Have you checked out? If not, what are you waiting for?! Recipe Girl couldn’t be a more practical and diverse food site! That shouldn’t come as a surprise, however; creator and cookbook author Lori Lange used to be an elementary school teacher! With that said, the visual aids are mouth-wateringly amazing. When you go to a site or crack open a cookbook and you can’t find a picture to see what the food actually looks like, it takes away that desire to cook it. Luckily, Recipe Girl’s index is all photographed. You get to see exactly what you are about to eat…or at least what it should look like! Her top-rated recipes from last year cover every taste-bud: from bacon corn griddle cakes for the manly-man of the house, to monster cookies for the kiddos, to a light spinach salad with avocado and goat cheese for the ladies’ luncheon! If the Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes are giving you a slight heart spasm, check out her Skinny Chocolate-Caramel Banana Bread. Recipe Girl is on all the latest Skinny Swap trends and has low-cal, low-fat options as well! Before her cookbook hits the shelves, let’s get the scoop on how Lori traded in classroom chalk for all-purpose flour and built herself the biggest room for learning yet: Recipe Girl!

1.    What inspired you to start writing your blog? I was an elementary school teacher for 12 years- the kind of teacher who worked all day at school and then came home and worked correcting papers, organizing projects, etc. until I went to bed at night.  I’ve never been one to sit still for long, so when I stopped teaching to take care of my son– I needed something to do.  A friend suggested I start a recipe website (stemming from my passion for entertaining and cooking).  I took his advice, and have been working on my site ever since!

2.    What is your favorite aspect about being part of an online blogging community? Meeting people who live all over the world.  Seriously, I feel like I have friends everywhere!  There’s a great social aspect of blogging that I never anticipated.  The fun part is actually meeting those people in real life at various blogging events.  And I consider a few of those people pretty close friends now.  How cool is that?
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3.    What is your favorite topic to blog about? Desserts, of course!  I’m a sweets-fanatic, for sure.  It’s also a nice surprise to see recipes getting a lot of traffic that are an unexpected surprise hit.
4.    In your opinion, what is the best feature on your blog? I guess I’d have to say having a Visual Recipe Index (a photo of each recipe next to the recipe title).  Long lists of recipe titles only are not quite as appealing as being able to see the beauty of the food itself.
5.    Where do your recipe ideas come from? Dreams… no kidding!  And my most creative ideas come to me while I’m on my morning runs.  I come home and write down all kinds of random thoughts that popped into my head while exercising.  Cookbooks, magazines and other blogs are also great sources for inspiration.
6.    What advice do you have for busy moms and women that don’t have a lot of time to get a balanced meal ready every night for their family? Plan ahead.  Set some time aside on the weekend to plan for the coming week.  Prep ingredients or prepare a couple of things on Sunday to start the week with a fridge full of food that is ready to go.
6b) For those moms on a super tight budget or have a large family, what are key tips to staying healthy without emptying the wallet? Use the slow cooker!  Large cuts of meat are pretty easy to find on sale once in a while.  Watch the ads, then look for a slow cooker recipe to make with what you purchase.  Add ins like beans or lentils and lots of vegetables (frozen or seasonal fresh) stretch the recipe into a couple of meals and some pretty good lunch leftovers too.
7.    How do you describe a balanced diet? Definitely colorful.  As they say, if you’re eating a rainbow of food, you’re doing something right.  I don’t believe in depriving yourself of certain foods, so making sure that fruits and veggies are prominent and eating everything else in moderation is key.
8.    What’s the craziest diet trend you have seen or the most commonly misinterpreted or misused diet/nutrition practice? The misconception that anything with a label of “fat free” or “sugar free” is a pass to eating healthy.  If I hear my friend say one more time, “But it’s fat free…!”  Ugh.
9.    What is your favorite dish? Our family loves Shrimp Tacos.  It’s so easy to make them healthy with a simple stir fry of shrimp, peppers, onion and garlic- then stuff them into a corn tortilla with avocado and mango salsa.  Such a yummy, healthy dinner!
10.  What is the one spice or herb everyone should have in their cabinet? Cumin.  That might sound strange to some people, but since I live in Southern California and we eat a good share of Mexican food here, I put cumin in everything.  It’s a good addition to dips too.
11.  What is your favorite cooking appliance? I’m going to have to go with my KitchenAid Stand Mixer.  It has it’s own space in my kitchen with all of its wonderful accessories.  I mostly use it for mixing cookie dough and batter for quick breads/cakes and whipping buttercream frosting.
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12.  What is your go to dish when hosting a party or attending an event? I didn’t even have to think about this one.  I always, always make my Avocado- Pine Nut Salad.  My family has been making and sharing this recipe for years, it’s definitely going to make an appearance in The Recipe Girl Cookbook, and everyone always likes it and asks for the recipe!
13.  If you could eat one thing everyday without worrying about your health, what would it be? Cheese.  Cheese of every kind and nationality!  Aged Cheddar, soft goat cheese, hard Italian cheeses, stinky cheeses and French Brie… I really love them all.
Want to hear more from Recipe Girl Lori Lange? Check out the site, find her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!