Snack Time and Story Time
Who doesn’t like snack and story time? It has to be one of the best parts of elementary school! That nostalgia of munching and listening with Kool-Aid and butter ring cookies makes me daydream. I get that same feeling reading Amy Atherton’s baking blog, Amy’s Healthy Baking.
The first impression I get from her website is very joyful and sweet—just like her baked treats! Just look at the logo how cute:
The top menu is clear and separates each category, some with convenient dropdown menus for easy navigation. Under the recipe tab the dropdown menu is particularly helpful because it breaks down her hundreds of recipes into courses: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, Starters, Snacks, & Sides, and Desserts. Her About, FAQ, and Work With Me pages also have dropdown menus for better organization.
On the sidebar along the right side of her page includes links to a few of her more popular posts, such as links to her book descriptions and her guide to starting a personal blog. The most fascinating aspect of her site is her credentials: she is a chemist who knows how to work with many types of food to design her own dishes from scratch (for example: knowing how much baking soda to add to a bread, what to substitute for butter, and even how to measure dry ingredients properly), and she is also a very talented food photographer. And she has a Master’s Degree to back her up! She explains in her guide to making a blog that it is important to know how to photograph your dishes. Pictures are very important! Think about any restaurant advertisement: wouldn’t you want someone’s mouth to water at your recipe, too? She’s just a genius.
Amy is a chocoholic, like myself, so her blog is perfect for me. One of my favorite aspects of her blog is that it is health-oriented (if you didn’t get that from the title). She offers vegan-friendly options to all of her recipes and keeps them all on the “skinny” side. My beau’s mom switched to a vegan diet about 2 years ago, and she has been very strict about sticking to it. I wanted to bring cookies to them when I visited, and luckily I had just the place to find a recipe! For myself, I intake way to much sugar; even turning twenty, I noticed a change in my metabolism and plumped out nicely… Sugar is prevalent in my diet and when I found Amy’s Healthy Baking, it really caught my attention. A few recipes didn’t work out for me, but most of the dishes I’ve made have been delicious! And I don’t even realize my sugar isn’t there. It feels good to eat good—it’s just to get rid of that temptation to stuff a Reese’s in my mouth.
Her posts are so enjoyable to read. They begin with a tasty story from her childhood, or even just the day before. What surrounds her inspires her dishes, from family and friends to the weather outside. The stories are personable and relatable, and readers can really connect to her.
When I was about five or six years old, I encountered carrot cake for the first time. After both the early and late Easter services, my church hosted a little brunch on the patio, and certain members of the congregation signed up to bring either homemade or store-bought dishes for everyone to enjoy.
…I made sure to save room for a sliver of the cake at the very end of the table, but when I reached it, I started having second thoughts… Since I had only eaten chocolate, vanilla, and yellow cakes up to that point in my life, the cake looked really weird to me!
–Amy’s Healthy Baking
This quote and photo are from her latest post, “Loaded Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies.” Her photos are all gorgeous; she really knows how to set the lighting and which angles get the best shots.
If you’re in a hurry and want to skip the cute story, all of her recipes have a recipe card at the bottom listing every ingredient (sometimes with extra helpful information or substitutions) and very detailed directions that follow. Her instructions are easy to follow and are always the best methods for making her dishes.
After her recipe card, she has a comment section that she checks frequently. She takes time out of her busy days to reply to each and every comment her readers post, and, personally, that makes me feel special. It is a great way to pull visitors into her blog, and it is so very kind!
The least appealing feature of Amy’s Healthy Baking is the amount of advertisements on the page at all times. They pop up at the bottom, the top, and all along the sidebar. My laptop can only view about four inches of a post at a time. I have to scroll a lot more than other website. One unfortunate fact is, though, full-time bloggers need advertisements to make money. I’m not experienced enough in this department, so I’m not sure how to fix an issue like this one. I have visited other blogs that have less ads and are much easier to read. When visiting Amy’s blog on my phone, it is almost impossible for it to stay on one section of the page at a time. As ads load and reload, the page jumps around on the screen, scrolling me further down the page, or back up to what I’ve already read. A little difficult when you’re trying to follow a recipe… These advertisements make certain sections of a post very busy to look at.
I might be a little picky, but I don’t want to scroll all the way down the page to the comment section. After the recipe card on each post, there are a few recipes that she suggests her readers to look at that may be related to the one on the page. These have very large photographs and take a while to scroll through. Then there is a list of comments by her readers, sometimes twenty of them before you ever get to the end. Then following the comments is the option to leave a comment; if I have a comment I want to make about this particular recipe I’ve just made or read about, I want to comment right after the post. I don’t want to have to scroll through/read everyone else’s commentary and giant links to her other recipes just to post a comment! I’d probably forget what I want to say by then; I would be too distracted.
Obviously the highlights outweigh the short-comings here! Amy’s Healthy Baking is a well-organized and enjoyable blog to read. Her personable ways of communicating to her audience are attractive for readers, and her expertise in working with many different foods make even those on Vegan diets comfortable with cooking. She has created a successful business that I suspect will last for a long time!
P.S. I bought a copy of her e-book, Table for Two, and it looks a lot like her blog posts and even has health information about each dish! I will be able to cook for my beau and I during the week with little-to-no leftovers; the excitement is uncontainable!
Amy’s Healthy Baking: easy recipes for all occasions. Amy’s Healthy Baking, 2016. Web. 5 March 2016. <http://amyshealthybaking.com/>.
Cover image also from Amy’s Healthy Baking!