Maintaining a Long-term Blog

Maintaining a Long-term Blog


I've been posting to this site for a dozen years. I was twenty-nine when I started, an enthusiastic home cook with a creative streak, and a good number of cookbooks. You could probably describe me in much the same way now, but older, with a bit more perspective and better knives. Over the years I've been asked many questions - both via email, and in person - many of them curious about the process of writing cookbooks, or having a site like this. So, I thought I'd attempt a slightly different type of post today - exploring the theme of maintaining a blog over an extended time period. It's something I feel is important to my life and creative process for reasons you might expect, but perhaps some that you don't.

I look forward to creating something new here each week. Sometimes the content is quick and fast, other times deeper. It's not something I've come to think of as a chore, or something I feel obligated to do to sustain a readership. I come at it each week with positivity. And it's this aspect that seems to genuinely surprise some people. Which, in turn, surprises me.

Here's how I approach this site, and have for a long time. I think of it as my practice. It's something I'm committed to, and look forward to being committed to for years to come. Contributing something new each week helps me develop in areas that I find important creatively - cooking, writing, taking photographs - and the only way I'm able to grow is through experience, experimentation, and regular practice.

I'm not sure I knew what I was doing at the time, but I set up a template early on that required me to write, photograph, and explore (or develop) recipes. I set a pace I could imagine maintaining ten years out, and threaded it into my daily life. I find it reasonable to ask myself to look for a spark of inspiration each week and explore it here. And it is something I committed to. When it comes to individual posts, some attempts are more successful than others. And there are certainly days when I feel one aspect of a post is off or could be stronger. But I feel like the important thing is to put forth my best effort in that moment, and bring that experience and knowledge to the next post or endeavor. I'm a better cookbook author because of this practice. I write better recipes. I have a stronger sense of who I am as a cook. And I have plenty more to learn, discover, and experience. It's all an evolution that takes place over time.

I dabble with other platforms like Instagram and whatnot, but the intersection of story, photography, recipe, and design is the realm I'm most interested in exploring, and for me that happens here first. I've never thought of this site as a stepping stone to other work. It is the work I love to do. And when projects emerge outside of this space, all of the insight and experience I've gained here, make those projects stronger. Books allow me to stretch out, dive deeper, go slower, work on paper, and focus - and for that I love working on them. But I only have a strong sense of what I want to accomplish on a book project, because of my experience here. I'd say the same for the shop. For me, it all loops back to the practice. It is the challenge, and it is what always gives back. If I find myself out in the weeds, two things in particular guide me, and I try to remind myself of them:

Consistency: I hope to develop an inspired post a week. Sometimes it's more frequent, sometimes a bit less. But it's the mark I try to hit. The keyword here is inspired. It's part of the exercise for me to find an inspired line into a post. It's can be tricky - what can I find that sparks an element of enthusiasm, interest, curiosity in myself, also worth sharing? If I'm bored, you're going to be bored. I have a life outside of this site, and other things I work on. I'm often blindingly busy - but that is part of my challenge to myself. It's part of my commitment. Work the puzzle. Try. Said another way, I don't want to miss out on all the aspects of the culinary realm I find amazing, enchanting, compelling, and delightful...all the things that require time, and looking, and learning - because I'm too busy. There are always other aspects of life competing for attention. Making a serious, and regular commitment helps me clear the space for some of this exploration.

Point of View: Have one. Point of view is the air in the room related to any site like this. It's critical for any creative endeavor, really. On a food blog or recipe journal, you experience point of view in a writer's voice, the photography, the bowl they choose for a soup, in the recipe they choose to share, the color of the dish towel, the view from their window, the people sharing their table. You can't just show up and borrow a point of view, the challenge is to develop your own, and it takes time and intent. My point of view evolves incrementally - it changes with every new city I visit, every meal I cook, every chef I chat with, every Saturday I visit the farmers' market. It contributes to everything from narrative approach to photographic style, I also think about it in relation to recipes in particular.

Because nearly all of the posts on this site are anchored in a recipe, I tend to think about what makes a recipe my recipe, and not someone else's (unless it is someone else's, then becoming part of the story). I thought I might deconstruct today's recipe a bit - more than I normally do - to give a bit of a lens in. Let's take Cauliflower Rice, you've likely seen or heard of it before. It's not a new idea, chopping cauliflower into rice-sized "grains", but it's clever, and a great concept. Here's how I started to think about developing a recipe:

- There's already a distinctive way to chop this, so I'm not going to build on that.

- There's a chill in the air, lets roast instead of blanching, or sauté. A seasonal/weather consideration.

- The cauliflower will be tender after toasting, some nutty crunch would be good, and the oven is already heated (to roast the cauliflower) - toasted hazelnuts.

- the California hippie in me wants some sprouts or green brightness to play off the roasted ingredients and bring a nutritional boost. Work these in somehow. No need to cook separately, they'll go in raw, and collapse down a bit when combined with the hot cauliflower.

- I like citrus notes, the brightness it brings, particularly to roasted ingredients, so I opted for orange zest and juice. Nice alongside the hazelnuts too.

- A little something unexpected. Wildcard. Caraway plays nicely with the orange and hazelnuts. Plus a little je ne sais quoi from fresh marjoram.

In writing a recipe I tend to collapse components whenever possible - so you'll see in writing this recipe I don't make a separate dressing. Instead I thread the addition of those ingredients through the recipe. That's a technical, but also stylistic, call. You can see how this recipe comes together down below. I could write it a hundred different ways. But I write it and share it this way.

