Hi friends!

How are ya? Let’s start this week with something a little different. I’m often asked where I get my inspiration from for the blog, how I learned to improve my food photography skills, and what other bloggers I admire. Today I’d like to introduce you to one of the lovely ladies I’ve been following for several years now, and that’s Kate Taylor from Cookie + Kate.

Kate, the amazingly talented blogger behind Cookie + Kate

Kate, the amazingly talented blogger behind Cookie + Kate

It’s no mystery that I LOVE fresh produce. Fruits, vegetables – ALL the colours. Kate is also a lover of plant-based foods, and this is one of the biggest factors that had me instantly addicted to her blog. Her recipes feature bright, beautiful fruits and veggies and her photography makes my mouth water. She even creates monthly produce guides (like this one for January) to highlight everything that’s in season.

Since Kate is such an enormously valuable wealth of inspiration and knowledge, I wanted to introduce her to you guys with a little Q&A session. Over to Kate!

What inspired you to start Cookie + Kate?

That’s a good question! Honestly, I was bored at an office job and sneaking peeks at blogs every chance I could get. I already knew how to build websites and I was working in online marketing at the time, so I thought, “Hey, why don’t I start my own blog?!” At first, it was supposed to be a photography/lifestyle/design blog, but I quickly ran out of subject matter. That’s when I posted my first recipe, which was well received, so I started posting more recipes. My cooking abilities have grown along with my blog and now it’s my full-time job. I love it!

What would you say your food philosophy is today, and how has that changed over the course of your life?

I basically just try to eat in a way that makes me feel good. I’m not trying to live for 120 years, so I don’t deny myself anything, but I also don’t eat a whole pint of ice cream because I know how lousy I’ll feel afterward. I’ve always been health conscious, but my concept of “healthy” food has shifted over the years. When I was younger, I thought that Yoplait yogurt and diet soda were good choices. After college, I started learning more about nutrition by reading books by Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle and that is when I switched to a more whole foods-focused diet. It’s also when I gave up meat (for so many reasons!), but I don’t push vegetarianism on anyone. It’s just what works best for me.

What are some of the struggles or challenges you’ve faced as a blogger?

Honestly, it’s difficult to develop a lot of recipes at once. I only enjoy food to the extent that my appetite allows! Consistency is not my strong suit—I’ve managed to post more often since I left my job at the beginning of the year, but I still have the hardest time posting regularly on social media. My biggest issue is that I’m in a public position but I don’t have a thick skin. I’m pretty sensitive to criticism and sometimes, when my self confidence wavers, I just want to crawl into a hole instead of publishing something that the whole internet can critique. Fortunately, the vast majority of my visitors are kind and encouraging, and their comments keep me going.

Your photos are always absolutely stunning and drool-worthy. Any tips for keen food bloggers looking to improve their photography skills?

Thank you! Photography is really all about learning to see how the light falls. I always shoot in natural light and I’m always amazed at the various qualities of light I can find on my table by the window. Same time, same place, different light! Sometimes I play with the light by bouncing it off a white board or by diffusing the light with a sheer white curtain, but that’s about it.

What’s your biggest kitchen disaster to date?

Ha, my biggest disaster took place in my childhood kitchen when I was about 10 years old. I was home alone and making popcorn on the stove like I’d done many times before. This time, though, I left the hot pan on the stove with oil inside for a few minutes, unattended. When I came back, smoke was billowing out of the pot. I knew not to take off the lid, so I tried to take the pan outside but dropped it on our brand new living room carpet. Our carpet was never the same, but it’s a miracle I didn’t get burned in the process.

If you could make dinner for anyone, who would that be?

I’m nervous just thinking about it! I think I’d like to make dinner for someone who’s really funny, because a good laugh always soothes my nerves. Maybe Mindy Kaling could come over for dinner sometime?

What does a typical day in the life of Kate look like?

Well, my life is not terrible exciting. I wake up, sip coffee and eat breakfast while sitting cross-legged on the couch with Cookie, and get started on work. My days often include trips to the grocery store, recipe testing and photography. I work way too much! Long walks with Cookie, yoga and happy hours with friends keep me sane.

Where can people find you on social media?

I’m at @cookieandkate everywhere!

Thanks Kate! If you’d like loads of new ideas for healthy, whole foods-based meals (including kale salads – Kate is the QUEEN of amazing kale salads!) you can check her out at cookieandkate.com

Now it’s over to you. Tell me:

  • Who are some of the bloggers or people in your life that inspire you to eat better, to live healthier, to move more, and generally to be a better person?