There are some food bloggers in the webisphere who seem to have it all pulled together, with so many good things going right, making what they cook, photograph and share all seem so effortless.
Kristen with Dine and Dish is exactly one of those bloggers. She has a loyal following, creates family friendly recipes and shoots the most amazing Instagram photos—yep, that’s me, just one more of her Instagram stalkers.
Kristen is shares dutifully her #shotoftheday images on Instagram. Her coffee is never far from reach.
Kristen and her food blogging buddies at the CIA with Cooking Channel’s Jeffrey Saad
But Kristen’s blogging success isn’t due to the type of camera she shoots with, or the blogging buddies she pals around with. Kristen’s success is because she does it all from the heart. Her photos, her posts and her recipes are all a result of her authentic voice and passion for food and family.
My favorite Instagram photo of Kristen’s. See a selection here.
I’m so inspired after having had the chance to spend a Saturday morning coffee clutch with Kristen via the www.
Full disclosure: this was my first web chat and I didn’t have the HD setting revved to the max, so the quality is a little jiggity jaggity and while Kristen looks and sounds great, I seem to have been Tammy Faye Bakerized and developed a heavy eyelid (oh why didn’t I at least wear some fake eyelashes to blame it on?) so don’t let my non-stop blinking distract you from Kristen’s far more interesting words.
Kristen’s interview Part 1: Kristen dishes on how she got started in food blogging, cooking for her family—that includes 4 kids—her career as a successful writer despite a teacher’s discouragement and her favorite apps for taking great Instagram photos.
Kristen’s interview Part 2: Kristen talks about her Project 365, tells us where she finds her cooking inspiration, and shares her favorite photo editing software and the best way to back up your digital photos—yes, she lost over 2,000 photos last year.
I asked Kristen what her favorite dishes on her blog were so I could try one out. She gave me quite the list including Vanilla Butter Cookies, Bread Machine Challah, and Grasshopper Cocktails for St. Patrick’s Day.
But I was drawn to her recipe for Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs because I needed an easy dinner to get on the table that night and I’m pretty much always happy to swap out a few extra calories for some tender, juicy chicken.
It’s a must-try. And believe me, if you’re a white-breast-only chicken eater, step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afeared! Chicken thighs are NOT SCARY!
Get Kristen’s recipe for Baked Chicken Teriyaki Chicken Thighs here.
And now for a few words—in type—from Kristen about a few of her favorite things. Thanks again Kristen for being our foodie crush!
1. Describe your blog in 3 words:
Food, Family, Photography
2. If you could be one food blogger other than yourself, who would you be?
Oh that is so hard… I think Penny De Los Santos has some pretty incredible experiences. I wouldn’t mind being in her shoes for a day!
3. Which 3 blogs do you follow/are obsessed with/can’t live a day without?
I change up my blog reading habits so often (and am really bad about keeping up with anyone!) I have always loved the Shutter Sisters, I am currently obsessed with VK Rees and recently discovered Happy Yolks.
4. What is the one kitchen tool you could never give up?
I really love my bread machine. I can make bread without it, but having it do all the heavy work up front really makes it so much easier to make bread often.
5. What dish are you obsessed with mastering that you just can’t get quite right?
Pie crust! Ugh… I don’t know what my problem is but I can’t make a good pie crust to save my life. In fact, one day I was determined as heck to get pie crust right and made 6 in one day, with none turning out. I have followed every twitter suggestion, every tutorial, my mom’s advice, etc. and it just never turns out right.
6. What did you have for dinner last night?
Chocolate, margaritas, guacamole and pizza We had a girls night in with two of my best friends / neighbors. We ate what we were craving
7. What’s one secret talent outside of the kitchen nobody knows about you:
A secret talent…hmmmm. I really like getting to know people better. I can talk to anyone and often find that people are more than willing to open up to me in conversation (even about some things I’d rather not know about!)
8. You’re happiest when cooking/eating…
really good homemade bread and butter! I’m a carbs girl and bread is my weakness.
9. As a magazine writer, editor and successful blogger, you seem to have the whole work/family balance flow figured out. Can you share your tips with us on how we might be able to achieve that same level of even keel?
I wish I could say I have it figured out. I don’t… there are times when I feel like a horrible mom, blogger, wife, daughter, sister, friend, freelancer. I think the thing that helps me is a supportive husband who does all the laundry (which is a lot when you have 4 kids!). I also have learned since having my 4th kiddo to say no a lot more. I can’t be at every class party, every sporting event, etc. and can’t do every assignment pitched to me. Learning to say no and allowing myself to prioritize my life based on what brings me the most joy has become my central way of living lately. Does it sound bad to say I put myself first more often now? Obviously I have my families best interest in mind, but putting myself as a priority makes everything in my life run a lot more smoothly.
10. The one secret ingredient to your success is:
Staying true to who I am. I think when you aren’t true to who you are, people see right through that and know. I have tried on my blog and in my life to live authentically. I may not be the biggest or best blogger or photographer, but I have really tried to stick to who I am and to do things my way… even if it isn’t the most popular way. I will also say I don’t get caught up in the numbers and don’t consider blogging to be competitive. Paying too close of attention to “stats” can be crippling to your blog and your soul.
Thank you so much Kristen for sharing so much with us. There’s a reason you have such an ardent following, and if we didn’t know why before, I think we certainly do now.