Some of my favorite sites do less frequent posts, or more, or are wildly irregular. There is a whole spectrum out there, exploring what works on an individual basis is part of the process. Knowing what you want to explore is important for longevity. And even more important than that might be understanding which platform is most suitable in the first place. The creative tools out there now are incredibly powerful. Why would I start a blog on a content management system (CMS) today when the audio, video, socially networked mini-blogs, or animation tools are so compelling? I'd point you back to the beginning of this post for my answer to that question. But that might not be the right answer for you. I use this platform because it is conducive to what I want to do more of, not less - writing, and cooking, taking photos, and interacting with others in the space this creates. If I wanted to be great at editing videos, I'd make that part of my practice. If I wanted to meet interesting people and become a good interviewer, I'd practice making an interview-specific podcast. If I wanted to have a cooking show, I'd regularly explore time in front of the camera instead of behind. There's a lot to be said about doing the work you want to be doing - and chipping away at it, regularly, as a practice, has the potential to help show you the way.

I think I could dive deeper into other aspects of this theme - exploring public versus private content creation; or why so many people start sites and quickly abandon them; or ways to think about evolving a site as you're evolving as an individual; writing for yourself versus writing for an audience.....it's a lot to think about, a lot to consider. In the short term, I hope this is helpful for some of you. And even if it's not something you're thinking about, the cauliflower rice recipe is certainly worth taking for a spin. xo-h

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower Rice

You can make this replacing the roasted cauliflower with blanched, sauteed, or steamed cauliflower - all come together more quickly. But I like roasted cauliflower in the fall and winter.

1 medium-large head of cauliflower

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
one orange, zest and juice
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway, lightly crushed
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
2 big handfuls pea sprouts or micro greens
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Heat oven to 375F with a rack in the top third. Cut the stems and florets from the head of cauliflower and chop them into small pieces resembling rice. You should end up with about 5 cups. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and toss well with the olive oil, zest of the orange, caraway, garlic, and sea salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for about 35 minutes, tossing once along the way (after ~20 minutes), or until the cauliflower is tender and golden-edged.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed juice from the orange. Add the hazelnuts, pea sprouts, radishes, and marjoram. Toss well, taste and add more salt and orange juice if needed. Turn out into a bowl or platter, and finish with the goat cheese.

Serves 4.


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Comments


Thank you for sharing this inspirational post. You have beautifully answered many questions food bloggers often ask themselves. I admire your authenticity and creativity in the work that you do.

November 6, 2014
 

Maggie

Heidi, thank you so much for the thoughtfulness you bring to so many lives, including my own. I rarely comment here (and have communicated briefly in other ways) but somehow this compelled me and I had to say something. Perhaps it's because I've seen other bloggers that I love compromise what makes them unique, in pursuit of commercial success. I get it, everyone needs to earn money somehow, but your voice has rung true for me consistently, and for that, kudos.


I don't know how or when I discovered your blog (my best estimate is 2009), but I have read every single post since I began and I am constantly influenced by your style and sensibility. Almost always when I am looking for dinner or baked good ideas that are a little off the beaten track, I start here. I have recommended your recipes far and wide, and my copies of SNC and SNE (my shorthand, because I use them so much) are battered, tabbed, dog-eared, and scribbled on. They are the cookbooks that I turn to most frequently, by a long shot. I also have a fat binder full of tried-and-true recipes from various corners of the Internet, and many of them are yours, from this website. I was even planning a housewarming earlier today, finding that over half of the recipes I wanted to make were from here.


So thank you again for doing what you do. I look forward to following you and your success for many years to come.


Cheers.

November 6, 2014
 

What a fantastic post, Heidi. I've been thinking about all of this a lot lately, since my five year blog birthday just came up. I love the way you describe your blog with a true sense of space, where you can be inspired and in turn inspire others. I also see this blog thing as a chance to explore and grow.
On a more personal note, thanks so much for being such a huge inspiration to me. Your continual positive world view shines through strongly!
Elizabeth

November 6, 2014
 

This was a really lovely post. It is so obvious from your posts and recipes as well as your amazing photography & the presentation of the food that you take a lot of pride in your blog and are very dedicated to making it a wonderful space for people to visit. Love your blog so much and this post was really great to read. keep up the great work.

rae of love from berlin

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post. Your blog was the first cookery site I ever read and I've followed you for the past 6 or so years.

This came at a good time for me as I had been wondering if I was on the right track.

Now I think I just need a slight change of direction not a full stop.

November 7, 2014
 

Twelve years of blogging. Damn, it's a lot!! Your post don't feel that age ;)
I love this recipe, I already tried cauliflower rice - boiled for 2 minutes, not raw, I can't eat raw! - but roasted cauliflower....I have to try it, this recipe seems easy but perfect ^_^

November 7, 2014
 

Loved the insights you gave us, especially your recipe developing process. Truly fun!

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for writing such a lovely and thoughtful post It shines through so clearly how much you love the process as much as the final product. And how much better that makes the final product.

November 7, 2014
 

Such a beautifully written post! Lately I have the feeling that I should be writing for myself before anything else and reading this has reminded me that it's the process that counts. Your words and your photography are so artistic and thoughtful its really breathtaking. Thanks for the inspiration.

November 7, 2014
 

dear heidi, 101 cookbooks is one of the first food blogs (or any blogs, really) that i came to read on a regular basis over a decade ago, and among the few that i still read, again on a regular basis, to this day. it even inspired me to start my own, though i haven't really been good at keeping mine. but your recipes have kept me inspired to cook and bake in wholesome ways, and it is your clean photography that i keep coming back to whenever i want to sort of 'refresh' or 'calibrate' my photographic eye. thank you for being here, sharing with us what you do so well. x

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for such an honest and generous post. I admire you too.

November 7, 2014
 

I've "savoured" - if I may say - every single word of this post. Thank you.

November 7, 2014
 

Oh, I adore this post! Your point of view is mature and refreshing and what distinguishes it from many other food blogs. I approach my blog the same way--I treat it as a weekly exercise to make sure I continue to develop my own voice. I have not built a large readership over the years, but it has helped my skills as a writer immensely. Thanks for this great post and a glimpse into your process!

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much Heidi for sharing this. Your blog has been a major source of inspiration as well as recipes from the very start, since when I started to cook in my own kitchen, and write on my virtual space. That this space is still something you like to come back to – that it is not a stepping stone but an ongoing project – comes through, and is such fresh air. There are many things I need to understand about myself, my voice and my blog still, but I see it as a process. I'll hopefully get there one day and will meet some inspiring people on the way.

