- Foodie Friend Friday: Traci from Vanilla and Bean!
We’re wrapping up this summer’s foodie friend series with the the amazingly talented Traci—former teacher turned food blogger from Vanilla and Bean! I stumbled across Traci’s beautiful Instagram account earlier this year and I’m SO happy to have connected with her! She is kind, encouraging, very inspiring, and shares the most mouthwatering recipes…just you wait and see!
Tell us a little about yourself, Traci—
First, Joscelyn, thank you for inviting me to your beautiful space. You are an inspiration to me and many others.
I live with my husband, my high school sweetheart, Rob, my biggest fan on beautiful Whidbey Island, WA. I’ve always loved to cook good food yet it hasn’t always been good and healthful. About 14 years ago, I made the switch to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle from a Texas born and raised meat centered, eat it at every meal, lifestyle.
My first few years as a vegetarian were a bit challenging as I replaced a lot of the meat I previously ate with vegetarian processed food that resembles meat. But over the years, I’ve learned how to phase out almost all of the processed foods and create whole food, vegetarian meals through trial and error, and with the help of lots of cookbooks and outstanding food blogs. Through my vegetarian lifestyle shift, I’ve also learned why ‘diets’ don’t work and the importance of consuming whole, plant centered food. I love sharing delicious food with others and the bounty of local and organic (when possible) produce that I prepare in my kitchen. It helps that I live amongst beautiful and productive family owned farmland that has thriving farmers markets and many community supported agriculture options. Inspiration is everywhere!
fast facts: (which do you prefer?)
a. mountains or beach? Both
b. chocolate or vanilla? I can’t choose just one! Both
c. flip flops or tennis shoes? flip flops
d. sweet or savory? sweet
e. early bird or night owl? early bird
f. read the book or watch the movie? book
What’s the significance of your blog name Vanilla And Bean? What kind of recipes do you share?
I share plant-based and vegetarian sweet and savory recipes mostly inspired by our surrounding farms and farmers markets. I love baking and pastry but because my husband and I eat everything I make for Vanilla And Bean, most of the recipes are savory. Thai and Mexican food are favorites so there’s lots of those inspired flavors on the blog.
You mention on your blog that you switched to a vegetarian lifestyle many years ago after eating a predominately meat-centered diet your whole life. What kind of positive changes did you notice in your body when you changed to eating mostly whole, plant-based meals?
I was so surprised at how much more energy I have and how my weight became easier to manage. I stay fuller longer too. But it wasn’t just my body where I felt a difference. I noticed how my food knowledge increased not only about new to me spices and ingredients, but how what we eat impacts our environment; how we grow food, treat animals, land and soils and how farming practices have a negative or neutral effect on biodiversity and ultimately our health. Our daily choices about food, as well as many others, have long-term consequences on our planet. I felt like this is an area, because I eat daily, I could lighten my impact in a positive way.
With the rising popularity of vegetarian/veganism, so comes the rise in processed foods to mimic meat. Do you have any dishes on your blog you could recommend that would be a good alternative for those new to vegetarianism looking for a hearty and satisfying, yet meatless meal?
While I do eat processed foods that resemble meat occassionally, I do-so selectively. I’m very particular about reading ingredient labels and making sure what I eat is sourced as locally as possible and to organic standards, crafted with care. One of my favorites is Seattle Field Roast. While I do not have any vegetarian recipes on the blog that incorporate those processed foods, a few recipes I’d recommend to new vegetarians include:
Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich – readers of the blog love this recipe. Many have written indicating it as a perfect transition food. It’s cheap and takes 10 minutes to pull together. Best of all, it’s nutritious and filling. Some say it tastes like egg or tuna salad! I make it at least once a week!
Chana Dal with Cauliflower, Coconut Milk and Cashews is popular as well. It’s meaty, hearty and makes excellent leftovers.
Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is another popular recipe especially during the holidays. It’s umami filled flavor and heartiness is a favorite of my readers.
Mexican Inspired Tofu Tacos are a favorite on the blog and around here! The pepita crema is over the top amazing! You’ll be serving that up as a dip! The ‘meat’ is freezer friendly so it makes meal prep a snap! Taco Tuesday is looking good!
