The online cooking blog has a Vankleek Hill flavor

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Aspiring chefs learning to cook online now have another learning option, thanks to a new website that combines great recipes with a touch of local flavor.

She’s Not Cookin ‘is a cooking blog started by Sandra Flegg (née Allen) of Vankleek Hill, who used a recent return to her hometown as a springboard for an idea she had wanted to realize for years. His website and blog was launched on May 15 and can be found at www.shesnotcookin.com.

Since returning to his hometown just a few months ago, Flegg says a good deal of his time since then has been spent working on the site:

“After moving to Vankleek Hill on February 15, I worked on (the blog) for a few months to get it up and running,” says Flegg, whose website now has over 20 recipe ideas. “We have launched 8 recipes and I try to publish two or three a week.”

While a few recipes a week may not seem like much, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. Each of the dishes displayed on the site has step-by-step instructions with photos in addition to detailed images of the finished serving. Photos and instructions are comprehensive and easy to follow – attributes Flegg knows are as important to home cooks as the recipes themselves.

“It’s very important that (everyone) is able to understand and follow the recipes,” says Flegg, who takes all of her own photos for She’s Not Cookin ‘and believes taking the pictures herself allows for a more personal expression. on blog posts. “I really like the photo part. You also want to create your own style.

Flegg takes most of the primary images featured on the blog with a digital camera, but most of the photos taken for the ongoing recipe instructions themselves are taken with his cell phone camera. This is done more out of necessity and simplicity, as it is difficult to wield a full-size camera while cooking. Flegg says to this end that the quality of the images is always excellent, while the full size camera is used for the finished product and at other times when more detail is required:

“I think it’s more important to have good plans going than to make them perfect. Also, it’s pretty inconvenient for me to move everything to a counter for photos in the middle of cooking.

Flegg, who was born in Vankleek Hill, moved to the Hamilton area in 1996 after meeting her future husband Tim online. “We were pioneers in online dating,” she laughs.

In Hamilton, Sandra began a 24 year career in retail. She and Tim – who is the stay-at-home dad of the couple’s twin boys, 13-year-old Troy and Austin – were very happy with their life there and the thought of returning home to Vankleek Hill had never occurred. . But that all changed in the summer of 2019 when the family visited the city at the annual Vankleek Hill Fair and really spent some time getting to know the area and its people. For Sandra, it was an awakening of old friends and memories, while for Tim and the boys, it was almost a revelation.

“We had visited in the past but never really immersed ourselves in the community like this,” Flegg recalls. “We spend three days at the Fair and I remember sitting in the grandstand watching the horse show and thinking how beautiful it was here. On the way back we talked the whole way back to Vankleek Hill.

Discussions continued even after they arrived home and after weighing all the factors, discussing them with their children and family, the Fleggs completed the move in February. It was a decision that turned out to be a blessing in more ways than one, and although the Covid-19 pandemic had some effect on the merger, this decision turned out to be a dream come true until now. ‘now.

“I think we were really looking for a quieter, more peaceful life,” comments Flegg, who says the couple’s twins also adjusted very well to Hamilton’s move to a much smaller community. “(The boys) are having a wonderful time. They haven’t been able to find out all that Vankleek Hill has to offer due to COVID-19, but they love it. Even though we knew we would miss Tim’s family in Hamilton, it was the right decision for us and we love him here.

Tim Flegg is seen here with his sons Austin and Troy.

With the move and the escape from the retail job to the big cities, Flegg finally had the chance to fulfill her dream of starting a food blog website, which she started researching ago. more than ten years.

“It’s been a longing for a long time and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says. “I have always loved to cook and love cooking blogs.”

While the idea of ​​publishing a cookbook has also been considered and may be in the future, Flegg says she appreciates the freedom to be able to express her own ideas in real time with her blog and websites: “You can write about anything you want and people can read it if they want. It gives me a lot of freedom. “

It’s this ability to write whatever she wants that sets Flegg’s She’s Not Cookin ‘blog apart from other cooking websites. Anyone who clicks on any of the recipes gets more than instructions on how to bake a cake; there are also blog posts on life, philosophy, his family, Vankleek Hill and more. You not only get a recipe, you get a story and some great photos to go with it.

As an example, a recipe for lemon blueberry muffins not only contains a photo of the view from the Flegg family’s kitchen window, but also the entire history of the website name being born. The story would be included in this post, but it’s a lot more fun read in context on the blog.

Currently, all recipes on the site also contain a blog post, but as the number of recipes added each week continues to increase, Flegg may limit the blog posts included with each dish to a few per week, others will not. perhaps containing only the recipes.

As to what the future holds for She’s Not Cookin ‘, Flegg isn’t sure, but she notes that the intention was for the site to always be free to users and that will always continue. Ultimately, building the site for a larger audience could potentially generate ad revenue, but that scenario is in the future and Flegg is focused on the present.

“I want to be transparent that I plan to monetize the blog, but the impetus behind it is that I love to connect with people and share my recipes,” Flegg points out. “I hope to inspire others to trust the kitchen to prepare simple family recipes. “

“I have received very positive feedback,” says Flegg proudly. “I love it when people email a photo or just talk about what they’ve created. It’s a free site and I just share my recipes.

Great support also comes from his family. Tim, the stay-at-home dad, is an excellent cook, and twins Troy and Austin also know the kitchen. And everyone can’t wait to try a new dish created for mom’s cooking blog.

“I have a wonderful family of testers who are always ready to help,” laughs Flegg.

You can check out Sandra Flegg’s culinary blog at www.shesnotcookin.com . Flegg also has Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages which can be found by typing She’s Not Cookin ‘into any website search engine.


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