Girl Versus Dough

food blogging as a career

food blogging career

I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not to write this post. I suppose this is for several reasons: 1) I am not an expert in food blogging by any means (though is anyone, really, in this dynamic field? If you are, please introduce yourself so I may learn your ways); 2) I don’t feel like what I do for a living is a job as much as it is a passion and a hobby that I love in that deep-down, forever and ever way; and 3) because food blogging as a career looks so different depending on the person and his/her circumstances.

But I do sit here, today, in my yoga pants (#fancy) at my dining room table (a.k.a. “office”) and I’ve called myself a full-time food blogger for nearly two years, so I guess I’d better own it already and go forth.

In all seriousness, the reason I thought to write this post is because I often get asked what I do for a living and how I made food blogging a career for myself. It’s not like I don’t want to get another e-mail or message ever again about what I do and how I do it — please, puh-lease don’t think that! I like you. E-mail me. — but I thought it might be helpful for those who haven’t asked the question yet or, more likely, don’t want to receive an e-mail response from me to the tune of 2,000 words with a lot of “yay!”s and exclamation points (basically, I’m a long-winded tween in e-mail form). So instead, you get a blog post to the tune of 2,000 words.

Let’s do this.

1. How did you get started writing a food blog?

The answer to this question is given in more detail on my FAQ page, but basically, I was bored and unemployed and I needed somewhere to spout my thoughts and energies other than on my new husband, lest he head for the hills. I love writing and baking, so I combined my two loves into this lovely little space o’ internet.

P.S. If you’re interested in starting your own food blog, here is a handy three-step guide to help you out.

2. What is your background?

My degrees are in journalism and anthropology: journalism, because I was convinced from age 13 (yes, that young) that I wanted to be a newspaper reporter, and anthropology, because I ended up taking all of the classes for it (which allowed me to travel to Amsterdam and India during college, so no regrets). After college and a year of not-so-fun jobs at two coffee shops, I was hired as the arts and entertainment reporter for an Iowa City paper. I worked there for a little more than two years while also blogging, all the while slowly falling out of love with what I thought was my dream job (reporting) and slowly falling in love with what I discovered was my dream job (food blogging).

morning glory scones

morning glory scones on cooling rack

Well, you guys, not going to lie — it has been a WEEK. It started with a gigantimous to-do list on Monday after a few rough nights of sleep, followed by server issues on my blog (yay for tech problems I don’t understand! and for sarcasm!) and a few other hiccups in my days. But then it ended with these Morning Glory scones, so I’d say all is well and forgiven, Horrible Week.

Now let’s eat scones and forget about each other.

In case you don’t know what “Morning Glory” implies, it usually has to do with the magical medley of the following ingredients: carrots, apples, raisins, shredded coconut, chopped nuts and spices. Sometimes I see pineapple thrown in there, too, and I’m totally down with that.

mom’s egg salad

moms egg salad

I thought about naming this recipe something like “Smoked Paprika Egg Salad,” or “Simple Egg Salad with Chives.” You know, something unique-ish and impersonal and potentially more SEO-friendly, blech.

But that wouldn’t do this recipe justice, because the truth is that it is my mom’s egg salad recipe. And I think that title alone speaks volumes.

Between my mother’s recipes, my grandmother’s recipes and even my great-grandmother’s recipes (which are currently a mishmash of half-German, half-English chicken scratch on a handful of torn-out notepad pages that my family members are trying to translate into a cookbook to share with everyone, which I so hope works out because I reallllly miss her Black Forest cherry cake), I could fill this blog with posts until the end of time, no joke. It’s funny, because I never thought I grew up in a particularly culinary family — and in the classical sense, I didn’t. But I most definitely grew up around good food: food that has created memories and has withstood the test of time.

Like my Oma’s aforementioned Black Forest cherry cake that she would make for holidays, and my grandfather would always steal a maraschino cherry off the top before she’d serve it so it always looked a little funny once it made it to the table for dessert. Or my grandma’s boiled beef, which I admit is the worst name in the world but it is truly some of the most tender and delicious meat I’ve ever eaten and probably ever will eat and it never goes to waste at our family dinners. Or my dad’s chili — which, as you already know, is so good it has the potential of creating a booming business.

And of course, there’s my mama’s egg salad. It’s so simple, and yet it’s one of my favorite things that she makes.

maple cornbread waffles

maple cornbread waffles

These waffles have saved me from what may have been the longest breakfast rut of my life. MY LIFE.

It was all oatmeal with peanut butter + jam or berries for a while there, folks. And by a while, I mean months. Months and months of the same mushy bowl of goo.

OK that’s a bit of an exaggeration, because there was that one time I had this for breakfast and a couple of times doughnuts were involved. But otherwise — lots o’ oatmeal. I was starting to feel like my body was turning into 50 percent old-fashioned oats.

So thank heavens these waffles came into existence, as I am now made up of about 25 percent oats and 25 percent waffles. Much better.

blackberry lacto-fermented lemonade {giveaway}

blackberry lacto-fermented lemonade

(This giveaway is closed.)

Do not be afeared by the name of this recipe. Do not, also, be afeared when I tell you that this drink tastes like blackberry lemonade with a yogurt-y tang.

Do trust when I tell you that this drink is, in fact, super duper delicious and if you stick with me here, I have a fun lil’ giveaway that will give you access to said deliciousness and other deliciousnesses, as well.

But let’s back up a bit. My dear gal pal Julia from The Roasted Root (P.S. you should go to there and be ready to drool your face off) wrote a cookbook — but not just any cookbook. She wrote about those fancy probiotic drinks like kombucha, kefir, ginger beer and of course, lacto-fermented lemonade that you can make AT HOME. From scratch. My mind nearly exploded from all the talent that went into creating this book. But I kept my cool because, hello, blackberry lemonade was to be made.

If you flip through the pages of the book, you will find easy lessons on how to make your own ginger beer, or yogurt, or this lacto-fermented lemonade which, according to Julia, is chockfull of good-for-you probiotics. And I really do mean easy. For lacto-fermented lemonade, all it takes is some fresh lemon juice, water, sugar and whey (which is basically that watery liquid that forms on top of yogurt), a couple days’ patience and you’re golden.

But we go even further here and add a fresh blackberry pulp and oh my lans, I am not lying when I tell you I drink this beverage at least thrice a day, it’s so tasty. It’s almost gone and that gives me the sads.

whole wheat baguettes

whole wheat baguettes

If you’ve ever wanted whole wheat baguettes in your life, I am here for you! This easy recipe makes four loaves of healthier fresh-baked bread in French baguette form. It has all of the flavor and texture of a classic baguette with the nutritional benefits of whole wheat flour.

Mastering the art of making baguettes at home, in my experience, is really no art form at all — it’s actually very similar to making a sandwich bread or a free-form loaf, but instead you shape the dough into a torpedo. And somehow it tastes just that much better that way.

And making whole wheat baguettes at home, in my experience, is very similar to baking regular baguettes — but with whole wheat flour.