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This week, we’re proud to feature Diana of Food n Thought Peddler in the Blogger Spotlight. For those new to the column, we highlight a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a limited group of bloggers who write about food and drink, every Friday.
We look to this group of talented food writers for inspiration and participation with 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 remain up to speed with what is happening around the country and the world — from fine dining to home cooking.
In addition to blogging at and creating Food n Thought Peddler, Diana is a mental health professional with her own private practice.
You can even order gluten free desserts from her at [email protected] for your next event.
The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Diana: My blog is dedicated to gluten-free living and all-natural nutrient-dense recipes. And, to me, a quality dessert is nutrient-dense too; it brings joy, makes us stop our busy lives and enjoy the moment. No food should be off limits, in my opinion, as long as it has all-natural ingredients and tastes good. Balance in everything is my life motto. The blog also features a lot of inspirational posts and other soul-touching conversations. I try to recreate what happens in real life — we cook food and we invite people to share our table and exchange ideas or just daily life snippets. Thus became my blog name Food n Thought Peddler.
How did you get started with your blog?
My blog was started four years ago, after I’d already been living gluten-free for several years and had implemented other “clean” nutritional approaches. I was also exploring gluten-free baking, which is a science in itself as, once you remove gluten, you need to carefully calibrate a mix of flours and other ingredients to make the finished product taste as good as a wheat-based one. My goal has always been to create foods that simply taste good; the fact that they also happen to be gluten-free is just an added bonus in my opinion. I feel that you shouldn’t give up your favorite dishes or settle for less than stellar taste just because you have certain food intolerances. I also wanted to continue with my other hobby, which is writing. I have been writing since I was about 9 years old, but my busy adult life did not leave much room for any extensive writing projects. I felt the blog would be an excellent idea to bridge together my two passions in life, food and writing.
What are some foods you can’t live without?
Chocolate, coffee, artisanal teas, avocado, eggs from pasture-raised hens (they taste better than regular ones), my homemade hemp oil and lemon salad dressing, potatoes, any nuts and seeds.
What are some foods you can’t stand?
Anything that is full of chemicals or artificial ingredients.
What is your proudest blog post?
My proudest posts are the ones that were sought out by readers not for the recipes but for their soul-touching content (I can see the search words that brought each person to my blog). As a mental health professional, my mission is to guide people on a healing journey through their own path in life and reconnect with their true Self. To know that my blog contributes a tiny part to their discovery process is both humbling and exhilarating.
What is your biggest blog blunder?
Some recipes never make it to the blog because I either forget to take pictures of the finished dish or I’m just not quick enough to do it before the food disappears. My son knows he is not allowed to touch anything till I’m done taking pictures, but not everyone else in my family hasn’t caught up to this process yet.
What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
Chef Lena Kwak who, along with chef Thomas Keller, developed gluten-free flour mix Cup4Cup (exclusive Williams-Sonoma brand), which I use a lot in my baking, visited my blog and commented on some recipes using their mix. The recipes were also featured in Cup4Cup social media posts at the time. To hear praise from a professional baker was truly inspiring!
What’s on your cooking playlist?
The choice of music is usually dictated by a particular recipe in the making. If I’m decorating a cake, that requires a steady hand and concentration, so something classical like Mozart or Brahms may be playing. A classy elegant dinner preparation will call for maybe Frank Sinatra or Barry White songs. And, a leisurely Sunday breakfast would go along with whatever pop hits are playing on Pandora.
What are some food blogs you love?
Simply Gluten-Free, Against All Grain, Prana Kitchen, Adventures of Gluten Free Mom, Tartelette, La Tartine Gourmande, and many more!
What are some food apps you like?
My literal go-to food apps are Find Me GF and Meal Matcher as they help me navigate while I’m out and about to find restaurants or food stores that offer gluten-free and other healthy meals options. I also use Pinterest for a lot of recipes inspiration.
What is the best thing about blogging?
Blogging gives a chance to connect with people of different cultures, languages and life paths and to find some similar ground whether through shared passion of cooking, writing or admiring the same inspirational quote. Looking at the map of where my readers come from is truly amazing as it spans around the entire globe. Knowing that I’m a small part of a huge global community is what propels me to continue with my blog.
What is the worst thing about blogging?
Maintaining a blog is a big responsibility given the amount of time it takes to create, capture, post and tie each recipe to some specific life events or conversations. And, modern technology, as user-friendly as it may be these days, still breaks down once in a while, some writing disappears sometimes before I had a chance to save it, some pictures would not post for some unknown reasons, or certain features would not work once in a while too. Sometimes I stick around to fight through it all, and other times I may say this post is just not meant to be and move on.
What recipe are you currently obsessed with?
My family comes from the Ukraine, so Slavic culture is deeply rooted in me. I’ve been making a lot of Russian and Ukrainian dishes lately, even if not all of them get posted on the blog, to stay connected to my ethnic traditions.
What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
I actually have two blogs to manage, one is my Food n Thought Peddler blog and the other is Ask The Therapist page on my professional site where I answer readers’ questions and post relevant psycho-educational information. I don’t post on the Therapist page as often as on my food blog, but I do make up for it by maintaining professional social media accounts, so there’s still plenty of writing and inspirational messages going on. I do not cross-reference between the two blogs as they represent two different sides of my life, a professional one and my hobby, but I do get inspired by something I post on either of the blogs and may continue the conversation in a different format dictated by the structure and purpose of each of them.
Five of your all-time favorite posts?
My most favorite posts are about some dishes that I cooked for my son. He has just finished his freshman year in college so not having him at home has been an adjustment to all. These posts capture some conversations and life snippets of his last childhood years and show versatility of my creations.
- Cinnamon Bacon Donuts with Maple Glaze and Pecans
- German Black Forest Cake
- Baked Chicken with Parsnips and Dried Fruit
- “Gus’ Delight” Chili
- “Tzar’s” Buckwheat with Beef and Mushrooms