You live in the beautiful Pacific North West, a place I am dying to visit! What are some of the things you love most about where you live?
You’ve gotta make it out here! It is a beautiful, scenic and an inspiring place to live. Two of my favorite things about living on Whidbey Island is that I’m only a five minute drive away to our nearest farm where fresh produce and eggs are abundant most of the year. We also have a weekly farmers market that’s a short walk into town. Having access to fresh produce is something I’m incredibly grateful for as I realize this is not the case in some areas of the country. Also, I’m never far from the ocean or a view of the mountains. Open spaces, forests and the ocean offer tremendous tranquility and grounding for my spirit and abundance for my eyes. I’m so grateful to have landed here. Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Brianne & Anguel from Natural Girl Modern World!
Happy Friday, everyone! This week’s foodie friends are Brianne and Anguel from Natural Girl Modern World! Brianne—the recipe developer and voice behind the blog, and Anguel—the talented photographer and creator of all of the mouth-watering images you see, are the dynamic duo behind this beautiful blog focused on wholesome and delicious vegetarian dishes. Even though the blog is only a year old, they have already been featured by Shape, BuzzFeed, Fitness Magazine, along with many others. Aside from working on the blog, the Vancouver-based couple enjoys traveling and have already visited places like Nepal, Zion National Park, Peru, Iceland, and more! They sound like such a cool couple, don’t they? Let’s get to know them better!
Tell us a little about yourself, Brianne. When did you begin Natural Girl Modern World?
Hi Joscelyn! So great to be here – thanks so much for having me. Natural Girl Modern World was launched just about a year ago! It’s crazy to think that the first recipe was posted around this time last year. I started this blog, with the help of my boyfriend Anguel, because we wanted to show that it is possible to cook healthy, homemade food even if you don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen every day. And that healthy, allergy-friendly foods (e.g. dairy or gluten-free) can still taste great!
Above all else, we wanted to share recipes that are fun and approachable. We love cooking with colorful, seasonal produce. And nothing makes us happier than surprising friends and family with an epic guilt-free dessert. A year in and we’re still having so much fun with the blog. It’s so gratifying being able to connect with readers who share how Natural Girl Modern World has made its way into their kitchen. It makes me smile extra big.
What is your food philosophy and what kind of recipes do you share on your blog?
My food philosophy is oriented around natural wholesome foods. But if I were to describe it in one single word, it would be “balance”. For me that means eating plenty of greens, but also not hesitating to indulge in dessert when the craving hits. What you see on Natural Girl Modern World is what I cook at home. On weeknights it’s typically healthy dinners that double as a packable lunch the next day. And on weekends, when I have a bit more time, I love to cook epic meals for friends and family. Through this blog, I aim to share recipes that’ll meet your needs on either occasion!
All Natural Girl Modern World recipes are vegetarian, and many are vegan and gluten free. I love to use plenty of fresh, seasonal produce. And when it comes to desserts, I’m partial to wholesome ingredients that taste great and are good for you! Things like oats, nuts and maple syrup are my pantry staples when it comes to baking. Because if you can nourish you body and truly enjoy what you’re eating…well, I don’t think it can get much better than that!
What are some of your go-to vegetarian dishes you like to make throughout the week?
It changes by season, but there are definitely a handful of dishes I always turn to. For days when I’m absolutely starving and need to throw together a quick and filling dinner, then this Creamy White Bean Pesto Pasta is what I almost always make. Canned white beans are the secret ingredient for getting a creamy sauce without the dairy. And I love incorporating beans into my meals when I can – they’re such a great source of added protein. We also make Rainbow Slaw regularly. It’s one of Anguel’s favorite salads, and also happens to be one of the first recipes posted on the blog! It’s another great option in the warmer months when you don’t feel like turning on the stove. Plus, it keeps well overnight and makes for an awesome lunch the next day. We also make big clean-out-the-fridge salads at least a couple times a week. I can’t say exactly what goes inside, because it changes from day to day, but I typically try to include a variety of cooked + raw components. Things like sautéed green beans or roasted chickpeas pair great with crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Michelle from Supper With Michelle!
