Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Conversation with Emily (Bites!) Part 2

What or who inspires you in the kitchen?
I find inspiration everywhere! The food blogging community is amazing and there are so many great at-home cooks and creative recipes out there. I follow a ton of different blogs. Can You Stay For Dinner, Baked Bree, Annie’s Eats and Skinnytaste are some of my favorites. My family is inspiration. My mom is a great cook and my sister’s vegetarianism influences me to include more meat-free options. I find a lot of inspiration browsing “food porn” sites like foodgawker and foodie boards on Pinterest. My readers are also amazing inspiration. I love receiving ideas, recipes and challenges, and though I don’t make every one for the blog, they often lead me to other ideas.

If you were being executed tomorrow, what would be your last meal?
Oh wow, this just got morbid! What was my crime? I’ll say my mom’s spaghetti & meatballs with lots of Parmesan cheese. Probably cheesecake with some sort of berry topping for dessert.

What has been your favorite post on your blog?
I don’t think I can pick one! I’m particularly proud of any of the recipes that are “Emily Bites Originals” because they show how far I’ve come since starting to cook 10 months ago. A few favorite recipes off the top of my head: The Best Lasagna Ever, Spicy Black Bean Burgers, Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins, Cheeseburger Pizza, Italian Farro Bake, Black Forest Cupcakes, Pasta with Feta & Roasted Vegetables, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Baked Blueberry & Peach Oatmeal and Taco Cupcakes. That’s ten. You asked for one? Oops.

How has affected your life?
Becoming a food blogger has had a huge effect on my life over the past 8 months. I’ve always loved food, but I’ve developed a fresh appreciation for it and a newfound passion and confidence for cooking. I started my blog with the goal of proving that people could eat the foods they love, without sacrificing flavor, as part of a healthy weight loss plan. A lot of people think of “diet food” or “eating healthy” as boring, tasteless and an unavoidable concession to be thin. It doesn’t have to be that way! A weight loss plan (or healthy lifestyle maintenance plan) that doesn’t allow me to love what I’m eating will never work for me long term, and I know I’m not alone. I’ve received such great feedback from readers of my blog saying things like they feel like they’re learning to cook because of my site or that I “saved” their weight loss journey by breaking them out of their food rut and letting them love what they’re eating again. Comments like those mean so much to me. I’m learning as I go too and I’m definitely not perfect! I love feeling like my readers are discovering an excitement for cooking and eating these recipes right alongside me.

I’ve also realized that I love writing about food and sharing my excitement about flavors and ingredients. I would love to extend this passion I have into potentially doing some articles or reviews – my new dream is to be published as a food writer! I’m participating in the International Food Blogger Conference in New Orleans at the end of the month and I can’t wait to attend workshops and get tips to improve, as well as networking and socializing with other food bloggers.

I spend so much of my free time now on my blog. Between searching for recipes, grocery shopping, running ideas through the Weight Watchers recipe builder to determine Points+ values, cooking, photographing*, editing, cleaning up, writing the posts and communicating with my readers on various social networking sites, it’s taking over my life! I love it though. It’s not just a hobby, it’s my obsession.

*Next step: Buy a real camera and learn how to use it. I still take all of the photos on my blog with the camera on my phone!

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me pick your brain, Emily!

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