I’m very honored that Linda from Fork and Forage asked me to participate in The Writing Process – A Blog Tour. (Unfortunately, Fork and Forage website is down now. I know that Linda will do well in everything she does! She is a wonderful person, and a friend I’m glad I met. I hope that one day I get to meet her in person.)
I recently met Linda in Food Bloggers Group Recipes on Facebook when she shared her Cowboy Hot Pot, then we got to chatting about where we each live in another group on FB. I put her Cowboy Hot Pot on the menu for the following week, and loved it. Such a creative dish that I never would’ve thought up. I really like her philosophy on vegetarian cooking as well; she isn’t preachy, and her dishes are filled with yummy veggies and lots of flavor. They’re the kind of dishes that you could serve to meat eaters and they wouldn’t notice there’s no meat (one of my favorite things! Bwa ha ha). And, as I read more about her, I realized we have lots in common, even down to the fact that we both ate lots of cheese in your younger vegetarian days and both ended up with high cholesterol. D’oh! Read about Linda’s Writing Process here.
My Featured Recipe from Linda is her Cowboy Hot Pot. I highly recommend it.
I was also asked to participate in the Writing Tour by Erica from Erica’s Recipes. I love Erica’s cooking, and she often has a Mexican or Southwestern twist on her food (which you know I love!). If I remember correctly, I first met Erica on a Facebook Page for bloggers that I run. She describes her recipes as “some super healthy, others for splurging, but everything very approachable and family-pleasing”, which is how I like to cook. She’s also a runner (she’s much better at it than I am, but I think of myself as a runner as well, so that makes me love her too).
My featured Recipe from Erica is her Coconut Cod with Pineapple Salsa, which is so good that you can even mess it up by not buying Cod at the grocery store and still having the recipe rock! Read about Erica’s writing process here.
1) What am I working on?
I just wrapped up writing a chapter for an eBook for bloggers. It’s a collaborative book with a bunch of awesome bloggers. Each blogger is writing about a different topic. I’m very excited to see it when it’s finalized. Some of the bloggers are friends of mine, and some are new to me. I don’t have a publication date yet, but I’ll be sure to let everyone know about it when it’s published.
I’m always working on tasty healthy recipes, as usual. A couple of recipes that I have in the works are an easy tomato soup with shrimp for seafood eaters and without shrimp for vegans. I’m also working on a cocktail recipe for a friend. I even bought a new glass for the cocktail pictures; it’s beautiful and I’m really excited to use it, and then share the recipe with you. And, as a bonus, I get a pretty new glass to drink out of when I’m done with the recipe!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I guess I have to start thinking about what my genre is! I think maybe it’s healthy, mostly vegetarian recipes. But, I don’t promote my site as a vegetarian site. I do eat fish now, and the fact that I share some of my husband’s fun meaty creations means that I don’t share solely veggie dishes. And, sometimes I share projects that we have worked on around the house (like the ramps and the xeriscaping). But, mostly I think of the blog as simply a place where I share the recipes I make, the ones we eat, the yummy stuff.
I got a really nice compliment from Sarah at The Magical Slow Cooker the other day. She said, “I have been to your site many times, and I’m just now figuring out that you’re vegetarian! All your food is so yummy looking I never noticed.” To me, this comment is exactly what I want people to notice, the yummy food rather than the meat (or lack thereof). I guess I just think of my food as how I eat, and I don’t want anyone to say they don’t like vegetarian food so they won’t try my recipes. I’d rather people sit back at the end of the meal and say, “wow, that was yummy, and hey, wait, there was no meat in that!” If people are eating yummy food and they don’t notice that there’s no meat, that makes me very happy!
I’m also a lazy cook. I often take short cuts and sometimes this helps me make new recipes. I think many people are scared away from cooking because they don’t know how to do it or they think it takes too long. So, I try to include easy and quick recipes that I think anyone can do, and I try to talk through some of my creative uses for my recipes. Being a lazy cook helps me make easy recipes!
3) Why do I write what I do?
I want to share my love for healthy yummy food. Food should be fun and happy. I think many people think of healthy food as bland, and I totally disagree. Healthy food can be fun and yummy! So I try to show that on my blog.
