Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Foodie Wednesdays *Interview*

I'm so excited to introduce Foodie Wednesdays as a new feature to the blog!
On Foodie Wednesdays I will feature all things food related including some of my favorite recipes cooked by moi (pause for effect) and something I'm most excited about, an interview with an amazing food blogger!
If it weren't for food blogs I would be lost in the kitchen. They are an amazing source of inspiration for those days that you have no idea what to make for dinner and I they are full of great tips and tricks.
For the first Foodie Wednesday post, it's my pleasure to introduce Gina from Gina's Skinny Recipes!
Her food blog is an amazing resource for healthy recipes and they all taste amazing. For those on Weight Watchers, this is a great place to find cooking inspiration and she lists the points per serving to make it a no-brainer. I have tried so many of her recipes and love them all, especially her split pea soup on chilly days and no-bake pumpkin cheesecake.
Name: Gina Homolka
Occupation: Food Blogger (Day Job: Digital Photo Retoucher/Graphic Designer)
City Where I Blog From: Oceanside, NY

1. What sparked your interest in cooking?
I've always loved cooking, even as a child. Both of my parents enjoyed cooking together so I guess that rubs off on you. I used to cook crepes when I was very young for my parents almost every night. They always encouraged me to cook, even if the results weren't always great.
2. What inspired you to begin a blog?
Having a background in design I've always had an interest in learning web design, but never the time to go back to school to learn. Blogging is easy enough for anyone to do, without having to learn all the complicated codes, so it was more of a challenge at first. Seeing beautiful food blogs and the photos on sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker made me want to start a food blog. I've always been addicted to food magazines and cookbooks.
3. Your blog is full of a wide variety of healthy recipes featuring points for those on the Weight Watchers diet. Why did you choose to feature Weight Watchers points?
I was getting married at the time, and wanted to lose weight to look perfect for my day. Weight Watchers was easy, let me still eat a variety of food and the weight came off fast. The websites at the time that offered recipes for Weight Watchers were just not appealing to me, or not the type of food I would normally cook, so I guess I saw a need for it. But I never dreamed how many people would like my recipes and all the emails I would get encouraging me to continue. It's the emails and comments I get everyday that keep me going because I know people are counting on me.
4. What do you love most about cooking?
I've always felt relaxed in the kitchen, it's my way of zoning the world out. I love food, so eating great tasting meals you've prepared yourself is also very gratifying. Cooking your own meals gives you control of what goes into your body, I know when I am eating my food, I am using real ingredients, and I know how much fat I'm cooking with.

5. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of it?
The most challenging aspect of blogging is time. I work full time, have a baby and a teenager who both require my time, so I have very little free time left for other things these days.

6. How would you describe your food?
Great tasting, healthy, easy, low fat recipes. My family is not on a diet, and they are very critical. If they don't like something they'll say so, and ask me not to make it again, so I have to please them because cooking separate meals is out of the question.

7. What’s the best piece of cooking advice you have ever received?
A slurry is a wonderful method to thicken sauces, gravies and soups. You combine flour or cornstarch (I prefer flour) with cold water, then whisk it into your boiling soup or sauce towards the end.

8. What is your favorite dish to cook and why?
I like making my family happy so I would have to say making their favorite dishes are my favorite to cook. Cuban Picadillo is my quick go-to recipe when I have no idea what to make. My family loves it.

9. Your blog has shown readers how to take their favorite recipes and make them healthier. What are your top three ways to make a recipe healthier?
- Choose leaner cuts of meat and trim all fat off.

- Make creamed soups by pureeing the vegetables, no need to add cream.

- Adding vegetables to a recipe like meatballs or burgers are great ways to make them healthier.

10. What is your advice for all the Foodies out there?
You should do it because you love it. Be unique and stay true to yourself and blog in your own voice.
Gina's Favorite Things
Spice: Bay leaves
Meal: This answer will differ everyday! Baby Lamb Chops
Drink: Coffee
Season to cook: Fall
Recipe to make for your family: Pasta Bolognese
City to eat in: New York
Restaurant: Cabanas in Forest Hills
Kitchen Smell: Roasted Garlic
Vegetables or Fruits: Broccoli Rabe
Cake or Pie: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream: Both
Kitchen Utensil: Wooden Spoon
Piece of Cookware: La Chamba Pottery
Piece of Kitchen Equipment: Can't live with out my Mini Chopper
Cookbook: Food and Wines, Quick from Scratch cookbooks
Top 3 items in your grocery cart: Extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Garlic
Ingredient that seems to make everything taste better: Garlic
Foodie TV show: Lidia's Italy
Top 3 Food blogs you love to read:  The Kitchn, Oh She Glows, Bakerella

Thank you so much Gina for joining us today!


Jen said...

Oh how I love interview posts like this!! It so helps us to get to know people better!

Happy Wednesday Dear! xo

Sugar & Spice said...

I am a huge fan of Gina's recipes!!!

Thank you for featuring her. I truly enjoyed your piece on her!

Crazy Eddie said...

Excellent interview! I'm with you, Mango Girl. I'm lost in the kitchen nowadays without food blogs. My cookbooks sit on the shelf collecting dust. I just don't use them anymore. Instead I head to the computer.

Culinary McCook