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Blogger of the Week: Happyolks

March 17th 2014 / Kiran Branch

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Kiran Branch meets Kelsey Brown, the brains behind foodie blog Happyolks, to discuss her love of good, nutritious and happy food

Celebrating wholesome food and the happiness it can bring, Kelsey Brown is using her blog, Happyolks, to show us how we can connect with our food on a whole new level. Her aim is clear, exploring our connection with food and how we can develop our awareness and gratitude to the earth.

This doesn’t need to be hard – her simple, clear blog takes you through delicious and nourishing recipes step-by-step. This is literally food for the soul.

GTG’s Kiran Branch sat down with Kelsey to discuss her journey to a greater love and stronger relationship with her meal times.

Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?

A call to experiment with writing, seek human connection and create food that nurtures both tummy and soul. The start wasn’t deliberate, more accidental. I began publishing recipes in early 2010, but it wasn’t until I returned from living abroad in January 2011 that I dedicated more time and heart-space to Happyolks as a means to adjust to Western life again.

What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?

Every personal email I receive from readers is the reason I stay in the game. I'm humbled, daily, that people are brave enough to write and trust me enough to share their stories. It is the greatest honour of my personal and professional life. My number one hope for Happyolks readers is that they come to the site and leave feeling full, inspired, challenged and encouraged.

How much of a techie are you?

I’d say I’m proficient with technology, just not really that passionate about it. I appreciate the way it allows us to connect, interact and teach, but I’m nervous about how it is shaping our understanding of self and community.

How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?

Most of my life is offline. I work as a full-time freelance writer for a variety of publications, I’m studying for my Doula certification and I’m the Editor-in-Chief of Fellow Magazine, a Colorado-based quarterly lifestyle publication. I don’t post as often as most bloggers, but anything good that is ever published on Happyolks is a product of tactile, ‘on the ground’ living, if you will.

What is your personal food philosophy? Are there any food groups/types that you avoid?

Plants and colour and fibre is best, the rest in moderation. I’ve spent years off and on dabbling with vegetarianism and gluten-free diets, but I’ve realized that nourishment comes in different shapes and sizes and I’m not overtly exclusive. I don’t care for lemon-flavored desserts or capers.

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How has eating healthily impacted on you personally? Do you ever find it difficult to stick to it?

I believe that nourishing, whole foods give us the energy and vitality to pursue our dreams and share our enthusiasm and light with others. In exploring our relationships with food, we are expanding our consciousness of what it means to nourish the body and spirit. The love and energy we spend creating a meal elevates our awareness to the interconnectedness of all living things and becomes an expression of gratitude for our communities and the planet. Gratitude, nourishment and awareness will ultimately lead to greater happiness.

How do you create new recipes? Is it a trial and error process?

Pretty much. I try to approach the kitchen and my ingredients with a ‘can’t fail’ attitude. Even if something turns out not-so-great, it was a learning experience. I’m inspired by what is in season and usually use a pretty-looking vegetable as my starting point.

Have you had any cooking disasters?

Oh, definitely. My first time making gnocchi left me pouting on the kitchen floor with a big bowl of mush.

How do you decide which recipes to feature on your blog?

Seasonal recipes that I like best and want to eat over and over again.

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What are your three favourite recipes?

Shaved Fennel Salad, Shaved Cauliflower Salad and Camp Cobbler.

If you kept a food diary, what would a typical day look like?

Coffee. Kale. Toast and poached eggs. Big salad. Kimchi. More coffee. Dinner is usually a free-for-all… a lot of soup, lately, or Indian take-out.

Which ten ingredients do you use most often?

Lemons, fennel, olive oil, coconut oil, walnuts, cilantro, mint, parsley, sweet onions and garlic.

What five things are always in your fridge?

Grade B maple syrup, spinach, fresh herbs, miso paste and sriracha.

Where are your favourite places to buy ingredients?

Farmers markets, Whole Foods and Marczyks, a specialty grocer in Colorado.

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Which three kitchen appliances could you not live without?

Microplane grater, chef’s knife and wooden spoon.

Where are your favourite places to go when eating out?

Contemporary American, farm-to-table style dining. I also love hole-in-the-wall ethnic joints like Ethiopian, Indian, Lebanese, and Vietnamese.

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What advice would you give to those considering a healthier lifestyle?

Start small! Start moving your body and eliminate less-than-awesome food choices one at a time. Healthy eating is a state of being, not a quick trick for aesthetics. Sustainable changes start small.

What are your favourite cookbooks and/or books relating to health?

I’m a huge fan of Nigel Slater, Yotam Ottolenghi and Rebecca Katz.

Who are your favourite bloggers?

Sprouted Kitchen, Seven Spoons, Bon Appetempt, Flourishing Fooding, My Name is Yeh, A Sweet Spoonful, Apt. 2 Baking Co., The Year in Food and Not Without Salt.

What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?

I’m taking the blog one day at a time at this point! I look forward to continuing to cook, collaborate and share in the lives of my readers for as long as this project is a force of good for me personally, and for the world. I have a few fun developments in the short term and long term, stay tuned!

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