Interview with Oh She Glows author Angela Liddon
Being a mom of two and having a successful vegan entrepreneurship makes you a superhero to many! What’s your secret superpower to balancing family life and work?
While I certainly don’t feel like a superhero (coffee aside, that is), thank you for adding a little kick to my step today! Without a doubt, I think the most important power in a “superhero’s” arsenal is the team of individuals they have supporting them and backing them up. A big part of balancing work and family life has been, for me, the realization that I could no longer do it all on my own. I’m stubborn and thought that I had to do everything myself for a long time. But last year I started a small team (my husband joined our business full-time, and I hired a Content Editor), and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. Now I’m able to focus more on the things I do best, which feels so empowering.
It’s also been really important to have a network of other moms and fellow entrepreneurs. My girlfriends and I try to get together once a month to discuss everything from kids to relationships to running a business and all the ups and downs that come with it. But there are still many days when I feel like I’m stuck, not making progress, unbalanced, and frustrated, and I think it’s important to realize that those times are a natural part of the process.
I absolutely love a quote from Neil Gaiman that sums it up pretty well: “…If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
How has your recipe development process evolved since your early days as a blogger?
In all honesty, the creative process itself hasn’t changed a whole lot! Once I’m inspired (and inspiration comes from everywhere—restaurant meals, cravings, current food trends, seasonal produce at the grocery store, special blog reader requests…the list goes on and on!), I begin planning out the recipe on paper. A lot of it is guesswork. And then comes the most important phase: testing, testing, and more testing.
I have a passion for great-tasting food and accept nothing less, so I personally test new recipes over and over until I’m 100% satisfied. These days I also have a dedicated recipe tester and editor whose invaluable feedback is absolutely integral to the recipe-creation process. (And while writing my cookbooks, I had an entire group of these amazing individuals—I don’t know what I’d have done without them!).
What tips can you share about creating a successful social media presence?
Honesty and authenticity have been important features of my writing right from the beginning; I’ve always strived to keep things real, whether I’m discussing my pregnancy and parenting experiences or years-long struggle to create the perfect vegan banana bread. I think this openness has allowed me to connect with so many people, and vice versa. At the same time, I try to have a good sense of humour (which may or may not translate through my writing!!) to keep things positive and motivational.
Do you have any advice for bloggers who would like to turn their passion into a career?
Now more than ever, since there are so many amazing blogs out there, it’s important to find a niche, a passion that you love so much you don’t mind doing it day in and day out…night and day, after work, before work, weekends, etc. This passion is what’ll keep you going!
My love for writing, connecting with others, photography, and plant-based recipes is what keeps me going when I’m tired and feeling worn out. There will be weeks that are a hot mess, and some weeks where you feel like you’re killing it. There will be weeks when your motivation tanks and you think you might give up, but just when you least expect it, that rush of creativity returns and you can’t jot down ideas fast enough.
Also, I’d recommend creating a business plan for how you’re going to turn your hobby into a career (if that’s your ultimate goal), and collaborating with others in your field. There is strength in numbers!
What can we expect to see from you in 2017?
I’m really looking forward to growing the Oh She Glows Recipe App. We recently launched the long-awaited Android version (it was originally available on iOS only), which I couldn’t be more pleased about.
I’d also like to do a blog redesign (if I can find the right person/team), and hope to soon expand our small (but fierce) OSG team, bringing someone on board to help us create cooking videos, and potentially help with social media. I love that we’re trying new things each year; it keeps it fresh and exciting!
Oh She Glows Every Day has a wide variety of solid vegan recipes. In fact, I had excellent results with every recipe I tried and I know this is because the recipes are so well tested. Here is a summary of the recipes that I made from the book. –Anna
The Best Marinated Lentils
VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE, SOY-FREE, GRAIN-FREE, FREEZER-FRIENDLY
MAKES 4 CUPS (1 L) | PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES | COOK TIME: 20 TO 25 MINUTES
Every plant-based eater needs a quick, satisfying, versatile, and protein heavy side dish to rely on at a moment’s notice. I created this lentil dish because I was looking for something that could be thrown together in less than a half hour and that I could store in the fridge for the whole workweek.
Sun-dried tomatoes add umami and depth of flavor, while the tart, mustardy vinaigrette adds brightness and acidity to the earthy lentils. It’s delicious on top of salads, stuffed into Bibb lettuce cups, thrown into wraps or pitas, or simply served as the main protein source for any meal.
I like to serve it alongside a quick-and-easy stir-fry of seasonal vegetables. For the best texture, I recommend cooking the lentils from scratch (as opposed to using canned lentils). If you already have cooked lentils on hand, you’ll need about 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) for this recipe.
- 1 cup (250 mL) uncooked French green lentils
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) uncooked green or brown lentils
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (37 mL) red wine vinegar, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 to 375 mL) thinly sliced green onions (about 1 medium bunch), dark and light green parts only
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh parsley leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
- Pick over the lentils, discarding any debris. Rinse and drain the lentils and put them in a medium saucepan along with 4 cups (1 L) of water. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Stir in the green onions, parsley, and tomatoes.
- Drain the lentils very well. Spoon them into the bowl with the other ingredients (it’s okay if they are still warm) and stir well. Season with additional salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, or let cool slightly and then cover and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Stir well before serving. This dish will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag with the air pressed out for up to 1 month. After thawing, I recommend adding extra dressing and salt to liven it up again.
Reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Glo Bakery Corporation.