Who’s blogging: My name is Stephanie Chavez and I am the creator, writer, and recipe developer for Spanglish Spoon (previously “The Pantry Dish”). I’m a California native residing in the Bay Area. My professional background has been in the Early Childhood Education field since 2000. In 2006 I graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelors Degree in Child Development, but it wasn’t until 2010 that my passion for cooking evolved into something I loved more than being a Preschool Teacher.
Explain your blog name: The name of my blog is a reflection of what my identity represents. Half American, half Mexican. Because I was born in the U.S., my dominant language choice was English. My Spanish quickly became a distant memory that I relived only when I visited my grandfather or saw my tias from Mexico. So why the name Spanglish Spoon? Well, “Spanglish” because it is the only Spanish I do know for now. “Spoon” came from the suggestion of a close cousin of mine who thought it would be great to use because of the symbolism of a spoon. A spoon is used to cook and eat with — which is what my blogging niche was. Wooden spoons are my favorite utensils to use when cooking and so it just seemed natural to bring the two together.
Blogging since: Technically I’ve been blogging since 2010 but I took a break for a little over a year when I became pregnant with my second child. I was working full-time as a small Family Daycare Provider and was labeled as a high-risk pregnancy (with my second child), so blogging had to take the back burner in order for me to get some decent sleep. I missed blogging so much that in June 2012 I finally decided it was time to get back to writing and recipe development.
Blogging from: I blog from home in northern California, usually after the kids are asleep at night.
Most popular post: Two of my most popular posts have been the Chile Verde (without tomatillo) recipe, and Chicken Pozole with Chile Verde recipe. The Chile Verde without tomatillo recipe has been the most searched on Google and was the first of my recipes to receive the most Facebook likes. I was surprised by this because someone told me it was a sin to make Chile Verde without tomatillos, but now that I see it being searched month after month, I’m so glad I posted it. Something told me there might be people out there who don’t like tomatillos and would appreciate a Chile Verde salsa recipe that didn’t have them in it. The Pozole, however, has tomatillos in it, and was a hit online and offline. The flavors of the Chile Verde Pozole are different, yet still full of the Mexican flavors that we love. It also takes less time to cook than a red sauce Pozole with pork.
What you’ve learned about food while blogging: I’ve learned that the best way to understand food and learn how to cook is to be comfortable with experimenting and trying new things. The more you do it, the better you get at it. I’ve also learned that cooking is a form of art and science combined. It took me years to realize this and once I did, baking became a little easier for me. Food is one of those things that can warm your belly and soul at the same time because it brings up so many feelings. It satisfies your hunger, stimulates the senses, pleases your taste buds. It also has the power to bring back memories (and build new ones) with the people you are sharing your food with.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts? My inspiration comes from a lot of sources. Weekly deals at the grocery stores, a magazine at the checkout stand, leftovers, cookbooks, my kids, my mom’s cooking experiments. I especially love to challenge myself at turning a complicated and lengthy recipe into an easy and budget friendly one. We’re always on a budget so the first thing on my mind going down the aisle is “what’s the least expensive way to make this?” or “how can I turn this into a delicious meal for my family of four while staying within my budget?”
What you’ve learned from blogging: Blogging is no joke! Like any job, it takes some serious time and effort to do the job well. You have to be motivated and love it otherwise you will get burnt out fast.