We all know how hard it is to make it happen from getting the kids to wherever they need to be, working on your own thing and coming up with healthy meals for the fam that they won’t run away screaming from (my youngest literally did this when we put ginger carrot soup in front of her. Thanks Gwyneth…). So as I was trolling food mamas on IG, I found Rachel from Friendly Food Snobs — a Toronto mom juggling a blog, a 9-to-5 job, a toddler, and a baby on the way. But what I really liked about Rachel was that she always seemed to be smiling, her blog is totally sincere, and her recipes were straight-forward (my kind of menu). She even calls her cooking, “A little simplicity in the modern world.” Now that is something that everyone can get behind.
“My name is Rachel and I launched Friendly Food Snobs in 2014 — at the same time I actually conceived my first son, Oscar. The blog grew out of girlfriends always sending me texts or emails asking how to make a dish I had made for them or talked about. I had been thinking about writing a food blog but I was nervous about putting myself out there. Now I’m so glad I did it. The hardest part about food blogging was learning food photography. Natural light and a good camera are key and now shooting the food is one of my favourite things to do.” (FYI: Her camera is the Canon EOS Rebel T5).
“My day job is manager of strategic communications at the Ontario government and I have a second baby due in about two months. I love what I do and mentoring young people in the government and NGO world, especially women who want to get into leadership is my favourite part of my job. Life is busy and full. But I love that Friendly Food Snobs is my own personal thing. Getting messages from people who like the recipes or identifying with someone on Instagram, feels amazing. The mom community on Instagram over the past few years has been an explosion of so much love and support that I’m grateful to be a part of it. Some of my favourite food blogs are Mimi Thorisson because it is set in France and I love her writing and photography. Marin Mama Cooks has some delicious and healthy dinner ideas. And finally, Smitten Kitchen for sweet treats and great meal inspiration.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME:
“The name for the blog came from a name my husband used to call me when we were dating. He called me a food snob — but a friendly one. He was a bit of a picky eater when we met and it drove me crazy. I love big flavours. He also would never share his food. He has since changed in both regards. And my cooking has changed since too. In my 20’s and university years it was about making meals for roommates and boyfriends. Then throwing dinner parties and even recreating dishes from my travels. I admit, I miss those days of late night boozy dinner parties with friends. Dinner parties today consist of everyone bringing over their kids, eating by 5:30 and in bed at 9! If I want to dine out for a date night it’s relegated to a weeknight rushing to get Oscar to bed before the babysitter arrives, or a Sunday night. My favourite restaurant lately is Annabelle’s Pasta Bar on Davenport. It has a beautiful cozy interior and the food is thoughtful and delicious. Order the pasta of the day – it’s always amazing and worth the carbs.”
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD:
“Food for me is an expression of love. Even if it’s something very simple. For example, I made homemade granola over the weekend for those frantic Monday mornings before we rush out the door to school and work. My passion for cooking like so many women, comes from watching my mom and maternal grandmother cook and bake.
Every recipe has a story and my cooking has evolved over the years. Now that I’m in my mid-30’s, cooking whole food for my family that is delicious, healthy and not too time intensive is important to me. And BTW: batch cooking is the best. It really is a lost art. Our grandmothers had it right. I often block two hours on Sunday afternoon to cook a few dishes for the freezer and fridge and it makes weeknights seamless. I feel victorious if we can sit down to eat at 6 or 6:30 as a family every night and the only way this can happen when two parents have busy careers is advance meal prep. Some of my go-to’s this winter are healthy butter chicken curry and coconut curry squash lentil soup.”
“And yes, my 2 and-a-half-year-old son does eat what I cook! I’ve been feeding him big flavours like sushi, caramelized onions, dark chocolate and strong cheeses since he was one. Fingers crossed this next baby is the same!”
It was hard to choose, but here is one of our fave snacks from Rachel’s blog. Enjoy!
RACHEL’S NO-SUGAR BANANA MUFFINS
“If you want a great travel experience with kids — or to just get anything done with kids — the right snacks are key. My no sugar banana muffins were created because it was driving me crazy spending $4 on a sugar filled muffin on our road trips and travels to Prince Edward County over the summer. Even at grocery stores most of the processed toddler/kid snacks had sugar in the first three ingredients. The first time I made these muffins I added some maple syrup. Then I tested the recipe again without the syrup and found that you didn’t even miss it. I was able to completely reduce the sugar! The dates and bananas already add enough sweetness. Just be sure to remove the date pits as you chop. Other snacks I love for little hands are: apple slices, nuts, pretzels, crackers and cheese, granola bars, grapes or homemade protein balls.”