I'm excited to introduce a new monthly feature here on Joyously Domestic. Each month we'll get to know a different blogger in a series I'm calling Blogger Spotlight. I've made some wonderful blogging friends since starting Joyously Domestic almost two years ago. My hope is that my Joyously Domestic readers will be introduced to some wonderful bloggers while getting a glimpse into the lives of some really fantastic people who share our love for food and passion for cooking.
This month I'm featuring Lori from Foxes Love Lemons. I don't quite remember when or how I first crossed paths with Lori, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the two of us bonding over our love of using wonton wrappers as the base for fun appetizers. (It, also, helps that she's a fellow Michigander.)
Her blog is loaded with so many inspiring recipes and stunning photos. Head over and check it out. I know you'll just fall in love with her recipes as much as I have. She never ceases to inspire me with her creative recipes and amaze me with her talent for photography.
How and when did you get started blogging?
After culinary school, I was briefly employed at a publishing company that published food magazines. They ended up having to lay me off. It was super disappointing, but I realized I had learned all of the skills necessary for food blogging - I could develop recipes, write them up clearly, and I had assisted on some food photo shoots, so I had a bit of experience in that area, too. I started my blog a few weeks later.
Tell us a little about yourself and what life is like for you on a typical day.
A typical day begins around 8 AM. I lay in bed and check social media and the news for about an hour (the benefits of working from home, right?). I then make my way downstairs to the dining room table (my "office"), where I edit photos and write tomorrow's blog post. I also respond to any questions from readers on the blog or social media. I have a cup of coffee, and then get started on typing up recipes and editing photos for the freelance jobs I'm working on. Lunch might be black bean tacos, leftovers, or a green smoothie, then I'm back to work on the computer for a few hours. My favorite time for photography is late afternoon, as the light coming in my windows is best at that time. So, mid-afternoon, I'll get started cooking the recipes (I usually do two at a time) that I'll be photographing that day. I listen to music while I cook and enjoy the process. I ditch the laptop and convert the dining room table to a photo "studio" with my wooden backdrops, reflector, tripod, etc. I take pictures of the two recipes, then pack up the food and store it in the fridge for dinner later. I take a quick glance at the photos I've taken to make sure they're good, and then head out to take my dog for a walk.
How or where do find inspiration for your recipes?
I have a running list of recipes ideas that I head to whenever inspiration strikes me. I subscribe to several food magazines, and I also gather inspiration from restaurant meals and other bloggers. You know, like Angela's wonton cups that I co-opted and created several flavors of. :)
What are your top five favorite ingredients to use in cooking or baking?
Ummm, can I have 10? I did a post on the 10 Things I Always Have On Hand last year, and that is still pretty accurate. Except with even more sriracha, because I'm addicted to it.
Have you ever had any memorable cooking “fails” or “flops?”
I've definitely had recipes turn out less-than-stellar, but because I'm more of a savory cook than a baker, I haven't had too many total "flops." With savory food, I feel like it's easier to "save" your recipe by adding seasoning, acid, spice, etc. until it tastes a little bit better. That being said, I've cried one time in the kitchen. And it involved phyllo dough.
What is your favorite recipe on your blog?
Such a hard decision, but I'm partial to my Asian Noodle Salad Jars because I crave them all the time! If I didn't always have blog recipe leftovers to eat, I'd probably make a big batch of these for lunches every week. They're full of colorful veggies, portable, and the spicy peanut dressing is addictive.
What recipe on your blog has been the most-popular with your readers?
My Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup took off like wildfire in January, and almost instantly became my most popular recipe ever. I think I just got lucky by publishing it at the exact right time - January was a super cold month for much of the United States, so people were craving warm, slow-cooked comfort food. It's also a much lighter version of traditional Chicken Parmesan, so it worked perfectly for healthy eating resolutions.
Any favorite cookbooks?
To be honest, I don't own that many cookbooks. I think it's because I have no place to store them in my tiny kitchen! But, I always say that "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" was my cooking school before I went to culinary school. It does such a good job at teaching basic teaching skills, and I STILL reference it when I need to cook rice. I also like "Tyler's Ultimate" by Tyler Florence for amazing versions of classic dishes. "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi is a beautiful vegetarian cookbook, but I mostly like it for the food photography! Most of the dishes are a bit too complicated for my taste.
Do you have any hobbies that you’d like to share with us that don’t involve food?
Well, my hobbies used to be cooking and photography, but then those turned into a career. I love riding my bike - a few years ago I rode 1,000 miles in one summer, and am thinking about doing it again this summer. Maybe. I'm also a movie buff. This year I saw all nine Oscar Best Picture nominees.
What would be on the plate for your last meal?
What would be on the plate for your last meal?
A burger from Redcoat Tavern in Royal Oak, Michigan. And an Old Fashioned to drink.
I'm so thankful to Lori for being our first blogger in this new series. Seriously, guys, she is amazing. I recently made one of Lori's recipes that has quickly become a party fare favorite in our house - her Bean & Chorizo Dip. This dip takes just a handful of ingredients and a short amount of time to throw together, but is super fantastic.
I know she'd love for you to stop by Foxes Love Lemons and have a little look around. She can, also, be found on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Images courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons.