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Naturally Ella

The Future of Naturally Ella


This post has been a long-time coming; it just took a pandemic, and my life being flipped upside down for me to get to the point of writing it.

The time has come to say good-bye to Naturally Ella (and hello to a new website: erinalderson.com).

It's been a hell of a run. Something that started as a side-project my senior year of college pushed me into a career I had no idea was even possible. The site helped me fall in love with food, vegetables, and inspiring others to have fun in the kitchen.

Over time, I've dug deep into my presence on the internet and how that aligns with things I believe. I know I don't owe anyone an explanation, but I'm one for a bit of transparency (and I know quite a few of you have been around for many years). The truth is, I've been running some form of this website for 13 years, and it's only been in the past months I've been able to slow down to consider the impact of all these years.

Here's what you need to know

The important news: as of January 1st, 2021, all new blog content on Naturally Ella has stopped***.

The new site, you ask? I'm keeping it simple and just being me: erinalderson.com.

If you're ready to come on this journey with me, you can follow me on Instagram and/or sign-up for my new newsletter. I won't be bringing any emails with me, so you won't hear from me again as Naturally Ella if you're currently subscribed once this site closes down in March.

Why am I doing this?

For better or worse, this site has mostly been just me over the years. It's never really felt like 'a brand,' and I've always been hesitant to call myself an 'influencer.' Of course, Naturally Ella is a brand, and I am an influencer (we technically all are, I just happen to be in this space).

However, the all-or-nothing business approach to blogging is exhausting, and not one I've been able to feel comfortable in for a long time. I started this site in 2007 to share recipes I was making (not creating) and other things I liked.

Eventually, blogging became something you could make money from, and in return, a push happened to 'keep people on the site.' Blogging became about money, SEO optimization, and a race I somehow found myself running without fully understanding why I was even running.

I've been fighting this for years. I've posted recipes that I wasn't super proud of in the name of traffic. I fell into the comparison hole and frequently chatted with people about traffic, income, and best practices (not good content). I left my world of academia, and with it, I somehow lost my common sense about what it is to research and understand the world at large. I kept running without looking up.

But, I stopped running for a myriad of reasons and finally looked up to see many things I didn't like.

For starters, sitting in a haze of wildfire smoke for weeks on end has continued to push me to examine my own life and the ways I contribute to climate change. Yes, corporations are responsible for a large part. Still, there are things in my day-to-day life that need to change: the excess, the reliance on cheap goods, and the sheer amount of plastic I still find myself surrounded by (even after a push away from single-use products).

I've asked myself questions like, what is life when there is a heavy push for consumerism and capitalism? What roles do influencers play in pushing these agendas? Influencers are a line-item in advertising budgets. Instead of billboards, it's Instagram posts. It's all a numbers game.

I should say, I don't fault anyone who makes money this way- it's just not for me anymore. Those companies often require non-competes, which means I've often left not able to talk about local businesses I support. It's also felt wrong to be pushing #ad when so much in the world feels heavy. I've thought for a long time; there has to be a different way.

On top of that, I've been sitting with what happens when the web is overrun by recipes created for mostly one goal: SEO domination (ie: getting the top result in Google search). Not only do we end up with homogeneous recipes, but those recipes are also white-washing recipes deeply rooted in culture/history.

Food writing and recipes need to be told by the people who have the connection. Yes, food is always adapting and changing based on migration, but when we work within an industry heavily dominated by white voices, we lose a lot. I'm not a voice that should be telling you how to make jollof rice or ramen, but I know there are many voices out there that should; they just haven't had the opportunity or platform.

Yes, you can make recipes and ignore the food's history, but you lose the richness behind what makes a dish that dish. This is something I feel that food bloggers miss the mark on time and again.

Why a new site?

To maybe help explain: I'm the type of person that I start fresh when I get a new phone/computer- never import a back-up. There's something to be said for starting fresh, and I feel like that's what I'm doing here. I've gained a lot of knowledge over the past decade, and this site no longer feels like me- I'm not Ella.

The new site won't have ads and won't have sponsored content (and sponsored content will be minimal and confined to Instagram). It will just be me, sharing the content I genuinely want to share. Yes, there will be an occasional recipe, but I'll be focusing less on pushing out new recipes week after week and more highlighting content (recipes/writing) from others, with a large emphasis on BIPOC voices.

