Behind the Blog Blogger Spotlight: Cooking With Carlee
Hi everyone! I am Carlee from Cooking With Carlee and I can’t wait to get to know you better! I am also excited to let you get to know me a little better. So I am happy to be here at YumGoggle telling you a little bit more about myself.
First, I suppose I should let you know that I recently took over the reigns here at YumGoggle. I have some big shoes to fill, but am excited to give it a go. We will be trying some new things as we go and hopefully you will like the changes. If you ever have any ideas or things you’d like to see, feel free to let us know. We are happy to try about anything and want to be sure to give you the best experience possible. So let us know what that means to you!
One thing I’d like to do is bring back the blogger spotlight series. I think it would be fun to get to know a little bit more about our contributors. They are more than a pretty plate of food after all! I have a couple of great interviews lined up already and I can’t wait to introduce you to some of my food blogger friends!
Now grab some popcorn and I’ll tell you a little about myself!
Meet Cooking With Carlee
Cooking With Carlee FACEBOOK PAGE
Cooking With Carlee ON TWITTER
Cooking With Carlee ON PINTEREST
Cooking With Carlee ON INSTAGRAM
All of Cooking With Carlee ON YUM GOGGLE
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
My third bloggiversary is coming up in January! I honestly started my blog on a whim. I didn’t have the first clue what I was getting myself into and really didn’t connect the recipe sites I visited from Pinterest and blogs as being the same thing.
I was lacking inspiration and needed a little project to keep me entertained on cold winter days, so I sent my family an email before the first of the year asking for them to send favorite recipes. I wanted to try some new recipes and didn’t want to have to think much about what to make. Plus I wanted to get my hands on some of the recipes I had enjoyed growing up.
Driving home from my grandma’s house a few days in, I decided I should start a blog about it so that the family members who shared recipes with me could see how it went. Also that way my siblings and cousins could have easy access to some of the family favorite recipes we grew up with.
In the beginning I just sent the link of a new post to the family member that sent the recipe. It didn’t take long for me to realize the people besides my family were somehow stumbling upon the posts. After that it was a vicious cycle. If people were going to see the posts, I wanted them to be better. If I was going to put that much work into a post I wanted people to see it. And that, in a nutshell, is pretty much how we ended up where we are today!
Do you have a secret recipe you aren’t willing to share?
Not yet, but maybe someday! I think it would be fun to have a signature dish that is just a bit different from everything else out there. But so far most of my recipe tinkering and original dishes have been created for something specific on the blog or are things that I just can’t wait to share!
If you were stranded on a desert island with only one food, what would you choose?
It would be so hard to choose because I love it all and I really like a variety. But I suppose I’d go with pizza as long as I could change up the toppings. That way I could have white pizza, breakfast pizza, veggie pizza, dessert pizza, croque madame pizza and more!
How did you come up with your blog’s name?
Ha! It’s not the most creative. Again, I never really planned on anyone besides family seeing it and I started on a whim, so not much thought went into it. I’ve seen some creative ones out there that I love, but Cooking With Carlee gets the job done. ;-)
What are you passionate about besides food?
I am sure this sounds cliche, but my family. Luckily most of our family functions revolve around food, so I can have it all at once! I am also very fortunate that my Little Dude loves to help in the kitchen. Sometimes it takes a little longer or gets a little messier, but he is always surprising me at what he is capable of and it is great quality time together. My husband is also very supportive of the blog and is my chief taste tester. He thinks he is a food critic now!
I am the oldest of six kids, so we always have plenty of people to cook for. There are a lot of good cooks in the group, so we even host cooking competitions a couple of times a year. We have a winner’s board and the winner of each event gets their name added. It is a fun way to get a big group together!
What is your favorite food to make?
I have really been enjoying making cakes lately. I used to prefer cookies and thought homemade cakes were too fussy to make. But it turns out (not so surprisingly) that I am a huge fan of frosting and if you want to make a bunch of frosting recipes, cake is almost a necessity. Now I love making cakes from scratch as well!
