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: January 2013

Hello everyone and welcome to the second installment of Food Blogger of the Month!

This month I am featuring Lindsay Rey of Vegan Yumminess.

She is currently a stay at home mom, and decided to use her time at home to support something she loves: vegan food.Lindsay Rey

Her mission is to bring her readers delicious, and affordable vegan food; and boy does she ever deliver. Her blog is full of yummy looking recipes, and a lot of them can be made with things you probably already have on hand.

Judging from her pretty impressive list of recipes you might never have guessed she started blogging only a few months ago. She has also put out five new recipes since I contacted her earlier this month. Talk about impressive!

The questions that follow were sent to her in a survey format and was not a live interview. I felt it would be better for both of our schedules. Enjoy.

When did your passion for food begin?

I hesitate to write this, but my passion for food began with my passion for eating—at the ripe old age of two, when my mom tells me I would sneak up to the buffet table at parties and grab handfuls of butter mints, when I thought no one was looking. Even now, I have an embarrassingly huge appetite for a girl, and that appetite drives me to the kitchen day after day. But I like it that way. I think God instilled in each of us a natural desire for good food. As an adult, my desire to be healthy keeps me out of fast food chains and the candy section of the grocery store.

What inspires you to create recipes?

Curried Chick PeasCravings. I’m not pregnant, but I get cravings regularly—sometimes for vegan junk food and sometimes for more healthy options like salads and green smoothies. I don’t believe all vegan food is healthy, but I strive to create recipes that are vegan and that include nutrient-dense ingredients like colorful fruits and vegetables. Of course, we all have days when we just want to eat some vegan junk food, and I am no exception. Deep down inside, my passion is to create delicious and nutritious vegan food that doesn’t compromise taste or flavor.

When did you begin blogging about food?

October 3, 2012 is the day I wrote my very first blog post. I felt like a first grader learning how to read, and I still have so much to learn.

What is one of your favorite go to recipes on your blog?

Vegan Fettucine AlfredoRight now I have a few favorites. For breakfast, I would say, my recipe for banana walnut muffins is top notch. It is crunchy on the top, soft on the inside, and perfectly sweet.

For lunch of dinner, I have been addicted to my vegan fettuccine alfredo. Because I’ve been essentially eating vegan since I was five years old, I have never really tasted alfredo sauce. I’ve always wanted to make a vegan version, but tofu didn’t work (trust me). Enter coconut milk and cashews!
The creaminess and flavor of this recipe is delicious and full of natural fats and proteins.

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use?

My favorite ingredient changes regularly. A few months ago, I would say my favorite ingredients were black beans, limes, and cilantro. Now, I think my favorite ingredient has got to be coconut milk. It is so creamy, versatile, and flavorful. Yet, coconut milk readily takes on any flavor that you give it, which is why it can be used so easily in both sweet and savory dishes.

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

Tofu Spinach LasagnaMy Vitamix blender. To me, this is an essential for any vegan kitchen. I use mine pretty much every day, sometimes even several times a day. In order to turn cashews and coconut milk into cheese sauce or bananas and spinach into smoothies, you’ve got to have a powerful blender.

Some encouraging words to other food lovers.

Health and happiness are both greatly influenced by the food that we eat. I believe God has the power to help us make positive food choices so that we can live healthy, productive, and happy lives. As the the old proverb says, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proberbs 21:23.

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Vegan Lemon CookiesAnother wonderful interview with another wonderful food blogger.

If you’ve been looking for vegan food that is tasty, and doesn’t feel like vegan food you have to check her out!

Vegan Yumminess

Also if you know of any other food bloggers who deserve recognition, let me know about them! I am always looking for more amazing people to feature here.

All photos in this article are from Vegan Yumminess

Food Blogger of the Month: Dec. 2012

Hello friends! Welcome to the first installment of a segment I am very excited about. Each month I am going to interview a different food blogger, who I think is top notch, to help my readers discover wonderful recipes, helpful tips, and new outlooks on food.

This month I got in touch with the creator of the first food blog I ever followed. It is such an honor to have her participation in my project.

The Lovely PigamithaPigamitha Dimar is the amazing writer, photographer, and cook behind Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook. She currently resides in Medan, Indonesia; and is a medical student. Where she comes up with the time to create wonderful food, photograph it, and put everything together on her blog as she goes through clinicals, studies, and attends class is a mystery to me.

Regardless of her busy life she does not disappoint on her blog. Everything looks and sounds completely amazing. She also photographs every step to ensure that her readers have a clear reference as they follow her recipes.

The questions that follow were sent to her in a survey form which was not a live interview. I figured it would be best for her to work around her schedule and give her a chance to answer at leisure. At any rate, enjoy the interview!

When did your passion for food begin?

Goodness, where do I begin? I was about 7 when I saw this movie that got me into the world of gastronomique. It was a scene where a guy came inside a diner looking for a job. The owner then asked him, “Do you know how to cook an omelette?

Ramen with a Beautiful Egg on topHe then started to chop up green peppers and onions, then he beat an egg with a fork inside a metal cup. He proceeded to make a fluffy omelette [in a whirl of movements] with soft centre, which the owner took a bite of. Of course, as it would in all movies, he got the job. And no, I never did find out the title of that movie. I couldn’t sleep after watching it. My first ever cooking escapade came about the next morning in the form of a messy sunny-side up. From then on I’ve continually raised the bar for myself in terms of techniques and the varieties of ingredients used.

What inspires you to create recipes?:

Creating recipes is actually a new experience for me. I used to cook by instinct and no measurements. After that it was all about altering others’ recipes that I found while browsing the internet. But as time goes, I wanted to create my own dishes and I find that it’s easier to recreate something if I write down exactly what and the amounts of things I put in.

When did you begin blogging about food?:

I had to go through my archives for this – it was on the 25th of November, 2009 🙂

What is one of your favorite go-to recipes on your blog? Why?:

Hoddeok (호떡)Hoddeok the possibility of things you can stuff inside that thing is pretty much endless.
(Author’s Note: How could you NOT want to eat those constantly in all shapes and forms??)

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

Flour, naturally. Because it’s the building block of the majority of food I make.
(Author’s Note: You can see why I like her food so much.)

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

If I have to choose one, I think it’ll have to be a really good, stainless-steel, sharp knife.

Some encouraging words to share with other food lovers:

Everybody has to eat. So chances are each and every one of us already have some sort of experience in the kitchen and will have already known a recipe or two (unless, of course, you live in a sprawling mansion with butlers and maids at your disposal. But I digress…). Take that basic recipe for scrambled eggs and try throwing in ingredients like sautéed zucchini slices or sun dried tomatoes. It will really build up your confidence and will make you want to try to cook other things. As for food photography, 50% of it is trial and error. Some foods look good with a close up shot, others with overhead shots; it really comes down to you taking the time to get to know the dish and what angle it looks best in, just like you would with a human.

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Brioche BunsThere you have it. A wonderful interview from a creative and talented young woman. You can follow her at the link below, and I highly recommend you do so. I’ve never been disappointed by one of her posts, and I doubt you will be either.

Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook

All Photos in this article are from Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook