If you follow our blog closely, especially the recipe round ups, Real Simple Good is a name that will be familiar to you. Justin and Erica, the duo behind Real Simple Good, are a top-1o contributor to Primal Palate, and have been sharing outstanding recipes here a long time now. They were also a finalist in our 2015 Fall Fest Recipe Contest!
Their recipes are so beautiful, so we wanted to revive our Featured Contributor Spotlight, and kick things off with an interview with Justin and Erica.
Tell us about the beginning of Real Simple Good. How did you meet? When did you decide to start a blog together?
When we started dating, we found ourselves spending a lot of time in the kitchen, making meals together, laughing, and listening and singing along to music (and sometimes dancing around). We both enjoyed cooking and started experimenting in the kitchen more and more, creating our own recipes. We were both unhappy with our careers in accounting and wanted to start working on a project that we cared about. We wanted a place to save our recipes and work on something new and interesting. From that, Real Simple Good was born. It wasn’t pretty at first, but was a place to catalogue our recipes and try something new that we both had a passion for. We started working on the design of our site, worked with a graphic designer to create a logo, and then got a nice camera to improve our photography. It’s an ongoing thing. We try to get better every day and continue to have fun in the kitchen as we work along side one another.
What sorts of challenges have you faced with your blog?
Ha! There have been plenty. Neither of us are blogging gurus or had any idea what we were doing when we started the site. There were initial challenges in just getting the blog set up, looking clean and all of the behind the scenes stuff we had to learn how to do to make the site function well and look professional. We have learned a lot through trial and error, You-Tube tutorials, podcasts and reading many, many blog posts about how to be a better blogger.
One of the main challenges we face is making time for working on the blog and learning to be photographers. Up until very recently, we both had full-time jobs as accountants with quarterly busy seasons and longer hours. It was hard to have the energy and stamina to keep working on the blog, testing recipes on weeknights and then having a marathon of cooking and photographing on the weekends. A couple of weeks ago, we left our crazy jobs and life in Portland, and moved to Bend, Oregon where we are implementing a change in lifestyle and making more time for our blog.
Learning food photography is also a constant challenge. Neither of us had any photography background before we started blogging, so we are constantly trying to improve our photography. We have read some books, played with our camera and are starting to get the hang of it. We love a challenge and have found this whole process and adventure to be very rewarding from a self-improvement perspective.
As a duo that blogs together (Woot!) how do you divide up tasks?
Working on the blog together is really great. Two heads and perspectives are definitely better than one. We both love cooking and work on the recipe development together. Trying things and then having the other be the taste tester and give feedback helps a lot. Justin is great with the savory things – breakfast is his specialty. Erica is the lover of baking and creating treats. We both like to maximize the output with the simplest and easiest recipe to get there.
As far as the behind the scenes work on the blog, Justin is great with the technical stuff and figuring out how to maneuver WordPress and the random errors and updates that need to happen. He’s good at researching how to grow our blog and keep us improving our stats every month. Erica focuses on the photography, and having two people for holding lighting boards and tweaking the staging is definitely handy!
What are a few of your favorite dishes from your blog?
Paleo Lasagna – We make it as often as we can when spaghetti squash is in season.
Banana Pancakes – These go down on many Saturdays and are so simple to make with only three ingredients.
Paleo Fish Tacos – Because how could you not with Siete tortillas? Those tortillas make us want to eat our fish tacos every day.
Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Brownies – They’re a crowd pleaser, people don’t even know they’re Paleo friendly.
Do you follow any special sorts of diets to help manage the MS? (Like AIP?)
We mostly just eat Paleo, although Erica has had some adrenal imbalances recently and has been eating more to recover from that. She doesn’t eat strict AIP though. She found that when switching to a basic Paleo diet, she felt better within weeks and hasn’t looked back. It seems to always be a work in progress though. Sometimes some foods seem just fine and then at other times, not so much. We have both been learning to listen to our bodies and work toward feeling energized and healthy. Things may change over time, and we may have to push a reset button from time to time, but that’s part of the fun and adventure of learning to being happy and healthy.
What sort of goals do you have for RSG?
We really love working on our blog together. We hope to help people on their path to better health through eating real, whole foods. We are working very hard to turn it into more than a hobby. We love that we are able to touch other people’s lives with our own stories, and also that we are able to work on something meaningful and fulfilling to us. We hope that our site can continue to grow and our recipes reach as many people as possible. Long-term we hope to create some cookbooks and branch off of Real Simple Good to create a product or service that our followers find useful (maybe something like Primal Palate Spices – they are so great!). We’d love to continue to improve our photography skills and start doing photography work on the side as well.
See other Featured Contributor Spotlight posts