tips and strategies for organizing and creating your own original recipe development flow
Tips For Developing Creative Recipies
I get a lot of questions about how I create my own original recipes. My simple answer is that I just, sort of, do it. I know that isn’t super helpful, but keep reading. It’s in my genetic makeup to want to add things to recipes, throw things together, and substitute instead of running to the store. I pay a lot of attention to flavors when I’m in restaurants, and I rely heavily on my palate and memory to combine different tastes and textures I think might work. I have a creative personality and I express a lot of this through my cooking. I have developed Type A tendencies over the years, but I am not a perfectionist by nature. In the beginning, if I made something that turned out spectacular, I would grab my camera (no matter what time of day – LOL), snap some photos and put a post up on the blog rather haphazardly.
However, as my blog has turned more into a business, I had to develop some sort of workflow. AND, I learned rather quickly that photographing under my dim apartment lighting at 9 pm did not produce beautiful work. And let’s face it, you guys like to look at pretty stuff, amirite? For more fun facts about my blogging journey check out my post on Beginner Blogger Tips!
As time has passed, I have developed a much more streamlined approach for recipe development which helps me stay organized and on top of blog content and creations for clients. I’ll give you an outline and some strategies that I use below!
Record Every Little Idea
I keep notes in two different places – on my iPhone in the notes section and in an actual, spiral-bound notebook. That’s really it. I sync my iPhone notes into my iCloud, so I can access them on my Mac, as well. I do use all Apple products. I have one notebook that contains thoughts, notes, to-do lists, recipes, and ideas. I am someone that needs to have everything easily accessible in one place. I do have a binder that I file old notes, contracts, and downloads in every once in a while, but I don’t use that every day. On my phone and in my notebook I have a page (or six lol) dedicated to just recipe ideas. If I’m out or away from my notebook and something pops into my head I write it in the notes section of my phone (which syncs to my computer), or if I’m by my notebook I’ll jot it there. As you continue to develop recipes and understand how food and flavors work, you will be FLOODED with ideas if you’re anything like me. I actually dream recipes now. Not kidding. I make sure to capitalize on those creative moments because my brain isn’t always “on” and I like to make sure I remember my best ideas. When I plan out content, I just browse through my notes for appropriate ideas.
Plan Out Content In Advance
This really might not work for you. And when I plan content it isn’t set in stone, but I like to get a rough idea of what I’m making each week about a month before I post it. That way, I can make sure there’s a variety of content, check for any major holidays, and see what time constraints I may be working with considering that I do have a personal life. I use a Google Calendar and each month, I write in when I would like to post content and what I would like that content to be. I may not have an exact recipe in mind, but I know that the third week in May, I want to post a dessert.
Test New Creations on a Weekday
When I create something really new for the first time, I like to do it on a weeknight, and not the day that I’m actually photographing it. That way, I have no time constraints, I don’t have to worry about making it picture perfect, and I can just cook. If I want to make a new dessert, maybe I’ll test something out 3-4 weeks prior to posting. If I need to make tweaks (which I almost always do with baking), I have plenty of time to do so and I can get a feel for the types of photos that may compliment the creation. There are some exceptions to this rule (especially when I’m modifying an old favorite), but I’m striving to implement this practice. It really alleviates some pressure on photography day!
Cook With a Notebook
Okay, back to my little notebook. Before I start cooking I usually write down what ratios of ingredients I think will work and I make notes as I go. If a cookie batter is too thick – I add that I added an extra tablespoon of milk as I do it. I can’t stress how important it is to do this AS YOU COOK. I always get so distracted in the kitchen, and if I don’t write something right away, I’ll likely forget and have to go back to the drawing board. So, on the night I test a new creation I’ll have my notebook handy to take notes as I go, and then when I go to make it again, the recipe is right there ready for me!
Don’t Let Flops Make You Quit
Cooking “flops”, as I call them, will happen and it IS frustrating because you spent time and money on a creation. If you test a recipe beforehand, it won’t be as big of a deal to re-adjust because you won’t be under pressure to take photos and crank the content out for that next week’s post. Try to take a deep breath, think about what went wrong (too much salt, too little fat, more sugar needed?) and make a game plan for next time. Also, can you re-purpose the recipe and make it into something else for you to have for a meal or snack? A few weeks ago I made a Lemon Meringue Pie. The crust was made from a batch of Coconut Flour Lemon Blondies that were delish, but drier than the Sahara Desert. J and I shared the pie with friends and ate the other half ourselves. In 2 days. Balance, yo?
Batch Photograph Recipies
Unless you’re insanely lucky or live in a glass house, I’m going to go ahead and assume that your favorite photography spot is not always in prime condition for snapping blog worth shots. Something that has helped me tremendously is picking out a day that is open, and taking my food photos on that day. I may wake up a little early on a Saturday, whip up some recipes, and then snap a few photos. I don’t always worry about editing right away, but doing things in blocks is so hugely helpful!
Take Time for Creative Exploration
For me, it’s very important to remind myself that I DO love to cook and that it is a part of me. I like to take the time to cook a favorite recipe or try out something new, without the pen, paper, and camera. I like to remind myself why I love to cook and do so freely. Blogging can feel like a full-time job, so it’s important to remind ourselves why we do what we do. This really helps with inspiration down the line, too.
Blogging is a profession that I’m passionate about, so when I say I’m here for you, I mean it. Send me an email, shoot me a note on Instagram if you feel alone. There’s room for everyone & we’re all in this blogging world together!
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