Behind the Blogger Spotlight: Taste and See. Happy Mother’s Day! Today we are interviewing Holly Sander from Taste and See. I noticed her beautiful food photography right away when she began posting with us – and love her recipes. After interviewing her I can tell you we have the same tastes in food and she MUST share the Okra Cakes recipe she talks about – I’m going to try to find it on her blog…….I’m a HUGE okra fan so this recipe is a must! Read on and fall in love with Holly as much as we are!
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- How long have you been blogging? Since September 2015 but it feels much longer. J
- Why do you blog?
I have so much to say about this… I think I had a special connection with food from a very young age. When I was growing up my family had a huge garden and we all prepped, planted, weeded and worked it together. Back then I wouldn’t have told you it was great fun but now I’m so grateful to have had those experiences.
Fast forward, as an adult I love creating meals for people and entertaining. It’s fun for me to try new ingredients and different recipes. Friends would always tell me to open a restaurant or catering business, but I knew how much work it would require and it didn’t seem like the right fit for me and my family.
Then I discovered…Food blogging!
There is so much that I love about it…first off, I get to wear sweatpants to work everyday. Wahoo! I also get to “work” at what I enjoy: creating recipes, working with new and fresh ingredients, photography, writing. I have a (Communications) degree in Broadcasting and Journalism so all of this is a good fit. Plus, I’m my own boss. The challenge of promotion & publicity is fun too… fortunately I have some career history in PR so that helps.
- How did you come up with the name of your blog?
I’m passionate about a couple of things in my life, and the most important one being my faith in God. I had just stepped out of a position as Youth Director for my church and was on a bit of a break. I was enjoying a season of rest in my life, all the while thinking and praying about what was next for me. When I reflected on all my different training, jobs, and circumstances I realized it all had prepared me for the job of food blogging. During that time of rest I was reminded of a scripture that I love… “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8) I knew I had found my name.
- What do you wish that you had done early on with your blog that you didn’t understand until later?
I’m still pretty new to all of this just being 8 months in, but I would probably say purchasing a DSLR camera and light kit sooner. The results are so much better and it requires way less time to shoot the food since I have the right equipment.
- Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
I have so much advice… If I had time I would create an e-book about it.
First it would be to come up with the goals of your blog. Is this a hobby or do you want it to be your career? If you choose the career side, then be ready for lots of hard work and but also wonderful rewards.
From there I would recommend buying a good camera and light kit if you don’t have the proper natural light in the area you will be shooting. Here’s the thing: you might have a super-original and delicious recipe but if you can’t take a beautiful picture of it, not many people are going to want to look at it. Make it look beautiful – they will come.
Get your food photos on as many sharing sites (like YumGoggle!!) as possible. I’ve heard it said that you should tally up the time it takes you to make your recipe, photograph it, write and publish the post… and then spend that same amount of time promoting it.
With Pinterest, try to get on some high follower, low contributor Pinterest boards. And get your pin on! Also, right now tall pins (usually 2 photos with a description in the middle of them) are performing really well so I would recommend creating and pinning those as much as possible.
I could go on and go – email me if you want more advice. email@example.com J
- What is your favorite recipe on your blog and why?
Spicy Italian White Bean And Sausage Soup… It’s so original, there is just nothing like it. And it is the best soup I’ve ever tasted. This recipe recently won bon appetit’s annual readers choice award (https://www.bonappetit.com/people/our-readers/article/italian-sausage-soup-readers-choice-week) and we were just thrilled!
- Name a few of your favorite blogs…
WOW – how much time do you have!?? There are so many blogs I love and all for many different reasons…some for their pictures, others for their recipes, a couple for there editorial voice and my favorites for their encouragement and helpful advice.
https://lysaterkeurst.com – Lysa is an author, speaker and encourager. She is full of wisdom, gives excellent advice and she doesn’t take herself to seriously.
https://jenhatmaker.com/blog.htm – Jen is HILARIOUS! She is an author, speaker and maker of hilarity. She also has a TV show on HGTV called “My Big Family Renovation“. This girl is on fire. For reals.
For editorial voice:
https://jenhatmaker.com/blog.htm She’s in 2 categories because she’s that good.)
https://pinchofyum.com This one could also be in the photo-gazing category as well.)
https://www.foodiecrush.com This one could be in the best recipes section also.
https://foodnessgracious.com – A stay at home dad blogging away about approachable food and taking gorgeous photos.
https://realfoodbydad.com – Again a dad making approachable food and beautiful images. Let’s hear it for the boys! J
https://www.bakersroyale.com – Lots of baked goods and eye candy.
Best Recipes for my family:
https://www.feastingathome.com – she also has gorgeous photos, which as I’ve mentioned before makes me love her recipes even more.
https://damndelicious.net – Approachable recipes with meat!
https://www.carlsbadcravings.com – Again approachable recipes with meat! Did I mention my husband is a carnivore!??
Other blogs I like to follow:
- If you were a fruit or vegetable, which would it be and why?
A lemon or a Brussels sprout…lemon juice or zest goes in everything I make. Brussels Sprouts are my jam. Real. Talk.
- Favorite band or singer?
I love me some Bethel Music!
- Favorite movie?
The Hundred-Foot Journey…the food, the cinematography, the sweet story. Swoon.
- Anything else you would like to share about your blog – please feel free to write as much or as little as you want!
As you can tell I have a lot of words…Sometimes I get asked about food I dislike. I don’t like to discriminate but…I’m not a huge fan of a sweet mayonnaise based coleslaw.
Also, when I was growing up my mom would make a dish called Breaded Tomatoes – it was canned tomatoes from our garden, sugar and chunks of white bread. I’m still not sure why she thought that was a good idea. I would literally sit for hours staring at my plate of breaded tomatoes, praying they would disappear!
I have a few favorite food memories I’d love to share.
I absolutely LOVE Fried Okra Cakes or fried thinly sliced eggplant, thanks to my mom. My brothers and sisters and I would fight over them. It was soooo good. I’ve never had them anywhere except for my moms kitchen and now my own. They are rock your block crazy good.
I also love a big plate of sliced fresh tomatoes straight from the garden – I could eat the entire plate!
And as strange as this might sound, being a teenager looking for a late night snack, I would head down to my mom’s canning shelves in the basement and grab a can of Lima Beans. Sauté them with some butter and salt and devour them! Nothing ever tasted so good.
Believe it or not I have a few hobbies that don’t involve cooking… I LOVE the beach! Love to travel and have new experiences. Spending time with family and friends. Mentoring is a passion. Volunteering – I think it’s important to give back. And gardening has recently come back into my life.
Finally, I want to say a THANK YOU to Yum Goggle for featuring me and Taste And See, and for always displaying my recipes so beautifully. #grateful #ittakesavillage #couldntdoitwithoutyou