Receipt Blog Standing Out by Seasonal Vegetables - The Seasoned Vegetable

The Seasoned Vegetable blog was created by Elaine Lander who lives in Sacramento, California. In college, Elaine read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and became a vegetarian. It is no surprise that her blog started with vegetable-based food recipes. As the blog grows, it is no longer exclusively about vegetables. The blog now provides meal plans and healthy vegetable-centric recipes with an emphasis on eating seasonally.

For Elaine, the need to claim a stake in the blogging world came from a simple desire to connect with others over healthy, plant-based cooking. Elaine always loved cooking, and was mostly self-taught. Her college studies in sustainable agriculture also helped.  When she saw a gap that people are interested in healthier eating but don't know where to start, she decided to dig into it.

Elaine takes cooking blogging as a fun job, which consumes a lot of time. She spends 40-60 hours a week on the site, dividing her time between research, writing for the blog and her newsletter, marketing and social media. It is more than a full-time job. The most hours are taken by photographing. Photos are critical for food blogs; they are called  "food porn" for a reason.

Style and Impression

The Seasoned Vegetable blog is simple and clean, with well-arranged photos, a lot of white space, and small text font. There are no advertising banners. The blog owner intentionally made the clean and unobtrusive layout so that visitors are not distracted from the sensation of foods. Elaine has done a great job to make the blog appealing and interesting, and she is sure that if she could give a serving of my food to everyone who visits the blog, there’s no question people would eat her food.

Blog Platform

This is a WordPress blog with custom design by Solo Pine. Some of the pages are not coded correctly; they show CSS source codes on the beginning of the post, which does not make sense to food receipt readers. The receipts are organized by four seasons. Most of the receipts are healthy non-meat foods. The following codes are what I see on some posts in Microsoft Edge browser:

[vc_row fullscreen=”1″ css=”.vc_custom_1482197666369{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″ css=”.vc_custom_1482196695605{margin: 0px !important;border-width: 0px !important;padding: 0px !important;}”]

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) 

Among tons of food blogs, the Seasoned Vegetable blog stands out for its seasonal eating. The receipts are organized by four seasons. Most of the receipts are healthy non-meat foods. Another USP is Elaine's personal sharing that you see from page to page. For example, in the post of Pan Fried Vegetarian Dumplings for Chinese New Year, Elaine shared that "In my family, dumpling making is a communal activity. We set aside a day (or more) to prepare the filling and dough, then wrap, cook and freeze dumplings for later. It’s an opportunity to catch up with my mom, share stories, or put on a Chinese soap opera for entertainment. Setting up a dumpling wrapping station is key!"

Also, the receipts on this blog come with very clear instructions and more details than others.Even though the work of blog often keeps Elaine from indulging her passion for cooking, she still manages to be in the kitchen a lot, which is essential to writing pragmatic receipts.

Making Money

Elaine's blog got visibility through word of mouth, targeted searches, marketing and networking. While the blog traffic had reached 5,000 monthly page views sometime ago, the growth spurt just happened in the summer (2017) to 10,000-15,000.

There is no banner advertising on the pages since Elaine wants to be mindful of bombarding people with advertisements just to make a few bucks. The blog income comes from affiliate links and sponsorship. Specifically, the partnership with with area wineries makes a natural fit, as the wine-drinking is considered heart healthy.

Social Media and Marketing

Rhis blog does not really look after social media marketing, although it is visible on all major networks: Facebook 1000 likes, Twitter 126 likes, Instagram 861 followers, and Pinterest 184 followers. The blog traffic is mainly from word of mouth and search engines.

About Food Blogs

Sacramento News and Review made the following comments about food blogs:

Whatever the income source, food blogs can offer both writers and readers a literal cornucopia of wealth. Their impact on food culture has been, to put it mildly, profound. Both food companies and aspiring online entrepreneurs have found blogging to be a relatively cheap and easy way to target readers with a ravenous appetite for photogenic recipes, tips and inspiration—they also help gauge (and build) an audience for their more expensive hard-copy cookbook counterparts.
And, even as social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram threaten to subsume their archaic internet elders, food blogs remain popular. A 2016 report from Social Samosa, an online trends publication, estimates there are at least 40,000 active food blogs with a combined global readership of two billion people. That’s a lot of hungry eyeballs.

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