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Episode 190: Streamlining Recipes and Kitchen Time for a More Seamless Blogging Experience with Amy Estes

In episode 190, we chat with Amy Estes, photographer, food blogger and nutrition coach about produce inspired recipes that help people eat better and feel better.

We cover information about ways to streamline your energy, time and accomplishing all you need to professionally and personally, how to take advantage of cooking appliances and using seasonal ingredients.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Pinch Me Good
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio
Amy is a food blogger, photographer and home cook. The blog Pinch Me Good is about sharing healthy produce inspired recipes to help people eat better and feel better in their everyday lives.

Takeaways

  • Focus your meal on adding colorful fruit and vegetables, then add in a tasty protein to compliment it.
  • Drink lots of water. 95% of what ails us can be improved by drinking more water.
  • Get moving – exercise intentionally. This can be anything from walking to weights to biking, etc.
  • Work to eat 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • An air fryer and an Instant Pot can be easy appliances to simplify your time in the kitchen with healthier and quicker meals.
  • Meal prep tip: prep your 4 categories for the week so they are ready to grab and you can stay on track. Prep healthy greens, carbs, grains and protein.
  • Find ingredients to pair up and improve the nutritional value such as kale and apple cider vinegar.
  • Download a seasonal produce guide so that buy fruits and vegetables that are more flavorful so you’re more likely to enjoy them.
  • Eating healthy fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be expensive. Purchase fresh produce that you can use and then prep for other meals within the week.
  • Find your niche -hone in on what you want to share with your audience and use your analytics to help you get to the heart of the matter.

Resources Mentioned

Books:

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole

The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini

Quote: You are what you eat, eat to live, your waistline is your lifeline, eat better, feel better.

Want More?

Kristen Wood joins us in episode 118 to share about creating more with very little.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Are you a motivated food blogger, striving to meet financial or freedom goals? If so, then the Eat Blog Talk membership is for you. Take a journey with like-minded peers that will bring you past the overwhelm and straight into the arms of clarity. You will have direct access to guest experts, delivering massive amounts of value into your business. You will have the opportunity to participate in monthly strategy calls, focusing on different aspects of food blogging. And most importantly, you will be part of a tight knit, supportive and encouraging family filled with people just like you. Visit eatblogtalk.com for more information. And the rest of us cannot wait to see you inside.

Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk. This podcast is for you, food bloggers wanting value and clarity to help you find greater success in your business. Today I am so excited. I get to chat with Amy Estes from pinchmegood.com. We are going to talk about streamlining recipes and kitchen time for a more seamless blogging experience. Amy is a food blogger, photographer and home cook. Her blog Pinch Me Good is about sharing healthy produce inspired recipes to help people eat better and feel better in their everyday lives. Amy, I am so grateful to have this time with you today, but first we all want to hear your fun fact.

Amy Estes:

Oh, thank you. So I did have to think really, really hard about my fun fact and I’m being very sarcastic because I pretty much almost use the same one. It may not be as unique nowadays as it was when I was growing up. I’m 41. So just to give you an idea of when I was growing up. I am a triplet.

Megan:

Whoa!

Amy:

I have two sisters. When I was growing up, that was very unique. It’s more common to be multiple nowadays. But when I was growing up, it was very unique and I have two sisters that are the same age as me obviously. W.e all love to cook. We grew up cooking. I have three older brothers as well. They are not triplets. My parents cheated and had three at once. So my mom wanted a girl and she got three at once.

Megan:

Oh my gosh. That is so unusual.

Amy:

So we’re very close. One of my sisters actually lives across the street from me.

Megan:

Whoa.

Amy:

With her family. Yep. My other sister, we all just actually recently migrated from Connecticut to North Carolina. One by one. Because we couldn’t be a part, so we slowly kind of moved. My parents and my in-laws as well. We’ve all migrated here to sunny, warm North Carolina from snowy, dark Connecticut. It’s been really a huge, amazing journey to just move and live in a different place, but to be altogether and to be so close. So yeah, so that’s my fun fact.

Megan:

That is the coolest fun fact. Triplets. I do not know a single triplet, so I am so happy that I now can say that I do. I bet you guys have just the best bond. I think I’ve heard that with twins and I’m sure it’s the same with triplets, but the bond is just unmatchable.

Amy:

You can’t explain it to anybody that is not a multiple really. We finish each other’s sentences. We know each other better than anybody. So we always grew up with best friends. During any of life’s transitions. So yeah, it’s a gift that my parents, I guess, gave us. I don’t know how to explain it.

