There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We’ll be profiling different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For July 2015, we’re putting the spotlight on foodie blog Dinner with Julie. Run by Julie Van Rosendaal, her blog allows us a peek into her Calgary kitchen while she chronicles her adventures with food. Here’s our Q&A with Julie:
I launched Dinner with Julie back on January 1, 2008, although the idea came years before. The concept was to post everything I ate for dinner for an entire year. Every day. The idea came about because people kept asking me what we ate for dinner, and requesting an everyday meals kind of cookbook, which I found uninspiring — there are so many out there already, and when you think about it, most people don’t use a recipe to get dinner on the table every day of the week. Most days it’s a matter of pulling together something you know: spaghetti and meatballs, a favourite casserole, or doctoring up whatever you have on hand, like slathering a pita with hummus and topping it with leftover roasted chicken! So I figured it would be a mix of recipes and ideas: a sort of reality cookbook. January 1 kept coming and going, and finally I had to bite the bullet and just do it. I was hesitant to start because I knew I’d be committed! And when I started, it already felt like I was too late and missed the boat. Ha!
Cooking for a family can be hard! Do you have any tips for dealing with picky eaters and different palates?
It’s funny — I’m also the food editor of Parents Canada magazine, and people always ask, “how do I feed my picky eater?” But kids are all picky in their own way, just like grown-ups! I always encourage parents to get their kids involved in the cooking process, the shopping and decision-making — not only because it teaches important life skills, but it makes them feel like they have a role to play in getting dinner on the table. But I don’t subscribe to the theory that if they’ll make it, they’ll eat it. My son loves to cook, but if it’s something he’s not interested in eating, he’s making it for us! I suppose my biggest advice is to encourage them to try a variety of dishes, and to be good role models when it comes to healthy eating. Kids pick up more on what you do than what you say! I also try not to be negative about some foods, like vegetables, but to celebrate them and avoid furthering any negative stigma.
Where do you find inspiration for new recipe ideas?
I find inspiration everywhere — with people, places, ingredients, different cuisines — sometimes I get panicky that there’s so much food, so little time. I love learning from home cooks who have been doing it for years — my grandma was the best pastry maker, and taught me how to do it. I love learning how to make pasta from Italian home cooks, peroghies from Ukranian babas — there’s so much to learn from so many people.
What are your top 3 favourite ingredients to cook with?
Impossible to choose! Whatever is in season. I also particularly love good butter, cream and eggs.
I have a few favourite posts, like the salted caramel cupcakes we spontaneously made one day when my 16 year old niece came over and wanted to bake. She was about to go to the store to buy some caramel to drizzle overtop and instead I taught her how to make it out of butter, sugar and cream. Her mind was blown.
I love this post because I love gooey cinnamon buns.
And one of my most popular posts is for Julia Child’s homemade sandwich bread, which is now in regular rotation at our house.
What do you hope readers get from visiting your blog?
I love being able to build a direct relationship with my readers, in real time — writing for magazines means always cooking out of season. I hope to be able to connect with my readers, and that they are inspired to cook, not intimidated by the process.
What are some other blogs you love reading?
Like so many others, I’ve been a long time fan of Seven Spoons, Orangette, Smitten Kitchen, and Dinner a Love Story, I love The Tiffin Box from Edmonton and Remedial Eating, and am always discovering others. It’s amazing how much talent is out there.
What’s your top advice for other bloggers?
You always hear “content is king!”, but it’s not enough anymore. It is important, of course — if you don’t have great content, you’ll get lost in the shuffle — but I think those that stand out are those that really use their own unique voice, and that style is reflected on other social media platforms as well.
We want to hear from you! Do you know a blogger we should feature on Cityline.ca? Maybe it’s you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Cityline Featured Blogger” in the subject line. And don’t forget to include a link to the blog! Look forward to hearing from you!
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