smell of cinnamon of warming the house is one of the best smells in my mind.

Nicole:                                       03:33                      Okay, so she made those the night before, or?

Brenda:                                     03:36                      I think she started them a day or two in advance just to have them ready for Christmas morning. She would bake them and then warm them back up that Christmas morning.

Nicole:                                       03:46                      Oh, so she'd bake them ahead of time?

Brenda:                                     03:47                       Oh yeah.

Nicole:                                       03:48                      Is it because they would take too long, you think?

Brenda:                                     03:50                      Yeah, it takes a little bit of time. So some mornings, they're already risen, and some Christmases they would be warmed up. So it just depends.

Nicole:                                       04:01                       Oh wow, I didn't know you could ... This sounds terrible, but I didn't know you could rewarm a cinnamon roll.

Brenda:                                     04:07                      You wanna get it just warm enough. That way that center is oozy and all cinammony and the sugar just starts to melt again.

Nicole:                                       04:17                        That sounds good.

Brenda:                                     04:19                       It was good.

Nicole:                                       04:20                      Now I want a cinnamon roll. All right, and third question is, what's an ingredient you can't live without?

Brenda:                                     04:27                       The ingredient I can't live without is salt. I'm Irish American, and my parents were always on these low sodium diets, so they never, ever really cooked with salt to be honest. So when I started taking some cooking classes at Sur la Table, they salted everything and it was like an enlightenment. It was like, wow, I get the whole steak thing, like why people enjoy steak so much. So that was my one ingredient, I cannot live without my salt.

Nicole:                                       04:57                       I can't believe that. You mean your whole childhood you went without having your food salted?

Brenda:                                     05:04                      So we joke around about this. My parents always had the salt and paper shakers on the table, and I am kidding you not, they just sat there. They literally just sat there.

Nicole:                                       05:20                      Just never, for window dressing?

Brenda:                                     05:22                      They always came out around the holidays, nobody ever used them. I even call them intergenerational salt, where literally I think my grandparents might've had that salt. It had been sitting there that long.

Nicole:                                       05:34                      Oh my goodness, I think everybody in their family has something like that. For me, it's my mom ... This is completely rando, but we weren't allowed to sit on her couches in our living room. They were there for show.

Brenda:                                     05:56                      Oh no, did you have the plastic slipcovers?

Nicole:                                       05:58                      Oh, my grandma.

Brenda:                                     06:00                     No.

Nicole:                                       06:02                      And then my grandma was like, "Forget this, we're sitting on the couch." But my mom, she didn't have the plastic, but we might as well have, because we couldn't sit on those couches. I don't know, my family's from New York. Is it just a New York thing that you don't sit on ... It's for show. I don't if the Queen of England herself would've been allowed to sit on those couches.

Brenda:                                     06:25                      I think my aunt was the same way, where I think my father had to yell at her and say, "Can we take the plastic slipcovers off?" And she said, "Well, we're saving them for a special occasion," and he looked at her and said, "Well your daughter's getting married, don't you think that's special enough?"

Nicole:                                       06:43                      Not even then, not even then.

Brenda:                                     06:47                       Yes, it's a real thing.

Nicole:                                       06:49                      Oh, yeah I think my mom has had whole living room sets that have never been sat on. People would tell her all the time, "These are in perfect condition." Under my breath, I'm like, " Because no one's ever sat on them."

Brenda:                                     07:01                       They are museum pieces, to be looked at, never enjoyed.

Nicole:                                       07:05                      Yes, and so I just imagined the salt in your house. It's like, "Oh no, that's salt for special occasion." No one can use it, but you just look at it for year after year.

Brenda:                                     07:18                        It's old. That salt might've been around since the dawn of time. We just don't know. Nobody uses it, it's so bad.

Nicole:                                       07:27                       That's the best. All right Brenda, well Become Betty. That is such an interesting name. I have know who are these Bettys and what inspired you to start this blog?