November 7, 2014
 

Just just JUST what I needed to read this morning. Thanks, miss lady.

xo!

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, you are such an inspiration to me and have been for many years. Of course, after reading this post, I am even more inspired. You are my ultimate food blogger role model and it is an honor to consider you a colleague. Thank you for opening up a bit more about your journey, your motivation and your inspiration.

November 7, 2014
 

Thanks for the thoughtful post; I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts about blogging as a long-term process. I am approaching ten years blogging with no thoughts of quitting, but I do struggle sometimes with self-imposed pressure to stick to a schedule. Your approach sounds much more enjoyable!

November 7, 2014
 

I've been thinking a lot about blogging recently and about why I bother (or why I don't bother a lot of the time) and whether it's something I can/want to sustain so this post really resonates with me. I love your comment about it being practice - yes. I think this is a big part of what drives me and sometimes in the rush to churn out content, it's easy to forget that.

November 7, 2014
 

Oh, Heidi. Like music to my soul. I often hear other bloggers talk of burn out. And when I hear someone say it, I slowly back away from them. I can not relate to someone who does not love what they do.
I can't help but think your comment about wanting to do a tv show was directed at me. And I love ya for it.
Thanks for your inspiring words on the topic of blogging. Blogging has become so crazy lately, yes? You just hit the re-set button for me. And thanks for that.
PS Made your otsu for the billionth time last night. I think I've made it semi-weekly since the book came out. I've got a little morning sickness going on, and it's the only thing I want. Give me all the citrus plus a little spice.
Anyway, take care! (of you, your life and of my beloved San Francisco) ;)
xo
tina

November 7, 2014
 

Great post.

Thanks fo sharing such personal feelings, feels always good to hear that everybody is going through the same with blogging, even the best ones! keep posting beautiful pics and recipes!

November 7, 2014
 

This is a beautiful post. It makes sense though. I've been thinking about my blog and why I do it, I do it because cooking and photography are two things that I love. While my real job does not require those skills, my blog gives me a creative outlet that I can plug my passion into. Thank you for sharing, I love the insight.

November 7, 2014
 

omg

such a nice post.

you're the grande dame of food blogging. so, thanks for this post and for continuing to inspire and motivate others.

November 7, 2014
 

Thanks for this post and your tips. I could relate. With all the chatter online in the food blogging community it's important to evaluate one's own 'why' and 'how.'

November 7, 2014
 

Congratulations on a dozen years! Loads of wisdom and inspiration in here for newish bloggers like me. It's good to hear that even the best bloggers out there are just hacking away every week, doing their best in the moment. I'm trying to find satisfaction in that, even though my work is still so undeveloped compared to what you put up here.

November 7, 2014
 

Ericka Allin

Heidi,
This was the most thoughtful, positive and inspiring post of "Why I Blog" that I have read to date. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi–everything about this post is exactly why I keep reading what you write. Beautifully written, friend. xo

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi -- thanks for this insight and delve into understanding the longevity of your blog. You mention in passing above your favourite sites... I wonder if you would consider sharing with us what/who you're reading regularly online, perhaps in a future Favorites List?

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for your words here. "If I'm bored, you're going to be bored." - that sentence was so helpful.

I appreciate your thoughtful approach to this space; it really shines through each time you post. You've given me a lot to think through this morning as I was feeling rather stuck in my own work. Time to slow down and focus.

November 7, 2014
 

So many little gems of love, light, guidance, inspiration and wisdom in here. Thank you for writing this today and for every vibrant post of the past.

November 7, 2014
 

Your posts are always insightful, but I especially appreciate your sentiment about commitment. It can be hard sometimes not to hope for immediate results in creative endeavors. But discovering and focusing on your true interests and making it a priority to keep nurturing them rings true. Thanks for the inspiration and I hope you will dive deeper into this theme! Also, I love this fresh take on roasted cauliflower and look forward to making this recipe!

November 7, 2014
 

This is so very wonderful. There's so much talk about blogging and what it means to blog, but to talk about the long-term is such a new but necessary view on it -- your thoughts are so beautifully put and so profound. Thank you so much for sharing!

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you, Heidi. Your site has taught me to be a better cook and made me view ingredients differently. I love your philosophy of the blog as practice. Your continued love for the site shows. I'll continue to visit this space as long as you continue to practice here.

November 7, 2014
 

Such a thoughtful post. Thank you!

November 7, 2014
 

Wayve

However you do it, I am happy to be part of the group.

November 7, 2014
 

Funny I should come back to your blog today, after inconsistent readership the last 7 to 8 years (and a streak of consistent reading for a few years before that). I spoke of you during a cooking class I gave last night (we made a variation of your 'cupboard stock' vegetarian chili). I'm delighted by your consistency, a dependable source when I'm seeking inspriration. The beauty of your photos are icing on the cake. This blog has always been my highest reference. The fact that you clarify that your weekly post remains a inspiration and joy makes its an even greater pleasure to read. Many thanks.

November 7, 2014
 

Claudia M

Thank you - So appreciative of your blog. Working on regaining my own equilibrium in a completely different sphere - just what i needed to read and take in today. Oh. And thanks for creative cauliflower. There is a lot of it just now!

November 7, 2014
 

Your blog has come to mean so much to me. It is a part of my daily life, as I often take inspiration from your recipes to cook my own dishes. I recommend your blog to everyone I know. When people tell me that it is cool that I have a food blog, I say: "yeah, but I have a long way to go before it is anywhere near as great as 101 Cookbooks." Your experience really stands out. Thank you.

