By the end of 2013 I was getting better organized and a better grip on juggling everything in my crazy life and actually am now really organized and planning things in advance. (Yay! Go me! No, seriously, this is huge for me guys!)
So I am bringing back the Bites with Bloggers series and I couldn't think of a better person to help relaunch this series. My friend Monica, from the blog Lick the Bowl Good, is dishin' about her life today on the first installment of Bites with Bloggers 2014!
Monica recently wrote her first cookbook (You go girl!!), which I featured as a cookbook review yesterday as well as shared a tasty recipe from the book for Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. Today, get to know Monica a little better and show her some support by checking out her blog!
Website: Lick the Bowl Good
Cookbook: Lick the Bowl Good: Classic Home-Style Desserts with a Twist
Facebook: Lick the Bowl Good
Instagram: Monica H
Lick the Bowl Good Baking Group (started by some of Monica's friends and fans): Baking Through Lick the Bowl Good
1. Tell us about yourself, your blog, and why you started blogging.
I am a wife and mother. I got married at 22 and have a 2 year old who rules my life! I am 31 years old and have been interested in baking since I was a kid. I took a cooking class in high school and had so much fun baking my first ever from-scratch cinnamon rolls and funnel cakes and I became hooked. Baking was always fun to be but it wasn't something I did often. Then in 2006, I experienced a personal trauma and needed a creative outlet as a way to express myself. I started baking more, sharing recipes and blogging and it changed my life.
2. What is your typical day like?
I wake up, rub my eyes and wish for more time to sleep. But my toddler child is usually right on top of me, smiling and telling me to get out of bed. He hands me my glasses and my phone then runs off to retrieve the remote so he can watch Curious George. :-) We make breakfast together, watch TV, play, read books, run errands, go shopping, we visit the Grandma's etc. Some days we bake together, while the hubby is away at work. My life is not glamorous, I am a stay-at-home mom but I love it.
I grew up with my grandmother and had an aunt and cousins who were just a few years older than I. They would bake cake and brownies from mixes, but from there I learned how to measure, grease and flour pans, about baking temperatures and times. One day, I wanted to make and didn't have any mixes but I had a container of peanut butter and a recipe so I attempted those and it worked!
4. What are your "go-to" recipes that you make on a regular bases?
We love breakfast any time of day, so I make pancakes, waffles, breakfast casserole often. I also make pork tenderloin, sausage and tortellini soup and tamale casserole on a regular basis.
Homemade Pancake Mix
Waffles of Insane Greatness and Buttered Pecan Syrup
Sausage, Spinach and Tortellini Soup
5. Do you have any special food traditions?
Every Christmas Eve we make Santa Fe Stacked Enchiladas.
6. Besides cooking and blogging what are your hobbies/interests?
I collect cake stands and other vintage glass and love thrifting. I also love spending time with my friends over a nice meal or cup of coffee.
7. What is your favorite or most used cookbooks?
I tend to blog my most favorite recipes, so I refer to my blog quite a bit. I have an old community cookbook that is my favorite. For Baking Cakes- Sky High Cakes and for cooking, I visit my favorite blogs for recipes or I just experiment and make up my own recipes.
8. If you could meet or cook alongside any famous chef past or present, who would you choose and why?
Probably Julia Child or Martha Stewart. Both are such an inspiration and have changed so much about how we view food today. Julia because she just seemed so real and she wasn't afraid of making mistakes or a mess in this kitchen. Which is all completely opposite of Martha! But Martha has a very creative mind and comes up with ideas in and out of the kitchen that you just don't see anywhere else. Both are unique and powerful women.
9. What are your favorite blogs or what bloggers would you like featured here?
I have favorite blogs that I return to often for the friendships, others for the recipes, and others just to look at their creations. I'm not sharing any names because I don't want to leave anyone out and hurt any feelings.
10. Describe your perfect meal. (Location, dinner guests, menu, décor, etc.)
A perfect meal to me has less to do with the food and more to do about the people I am with. A bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich while you sit at home in your pj's can be just as comforting and special as a 5 course meal in a fancy restaurant.
11. Do you listen to music while you cook? If so what are your favorite bands/artists to listen to?
I do not listen to music when I bake because I start singing and I lose my train of thought and get distracted. I also enjoy the silence and peace that comes along with baking alone in my kitchen. That doesn't happen too often anymore.
12. Are you a TV junkie? If so, what are your favorite cooking and non-cooking shows?
I love TV, mostly primetime dramas like NCIS, The Good Wife and a few HBO series. I'll turn it on Food Network, but it seems nowadays, that channel is less about cooking and is more about restaurant makeovers and food trucks and what restaurants to visit. I miss the old Food Network. Occasionally, I'll DVR a Barefoot Contessa show. I miss Paula Deen too. She made me laugh.
13. What is your favorite restaurant(s)? What is your favorite thing on the menu?
This is a tough one.... I like different restaurants for different things. Cafe Java (Austin and Round Rock, Texas) for Huevos Rancheros, Top Notch (Austin, Texas) for a Cheeseburger, Bartlett's (Austin, Texas) for Crab Cakes, Texas Roadhouse for Ribs, Cheesecake Factory for Thai lettuce wraps. I just like to eat!
14. What are your best blogging tips and/or advice?
Don't compromise your point of view or who you are. Stand by what you believe in and don't let your content be dictated by someone else's ideas. Be consistent. Be passionate about what you are doing.
15. What are your best cooking/baking tips and/or advice?
Read the directions. Then read them again and follow them.
16. What specific ingredient/food is most used/eaten in your kitchen?
Without a doubt EGGS.
17. What cooking gadget/appliance can you not live without?
major appliance- oven, small appliance- coffee maker, gadget- Microplane
18. If you were a flavor of ice cream what flavor would you be?
ooooh! Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake Brownie with a Salted Caramel Swirl and Cinnamon Pecans! Sounds amazing!
19. What are the top three things food/cooking related on your bucket list you would like to learn about, make, eat or do?
I would love to perfect croissants, make macarons, and potstickers.
20. What recipe(s) on your blog and/or in your cookbook are your favorites?
Besides the ones I listed above, Brown Butter and Spice Rice Krispies Treats, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Sour Cream Coffee Cake and Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Glaze (all recipes are in the cookbook)
21. What recipe(s) on your blog are your reader’s favorites?
Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
No Bake Cookies
Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
Thanks again Monica 'dishin' it up' and sharing a 'bite' of your life with us! I agree with you about Food Network, I miss all the traditional cooking shows. And I love your ice cream flavor! And I defiantly think you should try and create a recipe for it!
*All photos (except the cookbook photo) are courtesy of Lick the Bowl Good and used with permission.