Megan:

That is so, so cool. I love that. One of my favorites. So thanks, Amy. I’m excited also to hear about just streamlining your kitchen time. As you know, food blogging requires so much balance, especially when we’re in the kitchen. So you have insights for us, Amy, about how to streamline our kitchen time and also our meal prepping time in order to make our lives easier. We all want to make our lives easier. I think that will make everyone’s ears perk up a little bit. So you have this phrase you use, produce inspired recipes, and I really am eager to hear about that. I think it’s such an interesting, just an interesting term. I want you to talk us through that. What does produce inspired recipes mean?

Amy:

This is kind of new for my blog. I’ll explain what produce inspired recipes means and then I’ll kind of explain a little bit about how I got there, if that’s okay. Because I think you know, this is a podcast where a lot of food bloggers listen to it and we’re all trying to find our niche and define our brand. This is kind of how this all came about. So produce inspired recipes are exactly what it sounds like. All of my recipes are centered around using fruits and vegetables as the star of the dish. I grew up eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. My parents ate very healthy. They still do. I always say to my mom, what was the magic?” Now that I have kids, I think how did you magically get me to be so excited about produce? because I struggle every day with my kids who are five and eight.

But it’s really just trying to come up with a recipe for spinach and cheese stuffed chicken, I’m really thinking about making spinach the star of the dish and not necessarily the chicken the star of the dish. Chicken has a lot of nutrition as well. But I think a lot of people, or at least I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with getting enough fruits and vegetables and you need way more than you think. I am also a certified nutrition coach. So I understand when I got that certification made me realize how much more our bodies truly need to operate efficiently and to perform at our best every day. I feel amazing every single day. I have for 20 years, I’ve always eaten very healthy and exercise. I was an athlete previously.

I used to run marathons. So I don’t do that anymore because I have kids. I don’t have four hours to go and run, but I feel so amazing every day. I looked at that and said, why do I feel so amazing every day? Everybody should feel like this. I’ve done every diet under the planet. I was vegan and vegetarian for three and a half years. In my early thirties, early to mid thirties after I had kids. It was the unhealthiest I’ve ever been, believe it or not. Now I’m not saying that diet is not healthy. It was not for me. But many people thrive on it. I think that’s great. I really commend them because it’s hard. During that journey, it opened my eyes up to eating so many different types of foods and produce. I stuck to the basics tomatoes and lettuce and potatoes.

I didn’t really eat a lot of squash or beans or all the greens that are out there, there’s so many different kinds. I stuck to spinach. So it really opened my eyes when I was just eating more of a plant-based diet of all the produce that’s out there and all the amazing recipes you can make. It made me more efficient in the kitchen, doing meal prep. I learned a bunch of different techniques on how to cook, which is really what inspired me to start Pinch Me Good. I eat meat again to help me be healthier and feel better. I eat meat and fish in my diet now, what I’ve learned in every diet out there that I am aware of, the one thing that is constant, pretty much every diet has you eat fruits and vegetables or allows you to eat fruits and vegetables.

That’s really what produce inspired is to me. The recipes I create are recipes that everybody can eat to eat a more colorful diet, to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet, which will help you feel better, eat better and just be healthier and live a more fulfilling life. We want to feel our best every day, right? So we can perform at our best, be the best mom, wife, friend, daughter, whatever it may be, business person. Everybody always says, you have so much energy, you must have a lot of coffee. How are you never tired? How do you get so much done? Why does your skin look so good? Part of it’s genetics. My mom is 73, she looks 60, maybe younger. She has beautiful skin. But I eat a colorful diet and I drink a lot of water and I move my body and it’s really that simple. We don’t need these crazy complicated diets. It’s really just eating a more healthful, colorful diet. That’s what produce inspired is those are the kinds of recipes.

Megan:

Amy, that was so inspiring. I was loving hearing you talk through that. I love the simplicity of it. It’s really about those three things. So color, colorful diet, water, and movement. If you can get those three things, which is really actually really easy to do, you can be so healthy and it makes sense. It’s so easy though to consume garbage and choose not moving over moving and not drink enough water. I did that for years. I finally made a commitment in 2021 to start drinking more water. We all hear it, right. We’re always hearing you need to drink more water, but do we actually do it? I didn’t for so long. I know I need to drink more water, but I’ve been drinking more water than I ever have in my life. I feel amazing, just that one little change. So I’m curious, how much water do you recommend people drink and how much color? Do we have to think about this for every meal? What are your thoughts?

Amy:

That is an awesome question. Now I think everybody is different. But I will get to that point. I just want to say one thing. What I’ve learned from becoming a nutrition coach and my mom was a nurse for 45 years. So just hearing her talk about in the emergency room, hearing her talk about things that people went to the emergency room for and all these things. You can look this up, it’s true. 95% of the issues that we have daily are being bloated, having a headache, feeling lethargic or tired or sluggish because we’re not drinking enough water. It blows my mind, but it’s true. Whenever I have a headache, which is rare, or I’m not feeling a hundred percent, I just drink some water. It literally changes my whole day. I say the same thing to my kids.

