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Meet Cindy Rainey of Veggie Fun Kitchen in North Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cindy Rainey.

Cindy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Years ago, as a young mother, I had a few starts and stops trying out vegan cooking; but I had no idea what I was doing! This was back in the days when commercial vegan food options were scarce and Pinterest wasn’t even a thing yet. But I tried… and failed more than a few times. The truth was, that my family wasn’t super thrilled with the flavorless bland meals I was preparing.

As a stressed-out mom, I just didn’t have the energy and know-how to figure it all out. So, I gave up and went back to my old stand-by recipes that were definitely the opposite of vegan food.

Until I had a health scare some years later and my doctor recommended I try plant-based eating. This time, I was determined to make it work. I joined recipe groups, poured over cookbooks, and took plant-based cooking classes. I looked at the old recipes we all loved and missed, and experimented with ingredients and substitutions so that I could still make our old favorites; except now they were 100% plant-based.

And then, like most new plant-eaters, I felt this crazy new inner peace about what I was doing for myself, the planet, and the animals; and wanted to share the joy with everybody. Except, not “everybody” wanted to listen. Being a teacher by nature and profession, I knew I could teach others what I had learned for myself, but needed to find a more receptive audience to focus on with my skills and knowledge – those who were seeking out the information and wanted to learn.

That’s when I decided to start a vegan food blog. It seemed like the perfect vehicle to reach others so that I could help those who might be struggling as I had.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh my…the whole process has been a challenge from the beginning that honestly, I didn’t anticipate. As crazy as this sounds to me now, I pretty much just woke up one day and said “I’m going to be a vegan food blogger” – without having any technical experience or knowledge about what it really took.

I had the cooking part down. After years of trial and error, I knew what it took to make awesome plant-based recipes. And naively, that’s all I thought I needed. I mean, you cook some food, throw a few recipes up, and call it a day… right? Wrong!

Blogging and specifically blogging in the food/recipe niche is a complex multifaceted machine. You have to understand the tech aspect of course. Even if you hire someone to help with that, you need to know how to speak their language. Then, if you are a food blogger, you have to know how to cook – really cook – and develop recipes that are unique to your blog – not just copies of what somebody else has already published. And you don’t just cook it once and voila, you have a recipe you can share. you have to test it over and over to ensure consistency and quality. Then you need to know how to write a recipe so that other people can actually follow it. I cringe with I think about some of my earliest recipes. I’m not sure that even I could follow them the way they were written back then.

On top of all that, you have to be an SEO expert, a copy editor, and proficient in grammar and writing styles. You have to learn food photography and understand how to edit so that your photos look appetizing. And then, even after all of that, you can’t just post a recipe on your blog and expect anyone will find it. You have to understand the various social media platforms and how to best use them to promote your blog. This includes the process of making pins and graphics that will resonate with the readers of the various social media platforms. I’m 57 years old and learning about new things I never even knew existed. And I’m still learning. Every day I realize there are aspects of blogging that I didn’t even know I needed to know. Did I mention that before all this, I was a first-grade teacher and a mom lol?

Believe it or not, I credit other food bloggers with showing me the way, getting me to where I am today. You would think this would be an incredibly competitive business. We are all seeking the page views. I have found though, an incredibly supportive sisterhood and mentorship in the food blogging industry.

Veggie Fun Kitchen – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Veggie Fun Kitchen is a vegan food blog that offers recreated family-favorite recipes made the plant-based way. One of the biggest challenges a new vegan family cook has is preparing food the whole family can enjoy. My recipes have been tested on vegans and non-vegans alike. In addition, I try to break down the often challenging process of switching out the familiar ingredients with vegan compliant ingredients so that my readers can learn how to do it on their own and gain confidence in the kitchen. Finally, I try to impart a little wisdom. I’m a mom of grown kids and understand some of the struggles a new vegan cook with a family is going to face. I don’t just throw a recipe into the www and walk away. I’m there for my people. I encourage my followers to contact me to ask questions or work through a problem they might be having with their meal-planning or with getting their family onboard.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
When I get an email that reads “Thank you for this recipe, my mother-in-law has been harassing me about my food choices and I needed something that I could bring to a family dinner that would really wow her!’ That’s when I can sleep at night knowing that I’ve found some measure of success. When my followers are successful, I’m successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Christina Hyde

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