3 Years and 500 Posts

May 9, 2011

Friends – can you believe it?  With a little work and good solid use of a calendar, I was able to coincide my 500th post and my three year blog anniversary.  I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has ever read my blog, recommended my blog, commented on my blog, told me you liked my blog, or had any positive interaction with me and my blog.  I sound like I’m kidding but I’m not.  Three years ago if you had asked me where I would be with this thing three years in the future, I probably would have said that I had given it up long ago, or I had a cookbook deal.  Neither is the case and that is just fine with me.  I like my little space in the blogosphere and I really do thank you for being here with me.

I know many food bloggers have FAQ pages.  Truthfully, I don’t get that many questions through email but the ones I get tend to be the same.  So here are the answers to those questions.  I also get a lot of cooking related questions in my classes decided to share those answers too.

What kind of pans do you use?

I have quite a few pans.  I have an assortment of All-Clad stainless steel pots which I have had for about eight years and I have had great success with them.  They work well but they do not move me.  I also have three Le Crueset pans that I am emotional about.  I have a cast iron skillet which I need to season but I do love and I also have two non-stick pans which I use primarily for eggs or grilled cheese sandwiches.

What kind of oil do you use in your cooking?

Unless I am making Asian or Mexican food, I use olive oil in my cooking.  Extra virgin olive oil.  Now, to be clear – I don’t do a lot of pan-frying.  There are no steaks or chicken breasts in my pans.  I am mostly sautéing fairly quickly and olive oil works great for me.  For Asian or Mexican food, I find I want a more neutral tasting oil so I turn to canola oil.  Canola oil, in addition to being virtually tasteless, has a higher smoke point than olive oil which means you can cook at a higher temperature without your pan smoking.  Other good high smoke point oils are safflower and grapeseed.

I buy my cooking olive oil at Costco.  Although I use a light hand with oil in my cooking, I cook a lot and I go through a lot of oil.  I need quantity and I don’t want to pay a fortune.  I have found that the Kirkland brand that comes in a glass bottle, not the type that comes in two plastic jugs, is decent for cooking.  I always have a finer and tastier olive oil on hand for salad dressings and drizzling.  I don’t have a favorite – I just spend about $20-$25 on each bottle and taste all different ones.

What kind of salt do you use?

When cooking, I use kosher salt, Diamond brand to be exact.  I keep a ramekin of it by my stove at all times.  When baking, I use table salt, unless a recipe specifically says to use kosher salt.  I use sea salt (and I have a variety of them) as a finishing salt only, like a garnish.

What kind of knife do you use?

I have an assortment.  In my knife block, you will find Shun, Global, Wustorf, and various others.  I believe that a knife is a deeply personal thing.  Everyone’s hands are different and everyone’s style of chopping is different.  The most important thing you can do is hold a variety of knives and see which feels best to you.  Most people will tell you that you only need a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, and a paring knife.  I believe this – I just happen to have a variety of chef’s knives.  I also like having a tomato knife for cutting citrus.

Where do you shop?

I shop all over the place.  I would love to say that I do one big shop per week but I find it next to impossible to accomplish that.  I try to do one big basic shop in a regular grocery store (or using Amazon Fresh) and then hit up Whole Foods or PCC (a local Whole Foods-like store) for more specialized ingredients.  In the summer time,  I usually hit between two and four farmers markets a week.  Consequently, the amount of time I spend in food stores is ridiculous and our grocery bill is through.the.roof.

Are your kids veg?

Yes, my kids are vegetarian.  They have never eaten meat.  They are now old enough to know that they are vegetarian and what that means.  They also understand that other people eat meat and that is just fine.  For now, they are happy with this arrangement.  I assume that someday, they will turn to me and say, “Wait a second, I want a hamburger!”  I will accept them making that choice as long as they understand that all the food I cook is vegetarian.

Does your husband eat meat?


Does that bother you?


How does that work exactly?

It works for two big reasons.  One is that I am the cook in the house and two is that Randy is a good eater.  He eats strictly veg at home (I never cook meat) and will eat meat or fish when we are out or at someone else’s house.

Do your kids eat all the crazy things you make?