My blog might look like I am more of a baker than a cook. Mostly that is just because I find baked goods easier to post. I am much more likely to measure each ingredient and start with things you will also have on hand.
However, I think I am really more of a cook than a baker. I just have a much harder time making a recreatable recipe when I’m cooking. I almost always lose myself in the process and throw something in without measuring it. It feels unnatural to me to measure seasonings as I put them in. I am much more of an eyeball it cook. So to blog a recipe for you I have to make a really conscious effort to record each thing I add.
Plus there is the fact that a lot of our dinners are created based on the strange odds and ends I have on hand. If I don’t think those odds and ends are things you will also have, I generally don’t post the recipe. I am the queen of taking last night’s leftovers and turning them into something completely new tonight. Unless you also have what we had last night as a leftover, it would be hard for you to follow along. I also make my own tomato sauce from our garden and while it would be similar to what you can get in the store, the consistency might be different so I am hesitant to share recipes using items like that. I do share some recipes that either are designed to use leftover or could be made with leftovers, but usually that is just leftover meat like chicken, turkey or pulled pork. That is because those are the kind of ingredients you may find yourself having extras of sometimes too.
What is your favorite thing to order when you are out to eat?
We almost never go out to eat, so when we do I like to order things I don’t make at home. So that is when I get my sushi fix. I don’t fry at home, so every once in a while I may order fries or fried chicken.
However the thing I order the most is salads. Obviously I am capable of making salads at home, but I love all the goodies restaurants put on salads. It’s a lot of ingredients to buy to recreate some of them at home and then you are stuck eating the same thing for a week so you don’t waste any. Every once in a while it’s worth it to make them at home, but usually I order them out.
Who are some of your favorite bloggers?
This is a hard one because I have met so many great bloggers in the short time I have been doing this.
The blogger I chat with the most is Ellen from Family Around the Table. We are always bouncing ideas off each other.
I appreciate that Jamie from Love Bakes Good Cakes is always willing to spread the love. She has a huge following for good reason and she is great about spreading a little love when she is able to. Be sure to check out the Love Bakes Good Cakes Blogger Spotlight too!
I love Val from Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids. She has a heart of gold and makes donations for every comment received on her blog each month. She highlights a different charity each month and it is always interesting to read about the one she choses. She also has great recipes and gives behind the scenes looks at their farm and gives an insider’s perspective to the ag industry.
What are some of your favorite recipes on your blog?
I feel like that’s asking me to pick a favorite kid or something. It’s totally unfair! I would almost have to say my Orange Creamsicle No Bake Cheesecake. It was one of the first recipes that I started with a vision and then went about creating the pieces the way I saw them in my head. There wasn’t anything out there that was what I wanted so I had to start from scratch rather than adapting somebody else’s recipe. There have been quite a few more of those since, but that was an early success.
What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I love the relationships I have developed blogging. I have a lot of friends I have never met in person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of them often. Bloggers are a supportive group, so it has been fun getting to know people who have the same struggles and successes I do. Plus there are some readers who have really touched me as well. It is so much fun to have somebody you’ve never met let you know that they’ve made your recipe twice already because they loved it so much and it’s only been published for a few days.
Luckily I haven’t had a lot of negative comments, but I do appreciate those as well. Not everyone has the same tastes or maybe something that seemed clear to me in the directions isn’t clear to somebody else. I’ve also missed an ingredient in a recipe before. I don’t know that kind of stuff unless somebody tells me.
But one of my favorite things about blogging is how unpredictable it is. Sometimes I will post something and I am just sure it will go far. I love the pictures, the food tasted amazing and I think it is different that what is already out there. And sometimes those posts never go anywhere.
Then sometimes I will post something that tasted really good but I just can’t see it taking off. My Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream was that way. I posted it as a building block to something else. It was a copycat frosting recipe to go with my copycat upside down angel food cupcakes. The cupcakes were supposed to be the star of the show, so I didn’t even have great pictures of the frosting. But the frosting is now my number one most viewed recipe and his has been pinned 80,000 times!
Whew! There is a little bit about me and my little home on the internet. Thanks for reading!