November 7, 2014
 

What a beautifully, thoughtful, inspiring post! Thank you Heidi for staying true to yourself & for being such an inspiration to me personally. So happy & grateful to be part of your wonderful journey! ~x

November 7, 2014
 

sassygirl

thank you for being you!
loved this and so many of your older posts.
each and every recipe I make from this site & your cookbooks never fail. just
ordered the modern steamer from Q. and
I look forward to its arrival.
happy weekend and here's to many more recipes!
cheers. 😊

November 7, 2014
 

What a refreshing and enlightening perspective on blogging, Heidi. You've certainly given me a lot of good things to think about, but I whole heartedly share your opinion on your blogging work being a positive element, not a chore. I like that you refer to it as your practice. You do a great job taking it seriously, as in giving us nothing less than thoughtful, quality content, but also keeping your tone and attitude light and playful.

November 7, 2014
 

So funny to think that I used to adapt your earliest posts to my chilly Rhode Island kitchen so many, many years ago.

So lucky I am to know you now and so inspired I continue to be by your authenticity in all that you do. xx

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, I've been reading your blog and cooking from your cookbooks, and I have always loved how you weave a story into every recipe you make. Thanks for sharing a great post on how you keep this space going!

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for your wonderful words, wisdom and images. This is exactly what I needed to read right now.

November 7, 2014
 

Em

Thanks so much for this post. Please do dive deeper! Would love to read about writing for private vs public and all of the topics you listed. And congrats on 12 years!

November 7, 2014
 

DebG

A lovely thoughtful post giving real insight into your creative process. Definitely a keeper. And I love the frequency of your posts: a single recipe with a context provides real inspiration and engagement. After reading this, I realised that all the blogs that I have stayed with over the years take a similar approach - they feel as though the blogging - and especially the cooking - is an inextricable and genuine part of the writer's life, not an add-on, turning the ordinary everyday into something extraordinary, but always fresh, observant and with something to say. Thank you, Heidi.

November 7, 2014
 

Sophie

Heidi,
This was such a beautiful, honest and inspirational post. Thank you.

This is the very first time that I take the time to leave a comment on your site. After reading this post, I felt like I needed to say thank you. I've been following your blog and savouring your amazing recipes for probably about ten years now. I'm pretty sure 101 Cookbooks was the very first food blog I started to read. Despite all the amazing food blogs that now exist out there, yours remain special and unique, and I know that I will keep on reading it for many years to come. I love your words, your amazing photography, your delicious yet simple recipes, and your obvious passion for food and for sharing it with others. Your dedication to this site is remarkable.

I made your Double Broccoli Quinoa for the millionth time last night. After all these years, it remains my go-to recipe and I just can't get enough of it! My boyfriend loves it so much too; he always keeps on asking for it. Sharing this delicious meal together makes us happy, every single time.

Congrats on your amazing journey and cheers to many more years of sharing your passion with us.
Merci, from Canada

November 7, 2014
 

Hello Heidi. This is such an inspirational post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. Love your work.

November 7, 2014
 

Ali B.

I truly appreciate this post of yours today. I have been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but everyone tells me you have to post at least 2-3 times a week if you want it to take off. With being a culinary student, the thought of that much writing and recipe building while being in school, has paralyzed me from starting. After reading this, I am getting a new surge to move forward. Posting once a week can be just as effective, and possible contain more quality content then multiple posts. And you are right, you should set a pace that is sustainable and suits your life. Slow and steady approach, is definitely more my style. So thank you for the motivation and insight.

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much Heidi for sharing your thoughts on this issue of long-term blogging. I loved reading the way you view your blog and the creative process behind it; what you take from it. I particularly found interesting what you said about finding ways to evolve your skills through the work you do for your blog and that it is not a stepping stone to something else. You are such a genuine person with a unique point of view on food and the creative process. Thank you for inspiring me as I am struggling lately with finding purpose in blogging after 5 years.
And the cauliflower rice, looks and sounds wonderful. I admire your recipe development style!

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much for this timely, motivating post. For someone who had a regular weekly blog schedule, I seem to have burnt myself out by starting an additional Daily blog. Still searching for my lost mojo. I'm going to book mark this post for a ready source of inspiration!

November 7, 2014
 

Your passion and dedication to your food and writing is always center stage and is what makes you stand out. That, and your impeccable taste! Thanks for the inspiring post!

November 7, 2014
 

Jeanne

Thank you, Heidi, for your thoughtful and revealing post. You inspire me in so many ways!

November 7, 2014
 

First of all, congrats on a decade of commitment, inspiration + cooking. secondly, thanks for a little insight in to your creatif. I couldn't agree more that the best bloggers write for themselves- the work is noticeably honest and passionate. Celebrate with some tin!

November 7, 2014
 

Marcia

LOL - "older, with a bit more perspective and better knives" - me, too. I can still use some fresh ideas to jump-start me on slow days so your blog either shows me a new way or reminds me of things I already know. And I'm glad you're still committed to it - when I saw the "maintaining a long-term blog" heading I was afraid this was a good-bye post.

November 7, 2014
 

My one year blogiversary is fast-approaching, and I have often asked myself all the questions you have covered off so eloquently here. Thank you for inspiring me to write thoughtful, inspired posts - not for the sake of frequency, traffic or habit, but because it makes me happy and helps me grow.

November 7, 2014
 

savvy

thanks so much for your thoughtful piece...so many bloggers present and available. Deciding to follow a blogger is part of the journey...and being able to 'let go' and step away has been a lesson when no longer serving me..without second guessing! I can sign up again, look in past posts and archives while I was away!!

your travels and photos have brought me much pleasure, and served to assist me in growing my journey!!
Thank you, Heidi!

November 7, 2014
 

Emma

Heidi,
Okay, now we know why this blog has been such a constant source of sustenance and inspiration to mind, body and soul for so many of us, for so many years ( since 2005 for me ).
Often I have marveled at the beauty, simplicity and creative thought that goes into these posts and thought it can't be easy to maintain this level of quality consistently. Of course it's a practice, and one at which you've brilliantly succeeded to the benefit of so many. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful post!

November 7, 2014
 

Deborah

As I read the first few sentences of this post, I thought you might be announcing a hiatus from your blog. I'm so grateful that you're not! I enjoy your recipes, writing and photography so much, but have never commented before. I love what you wrote about being older and having better knives than when you started this journey.