Brenda:                                     07:43                       All right, so Become Betty is actually my third attempt at blogging. Started off with a free site and I didn't have time and I didn't have money, so I didn't post to it very much, all right? That was my mistake. So the idea was still in the back of my head. All right, I wanna do this. So got a domain, and I picked up Become Betty I believe it was August of ... Let's see, go back two years? So 2016, and I was like, all right, let me pull together a whole lot of ideas of what I really wanna do. I wanna cook, drink recipes. All right, all these food names are taken. Searching for a domain is actually really, really hard, because everything I was looking for was like, "Oh, that's taken. Oh, that's taken."

Brenda:                                     08:34                      So it's like, all right what's gonna pull this together. All right, kinda like Betty Crocker, kinda like, let's see, drinks, Betty Ford, let's see I like Betty White, she's funny, and then I can post my mistake on a page called My Ugly Bettys. So that kind of pulls everything all together in terms of Become Betty. So I share my mistakes, I share the highs, I share the lows.

Nicole:                                       08:59                      Okay, this is your third attempt at a food blog, you started the first two. You thought to yourself, "Ah, okay." What about Trader Joe's? Because your blog is mostly focused on Trader Joe's, although you are starting to move into a new store called Stew Leonard's which we're gonna get to in a moment. But tell me, I think I understand it, but let's pack out that focus on Trader Joe's. Why Trader Joe's?

Brenda:                                     09:26                      All right, so for the most part, when I started the blog ... This is an interesting story here. So the last day of work, I'm a teacher, I actually fell down half a flight of stairs and I was really badly injured. I had a boot, I had literally sprained both ankles horrifically. So once I finally got back on my feet, what I realized is like, "Wow, walking around really, really hurts," so I basically landed at Trader Joe's kind of by accident because it's only five aisles. You go to a regular grocery store, it's like walking around on a football field a lot of times. So it's like I just need to be in, out, not sit here and analyze. That's part of the experience there.

Brenda:                                     10:11                         So, I wanted to start a food blog, I was doing physical therapy. I'm like, "All right, let me start writing about what I'm eating." So I took a little shift there. And I looked at other food reviews, I'm not finding what I really like. Sometimes there's five or six sentences about what the product is, I want more than that. I know I have a lot of friends who have a lot of concerns, so one of the things I do is I take pictures of all the packaging. I know people are on different diets, I know a lot of people with food allergies, and that's not always the place where you can just stop in the aisle and just analyze what the package is.

Brenda:                                     10:48                       So I put the information out there, so for example my mom does keto. My sister's allergic to carrots. I know people at work who have kids with various allergies. You can't just stop what you're doing and analyze the package right then and there, so I just put it out there.

Nicole:                                       11:06                        Wow, okay. So you go, you decide I'm not going to the football field that's knows as a grocery store. I'm gonna go to Trader Joe's, I'm gonna figure things out. When did this become, "Oh, people like this. I think this is actually quite popular."

Brenda:                                     11:23                         Actually it almost stuck right away. I did a couple recipes out of a couple cookbooks I love, and I did a couple little recipes here and there, and then when you start analyzing your traffic a little bit on the back end, you're like, "Hmm, these are the articles that are kind of sticking, so let's follow this little rabbit trail. Let's see where this leads me." And I realized these are the articles that are hitting, so I kept rolling with it. So fast forward two years and everything's going pretty well, I can't complain.

Nicole:                                       11:53                         Okay, I have to ask you what is your favorite Trader Joe's product?

Brenda:                                     11:56                         Ooh, so many. So, so many.

Nicole:                                       12:02                       I love that. I could just see you right now using your hands in that evil, "So many."

Brenda:                                     12:08                       Well no, I'm like how do you pick something out of the frozen aisle and compare it out of the cheese aisle? They're just not the same. It's like picking your favorite pet or your favorite child. It's hard.

Nicole:                                       12:24                        Okay. You're on a desert island, and you can only take five products for you for a whole year. I won't even do the rest of your life. For a whole year. What are the five Trader Joe's products that you take with you?

