October 27, 2018

3 Food Blogging Questions with Katie Workman

The Mom 100 | The Naptime ChefIt’s been so much fun having Katie Workman as one of our fall features for Cookbook Club! Today Kelsey & Katie settled in for a little chat about food blogging and all that it entails!

Kelsey: What inspired you start food blogging?

Katie: When my first book, The Mom 100 Cookbook, was coming out, I wanted to create a place to live online to go with the book, and also have a sort of portal to talk to and hear from like minded cooks and readers.  I think the blog kind of ebbed and flowed for the first few years, but a few years ago I started to get a lot more serious about it, and have been much more consistent about blogging a few times a week, and upping my photo game.  It was a little like, Go Big or Go Home at that point, and I wanted to try and go big!

Kelsey: Do you ever order take-out or do live in the world of the “merry home cook” all the time?

Katie: PLEASE!  If I don’t have sushi at least a couple of times a week I start vibrating. I think I might be made of mercury at this point, there is so much raw salmon coursing through my veins. And I live in NYC, with teenage boys and their friends, so thank god for take out pizza.

Kelsey: Fess up – what’s your favorite and least favorite thing about food blogging?!

Katie: My favorite thing is hearing from readers, with a question, a comment, and in the best moments people telling me that they loved something and so did the people who ate it.  That’s amazing, and I never tire of it.  The best thing that happened to me lately was that a reader asked me if I could fix it so they recipe intros would be printed out along with the recipes because my writing was very important to them.  I almost wept.

What is annoying is trying to understand what the hell google wants at any given moment in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that my recipes come up at the top of search when people are looking for a lasagna or whatever they are searching for.  The wisdom always changes, the search engine gods change their minds all of the time, and most of the time I just focus on the writing and the food, and let the cards fall where they may (but there is still a whole lot of tagging and back end stuff to deal with).

Thanks, Katie!

September 23, 2018

Katie Workman for The Snack Cookbook Club

The Snack Cookbook Club

We are thrilled to feature Katie Workman for the next few weeks for The Snack Cookbook Club. (Sign up here!)

Today we are sharing the first of three features… and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to enter the giveaway which will be running all week!

The Mom 100 | The Naptime Chef

TLSN: It’s that very special time of year…back-to-school season! I know you can relate. You wrote two awesome books designed to help parents with their family cooking goals. Can you share your concept of Fork in the Road, which is a concept that stretches throughout both works and your website?  
KW: The Fork -in the- Road concept addresses the need to adapt a recipe to suit the needs of a family where picky palates are prevalent.  Basically a recipe is made, fairly simply,  up to a certain point.  The some of the dish is removed (think plain pasta sauce, pita chips, simple sautéed chicken cutlets), and set aside for the kids or those with milder palates.  Then, you continue on with the rest of the dish, adding some additional ingredients and flavors for those with more adventurous palates.  The result is that you get to make one dish for the whole family, everyone is sharing the same meal, but the grown ups (and maybe some of the kids!) are eating something with more interest, more sophistication, while the kids are eating a great meal that doesn’t push them past their limits.  No more short order cook!  And hopefully this serves as an opening for you to encourage your kids to try the more sophisticated version, and expand their horizons.
TLSN: It’s not just dinner! Family cooking also entails breakfasts and lunches. They are equally as important and often entail strategic cooking. How do you approach that in addition to dinner time?
KW: Prep, prep, and prep some more!  I am a huge fan of having an arsenal of pre-prepped ingredients at the ready – minced herbs and garlic, chopped onions, peeled carrots, juiced and zested citrus and so on.
Dinner Solved | The Naptime Chef
TLSN: How do you keep up your cooking momentum when you feel fatigued/burnt out? Where do you seek new inspiration for recipes and family food once your regulars are all played out?
KW: I look everywhere, from restaurants to prepared food counters to magazines to online sources to social media.  there is absolutely no shortage of inspiration out there!
TLSN: What are you working on now and where can we find you showcasing your work? All busy parents will benefit from your ongoing help!
KW: I am always adding new recipes and posts to my blog, themom100.com, and I send out a weekly newsletter with meal plans, and other recipe round ups.  I also write a weekly column for Associated Press, which is carried in dozens of print papers and online newspaper sites.  I freelance regularly for a lot of other outlets as well, many online, such as Simplyrecipes.comthekitchn.com, and CommunityTable.com.  And of course I am very active on social media, especially instagram where I can be found at @katieworkman100.  And you can always google me!  I’m google-able!
TLSN: Thanks for stopping by Katie!
September 21, 2018

7 Weeknight Dinner Recipes for The Week!

Eggplant Involtini by Alexandra Cooks

Here are our picks for 7 weeknight dinner recipes this week!

