Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Back to School Manifesto

If you followed this blog for awhile (and I'm sure very few people do), you've noticed that there have been changes. Since I shut down Notes From the Cookie Jar I'm not only posting recipes here, but I'm writing a little as well. I'm sharing where I've found really great products, places I've gone, what I've eaten, and more.

The truth is, this place never really got the attention it deserved because for three years I created a ton of recipes a month to blog or post elsewhere, and if that won't burn you out, I don't know what will. People meet me, hear I have a food blog and say, "Oh! Have you seen Julie and Julia?" Part of me always wants to say,

"Oh. She only did it for a year. Try doing 240+ recipes a year for THREE YEARS IN A ROW. Now THAT is hard core food blogging."

You know the scene where she's on the floor sobbing because she just can't do it anymore?

Been there, done that. Lots of times.

These days, I'm cooking, yes. Creating? Of course. To that extent? NEVER AGAIN, unless someone wants to pay me crazy enough money that I can quit my job, along with supplying me with a kick ass grocery budget. It is just too hard to do when you also work full time elsewhere and have a family, which is why I have scaled back in a huge way.

So here we are closing in on September, which is always my New Year, because it's the part of the year where I gear up to go back to work for a fresh school year with a new crop of kids. Back to school is always about fresh starts for me, and that is carrying over to this place.

I've had a lot of things rattling around in my brain; because as you blog, through the years you grow and learn some things, and over the past few years I've learned a lot more than I ever bargained for.

1.  I will only do that which makes me happy, which is teaching YOU how to cook fresh, real food, and sharing things I love. 

For awhile there, blogging became serious obligation and to tell the truth, I began to hate my kitchen. I'm re-discovering it now and while the recipe posts are fewer, I'm feeling strongly about giving you better quality ones. Also, I'm really loving the opportunity to explore the Fraser Valley. You need to know that when I mention restaurants, food trucks, or farm stands that it's all on my own and not sponsored at all. I have paid for whatever I've eaten or products I have bought. I believe that it's important to share the straight goods on these things.

I want to love doing this again.

2.  I will focus on my own work and ignore everyone else. 

It's really hard not to get caught up in the comparing game and sometimes, when I've had too much time on my hands, I've allowed myself to fall into that trap. Sometimes you get caught up in trying to keep up with numbers and stats, being 'relevant' or trendy, and when I do that, I hate writing. Actually I end up hating the entire Internet altogether. Not everything has to be controversial or a huge drama to get readers, and I'm just not interested in the least.

I'm going to be me. Period.

3. There will be a few, very carefully accepted sponsors or reviews now and then, but this space is mine and I don't like sharing it. 

If I write it, it's because I will serve it/eat it/buy it myself, not because it was free. Over the years I've become very, very choosy when it comes to what products or brands I'll allow in this space. Most things that I write about are things that I've found or bought myself, but sometimes I do work with brands as well. I promise to keep this to a minimum. It's frustrated me to see bloggers I used to love to read turning into an infomercial of sorts, and I wish to avoid this.

4. I refuse to be judgmental, and I'm not going to allow it here, either.

Healthy eating has become just another way for parents to bash each other it seems, and I'm not playing. Sure, I'll be up front that I won't eat at McDonalds, but if you do and you enjoy it, it's none of my business. Sure, we all know that pop and fries aren't good for you but once in awhile isn't going to kill anyone. My goal here is to simply show that you CAN cook healthy food if you choose to. It's all about choice. I want to show how easy it is to make healthier alternatives, but ultimately it's all up to you. I'm not the Food Police, nor should anyone else be.

5. You'll get the best of me

I used to scoff at the food blogs that were mostly story with a recipe after, but maybe now I'm getting it. Food does come with a story, and sometimes I need to share it. You'll notice me trying to figure out how this new format works for me. I don't plan on following anyone else's formula but will try to sort out my own way of weaving story and recipe together. You are going to get more quality with less quantity, but I think it will be worth it.

Honestly, I'm pretty excited. It's like I have a whole new food blog and a huge area to go explore, so the possibilities are endless. There's so much to see, taste, photo, and write about! I've already started, but I've really only scratched the surface. There still so much more.

Let's get started, shall we?
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