They each have dedicated water bottles. I don’t give them any sugary drinks. So once in a while they’ll get Apple juice or orange juice and they think it’s the greatest thing ever. But a lot of people give their kids too much juice. If my kids have an issue, I always say, what am I going to say? Drink some water. It always solves the problem. We’re so quick to give our kids medicine when they have a headache or when they’re not feeling so great. I think that I really try to stick to more natural or whole kinds of remedies, which is to drink water first. I have to say 95% of the time it works.

Megan:

That’s amazing. That just makes you want to do it right now. Just start drinking more water because it’s such a simple solution. Our bodies are screaming at us, telling us that we need hydration and you’re not giving it to us. Here’s ibuprofen, here’s medicine. That is not what it’s wanting. That’s probably making it even worse.

Amy:

Complete strangers, I live in North Carolina, so strangers talk to you. That’s one of the reasons I love living here, but some people wouldn’t love that. I go back to Connecticut, I talk to strangers and they look at me like I’m crazy because that’s the norm here. Everybody’s just really friendly. But people come up to me all the time constantly and ask me what my skincare routine is. Strangers in the grocery store. I grew up with people asking my mom this question. She says, I just eat healthy and I drink water. I don’t have a magic pill. I don’t take any magic. I don’t use any magic serums. I had a zoom call with some colleagues a few weeks ago and they asked me, as soon as I got on the call, what is your secret?

I don’t have one. Water is also in your produce, right? So you hydrate your body. A lot of times we do things that dehydrate our body that we think will help us make us feel better, like take ibuprofen or medications. Eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking water. When you asked me about the amount that we should have, I would recommend something different for my eight year old son than I would for me, who’s a grown woman. It depends on how active you are. I’m pretty active. I still run a lot and I ride my Peloton bike. I’m obsessed if you follow me on social media.

I love my Peloton and I love running. So if I run an hour in the morning and do a 20 minute ride later in the day, and maybe some weights, that’s a lot. Most people who work out 30 to 60 minutes a day I would say a hundred ounces of water. If you’re an average sized person, you know, which is around 150 pounds give or take. So that would be my recommendation. You can look up guidelines and you can put in your weight. I think there’s a website called how muchwatertodrink.com and you can kind of put in your activity level and your weight, and it will give you a general idea. But as with everything, start slowly. I’m not a doctor, right? So I just want to point that out.

I’m not a doctor. But start slowly and listen to your body, see how your body feels. You don’t want to make huge changes right up front when it comes to your diet and nutrition, just start slow. Don’t get a 120 ounce jug of water and try to drink it every day. Start with an extra glass of water in the afternoon before you drink coffee, because maybe you don’t need that extra coffee. Because water sometimes will give you more energy than caffeine, right? So that’s really the guideline. Then when it comes to fruits and vegetables, people are going to be surprised at how much I say you need. So don’t everybody email me or message me screaming. It’s more than you think, it’s not that much, but I would say six to eight servings. A serving to me is about a half a cup. It depends. A cup of spinach is a serving of spinach. Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal and in your snacks,

Megan:

That is such great advice, all around water and color, fruits, vegetables, we need all of it. So give us some examples. So you mentioned before using spinach as a main feature of the meal instead of chicken, for example. So if you had spinach, how would you build your plate around spinach?

Amy:

Oh, I love this question. So first of all, I would think, what am I having for my protein? So if I was having, for example chicken as I mentioned before, we’ll just stick with that because that seems to be like something that most people eat for their protein. So if I was having chicken, right now I’m testing spinach and cheese stuffed chicken so it’s front of mind for me. But I would think about sauteing the spinach and then mixing it with a cream sauce and then having it with the chicken and then stuffing in the chicken and then baking it. You could do pasta, you could do a spinach and basil pesto and add some spinach to your pesto.

Do basil and make a basic pesto and then pour that over your salad for a vegetarian or meat-free spinach meal. Of course you could always do a salad, which I do. Then every morning, every single morning, I start my day with a cup of spinach. No matter what I’m eating, sometimes I’ll make a savory spinach and cheese with some oats. Some people would be surprised, but it’s actually really good. Or I’ll do egg white scramble with some goa, cheese and spinach, which I had this morning, which was insanely delicious with some sprouted grain bread, just for example. So I’m starting my day. It’s a positive pattern. It actually makes me eat less during the day. If I start my day with spinach.

Megan:

I am starving right now. I want to go to my fridge because I think I have spinach. I know I do. I am so hungry all of a sudden. That all sounded amazing. I love how you get so creative too. So you talked earlier about learning different techniques actually helps you be more efficient in the kitchen. Can you talk more about that? How do you feel like that helps?

