faq + about

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Rather than writing some cheesy “about” page where I refer to myself in the third person and try to sound like a press release, I thought it would be much easier (and a little more fun) to talk about myself and my blog in an FAQ form.

Who are you?
My name is Kara. I’m 47 (as of this writing), divorced, no kids, two cats, one fantastic boyfriend.

Where do you live? 
I live in a townhouse that I love in the Atlanta metro area. I’m not a fan of huge houses and so my little 2 bedroom home is just perfect for me (although I wish I had a little more space to garden in). Every now and then I’ll post a project I’m doing around the house or share pictures of my patio and outdoor cooking area.

When/why did you start blogging?
KaraCooks became a for-real blog in October of 2008. At the time I was dealing with some personal upheaval and was in the process of getting in shape and losing nearly 100 lbs. Starting a blog was an escape, a challenge in creativity (I’d never done any real food photography before), and a place to start documenting favorite recipes and food experiments. I had no idea when I started the blog that it would still be around 6 years later. I haven’t always blogged consistently or regularly, but I’m still here.

Why a cooking/food blog?
I’ve always loved to cook. I don’t remember when I first started cooking, it’s just always been a part of my life and a part of my family’s life. Both of my parents cooked: My mother was the experimenter, subscribing to magazines, cutting recipes out of the paper, experimenting with local cuisine when we lived overseas, and trying new things. My father was the traditionalist, cooking the way his mother did when he grew up on a farm in Texas, but also the person who dove into things like beer-making, curing meats, and other large-scale food and drink related projects. Between the two of them there was always something food or drink related going on in our house.
When I first started blogging I thought I’d focus mostly on healthy cooking and eating because I’d lost some weight and changed up my eating habits, but I quickly found that was too restrictive and I wasn’t enjoying it. Now I post (when I post) about things that I cook that I like. I also post sometimes about household projects, my cats, and books I’ve read. But the overall theme is still about cooking and food.

Are all the photographs yours?
Yup! I made a promise to myself when I started blogging that I wouldn’t use stock photography or images that weren’t my own. Every photograph on this site was taken by me, for good or bad.

Do you create all your own recipes?
No, but then most people don’t. There are very few recipes out there that are truly original. Most every recipe you see online or in cookbooks is a variation of something someone else has already done (unless you’re Wylie Dufresne or Thomas Keller or some other culinary genius). Even Julia Child’s recipes are merely her version or documentation of classic French cooking. So no, my recipes are not original in that I’ve created them entirely out of my own mind; they are all adapted from somewhere. Many of them are things my mother, father, or grandmother made. Some are recipes I’ve gotten from my former MIL who is a fantastic cook and introduced me to some things that have since become staples in my cooking. Some are from a newspaper or magazine clipping or even a real cookbook. And some are recipes I saw on another blog that looked good and I wanted to try. I always give attribution or sources for the recipes I use, however, so you can always see where my inspiration comes from and where I change things up to suit my own personal tastes.

Why to you add nutritional information to your recipes? Where does it come from?
When I first started blogging, I had thought to focus the blog on healthy eating as I mentioned above. Although I decided fairly quickly to broaden the scope of my blog, I kept the habit of adding basic nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe. My personal philosophy about weight loss and health is that everything is acceptable in reasonable quantities and in moderation. Knowing how many calories is in a dish helps me decide whether it’s something I want to make and eat and possibly whether I might want to adapt it to make it better fit into my day. I figure if it helps me, it might help someone else, too.
All calorie information comes from the USDA Calorie database. I enter all the ingredients into an Excel spreadsheet, add the calorie counts from the USDA website, and divide by the number of servings. When making a recipe for the first time, I will often weigh as well as measure all the ingredients so my calorie and macro counts are as accurate as I can possibly make them.

Do you make money from your blog? Do you advertise on the blog? Do you do sponsored posts or paid reviews?
Currently I do not make any money from this blog, although I wouldn’t be adverse to it! I don’t have formal advertising on the blog and I don’t do sponsored posts. I do have Amazon affiliate links throughout the site and if someone wanted to use my affiliate link, I’d be thrilled, but it’s nothing that I push people into.
I’m perfectly willing to review products or do a sponsored post, but I won’t do them randomly or for products that don’t fit in with the things I already write about. (Honestly, given how inconsistent my posting is, I can’t see someone jumping to pay me money to blog. I just don’t have that big a readership!)
I do sometimes blog about products I use and like and as you look through the photos on my blog, you’ll also see that there are certain brands of things that I use all the time and will wind up in most of my photos (Penzey’s spices are a good example – you’ll see lots of Penzey’s products in my photographs and I’m happy to let people know I use them). I don’t receive any compensation for those posts, however.

What’s your comment policy?
I moderate all first time comments. If you’re a first time commenter, then your comments won’t appear until I’ve reviewed and approved them. If you’ve commented before and been approved, your comments will appear instantly.
If your comment is spam, it will be filtered and deleted. If you post a valid comment, but include a spam link, I’ll allow your comment but remove your link. (If you have a valid blog of your own and link it in your comment, of course it will be allowed to stay. I think the difference between a valid link and a spam link is pretty obvious!)
Personal attacks and rude comments (towards myself or another commenter) will be deleted.

That’s all I can think of for now.  Feel free to comment and ask about anything you think I’ve left out or that you want to know. If it’s interesting enough, I’ll even add it to the FAQ.