Brenda:                                     12:38                        Okay, so top five, here we go. If I'm gonna be all by myself on a deserted island, I want cookie butter with me. That's absolutely mandatory. I'd prefer the crunchy over the regular, just personal preference right there. Next, let's see, I'm trying to pick one from each aisle that I can bring with me.

Nicole:                                       12:55                        Everyone's screaming at you right now about picking crunchy over...

Brenda:                                     12:59                        I know. It just is what it is.

Nicole:                                       13:02                       Everyone's screaming in their car right now going, "I can't believe she said that!" No, anyway. [inaudible 00:13:09]

Brenda:                                     13:08                       Hey listen, personal preference, that's all it comes down to. On somebody else's deserted island, they can bring the regular cookie butter with them, that's cool. Let's see. I do have a little bit of a love for the cauliflower gnocchi. Has to be sauteed though, but hopefully on a deserted island I have a kitchen. Let's see. There's a few things they've discontinued that I kind of missed, but we'll skip over those for right now. I love the sriracha potato chips, still a favorite of mine. The bean and cheese burrito is actually a staple in our household. Is that four at this point?

Nicole:                                       13:48                        You get one more.

Brenda:                                     13:49                        I get one more. Oh, it's tough. I would have to say I'd probably bring something from the Indian section at Trader Joe's to be honest. Or if not, maybe the mandarin orange chicken. If I'm gonna on the deserted islands, it makes me feel like home, there's good Chinese food around. It's like, all right, good enough. No delivery, there's Uber Eats. I'm gonna be deserted.

Nicole:                                       14:23                        Well, since you're deserted ... Well now you're not deserted, but tell me about some meals that you cook over and over. And of course, I wanna know if you're using Trader Joe's products, which you probably are. What are those products that you're using for those meals that you cook over and over.

Brenda:                                     14:39                        All right, so for the most part there's certain things that I make over and over. In my household, taco meat never goes bad. It's just not a thing. You take taco meat, and you can make a whole bunch of things beyond just tacos with it. I do a lot of meal prep, we make taco salad, we take that taco meat put it into enchiladas. So that's one of the things that kinda gets reformatted a bazillion different ways in my household. And then there's always the standby of pizza. Pizza's a blank canvas. You can put so many things on pizza. It's like hey, I have some leftover veggies from other night. All right, you're going on a pizza, and suddenly it's a brand new meal. So those would be my big two that I make all the time.

Nicole:                                       15:27                        Do you find that because you're so familiar with Trader Joe's that it's made cooking easier for you?

Brenda:                                     15:33                        Oh absolutely. I think Trader Joe's for the most part does really well with smaller households. So in my case, I'm married, live with my husband, and we're actually on polar opposite schedules. I'm a teacher, so obviously my hours are like eight to three, and my husband works the midnight shift. So sitting down to a meal is not a typical thing in our household, so one of the things that I do is I make a meal and a lot of it has to be turned into leftovers for him when he gets home, because my 8:00 AM is kind of like his 8:00 PM, so he wants dinner first thing in the morning.

Brenda:                                     16:11                          So there's a lot of meal prep that happens in our household too, so fun little containers and you start getting creative with them.

Nicole:                                       16:18                         What's one thing that he wants you to cook over and over again?

Brenda:                                     16:22                        One thing he usually asks for over and over again, he loves Chinese food, so anything stir fried. And believe it or not, he doesn't like red sauce.

Nicole:                                       16:33                        What?

Brenda:                                     16:34                        Yes, my husband's Italian, and does not like red sauce one bit, so that's always a struggle. I know, it's like blasphemy, right?

Nicole:                                       16:41                         That's okay. My husband is from Iowa, and he does not like beer.

Brenda:                                     16:46                        What?

Nicole:                                       16:47                        I know. Right now there are a thousand Iowans who are all like, "I'm outta here. I'm quitting."

