Cooking Up a Food Blog

I Finally Decided to Join Yummly… And You Should Too

Have you heard of Yummly?

Although it was created in 2009 and received the “Best of 2004” accolade in Apple’s app store, I never knew much about it until last year, and I certainly never thought it necessary to join Yummly until recently. I’m still no expert, by any sense of the word. But I’m learning more about it every day, and the more I learn about it the more I like it.

join yummly

When I first started food blogging a little less than a year ago now, I didn’t know much about getting my posts out in front of people, and what’s the sense of blogging if no one reads your posts? I’d already been using Twitter and Facebook for several years to promote my indie books, and I’ve been using Pinterest for a little less time than that to save even more items of interest for my personal use, including recipes (so I knew the power of using Pinterest to promote my recipes). So, I used all of those and saw some benefit from them.

But then I learned about the food-specific Yummly. The online recipe collection is pretty amazing because it lets you search for recipes that fit into specific criteria. For example, you can search by ingredients or tastes preferences, as these screenshots show.

recipes by ingredients

Or you can search for recipes that cater to certain dietary needs, including allergen avoidance. You can also select certain cooking techniques. I almost exclusive use the microwave and the stovetop, so you can bet I often search for those two types of recipes.

allergy free recipes

The thing about Yummly is, I started using it to promote my own recipes. You can check out my publisher page here. But I soon discovered I like using it to select and collect other people’s recipes to try out on my own at a later date. This is really an awesome recipe collection site. I like it even better than AllRecipes.com, and I’ve been a really big fan of theirs for a long time.

So, if you haven’t given it a try yet, I highly recommend you join Yummly today. You’ll find some fabulous new recipes, and you might even make a foodie friend or two if you visit the posts and leave comments on them.

And I would appreciate it so much if you would Yum! my recipes if you find one that you fall in love with. I’ve made this pretty easy for you by installing the Shareaholic plugin. Go down to the bottom of any of my posts to the “Sharing is Caring” block. Click on the green square, and when the menu pops up, type “yum” in the search box, and that will connect you to your Yummly account, if you already have one. If you don’t already have one, you might want to visit Yummly’s website first and start an account. It is absolutely free!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

reinvent yourself
Cooking Up a Food Blog

I Don’t Want to Reinvent the Wheel

Not too long ago, I posted about my long online absence and some new blogging (and other) directions in which I was headed. I’d been sticking fairly well to the blogging schedule I’d set up for myself on my three sites…but then I realized something. I was trying to reinvent the wheel, in a way.

I was trying to run THREE different sites and not devote an incredible amount of time to any one of them, when I could have just been posting different things on this one site. So, I’m changing that. As of now.

All three sites, in a way, have something to do with food, anyway, so why not combine them? That’s what I’m now determined to do.

reinvent yourself

You’ll still be seeing plenty of wonderful recipes and fascinating food talk, but I’m going to be talking about some other things too – like green living and finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones…and I’ll even include some information about working from home, for those of you who might be interested in that. Ditching the outside 9 to 5 job is one of the best ways I know to reinvent yourself, but it can definitely be scary. With the right information, you don’t have to be afraid.

So, lots of interesting stuff is coming for Witty Vittles. I’ll soon be transitioning some of the material from my other blogs over to this one – and I’m even thinking about making up a word to add to my blog title. I haven’t quite decided on it yet. Well, that’s not quite true. I know what word I WANT to add. I just don’t know whether it’s a fabulous idea. I think it would be pretty cool, but I want you all to think so too.

Stay tuned to Witty Vittles – the somewhat (although not entirely) reinvented Witty Vittles. It’s gonna be pretty awesome!

junk food
Cooking Healthy Food, Cooking Up a Food Blog

What’s So Bad About Junk Food?

what's so bad about junk food_.png

We’ve all been told that junk food is bad for us, but because it tastes so darn good, most of us continue eating it. After all, fruits and veggies can’t beat the taste of fries, right?

Wrong! Fruits and vegetables are among the tastiest, healthiest, and most natural foods on the planet.how to stop eating junk food

Junk food is really anything but. It is the lowest common denominator foodwise. It might tempt you with its rock ’n’ roll swagger, but junk food offers absolutely no vital nutrients and zero health benefits.

