Blogger Spotlight: Steph in Thyme

Contributor
Stephanie Kirkos is the blogger at and creator of Steph In Thyme
Steph in Thyme

Steph in Thyme

Meet Stephanie Kirkos, a Boston-based blogger who creates vegetarian and gluten-free recipes.

This week, we’re proud to feature Stephanie Kirkos in the Blogger Spotlight. For those new to the column, every Friday, we highlight a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a limited group of bloggers who write about food and drink.

We look to this group of talented food writers for inspiration and participation in The Daily Meal, whether for restaurant recommendations or new recipes to try out for dinner. Our editorial team covers All Things Food and Drink, and we tap the CCN to keep up to speed on what is happening around the country and the world — whether that means fine dining or home cooking.

Stephanie Kirkos is a Culinary Content Network blogger and creator of the blog Steph in Thyme. She’s based in Boston, and her blog focuses on meat- and gluten-free recipes for everyone — not just vegetarians, vegans, or people with gluten sensitivities. She created her blog in 2014 after she and her husband noticed that they felt physically better after cutting meat out of their diets.

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Stephanie Kirkos:
To offer inspiration and creative approaches for delicious, wholesome meat-free and gluten-free meals — and not just for those who are gluten-free and vegetarian, for everyone.

How did you get started?
When my husband and I first began transitioning to a vegetarian diet over a year ago, we found ourselves falling into a pattern of making the same foods over and over. To prevent boredom from dulling our experience with food, I began writing down recipe ideas to keep our vegetarian approaches exciting and interesting. Knowing I was likely not alone in the desire for delicious, wholesome meat-free meals that also happened to be gluten-free, I decided to share my creations. Soon thereafter, Steph in Thyme was born.

What are some foods you can’t live without?
A big bowl of phở (Vietnamese noodle soup), a platter of dolmadakia (Greek stuffed grape leaves), and tacos. Lots of tacos.

What are some foods you can’t stand?
Cauliflower and carrots. I really want to like them, but I always nudge them off to the side of my plate. I also can't eat anything flavored too strongly with cumin. 

Which blog post are you most proud of?
On January 1, I shared a Creamy Vegan and Gluten-Free Rigatoni One Pot Pasta with Lemony Broccoli recipe. It was a cold winter day, and the last thing I wanted was a detox smoothie or salad. I went against the trend by posting that kind of creamy comfort food on New Years' Day, but it ended up getting shared on Finding Vegan's Facebook page. Over 1,000 people visited my blog post in just a few hours. Several commented on Finding Vegan that they made the dish that night, sharing how they loved it and the flavors. Reading those comments was such a rewarding moment, and I found purpose and meaning in blogging I hadn't experienced before.

What is your biggest blog blunder? 
I was adding a collage pin to Pinterest, and I copy and pasted the URL from my post's preview window instead of the live blog window. So the pin I added to Pinterest linked folks to a preview page they couldn't access. Eek! I caught the error when I was looking at my Google Analytics and saw a visitor was on a preview page. I'm super careful now about what pages I have open when I copy and paste.

What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
I shared a recipe for a vegetarian sushi roll on my 30th birthday. This reader's comment and story made my day:

“I love sushi! Funny story. I came to this post and said out loud ‘mmm... sushi sounds good’ as I was talking to my husband and follow up with, ‘Funny thing it’s sushi Tuesday!’ {he doesn’t like seafood, so I almost always get sushi with my girlfriends} To which he replies: ‘I’ll take you on a sushi date!’ So thanks to YOU I get to have sushi tonight and I couldn’t be more excited — so thank you!!!” 

It was fun and rewarding to read that my post, even in a small way, had a positive impact on a reader’s life.

What is on your cooking playlist?
The Hall & Oates station on Pandora is always playing when I'm working. It's the soundtrack of my life.

What are your favorite food blogs?
I'm a longtime fan of Minimalist BakerLove & LemonsSprouted Kitchen, and My New Roots. Recently, I've been loving Dishing Up the Dirt, Dolly and Oatmeal, and Local Milk.

Any favorite food apps?
Believe or not, I don't have any food apps on my phone. My apps are primarily social media, photo, and blogging tools: Buffer, VSCOcam, Afterlight, MailChimp, Dropbox, Regram, Google Analytics, Evernote, etc. I discover blogs and recipes primarily through the Twitter and Pinterest apps. 

What is the best thing about blogging? 
Blogging is an amazing creative outlet. I love how I can channel my passion for food and share what I create in the kitchen with people all over the world. Interacting with readers is a highlight of blogging — I've become good friends with people I've never actually met in person, but feel like I've known for years.

Worst things about blogging?
Cleaning up the kitchen after spending a day shooting three to four recipes. I often need to go for a run or leave the house on an errand before I can begin to tackle clean-up. 

Do you have a recipe you’re currently obsessed with?
Grilled veggies — of all forms, all flavors. Chimichurri portobello mushrooms, herb-infused olive oil-brushed eggplant, vegetable skewers marinated in pesto. I want all my meals fresh off the grill!

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you? 
I grew up in a military family and lived a good part of my life in Europe and Asia. I was exposed to diverse cuisines and flavors from a young age, which helped me develop both a sense of fearlessness and creativity in how I approach food.

Five of your all-time favorite posts: 

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