Tell us a little about yourself, Michelle—
First, let me thank you for taking the time to interview me, Joscelyn, you are truly a constant source of inspiration for me.
Hi everyone, my name is Michelle and I currently live in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area with my amazing fiancé, Alex. I’m a Human Resources Consultant by day, and in my spare time I enjoy sharing some of my recipes on my blog Supper With Michelle. I’ve always been drawn to the arts, working with my hands, and all things creative. Whether it’s making jewelry, graphic design, painting, photography, gardening, antiquing old furniture, sewing, cooking, etc.. My biggest love has always been photography, especially film photography. There’s truly nothing like using film or the organic imagery that you get from it. One thing that I’d like to do, that I haven’t done since I was a child, is take a ceramic pottery class. Hopefully sometime this year, I’ll be able to do that. But for the most part, we live a really chill and happy life. On any given day, between my friends and Alex’s friends, you just never know who you’ll find hanging out on our front porch. No one leaves hungry and we extend our table for supper to everyone and I love that.
How long have you been blogging and what kind of recipes do you share?
I’ve been blogging for about 2 years. Alex and I were previously living in a loft in the downtown Atlanta area, and about 3 years ago we moved into the cute little home that we live in now. Our kitchen is extremely small, with not much natural lighting, but I found myself wanting to spend more and more time there. On occasion I would take pictures of what I cooked or prepared and would share them through Instagram and Facebook. To my surprise, my friends and family, began to ask for the recipe(s) and also started encouraging me to start a website and furthermore, “do a cookbook”! So, instead of overloading my personal feeds with all of my “foodie” pics, I started “Supper with Michelle”.
When I look back at the images that I first started sharing, I can’t help but giggle to myself, because they basically said, “here’s what I cooked”. End of sentence. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, on most busy days, they’re not too far from that now, but I do feel that I care a liiiiittle bit more now. 🙂 Most of the recipes that I share are based on the types of foods that I eat, mainly Pescetarian, Vegetarian, or Vegan dishes. I enjoy making soups/stews, salads, casseroles, and various types of Veggie Bowls. If I had to choose savory or sweet, it will almost always be savory. 🙂 Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Lindsay from The Fit Fork Feed!
This week’s Foodie Friend is Lindsay from The Fit Fork Feed, a talented wife, mother, fitness enthusiast, recipe developer, & fellow chocolate lover who has a knack for making healthy food look and taste delicious! Just check out her Instagram feed and see for yourself!
Tell us a little about yourself, Lindsay—
Hi Joscelyn! I’m the wife, mom and healthy foodie behind The Fit Fork Feed. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 20 years. We met in an AOL chat room back in 1996 when the Internet was just getting started. He’s from England and I was born here in the burbs of Los Angeles, California where we live now. I have a background in Human Resources, but for the last 6 years I’ve been a Stay At Home Mom, taking care of my son and doing playdates, homework, laundry, housecleaning, swimming, snuggling and nurturing. My son plays the drums and loves rock and roll, just like his mama! In my spare time, when my son is at school, I workout and of course cook! I usually wake up and go to sleep thinking about food and what I’m going to make the next day.
What made you begin your food blog, The Fit Fork Feed?
A couple of years after having my son, I was extremely overweight and unhealthy. I put myself second (as all moms do) and wasn’t exercising or taking care of myself. I saw a picture of myself and was so disgusted that I decided to make a change to get healthy. I joined a fitness challenge group (21 days of clean eating + daily 30 minute workouts) to keep myself accountable. I started coaching and selling products to encourage others who needed help and found that I was more interested in the healthy eating, than I was the coaching/sales side. I started posting my healthy recipes on Facebook in the challenge group pages and people loved what I was doing! BTW, my pictures were awful but the recipes were good! Lol I decided to create my own Facebook page where I posted all of my recipes. I had 500 followers in several months and it was getting hard to a) reach everyone with my posts and b) for people to find my recipes within the Facebook page, so I decided to start my own blog where I can house recipes in an organized and easily searchable fashion. There’s so much more I want to do with the website, but I don’t really have the time at the moment (between raising a child, exercising, managing social media, taking decent pictures, etc.) and I feel like I almost need a blogger mentor (is there such a thing? lol) to help me through the process. Anyway, I’m getting by with what I have and I repeatedly get asked by brands to work with them, so this is good enough for now! Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Kimberly from The Little Plantation!