It does, however, offer some serious health risks, including chronic disease. Here is a list of 10 of those health risks.

Development of Diabetes

Diabetes is caused when the pancreas is no longer able to produce adequate amounts of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that turns sugar into fuel. As experts have repeatedly noted, junk food is loaded with unnatural sugars that can lead to type 2 diabetes, which can unfortunately result in serious complications and premature death.

Elevated Blood Sugar Levels

Since junk food is rich in sugar, it puts undue stress on your metabolism. Moreover, because it’s high in carbs and often low in protein, your blood sugar levels are more likely to plummet when you stop eating it. This can make you feel weak, tired, and moody, and may make you want to eat even more junk food.

Fatigue

Junk food contains very few nutrients, vitamins, and protein, all of which are essential for an invigorated.

If you exist on junk food alone, you’re going to struggle to do anything at optimum power. You’ll largely feel lethargic and run down, and you won’t ever be able to seize the day.

Brain Fog

Many people just assume that only our bellies, thighs, and double chins are affected by a poor diet. However, fats don’t just make their way to your bulging abdomen. They also attack your brain.

When bad fats, such as those found in junk food, reach your brain they cause brain fog, which is that feeling you get when you can’t focus on anything.

Digestive Issues Disturbances

Virtually everyone on the planet will encounter digestive issues at some time or other. Among these issues are irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, bloating, and excess gas. Some people complain that they suffer from digestive issues all the time, and this could be due to the fact that they eat too much junk.

Junk food is full of oil, sugar, trans fats, and chemicals that wreak havoc on your stomach. Once your stomach is irritated, your digestive system gets all out of whack.

junk food

Depression Among Teenagers

1 in 3 U.S. teens eat junk food each day. In addition to the physical health dangers, it is also important to consider what effect this type of fake food is having on their mental well-being.

Research shows that the more junk food we eat, the more prone we are to depression. This is especially true for teenagers because they are more susceptible to hormonal changes, which can be massively influenced by diet.

Increased Risk of Cancer

The main reason for the link between certain foods and cancer is a lack of fiber. Moreover, as mentioned before, junk food is low in mostly everything else that’s good for you.

Liver Damage

Once your liver becomes overloaded with all the junk you’re throwing at it, it will certainly let you know about it. You’ll feel lethargic, stressed, irritable, and you may develop headaches, skin conditions, and a whole lot more.

Junk food has been linked to liver disease on more than one occasion, and it turns out that it can be just as bad for your most overworked organ as alcohol.

Kidney Damage

Fries are soaked in finely processed salt and oil. When combined with a fatty, greasy hamburger, you’re essentially doubling your risk of kidney disease, which is caused by too much salt in your diet increasing your blood pressure on a consistent basis.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is really scary, but there are preventative measures we can take to ensure we don’t struggle with it later on in life.

Avoiding junk food is one such method because such food is rich in bad fats that increase your bad cholesterol levels and in turn encourage plaque to form and heart disease to develop.home cooking

Part of the reason I love my grandmothers’ old cookbooks so much is that these recipes, for the most part, used real ingredients – not processed junk. Sure, a lot of these recipes use sugar, but honey can easily be substituted in most of them as a healthier alternative. Indeed, you can find healthier alternatives for almost any potentially problematic ingredient. And that’s what I’ve tried to do on this blog – offer recipes for real food, and some really healthy, tasty alternatives to processed junk food whenever possible.

So stay tuned for more updates on old-fashioned goodness!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

If you’re tired of the junk food roller coaster, why not try eating clean for 30 days? It can change your health and your life. I’ve written an easy-to-follow guide and meal plan that is meant to help you do just that.

Clean Eating 101

 

Cooking Up a Food Blog

Explaining the Months of Blog Silence

about time

When I began my food blog back in July 2015, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to do with it, but then Foodaplenty’s 30-day challenge in August helped inspire me to come up with a direction. And I made and enacted some solid plans for the blog in September, October, and even into November. But then there was silence.