Brenda:                                     16:54                        Hey listen, to each their own. Him and tomato sauce are just one big no, so that becomes kind of limiting, because I love tomato sauce with every fiber of my being, but you kind of work around it so there's a lot of roasts that go on. Let's see, trying to think about some other popular stuff that he likes and asks me for all the time. He's gotten into turkey recently, so that's been a good thing.

Nicole:                                       17:21                         Turkey burgers? Turkey wraps? What do you mean by that?

Brenda:                                     17:25                        Basically it's our substitute product for basically ground beef.

Nicole:                                       17:30                        Oh, okay. I do that too. I do that too, yeah.

Brenda:                                     17:34                        Because my husband, if he could, he is a steak and potatoes type of guy. So it's like, all right let's go for the somewhat healthier, doesn't quite taste like beef, but close enough type of substitute. So sometimes I'll take a turkey breast and just make him Thanksgiving without-

Nicole:                                       17:54                        What do you mean, Thanksgiving? Like you'll make a Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey breast?

Brenda:                                     17:58                        So a lot of times, I love my instant pot, that's my chefy device of the year. Thank you honey, for getting me that.

Nicole:                                       18:04                       Shout out to Insta Pot lovers.

Brenda:                                     18:05                       Oh my heavens, I love that thing. It replaces so many gadgets in my kitchen. So what I'll do I'll pressure cook a turkey breast and rather than roast it in the oven, so that way it's like all right, we've got 45 minutes, we're good, and I'll make some Stove Top stuffing and some cranberry sauce and hey, honey Thanksgiving's waiting for you when you get home.

Nicole:                                       18:25                        Would you say that Thanksgiving's one of his favorite meals?

Brenda:                                     18:27                        Oh, absolutely. There's no ... You always know how good something is by how long it sits in the fridge. That's my thumbs up, thumbs down. If it's still sitting there, I know it didn't hit the mark. If it's gone and it disappears, you know you have a winner on your hands.

Nicole:                                       18:45                        You know, I can't tell that with my husband because he doesn't believe in food waste. So even if he doesn't like it, he'll eat it. It'll be a chore for him, but he will power through eating something that he doesn't like. There's only time in the history of me making something that he refused to eat it, and I will leave that as a mystery of what that thing was. I was so shocked, I couldn't believe it, because he will eat nearly anything. So that's kind of cool for you, that your husband's like yeah, no, I'm not eating this. I don't like this as much. I can't imagine though, with you being such a foodie yourself that that happens very often.

Brenda:                                     19:28                        It doesn't happen too often, it's just every now and again. It's like, all right, that's not a hit. Or something happens, you're like, "Wow, that was a really tough cut of meat. I don't know what happened there." So that happens, and also it's a scheduling issue. There are times when my husband comes home and he's supposed to be home at 8:00, and he comes home at 3:00 in the afternoon from working at midnight. So that throws off what's in the fridge, too. So the whole eating schedule thing for our household, a little different than a lot of other households.

Nicole:                                       19:59                        So I know you are in the New York area, right?

Brenda:                                     20:02                      Yes.

Nicole:                                       20:03                      Okay, and I grew up there. So I wanna diverge for a minute, and talk a little bit. When you're not shopping at Trader Joe's, where are you eating?

Brenda:                                     20:16                       We just had Shake Shack open up by us not too far away, so Shake Shack is phenomenal. I don't know if you have those in Hawaii, but they are amazing.

Nicole:                                       20:24                      We don't, we don't.

Brenda:                                     20:30                      You have to at least once in your life.

Nicole:                                       20:31                       Girl, you are talking the choir. I love Shake Shack. I'm gonna go on record right now, and say that I think of all fast food burgers, that Shake Shack is my absolute favorite. And I'm not really a fast food type of person, it's not that I don't demonize it, I believe that people can eat what they want, and I'm not going to shame anybody for eating the things that they like at all, but in general I'm not a person who goes out to fast food, just because one, I generally feel like I can make something at home that's comparable, or also I'm just lazy and just not gonna go out and get fast food.

