Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

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Entries in blogging (4)


Chocolate Caramel Apple Bars + Why I Love Blogging

Do you like chocolate, caramel and apple?

Who doesn't?

Today I'm writing all about these gooey bars on Keep it Sweet! Ooey gooey apple and caramel scattered atop a layer of semisweet chocolate, then sandwiched between crumbly oat goodness and topped with even more sticky caramel sauce is what these bars are all about. Be sure to head over to Keep it Sweet to get the recipe! And if you aren't reading Lauren's blog, you really need to get on that because her dessert recipes are absolutely mouth watering and she is just the sweetest (no pun intended :))

So today is Wednesday and you know what that means...it's What About Me Wednesday! Every week I do a more personal write up about myself, my life or just random tidbits. If you have a question or an idea for a topic, please send it my way! Today, I want to talk about something super important to me...my love of blogging.

I started blogging in 2009 at Between JC and Manhattan. After a year, I totally revamped my blog, my direction and my look with The Avid Appetite. It's become a part of who I am, how people know me, and I never knew what it would lead to when I started.

Why I Love Blogging

It fulfills a passion.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Be it in a personal journal, {terrible} short stories as a tween, or editor of my high school newspaper, I always knew that I wanted to do something where I could write. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be writing a cooking and food blog, I probably would have fallen out of my chair with laughter. Me...cooking? HA! Little did I know that my blog would fulfill 2 passions...writing and my love for cooking and sharing food.

It gives me motivation to be better at everything I do.

I'm always trying to improve my blog, my writing, my cooking, my social media and more. Knowing that people will be reading or interacting with my blog in some way makes me want it to be the best it can possibly be...and I find this motivating me to give everything my all.

Because of You! - Making blogger friends.

This is a huge part of my love for blogging, and I'd say the least expected part. When I started blogging, I had no idea of this amazing community that exists where people are just so nice. I started my blog as a way to write and to possibly help me find a new job, not because I had been reading other blogs and wanted my own. Through blogging, I've not only found amazing blogs that I'm addicted to reading each and every day, but real, friendly people who organize meet ups, send each other foodie gifts, dedicatingly comment on each other's blogs, give amazing feedback and even more motivation to put out great content. Blogger friends, I heart you!!

Because of You! - Making reader friends.

I've connected with, and reconnected with, the wonderful people who read my blog. I'm being 100% sincere when I say that anyone who tells me they read my blog makes me blush (let alone if they say they like it). Comments, e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets, or even in-person mentions are just about the best thing I could ever ask for. To know that people read my blog...and might even be disappointed if I stopped writing it...is a wonderful feeling. I adore connecting with readers who also love to cook, love to eat, have recently developed a love of cooking, or who don't do any of the above, but enjoy reading about it.  I love having the outlet to share recipes, restaurants and ideas. It's definitely at the top of my list of favorite blog things that I never knew existed B.B. (Before Blogging). So thank you :)

I can do whatever I want - this blog is mine, all mine! Muahahaha!

I love having my own outlet to be creative and make this blog whatever I want it to be. Of course, I want it to be what you want it to be too! It's fun to have this just for me...it's not related to my day job or to any obligations in my life. If I want to write about the best thing I've ever made, I can. If I want to write about the fact that I shot an entire can of tomato sauce all over my kitchen while Shaun was away on business, I can (true story). If I want to write about sitting around in my pajamas, I can. I hope it doesn't come to that last one, but you get what I mean :)

So those are just a few reasons in a long list of why I love blogging. Perhaps this is just part 1 of a series!

Questions of the Day:

If you are a blogger, what do you love about blogging?

If you aren't a blogger, what do you love about reading blogs?


When Do You Blog?

Hi friends! Happy hump day!

I realized that I kind of stopped with the whole What About Me Wednesday thing. Mainly because I ran out of things to talk about! I'd love to bring these back though, if you are interested :) And if you are and have any questions or topics, please send them my way!

I am often asked the simple question of when I get my blogging done. I work a full time job in New York City (9+ hours/day plus 45 min each way for commuting time...I wince just thinking about that) and typically have a blog post up every weekday.

To be honest, I feel as though I am always blogging. I am always writing, always thinking about blogging, planning my blog posts, devising recipes, brainstorming ideas in my pink notebook, and snapping photos everywhere I go. Sometimes I think this is even to a fault, like when I'm not living my life as it should be - in the moment, not living to document it. 

When it comes to writing my posts, I usually wake up before work at 6am to write my post and edit my photos. This takes about 1 hour (if all technology is behaving). I can be a chatterbox and I like for everything to be just so (I'm not a control freak, I swear), and therefore I think I spend more time than I'd like to on each post. But I always want to put out the best possible content for all of you who visit everyday and for new readers (and to be representative of myself) and so I'm committed to devoting that time for you and for me!

getting my cheese on in Spain

When it comes to cooking, baking, photographing and getting the recipes down on paper, I do this all the time. I make my meal plans on Sunday and try to get creative with at least one dinner per week that I'd want to share on the blog. In that case, I will cook and photograph as I make it that evening (leaving Shaun hungry and waiting patiently to eat). Admittedly, these are not my favorite photos because I'm not using natural light since it's typically dark out by this point.

pasta primavera

My ideal situation is to cook or bake on Saturdays or Sundays when I can use the natural light on my terrace to take photographs. I'm nothing of a photographer, but I try my best to get good pics for you guys so you can see just how delicious these dishes are! When I use natural light, my photos come out more like this:

Layered Oreo Cake Bars

Regardless of when I'm cooking and photographing, I try to write the recipes as I do them because I have a tendency to easily forget minor adjustments that I may have made when it comes time to write a post.