Four months of silence.

Why? Well, for one thing I suffered a knee injury that literally knocked me off my feet for months, so I wasn’t cooking or developing new recipes, and honestly the pain distracted and depressed me something awful, to the point where I just didn’t want to do anything. So I didn’t. I let the blog (and a lot of other things) go.

For another thing, I got involved with LaBella Gift Baskets & More as a gift consultant, so I started redirecting attention to that side business.

But that wasn’t all. I also started making handmade gifts and decided to open up my own Etsy shop, Coriacoco, so named because everything – or almost everything – is made using coconut oil and/or coriander.

Plus, I’m still writing and editing and being a full-time wife and mother. The busyness never seems to end, but I am starting to get a better handle on it all – especially since I’m not dealing with the constant intense knee pain anymore.

So, here’s my plan to take care of all my eggs that are in different baskets:

Monday and Wednesday: Post food-related posts here at WittyVittles.

Tuesday and Thursday: Post organic, green living, or handmade cosmetic-related content at CoriaCocoEtsy. So, if you’re in to that kind of thing, be sure to check out my site (and my Etsy shop).

Friday: Post gift-buying and idea content at 1001 Gift Ideas.

Saturday and Sunday: Work on building my Etsy shop.

However, in the immortal words of Robert Burns, “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley.” So, of course this schedule is subject to change, and I suppose I will need to take some time off here and there (but I’m hoping I can get ahead of the game by pre-scheduling posts now and then). But my aim in posting this new schedule is to enforce a bit of accountability for myself. I’ve not had a plan like this before, and obviously I’ve let things slide in more than one venture due to a lack of planning (maybe even a lack of commitment). No more! I’m completely determined to seeing this through. I’ve got a lot to share, and I hope you’ll join me on my blogging journey (on one or all my blogs).

Cooking Up a Food Blog

3 Reasons You Want to Start a Food Blog

3

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, in response to the title of this blog post: Hey, wait a minute! Who do you think you are? You don’t even know me! How can you possibly think I want to start a food blog?

Well, that’s true. I probably don’t know you, but I bet you like to eat…at least enough to keep yourself alive. And if you’re a mom or a dad who is responsible for fixing meals for a family, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about food…way more than you realize. This is even true for you if you’re only responsible for cooking for yourself, because cooking for one person is especially challenging!

Food blogging is a natural extension of thinking about and consuming food for the person who likes to write…and even the person who doesn’t necessarily like to write because it’s not all that hard. So, here are 3 reasons you might want to start a food blog.

1. Food is an evergreen topic. Everyone eats. Like sex and shelter, food is a basic need for all humans. It never goes out of style. People never get tired of talking about, hearing about, or reading about food. And some people are pretty passionate about the topic. You can make real connections

2.  You don’t have to have any specialized knowledge to write about food. Since everybody eats, everybody has favorite and not-so-favorite foods. Everyone has favorite recipes or meals they can share with the rest of the world…or even horror stories about burning water (as my husband has done before) or making the worst-tasting carrot cake in the history of the universe. I have my own horror stories about trying to make my own donuts and Jell-O Candy (a post I’m saving for another day). In short, EVERYONE is an expert about SOMETHING food-related, and that makes it easy for you to share your knowledge and experiences with others.

3. Food blogging can be rather lucrative. Many people are making a living with their food blogs, like Tracy Roberts (although her blog deals with more than just food). Then, after you have enough recipes posted up on your blog, you can take those posts and create a cookbook to sell on Amazon. And you can make even more money by setting up an affiliate program, where other people can get a cut of the profits by selling your products for you. Plus, you can even sign up for other people’s affiliate programs and make money by promoting food-related products on your own blog!

I bet you’re thinking, by now, that starting your own food blog is sounding pretty good, right? Of course it is! And one of the best resources for starting out (it’s FREE, by the way) is Foodaplenty’s 50 Easy Ways to Grow Your Food Blog (yes, this is an affiliate link – I’m taking my own advice and promoting other people’s products).

So, if you’ve ever wanted to start your own food blog (or if this post has inspired you), you’ll want to download this guide today. Just click on the link above. And, for some extra motivation, join in the Foodaplenty August Food Blogger Challenge by clicking on the picture below. It’s free to join, and the prizes are spectacular!

food blogger challenge

After you’ve read the free report listed above, you’re going to want to take your food blogging to the next level by checking out Telling Your Stories Through Food Blogging. This invaluable resource helps you discover your own food stories and connect them in a real way with your audience for maximum effect. And it’s only $11.99!

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Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Up a Food Blog, Just Desserts, Old Family Recipes

Sharing the Love: No-Bake Cheesecake Update

I’ve always loved cheesecake. My grandmother used to make a yummy no-bake version with graham cracker crust. So easy, and so super delicious. I really, really miss that cheesecake. But mostly I miss her!

As part of the Foodaplenty 30-day Challenge for the second day, Alice Seba encouraged us to share a little link love.

This no-bake cheesecake recipe caught my eye… especially because it uses a shortbread crust instead of the traditional graham cracker crust, so I thought I’d feature it here today on my blog. It looks so very, very good. I can’t wait to try it!

Take a minute and hop over to the Crazy Cat Girl’s blog, and tell her Mishael Austin WItty sent you! I SO love her name, mostly because I’m a crazy cat girl myself!

No-Bake-Cheesecake

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Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

 

Breads, Breakfast, Cooking Tools & Techniques, Cooking Up a Food Blog, Cooking with Kids

Donut Holes Disaster

It’s summer. The kids are home from school, and they’re hungry all the time. That means I run out of food in the house quickly.

Yesterday morning, I got the bright idea to try to deep fry my own donut holes. I wasn’t ambitious enough to try actual donuts, but I thought it would be easy enough to fry up little balls of sweet dough.

Turns out, I was slightly wrong. First of all, I didn’t have everything I needed to make the exact recipe I found online. Second, I didn’t really understand what I was doing (since it was the first time I’d ever tried to make donut holes),  so this was a totally new experience for me –  a bit of trial and error. Probably more error than trial.

Here’s basically what I used/did.

My Modified Donut Hole Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert/ Breakfast
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: About 20 donut holes
My modifed donut recipe. It was supposed to be quick and easy, but I didn’t think it was.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 quart oil
  • 1/2 confectioners, white, or cinnamon sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Mix together the vinegar and milk and let sit for about three minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar together until smooth.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla and blend well.
  4. Pour in the flour, baking powder, salt, and salt.
  5. Pour the vinegar and milk mixture into the flour/butter/egg mixture and mix well.
  6. Form the dough into one large ball and break off into smaller balls, rolling the dough in your hands to form the donut holes.
  7. Cover the donut hole dough balls and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  8. Heat oil on the stove in a large, deep frying pan or pot to a temp of 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  9. Fry the donut holes in the hot oil until golden brown, turning over once to ensure even cooking on both sides.
  10. Drain on paper towels.
  11. Dust with sugar of your choice while the donut holes are still warm.
  12. Serve immediately.

And here’s what I think I did wrong. I think I had too much liquid and not enough solid because the batter I got was basically the consistency of pancake batter. Note: DON’T try to deep fry pancake batter and expect to get donut holes. It’s not going to work right.

Maybe if I had used regular milk instead of coconut milk, that would have helped. Or maybe I should have used more flour. I’m going to try that next time and see what happens.

Also, the original recipe used shortening. I switched it to butter because that was what I had, and I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. I could have been wrong about that.

When everything was all said and done, this was what I came up with:

donut hole recipe

I affectionately call these my “donut blobs.” My older daughter said they were, “Yummy.” I thought they weren’t bad…just a little on the oily side (and not at all how I’d hoped they’d be). My younger daughter wouldn’t even touch them. And my husband liked them, but he commented on how the batter must have been too thin because they soaked up so much oil. I told him I thought the batter was too thin also. I guess that should’ve been my first clue to not try to fry them like I did.

Anyway, there’s always next time. I’ll report back on how my second experiment goes with these. Stay tuned!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Almost 20 years ago now, I had my first experience with Pampered Chef. I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would love it if you joined me!