Nicole:                                       21:11                          But, if there's a Shake Shack around, all bets are off. I'm eating that Shake Shack. Yeah, I'll pass up a meal at a sit down with a waiter and everything. I'm like, just take me to Shake Shack, it's delicious. But we don't have that. We have some good burgers here in Hawaii too, but I would love it if they brought a Shake Shack out here. I'm surprised they haven't honestly, because I live on Oahu where Honolulu is, and Honolulu's a pretty happening city. They have a lot of things, especially now every month new things are opening here, but I'm surprised that we don't have a Shake Shack yet. I keep hoping that one day I will see Shake Shack coming soon. All my dreams will come true.

Brenda:                                     21:57                        Soon. I'm rooting for you.

Nicole:                                       21:59                        Aw, thank you. So, okay let's go back into your kitchen. Let's talk about what is one of the most useful kitchen tools that you use over and over and why is that?

Brenda:                                     22:10                       All right, so instant pot would be number one in my book. Absolutely love it, it's like my default go to, because everything's contained. And it can just do so many things. So that's one of my most beloved items right now. Next to that it would have to be my Scan Pan frying pans. They are magically super non-stick, and they can brown so well. So for those days, it's like all right, let's get the salmon going, it's my go to pan. It's like all right, this is the pan that I go to.

Nicole:                                       22:45                       So I've heard a lot about Scan Pan. You know how you hear a lot about something, and you're like, "Hmm, is this a worthy investment?" And you would think that I would have looked more into this because I do love pots and pans so much. So Scan Pan, they're non-stick for you?

Brenda:                                     23:03                      Correct.

Nicole:                                       23:03                      So it's a non-stick coating.

Brenda:                                     23:05                      Yes.

Nicole:                                       23:06                      Oh, and so what makes them so special?

Brenda:                                     23:09                      They can brown in a way that a lot of other non-stick pans just can't. I can get a really good sear as if I was using just a regular pan.

Nicole:                                       23:21                        I had no idea.

Brenda:                                     23:22                       Yeah.

Nicole:                                       23:23                       Oh, that's amazing. And what's amazing about it is, you're right, most non-stick can't, I don't get that good of a sear on it.

Brenda:                                     23:33                       And best of all, because it's non-stick when you clean it, it's like all right, one, two, three and we are done. I am about simplifying a lot of things.

Nicole:                                       23:41                        So if you're searing a steak in that pan, you know if you sear a steak, that thing's gonna crust onto your ... I've got just my normal aluminum pan. If you sear a steak in that thing, you're going to scrub afterwards. So you're saying this sears a steak and then...

Brenda:                                     24:01                       Yep, it sears a steak and then just like washing any other non-stick pans, all right. Good rinse, little bit of soap, and you are back in business, there's no hard scrubbing, because personally I really love my cast iron pan, love it. But let me tell you, when it comes to cleaning that thing, I don't always love it. And it's just for me I like the simplicity of being able to just sit there, it's like, "All right, soap, sponge, we're back in business."

Nicole:                                       24:29                       Yeah, that's kind of how I feel. I do love a good cast iron pan. I love baking in them. Now I've gotten to the point where we've gone through the hard times together, now it's smooth as butter down there, I can get that pan, it makes such good corn bread.

Brenda:                                     24:47                       That's where my mind was going right away.

Nicole:                                       24:51                        There is nothing like a good corn bread in a cast iron skillet. That is just, mm. And you add some chili on a cold winter's night, ooh. People are wondering you live in Hawaii, Nicole. Why are you talking about chili and a cold winter's night? There's a winter here. It's not a very strong winter, but there's winter. It's surprising. Once you live here for awhile, you don't ... When I moved here, I was like, "It's gonna be summer all the time." And then it went one day from 85 to 70 and I'm like, "I'm freezing."

Brenda:                                     25:23                       I like how 70's your idea of cold. If you like to visit come January or February, you are more than welcome to experience the winter that New York loves to provide, where it's ice cold.