There are definitely days when I get a post up that I am not 100% happy with because I need to run out the door for work (sometimes I even forgo my shower, but don't tell anyone that :)).

Malted Chocolate Cupcakes, made for Mom's birthday brunch!

I always call this blog my labor of love. I love it so much. I love cooking and baking and recipe writing. I love telling you all about what's going on in my life here in Jersey City with Shaun.

Some days, I don't want to blog. Some days, I feel so uninspired to come up with anything interesting to share with you. Some days, I feel like no one is reading or 'speaking' to me by leaving comments. I get frustrated and wonder why I do this at all.

And then I realize that I do it for me because it makes me happy and gives me a sense of personal fulfillment. I do it for you who read and comment (or lurk and don't comment - I love you too!) and send me emails with questions or a quick note to tell me they made one of my recipes. Friends, this makes me happier than you could ever imagine.

So that's how I get 'er done when it comes to blogging! I hope you are still liking the What About Me Wednesday series! I will try to keep it up if you are interested :) If you have any questions, send 'em my way!

Questions of the Day:

If you are a blogger, when do you blog?

For everyone: how do you balance work and personal life?

psst...Christine is blogging about canning in the rain this weekend to raise money for kids with cancer. She had me tearing up! I hope you'll check it out...


Our First Blogoversary + Celebratory Giveaway

I’m so happy today because yesterday marked The Avid Appetite’s 1st birthday! I wanted to share this article yesterday, however, with big changes in our eating, I had to just push it off a day. I’m thrilled and a little in disbelief that this little blog is a year old. How did a year go by so fast? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was reviewing site designs and functionality (for hours upon obsessive hours).

I thought it would be fun to share a little behind-the-scenes stuff with you about what goes on here in the avid kitchen. Oh and scroll down to find out about our giveaway in celebration of the big blogoversary!

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Avid Appetite
1.  TAA is a recreation of my original blog, Between JC & Manhattan, which focused on my exploits in and around New York City (though there was a lot of food involved). There were hardly any recipes on there until its final few months when I was already working on relaunching the site to be more food-focused.

2. Until very recently, I literally received 0.00 comments on my articles. The only ones I did receive were from my sisters (Kimberly has commented on almost every post I’ve ever written), my mom and Shaun, who would comment under different aliases so that I’d think it was a random reader. Love them all for this.

3. The design of the site was done by a friend and ex-colleague from my Sesame Street days who used a photo of my Anthropologie apron as inspiration for the color palette and pattern. When she came up with the logo I literally squealed with excitement. I adore its whimsy and playfulness.

4. Shaun and I brainstormed the name of the blog for months. Painfully, I might add. Shaun would send a list of names. I would send him a list of names. Repeat. Again and again. None of them felt right. When I suggested The Avid Appetite it was like the skies opened up and started singing ‘Hallelujah!’ because we found ‘the one’!

5. I often take many, many photos of every dish that I make. Like 10 from every angle. This has led to a serious overload on my Mac Book and I have since had to get an external hard drive just to house my photos. I hope that once I get better with the DSLR I can cut down on the number of photos I take. But using the DSLR is so fun, that it’s probably unlikely this will ever happen.

It took sooooo many photos to get this just right.
6. Speaking of photos, Shaun often has to wait extra long to eat dinner and sometimes dinner even needs to be reheated before we eat since it takes such a long time to get just the right photos that I want. I’m not crazy, I just like things the way I like them.

7. Readership has grown about 6 times of what it was last January. Yowzah! I’m so thankful for each and every single reader, I can’t even tell you how exciting it is to get comments on the site or in person about the blog. I do put a lot of time, energy and effort into creating solid content for you guys, so it’s extremely exciting and rewarding to see how far we’ve come in just one little year.

8. I’ve made lots of blog buddies! This is one of my favorite aspects of blogging. I have virtually met so many fantastic bloggers and I hope to one day meet some of them in person!

9. After cooking up 83 {!} recipes this year for you, I have a whole new view on celeb chefs. While some of them I admire, think are fab and just want to hang out with for a while (Ina Garten, Tony Bourdain, Mario Batali), others I’m a little over. They’ll remain nameless except to say, really?

Ina's chocolate cupcakes. She never fails me.

10. I’m always blogging - 24/7, even when I’m doing other things. I like to say that it kind of takes over my life at times. Though through any of the unmotivated moments, failure to receive comments, botched recipes, wasted money on said botched recipes, I wouldn’t give up this blog for the world. It has become the most rewarding and gratifying hobby that I could ever imagine enjoying! So a giant thanks to everyone who reads and comes back for more!!

Now for the giveaway part. To celebrate TAA’s birthday, I’m giving away something that I am currently digging: Rocco DiSpirito’s Now Eat This! Cookbook! I'm semi-obsessed.

I won this in Heather’s giveaway and I truly adore this book. I have made the buffalo chicken tenders and penna alla vodka and cannot wait to make them again and again. So I thought I’d do a pay-it-forward of sorts (but with a new book, you can’t pry mine from my cold lifeless body). I’ll also throw in some other surprise goodies as well, so be sure to enter. Here’s how it works:

You can enter the giveaway starting now!
The deadline to enter is Thursday 1/20 at 6pm EST.
To enter, simply leave a comment! Any comment ya like!
For an extra entry, like us on Facebook and leave yet another comment telling me that you did so (shameless self-promotion, booyah!) Oh, and if you already like us on Facebook, just leave a note about that too :)
The winner will be announced on Friday, with the giveaway shipping out on Monday morning.

So there you have it. A little Happy Birthday to us, if you will! I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading over the last year as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing with you :)