Sheila Johnson, the mastermind behind Eat 2gather, has a passion for food that reaches far beyond cooking and eating. This blogger even goes so far to sing about food, though she admits her enthusiasm for the subject can, on occasion, produce a few off-key notes. But we’re guessing that a recipe like Blueberry Peach Crisp will more than make up for any auditory discomfort. Especially if you’re willing to share!
Eat 2gather is a wonderful tribute to the power of family meals eaten together. Through food, family and fellowship, Sheila shows first-hand the importance of meals eaten around the table as a family, and she encourages others to do the same with recipes for the Perfect Quiche, healthy Chicken Tortellini Stir Fry or Italian Lemon Roast Chicken Pot that help solve the daily dilemma of what’s for dinner.
Don’t miss the Meals 4 Sharing section for yummy recipes and the chance to share in the comments about a recipe or meal made for someone you love. Links from other blogs are also encouraged to demonstrate how sharing food with those we love really can make a difference.
What question do you get from your readers most frequently?
I really don't have a question that is asked frequently. I do get a few calls for help now and again for recipe emergencies. And once in a while, I will forget to include an ingredient in my printable recipe (I'm only human!) and then I will get my readers emailing and commenting, "Why did you add chocolate chips in your photos and it's not in the written recipe?" Whoops! I actually love feedback. I am not offended at all. If a recipe doesn't work for one of my readers I want to hear about it, I want to help them through it. Thankfully, I don't get that very often. By the time I post a recipe on Eat 2gather, I've made it quite a few times, if not for years, so I usually have the kinks worked out.
What is your favorite dessert?
Oh golly, this question is much harder. I would have to say my Texas Sheet Cake with marshmallow fluff swirled in the frosting. I hardly ever make this cake because I cannot stay out of it! I could eat the whole thing I also am quite the fan of Crème Brulée as are my kiddos. I do not make this dessert nearly enough!
Favorite trick of the trade when it comes to cooking or baking?
When making cookies I almost always refrigerate the dough overnight or for a few hours before baking. This eliminates overspreading of the cookie while baking. I also sometimes will scoop the cookie dough onto parchment-lined sheets and pop them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking. This has the same effect, making for a crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, well-formed cookie!
Pssst, one more cookie secret: I take them out of the oven when they appear to be just undercooked, then I leave them on the baking sheet to cool. This gives cookies that straight from a bakery appearance, never overdone and burnt on the bottom.
Favorite food substitute when cooking or baking?
I love to add coffee to everything! Especially anything chocolate, but I have been known to add it to my enchilada sauce, beef stew and chili! I just recently read an article about a local breakfast joint that said one of their most popular items is pancakes with coffee drizzled over them!!! I'm trying that one next.
What advice would you offer to new bloggers?
1) Be true to yourself. Do some soul searching before you start and determine what excites you, what your passion is and what makes you tick in the kitchen. Are you a baker or a cooker? Is it your goal to be more of a teaching blog, giving step-by-step tutorials with pictures, or are you more of a writer that wants to share food through life's experiences? Unfortunately, I did not do this before I started blogging and I think it set me back a few years. I ended up changing my blog name and starting all over, which cost me some money and took a little while to get back in the groove with social media.
2) Be a sharer!! Network with people. Share other blogs by tweeting, pinning and sharing on Facebook. Read other blogs, not just food blogs, and comment often.
3) Be patient. The overnight success stories of million dollar food bloggers is few and far between...or should I say is really unheard of, even the food bloggers who have "hit it big" so to speak, blogged for many years and posted often before this happened. My philosophy for Eat 2gather is slow as she goes. If I keep plugging along, and doing what I do best and what I'm passionate about it will all come together. I have started to see the fruits of that this year for sure! Lastly, be careful not to become discontented. This is a hard one for me. Do your best, and don't let what others are doing bring you down. It seems there are times when everyone is going to a conference ... and you’re not. Everyone is being sponsored by a brand ... and you’re not. Everyone else is getting more comments ... than you. Chin up and remember why you started blogging. Maybe write why you started blogging on a post-it note and stick it on your desktop to remind and motivate you.