Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall/Autumn Recipes

September is FINALLY here!!!  
Time to start breaking out the hoodies, sweaters, yoga pants, jeans…or whatever you 
like to wear around this time.  Late night football games, tail gating parties, and eating s'mores by the fire are in store for this month, as well as eating all the yummy food that goes along with it all.  

When I think of fall foods, I think of heavy soups and stews, comforting casseroles, and anything containing the words pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon.  While I can't promise that I won't flood your newsfeeds with pumpkin and apple recipes, I can promise you this wonderful fall/autumn roundup post that I make every year.  Some of these recipes are older ones and some are new, however, they all have made it into our favorites file.  Hopefully they will make it into yours as well!  

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Drinks, Appetizers, and Snacks
Breakfast, Biscuits, & Breads
Casseroles & Pastas
Soups & Stews
Other Comforting Dishes
Desserts
Misc.

Happy Fall/Autumn!!!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

How Being a Food Blogger is Like Being on "The Next Food Network Star"


Image by freedigitalimages.net/imagerymajestic
Last week, my daughter and I were binge watching a marathon of the Food Network show, "The Next Food Network Star."  She has an addiction to that show.  And really, who can blame her?  

As I was watching Giada, Alton, and Bobby make their choices for the final cut, I thought to myself, "this show is almost like food blogging."  

Before I go any further, I first want to state that I know that being a food blogger absolutely cannot compare to being a professional chef who competes on a television show.  However, I have come to realize that there are some similarities, none the less. 

1.  Finding your niche and making your audience believe it
-I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this phrase come out of the judges on that show.  The contestants had to focus on what makes them unique (what types of food they make and what they are known for) and then sell it to their audience.  This is the same with food blogging.  You have to find your niche in the food blogging world.  You have to figure out what types of recipes you are going to post and what your main focus will be.  Then, you must make your blog reflect this and you must make your readers believe it.  

2.  It's all about presentation
-Presentation with their food, presentation with their appearance, presentation with everything…it was all there.  I'll never forget the look on the face of those judges when a dish was presented to them that didn't look appetizing.  They kept telling the contestants that the appearance of their dish would determine whether or not the audience would want to eat them.  The same thing can be said for food blogging.  Good food photographs presented on a nice, clean layout will more then likely draw the readers in like moths to a flame.  

3.  It's all about the taste
-Along with presentation, there is also the taste of a dish.  Throughout the entire season of this show, all three of the judges would comment on whether or not the food was up to par.  The same thing rings true with the recipes being placed on the blog.  The recipes must taste good.  If your readers try them and do not enjoy them, then chances are, they probably won't come back.  On the other hand, if your readers do enjoy them, then you will probably see them again.  Every person's taste buds are different, however, if the majority of your readers love how your recipes taste, then it's pretty safe to say they will be supporters.  
Image by freedigitalimages.net/James Barker

4.  You must be social media savvy
-I can think of a time before Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…before all of these social media sites were even born.  Technology has definitely changed in the last ten years or so.  The representatives at the Food Network noticed this and made sure that these contestants knew how to operate these media sites.  They even went as far as to have them make their own advertising project on YouTube.  

This same requirement should be in a food blogger's repertoire.  Writing and posting the recipes aren't enough.  These days, you must also learn how to navigate your way through outlets such as Instagram and Twitter.  These social media platforms help promote your blog and draw viewers/readers to try your recipes.  A social media presence is a must in the food blogging world.  Do you have to be an expert at it?  Not necessarily.  You do, however, have to possess some knowledge of how to get your tweets or status updates out there.  

5.  Don't be afraid of constructive criticism, it can help
-If you think about it, the entire show is built on constructive criticism.  How many times have you heard the contestants state this, "Bobby Flay wanted my dish to have more seasoning, so I'm going to do it" or, "Giada told me that I needed to open up myself more to the audience, so I'm going to do it."  And that is exactly what each one of them did.  They used the constructive criticism that they received to make their dishes taste better and make their competitive spirit sore.  

The same can be said for food blogging.  Take the criticisms that others have told you and find a way to make things better.  Maybe it's a fellow blogger who suggested something about how your layout looks or maybe it was a reader who suggested to put a little more pepper in that steak recipe.  Whoever and whatever it was, take these criticisms to heart and learn from them.  That's the only way we can get better…is by learning.

6.  Competition is fierce, but always remember you are on the same side
-Just like criticism, the show is also primarily based on competition.  That's why we like to watch it.  To see who gets to stay, to see who gets to go home, and to see who sabotages who.  The competition is fierce.  At the end of each show however, each contestant is always seen hugging the other, some even cry.  They remembered that they are all on the same side.  

Food blogging can be competitive if you let it.  It can be all about who has the most Facebook followers or who has the most post comments or even who has the most pins on Pinterest.  It can be about why this company chose so and so to fly to their retreat and why they didn't pick you.  Or who received a cookbook deal and why you still haven't received one.  It's a competitive hobby.  

Here's the good news though….it doesn't have to be.  Do it because you love it, not because you're trying to compete with "Suzy What's Her Name" for the most views for a brownie recipe, because at the end of the day, you and Suzy are both on the same side.  

~And there you have it folks…six reasons how being a food blogger is just like being on the show, "The Next Food Network Star."  Now I'm not saying to quit your day job and try out for the show (unless you really want to), however, you can't doubt the similarities between the two.  

Can you think of ways they are similar?


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