Amy:

So when I talk about techniques, it comes down to meal prep techniques. So things that I can do in advance to make cooking easier and simpler and quicker because I do have two small children and a husband who are all boys. So I live in a house of boys. They always need to constantly be eating. Also the different cooking techniques I’ve learned. There’s a lot of gadgets out there. People always ask me this question. I actually got an email this morning from a reader asking me this question. It happens all the time. What are the appliances I should buy? What should I buy to make cooking quicker and more efficient? There are two, you’re probably not going to be surprised by what they are. My air fryer is my life. It’s not really my life, but when it comes to cooking, my mom tried to convince me to buy an air fryer for so long.

I was like, no. First of all, my mom is always right. She really, truly is. So listen to your mother. She really is always right. She would laugh. So I bought one last March when the pandemic hit and I was like, I’m going to be home with these kids all day, every day, I need a quick way to make grilled cheese. I never looked back. I have created some incredible Air Fryer recipes. I just started creating them. I wanted to wait until I became an expert using the air fryer to get really familiar with the different things that you could cook in it before I started creating recipes for the blog. So the few recipes I’ve created so far, which I did air fryer breaded chicken, which has no oil and is crazy crispy and you’d never know that it’s not fried. It’s doing really well in the blog right now. If you go to pinchmegood.com, it’s the first recipe that’s up there.

Megan:

I’m looking at it right now. That’s so funny that you said that. They look delicious.

Amy:

So good. We make it at least twice a week. Then I did an air fryer Eggplant Parmesan which has very little calories because eggplant is one of the best foods to eat. It has a lot of nutrition, a lot of vitamin C, which we all need right now because we’re in a pandemic. We need to keep our bodies healthy and it’s very quick and easy and it’s so good. Which is so important to me. If it’s not delicious, I’m not eating it just because it’s good for me. It’s gotta be really delicious.

Megan:

I’m with you on that 100%. It has to be good.

Amy:

So the air fryer, that’s one and then my Instant Pot, hands down, you got to have an Instant Pot. These things are not that expensive. You can get an air fryer. I think I have one on my blog. It’s the one that I have. I have a very good one because I cook for a living. So I need a really sturdy one. That one was about $120, but you can get them for 30 or $40. I recommend a six quart Instant Pot. The 4 quarts are okay if you’re a single person, but if you’re married or you have kids, the six to eight quart is really what you want to buy. Then they have the single ones, like I have an Instant Pot and I have an air fryer. But they have combo ones where it’s an Instant Pot and an air fryer.

I think Ninja makes one. I think that’s what my mom has. I haven’t tested those yet. I use these appliances by the way, every day. Now obviously I cook for a living but I use them every single day. They’re very easy to clean, very easy to use and quick. The things that blow my mind about the Instant Pot, number one chili. You can make it in 25 minutes instead of slow cooking it for four hours. It tastes just as good if not better. So it’s, it’s really a pressure cooker, that’s what an Instant Pot is uf people don’t know. I have a Turkey chili on my blog that’s amazing. It really blows my mind, but chili, soups, potatoes, a baked potato spaghetti squash, butternut squash, all those kinds of things, make your own beans. Those things blow my mind when it comes to the Instant Pot and they are meal prep time savers that you can make on Sunday and eat all week long.

Megan:

Great advice. I absolutely love my air fryer, I have actually two air fryers. I have a power fryer and a pressure fryer, and I love them both. I used my power fryer every single day, like you said. My instant pot, I haven’t taken it out recently, but I used to use that almost daily as well. It is so magical. I think every food blogger should have an Instant Pot and use it regularly. I totally agree with you. It’s amazing. The chili, like you mentioned, soup can get done so quickly and it’s so good. Everything that comes out of my Instant Pot, I am blown away. I’m like, I did not expect it to be this delicious, but it’s always blowing my mind. It’s just crazy.

Amy:

It’s easy to clean, you know? Those are the kitchen tips. Then the meal prep tips would be, there’s like four meal prep tips that I do every Sunday. I’ve been doing this for eight years since I had my first born. As I realized, wow, kids are a lot of work. I really need to prepare my food. I always say healthy. I ran marathons. So I actually was still running marathons when I had one child and then I had two and I was like, I can’t do this anymore. So there’s probably four key things I need to prepare. I really think perhaps it should be tailored around what you like to eat during the week. But I always prep my greens. So spinach basically comes washed and prepped, but I always prep kale. I always like to have two kinds of greens ready in my fridge. I’m actually working on a post right now, how to prep kale. So stay tuned. It’s kind of my specialty.

Megan:

I’m intrigued. Can you give us a hint?