November 7, 2014
 

Jenny

What a wonderful post. So interesting-- love your ideas on practice. Thank you.

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, I so adore your blogging style and post about blogging. As a newbie blogger, I often wonder how long this business will last, but I know that if you love what you do, you can find a way!

November 7, 2014
 

Hi Heidi, it's so nice to invite us in to your thought process. I love the way you present a recipe, succinct and aesthetic are two words that immediately come to mind. I confess it was 101cookbooks that inspired me to start my own blog. If it's another 12 years that you continue to write prose and post recipes then I will be the more grateful for it. Don't stop!

November 7, 2014
 

Rosemary Hanson

I have such good memories from when I discovered your site. I had no idea that food blogs existed, let alone one that spoke so directly for to me. It was such a great find. Thanks for sharing your inspiration, creativity and awesome recipes with us!

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, This post is so timely. I just had a long conversation with a friend of mine, who is a writer. Because I am an artist, we were discussing blogging and how to approach it. I think it is so important to do just as you stated...Be very clear on what it is you WANT to do...What feeds you so that you can share that with others. There is so much out there..And being creative can pull you in so many directions. But being clear and simplifying your intentions seems all the more important. Thanks so much for sharing. Lynn

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much for sharing this Heidi! I often wonder whether I should continue blogging since mine is not widely read and I have been somewhat irregular with it lately. Your idea of blogging as commitment and a practice really resonates with me and reminds me that I view blogging that way, too.

November 7, 2014
 

Hi Heidi - Thanks so much for writing this post. I am a textile designer/blogger/author and I so enjoy your blog. I think the points you bring up are excellent. Blogging is so different than IG or FB and there is so much more content that can be in-depth and relevant. I look forward to your posts each week. So thank you for what you do.

November 7, 2014
 

Thanks so much for this thoughtful post. I've been blogging for two years. Like you, I enjoy the cooking, writing and photography. I've even come to enjoy all some of the other challenges that come with the territory - social media, for example. Tweeting and Pinning was not something I could have imagined myself doing a few years back.
I've often wondered if I'll be able to keep up the quality and the pace for years to come. I'm encouraged to know that you've done it so well for so long. I really like the way you think of your work as your weekly practice. I'm going to have to adopt that philosophy. Thanks!
~ Lisa

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for explaining your blog as a practice. That word sums up so much. I will approach my weekly writing as a practice from now on. Thank you for your inspiration over the years. My kitchen is a much healthier place because of you.

November 7, 2014
 

Mary

Just discovered your beautiful blog today. I'll be a devoted visitor from now on.
Looking around your blog, I came across your discussion of marble counters. I have to say that we sealed our honed marble counters in our new home and the sealant did not make them shiny. They still looked honed. So far, the sealant has keep them from developing water stains. I haven't cooked enough in this kitchen to find out how well it will protect the marble from food stains. We'll see!

November 7, 2014
 

What a wonderful, inspiring read, Heidi, and a lovely little window into how you approach the site. The element of surprise (boom, caraway!) is one of the things I love most about your recipes..what makes them truly yours, and no one else's. I think that it's easy to think that blogs are a slowly dying breed, but I do hope that points of view and storytelling like yours will be around for years to come. xo

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It's amazing to know that you've been keeping this blog for 12 years!! Woah. That's probably when I first heard of the concept of blogging and started dabbing at it here and there. But it was only 2 years ago that I decided I would commit to writing a food blog, and like you said, it's the constant practice and commitment - despite crazy busy schedules and other priorities - that keeps you inspired and continually developing yourself...

Thanks for this nugget of widom. Truly appreciated.

November 7, 2014
 

Lori

The thing I enjoy about your blog, besides the creativity of your recipes, is the look and feel of it. Minimalistic. Some blogs are so full of flashing, blinking, color, and "noise" that it really takes away from the experience of the creation of the food. I look forward to getting your emails, thank you!

November 7, 2014
 

Anonymous

Hey Heidi...

Shout out from BWR where words still
resonate from three lovely souls. And that of a bat. This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

M.

November 7, 2014
 

Kelly

I always return to your blog, Heidi, for inspired nutritious recipes. It is a lot of work and many have given up, but I'm grateful that you continue on with your good work. Thank you!

November 7, 2014
 

Janene

I love your blog! I have used many of your recipes, and used them as a creative starting point for my dishes over the years!! I live in South Louisiana and have been kicking around the idea of writing a vegetarian Cajun/Creole cook book/blog (I know. Oxymoron!) but we have incredible produce in this state. Your post today has amped up that idea!! Thank you!!

November 7, 2014
 

What a lovely and inspirational post! I like how you all break it down, making it easier to get both your and our heads around it :) Keep exploring, keep sensing, tasting, cooking :D What you do - you do well, and no one can take that away from you. Thank you for sharing! I wish you a lovely weekend ^ ^ x

November 7, 2014
 

Duff

Simply thanks. The other posts have said it all for me. Your commitment is so clear over time, but really wonderful to read it stated so clearly and with great affection for your process and for all of us who grow and experience with you.

November 7, 2014
 

Heidi, this is such a powerful post. Your unique sensibility and talent have enriched my life every one of those years. As an artist and a home cook, your fluid and sophisticated writing, generosity of thought and elegant aesthetic continue to fortify my daily practice and for that I am deeply grateful.

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much for this post! I too blog, and you have inspired me from the very beginning. After reading this today I just posted a long, honest post about what has been going on with me lately, which is a lot and I think it was important to do. My blogging goals aren't as clear as yours, which is OK, because for me this whole thing is a journey, and one day I will be more focused as a result of this effort. If my blog swings one way, then another, it is representative of where I'm at today. I really like your take on it being a practice. Just like how yoga is a practice. There's no finish, it's a journey, it takes consistent effort and the benefits come along the way.