Steak Frites by Mardi Michaels on Simple Bites Simple Bites

Blue Cheese & Cranberry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin by Peanut Blossom

Pressure Cooked Eggplant Involtini with Tomato-Basil Sauce by Alexandra Cooks

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes & Garlic by Brooklyn Supper

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Chopped Salad by goop

Lasagna Stuffed Peppers by Recipe Girl

Cacio e Pepe Alla Colu via The Washington Post (probably our ultimate hail Mary dinner recipe!)

Eggplant Involtini photograph via Alexandra Cooks

September 19, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

One of things I’d like to talk about more in this space is the how we all cope with pace of life, specifically motherhood/work/household management. This is not a unique topic, and I’m certainly not the first one to write about it. So instead of re-hashing all the issues and politics, I’m just going to share my point of view. Take from it what you can, I know this applies to us all in unique ways and I hope you can find some benefits here no matter your situation.

Slow Down to Speed Up | The Naptime Chef

“Slow down to speed up” is a concept I was introduced to last year when I was totally burnt out. I was exhausted and frustrated with my work. I wanted to grind harder, read more, write more, and just put more time and energy into this blog and newsletter. But the end of the day would come and after the kids fell asleep I was too exhausted to do much. I tried so many things and I simply couldn’t pull myself out of the slump!

That’s when I was reading a great book by Gabby Bernstein and realized I really needed to slow down. When you slow down the universe/spirit/God/source can work through you to help you heal your body and exhaustion. You end up bouncing back reinvigorated, more thoughtful, more strategic, and genuinely more efficient in everything you do. Nobody can run full tilt 24/7! We need sleep, rest, connectivity with friends, time to dream, time to devote to hobbies, just plain unscheduled time for hanging out and doing nothing. It all makes a difference.

A newer buzz term for this is “self-care,” though I think it is getting misused a little bit. Slowing down/self-care doesn’t mean expensive spa treatments, pricey spiritual retreats, or similar. Slowing down can be as simple as:

  • A cup of tea with a friend.
  • Sitting somewhere comfortable and reading the paper/a magazine/a good book.
  • Taking a quiet walk.
  • Meditating.
  • Chatting with your bestie.
  • Writing a card by hand and mailing it to someone.
  • Taking a long, hot bath.
  • Journaling about a joyful story or moment that day.

As you can see, this list is full of easy, mostly free, activities. Because taking yourself everyday shouldn’t cost anything.

However, there are days when you might feel like splurging and that is where a fun health treatment might come into play. Those might include acupuncture, a massage, or a lovely calm meditation class. There are many options out there, especially if you are lucky enough to live in an area where there are massage practitioners, spas, and wellness centers readily available.

No matter what you do, when you slow down and take of yourself I promise you’ll find yourself speeding up more in other areas of your life. When you see the benefits you’ll start to make a regular part of routine and life will become more relaxed, more joyful, and satisfying.

Be well. xxK

September 15, 2018

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cinnamon Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies | The Naptime Chef

I am so happy to be back in this space I love so much and today I’m delivering an old family favorite, Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  These are listed on my age-old, yet still popular, 10 Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies List. In fact, I think I need to brush up that post with a few updates and additions! I’ll save that for another time.

September 14, 2018

Friday Recipe Picks of the Week!

Each week I’ll round up my favorite recipes from around the web just for you. I hope they give you new ideas, a fresh outlook, and maybe even help you explore new culinary territories!

Lunchbox ideas:

The Sandwich-Free School Lunch by Weelicious (all of her lunch ideas are amazing!)

Lunch on a Stick by One Hungry Mama

29 New Lunch Ideas by Simple Bites

30 Days of Lunchbox Recipes with No Repeats by Peanut Blossom

Dinner ideas:

Easy Roast Chicken and Shallots with Mustard, White Wine & Thyme by Alexandra Cooks

Pasta with Prosciutto & the last Summer Tomatoes by Dinner a Love Story

Chickpea Tikka Masala by A Sweet Spoonful

Spiced Yellow Squash Soup by Always Order Dessert

Meatballs with Orzo & Lemon by Giada De Laurentiis

Please let us know if you made anything amazing lately, we’d love what it is and where it came from!

September 12, 2018

Chicken Riggies for Dinner Tonight

Chicken Riggies | The Naptime Chef

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hood Cream, a brand I love and recommend. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Naptime Chef.)

Here are the facts: I love food, I love to cook, and I love pasta. Pasta dishes, like Chicken Riggies, is in fact, one of my favorite comfort foods. For our family the definition of comfort food is that we eat it once in a while. That means I’ll never give it up – not even for a fad diet – but it’s also not something I make every night, or even every week. However, when the occasion calls for it, a good bowl of Chicken Riggies, or something equally as deliciously satisfying, is exactly what’s needed. This particular dish is actually native to upstate NY, Utica to be exact, near Cooperstown where I grew up. It features a homemade tomato pepper cream sauce, well-seasoned chicken, and a sprinkling of cheese and basil.