Today’s “a day in the life” is the wonderful Liz of The Lemon Bowl. Liz and I are relatively new friends but she is hands-down one of my best blogging friends. And this Friday I get to meet her in real life! To say I am excited is an understatement. I hope she likes me!
Liz and I have been busy planning our Taste of MI event so we’ve gotten to know each other quickly!
Liz is not only a great friend, but she’s a talented cook and blogger. And she inspires me to eat healthier.
Tell me about yourself and how you started food blogging.
My family is full of foodies and fantastic cooks on both sides so good food is in my blood. Growing up, family gatherings, vacations and holidays always revolved around food. From Mexican food in Tucson to Thai food in Berkeley and everything in between, if it was authentic, we wanted a taste of it. Fortunately, my mom let me take over in the kitchen at a young age so I have been cooking ever since I could reach the counter. Over the years, more and more people asked me for recipes and after a few suggestions to start a blog I finally bit the bullet and started in 2010.
Take me through your day.
- 7AM: Wake up, respond to emails, check twitter, Facebook, etc.
- 8AM: Coffee and breakfast. My 1 year old usually eats whatever I’m having (oatmeal or smoothies most mornings.)
- 10AM + 3PM: Son naps while I place work phone calls, emails and check social media. (I work from home part time in sales.)
- Noon: Lunch time and dinner prep. If it’s nice out, we will try to sneak out for a walk.
- 5PM: Family gym time – we love hitting the gym when my husband gets home from work. I am a class junkie (Kickboxing, Yoga, Step, Pilates, etc.).
- 6PM: Dinner time
- 7PM: Bath, book and bed time for little guy.
- 8PM – 10PM: Work on tomorrow’s blog post, check social media, watch tv, relax with hubby, etc.
- 10:30PM: Lights out and pray that I get 8 ½ hours of uninterrupted sleep.
What is your one must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
Sharp knives! When I moved to Boston to attend hospitality school, I signed up for a few cooking courses and the first thing my Dad did was buy me a real chef’s knife. I’ve been collecting good knives ever since.
What is the most important part of your day? Why?
Hitting the gym is the most important part of my day for several reasons. First, it is one of the few times of the day that I have to myself. Second, it makes me feel happy and healthy. Third, it is FUN! I always say, you never regret working out. And let’s be real: I exercise to eat.
What is your favorite part of your day? Why?
Dinner time is my favorite time of the day. Obviously, if I didn’t love to cook, I would not have a food blog. The hour it takes me to prepare a meal is pure joy. I rarely make the same dinner twice and that is purely because I love creating new recipes. Of course, I also love the fact that my husband is home for dinner every night so we always get to eat as a family. We ate dinner as a family every night growing up and I look forward to continuing that very important tradition now that I have a family.
What is your LEAST favorite part of the day? Why?
Probably any time my little guy wakes up crying before 7AM. (Mama loves her sleep!)
If you could choose one room in your house to spend the WHOLE day in, which room would it be? Why?
Of course, the kitchen. Nothing beats a snowy Sunday spent in the kitchen cooking dinner for my family while my husband bakes. (He is famous for his cheesecakes, breads and cookies!)
If you could choose one room in your house to remodel (on an unlimited budget!) which room would it be and why?
The master bedroom! The bed is gorgeous (brand new king in honor of the little bambino) but the other half is a joke. I work on a tiny desk in the corner with the TV to my back and a play pen stuck in the corner. It’s no wonder the kitchen is where I’m happiest!
What is your favorite day of the week? Why?
Saturday! Specifically, I love Saturday mornings. If I play my cards right, I get to the farmer’s market and kickboxing with enough time to cook a healthy lunch – all before noon! By the time one o’clock rolls around, I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much yet we still have the entire day together as a family. Absolute perfection.
If you had to choose one place to travel to every year over and over, where would it be? Why? Have you been there before?
Lake Michigan, hands down. My family has a home on the water that is my happy place. There is no cell service, we cook all of our meals as a family and the water goes on and on. Having lived in Boston for 9 years, I know what ocean living is like but I am a fresh water girl at heart. Once you’ve experienced the gorgeous, white sandy beaches of Michigan’s coastline you will understand.
If you could travel anywhere in the world for free, where would you go and how long would you stay?
Back to Europe! In 2001, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in London. When my 10 week semester ended, I stayed in Europe for 2 months traveling to over 10 countries in 25 days. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.
What is your favorite quote or verse?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” –Henry David Thoreau
What is your favorite cookbook?
My family is Syrian so we love cooking traditional Lebanese/Middle Eastern food such as stuffed kousa, hummus, meat-stuffed grape leaves, etc. One of my favorite cookbooks to reference is called Kibbee ‘n’ Spice and Everything Nice. (Isn’t that name just precious?)
What recipe on your blog are you most proud of?
My Pesto Chicken Pasta with Swiss Chard landed me on the TODAY Show earlier this year which was absolutely a dream come true. As odd as this may sound, I have always wanted to cook on the TODAY Show. When I got the out of the blue phone call, I was pretty much floating on cloud 9. It was a huge honor and one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
What recipe on your blog do your readers seem to love most?
My Zucchini Scallion Pancakes with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce are a huge hit. Everyone seems to have too much zucchini in late Summer so I think people appreciated a new use for the tasty veg.
What have you learned since you began blogging?
One of the greatest gifts of being a food blogger is all of the great fellow bloggers you meet! I truly had no idea I would be making so many great, new friends who share the same love and passion for food. Any opportunity I have to meet, work with or collaborate with fellow bloggers is priceless.
What have you found to be the most challenging part of blogging?
Photography is by far my greatest challenge. I can confidently say that I am a good cook. Photography? That’s a whole different ball game! I am always trying to learn more about photography because I believe we eat with our eyes first.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in cooking or food blogging?
Start today! No seriously, start now. Do not wait until your website is perfect or you have a million perfect recipes. If I waited for my blog to be perfect, it would never be published. It’s cliché, but true: just do it.
Who would you like to see featured here in the future?
What question would you ask a fellow blogger?
What conferences do you recommend attending and why?
Thanks Liz! I think you left something out in your daily schedule though–what about the hours you spend replying to my crazy Taste of MI emails? ;)