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 Susan from My Recipe Reviews!
Check out Susan's recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Hi Susan! Thank you for being part of our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Susan: Hello! I was born and raised in Texas and currently live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. When my sweet niece got married years ago, I created a family cookbook so she could have some of the comfort food she loved growing up and could share it with her family. I realized I have a lot of great recipes with reviews and tips and I wanted to share them with other family and anyone else who might enjoy them, too!
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Susan: Well, it may not be as the most creative name, but it pretty much describes the site. A lot of people see recipes float by constantly on Pinterest or from popular cookbooks/sites and wonder if they’re worth making. I try to make a lot of these recipes and give honest reviews (as well as creating a few of my own along the way).
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Susan: Since 2013. I stumbled through creating my own site and trying to figure out plug-ins, SEO, design, and finally had the site revamped and rebuilt last year by a professional.
KT: Are you a part-time or full-time blogger?
Susan: I’m a full-time computer consultant and part-time blogger. I’d rather blog full-time, but those bills have to be paid unfortunately.
KT: How many recipes do you publish each week?
Susan: I try to post once or twice a week. I experiment with new recipes more than that, but unfortunately (!) not all of them are successful. I won’t post a recipe that doesn’t have great results.
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?
Susan: Good question! I post to social media (Facebook, Yummly, Foodgawker, Foodyub, Pinterest, Instagram, YumGoggle, and of course, Kitchen Thyme). I don’t keep a spreadsheet, but have a tab on my browser that lists all of them. I go down the list and post them in one sitting to make sure they get done.
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week?
Susan: Since I work full time, I mostly cook at night and on the weekends. I get the best response from posts on Saturday and Tuesdays for some reason, so I plan to post on those days.
KT: Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Susan: Right now I’ve got my nose in my laptop most of the time. My husband is very understanding and knows I’m trying to build up the site.
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?
Susan: Probably 2 hours a day on social media. I don’t currently use schedulers or a virtual assistant.
KT: What social media networks/websites give you the most traffic to your blog?
Susan: My top traffic generators are Pinterest, Google searches, and Yummly. Surprisingly, Foodgawker doesn’t generate as much as it used to.
KT: What AD networks do you have on your blog?
Susan: I use GoogleAds and GourmetAds.
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
Susan: Not yet, but I’d love to have a relationship with some quality brands.
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Susan: I’ve not been to a conference yet, but hope to in the near future.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Susan: Mostly from what my family will eat (try cooking/baking without fresh tomatoes, onions, nuts, berries and peppers – it’s a challenge!).
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
Susan: That’s a tough one, but I would say Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce, Dreamy Krispie Toffee Squares, and Dutch Oven Potatoes.
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting or filters?
Susan: You don’t necessarily need expensive lighting equipment (and it can get pricy!). I have a good kitchen window with nice light, and I also made a light box from a big cardboard box, 2 lamps with 100 watt bulbs, and material from Walmart. The box comes in handy when I have to take photos at night.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Susan: The usual first tip of course is turn off the flash! Good lighting is one of the keys. The other tip, or rather a pet peeve of mine, is don’t manipulate the food too much for the photo. People are going to be making the recipe and will look to your photo for the end result. You don’t want them to be disappointed if theirs isn’t anywhere close to your photo.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Susan: It changes as our tastes change. However, I love the America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country cookbooks because I know they’ve tested the heck out of the recipes and they’ll turn out great every time.
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Susan: Jacques Pepin. He has a way of making complicated recipes accessible to cooks like me. He also seems like an incredibly nice man.
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Susan: Olive oil! Oh, and fresh garlic, smoked paprika, fresh parmesan, and good quality baking chocolate.
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Susan: Research, research. There are tons of advice and tip blogs on starting, maintaining, and evolving a food blog. Google it and read everything you can. Choose a web site name thoughtfully and make it easy to remember.
KT: Thank you so much for joining us at Kitchen Thyme, Susan! Where can our readers find you?
BLOG: My Recipe Reviews