Each month we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This month we meet Janessa, a blogger who grew up in a house where she spent a lot of quality family time in the kitchen and almost always ate home cooked meals.
Name: Janessa Heck
Blog name and URL: The Nessy Kitchen
Where were you born? Rural Alberta
Where are you living now? Edmonton, Alberta
Why did you start your blog?
The kitchen has always been my happy place. Growing up, it was where we spent a lot of quality family time and I started cooking and baking at a young age. And the more that I learned to cook and bake, the more I experimented with recipes- often trying to make them healthier and easier.
At New Year’s Eve 2019, our friends had a time capsule where we all filled out a questionnaire and one of the questions on it was what is your dream job. I wrote a food blogger and when I told my boyfriend after, he said “you could totally do that”. Fast forward one year and I started my blog in December 2020. And while it is nowhere near a career at this point, at the very least, I took the shot and who knows where it will lead!
How did you decide on your blog name?
As a kid, my Dad would often call me “messy Nessy”. As an adult, I am a bit of a neat freak and far from my messy childhood tendencies. However, when I am in the kitchen, I tend to have a lot of things on the go at once and it can look a bit messy at times (though it is always spotless by the time I’m done!) so I thought that it was a bit of a punny name on The Messy Kitchen.
What do you blog about?
My focus is sharing healthier everyday recipes with real food ingredients. My goal is to develop and share recipes that are approachable for beginner cooks but delicious enough that anyone would want to make them!
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
Something in between. So far it is not monetized but it is my hope to be able to earn at least a partial income from it at some point in the future.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
I would say that my Oat Flour Peanut Butter Cookies most encapsulate me as I am a major Peanut Butter Lover and these are full of peanut butter flavor! They are also a very straightforward recipe that is made in one bowl without the need to chill or any extra steps which I feel represents my hope for the recipes that I share- to make them as simple as possible.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
This Cajun Chicken Sheet Pan! It is super easy, so full of flavour and a regular in our dinner rotation but it doesn’t receive a lot of views compared to some of my other recipes.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
My Italian Sausage and Rice Skillet. It was a recipe that I whipped up when I bought Italian sausage by mistake and we ended up loving it. So I wrote down exactly what I did when we finished eating and now it is a regular in our rotation. I published the recipe just because we liked it but didn’t expect it to get much organic traffic. However, it has ended up being one of my top 5 posts for well over a year!
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
I think what I have found to be the biggest challenge as a blogger was a sense of imposter syndrome- especially when I first started. I had my blog for over a year before I told anyone besides my close family about it.
I really enjoyed the creative process and outlet but the thought of people reading what I had written and seeing my photos made me feel vulnerable. And I was also worried that people wouldn’t like my recipes. I have since gotten much more confident and comfortable with it and am so glad that I have. Now that my blog is at the point of receiving thousands of visits per month, it is exciting to think that people are making my recipes in their kitchen and it is incredibly rewarding to hear positive feedback and comments on the recipes!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
I’ve learned to prioritize what I want to focus on and accept that I can’t do everything.
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
I recently hit 2000 views in one day which I was very excited about!
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Well Plated - I really enjoy the way that she writes her blog posts- she does a great job of infusing them with personality while still being to the point about the recipe and how to make it.
Liv for Cake - Her baking is absolutely beautiful and I like the way she writes her posts. I find she includes a lot of helpful information and writes in a way that is enjoyable to read.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’m working on creating new recipes, continuing to grow my blog and its traffic. I am hoping to be able to monetize my blog within the next year in order to be able to further develop and improve the content.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
Learning Spanish as a second language is a lifelong goal for me that I have been working at for the past 10 years. I’ve been taking classes, doing online activities, watching videos and even did a homestay in Costa Rica a few years ago (and that has inspired a few of my recipes as well!).
What makes your blog unique?
My food blog is unique to me in the sense that it is a collection of recipes that I have a personal connection with and write about in my voice. And I also feel like I have developed my photography style to be my own.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I am working on building an email subscriber list which I send an email to every week and encourage readers to respond to - I love it when they do! I also try to be a bit active on social media and I respond to every comment I receive on the blog. I am always excited to read the comments that readers leave.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
All of the blogging resources! I first found FBC in the days leading up to me starting my own blog and I have been a regular visitor since. I also enjoy reading the recipe round-ups that they do regularly and often discover new Canadian bloggers to check out.
Follow Janessa and The Nessy Kitchen on Social Media