November 7, 2014
 

Jen

Thanks for sharing your process and what motivates you to continue. Your recipes and approach are an inspiration for me. So, thanks again, for all you do.

November 7, 2014
 

Love your blog - you truly inspire me - and I look forward to reading it. Thank you for the wonderful recipes and cooking "lessons".

November 7, 2014
 

Thanks for sharing your process -- as a food blogger, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with how often others are posting or at what depth. Best to stay true to your own practice, as you do. A lovely reminder.

November 7, 2014
 

Reading your this post felt exactly like reading a beautiful book. Thank you.
Strange, but a couple of weeks back, I had written a little bit about how I feel about cooking:
http://www.handfulofrecipes.com/a-lovely-salad-for-the-autumn/

November 7, 2014
 

Janet

Yours was the first food blog I ever discovered and the one I hold others up against. I hope many will learn from what other commenters have also noted regarding your "mature wisdom" to keep a pace that serves you and your desires to practice your craft for its own sake alone. Maybe it's just because I'm more your age than many of the younger bloggers that draws me back to yours as it not only inspires me, but also allows me space and time to live my own creative life as well. Congratulations on the dozen years, and here's to at least a dozen more!

November 7, 2014
 

What a compelling post! I was drawn in by your scrumptious photos and then the narrative. You've inspired my own treatment of recipe posts.

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you so much for this post Heidi - you articulate so well the notion of a blog being a practice - a way to experiment and do and produce an inspired piece, which you certainly do routinely! Your posts seem gifts - and I should have said thank you long ago for so many delicious meals over the years!

November 7, 2014
 

Congratulations on 12 years Heidi! Your blog was one of the first I found about 5 years ago, and I didn't even realise how motivating your blog's nature was until, well 5 years later, I'm still coming back. I love how you've addressed this and I have reduced weekly posts because burnout is real and very easy to happen. I LOVE your recipe procedure - mine isn't exactly like it, but it's so amazing to see how we all have our own ways. I tend to think of colours and textures and flavours, but I love how you think of "the oven is already on" or the texture element also. Looking forward to another dozen years!

November 7, 2014
 

Hilla

You are great!

November 7, 2014
 

Heather

Heidi, you are the best and this blog explains why, long may you continue!

November 7, 2014
 

Mary

Congratulations on still inspiring us after 12 years. I devour your blog every week even if I don't cook the recipe. You bring inspiration and new ways to look at food that inspired so many things in my life.

Cheers!

PS Have you tried grinding up pistachios and pumkins seeds to sprinkle on salads and entrees? YUM!!

November 7, 2014
 

How I wish we lived closer. Yesterday was one of 'those days' at Marge where I couldn't envision how I could keep growing this company while still allowing for the space to explore food and cooking and my blog. The balance sometimes feels overwhelming, as I know you know (and you are one of the few people who reallllly knows in regards to the shipping craziness etc.). So this was a real treat today to read over my lunch on my one non-Marge day of the week to do cooking tasks and putz around the house and neighborhood a little. Thanks, Heidi. xox

November 7, 2014
 

Micala

Hi. Thank you. Your reflections inspired my own. I love receiving your posts.
The photos are always calming and force me to take a breath and just stop to read relax and enjoy.
Your recipes challenge and inspire me- dates and beetroot who knew? Now a family favorite.
For once I include all your suggested ingredients to see your balance before experimenting myself even including flavour I don't enjoy. As a notorious recipe fiddler this has been a revelation
Your calm genuine enthusiasm interest and happiness radiate through the blog making it a joy and a sanctuary
So......thank you
Now a request ...travel from Australia often involves 24 hours plus of traveling. We travel light. Cabin luggage only often to visit places with a temperature range 20-100F- carrying freezer packs too is not possible. Nuts and dried fruit are our current plane regime but it is the second 10 hours where food is really desirable. Any ideas for meals that do not require refrigeration?

November 7, 2014
 

Liberty Browne

Thank you for posting this Heidi! It's most timely for me and a great reminder to practice what you want to get good at!

Recipe looks delicious too, as always! X

November 7, 2014
 

fiel

Heidi, reading this post was such a wonderful way to start my day. Thank you. I would love to hear the deep dive version that you mentioned at the end. I'm especially curious about how you've been able to sustain – to stay so fresh and focused across all the things you do. I would love to hear a conversation between you and Grace Bonney.

November 7, 2014
 

I loved reading this post, and can really relate to the why factor. I have asked the same question of myself and come up with a similar answer - that it's the creative process, and the personal learning that happens in that that keeps me going. Rather than doing it to get to another place (because I love where I am right now), it is about exploring more deeply where I am. Thank you for sharing :)

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for explaining your blog as a practice. That word sums up so much. I will approach my weekly writing as a practice from now on. Thank you for your inspiration over the years. My kitchen is a much healthier place because of you.

November 7, 2014
 

This is a wonderful post. I've been running my site for less than a year, so I love learning about the work-flow/process of my more experienced peers. Thank you for sharing your experience.

November 7, 2014
 

Love! Love it all. You excel in writing, photographing, and cooking. And now it's so clear why.

November 7, 2014
 

Melissa

Inspired and gorgeous..thank you!

November 7, 2014
 

This post is wonderful in so many ways. I've blogged for just over a year and yet I've spent many hours thinking about things, such as how to create sustainable content, how to stay true to oneself, and how to get better at time management. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on blogging and thank you for being such a constant source of inspiration! You've created a truly special space.

P.S. This recipe - I love it!! (and how you described the process of creating it)

November 7, 2014
 

was so so nice to read your writing and perspective on this. You truly do have a way with words that is so comfortable - much like your recipes and photos which is why your site is so loved and successful. A true piece of you here. Generous of you to share your process and so anxious to try this recipe, I've been needing something different for cauliflower and always saute the "rice", haven't thought to roast it. Genius.