Amy:

Well, I mean, it is my specialty because I do it every week, but I guess the hint would be, I will tell you how to prep kale so it lasts for eight days in your fridge. Still crisp, it’s still a super green and keeps all the nutrients and you can use it in soups and salads. The best way to use kale I think is besides salad is to chop it up and stir it in right as your soup is finished and let it wait a minute or two. Kale we know is a superfood, it’s one of the best things you can put in your body, especially right now. So a lot of people and it’s like a dollar or two for a bunch, it’s very inexpensive. I know a lot of people that don’t eat it because they’re like, it’s so much work, but it’s not, it takes maybe five or 10 minutes and then you have it all week.

So that’s how you have to think about it. So my easy kale salad is the number one on Pinterest, but it’s what put my blog on the map. So you want to look up easy kale salad with lemon. Mine’s the number one. We just had it the other day. So it’s a great way to eat kale and to prepare that salad and have it with grilled chicken or grilled fish or whatever, you can even have it with roasted chickpeas. It’s a great salad to just have an easy light lunch or to have as a side. But I would say prep your greens make some kind of healthy carb. So yes, carbs are important and our bodies need them. So I would say healthy carbs, like potatoes, squash, brown rice or quinoa, those are my go to’s.

I’m not a huge pasta person. I think it’s fine to eat pasta. It’s just not my favorite food. So I don’t eat a ton of it. You probably noticed if you go on my blog, there’s not a ton of pasta dishes, but I love lasagna and you’ll see three lasagna recipes. They’re all produce inspired. So I like lasagna cause it’s really fun to make. It’s just easy, it’s easy meal prep recipe you can make. So cook your grains, prep your grains, cook your healthy carbs, have those in the fridge, cook your protein. So my two favorite proteins to have on hand are grilled chicken, marinated grilled chicken, or have chicken marinating in the fridge, right? That you can quickly throw into the air fryer or on the grill pan. Either meatballs or Turkey meatballs are my favorite or Turkey burgers, which don’t last long in my fridge. So my kids devour them. We had them last night over a kale slaw that I made. That’s coming out shortly with a poppy seed dressing. It was unbelievable. Sorry, I’m making you really hungry,

Megan:

You are and it’s 9:30a Amy.

Amy:

My brain is surrounded by food all day.

Megan:

I know it’s hard not to talk about it right. I really appreciate your talking about all this delicious stuff, because I’m actually inspired. I’m writing all of the ingredients down that you say that are just inspiring me. I used to cook with kale all the time and use it all the time and I haven’t, and as you’re talking, I’m like, why? Why aren’t I doing this? Like you said, it’s really inexpensive. It’s so good and it’s so versatile. I used to throw it into a pan just with a little bit of olive oil and just cook it. So it will, it’s just a little bit, so it’s not quite as crunchy or chewy. Get rid of that chewiness a little bit and then toss it with some other lettuce and maybe some Apple cider vinegar and a protein that is like my favorite salad ever. So I’m inspired to do that again. So keep going, I want to keep hearing about your food.

Amy:

Well, you can also throw the kale into a food processor and pulse it a few times. So a lot of people don’t realize that, but you can do a shredded kale and put it in burgers and everything for your kids. So they’re getting a healthy green in there. So eating your grains is very important. The other one or two things I would say is just make one or two dishes, a soup and a lasagna, or enchiladas or something that you believe you’d want to eat during the week multiple times. So I have these skinny lasagna roll-ups that I love. They’re spinach lasagna roll-ups. A friend of mine just made them and she ate them for three meals during the week.

So they’re great. They last for five days. Typically I always put like a meal prep tip or how long it will last in the fridge, how to store it because that’s so important to me. Just to be able to quickly grab it. My husband’s upstairs in his office right now, he’s got to quickly grab food all day, because again men and boys need to constantly be eating. So I always have things prepped in my fridge that he can quickly grab or my kids can quickly grab. Every Sunday, look at two things. What would I want to eat this week for a quick lunch or a quick dinner that you can just throw together? Having chopped veggies and prepped cooked chicken, you can make a quick flatbread pizza or an easy vegetable stir fry, just having those things, you can make dinners in 10 minutes. I love the ready rice that takes 90 seconds in the microwave.

Megan:

I use that all the time.

Amy:

Make a stir fry and like 10 minutes, if you have cooked proteins, even if you don’t, it might take 15 if you have to cut up the chicken and cook it, but we have a stir fry sauce coming out in a couple of weeks. It’s like an everyday stir fry sauce and it goes with everything; pork, chicken, beef. It’s amazing. The reason I decided to come out with it separately is I made it in a recipe and my mother-in-law says, Oh my God, I make it every day. So I’m like, okay, I should probably share it.

Megan:

That’s a keeper when you hear those words, right?