Nicole:                                       25:36                       Oh, yeah. I grew up there. I know it seems ... I don't have my New Jersey accent any more, but I grew up in New Jersey, and the winters are freezing, so I do not envy you. And I love, love, love living here in Hawaii, but I will say that every once in a while, I just want a winter's evening, so I can make a chili and a cornbread in a cast iron pan, and because it's just well enjoyed when it's winter time. I don't know, that's winter food to me. You're not making a chili in the middle of the summer.

Brenda:                                     26:19                        Hey listen, nothing wrong with food memories. It's like all right, this is warming, this makes me feel good right about now.

Nicole:                                       26:29                       When I'm here though in November/December, you'll see people come from the mainland and they're jumping in the water and they're like, "This is so warm." And I'm like, "Look at those people out there, it's freezing." I'm freezing, it's 70 degrees here. What are you doing? Your perspective changes after you live out here for awhile.

Brenda:                                     26:53                       Listen, anyone who's moved to a warmer climate, they do the exact same thing where it's like their definition of cold completely changes, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Nicole:                                       27:00                      It completely does. It completely does. But you still miss those wintry meals from time to time. So listen, I wanna ask ya, what's one tip that you can give to a home cook out there that's been invaluable to you?

Brenda:                                     27:17                         All right, the best tip I ever got was to keep your knives sharp. I feel like nobody really teaches how you to hold a knife, handle it, keep it in control, and I feel like a lot of things go terribly wrong with our kitchen knives. So I always say sharpen the knife before you use it, and then after you clean it before you put it back. So that way that sharp knife becomes a safe knife, and it doesn't end up as an Ugly Betty moment.

Nicole:                                       27:51                        I think you showed one of those.

Brenda:                                     27:52                       Yes, I was not paying attention, and okay, what point do you need stitches?

Nicole:                                       28:00                      I've had several of those moments myself. I've always burned myself a number of times and look, if you're cooking on a regular basis, that's gonna happen, those are your war wounds, don't worry, it'll be okay, although hopefully no one will ever need to get stitches, but I've been at that point where I've been like, "Hmm, should I go to the hospital?" Nah, I'm just gonna hope it works out for the best. I've scared my husband, because I've chopped off part of my finger, and he's like, "Oh, my gosh," and I'm like, "It's fine, it's fine." I was more embarrassed than anything else, and it's usually because I'm not paying attention.

Nicole:                                       28:45                       What happens is, when you first start out cooking, you're really like, "Oh, God. I gotta make sure that..." and you never cut yourself when you first start cooking, because you're really paying attention. It's when you start to get some swag, and you think, "I got this." And next thing you know, there's goes [inaudible 00:29:01].

Brenda:                                     29:01                       Yeah, that is the moment where everything goes wrong, and you're like, "I got this," and, "Oh, I gotta go get a Band-Aid. This is not good."

Nicole:                                       29:09                      Yeah, I have a lot of Band-Aids at my house, because I constantly think, "Oh, I got this. I got swag," and I don't have swag. I need to pay more attention. Like I said, there's someone out there, and they're like, "Oh, really?" No.

Brenda:                                     29:23                       Well to be fair, I wanna go back to the little piece of advice. The best thing I ever did for myself personally was to take a knife technique class. Lots of places offer it, but I think for the average home cook, that is the best investment ever. How to hold and just handle a knife properly, how to maintain a knife. So that way, those kitchen accidents, for me have become a lot less frequent because of that education right there.

Nicole:                                       29:52                       Oh, wow. That's a great tip. And where'd you take yours if you don't mind my asking?

Brenda:                                     29:56                       Sur la Table. Every so often they offer a knife skills class. I know local culinary schools, they offer it to recreational people who wanna just learn more. So I think that's the most often overlooked class, where it's like, all right, well I always see people do it on TV, so it's a knife, but it cuts. But there's technique involved, and I think it's just really important to have someone there who can kinda see your mistakes before they even have a chance to happen.

