It doesn’t get sweeter than Oh, Sweet Basil by sweet-as-they-come blogger Carrian Cheney. Centered on “reinventing the family dinner,” Carrian’s blog serves up plenty of delectable cuisine with a side of lifestyle anecdotes in a blog that is as much a treat to the eyes as it is to hungry stomachs!
Stop by Carrian’s beautiful digest of oh-so-yummy recipes, like this garden skillet, how-tos, like how to not cry when cutting onions, and snippets featuring health and fitness pointers, daily happenings and travel adventures. And if you follow her on Instagram, we dare you to try and not to smile when you see the sweetest posts of them all – pictures of her cute-as-a-button daughters!
We caught up with Carrian and here’s what she had to say about what inspires her, her favorites in the kitchen and more.
What inspired you to become a blogger?
My family always ate together growing up and 99.9 percent of our meals were homemade. My mother and father were big believers that the stronger the family, the stronger the individual. When I got married, my husband and I took a weekend getaway to San Francisco with our 1 year old and experienced the best margarita pizza ever. We had both always loved food and cooking but there was something about that fresh basil, and the comfort food that pizza is, that sparked something in us. We decided that when we got home, we wanted to make meal time more of an experience than just a daily chore. We started learning more about cooking, and we were growing closer as a family. Friends and neighbors started asking for recipes, so we decided to "reinvent" family dinner through a blog to inspire and educate others.
Favorite food to eat:
It's probably easier to answer what I don't like, but I'll give it a go... I love fresh mango, pizza is always delicious, and my panko-crusted chicken with lemon cream sauce ... I, literally, could go on and on.
Favorite food to make:
I love a good carné asada taco during the summer - add a little fresh guac and pico, and it's Heaven on Earth.
Favorite trick of the trade when it comes to cooking/baking:
Hmmmm, how to cook chicken in a pan - that tip has saved many a meal.
Favorite food substitute when cooking/baking:
Oh gosh, I sub a lot of Greek yogurt for sour cream, and avocado instead of mayo.
One piece of advice you would give to novice cooks:
Keep going. It takes time to learn how to cook, and so what if you burn a few meals. Everyone messes up and that's nothing to worry about. I always start with one thing at a time. So, you undercooked and then overcooked your chicken this week. Start with that aforementioned tip and perfect your chicken, then start playing around with different recipes. When you try to make five different meals and they all fail, it can be frustrating. Instead, start with one recipe and bust the heck out of it until you get it right, and then move on.
Favorite kitchen gadget:
Microplane and Wusthof Knives. A microplane appears in my hand often because I love a little lemon zest, finely grated parmesan or fresh nutmeg in sauces, etc. It adds a whole new taste. A good knife will change your life.
What’s your biggest food splurge?
Can I have three?
2. Herbs. I cannot grow herbs. Actually, I succeeded in basil and it got out of hand last year, so hopefully my black thumb has turned green.
3. Meat. Some think their meat isn't as delicious as a restaurant, but 80 percent of that is that they are buying poor quality, so I don't.
Biggest food flop:
Strawberry Shortcake cookies made to be like angel food cake cookies with dried berries. The entire cookie sheet was one big, flat, mess.
Favorite recipe you’ve posted:
Brown butter white chocolate stuffed snickerdoodles.
Or, this pot roast sandwich only because I was so surprised how awesome it turned out. I thought it would just be a simple little recipe and we all devoured it.