Name: Megan Newton
Blog name: Food & Whine
Where were you born? Killarney, Manitoba
Where are you living now? Delta, BC
Why did you start your blog?
I started it as a New Year's resolution to write more often. I've always loved to write as a hobby, but after I became a mom, I started to notice I wasn't writing much at all anymore. I stopped taking time for myself, and I knew I had to change that. I figured food would be a good topic because I prepared food every day for my family, so I'd never run out of writing material.
How did you decide on your blog name?
Food and Whine seemed like an appropriate title, seeing as my kids whine about my cooking a lot. It's a fun play on words. When I tell people the title of my blog, they usually think I'm saying "Food and Wine" so I have to explain that it's "whine" with an "h." Of course, sometimes I like to have actual wine with all that food and whine!
What do you blog about?
I blog about family-friendly recipes, and my children's reactions to them. As you can probably guess from my blog's title, their reactions aren't always positive, but they can be pretty funny.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
My blog is primarily a hobby. I work with brands from time to time, but lately I've been enjoying doing my own thing and just sharing recipes that I love. I have a full-time job as an insurance underwriter. I like it, but it isn't the most creative job, so I like to use my blog as my creative outlet.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
The first one that comes to mind is Wonton Soup. This post gives you a good sense of what it's like cooking with young kids. My younger son made wontons while wearing a Spider-Man costume the entire time. Posts like this one make me grateful that I'm a blogger, because I've captured these precious moments when my kids were little.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
Deconstructed minestrone soup. I think the concept of a deconstructed meal is a great one for families with picky eaters. It's also handy for people hosting a crowd of people with many different tastes and diets. I just set out all the ingredients and let everyone choose what they want. It's less work for me, and more fun for them.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
Cauliflower Cheeseburger Casserole. I made this one up on a whim after buying an orange cauliflower at the grocery store one day. I didn't think much of it at the time, but two years later it started to do very well on Pinterest and is now one of my most viewed posts.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
My biggest challenge is staying motivated to blog regularly. I used to write once a week, sometimes more, but with a growing family and a full-time job keeping me busy, it started to feel more like a chore than the fun hobby it was meant to be. Now my goal is to post once a month, and even that can be difficult sometimes.
I'm a lot pickier about my posts than I used to be in the early days of blogging when I would snap a photo and hastily type up a recipe. Now I worry about choosing the right time of day to take a photo when the lighting is just right, what angles and props to use, testing the recipe to perfection, editing the photos, composing a story to go with the recipe and photos, and promoting the post on social media. Each post is a big project.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
I've realized I don't have to be everything to everyone. It's easy for bloggers to get so caught up in trying to be popular that we risk sacrificing our authenticity. When I write a post, I make sure to ask myself why I'm writing it. Is it something I genuinely enjoy or is it just something I think people want to see? I've learned to be true to myself above all else.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
My Kitchen Love - Samantha's recipes are unique and sophisticated, while still appealing to kids.
Hilah Cooking - I've been reading Hilah's blog and watching her cooking videos for years and she always makes me laugh. She uses ingredients that are easy to find and don't require any specialized kitchen equipment to prepare, so anyone can make her recipes.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
I'm a big fan of pizza, because it's so versatile. Here's a post with my favourite ways to enjoy pizza.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I'm working on compiling a menu plan with a month's worth of dinners using meal templates. The templates are basically guidelines for creating a meal instead of an actual recipe. It allows people to get creative and use up ingredients they already have on hand. The post about pizza that I mentioned above is an example of one of these templates.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I had gestational diabetes with all three of my pregnancies. During my third pregnancy, I wrote an online journal about my experiences with gestational diabetes. It's called The GD Diaries.
What makes your blog unique?
My opinionated children add a lot of character to the blog. I also have a series called "Making Over Left Overs" (MOLO Mondays) that shows you how to use left-overs in creative new ways, saving you money and time.
My printable meal templates are a unique feature, too. It's great for people who like to experiment in the kitchen and have trouble sticking to a recipe (like me!).
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I adore the "On Board in 20" series with family-style meal ideas that are ready in 20 minutes. For a family like mine with many different tastes and a busy schedule, this is the perfect way to feed everyone in very little time.
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