7 of the top female food bloggers to follow for recipe inspiration in Charlotte

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Bentley

I like Pinterest as much as the next millennial female, but how many lemon chicken recipes will I pin before I realize that my weekly meals all taste vaguely like lemon and chicken?

If your recipe collection resembles mine, you may want to find renewed dish inspiration from Charlotte’s local food bloggers. It will give you an excuse to visit the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, and each blogger offers a way to transform traditional ingredients (e.g. chicken) into something tasty.

Get to know these Queen City food bloggers—they’ll spice up your dinner (and your Pinterest)!

Name: Jessica Bentley

Blog: Slice of Jess

Who she is: Freelance food and drink journalist, photographer, and recipe developer Jess grew up in San Francisco, but now shares dish inspiration from Charlotte. Look for a mix of fresh ingredients, colorful dishes, and the occasional indulgence. (Also look out for her articles on C5!)

Her inspiration: “My main goal is to help people feel more comfortable in their own kitchen. When you’re whipping up dinner or crafting a cocktail, I want my website to inspire readers to cook with local, fresh produce and eat a more colorful plate.”  

Her favorite ingredient: “I’m a firm believer that fresh herbs can elevate a meal from ‘this tastes great’ to ‘OMG that’s amazing’. Whether the dish is an herb-focused recipe (like my Quinoa Tabbouleh Mason Jars) or just a sprinkle on top (like my Taco Tortilla Soup), fresh herbs should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen.” 

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest


Name: Susannah Brinkley

Blog: Feast + West

Who she is: Susannah’s passion for food stems from a childhood marked by travel, which introduced her to new flavors and cultures. The self-taught cook shares homemade recipes inspired by her travels, as well as destination suggestions and tips for entertaining.  

Her inspiration: “I’ve always said that my blog is at the intersection of my loves for food, design and travel. I’m a graphic designer and avid traveler, and food plays right into that. I love food that is inspired by a place, so my travels inspire a lot of the food I make, whether it’s something specific to that place, or just something unique I tried while I was away. I also love going to restaurants and bars that are gorgeously designed, from the decor down to the menu, and I’m a sucker for really creative food and drinks. Savory beignets? Color-changing cocktails? Sign me right up! I share my travels on my site as well, and I try to focus on the hidden gems, rather than the tourist destinations.” 

Her favorite ingredient: “It’s got to be ginger. I make a lot of cocktails on my blog and whenever I make cocktails just for me at home, I almost always make some kind of mule with ginger beer, citrus and some kind of spirit. I’m always searching for new brands of ginger beer to try — the spicier the better! I’ve got tons of mule recipes on my site. I’m partial to this Rosemary Kumquat Mule, but my Yule Mule recipe is one of my most popular ones at the holidays.”

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest


 

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had a hole lotta fun this morning at our first @skillpopclt intro to food photography class that I doughn’t think i can wait until our next class in october! (did I use enough doughnut puns in this caption?) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ thank you to @suarezbakery and @vtgclt for donating (or doughnating 😂) food and props for us to practice with. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #cltfood #charlotte #charlottenc #queencity #charlottefood #doughnuts #donuts #feedfeed #thebakefeed #tastingtable #sweeeeets #foodphotography #foodphoto #foodpic #foodblogger #prettythings #prettyfood #livecolorfully #abmlifeiscolorful #pursuepretty #flashesofdelight #theeverygirl #lovelysquares #photosinbetween #theblogissue

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Name: Chrissie Rotko

Blog: Off the Eaten Path

Who she is: Sushi and pizza lover Chrissie started her food blog six months after moving to Charlotte to encourage exploration of the new-to-her city. Years later, she still posts pictures of local eats and personal recipes. Join her on her quest to find the best pizza in Charlotte.

Her inspiration: “Off the Eaten Path started as a passion project to combine my love of food and writing. I had moved to Charlotte six months before I started my blog, and really needed a hobby, so I thought blogging about local restaurants would motivate me to go out and explore my new city. Five years later, I am still inspired by local food, drinks and experiences in Charlotte and other cities I visit when my husband and I travel, and I love sharing with my readers those spots that may be a little more off the beaten (or eaten!) path.”

Her favorite ingredient: “Easy recipes just seemed like a natural transition from restaurant write ups to expand my blog, so I started featuring recipes on my site about three years ago. For recipes, I am inspired by local and seasonal ingredients, especially our Saturday trips to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. I don’t have one specific ingredient I’m inspired by but rather, I love cooking with whatever fresh ingredients we bring home. One of my favorite recipes is this Sheet Pan Chicken, featuring locally raised chicken from Windy Hill farm, and a mix of sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and apples that I also bought at the farmers market. I love the colors and flavors of this dish…it reminds me of fall on a plate.”

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest


Name: Michelle Embleton Thomas

Blog: The Secret Ingredient Is

Who she is: A firm believer that the secret ingredient for every dish is love, Michelle serves up recipes prepared with a dash of personality, including healthy snacks and family favorites. She sees no issue in eating a cheese board as a main course and loves pasta. Michelle, do you want to be best friends?