Today’s Foodie Friend is Kimberly from The Little Plantation! We have been “Insta” friends for a few years now. From the beginning she has been such a sweet, encouraging friend and was even there when I began this blog showing her support. She’s also a talented photographer, nutrition enthusiast, and healthy recipe developer who lives in London with her family. Let’s get to know more about her!
Tell us a little about yourself, Kimberly—
Firstly, just a massive, massive thank you Joscelyn for interviewing me. I’m TOTALLY honoured as I’ve loved your blog from day one ;).
Secondly, interesting facts about me… well perhaps something people don’t know is that I’m what’s call a ‘global nomad’ – I’ve lived in lots of different countries and consider myself a citizen of the world. At the moment, London is home, but the gypsy in me is already planning our next move. My dream would be for us to build an earthship (AKA ecohome) high in the mountains somewhere in Southern Europe, grow our own food and be totally self sufficient.
Some other random facts: people are always thrown by how short I am, by my rather odd North American accent, by my boundless energy and by my super direct, but warm manner :).
Most of the recipes you share on your blog are plant-based and vegan friendly, but you’ve mentioned before that you also eat other foods as well. What is your food philosophy?
I feel my style of eating is best described as a whole food plant-based diet, with a focus on local, seasonal and home-made food. This means that the vast majority of what I eat consists of in-season vegetables, locally-grown fruits, protein-rich legumes and delicious grains. However I do eat fish on occasion, as well as eggs, bee pollen and honey (all non vegan foods!) and allow myself some processed foods like sugar or chips when the mood strikes me.
I try not to be too black and white about food, especially because I need to cook for a growing six-year-old with his own likes and dislikes. Therefore, meal times shouldn’t just be nourishing but also stress-free, delicious and fun and if that means the occasional pizza, so be it. Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Amisha from The Jam Lab!
Today’s foodie friend is Amisha from The Jam Lab! I have been following her on Instagram for years now and I have to say that she is one of the kindest people I have ever met over the course of that time. She is a wife, mother, and a computer engineer by day, rockstar recipe developer/food photographer/jam maker by night. I just know that we would just get along so well if we ever got to meet in person and I truly hope that happens one day!
Tell us a little about yourself, Amisha—
Firstly Joscelyn, Thank you so much for wanting to feature me for your blog on the Foodie Fridays Feature! and for your efforts to formulate these questions! I really appreciate it!
I would like to introduce myself as Amisha, an extremely passionate home cook, who loves to cook all dishes vegetarian, crazy about baking (yes, I bake a lot at night!), jamming and creating healthy, nourishing, fresh meals for my family. I have a very dear husband, 2 lovely kids, a girl and a boy, ages almost 7 and 5, and 2 adorable cats, who are brother and sister as well named Marc and Tabitha! We live in the Bay Area and are blessed to be surrounded with extremely fresh, organic produce that is a part of my daily musings with cooking.I am originally from Mumbai – the city that never sleeps! I am a computer engineer by profession, and came to the US to study Masters.
I was very fortunate to be brought up in a family that loves to eat and cook. My mom has been my constant source of inspiration, and she started teaching me to cook when I was seven years old. There was this one winter holiday, when I was 10 years old, and I took it up, upon me to use one of my mom’s cookbooks, and make a new dish everyday all by myself. There are some successes and some failures, but it was a fun adventurous experience that I still remember to date! I have always helped my mom in the kitchen, and played with spices, flavors and learnt to make things from scratch. My mom believed in fresh food on the table for every meal, and I strive to do the same for my family.
I am a big advocate of healthy, nourishing food, especially after I had my 2 little bambinos, and I hope to do the same that my mom did for our family. I own a small business called JAM LAB, selling organic, artisanal and seasonal jams on Etsy and a few other online grocery stores.
I am also a contributing editor for TheFeedFeed, for the following feeds : 1) Jam, Jellies and Chutneys 2) Oranges 3) Gin. TheFeedFeed is a crowdsourced online digital publication and community, where the content is sourced by lovely, talented home cooks! Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Taesha from The Natural Nurturer!