I was born and raised in Southern California, so Mexican food is in my blood (probably literally). My wonderful husband and I share a love of cooking (and eating) yummy food, so I share the things we love. We have lots of different flavors that we both love, maybe partly because he spent the first couple years of his life in Japan as a Navy brat. I share these different flavors and recipes on the blog as well.
I believe that the simple act of preparing a meal with your family is super important to our health, both in the fact that the food is fresher and tastier and filled with more nutrients and less fat when we prepare it ourselves. But I also feel that cooking allows us to connect with family and friends as well as with the food itself.
4) How does your writing process work?
I usually have 3 or 4 posts going at one time in various stages of doneness. Some posts are just thoughts and random notes, while others have specific notes and recipes written down on papers, and others are just waiting for pictures to be added to the post.
My blog posts start with lots of thinking. I think about what I want to write, then I jot down those little bits and pieces, those half sentences and random thoughts, often on paper. My recipe writing is a fairly similar process. When I cook I make little notes on little pieces of paper. I’m a very organized person, but for some reason this disorganized way of recipe writing and blog writing works for me even though it seems a bit messy.
I love paper and pencils. They can’t crash. The batteries don’t run out. They’re portable. And, a pencil, well, that’s like the ultimate in perfection for me, super compatible with all papers, and all I have to do is sharpen it. And, it has an awesome delete feature at the other end of the pencil (you know, the eraser). Anyway, that’s how I write up my notes and recipes, with paper and pencils.
Then I transfer those random thoughts from little pieces of paper to Word. I string those thoughts out to full sentences and organize them so they make more sense. Using the power of the digital arena I can copy and paste, edit and reedit. Then I copy it all over to the blog, and add links and photos and make it all shiny and pretty.
Now to introduce you to 3 wonderful bloggers:
Jessica from Savory Experiments is a great cook who is really supportive and a wonderful friend. She describes her blog as, “Cooking is my personal therapy. … Over the years, I have expanded my knowledge through trial, error and observation. Cooking is my art, the medium being ingredients, all combined to make unique and sensory pleasing plates. … Most of all, I like to have fun!“ You’ve seen me write about Jessica’s Cheese Puff Bread or Brazilian Cheese Bread (Fogo de Chao Bread) in my Thanksgiving menu (Dan still talks about how awesome these are).
Featured Recipe from Savory Experiments:: I think it’s so obvious that she likes to have fun, just take a look at my featured recipe from Savory Experiments, her Italian Nachos.
Sophia from NY Foodgasm is all about yummy food with a healthy twist. I first met Sophia sometime around March 2013 when she does beer month. If you like beer, I highly recommend you check her blog, as she has lots of amazing beer and food recipes. Last year She did a Summer Weight Loss Challenge, and I had been benched with a leg injury, so I joined in to keep the motivation up and not let the injury get me down. (She’s running the challenge again this year) Let me tell you that Sophia is the most uplifting, supportive person! She just rocks it. And, she’s super funny. I mean, with comments like this, “This is straight up lick the bowl amazing! Like get your nose to the bowl to lick it!” from her Pan Fried Gnocchi with a Coconut Pumpkin Sauce Recipe.
Featured recipe from NY Foodgasm:: Double IPA Braised Bean and Salsa Verde Bowl
Nicole from Nibbles by Nic I met Nicole through Facebook many moons ago (I don’t even really remember when it was or where). Her food views and recipes are similar to mine; I think that’s one of the reasons why I love her. I really can’t word it any better than she already has, so here’s some of her “About” from her blog, “Being a foodie is a way of life. Food is ALWAYS present in our daily life from simple snacks to celebrations; we even plan our family trips around our meals! I assure you, appreciating food does not mean “overeating.” Learning to indulge on portioned “flavor bursts” ensures everything you eat is worth your while! A surefire strategy is incorporating minimal ingredients and cooking with your heart.” Her recipes are always energetic, creative, and fun.
Featured recipe from Nibbles by Nic:: Tofu Stir-fry Sushi
Thanks again to Forks and Forage and Erica’s Recipes for inviting me to the Writing Tour. This has been a ton of fun, as well as a learning experience. And, when you can learn about yourself that rocks! I got to learn that my recipe genre is Healthy Fun Food, and I’m interested in other bloggers who share these same views on food. I hope you can take a few minutes to explore these awesome blogs; they all feature fun healthy food, and who doesn’t love that!