1. What are your favorite recipes in the book?
My favorite will usually depend on the day! Today, I’d probably say the Cocoa Rolls (think cinnamon rolls but red velvet with a cocoa/sugar filling) or the red velvet cupcakes. You can never go wrong with a classic like a red velvet cupcake!
2. What made you want to write a cookbook solely about red velvet?
I actually became obsessed with red velvet quite a few years ago. I started off making a recipe here and there, then I decided to do a full red velvet week on my blog in 2011. It was so much fun, that I did it again in 2012 and 2013. (2014’s Red Velvet Week is taking place October 7-11!). It has been fun to see how creative I could be with the theme, and writing a cookbook all about red velvet was a great way to take that passion and creativity and put it all together.
3. You shot all of the photography for the recipes yourself, what was that like? How did you go about teaching yourself the right techniques?
My food photography has been a work in progress for a long time! When I first started blogging, my photography was terrible, and it took me many years until I started to feel more comfortable with it. It took a lot of practice to get to where I am today, and it is one thing that I feel like I will be continually working on.
4. What got you started as a food blogger?
I have always loved food, and I grew up with a mom who made 3 meals a day. So I think the cooking part is in my blood. I didn’t really start cooking for myself until I was married, but I started “collecting” recipe (from magazines and cookbooks) long before I really started cooking. But the reason I started food blogging was because of the photography. I had just started finding a passion for photography when I came across food blogs via flickr. I was immediately smitten. And then I think it was the community of blogging that really kept me blogging in those early years. I always laugh, though, when I say it was the photography, because the photos on my posts from those first few years are terrible!
5. This is your first cookbook. Can you talk about what you expected from the process, and how that was similar/different to what the process was actually like?
I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I do know it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, though. My youngest was just a couple months old when I started the process, and combined with 2 other young children – well, it was quite the balancing act. It’s just a good thing we all love red velvet so much!
6. What are your favorite non-red-velvet recipes?
I am a doughnut addict, and have absolutely no self control around them! I also really enjoy making and creating cupcakes.
7. How is writing a cookbook different from writing for your blog?
Going into the writing process, I thought they would be similar, and while they are on some levels, they are also very different. For a cookbook, you have to get everything right – there is no going back. As much as I’d like to say I make no mistakes on the blog, there have been a few times that I’ve had to go back in and fix an instruction or an ingredient. Or if a recipe isn’t clear enough, I can go back in and edit it. But with a book, what is down is down! So there was definitely some pressure to make sure that everything was perfect. I spent a lot more time perfecting and editing those recipes.
8. How did you handle taking care of three children, blogging, and writing a cookbook?
I don’t think I slept much!! We were living with my parents at the time, so that definitely helped because I had a lot of help with the kids and in the kitchen. But there were a lot of long nights. It was one of those times that I just had to put my head down and work, work, work. But the end result is worth it!
9. Would you write another cookbook if you had the chance?
Stay tuned on that one! 😉
10. As a food blogger, what’s your favorite aspect of being part of the food blogging community?
I have made some amazing friends because of food blogging. Food blogging, as a career, is completely different than any other job I’ve had. It completely consumes me (mostly in a good way!). It can sometimes get overwhelming and lonely working from home, but finding that community has been a lifesaver. My food blogging friends “get” what I do, and I have built some amazing real life relationships because of it. I also love that with a lot of the food blogging community, we want to build each other up and see each other succeed. I think that is what has helped the industry grow.
11. Red velvet is usually associated with cakes and cupcakes. What was your inspiration for your nontraditional recipes?
A lot of the nontraditional recipes are family recipes that were converted to red velvet desserts. The Rocky Road Pie is based off of a recipe that my mom made all the time growing up, as well as the cheesecake cupcakes and the eclairs. I also took other favorite recipes that I’ve made or loved over the years and tried to see if I could turn them red. It was a really fun process to see what I could do!
12. What inspired you to add a travel section to your blog? Do you travel often?
I have always loved to travel – it is so exciting and what makes me really feel alive. I remember taking a trip to Europe many years ago with my sisters, and while visiting the beaches at Normandy, thinking that the feeling that I felt there taught me more about what happened than any history book ever could. I wish I was able to travel more than I do, but I still cherish every location that I get to visit!
13. What are your favorite places you’ve traveled to?
I don’t know if I could choose a favorite, as I really do love it all. I love being in the mountains and surrounded by the beauty of the natural world, but at the same time, there is an excitement for me when I’m standing in the middle of Times Square, surrounded by thousands of people. And while I would love to travel the world, I have set a goal to visit all 50 states by the time I turn 50. I started from scratch a few years ago and have been lucky enough to already make a good dent!
14. You also have a section on your blog for blogger spotlights, which you mention is one of your favorite parts about the blog. What made you start doing that?
I honestly can’t remember why I first started, but I love getting a behind the scenes look at some of my favorite bloggers. I think it’s fun to open up and see them a little bit beyond the blog since I don’t get to meet most of them in real life. I have a list a mile long of bloggers that I’d still like to feature and get to know better!
15. What does a well-stocked pantry always consist of in your home?
I’m not sure how well stocked I keep my pantry since I’m constantly trying new recipes. But there are a few things that I do always have – flour, sugar and butter (of course!), a plethora of spices, and about a hundred different pasta shapes. I find that even when I’m past due to go to the grocery store, I can always make a simple pasta dinner!! Other staples include tortillas, bread, cheese and a freezer full of chicken.