Some of this I've already started on Instagram, and I have to say, I've learned so much and have enjoyed reading a diverse amount of writing. I hope you will find that as well if you decide to follow me along this new path.

Thank you

I appreciate everyone who has made my recipes over the years. It's been the only reason I've kept going. Thanks to my husband. He was the one who originally helped me get the original site online and has been an incredible support system. I feel deeply lucky to have someone support me even when the ideas might seem extremely wild (and not money-making).

I also want to say thank you to Honey (the business). I'll talk more about them once I'm fully up and running on the new site, but they've held my hand a lot through the years and, more recently, helped me take my existing studio brand and turn it into something that felt just like me. I've spent so many years feeling like I wasn't Ella, it feels amazing to have something that does feel like me.

I have no clue what the next few years will hold, and it's always nerve-racking to say good-bye to something. However, I've never been so sure that this is the right decision for me.

Xx,
Erin

*** Originally the site was slated to go offline on March 31st but due to some contractual obligations, the site will be staying around for the time being. All new content will be on erinalderson.com but most older recipes will stay around on this site until further notice.

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The post The Future of Naturally Ella appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Fri, 01 Jan 2021 21:28:38 +0000

Roasted Sweet Potato Sorghum Salad




This post is in partnership with Bob's Red Mill.

It's the time of year when I like slightly warm salads. Roasted vegetables tossed in my favorite greens with a tangy dressing; it's hard to go wrong. I like to bulk up salads using whole grains, like in this sorghum sweet potato salad.

Arugula Salad

When I make arugula salads, I treat the arugula more like the herb that it is. I prefer the punch flavor when it's equal to the other ingredients in the salad. In the case of this salad, it's equal to the chile-roasted sweet potatoes and hearty sorghum.

Bob's Red Mill Sorghum

I like this hearty gluten-free grain in salads because it doesn't disappear. The grain holds texture well while soaking up the flavor of the dressing. It takes a bit longer to cook than some other grains, so I like to cook it ahead of time, making this salad a bit quicker.

Sweet Potato Alternatives

Instead of the sweet potato, use roasted butternut squash or delicata squash. You could also use turnips or parsnips for something a little different.

Make it vegan

This recipe is fairly easy to make vegan. Just swap out the butter in the dressing for your favorite plant-based butter, or use a neutral oil.

[tasty-recipe id="39621"]

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The post Roasted Sweet Potato Sorghum Salad appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:38:24 +0000

Vegan Barley Risotto with Squash and Chermoula


This post is in partnership with Bob's Red Mill.

Risotto is a go-to recipe on this site and in my kitchen. Something is comforting about a big dish of creamy grains loaded with vegetables on top. This vegan version uses a simple cashew cream for added flavor in the risotto and a rich squash topping, with help from the North African condiment, chermoula.

Cracked Risotto

There's nothing quite like Arborio rice for risotto. The creamy texture the starch from the rice provides is excellent. Whole grains can't quite compare, but I like to crack the grain in the blender to mimic a bit of the starch. During the winter months, I crack the grains a little extra, making this risotto really creamy. This starts to blur the line between porridge and risotto, but I still call it risotto because of the cooking method.

Bob's Red Mill

I have a rotation of a few grains I use for risotto, but barley is usually one I reach for most. The grain is hearty but doesn't have a strong flavor, making it perfect to soak up flavors from the risotto additions. Bob's pearl barley is great for risotto because the pearl creates a natural starch addition. Of course, I like to help it along by cracking it.

Squash Options

There is a myriad of squash options for the topping on this barley risotto. I used red kabocha squash, but you could easily use butternut, Delicata, or a non-squash option, sweet potatoes. I'd steer clear of using acorn squash or Delicata. The acorn squash doesn't hold texture as well.

Red chermoula

If you're unfamiliar with chermoula, it's an herb-based condiment from North African countries traditionally used with fish. The version I'm using for this recipe, a red version, is kicked up a notch with ground chiles' help. As mentioned in the recipe notes, I use the recipe from Eden Grinshpan's cookbook, Eating Out Loud.

[tasty-recipe id="39612"]

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The post Vegan Barley Risotto with Squash and Chermoula appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Sun, 20 Dec 2020 00:11:32 +0000

Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce


This post is in partnership with Bob's Red Mill.

Most of my broth-based soups have two parts: the soup base and a flavor stir-in. I've been making this kale sauce off and on and decided it would be perfect as finishing in a soup. Because the kale sauce brings the flavor, I keep the barley base pretty simple.

