Name: Sarah Huggins
Blog Name: (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean
Where were you born? Vancouver, BC
Where are you living now? Toronto, ON
Why did you start your blog?
I started the blog back in January 2013. My friends pressured me into it! I think they were tired of receiving my unsolicited “guess what I made for dinner last night??!!” emails.
How did you decide on your blog name?
I had a tough time coming up with a name for the blog, until it dawned on me that I should just call it what it is: Cooking for Kiwi (my husband) & Bean (my daughter). Since then, I’ve added one more seat at my table: “Beansprout” joined our family in January 2014.
What do you blog about?
I blog about feeding my family. Which doesn’t mean I blog about “kid food” let me be clear. I really believe you can cook delicious, interesting, adult-friendly food while still making it accessible to kids. And that you can do it in the 30 minutes you’ve got at the end of a busy workday. (I’m an optimist, what can I say?)
The recipes, tips and tricks on my blog are for families who want to cook and share real, wholesome, tasty food, but don’t have a lot of time to fit it in. That’s us: a lawyer, a banker, and a couple of little kids! We need good food fast.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you?
I recently wrote this post about eating raw sweet corn and grieving the end of summer, which I think gives a good glimpse into my tortured existence. (Kidding. Kind of.)
I oscillate between self-deprecating humour and over-wrought emotional posts, both of which I find resonate with my audience. They seem to want something more than just a recipe, so I try to deliver.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
15 Minute Sesame Seared Salmon. Parents seem to love salmon for a quick easy weekday meal. So I thought they’d be in to the idea of cooking it on the stovetop, which produces a totally different (read: better) result than baking it in the oven. But this post didn’t quite hit the sweet spot in the way I had hoped. In retrospect the word “seared” might be too intimidating.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
This post for One Skillet Sweet and Salty Chicken Thighs exploded on Yummly and has been one of my top 3 most visited recipes of all time. I even get comments from people I don’t know (!) telling me how much they loved it.
It is one of those super-simple back-pocket recipes that I whip up when I am low on time and groceries, so I guess I am surprised by how well it has caught on.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Definitely striking the right balance between quality and quantity. I’d love to churn out the recipes and posts to drive more traffic to my blog, but at the same time I’m very preoccupied with the quality of my writing, and I want to tell a (good!) story with each post, which takes time to craft. I’ve settled on one post a week, which is usually manageable.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
101 Cookbooks was my introduction to the world of food blogs, and I still read it regularly.
A friend introduced me to Feed Me Dearly on Instagram, and I feel in love with Jessica’s photography and storytelling. Some people just have a supernatural knack for this kind of thing, and she is one of them.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
This is easy. The “pulpo” (octopus) taco from Seven Lives in Toronto’s Kensington Market. I make audible noises when I eat it, and it’s absolutely worth the embarrassment.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’ve been thinking about adding some video to my blog. I hear that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I recently quit my very awesome day job to work on my own entrepreneurial projects. It was a very scary leap of faith, and there are definitely days that I doubt my bold decision, but for the most part I am thrilled to have this opportunity.
What makes your blog unique?
That’s a really tough question! Is there any “unique” food blog out there?
I like to think I have a unique approach to kid-feeding, which is reflected in all of the recipes I post. I’m not cool with the idea of cooking traditionally “kid-friendly” food, and for the most part you won’t find sandwiches cut into animal shapes or anything like that (though I reserve the right!). Call me selfish, but my kids are being raised on the food my husband and I like to eat, modified as necessary. I hope that in the long run this will make them happier and healthier eaters.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I’m so grateful for all of the posts on how to drive traffic and promote yourself and your blog. I love to create content; the promoting it part is tougher for me.
There is a recent series on using Instagram in a really thoughtful and deliberate way, which I am totally into.
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