Amy:

Yeah. So I just listened to what people say and what they want. I do produce inspired recipes, but I also will create things that you can serve with your produce, like air fryer crispy chicken, and then every day stir fry sauce. Those are things, you have to have accompaniments to your food. Oh, I’m going to cook the spaghetti squash. What do I have with it? A pesto with some meatballs or something. That’s a really easy light dinner you can have. I don’t really do a lot of carbs at night because I work out in the morning and I don’t want to feel heavy and sluggish in the morning. So I always do a light low carb dinner and I have my carbs earlier in the day. For me, that’s what works for my schedule. So I think, what works for you and go by how you feel.

Megan:

I love all of that, Amy. So I’m looking at your easy kale salad right now, and I’m going to make it this week. I am going to make this look so good. I have never used pistachios in salads, but this just looks amazing. I have to say one more thing about that. Your Apple cider vinegar, you use that too. I use that in salads all the time. My boys think I’m bonkers. That is so gross, but it is for me, it is so delicious and just brings out the flavor of the salad and just compliments it so well. So I’m glad you do that as well. It’s really good for you, right?

Amy:

Yes. Especially Apple cider vinegar and kale, they compliment each other. When you pair ingredients together it actually ups the nutrition. That’s why it’s in the salad dressing. If you combine Apple cider vinegar in your dressing with your kale, it actually heightens the nutrition in your kale and allows your body to absorb the nutrients better? I really think about that when I’m cooking.

Megan:

Well, I’m going to report back to you about the salad because it is going to be in my kitchen, in my belly soon. I’m very excited. I’m actually not going to close this tab. I’m going to keep that open. Well, it was really fun hearing you talk through that and meal prepping can be good for us food bloggers, as a way to streamline our personal lives and our family lives and getting food to the people in our family and ourselves, but it can also be a way to deliver new ideas and ways to incorporate new things into the kitchen for our readers too. So do you ever do that? Do you ever offer it up as tips to your readers?

Amy:

So funny, you should mention that. So I’ve been really focused from a blogging perspective to grow and build my blog. This is where it comes into my niche, which is produce inspired recipes. I started the blog as a, as a vegetarian vegan blog, right. It was sharing healthy, vegetarian, vegan recipes. So there’s a lot of those on there. If you are vegan or vegetarian and then as I learned that I wasn’t being as healthy as a vegetarian and I had to add meat back into my diet, I knew I wanted to be authentic. I got to switch up my blog a little bit and add meat and fish. I don’t have a lot of seafood recipes, but they’re coming into my repertoire on my recipe index.

A few months ago, which is probably shocking, it was probably four or five months ago now I just kind of took a week and I was like, what is my niche going to be? I looked at my website and kind of looked at the themes of all the recipes I had on there. I just really want to focus and hone in on something specific and find my readership to really grow my blog. It just popped into my head, produce inspired recipes. It took a few days of me really writing down every word of all of my themes. I went on Pinterest and looked at what people were pinning and what boards people were pinning my recipes to. As a food blogger, I think that was probably the most frustrating thing. I really want this to be my full-time job. Then I hired a branding company, Grace and Vine studios. They were amazing.

Megan:

I love her. She’s the best.

Amy:

She was unbelievable to work with and very easy to work with. She created my logo and my branding around produce inspired recipes to eat better and feel better and it has changed. We implemented that around the holidays and my blog has taken off since then.

Megan:

That’s amazing. That is so incredible. I love to hear that.

Amy:

Yeah. I’m now making a full-time income. It’s been crazy even with my kids home, I was able to figure it out. It’s been very inspiring and she has really created an incredible brand for me and I’m very grateful. So I recommend her a hundred percent. I think if you’re looking to try to find your niche and grow your blog, I think it’s one thing you have to do. Now I know what my readers want. I’m building a readership, I’m building followers, they’re reaching out to me, I’m creating content they want, and it feels so good. It just feels really good.

Megan:

Yeah. It’s hard to deliver when you don’t know who you’re delivering to. So that’s a vital piece of it

Amy:

Basically it made me figure that out. She really inspired me and pushed me to really hone in on my audience. That was great. It was a great experience and worth it.

Megan:

It’s ironic because Madison, who you’re talking about is actually wrapping up my new branding as we speak. So I’m super excited. She sent me a preview video yesterday of what it’s going to look like. I love it. So Madison, if you’re listening, thank you. You’re amazing. Changing lives.

Amy:

We’re actually doing a full site redesign with her, I hope later this year. So I wanted to figure out what my readers want. So before we do more work on my website, I’m adding some more services to my blog as well. So I’m adding food photography services and recipe development to other bloggers. I just started offering that a couple of days ago and I got a flood of requests. I’m just so grateful.

Megan:

That’s amazing. Amy, that’s really exciting.