Her inspiration: “My inspiration for the blog really goes back to my childhood and has carried on throughout life. So many of my best days and favorite memories have taken place in the kitchen surrounded by good company and even better food. I’m a believer that when you bring people around a table to share a meal together, there is always a good story to tell, recipe to share, reason to cheers to. I’ve always loved creating new dishes or paying homage to old family recipes, and after a long internal debate I decided to create my blog to have a place where I can share all these recipes and tell their stories. I find inspiration everywhere — the seasons, traveling, dinners out, cookbooks, weekends exploring Charlotte — and everything in between.”

Her favorite ingredient: Does pasta count as an ingredient? (Haha — but seriously…) I think I can get most creative with dishes when pasta/noodles are involved. Whether it’s a recipe with a few simple ingredients, or something a little more complex with a lot of vegetables or protein — pasta is a great base to make a dish incredibly flavorful and delicious. It’s hard to choose a favorite pasta recipe when I’ve shared so many of them on the blog.

“I also love adding fresh herbs to everything. Whenever I feel like a recipe is missing something, I’ll add some fresh basil, dill, or cilantro and it ends up being exactly what I needed.” 

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest


Name: Gabrielle Walker

Blog: mind. body. meal prep.

Who she is: Just over the border in Lake Wylie, SC, Gabrielle is a food, fitness, and wellness enthusiast. She enjoys recreating recipes to incorporate organic, natural, and non-GMO foods into her diet. Her foodie-first creations will leave you feeling pure and refreshed.

Her inspiration: “I started my blog because I had so many friends, family and random followers asking me for the details and recipes for meals I would post. I kept hearing, ‘You should start a blog,’ so one day I listened and took the plunge. I love to cook nearly as much as I love to go out to eat in Charlotte and explore all of the amazing food establishments that keep popping up. It’s so fun to document the foods I try and to share with locals all of the good (and bad) food experiences. On my blog I also love to share travel eats as well as my own unique recipes that aren’t your typical ‘run of the mill’ meals. My passion with creating recipes is in finding substitutes and making adaptations to my favorite basic recipes using healthier or more interesting ingredients.” 

Her favorite ingredient: “My favorite ingredient is probably nutritional yeast. This vitamin-packed ingredient is the perfect cheese/dairy substitute for pesto, alfredo, mac & ‘cheese,’ lasagna and makes the best topper for salads and pizza. I have a blog post highlighting nutritional yeast including tons of fun recipes utilizing this ingredient. 

Follow her: Instagram


 

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Broiled fish “ladorigani” (recipe in blog archives) with a combo salad of fresh and boiled vegetables. #greekfood #greece

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Name: Ashley Korizis

Blog: The Olive and the Sea

Who she is: Inspired by Mediterranean cooking, Ashley started her Greek food blog to share family recipes. She takes special care to document each recipe in an approachable manner for those who may not possess familiarity with Greek cuisine and includes tips on different ingredients in the “pantry” section of her site.

Her inspiration: “Marrying into a Greek family, I quickly bonded with my mother-in-law over our love of food and cooking. My initial interest in her recipes came from wanting to cook familiar and comforting meals for my family. However, over time, my passion and appreciation for her cooking grew, as I realized that her recipes weren’t just delicious; they were simple, nutritious, and always from scratch. The blog came to exist out of a desire to document these recipes for all to enjoy.”

Her favorite ingredient: “My favorite ingredient is extra virgin olive oil. In addition to having a number of health benefits, it’s incredibly versatile. It is my favorite oil/fat to cook with and I’ve even gone so far as to make biscuits with it.”

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest


 

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Do you struggle to get your kids to eat *anything* but noodles? 🍝 Mine are obsessed with just simple buttered pasta. When picking out recipes for the #ultimatekidscookbook I wanted to encourage kids to try something that was a safe little step up from the plain pasta found on most restaurants’ kid menu. This buffalo chicken pasta is perfect because you can eat all the ingredients separately or mix it all together at the end. It lets your picky eater build their dinner just the way they like it. (And you can build yours the way YOU like it. Score!) Creamy pasta base with spicy chicken tenderloins, blue cheese crumbles, a drizzle of buffalo sauce, and fresh green onions. My girls love it all, but one is a total separatist and just doesn’t want them touching. #peanutblossomcooks #cookingwithkids #kidfriendlyfood #kidscooking #familydinner #foodblogfeed #kidsinthekitchen #chickendinner #pasta #buffalochicken #healthykidsfood #huffposttaste #bhgfood #feedfeed #thekitchn #pbkitchen

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Name: Tiffany Dahle

Blog: Peanut Blossom

Who she is: A mother to two daughters, Tiffany encourages parents to use simple everyday moments to create memories. What better way to bond than to try a new recipe? Visit her site for family-friendly, kid-tested recipes or grab a copy of The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook, which is “written for the kids to be in charge of cooking.”

Her inspiration: “The inspiration for my blog is absolutely my two girls. They are at the heart of every recipe I’ve ever written. I’ve tried really hard to raise two adventurous eaters but it was a long slow road through picky eating phases to get where we are now. I hope my site is a reassuring resource for other moms deep in the struggle with their own picky eaters and busy schedules.”

Her favorite ingredient: “My favorite ingredient is lemon, I love that it can go sweet or savory. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I craved all-things lemon for months and it just never really went away. Our favorite savory dish is my macadamia crusted halibut with lemon butter sauce. And my youngest daughter and I are both obsessed with my pink lemonade cake.”  

Follow her: Instagram | Pinterest

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