The Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series is a way for you and I to get to know and support the wonderful Food Bloggers who share their delicious recipes at Kitchen Thyme.
Meet Amanda from Burrata and Bubbles!
Check out Amanda's recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Hi Amanda! Thank you for being part of our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Amanda: I'm originally from Houston, which hugely influences a lot of my cooking, but I've lived in Denver since 2006. I've always loved cooking and baking and got into food photography a couple years ago. Rather than just documenting the journey on Instagram and Facebook, I thought it'd be fun to have a place where I could also share my recipes.
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Amanda: I’m obsessed with cheese, and burrata happens to be my favorite of all cheeses. Besides cheese, I also have a thing for all bubbly drinks – Champagne, craft beer, a sparkling cocktail – so Burrata and Bubbles is an ode to my culinary loves. Plus, as a huge alliteration fan, the two are a natural fit.
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Amanda: Less than a year. I started Burrata and Bubbles in May 2018, but I definitely kick myself for not starting sooner.
KT: Are you a part-time or full-time blogger?
Amanda: It’s a part-time gig. When I’m not blogging, I work as a freelance PR and content marketing consultant.
KT: How many recipes do you publish each week?
Amanda: Usually twice a week, though sometimes it’s once a week. There were a few times in the fall when I managed to publish three recipes a week, but I have no idea how I found the time to do that. If I blogged full time, three posts a week would my goal, but it’s a bit hard when you’re juggling another career.
KT: After you publish a recipe on your blog, walk us through the steps you take to get more eyes on that recipe. What sites do you submit your recipe to? Do you use a spreadsheet to keep track of where you share your recipes?
Amanda: I submit each new recipe to Kitchen Thyme, Foodgawker, Fridgg, FoodYub and FeedFeed, and then I share the recipe on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and schedule it to circulate throughout the month on Pinterest through Tailwind.
After I share it, I record it on a spreadsheet according to the publish date, social media promotional date, food category and seasonality. I like to keep a record to make sure I have an idea of when I last shared a certain recipe, so I can space out reshares. Having the dates and seasonality also makes it quick and easy to build a library for certain holidays and the time of year.
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week?
Amanda: Considering that this is a side hustle and my actual work life varies a lot week by week, I don’t necessarily have a typical blogging week. I consistently try out new recipes on the weekends and edit photos while I binge on Netflix at night, but the writing and promotion comes in spurts when I take a break here or find some free time there.
Generally, I shoot for publishing Monday and Thursday if I have two posts, but if I’m only publishing one post for the week, I try to go live on Tuesday or Wednesday.
KT: Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Amanda: With my blog and freelance business, I’m essentially running two startups, so sometimes it feels like I don’t stop. That said, when I feel myself hitting my limit, I take the time I need to unplug. Burn out is real, so I do everything I can to avoid it and stay motivated and fresh.
I also unplug from email on Friday and Saturday nights. Sure, I might post a photo or story to Instagram of that evening’s fun, but those weekend nights are for spending time with my favorite people and a good drink. I’m not in the business of curing cancer, so email can wait.
KT: How much time do you spend on Social Media each day? Do you use any schedulers for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Do you have a Virtual Assistant to help you?
Amanda: That’s hard to say because it comes in spurts as I mentioned. I use Facebook’s built-in scheduler and Tweetdeck as well as Tailwind. For Instagram, I’ll upload the photos I plan to share and leave them in draft mode, so I can quickly publish them when I’m ready. I don’t have a virtual assistant, but finding one down the line would be ideal.
KT: What social media networks/websites give you the most traffic to your blog?
Amanda: Pinterest, hands down. It’s not even close, though I still think the other networks are important from a branding perspective.
KT: What AD networks do you have on your blog?
Amanda: Just Chicory. My goal is to eventually make it to Mediavine, and I don’t plan on adding any networks until then.
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
Amanda: I’ve made a little from guest blogging, but right now, this is mainly a labor of love. I want to get into sponsored posts, but being that I’m so new, I'm focused on building my content library. That said, I plan to start pursuing sponsored opportunities and am working to make that happen this year.
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
Amanda: Not as this point but with my focus on pairings with recipes, I’d especially love to develop long-term relationships with breweries, distilleries, wineries and the like so that’s on the dream board.
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Amanda: I haven’t been to any food blogging conferences yet. It probably won’t happen this year, but it’s definitely on my radar for the future.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Amanda: My brain has a hard time shutting off, so pretty much everything inspires me. Sometimes it’s something I see on TV or an existing recipe – whether that be from someone else or even my own past recipes. I also pull inspiration from when I eat out. Even wandering the grocery aisles or strolling around a farmers market can spur ideas. I’m open to new ideas anywhere I can find them.
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
Amanda: That’s a hard question because I truly enjoy everything on the blog, and I’m always falling in love with new recipes. But my andouille sausage-chicken gumbo recipe is a classic, and I’m a huge sucker for this s’mores ice cream. Cocktails are one of my favorite recipes to create and shoot, so it’d feel wrong not to include this cherry bourbon smash.
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting or filters?
Amanda: I have some nice, large windows, but I actually use artificial light about 99.999 percent of the time even if my house’s natural lighting is at a good spot. For me, it’s much more efficient to work with artificial lighting because I know exactly how it will look and what camera settings to use. I’ve definitely seen some people say you should always use natural lighting, but I think that’s complete nonsense. Once you get a handle of your artificial lights, it looks just as beautiful.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Amanda: Lynda.com was a great resource for me when I first learned photography. I took a couple courses on composition as well as one on mastering Lightroom, and I can’t recommend those classes enough.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Amanda: This isn’t necessarily a cookbook, but it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about pairings: “The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food” by Garrett Oliver. Garrett is the brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery, and he’s such an incredible wealth of knowledge. I had the chance to meet him at the Great American Beer Festival this year, and instead of playing it cool, I went total fan girl on him and gushed over how his book has a permanent spot on my coffee table. I should probably be embarrassed by it, but it was such a cool moment that I don’t regret it one bit!
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Amanda: I have so many, but I’d love to cook with Chrissy Teigen because I’m 100 percent convinced we could be BFFs in real life, and her recipes look amazing. And I can’t forget Ina Garten because she’s the queen, and I not-so-secretly want to be her.
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Amanda: Obviously, burrata is a must-have. I also can’t get enough fresh basil and avocado in my life, and I’m a huge believer that bourbon makes everything better.
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Amanda: Remember, this is a long game. In one of the food blogger Facebook groups, I read a comment from a more seasoned blogger that when she’s creating recipes, especially seasonal ones, they won’t benefit her from a traffic standpoint immediately as much as they will down the road.
That resonated with me and gave me perspective because I had just created this recipe a few days before Christmas for Buddy the Elf’s favorite maple eggnog, and it really took off. That was great, of course, but I was also frustrated because I created this well-performing piece of content that would only have a short shelf life. However, now I’ll have that great content for the 2019 holiday season, and I can start promoting it on Pinterest early to really maximize its potential.
KT: Thank you so much for joining us at Kitchen Thyme, Amanda! Where can our readers find you?
BLOG: Burrata and Bubbles