On Bev Cooks, Bev is extremely open about food and family. She’s a mother of twins, Will and Natalie, who’ve been featured on the blog even before they were born, and she claims to dish out the worst parenting advice you’ll ever hear. Bev’s high energy and wit makes me chuckle more than usual.
I am psyched to have Bev Weidner of Bev Cooks on the show today.
On Leaving Her Job to Pursue Her Passion:
I was stagnant, I was in a stagnant place and not really knowing where to go.
I was working and it was fine, but it took a long time for us to get pregnant and have our kids. So that stress and just not being super happy with my life direction, we got to this point in Aaron’s career where we looked at our life and it was like, “I think I’ll stay home. I just want to garden and hang out. Just kind of breathe and take some of the stress off of myself, and the pressure off of myself.” Once I did, I was like, “Okay, I’m home. I want to start a blog.”
I’m very inspired by other bloggers and stories out there. So it was shortly after I quit that I started, actually bought the domain. I had started posting photos of my dinners on Tumblr and Facebook, but it was right after I quit my job that I bought the Bev Cooks domain and really made it a blog. So I don’t know if you’d call it confidence or stupidity.
I was just getting more and more into the whole thing about food photography and writing. I mean, it was a mess, it was a disaster back in the early days. But time goes on and you hone your craft.
On Her Blog:
I’ve read magazines like everybody. I didn’t really pay attention to the styling of food until I started blogging. I was like, I know this doesn’t look right. This pork looks funny. I don’t know how to do this.
So, like everybody, I would just study magazines like Real Simple because I don’t want a ton of stuff in my photos. I just like it clean and white, and the focus is not a load of good scenery. I think that’s beautiful but I also just want to keep it clean. So I would just study magazines like Real Simple and things like that and kind of maybe rip them off. No, I don’t know. Inspiration, just like literally looking at them going, “Now, this is the way they have this.” “That works. Okay, ding ding.”
On Cooking as a Parent:
I want them to eat everything, and they have been eating… I make them kale omelettes every single morning, I don’t know why. It’s really easy. I mean, it sounds super fancy but it’s not. It’s an egg and kale and a little bit of the tomatoes and done. Cut it up in little squares and they love it.
I just want them to be exposed to everything that I’m making right now so that the hope is that they’re not going to be picky eaters. Now I will say, Will, he’ll touch a third of it and Natalie eats 100%. She does not care, she just eats it all.
But I haven’t really changed that much in my style of cooking because I just want them to eat it too. I cut up everything or separate some things from the others and cut up the pasta, to where it’s tiny. Make it easy for them to eat but I want them to have all the flavors.
During the weekdays, sometimes can be hard. Oftentimes I do simple, simple stuff like peanut butter toast, some torn up deli chicken and a cut up fruit or a tomato. It’s just a hodge podge of things, but I always love to have leftovers from what I’ve made either for dinner or the blog, and then just give them that too.
They need to eat constantly. I’m floating from the kitchen to their high chairs, every two hours, your snacks, here, do you want it over here? Do you want it on the top of the roof? I don’t know. They have mouths.
On Her Column on The FN Dish Blog:
I’m starting a monthly column with the Food Network. On their FN Dish blog which is on their main landing page, but I will be streamlining kids only meals, like the first part of the recipe will be kid friendly, the second part of the recipe will be fit for adults.
So take like a pasta with marinara. Most of the time you’d stop there for the babies, for your kids, and give them the pasta and the marinara and have them go at it. Then for the adults you would add the olives, and the anchovies. So I’ll be starting that.
The favorite dish that’s easiest, I love pasta dishes. If they’re shells, then that makes it easier for them to grab, like shells with shredded chicken in it. I try to avoid giving them too much sauce because the sauce gets everywhere. So I try to remove as much sauce as possible.
What I really like to make for them is just two whole wheat tortillas, and just chop up some chicken and sprinkle in some black beans and a little bit of grated cheese. Pop that in a microwave for 30 seconds, and then just cut it with a pizza cutter. So they’re having little burrito squares.
On Getting Back into Cooking Since Becoming a Parent:
I would say because it is my job I knew I had to do it. It was about four weeks in. I remember four weeks in, and they were a month old. I thought, “I’ve got to start cooking again, or I’m going to go crazy.”
I just got back in, It really wasn’t that hard. In the early stages, what you have going for you with infants, just any infant, two or multiples of one, they sleep all the time. So it’s so easy while they’re napping for their seven hours straight. I’m in there cooking, and then plan it where you know they’re going to be napping and you could go in and cook and do whatever you need to do. If you need to cook it early in the day and warm it up in the evening, great. Do what works. Just do what works.
Now is a different story. They’re down to, most of the time one nap a day, and if I haven’t gotten my work done by the time they’re up and they’re running around… They’re full on toddlers now, and that can get a little bit challenging but we make it work.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
I love the Sprouted Kitchen with all my heart. I love Sarah and Hugh so much, it’s ridiculous. Of course, I love How Sweet It Is, Jessica’s a dear friend of mine. My New Roots, fantastic beautiful photography, Sarah Britton is just brilliant.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook that make you happy?
Instagram, all the way. Local Milk on Instagram. It’s just crazy, I just want to cry all over. Sunday Suppers, feeds like that. Feeds that have to do not necessarily with food, food could be in it but a slow approach to life, lifestyle.
Beautiful composition and everything has a certain shadowy moody, feel or bright. That’s what I’m drawn to.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
Well, I have a cutting board that my husband made for me. He’s crazy talented with DIY. He’s a maker as you would maybe call him. He went to a reclaimed lumber place and got a piece of wood, I think it’s elm. I want to say it’s elm. And sanded it way down and made it food friendly, oiled it up and it’s just this rustic dark piece of beauty that I chop carrots, onions, and garlic on every day.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
I used to hate fennel. I hate black licorice, I absolutely hate it, but for some weird reason, I can dig some fennel.
The licorice-y flavor is definitely there, but it’s masked by its delicateness.
What are a few cookbooks that have made your life better?
Okay, I have this cookbook called The Silver Steam that my mom gave me for Christmas many years ago. I have Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child. Not that I have made my way through it like Julie and Julia, and don’t ever plan to. But I have cooked a few things from that book, and her approach and her writing – it’s so different than modern cookbooks.
Everyday Food, the Martha publication. They put out a cookbook along, long, long time ago and that’s when I first got into cooking. It was about 10 years ago when this cookbook was released. It opened my eyes to chopping, dicing, sauteing, everything. It was just enlightening.
I used to be really into Jamie Oliver a long time ago, into his early cookbooks. I loved that.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
Well, I love Fleetwood Mac, Rumours. You cannot go wrong with that album. I don’t know if it makes me want to cook, it makes me want to do everything. I love that record. I can just put it on and cook at the same time.
The Bird and the Bee is also another band but just their songs and the production. The approach to their production is very unique. Lots of layered vocals, it’s really beautiful, but cool. It’s poppy, little indie-rock and that just makes me dance in the kitchen.
On Keeping Posted on Bev:
Well, food-wise, I would say Facebook, my Bev Cooks page on Facebook. That’ll have everything. Instagram, I recently just started posting. When I post a recipe, I post the photo and just always photos of the babies on Instagram. If you’re just looking for food specifically, I would just say either subscribe to my blog or Facebook.