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        Happy Monday! Let me start by saying that this post has taken me FOREVER to write. Mostly because I’ve been struggling with my camera to get just the right images for my posts. My latest goal for the blog is to take 100% of the photos myself using a DSLR camera instead of using my iPhone photos, stock photos, or images that I’ve purchased. For the past few months I’ve been learning how to take good photos, set up lighting, use the manual mode on my DSLR, composing a picture, getting the perfect shot, and editing. Phew, it’s a lot! I’m really excited that this is the first post that consists of 100% of my own photography! I still have a lot to learn but I’ll write about it in another post to come soon!

         

        Hosting Friendsgiving this past week really got me me in the cooking mood. I don’t know about you, but I love experimenting when I cook! It’ allows me to get creative, make a mess, and whip up something new and delicious. While experimenting is fun, from time to time I can get cook’s block (is that a real phrase?)! During these times, I like to consult my handy dandy cookbooks. Cookbooks (and cooking blogs, I can’t leave those gems out!) help me expand my palate, try new and bold flavors, and come up with sneaky ways to get Nick to eat his vegetables (insert evil laugh here)…. Below are my favorite cookbooks and food blogs – give them a try!

         

        favorite-cookbooks

        Cookbooks

        BuzzFeed’s Tasty Cookbook

        I’ve been watching Tasty Videos for what seems like YEARS and they never cease to captivate me. Find a compilation of all the Tasty Recipes in this book.

        Essential Pépin

        Jacques Pépin was one of the first chefs I saw on TV as a child. His fun and carefree way in the kitchen inspired me to start cooking and experimenting with food. Essential Pépin is a compilation of over 700 of Jacques recipes pulling from his French heritage. This one is a must have in my bookshelf!

        The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics

        The cookbook from the Queen of Cooking herself! This book is HUGE but it has all of the classic recipes you’ve been dying to master. Want to impress a special someone with an Angel Chiffon cake? It’s in this book. What about making home made pie? It’s all in here.

        1001 Cupcakes, Cookies, & Other Tempting Treats by Parragon Books (2012-01-01)

        Baking is one of the more difficult food categories to experiment with. The proportions to get the perfect rise are a science and sometimes difficult to just “wing”. I love this book for fresh ideas on baking my favorite sweets.

        The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence

        French cuisine has a special allure – it’s fresh but decadent, healthy but delicious…. I can go on and on. Patricia Wells has put together the most delicate and delicious curation of French meals that I could live off for days.

         

         

        Blogs (although some have their own cookbooks too!)

        Minimalist Baker

        I love Dana’s blog. She makes the most scrumptious meals (not all her recipes are baked) and most of them are vegetarian and gluten free! Let me tell you how difficult it is to find good gluten free recipes out there…. Dana hits the nail on the head! If you’d like to show your support and buy her cookbook, you can find it on amazon here: Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes.

        Pinch of Yum

        I can’t believe I only learned about Pinch of Yum a year ago. This blog is AMAZEBALLS. Lindsay’s recipes are delicious, she’s got a great selection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options, and I’ve learned so much more than just recipes from this blog (example, photography)!

        The Big Man’s World

        I love, love, love Arman’s blog, “The Big Man’s World”. I absolutely can relate to his childhood of having to finish everything on his plate and his struggle with food. Arman has so many amazing healthy swaps for the food we all love to eat. Whenever I’m hitting a cooking creative roadblock, especially for healthy alternatives, “The Big Man’s World” is always there with inspiration. Arman has a lot of Vegan, Paleo, and other diet friendly recipes – so if you’re ever looking to accommodate a friend with dietary restrictions, this is my go to guy!

        A Beautiful Plate

        As a professional chef and blogger, Laura has some very creative and mouthwateringly delicious recipes on her blog. I love the way her site is organized – it makes it very easy to find exactly what you need!

        My Jhola

        I’ve been reading this blog the longest and I love it! It was started by our lovely family friend, Saee. Saee had always been an amazing cook and she started blogging about her recipes in 2008. As a blogger in India, many of her recipes showcase an Indian twist which inspires me to venture out of my comfort zone and back to my roots! Saee also has published her first book – Crumbs!: Bread Stories and Recipes for the Indian Kitchen which is available on Amazon. Her blog and cookbook are definitely ones to read!

        Hi Ana, came across a thread post you made on FBP and being the curious person I am that lead me to your blog here. After thoroughly looking around i have to say that I really luv the blog you have here. I’ve looked at and seem so many blogs as well food blogs and I can appreciate the look and feel you have built here so far. Seems so well organized! It feels like a relaxing hangout here with the sleek clean look and all the bright white space. As well it has a really nice clean design. Elegant I must say as really like the fonts and styling too. I tend to like a uncluttered look and that’s always a balancing act i know on a blog for look and feel. I’m curious as well what blog style theme your using here also.

        But anyway, i can only say in my humble opinion that your off to a pleasant good start here and your very much on your way to having a really great food blog. I just hope you keep at it and stay consistent as it will surely grow.

        I’m not sure I can fully answer the niche question. I does seem like a good thing to find your niche in the food space which is very large by the way. Maybe find that niche that your most passionate about that speaks to who you are as a foodie and where you most draw strength and inspiration from. I can only speak of recently listening to that recent FBP podcast #093 that’s really worth listening to with Meggan Hill that speaks to the issue of finding a niche as well.

        I don’t think you should remove the non-vegetarian recipes you have done either if you choose to go vegetarian. It’s good well presented content that you have made already and now apart off your blog journey. A niche just helps you to narrow your focus and allows you to focus on writing about what matters most to you and stirs the flame of your food passion. Yet it helps to retain some flexibility. Hope it helps, if even just one percent. I’ll be sure to return, this space here is a nice hangout.

        Dear Urban,
        Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my little corner of the internet and letting me know your thoughts on my dilemma in the FBP forum – it means a lot! I really love cooking so I’m excited to be in this niche. Thanks for your advice, I’ll definitely have to listen to episode #093! Hope you’ll be back soon!
        Cheers!
        Ana

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