Blogger Spotlight: Oat and Sesame

Emily Brees is inspiring others to eat healthy with her food, travel, and gardening blog, Oat and Sesame

The Daily Meal went behind the scenes to find out more about Emily and her projects, check it out right here in this week’s edition of Blogger Spotlight.

By day, Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Emily Brees is a university program coordinator; by all other times she is inspiring others to eat healthy with her food, travel, and gardening blog, Oat and Sesame.

Oat and Sesame is a charmingly designed blog that features delightfully enticing recipes and photography. As The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor, I enjoy it when Emily contributes to our SWAT (Sharing With A Theme) round-ups because her style and creativity is so enchanting—I was so surprised to learn that Oat and Sesame only a year old!

The Daily Meal went behind the scenes to find out more about Emily and her projects, check it out right here in this week’s edition of Blogger Spotlight.

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?

Emily Brees: The mission of my blog two-fold. Inspire others to eat healthy and to bring attention to where food comes from and how it’s produced.  There is a section of my blog called Source{d} that is dedicated to food companies that are out there making a difference in the world.  

How’d you get started?

In 2015 I decided it would be fun to have a creative space. I am always trying new recipes in my kitchen and with a background in marketing and design layout I thought a food blog would be a good mix of both worlds. The photography and food styling part is really fun too!

What are some foods you can’t live without?

Fruit. My life would be incomplete without it. I snack on it all day. And when I want a healthy dessert: bananas make amazing ice cream, you can check out how I make it here.

Are there any foods you can’t stand?

Papaya. I know I just said I can’t live without fruit, but papaya is the exception. It tastes like stinky feet to me.

What is your proudest post?

I think my proudest post would have to be my first one. Not because it’s super special - it’s granola - but because it was the first real step that I took on Oat and Sesame. It took a lot of prep work to build the site itself, but the step of going live and committing to taking a chance is what I’m most proud of.

What is your biggest blog blunder?

I’m sure there are blunders yet to come since my blog is still in its infancy, but my biggest blunder yet has been trying to write some code myself based off instructions I read on the internet. I thought I knew what I was doing. I did not. My site crashed. Luckily there was a backup. Lots of heart-pounding minutes went by as I waited for the backup to restore.

Do you have a memorable comment from a reader?

I’m always so thankful for all the comments I get from readers. Comments let me know that my hard work is benefitting someone out there and I feel appreciated.  So they are all memorable!

What’s on your cooking playlist?

I rarely listen to music when I’m in the kitchen. I use it as my quiet meditative space - just me and the food. But if my husband is helping me, he usually turns on Pandora and we jam out to something upbeat - maybe some ‘80s or something with a Latin beat.

What are some other blogs you love?

With so many blogs out there it’s hard to choose. I follow a lot on Bloglovin. Most recently I’ve enjoyed the healthy simplicity found at Bowl of Delicious.

What are some food apps you love?

My all-time favorite app is actually a recipe app called Paprika. It’s how I organize all my recipes and save new ones to try.

What is the best thing about blogging?

The best thing about food blogging is that it teaches me to become a better cook!

The worst thing?

The worst thing is when I have a recipe fail. And it happens frequently. I’m my own worst critic, so when a recipe doesn’t turn out as I imagined, I’m so disheartened!

One recipe I was determined to create involved a coconut milk and sweet potato gratin with Thai spices. I was all excited about it and made three attempts at it. All had great flavor, but the coconut milk kept separating. So I ended up with three one-gallon Ziploc full of a weird mess. It made great soup though!  

Is there a recipe you’re currently obsessed with?

Homemade tortillas—so tacos with anything in them. There has never been a taco night that disappointed. I took a trip to Mexico in January and that started the whole obsession. After taking a Mexican cooking class and learning just how easy tortillas are to make, my world changed.

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?

I would say most people would be surprised that I find cooking for a crowd really nerve-racking. I’m always trying to impress and cook the best things which add a lot of pressure! When you have a food blog people tend to think that you always know what you’re doing in the kitchen and that’s not always true! And being Sicilian, I tend to prepare way too many things. I’m working on letting this idea perfectionism go, scale back on the number of dishes and follow advice from one of my friends: “Just drink a glass of wine before entertaining and the rest of the evening will be perfect no matter what!

What are five of your all-time favorite posts:

Only five? Ok.

Well, my watermelon aqua fresca is so delicious in the summer and my watermelon sashimi is just so pretty and it’s a newer post!

Stuffed sweet potatoes with peanut sauce are a great weeknight meal.

Tropical Black Beans and Rice Bowl is healthy and simple.

And finally, my Popeye Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing - it was my favorite veggie burger at Asheville Brewing Company when I lived there some time ago. It reminds me of those good times.


After all, food is memories. Cheers!