Featured Foodie: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

Name: Diana Leblanc

Blog name: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

Where were you born?  Naughton, Ontario

Where are you living now? Lively, Ontario (5 minutes away from where I grew up, just outside of Sudbury)

Why did you start your blog?

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get settled in.  It’s a long story.

In August 2014, I was diagnosed with MDS and I was told it was going to mutate into Leukemia. I needed to have a bone marrow transplant which would hopefully cure me. As anyone who is given shocking news that basically flips your world upside down, you take a second look at your life. I was always a person who lived by my “bucket list” so I set out to accomplish as many goals as I could. I had to take a leave from work so I had plenty of time on my hands while I waited for a donor to be found.

One of my goals was to make a cookbook with all my favorite recipes I had accumulated over the past 15 years.  I set out to self publish my cookbook through an online website. My friends caught wind of what I was doing and before the book was even done, I had a request for over 40 copies of my book. I decided to sell copies of the books to help raise money for my local Cancer Foundation. My cookbook resembles nothing more than one of those church cookbooks but it is still a piece of work I poured my heart and soul into for 4 months. Just don’t over analyze my grammar or spelling. To date, I am happy to admit I’ve raised over $1,200 from the sales of my book.

After I published my book, I had the pleasure of meeting a local Sudbury author and she inquired when I would write my next cookbook. I immediately laughed at her because it was SO much work but the idea stuck with me and I just couldn’t shake it. I knew I didn’t have the time to invest to come up with another 80+ recipes, taste test them all, etc but the idea of a food blog came to me. I have had a number of blogs in the past – one for party planning, another one I lovingly called Wonder Woman’s Guide to Conquering the Universe (after my name sake) so I decided to jump on the food blogging band wagon and start my own blog.

I struggled with my previous blogs because I never had anyone to turn to for help or encouragement. I give total credit to FBC for why my food blog is still here today – the community of bloggers and the resources FBC provides were completely invaluable to my blog’s growth.

And if you’re wondering how I’m doing health wise, things are great! I celebrated my 2 year transplant anniversary on August 12, 2017 and I get to go on a mission to find my mystery donor.

How did you decide on your blog name?

I know, how original – 365 Days of Easy Recipes. My original goal was to post one recipe each day for 365 days. As many solo food bloggers all know what I quickly came to realize was I was out of my mind!

What do you blog about?

I like to share family friendly recipes that are quick and simple to prepare that can be enjoyed 365 days of the year using wholesome foods. I personally love to batch cook and I am always filling my freezer with meals that can be popped in the oven so I like to incorporate a lot of those recipes on my blog.

I also have a great appreciation for recipes using fresh ingredients. While I aim to serve my family mostly healthy meals, you’ll find a variety of recipes packed with cheese, bacon, pasta and other deliciousness definitely not classified as healthy on my blog.

Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?

My blog is my happy place. While my blog does not pay my bills, it provides a lot more then I can put a monetary value on.

What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?

Featured Foodie: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

My post titled Sending a Ripple of Gratitude across the Universe provides a glimpse of the type of person I strive to be. I have received so much love and support over these past few years, words can not express my gratitude I have for life and the people that have been apart of my journey.

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Which post do you wish received more love and why?

Featured Foodie: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

I hope more people would find my post for Party Planning on a Budget.  I feel that the common dinner party is a fading tradition. While I am always attentive to cost, hosting a party does not have to be expensive. Perhaps when other people realize they don’t need to host like Martha Stewart or Sarah Richardson, they’ll grab their stash of mason jars, white Christmas lights and a delicious bottle of $10 wine and invite some friends over for an evening of memory making. Frugal can be fun too!

Which post’s success surprised you and why?

Featured Foodie: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

My recipe for my humble Shepherd’s Pie has surprised me. It’s really just an ordinary recipe with simple ingredients and not much effort. The success of this recipe actually helped me find my niche, to realize that with all the beautiful blogs out there serving up healthy, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free recipes – there are people out there, just like me, that are still looking for the good ‘ol fashion simple family meals. Especially if it’s freezer friendly.

What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?

Finding a work/life balance is definitely my biggest challenge.  Summer was especially challenged while I tried to juggle the kids, keeping a semblance of a clean home and working on my blog.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?

There are other people out there that are just as crazy about food as I am! While most of the people I know enjoy a good meal, it wasn’t until I attended FBC 2016 that I met other people as ‘passionate’ about food as I am. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?

One of the first food blogs I stumbled upon that I loved to follow was She Eats.  I love Kristy’s quirky sense of humour. She is hilarious! I always fall down the rabbit hole when I visit her site.

I LOVE Liv for Cake when I am looking for birthday cake (or dessert) inspiration or just want to drool all over my keyboard. Her talent is outstanding.

I also love to follow along The Girl in Bloor. Taylor is a true inspiration for going after her dreams. Her recipes are also insanely delicious and her photography rocks!

Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?

I find the company I share my meal with always makes my food taste better, so if I’m with good friends, the food will always taste amazing. If I eating alone, my go-to meal is a plate of nachos.

What are you working on next for your blog?

I’m just trying to work on improving my skills all the way around. I’m trying to come up with delicious food meal ideas that will help people eat well in their busy lives. I’m also enjoying the process of learning more about photography. I’ve always had an interest in photography since I was a teenager so I’m happy to rediscover this interest years later and see what I can do with it.

What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?

I love to take road trips with my family and take tons of pictures.  I also love to feed people. If you come to my house, I will feed you until you are ready to burst. You will also probably leave with a container of leftovers. I can’t help it.

What makes your blog unique?

I try to be unique by sharing my meal planning experiences and freezer meal successes. I’m a person who tries to fit a lot into my life. I’ve learned that dinner success happens with a bit of planning. I can still enjoy delicious dinners with a bit of prep work in advance.

What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?

Is all of it an answer? I love the section on food photography, have practically read every article in the blogger resource section, LOVE the opportunity of being part of the recipe roundups hosted each month and check out the recommendations for restaurants when I’m traveling. The website is jammed packed full of useful information.

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