I wish I could say yes but the answer is no.  We are in the habit of feeding our kids first, around 6:00, and then eating our dinner together later.  This habit started because for many years, Randy would come home from work after the kids were in bed.  I found that I liked having dinner just the two of us.  We are busy people with busy lives and I enjoy being about to carve our a quick dinner together before the chaos of boys’ bedtime ensues.  Consequently, the boys usually eat something different, something more kid friendly than what we have.  I feed them well and always try to introduce new tastes to them and in general they are very good eaters, especially Graham.  We always ate together as a family when I was a kid and Randy did too with his family.  We are committed to making that happen as the kids get a little older.

Did you go to cooking school?

Nope.  I am a self-taught cook and baker.  I have taken classes here and there along the way that have helped me refine certain skills but most of what I know I taught myself.  Having over 150 cookbooks helps.

I hate my day job!  I want to quit and do what you do!  How do I get started?

I got this question a lot when I was working as a personal chef with regular clients.  I still have people asking me how to break into personal chef-ing/catering/teaching cooking classes.  For me, it happened very slowly.  I had one young baby when I started and I didn’t have a lot of extra time or energy so I built my very small business very slowly.  My very first client fell into my lap and I built from there.  I always encourage people to do a lot of research – what are other people doing in your area, how can you set yourself apart?  I have been fortunate in that the money I have brought in has been extra – not something we needed for our family budget – so I was never under pressure to make a living at cooking.  In my experience, it would have been difficult to really make enough money for it to make sense as a full time job, but people do it.  In general, I have worked very hard and have done the very best I can do with every personal chef meal, event I have catered, and class I have taught.  It is easy to try hard when you love what you do.

I want to take a class with you!  Have you added any more to the schedule?

Why yes, I have!  I added another Thai class to June and I will be teaching two baking classes.  Come join me!

With all the treats you bake, how do you not weigh 300 pounds?

There is a simple answer and a complex answer to this question.  The simple answer is that although the baking I do is full-fat and decadent, most of my cooking is very light and healthy.  I really like healthy food and don’t use a lot of oil, butter, dairy, or much cheese in my savory food.  I do taste everything I bake but I don’t eat very much of it.  I like to have something sweet after dinner but most of the time, I can be satisfied with just a bite or two.  The more complex answer will come someday perhaps to this blog, after some soul-searching and some therapy.  :)

Again, thank you to all of you for reading, emailing, commenting, and just being swell in general.  Check back soon, I will be doing some celebratory giveaways.


  1. hip, hip, hooray for Dana! 500 and three years – congratulations dear friend. thoughtful and helpful answers here, as one would expect from you. thank you for sharing these with us, and all the other lessons since 2008.

    here’s to all the goodness that lays ahead. xox

    Comment by tara — May 9, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  2. Dana!! Congratulations!! What a fantastic milestone for a fantastic blog that we all enjoy reading! Cheers to you and the next 500!

    Comment by Nina — May 10, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  3. Congrats on your 500th post! LOOKING FORWARD TO MANY MORE.
    Btw, I admire vegetarians because I could never be one.

    Comment by Nisrine M — May 10, 2011 @ 12:27 am

  4. This is very big news, Dana. Thank you for keeping this corner of the web accessible, cozy, welcoming, and real. I raise my glass to you and your lovely site.

    Comment by cheryl — May 10, 2011 @ 12:28 am

  5. Congrats, Dana! I adore your blog, both the recipes and learning about your family. Thanks for all you do.

    Comment by Clara — May 10, 2011 @ 12:33 am

  6. Congratulations! I always enjoy reading your blog.

    Comment by Anna — May 10, 2011 @ 12:39 am

  7. Congratulations on both milestones! It’s not easy to maintain a blog for three years. Thanks for so many wonderful recipes, and all that is to come.

    Comment by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) — May 10, 2011 @ 1:04 am

  8. Congratulations! That is so great. Wish you many more years.

    Comment by Helene — May 10, 2011 @ 1:52 am

  9. You go girl! Congrats!
    I am almost at my 3 year mark, and almost at the 300 lb. mark too.

    Comment by stacey snacks — May 10, 2011 @ 3:25 am

  10. YAY!!! Congratulations! I love reading your answers! The Costco Olive oil tip is great. How long does it last you? I also keep kosher salt in a ramekin next to my stove!

    And girl….I HEAR YOU on the grocery bills. INSANE how much money I spend on food each week…but yet…totally worth it!