Amy:

Yeah. To be able to work with other bloggers and help them on their journey and grow their business is the best feeling ever. I’m excited. It’s exciting.

Megan:

That’s very, very exciting. So you’re offering up all of these new things and finally figuring out who you’re speaking to, has helped you do that. So the first step was, okay, who are my people? Then from there you’ve been able to expand a little bit.

Amy:

Yes.

Megan:

That’s cool.

Amy:

It’s been incredible.

Megan:

Good. Well, I can just hear it in your voice. It’s something that really excites you and you’re happy about it. That bleeds over into the work that you do and the recipes that you produce. Honestly like the energy that you have too, right, don’t you think?

Amy:

I’m very passionate about what I do. If somebody told me 10 years ago, five years ago that I would be doing this, I think most of us would probably say, are you kidding? I’m going to be a food photographer and a food blogger. About 14 years ago, I got married and he said what do you want to do? We talked about what our goals are, which you should always talk about with your soon to be spouse. I said, I don’t know, I really love food. I kind of want to write a cookbook some day. He thought I was nuts. I love writing and I love food, but I was at the time I was a project manager at an insurance company. didn’t really know. I thought that was going to be my career. I actually did leave my corporate job in 2019 to pursue something. I didn’t know if it was going to be the blog. The blog was very young at the time, but that’s when I became a certified nutrition coach. I said, I want to do something in health and fitness. I was always very passionate about it, but I didn’t. I found as I got that certification, I just wasn’t that interested in coaching people face to face and having those kinds of clients. Then my husband said, why don’t you do it through Pinch Me Good, through your blog? So that’s what I’m doing today. So I will be creating more content around.

I just created a post about the seven healthy eating habits you can start doing today. It’s a great post. There’s a lot of helpful information, expanded information on what I talked about here today. So you can check that out. I think it’s on the front page of my blog. I’ll be doing some more posts like that, meal prep tips, meal planning. I have a meal planning guide that’s coming out as my freebie offer for my email list. So that’s coming out next Monday. So be on the lookout for that. I’m just trying to do more coaching through my business as well.

Megan:

So cool, Amy. So I have one last question for you. This has been so great, but I know that you focus on a lot of produce. So you have to focus on seasonal foods. Do you have any recommendations for that? Because it’s easy to say, Oh, I just, I’m going to cook with, pick something, pick an ingredient out of the list, but it might not be in season. So how do we buy seasonally in order to streamline and also save money?

Amy:

So that’s actually a really great point. A lot of people think eating healthy and eating more fruits and vegetables is so expensive. I mean, the number of times I get comments about that, this is so expensive. It’s not. It’s actually way less expensive than you think. Like I said, a bunch or two of kale you can get for a dollar. You know, spinach you can get for a couple dollars. These are foods that you can start very slowly adding into your diet. So I would recommend downloading, you find tons of them everywhere, a seasonal produce guide. You can go to Pinterest, you can go to Google, just download one. Then when you’re ready to go do your shopping look at what’s in season, because it will be much less expensive, much more available in your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

It will have more nutrition and have better taste and flavor when it’s in season than when it’s not. So if you look at my recipes, I always cook seasonally and offer things that are in season. Broccoli is in season basically all year. I just did this amazing roasted broccoli. But broccoli’s in season all year. I have a lot of squash recipes that do really well, obviously in the fall and early winter. Squash is my favorite vegetable on the planet. It’s very obvious. A lot of people will say, Oh, you obviously love squash. I actually want to write a cookbook just around recipes using squash, because I love it so much. I don’t think people eat it enough. It has a lot of flavor, but I would say download a produce guide and eat seasonally. That’s a great way to start because it’s also a great way to get fruits and vegetables into your kids. Because when the fruits and vegetables are more colorful, when they’re in season, they have more flavor. Your kids will be more excited about eating them. Trust me, because my kids are young and it’s really hard to get them to eat those colors.

Megan:

Oh my gosh, it’s been like a lifelong ongoing battle with my boys. They used to eat anything I gave them. I mean, I think this is probably true for any kid. When they’re really, really little, they’ll just eat whatever you put in front of them. But now it’s such a struggle and I have to be sneaky and I do it because they need it, but it is such a struggle. But once I figure out the things that they like, I latch on to that and go with it. If there’s a vegetable that they will tolerate, I will just run with it. What is your favorite squash?

Amy:

My favorite squash is butternut squash, hands down.

Megan:

Love butternut squash. What’s your favorite recipe to make with it?