Bob's Red Mill Barley

I like using Bob's barley for this recipe since it's a pearled version- the cooking time is much than if using whole grain barley. The barley cooks while prep and cooking of the other ingredients in the soup are done. It still takes about 45 minutes, but it's one of my favorite dinners (as long as I have good bread to eat with it).

Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce

Alliums

I like to keep my flavorings straight-forward in soups, usually with yellow onions and garlic. However, shallots or leeks would also be nice in this soup. Mix and match whatever you might have on hand.

Carrots/Greens

Carrots are probably my favorite soup/stew add-in. If you don't have carrots, you could also use squash or sweet potatoes instead.

In terms of the greens, you could swap the kale out for chard or spinach. If you decide to use spinach, blanching will be quick- just a dip in the water to brighten the spinach in color.

[tasty-recipe id="39598"]

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The post Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Tue, 08 Dec 2020 13:56:42 +0000

Farro e Ceci


This post is in partnership with Bob's Red Mill.

Since March, pasta has become increasingly harder to source at some of the local grocery stores. This has led to an increase in making pasta in some areas but in other areas, I've started adapting some of my most-used recipes that call for pasta. In this case, it was using the base for pasta e ceci and pulling a bit of inspiration from Zuppa di ceci e farro.

Bob's Red Mill Organic Farro

I like using Bob's farro for this recipe since it's a pearled version- the cooking time is much than if using whole grain farro. The farro cooks while prep and cooking of the other ingredients in the soup are done. It still takes about 45 minutes, but it's one of my favorite dinners (as long as I have good bread to eat with it).

Greens

When my refrigerator is packed full of greens during the cooler months, I'll add in shredded kale or chard towards the end of cooking. It's a great way to add even more heft to the recipe and a great way to use up any greens you might be trying to figure out how to use. I usually toss in 2 cups, shredded, which will cook down as well.

The finishing oil

My original recipe called for making a rosemary-garlic oil, but I find balancing a bit of freshness with the cooked ingredients to be a nice balance during the fall. The dill is small but makes a big impact. Parsley would also work and if all else fails, make the rosemary oil from the original recipe.

Vegan

Finally, to make this vegan, I've been stirring in a couple of tablespoons of light miso at the end of cooking. It brings a bit of the same salty umami that the parmesan provides. If you go this route, don't add salt before you add the miso.

[tasty-recipe id="39576"]

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The post Farro e Ceci appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Mon, 02 Nov 2020 14:06:28 +0000

Delicata Squash Pasta with Egg and Goat Cheese


Post in partnership with Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs

When the temperature drops below 90 degrees here in the valley, I call that the start of fall. This creamy delicata squash pasta is my kick-off to the season (just don't be surprised if more tomato recipes still show up because I'll be happily eating them for another month or so).

Squash

I will forever love the ease of using delicata squash in meals. The thin skin on this squash means there's no peeling involved and it roasts in less than 30 minutes. The subtle earthy flavor is great for pairing with spices and helps cut through the rich goat cheese in this pasta dish.

If you can't find delicata squash, use cubed butternut or sweet potatoes. I find those squash to be a bit sweeter, so try adding a pinch of heat to the mix or drop the maple syrup from the hazelnuts.

Eggs

I like making sure we have a bit of protein with each meal and I'm happy to team up with Pete and Gerry's for this recipe. I love working with Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs because I know they partner with a group of family farmers who are vital to their communities. The eggs are always fresh, and I know I'm buying a quality, Certified Humane Free Range and organic product. Eggs are such a staple in our house and are always on our shopping lists.

Herbs

This recipe is truly the perfect blend of late summer and early fall flavors. In September, we start to see more squash but luckily my basil still lives on. If that's not that case for you, cooler weather herbs also work well here. Try dill in place of the basil.

Nuts

The maple hazelnuts, self admittedly, are a bit extra. I love the slight sweetness the maple syrup brings to the nuts and the overall dish. However, if you don't feel like taking this extra step, regular toasted nuts are great as well. You can also swap out the hazelnuts for toasted pecans or walnuts.

[tasty-recipe id="39525"]

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The post Delicata Squash Pasta with Egg and Goat Cheese appeared first on Naturally..

przetłumacz | Thu, 24 Sep 2020 22:05:46 +0000
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