This week’s Foodie Friend is Taesha from The Natural Nurturer! She is an inspiring wife, mother, and teacher who enjoys sharing her passion for healthy living and family-friendly recipes with anyone looking to make a positive change in their diet. She believes a healthy lifestyle is within anyone’s grasp and making small, positive changes overtime will eventually produce amazing results—she has quite the testimony of what these changes have done in her own life too!
Tell us a little about yourself, Taesha—
I’m a born and raised Mainer who turned turned into a Southern California hippie after my family moved to the San Diego area for my husband’s job several years ago. And…..I am never leaving! I feel like this is where I was always supposed to live. I’m in love with fish tacos, my toes in the warm sand, and amazing local produce available year round. Yep, I’m officially a Cali girl for life.
I was a foodie at birth. Growing up, I was my mom’s right-hand man in the kitchen. I just love the creation of amazing dishes and healthy cooking has become my creative outlet. When I’m not making piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen, I’m a preschool teacher. I’ve been teaching for 16 years and truly feel that, other than food, understanding the way a little person’s mind works is my gift. I have a daughter of my own, Alice, who is my muse on so many levels. And my amazing husband, Ken, who eats all of my crazy creations (even the terrible ones), rounds out our little happy family.
How long have you been blogging and what made you start?
I just celebrated my second “bloggiversary”. This journey of blogging started when my dear friend, Cheryl, and I started sending pictures of our meals to one another as an effort to keep each other inspired with the meals we fed our growing families. Snapping pictures of a smoothie for my friend snowballed into sharing the images occasionally on Facebook and Instagram. People told me I made healthy living look easy and that they wished they could find the time or money to cook healthy nourishing meals too. This bothered me, because healthy cooking isn’t something that has to be time consuming! Dinner doesn’t need to take 3 hours to cook every night (or any night!). It just takes planning, having a few great recipes and wholesome ingredients, and some creativity. Once I realized busy working families were craving help in this area, I started The Natural Nurturer. The best reward I get are the emails and comments from my readers telling me how I’ve inspired and helped them bring real nourishing food into their lives. Those are the things that make me keep blogging. Continue reading →
- Foodie Friend Friday: Dale from The Daley Plate
Today’s Foodie Friend is Dale, the talented food photographer, stylist, and recipe developer for The Daley Plate! I’ve been following Dale on Instagram for years. She is just one of the sweetest people with an air of southern charm and a knack for making simple meals look like a million bucks. Sometimes she’ll draw you in with a old story of life growing up in South Africa, but her mouthwatering photos do a good job of that on their own. One thing’s for sure, she’s definitely the type of person you can imagine sitting out on her porch with, sipping a glass of her homemade rooibos iced tea and enjoying some treats she would’ve whipped up just for you. 🙂
- I speak English, Afrikaans, a little Dutch, a little German, and Korean.
- My nickname (given to me by my mother) is Dahlia, like the flower.
- I love dogs so much and have two rescue pups.
- I have a memory like an elephant and can tell you what you were wearing on any particular day.
- I always knew that my husband was not in South Africa. Since the age of 15 I’ve been telling my mother “My future husband lives across the ocean.”
- I listen to “Oceans” by Hillsong United when I feel like I’m too far from home, because I know that He has brought me here for many reasons.
- My favorite place to be is the ocean! I love the smell of salt in the air because it reminds me of the harbor in Cape Town.
- I am so clumsy! I am forever covered in scratches and bruises 🙁
- I LOVE cheese.
I was one of the worst students in my high school Home-Ec class because I am naturally introverted and was not as forthcoming as the other girls in class. Though I froze up during practical tests, I still had a deep love for the cooking process and the chemical reactions that go with it. My English teacher was the one who had us create a recipe for an oral examination, and after hearing her call me “chef!” it made me believe that I could do it.
- Foodie Friend Friday: Bella From Ful-Filled!
Today’s Foodie Friend is Bella from the beautiful blog, Ful-filled! She and her husband run the blog, along with their electrical business in Northern California. She’s a real food advocate, creative cook, and talented photographer. When she’s not busy developing delicious recipes in her kitchen, you may find her at the park playing with her dogs or out foraging for unclaimed fruit in her neighborhood. Today, Bella’s sharing tips on photography, her favorite tools for editing, and some popular recipes from her blog. Let’s get to know more about her!