Amy:

I have two now, can I give you two that I love? First of all, I just love regular oven roasted squash. I make it every Sunday. My mom always say, you always have squash on your counter. It should probably be in your pantry because it should be stored in a cool dark place, but it’s on my counter cause I’m usually making it that day. It’s very inexpensive. I have a how to roast butternut squash on my blog. It’s very easy and simple and people get intimidated. They say, I don’t want to peel it. Please buy a whole squash and cut it up and peel it. Don’t buy the pre-cut because you lose so much flavor and nutrition by buying the pre-cut. So I think if you’re using squash, you’re going to puree it into a sauce or something you can buy the pre-cut, but if you’re going to roast it or use it in a soup, I recommend buying the whole squash and cutting it and peeling it. It just takes minutes. It’s very easy.

Megan:

You pay so much extra for that cutting and peeling.

Amy:

So my favorite is just oven roasted squash. I love to throw it on salads. Have it as a side, I’ll eat it as a quick snack. That’s probably my favorite. My favorite number one. Then I have a roasted butternut squash soup that I’m probably making weekly right now. My husband yesterday said, I’m kind of sick of it though. Can we have something else?

Megan:

Uh oh.

Amy:

I love it so much. I make it a lot. But soup’s a great thing to have in your fridge when you’re hungry, it’s just something quick you can heat up in the microwave. Have it with a couple of whole grain crackers or toast. So I just think it’s a great thing to have in your fridge. Those were my favorite oven roasted squash and butternut squash soup. For sure.

Megan:

I absolutely love squash as well. Butternut squash is one of my favorites. I did a recipe a few years ago. It was butternut squash with apples. I roasted it together and it is one of my top recipes, it was surprising, but still it goes strong, especially through the holidays and holiday cooking and those seasons, people really love it. It’s such a good combination of flavors. You wouldn’t think that apples would be a good compliment, but Oh my goodness. Love that. Now I want to go make squash too, Amy. So kale and squash are on my list right here.

Amy:

You’re eating very healthy.

Megan:

Yes. In my mind, I’m eating very healthy. This has been so inspiring. I absolutely love your produce inspired theme and how you’ve just dug into your blog and figured out exactly what you want to do and deliver to your people and how that’s carried you through to finding other passions and other things you want to deliver. I have just loved our chat, but I do want to know what your number one takeaway is for food bloggers listening along the lines of digging into produce inspired recipes or meal prepping or anything along those lines.

Amy:

So I thought a lot about this and it didn’t take me that long to think about what my takeaway was. I know that the audience is mostly food bloggers and food blogging is a really hard business. So I know everyone listening can appreciate that. We have to wear a lot of hats, but I I think the most important thing for me, and I think I already said this, but find your niche. I think a lot of people have been successful in having a general food blog with general recipes. I know other people have said this before. It’s very hard. It’s an easy thing to procrastinate about. Let me tell you I did it, but ever since I found my niche and figured out what kind of recipes I wanted to create and why and who my audience was, it has changed my business. My business has grown just in the last year alone by 250% was the number that I came up with. It’s crazy. It’s blowing my mind and it’s going up every day. I think that’s the takeaway I would give to everybody,

Megan:

I love it. And I hear that from so many people. So I hope food bloggers are inspired by this. I know they will be. So thank you just for being here today, Amy, this was really fun. I enjoy chatting with you.

Amy:

Well, thank you for having me. I’m so grateful to be on your blog. I love your blog. I listen to it all the time. I’m sorry, your podcast.

Megan:

I know what you meant.

Amy:

I listen to it all the time when I’m cooking. It’s really great. I’ve gotten some really helpful and useful information, so thank you.

Megan:

Oh, I love to hear that. I’m so glad that you found it helpful before you go. We want to hear either your favorite quote or words of inspiration.

Amy:

Okay. So my favorite quote, I don’t know who said this. I heard it somewhere. But my favorite quote from a health coach perspective is, “everything in moderation, including moderation.” I wish I could plug wherever I heard that, but I don’t remember where I heard it. So if that is your quote, I’m sorry if I said I don’t remember where I heard it.

Megan:

I’ve never heard that, but that’s very thought provoking. I love that.

Amy:

Then from a blogging and business perspective, you are what you believe. So if you can manifest your dreams, mindset is everything. So if you believe you can achieve it, you will.

Megan:

Love it so much. Thank you so much for sharing that. We are going to put together a show notes page for you, Amy. If anyone wants to peek at those, go to eatblogtalk.com/pinchmegood. Also go check out Amy’s blog. There are so many delicious recipes on there and you are going to be hearing from me soon, Amy, about this easy kale salad. I also want your energy. So I feel like you are just full of energy and eating colorful foods and drinking lots of water and staying active. It’s just very encouraging for all of us to hear. So thank you for all of that too. Why don’t you tell everybody where they can find you online?

Amy:

So you can find me online on Instagram at @pinchmegoodfood. As well as Pinch Me Good on Facebook. My blog is pinchmegood.com.

Megan:

Awesome. Well thank you so much for being here, Amy. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you, on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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