Nicole:                                       30:24                      I completely agree. I took a knife skills class when I first ... I took a longer instruction course, and one of the first things we had to learn was how to use our knives and how to sharpen them and how to take care of them and how to walk around a kitchen with them. So I completely agree with you, Brenda. That is a great tip. So hey, where can people find you?

Brenda:                                     30:46                      All right, you can find me on the blog, which is, but I'm also on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and I'm also there as Become Betty. So you can just look me up by user name right there.

Nicole:                                       31:00                       Fantastic, well Brenda, thank you so much for visiting with us today. I really learned a lot from you, I'm sure everyone else has done as well.

Brenda:                                     31:08                       Thank you so much for having me.

Nicole:                                       31:10                        All right, take care.

Nicole:                                       31:10                        All right, so you just finished hearing me chat with Brenda from Become Betty. Trader Joe's. Sadly, I don't get any money from the beloved grocery store for this episode, but that's okay, because I got to talk with Brenda, and she was really fun to talk to. Her blog, Become Betty, is so helpful to so many. And even though it's a trajesty that there's no Trader Joe's on Hawaii, when I do head back to the mainland, I like to go there, and you can bet I'm gonna be hitting up Betty's Blog before I do.

Nicole:                                       31:51                         I love that Brenda/Betty, I love that play on how she decided to name her blog, so yes, I'm hitting up Betty the blog, not Brenda herself when I head back to Trader Joe's. And speaking of trajesties, yes that's right, you did not mishear that, I said trajesty instead of tragedy, and I think I might've said that more than once during the chat. Hey, look all I can say is that sometimes I just make up words, which is kind of incredible, because I work in a job that requires me to know words and to know the right word to say day in and day out, and I should totally know better. But I think we're all friends here now, and I think you know by now that I am the queen of mistakes, both in food facts and probably making up words, so all those people who were screaming in their car at me when they heard me say trajesty, find it in your hearts to forgive me.

Nicole:                                       32:54                       That's probably gonna happen again, I have made up so many words, and people are like, "Nope, nope, that's not a word." Like oh, yep, you're right. That's not a word. But I did catch it, and I did want you to know, yep, I said trajesty, so sometimes I crack myself up with how many mistakes I make. Oh, one more thing. During the interview, I mentioned that I have aluminum pans. Well, #nobrag, but I do use All Clad pans, and they are made with aluminum and stainless steel. And I wanted to say that in case later on you hear me say that I'm using the All Clad pan.

Nicole:                                       33:37                       And no, I'm not sponsored by All Clad, but I do like using their pans, and I just wanted to make sure I was trying to be as accurate as I could. All Clad, good pan. I like it, it's very heavy, and so far I've had those pans that I use, I've had them for almost as long as I've been married, which is about 10 years, and they're still going strong. So if you need to invest in a pan, I do recommend an All Clad. It's quite good. But hey, maybe there's something better out there, and I would love to hear what you are using when you cook, the kind of pans that you use. And they don't have to be super fancy, I've used everything from an All Clad to something I bought at a kitchen supply store, to a pan I found at the thrift shop. I'm an equal opportunity pan user. But tell me what pans and pots and brands you're using at the Facebook page. And look, like I said, mistakes are just part of this podcast, and so I would love it if you tell me about all the different mistakes I made, and you know what? Share your knowledge. Share what you know on the Facebook page and send me a note, because I'm not perfect, and I'm far from that most knowledgeable food lover out there, and that's what's awesome about having a like minded group of people hang out with you, you all are great about sharing your knowledge and sharing what you know. Finally, if you like this podcast, please consider giving me a five star review. Those reviews really help the podcast. It helps it be found by other people, and it really helps out the show.

Nicole:                                       35:27                       So until next week, this is BFF with the Chef wishing you a great week, and hoping that you've been inspired to go and make something delicious. See? More mistakes. Delicious. Bye.