Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Cathy, a blogger that grew up in a Greek house and makes dishes inspired by her Mediterranean roots.

Herbs and Flour

Name: Cathy Stangolis

Blog name and URL: Herbs & Flour  

Where were you born? I was born and raised in Toronto.

Where are you living now? Toronto

Why did you start your blog? 

I started my blog as a fun, creative outlet at a particularly stressful time in my life. In addition to some external stressors, I had recently developed food sensitivities to a long list of foods and was feeling a bit disheartened with all the options that were no longer available to me anymore. My husband actually encouraged me to start a food blog as a way of documenting all the dishes I was still able to create. It helped me focus on all of the wonderful meals I could continue to enjoy and pushed me to find new ways to create flavourful meals as well. It was also a fun way to focus my desire to learn photography.

How did you decide on your blog name? 

I wanted a name that encaptured my love for creating both sweet and savoury dishes. I had played around with a few options but ultimately fell in love with the name Herbs & Flour. A quick look at my recipes and you will see those ingredients play a huge role in my dishes. I am more than a little obsessed with keeping a large herb garden in the summer so herbs definitely needed to be a part of my name!

What do you blog about? 

On my blog, I share easy, approachable recipes that can be replicated in your kitchen. I share a lot of the foods I grew up with and love, particularly a lot of Greek dishes which I learned to make from my parents. That said, I’ve lived in Toronto my whole life so there is definitely a lot of multicultural influence in my recipes as well. I cook from scratch but use ingredients that are easy to find and try to keep things as quick and easy as possible without sacrificing flavour.

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

When I started my blog, it began as a hobby and I didn’t really expect it to grow as much as it has. As I continued working on my blog and developing my skills in photography, I began to look at it more as a business and definitely treat it as a business now.

What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why? 

Greek Spanakopita Chicken Meatballs

It’s hard to choose just one because they are all so dear to me. If I had to choose, it might be my Greek Spanakopita Chicken Meatballs. This recipe is inspired by the flavours of spanakopita (which I love as evidenced by all the spanakopita-inspired recipes on my blog!). It’s also easy to make, healthy and delicious.

Which post do you wish received more love and why?

Pastitsio

I think I feel this way about all of them because every recipe I have published is one that I love and want to share that enjoyment with others. My Pastitsio recipe is definitely on that list, though. The recipe is actually my mother’s and it has always been one that I cherish. This exact recipe has been a part of so many special occasions and evokes all the lovely memories that come along with them. Also, it’s downright delicious and the best kind of comfort food there is!

Which post’s success surprised you and why? 

Crispy Chicken Cutlets

My Crispy Chicken Cutlets recipe has surprised me in its popularity. It is easy and delicious so I am not surprised that others love it as much as I do, but I am surprised by just how many visitors come to my site for that single recipe. Month after month, it is one of my most popular posts.

What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger? 

Time- there is never enough! Finding time to do all of the things I want to do on the blog is difficult, though I try my best to do what I can handle and keep a schedule that works for me. I actually enjoy this work and find this creative outlet is a source of stress-relief for me so that definitely helps me keep motivated. Trying to manage what I can do with my schedule and being realistic and compassionate with myself has helped me keep this from becoming a source of stress. 

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

Where to begin? I feel like I have learned so many lessons along the way. I think since I started the blog out as a hobby and wasn’t thinking about it from a business perspective, my biggest lesson has centered around SEO to help my recipes get seen and enjoyed by others. Since working more on SEO, my blog has grown dramatically but I am still going back and optimizing earlier posts.

What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far? 

As someone who was not particularly tech-savvy nor had any knowledge of photography when I started out, I am proud of the growth and learning that has happened these last few years. It still amazes me to see how far I have come. I am also so thrilled that my recipes have reached so many people around the world and it makes me so happy to hear of people replicating them in their own homes.

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

Irene Matys -Amazing farm-to-table and cypriot-inspired recipes.

Half Baked Harvest - Drool-worthy recipes and photos.

The Recipe Rebel - Easy and delicious meal ideas.

What are you working on next for your blog? 

I have a long list of recipes I am still eager to share with others and just haven’t had the time to do so yet. Sharing those with my fellow food lovers is a priority right now. 

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

I think my blog name definitely shares with others my obsession with herbs but I am not sure I have shared just how many herbs are growing in my backyard! In addition to herbs, my husband and I grow a lot of vegetables in our garden each summer. I love the idea of having fresh, organic produce on hand. I think it tastes so much better knowing you had a role in growing it too. I definitely got my love of gardening from my parents.

What makes your blog unique? 

My blog captures a glimpse into the foods we love to eat in our kitchen. My recipes are simple, easy to replicate, and made from scratch. I don’t make things overly complicated or finicky. I’m just a homecook sharing practical recipes that other homecooks can do themselves too. I try to include step by step photos so that others can see my process and replicate it in their own kitchens too. 

How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog? 

One of the best things that has come out of the creation of this blog has been the ability to make connections with so many other food-lovers. I try to be highly engaged in social media channels and have met amazing people from all over the world as a result!

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

One of my favourite parts about the FBC site is all of the amazing blogging resources available on the website. It was and still is incredibly helpful and I am so grateful for all of that shared knowledge. I also enjoy the recipe roundups!

Follow Cathy and Herbs & Flour on Social Media

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