November 7, 2014
 

jan

So grateful for your mindfulness. I'm a reader from the start and await your blog with such hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

November 7, 2014
 

Thank you for taking the time to write a post full of such wisdom, sincerity and, of course, inspiration about blogging. I've read many other blog posts in regards to the "why" of blogging and I will say this is the best I've read. You've lit a fire in my soul, giving me the nudge to follow that quiet little whisper that's guiding me in the direction I know I need to go with my own blog. Thank you so much for these inspiring words. I enjoy this space immensely and find great joy in making your (always) delicious recipes. I'm so glad you love to be here!

November 7, 2014
 

Mrs D

Thank you for being here, Heidi and doing what you do. The internetz is a better place because you inhabit it!

November 7, 2014
 

jamie

Wow, Heidi..that was amazing. Such a beautiful share (and I can't wait to make caulifower rice!). So happy to know you continue to enjoy this process that you so graciously give to all of us.

November 7, 2014
 

An excellent article. I'm surprised how much in line it is with my own long term blogging practice. I have bursts of blogging frequently and also feel obligated to my readers, but it would be rare for a week to go by without a post. My voice is different to yours, as it would be, but much of what you say rings true to me. Thanks for this.

November 8, 2014
 

The authenticity in this post is so clear; your experience and willingness to share so helpful. Thank you.

November 8, 2014
 

This was so timely for me--thank you for sharing these thoughts and insights. I'm currently challenging myself to write a post each day this month and it's really forced me to confront a lot of my preconceptions about what blogging should look like. It has become more of, as you described, a practice, and I'm finding myself in it and enjoying it far more than when I was holding myself to some model or standard outside of myself. Thank you again; this was great.

November 8, 2014
 

Kadie

I think one of the reasons I keep returning your blog (great recipes and beautiful photography aside), is the sense of community you have created. You respond to people - posts like this, because readers have inquired in significant numbers, or posts about 'why white marble?' because, again, readers have inquired in significant numbers. Readers feel a part of something. Nothing speaks more to this in the fact that you have "OUR Kiva Group" under your "This & That" heading or the fact that you frequently ask readers for their favorite things or their version of recipes, and so forth. Best of luck with the next 12 years. I know I'll keep coming back! XO, K.

November 8, 2014
 

Pam Albers

Dear Heidi: Like many others, I read your blog regularly but this is the first time your shared introspection created a visceral drive to comment. You have eloquently described the key to a full life - that all of our endeavors can and should be looked at as positive opportunities for growth, creativity, human bond strengthening and benefit from regular mind/body/spirit check-ups. As I enter the 7th year in my encore career as a cafe operator (the first 28 years as a lawyer) I feel that you have perfectly captured another important life lesson: it takes time and commitment and the willingness to accept less than perfection in order to become really confident and good at most things in life. Congrats on 12 years - it has been a distinct pleasure to share in your journey.

November 8, 2014
 

Patty

I discovered your blog around the time I became a vegetarian, and around the time I discovered food blogs. You have always been my favorite. I cook your food all the time. I love your writing, your recipes, your photos. I own your books and give them regularly as presents. You are such an important voice in my life. Thank you!

November 8, 2014
 

Jessica

Hi. I just wanted to say I love your blog:) I have been reading it for some time now, and even though I have only tried a couple of recipes, I really like reading the others. You have opened a door into an amazing world for me to explore and I am really glad for that. Here in Spain people tend to stick to the traditional flavours and even though they are great, my love for food needs something more. By the way, congratulations for surviving for so long, I hope to be able to read this blog for a long time;)

November 8, 2014
 

Heidi! You continue to be a constant source of inspiration for me over the years thru so many seasons!!! Love to you!!

November 8, 2014
 

Thank you. Your blog is beautiful and inspiring both for the recipes - I've made a lot - and the beautiful design and photography. Its fascinating to read a bit about your process!

November 8, 2014
 

Ann

In gratitude for your dedication to your practice. Now I know why since I found your blog a few years back I have barely cracked another cookbook. Your focus and space for creativity make everything sing. All the best for many more years.

November 8, 2014
 

As someone who's been following your work for the last ~7 years, I love getting this window into your thoughts and process about your site. Thank you so much for sharing this. And the cauliflower rice looks superb.

November 9, 2014
 

Heidi, your blog was the first blog I ever started to read and follow. Now that I blog, I really appreciate your thoughts about blogging in a way that fits into how you want to live your life.

November 9, 2014
 

Oh wow.. This sums it all up. What an inspiration you are to all of us..
Thank you for sharing your insight.

November 9, 2014
 

Thank you for this lovely and inspiring post. I've been blogging for nine years and I sometimes ask myself why I keep on blogging. You answered that question beautifully.

November 9, 2014
 

Hi! This is a big thank you from the other side of the (foodblogging) world! Exactly what I needed to hear now... It is so hard to blog in a country where food is not appreciated and not considered important whatsoever... Thanks again for such a load of motivation! I carry on...

November 9, 2014
 

Your description of writing the food blog is a plan for any creative endeavor. It's a structure to maintain awareness and inspiration in our busy lives. Just the discipline of finding new ideas and sharing them, with a point of view, is to me, a guide to fulfillment in any thoughtful life. Inspiration, Discipline, and then Voice....

November 9, 2014
 

Zan

Thank you. That was, and your work is, beautiful.

November 9, 2014
 

It's so inspirational that you've been blogging for a dozen years! I discovered your blog in 2006, fresh-faced from college, newly married, and looking for new recipe ideas. (It took me several months before I realized your blog was vegetarian!) My own blog suffers from a dearth of postings, due in part to life and career circumstances, but I think also because I've never actually woven it into my life so successfully as you have. This post gives me pause, and hopefully I'll be able to better address that going forward.

Also, thank goodness for this cauliflower rice post! I get pea sprouts in the depths of winter from my CSA, and I never know what do to with them, aside from adding them to salads or topping a bowl of pho. This is going on the "must try" list!