Tell us a little about yourself, Bella—
Hi everyone! I’m Bella! I live in Northern California with my hubby & our two dogs in the home that belonged to my hubby’s yiayia (grandmother). We have our own electrical business and we get to work together solving people’s electrical problems. When we aren’t doing electrical, we are typically spending time with our dogs or working on our blog Ful-filled.
How long have you had your blog and what made you begin blogging?
We started Ful-filled just over a year ago. The inspiration to start our blog came from several different things. My journey with food has been quite complicated. When I first started learning about the modern day food system I became extremely discouraged to realize just how far we had gotten from how things were intended to be. Food additives, factory farms, mono-crops, pesticides, etc. —the facts were overwhelming and I would say that as I started searching for ‘the perfect way of eating’ I was absolutely distracted and deceived along the way. Jumping into one ‘food box’ after the other left me totally lost and my hubby really frustrated. He has always been a much more steady grounded person than me. His opposition to me constantly re-calibrating our ‘food beliefs’ played a pivotal role in making me accept the fact that I didn’t know everything.
Long story short, together we reached a point that we were going to just eat real food. This meant getting out of my head and learning to trust my own body. Our bodies know what they need, we just need to quiet down so that we can respond to their needs. At this point in our journey, my hubby kept saying that we should write a cookbook so that we could share what we create in our kitchen with the world. Both of us love food and cooking and I had been a long time reader of food blogs. We had never considered having a food blog ourselves, but there came a day when I realized that the path to sharing our cooking with the world wouldn’t be though a cookbook, we were supposed to start a food blog! Coming up with a name for our food blog was not so easy because everything we thought of was already taken! One evening I was walking into our kitchen and I heard the word “ful-filled” (not audibly, but within my soul). I immediately looked up the definition and we knew that ‘ful-filled’ would be the name of our food blog and that domain name just happened to be available, so it was meant to be.
- Foodie Friend Friday: Monica from The Movement Menu!
This Friday’s foodie friend is Monica from The Movement Menu! She is an inspiring foodie, blogger, and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful tips and delicious whole food recipes. She’s also giving us a sneak peak at her recipe for Baklava Donuts from her upcoming cookbook, Paleo Baking, which will be released in the early fall! More on that below, but first, let’s get to know more about Monica!
Tell us a little about yourself—Welp… I can do this. I’m a go-getter… anyone who knows me will tell you that if I have my eye on something, I’m going to do it. It doesn’t matter how tough the journey may be or how long it will take me to get there, I’ll achieve it. That’s just the way that I roll. I’ve set out to be my own boss since I was pretty young. Growing up, I knew I wanted to lead people towards achieving the greater. A few years ago, it became clear to me I wanted to do so by leading by example & then came the birth of The Movement Menu.
In addition to food blogging, I consult for health food brands about 20 hours a week and just finished writing my first cookbook: Paleo Baking! I bought my first house when I was 23 years old, which was a huge accomplishment. My (now husband) and I bought it before we even got engaged. People thought we were insane to do things so “unconventionally”. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve lived here 3 years now and are coming up on our 1 year anniversary in July!
I also have a really strange obsession with donuts. In fact, I dedicated an entire chapter in my new cookbook to them. Coupled with my strange obsession for donuts, comes my obsession with French bulldogs. We plan on getting one as soon as we can! I try to be funny, as often as possible. Nothing brings me more joy than making people feel good, via laughter and good eats!
How did you come up with the name of your blog, The Movement Menu, and what kind of recipes do you share there? Before The Movement Menu, I created a blog called Culinary Calisthenics, which I was very much into. However, a mentor of mine in the industry gently let me know that I needed to change the name ASAP. He assured me people would continuously butcher the spelling and would not be able to easily access my website. I came up with The Movement Menu because I want people to get moving. I want people to get off the couch and start moving around in general: in the kitchen, walking around their neighborhood, etc. It’s also in reference to movement internally—yes, I am referring to bowel movement. The idea is that eating this way will get you moving, all over! 🙂 Continue reading →