Food Blogger of the Month: July 2013

Hello Everyone!

I am finally back with another food blogger review, and do I have a treat for you!

CaitlinCaitlin at The Communal Table is a wonderful young lady who has started a food blog as part of her senior project. I cannot believe the insight and eloquence she possesses at such a young age. When I was 16 I wasn’t nearly as focused or capable, and I salute her.

In addition to offering delicious recipes, she has taken it upon herself to give her readers reviews of various cafés all around the Los Angeles area.

Whether you’re looking for something to whip up, or a place to take a friend for brunch; Caitlin has got you covered.

When did your passion for food begin?: 

I was brought up in a foodie family. A lot of my fondest childhood memories involve food. Every Sunday, I would wake up to the smell of freshly-baked chocolate-cherry scones, or a light vegetable frittata. I always helped my parents cook, but every so often, I would get up before everyone else to make a batch of pancakes or waffles. With the help of my foodie parents, I developed a great palette from a young age and learned a lot about wholesome, fresh ingredients.

I would also say that a lot of my passion for food has to do with my experience with an eating disorder. In my Freshman year of High School, I suffered from severe anorexia nervosa. Eventually, I was in such critical condition that I had to be hospitalized for 2 months. Recovery has been a long process with tons of ups and downs. One way I’ve been able to recover is by learning more about food and what it can do for our bodies. By getting a better understanding of how certain foods enable us to carry out basic bodily functions, fight disease, and improve our lives, I’ve developed a much more positive relationship with food.

Pancakes for OneWhat inspires you to create recipes?:

Part of my blog is devoted to chronicling my “Café Adventures.” If I could go to one type of eatery for the rest of my life, it would be a café-bakery. I love cafés…and bakeries. There’s something about that amazing feeling you get upon walking into a sunlit café that boasts a chalkboard menu of simple and fresh, yet unique salads and sandwiches, but also a mouthwatering selection of magical baked goods. With driver’s license in hand, I’ve begun to explore the amazing variety of cafès dotted throughout the Los Angeles area, bringing back recipe concepts to my own kitchen, where I try to put a healthy spin on the delicious dishes I’ve tried on the road. I’m stressing the concept of health over the idea of low-calorie.

In America, a lot of focus is put on diet and low-calorie options (ex: diet sodas, snacks made with Splenda instead of sugar, and reduced-fat margarine), instead of teaching people the more important concept of health! I don’t believe in using strange chemicals to replace natural products. Our bodies need some sugar and fat, so healthy sweeteners and fats like honey or olive oil are good for us! By using wholesome, organic ingredients, we can enjoy food that not only tastes delicious, but is also nourishing.

When did you begin blogging about food?:

I just started blogging on June 10, 2013 as part of my Senior project, but I hope to continue blogging for a long time!

Five Spice Carrot SoupWhat is one of your favorite go to recipes on your blog?:

My blog is really new, so I don’t have a ton of recipes up, yet, but I love these Pancakes for One and this Five-Spice Carrot Soup recipe! The pancakes are really fluffy and satisfying, and I love how easy they are to make! I’m also obsessed with the Five-Spice Carrot Soup. It has a really unique flavor that’s perfect for any season.

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use?:

Favorite ingredient???!!! Oh my gosh, that is such a hard question…I would have to say that I love ginger. A lot of people think ginger is too powerful, but it’s actually extremely versatile. I love using fresh ginger because it adds brightness and freshness to things like Green Smoothies, salad dressings, or marinades. Ground ginger also works really well in baked goods, bringing warm notes to Fall and Winter recipes! Besides being delicious, ginger is awesome because it’s a nutritional powerhouse, with tons of health benefits including anti-inflammatory qualities.

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in your kitchen?:

Definitely my blender. Now, don’t go thinking that all the food I eat is baby food. I usually have smoothies for breakfast, though. I love regular fruit smoothies, and sometimes I’ll throw in spinach or kale for a green smoothie, cocoa powder to add indulgence to a strawberry-banana smoothie, or oats to keep me going through a day of school. I also love my blender because it means breakfast is easy. On mornings when I have school, I’m not the cheeriest or most coordinated of people. With smoothies, I don’t have to worry about getting up early to make a full-on breakfast, or messing anything up in my half-asleep state of delusion.

A Few encouraging words to other food lovers:

Caitlin Words of advice: Try new things. Whether its a breakfast nook you’ve been dying to go to, or an enticing recipe for Dark Chocolate-Caramel Tartlets you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest, just do it! Exposing yourself to new foods, cultures, and cooking styles is a great way to discover your own passions and who you are as a food lover. Also, everything is good is BALANCE! Moderation is the key. Too much of a good thing, can be bad. Remember to always maintain a balance. Don’t get too caught up in one mindset, or you will miss out on so many opportunities.

