Name: Anna Nienhuis
Blog name: Hidden Ponies
Where were you born? Smithers, B.C.
Where are you living now? Chilliwack, B.C.
Why did you start your blog?
I have always loved to write, and found I rarely had reason to write while living in Ottawa while my husband did his Masters. I had taken a break from university, had our first baby, and wanted something to do in the evenings besides watch TV! It was also a great way to stay in touch with family and friends all over the world, and such a fun way to keep our family’s memories all in one place.
How did you decide on your blog name?
My dad used to tell a story about two kids, one an optimist and one a pessimist. To make a long story short, when the optimist is presented with a pile of manure he cheerfully grabs a shovel and starts digging. When asked why, he exclaims, “With all this sh*t, there must be a pony in here somewhere!” I love that picture of happily searching for that hidden pony, knowing something good can be found anywhere if you take the time look and don’t give up. As soon as I thought of it, I knew it had to be the blog name, even though from a branding perspective it probably makes no sense 🙂
What do you blog about?
Family and food. Food was, and is, a huge part of any family gathering for me and I feel they can’t really be separated!
What post on your blog most encapsulates you?
Oh, this is such a hard one. Probably one that most encapsulates me would be a family post. As much as I love food, I love my family more, and my weekly update posts of our family life are so fun for me. They give a chance for my kids’ personality (and mine) to shine through in brief little captions, and remind me every week how blessed I am with these little characters, renewing and refreshing my patience and love for another week. Here’s a recent one with many of the people I love featured.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Peach Crumble Cinnamon Rolls – or any cinnamon roll post, really. I adore cinnamon rolls and cannot even find words to express my enthusiasm for them. This peach version is a messy business to make, but so, so worth it!
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
Chocolate Eclairs! These are by far the most-viewed recipe on my site, and I made them as part of a challenge with other bloggers, something I would never have chosen to make on my own. Who knew they would be so easy and so popular!
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
For me, it’s knowing when to compare to others for inspiration and motivation and when to look only at my own work and be content and grateful. I love being inspired by other blogs, but read very few regularly as I find it takes away both time and joy I’d rather spend on my own blog.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Cookie Monster Cooking always inspires me with gorgeous food styling, fun, engaging writing and creative recipe ideas.
I love Simply Scratch for the stunning photos, totally doable recipes and the inspiration to make my own salad dressings:
And Our Best Bites was one of the first blogs I ever started reading. I love the variety that comes from having two people contribute, and that they do more than just recipes. And the colours! I love bright, cheerful websites that aren’t afraid of colour!
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
Well, we’ve talked about cinnamon buns…I guess the next favourite would have to be chocolate, and this skillet cookie knocks my socks off every time. I need to eat them less, but everyone needs one in their life.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’m currently focusing on one food and one family post per week – I’ve always tried for 3 posts per week but was just setting myself up for failure! I’m hoping this will mean better quality and still be realistic with a young family and part-time job. I also want to learn to use my fancy camera instead of being lazy and relying on “auto”…shhh, don’t tell anyone.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I just started working for WeNeedaLAW, a campaign trying to build public support for abortion legislation in Canada – not related to food at all, but totally shocking that you can have an abortion in Canada right up until the minute your baby’s born! The “About Me” page doesn’t deal with such heavy issues 🙂
What makes your blog unique?
It’s a blog about food and family, like so many others. I like to think what makes it unique is my voice and my determination to keep it a positive, happy space where people feel comfortable visiting and always leave with a smile and maybe some inspiration to cook and bake more at home with and for their families. I think it’s also unique in that it’s not really branded or consistent – I write about whatever I want and don’t worry about growth or fitting into a theme. This allows it to be my space, not something created to please others, which I feel would completely smush my creativity and enjoyment in it.
What’s your Favourite FBC Feature?
I like the Weekly Menu Plans – I’m always trying to get better and more consistent about meal planning, so any inspiration is wonderful. And overall it’s just so fun to be part of a nationwide group of people who love food and make homemade food a priority in their lives.
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