November 10, 2014
 

mary

So interesting to hear about your process!
I've been reading your blog almost since you starting writing 101 Cookbooks - which was around the same time I started reading food blogs. Other blogs I read then have faded away, or I've stopped reading them for various reasons. I want to congratulate you on maintaining a freshness and a commitment to your blog. I love the recipes and your photos (have bought all your cookbooks), but what really keeps me coming back is the writing.

November 10, 2014
 

George Kagawa

Heidi,

I came across your blog quite by "accident," maybe through an ad, but it caught my attention because I have a passing interest in blogging: what it requires, the dedication, consistency, inspiration for ideas, having faith that I can find something of interest to share on a regular basis, and remaining committed to it.

I found your blog fascinating and interesting. It gave me a clear insight to your thought process, and you reveal yourself as well as what you have to share. It taught me a lot and gave me much to think about. Thank you so much for being you and for taking the time and effort to blog and share yourself to others.

November 11, 2014
 

Thank you for this post, Heidi. I've been following your blog since 2009. I was living in Asia and loved the local food but sometimes craved something with the taste of home. Your recipes enabled me to do that with the local, sometimes unconventional ingredients that were available to me. Your blog was a lifesaver for a homesick expat.

I loved what you said in your post about having a sense of direction. Now that there are so many different types of social media, I think new bloggers feel pressured to use all of them. But that can really scatter your focus away from your original intention - to blog. Gaining readership is important, of course, but really the only lasting way is to just get out there and do it. I wonder if that is why so many people abandon sites? Not only is there the pressure to produce, but then you have the social media and the SEO and the plugins and the Google rankings and it can easily become overwhelming. I was reassured to read what you said about focusing on the posts. Thank you!

November 13, 2014
 

Kate

I read very few blogs, I am very selective with my time "browsing" on my electronic devices. Your blog, this blog, is an amazing post of thoughts, sights, and anticipated smells from my kitchen when I try the recipes. Thank you for making this your art and practice. It's truly something I look forward to - just finding a moment in my busy day to quietly read and savor.

November 13, 2014
 

Thank you for that inspiring post. As the owner of a little blog (http://cheesy-mash.blogspot.com) I have moments when my committment wanes, and i need to get re-inspired. This post did just that :)

November 14, 2014
 

I really needed this today. Thank you. It was incredibly inspiring. C.

November 14, 2014
 

Hi Heidi, This seems like a good time thank you for this wonderful site. I have three of your cookbooks and have loved reading your site. With my sister and cousin we refer to you by your first name, "did you see the cauliflower that Heidi posted?" You've become that much a part of our lives. Thank you!

November 14, 2014
 

Hi. Thanks for posting this. As a fellow blogger, I know it's a job to keep a blog fresh and interesting. My blog is about adoption from an adoptee's perspective so I mine my personal experience and look for adoption-related story ideas via social media. It's a labor of love and a work in progress. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it.

November 14, 2014
 

Love the recipe and the thoughts you shared here. Thank you for both.

November 14, 2014
 

Linda

Thanks for this post. Thanks for starting and continuing your blog. I love your recipes, and I hope you'll be out here forever! :)

November 14, 2014
 

Thank you for your honesty and sincerity. Your words are a breeze of inspiration for me as I am trying to find my own voice in site. You have build something incredible and you are part of my daily inspiration.

November 16, 2014
 

Dear Heidi, This post of yours hit such a cord. Your reflections on point of view and doing what you love resonated so much. You continue to be an inspiration for me every week (and more often actually through your books and archives). You are a gift to all of us. Thank you! your post inspired me to pen this recent blog post http://www.cookwithwhatyouhave.com/blog/
Thank you again!

November 16, 2014
 

This post was published at just the right moment. I have been working on a blog for years and just recently decided to get serious about it and start my own website from scratch. I regularly look for your favorites lists as they are the highlight of my month. I own both of your cookbooks and consider you my idol. Thank you for sharing some of the behind the scenes secrets.

November 16, 2014
 

Your blog was one of the first that I read on a regular basis. Your words always resonate and your recipes are always flawless, wholesome and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing. We love it!

November 16, 2014
 

Olivia

Thank you for sharing this wisdom. I also see writing as an exercise or a practice that builds into many aspects of my life. Your writing here reminded of the importance of having a voice and learning to shape it.

Just as one hones a knife collection, one can hone his or her words to create something beautiful to share and inspire.

Thank you!

November 17, 2014
 

Heidi, this post expressed everything i want to say about blogging, and i've only been at it 3 years. Your words are as always, inspiring.

November 17, 2014
 

Bella

Heidi,
I've been following your blog for some time. Actually, by recommendation from a friend, yours was the very first food blog I'd ever visited. I've been hooked ever since.
This post comes at the perfect time for me - I am in the process of starting my own food blog (which draws inspiration from my life on Maui) and have been devouring any and all information I can get on how to make it work. Your words are truly a guiding light.
While I didn't know it at the time, you could say that your blog was the first stepping stone to lead me down the path to where I am right now: on the brink of birthing my very own food blog baby, who I can only hope will mature as beautifully and intelligently as 101cookbooks.
Thank you and Aloha.

November 17, 2014
 

Thank you SO MUCH for putting this out there. I am extremely inspired by all that you do, and definitely drew a lot of inspiration from your words. I have been blogging for a year and a half, and while it is my full-time job and 100% dedicated passion, I do worry about what blogging means as a longterm career. Reading about your success, dedication and reasons for coming back to the blog day in and day out are very inspiring and helpful for me (and countless others like me). Keep it up-- you're amazing!

Xox,
Jordan

November 17, 2014
 

I too, am so grateful for this post + all the posts that have come before. Your insight is just as delicious as this cauliflower bowl (which I made tonight, with a few changes based on what I had in the kitchen). So thank you for your generosity, creativity, and incredible sense of style.

November 17, 2014
 

Thank you for being so honest and highlighting so many of the parts of blogging that can be so confusing and frustrating. Our blog is approaching its one year birthday, and we have so much more to learn. It was reassuring to read that after a decade of blogging that you are still learning and growing. I think that's the key to success in any business.

November 28, 2014