Please Support Caitlin in her Efforts at The Communal Table, I highly anticipate a bright future from her.

All Photographs are from The Communal Table

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Food Blogger of the Month: March 2013

Hello everyone! Sorry for no updates last week, I had to prepare my house for a new roommate!

Julianna & NatashaExcuses aside, I am very excited for this installment of Food Blogger of the Month, and can’t wait to introduce you to a fantastic team of foodies. Julianna Strickland & Natasha Feldman of Cinema & Spice are just too fabulous for words.

Their channel on YouTube was one of the first channels I subscribed to, and I’m very glad I did. It focuses on dishes inspired by movies, and it also shows you how to throw awesome dinner parties for a wide range of films.

They are also focused on organic and healthy eating, which makes their meals just out of this world. What could be better?

I hope you enjoy Julianna and Natasha as much as I have, and try out their recipes. You won’t be disappointed.

When did your passion for food begin?:

Julianna: I always have loved food!  I learned to cook with my mom and sisters growing up.  During the holidays we would spend hours making these elaborately decorated sugar cookies, and I loved being able to make something that was both edible and beautiful.   I also love trying food from all around the world, it’s my favorite reason to travel!

Natasha: My real passion for food began when I entered college. Before that moment, it hadn’t occurred to me that food out in the world was not as good, or as healthy as the food I grew up eating. I slowly started playing with different flavors and ideas and discovered how much fun and creativity lies in the kitchen… I really haven’t left since.

What inspires you to create recipes?:

Peppers Stuffed with Turkey and Brown RiceJulianna: I get my inspiration from the movies we choose!  I was a film major in college, and I love the way movies transport you to a specific time and place.  I like to create recipes to pair with my favorite movies because it just immerses you more, and in researching and testing the recipes we learn a lot about the period or country in which each movie is set.

Natasha: I am always inspired by things I don’t know well. When we pick a movie with a cuisine outside of my comfort zone I am the most excited to dive in, figure it out, and in turn help our viewers learn something new!

When did you create your channel?:

Julianna: Natasha and I started C&S a couple of years ago.  We had just moved into the same apartment and we wanted to combine our mutual love of food into a project together.  We were cooking all the time anyway, why not share our creations with the Internet!

Natasha:  I think Julianna summed it up pretty well.  Before we started working together I had another food blog, which I really enjoyed, but I missed the energy of another person. It is so much more fun to cook with a friend!  It just seemed to click and we haven’t stopped since we started!

What is one of your favorite go to recipes on your channel?:

Gluten Free French ToastJulianna: One of my favorite recipes we’ve ever made is our Creamy Chicken Korma that we made to go along with this adorable Bollywood film, Taare Zameen Par. We had never attempted Indian food before, so it took several tries before we got the recipe just right.  But wow, was the recipe testing fun, and now we have a chicken recipe that was love to make for friends!

Natasha: I believe that this is such a hard question to answer because we make all of our recipes based on the things we love to eat!  One of my favorite go to winter recipes is our Tortilla Soup, it’s easy to make, satisfying and a fan favorite.

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use? Why?:

Julianna:  I like to use ingredients that are fresh and in season.  I’m pretty obsessed with farmer’s markets, and I love to find new fruits and vegetables there that I never knew existed!  I also read this amazing book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” a few years ago that is about a family that only eats what they grow themselves for a year, and that inspired me to eat more seasonally and locally.

Natasha: Olive oil and salt!  They enhance every savory dish and can transform a mediocre dish to awesome.  That being said, I like to use a really high quality olive oil for finishing dishes and a less expensive one for cooking.  The same goes for salt.

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in your kitchen? Why?:

Cinema and Spice 3Julianna:  The Vitamix!  It’s seriously the best.  I make soups, smoothies, shakes, sauces, dressings, pudding, cake batter, literally endless things.  Natasha and I even have a dairy free ice cream we make in our Vitamix.

Natasha;  Touché!  I can’t tell you how often we use our Vitamix!  Sometimes we rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to use it first!

A few encouraging words to other food lovers:

Julianna: If you love to cook, don’t be afraid to try new things!  Everyone (even the best chefs) fail sometimes, but more often than not, you will surprise yourself with how tasty the new recipe you’re trying is.  I feel like the food you make at home always tastes a little better (and usually is healthier) than the food you buy when you go out, so roll your sleeves up and experiment!

Natasha: The better and fresher your ingredients are, the more likely you are to succeed.  If you can use fresh items your dish will be terrific.  Fresh and local makes all the difference.  Don’t be afraid to let the ingredients shine and serve simple dishes.

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Cinema and Spice 2Be sure to check out these wonderful ladies on YouTube, Tumblr, and even Pinterest.

All photographs are from
Cinema & Spice