Blogger Spotlight: A Dash of Megnut

Megan Hastings is a blogger based in Chicago who creates allergy-friendly recipes for her readers

Megan Hastings created her blog in college to learn how to cook and bake.

This week, we’re proud to feature Megan Hastings of A Dash of Megnut 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 — from fine dining to home cooking.

Megan Hastings started her blog A Dash of Megnut in college as a way to learn how to cook and bake. After being diagnosed with several food allergies, Hastings gradually figured out which foods agree with her and which don’t, and her blog has transitioned to incorporate allergy-friendly recipes. She is based in Chicago.

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Megan Hastings: I'm gluten-, dairy-, egg-, yeast- and sugar-free. It's been a long, long road to figure out all of those intolerances over the last few years. So my mission for my blog has been to create delicious food throughout that journey. It has evolved into a primarily allergy-free food blog in recent years. 

How did you get started with your blog?
I started my blog in 2010, when I was in college. I wanted to try out new recipes from my favorite bloggers and share my results with my family and friends. Since then, it has grown to be about creating my own recipes and figuring out my own voice. 

What are some foods you can’t live without?
Bacon, avocado, and cucumbers.

What are some foods you can’t stand?
Ketchup and mushrooms.

Which blog post are you most proud of?
Sugar-Free Baked Cinnamon Tortilla Chips. Creating these chips was a challenge for me. I used to make cinnamon sugar tortilla chips all the time, but to make them sugar-free took a lot of time and trial runs before I got it just right. When I finally did, I was so proud of this recipe and this post. 

What is your biggest blog blunder?
This may seem a little crazy, but for a good few years, I didn't share any of my new posts on social media. I'm not even sure how people were able to find me. Actually, they probably weren't. 

What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
Any comment I get from a reader that says she or he tried a recipe and loved it is always going to stick with me. It just makes me feel good that people enjoy what I make!

What’s on your cooking playlist?
Motown all the way!

What are your favorite food blogs?
Whisk Kid, Half Baked Harvest, and My Name Is Yeh. These women all have beautiful pictures and amazing recipes!

Favorite food apps?
I have a ton of apps for food blogs (including my own app) on my phone, and love checking those out daily to see what my favorite blogs are up to. Some others that prove useful around the kitchen are Thyme and Escoffier Cook’s Companion. Thyme is basically a kitchen timer on your phone. The cool thing is that it lets you keep a separate timer for each burner on your stove, which really helps because I'm constantly multitasking. Escoffier Cook’s Companion is the app that has a bit of everything — conversions, substitutions, and reference materials. It's a helpful guide when you're in the kitchen a lot.

What is the best thing about blogging?
I love connecting with people from all around the world. It's so cool when I get comments from other countries asking me about ingredients to use from their home country. It just amazes me that the stuff I write is read by so many different people (and not just my mom!)

Worst thing about blogging?
There's a lot of luck with blogging sometimes. It's hard to figure out which recipes will do well. The ones I feel like will do the best end up going nowhere, whereas there are some recipes that are good, but I may not like the pictures, and those end up doing great on Pinterest. You just never know. 

What recipe are you currently obsessed with?
These Turkey Veggie Burgers, because they're full of flavor and only require a few ingredients. They have definitely been on rotation for my summer meal planning. 

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
I have an absurd kitchen appliance collection. I have an ice cream maker, meat grinder, sausage stuff, food processor, Vitamix, and pasta maker... I don't even eat pasta! 


Five of your all-time favorite posts: