Name: Alexandra Daum
Blog name: Occasionally Eggs
Where were you born? Toronto, Ontario
Where are you living now? Oldenburg, Germany
Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog right after completing my undergraduate degree. I had studied food in university and always loved to cook, and since I had a little more time than before, I decided to start a vegetarian food blog.
I was enrolled in a master’s program and really unhappy in the decision to go to grad school. At the time I was struggling a lot with my mental health and was having a lot of anxiety attacks, and blogging helped. I decided that I wanted a life that made me happy instead of one where I did what others told me to, so I started my blog and became a yoga instructor! A couple of years in and my blog is starting to open a lot of doors for me professionally, and I couldn’t be happier.
How did you decide on your blog name?
Choosing a name was the hardest part! It’s a reflection on my everyday diet – I have a lifelong dairy allergy, and although my diet is something like 98% plant based, I’ll eat an egg every once in a while. In 2016 I only posted one recipe that involved eggs, so it’s becoming very occasional! It’s a bit of a goofy name but I think it suits.
What do you blog about?
I write plant based recipes with natural, non-processed ingredients. I often talk about physical and mental health in conjunction with a healthy diet, because my diet is particularly important in keeping my mental health in order and my depression and anxiety at bay.
I post dairy-free vegetarian recipes, almost all vegan-friendly, and focus on local, seasonal ingredients.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Something in between – I don’t have any ads on my site and since I don’t use any processed foods, most sponsored posts are impossible. I’m working with a magazine now and opening an online store soon, so I’m hoping to grow it into more of a business in 2017.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
This is a tricky question! Interestingly, I think this Chocolate Banana Babka post that has consistently been the most popular on my blog is a great representation of me. Baking bread has always been my absolute favourite thing to do in the kitchen, and taking a traditionally dairy and egg filled recipe like a babka and making it plant based is a theme on my blog. I also discuss mental health at length in this post and talk about how forcing ourselves into dietary labels can cause more harm than good. It’s another example of a recipe where I wasn’t 100% happy with the photography and readers ended up loving the pictures – that’s definitely a theme I have!
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I know this is a salad recipe which is probably confirming all your worst fears that plant based bloggers just post salad recipes, but I’m completely in love with everything about this Summer Salad and Strawberry Vinaigrette recipe, and wish it had been shared more! I was so thrilled with these pictures, despite taking them during a thunderstorm, and strawberries are my favourite fruit – so a salad that features strawberries mixed in and as a main ingredient in the dressing was just perfect to me.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
A potato salad! It always surprises me when my really simple recipes take off, and even though I love this recipe, it didn’t seem all that original to me. That might be because I make it so much though. I’ve had such great feedback for it from non-bloggers and people who have incorporated in into their regular rotation, and that makes me so happy. I remember debating whether I should post this recipe because I was worried it wasn’t exciting enough.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Actually sitting down and writing posts. I often end up with a huge backlog of recipes that I’ve tested and photographed, because I’ll do between 1-3 a day, but I’m lazy about writing and only post once or twice a week. I want to be actively in the kitchen or moving around while I’m shooting something, and sitting in front of the computer to write or edit is the most difficult thing for me. I usually put it off until 11pm and then end up publishing at 1am or so.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
Good photography will take you far. My most popular posts feature simply styled photos that put a lot of emphasis on the food. I think another lesson that’s still sinking in is that I can’t compare myself to my peer bloggers, because that creates a lot of stress!
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
- My all-time favourite is Earthsprout. Elenore somehow picks me up whenever I’m feeling grey or uninspired about recipe creation. I’ll often go through her archives and read a bunch of posts at once because she’s just so freaking excited about her work! It’s amazing, and her recipes are completely original.
- Another FBC member, Sophie over at The Green Life! We recently posted virtually the same recipe within a couple days of each other with no previous discussion, hah. Her food is always extremely healthy but so approachable. I like her style of cooking and photography, and she’s such a wonderful person!
- Green Kitchen Stories, which is ultra popular for good reason. Again, really healthy, and such beautiful pictures. They’re definitely a force in the plant-based blogging world, and even though they post a lot about their family, I’ve never found it to be an overshare or that it takes away from a recipe. Their recipes are reliable and generally very accessible.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
I hardly ever eat out because I have dairy and soy allergies, which make it pretty impossible to eat at a restaurant!
I really like sourdough bread and eat it almost every day. I make a really lazy dark rye version that I don’t knead or do anything with, really. Dark rye is a standard part of the north European diet, so it makes sense that I eat it all the time! I use this recipe, but instead of storebought yeast I use a ½ cup of sourdough starter and make a loaf every couple of days.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I just finished editing some pictures for a chickpea noodle soup recipe that I’ve eaten six bowls of since yesterday. A bigger project I’m working on now is opening up my online store, with prints and blogging-related items like pottery.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I did pottery for about six years before recently having to stop because of some problem with my hands – because I couldn’t be a potter anymore, I started making jewellery. When I started blogging I had absolutely no idea how to use a camera, but I had been working as a graphic designer for a few years, so I already had photoshop and lightroom. I still don’t know how to take pictures.
What makes your blog unique?
I guess being plant-based is sort of unique, especially because it’s vegetarian without soy products. I make a lot of jokes, but I’m not sure if readers always notice them!
Even though I’m definitely a health-food blogger, I really try to avoid superfood trends that make things less accessible, and my blogging budget is really low (reeeally low) so it’s sort of like if I can afford it, then anyone can. All the recipes I post are seasonal.
I grew up cooking and baking, but I made things that were full of cheese and butter, and learned how to make a roast chicken when I was 9 or 10. Whereas I think a lot of other health bloggers grew up on store-bought foods, we didn’t even have canned tomato sauce in the house, so I make a lot of things from scratch and don’t really think about it. I think my mom influenced me a lot, because she emigrated from Germany, then nannied for a Croatian family, and then lived in little Italy in Toronto and all of her friends were other immigrants! We ate a lot of varied food growing up.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The blogger resources! There are a lot of basic blogging things that I still wouldn’t know about if it wasn’t for FBC, like having a media kit or SEO. It’s an amazing site, there’s so much great content.
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