A proud former Bostonian living in the Midwest, Karen Blessing uses her blog, Baking In A Tornado, to share her recipes, writings, and funny stories with the internet.
Blessing is an avid member of the blogging community. She participates in and initiates collaborations with her peers in various series such as “Fly On the Wall,” a sequence of quotes and anecdotes providing a glimpse into her life; “Secret Subject Swap” wherein another blogger sends her a subject prompt to write about; and “Funny Friday,” a monthly caption contest with a group of other five bloggers.
Each post has a story and a recipe — the two not necessarily connected, either — that gives insight into Blessing’s happy life with her husband (referred to as “Hubs” on the blog) and her two boys; her culinary muses affectionately dubbed “College Boy” and “PurDude.”
As a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network of food bloggers, Blessing is our featured blogger of the week; continue reading below for her Q and A:
The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Karen Blessing: To share, to entertain, to amuse myself and my readers, and to create and nurture an online community of people, different in many ways but united by a love of cooking and baking.
How’d you get started?
I used to share food pics on Facebook and people would often ask for my recipes while others would admonish me for constantly making them drool. Three friends pushed me to start a blog and I thought it was a great place to have fun, entertain, and share recipes. I was stuck on a name when my first choice was taken, but from my other options my youngest son chose “Baking In A Tornado.” Once he did that for me, I pressed publish and the rest is history.
What are some foods you can’t live without?
This is a sore subject. I’m a Bostonian living in the Midwest so I would have to say I’m having a hard time living without lobster. Other than that, I love lamb and veal, and make them when I can. I’m also a big fan of dessert. I don’t need a large helping — a little bit is indulgent enough — but I do believe that life is better with sweets in it.
Are there any foods you can’t stand?
There are some foods that I avoid if I can, and I’m really not one to follow fads. If everyone is suddenly using a specific ingredient or making different versions of a fad recipe, I tend to stay away.
What is your proudest post?
My first post to go viral was my Potato Crusted Meatloaf. It is very much an everyday recipe (which is what I do) and the picture was just awful. But people love the recipe, and I love that. Oh, and I’ve since redone the picture.
What is your biggest blog blunder?
Definitely not working on picture-taking before I started my blog. I’m still working on it, but I’ve come a long way.
Do you have a memorable comment from a reader?
When I posted my Potato Crusted Meatloaf, a reader contacted me and told me that her husband was very sick and it was almost impossible to get him to eat. She made the meatloaf and he asked for seconds. We became online friends and later she shared a family recipe and its story with me. With her permission, I interpreted the recipe in my own way and posted Crock-Pot Stuffed Cabbage, Lasagna Style. She said the post brought tears to her eyes. I love that her family and mine are now forever connected through a recipe.
What are some other blogs you love?
No way you’re going to get me to play favorites. I love all my blogger friends equally.
What is the best thing about blogging?
The connections and the community. I have almost 16,000 followers on my Baking In A Tornado Facebook page and I have connected with people all over the country through writing and sharing recipes.
The worst thing?
Well, not really about blogging, but my inspirations [aka her sons] are now only around on school vacations. They (and the constant houseful of teenagers who tackle me between the oven and the counter when I bake) were the reason I started all the baking that led to the blog. Now, with both boys in college (and their friends, too), I don’t bake as often.
Is there a recipe you’re currently obsessed with?
There’s a new recipe working its way around in my head and it’s missing… something. My kids are my muses; guess it’s time to bring them in on what I’ve got so far.
What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t really know. I share recipes but I don’t always write about food so my readers know quite a bit about me.
What are five of your all-time favorite posts?
You’d think this would be easy but it’s really not. If I had to choose I’d say there are some that were just fun developing, some that did really well on the blog, and some that turned out to be favorites of my family. So, in no particular order:
A breakfast reminiscent of mom’s banana bread is my Banana Bread Waffles. For a cocktail, a summer favorite is my Whipped Vanilla Rum Float, and a dinner loved both by my readers and my family is my Cordon Bleu Casserole.
I can’t list favorites without talking about my favorite time to develop new recipes and to bake: Halloween. My boys love the Saw movies and last Halloween they challenged me to make a Billy the Puppet Cake; I did and they loved it!
Yes, I know that’s six. I said this was hard…