    Comment by Tracy — May 10, 2011 @ 4:07 am

  11. Hi I have only just discovered your blog and started following – how timely to get all this lovely info in one post. I am too far away to attend one of your cooking classes, so will have to make do with reading your blog!

    Comment by GILLIAN — May 10, 2011 @ 5:27 am

  12. Love your blog and the inspiration it brings me and my cooking. And I so hear you about the grocery bill. I’m always shocking myself at how much I spend to feed us.

    Comment by Charlotte — May 10, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  13. Congratulations!
    I don’t know how you do it all – plus blogging.
    Your answers are great and I have enjoyed each of your posts!

    Comment by Annika — May 10, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  14. Three years and 500 fantastic posts, oh how the time flies! I have really enjoyed your recipes and instruction. This has been my first exposure to vegetarian cooking and I have learned a lot. Coming from a family of cattle ranchers, I was raised on beef. I have really enjoyed learning how to prepare satisfying meals that don’t contain meat. I have also enjoyed reading about your children and family. Your husband and children are blessed to have you!

    Comment by Shawnee F — May 10, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  15. Congrats Dana! You’re blog has definitely been an inspiration to me and I can always count on a great vegetarian meal for a crowd as easily as just for two.

    Comment by Jacqui — May 10, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  16. Hi Dana, I am a long time reader and I love your blog. Congrats on your milestones! Like you, I feed my kids early (I usually join them to enjoy a glass of wine while they eat, ahem) and I eat with my husband when he arrives home from work much later. Also like you, my kids and I are vegetarian but my husband eats meat…just not at home. I’d love some receipes, ideas, thoughts on what you feed G&S for their “kid” dinners. My kids’ meals are quite repetitive – by their request – and while the meals are healthy, I worry they wont grow up to enjoy variety in their meals. Thanks!

    Comment by Tori — May 10, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  17. Congratulations!!! Your blog is one of my favorites and is a place I turn to often when I’m looking for dinner or baking inspiration. Thank you!

    Comment by Nicole — May 10, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  18. Oh Dana, what an AMAZING accomplishment! Three years is such a long time and I know what you mean about never having thought that you’d ever still be doing this today. But blogging, to me, is way more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be.

    Love these FAQ’s! I really need to get my hands on some better knives. And one of these I’m going to get myself to Seattle and take a class with you. I swear it!

    Comment by Joanne — May 10, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  19. Congratulations and most of all – thank you so very much! It’s always a pleasure to hear that blink- and see Dana Treat appear in the inbox!
    Thank you for all the wonderful vegetarian meals you inspire!

    Comment by Katy Gilmore — May 10, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  20. Congratulations, this is a wonderful blog and I really enjoy reading it! Costco is also my #1 place to buy KS olive oil and I’m glad I’m not the only person who makes several trips to the grocery store each week and spends way too much money on groceries! It’s worth it. :)

    Comment by Emily — May 10, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

  21. Happy happy anniversary!!!!

    Comment by leslie — May 10, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  22. Congrats on 3 years & so many posts–that’s a lot of work behind you. May you enjoy another 3, as well!

    Interesting that I say exactly the same thing when peeps ask why all the sweets I make haven’t turned me into a blimp. Plus, lots of days I’m too busy baking to do much eating. And after fiddling to get even a great dessert right for a couple days, I often just don’t feel like eating it!

    Comment by Nancy Baggett — May 10, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  23. COngrats on your 500th post.

    Comment by Nithu — May 10, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

  24. Congrats Dana! I do enjoy your blog so much – keep up the great work.

    Comment by Monique — May 10, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  25. Congratulations and a fun post to read, thanks!

    Comment by Kirsten — May 11, 2011 @ 12:05 am

  26. Congrats on 3 years and 500 wonderful posts, keep it up! :)

    Comment by melinda ke — May 11, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  27. Congratulations, Dana. I enjoy your blog tremendously and often come back for a specific recipe that I have seen here, made a note of, a made at just the right time, always with the utmost in success and compliments, which I tell folks I find on Dana Treat.

    Comment by Penny — May 11, 2011 @ 1:09 am

  28. Congratulations on three years and 500 great posts! It continues to be a pleasure to read them. Now, I need to go work on only having a bite or two at dessert time. ;)

    Comment by lisaiscooking — May 11, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

  29. Did you like or prefer vegetables for as far back as you can remember, or was there a transition time when you taught yourself to like different tastes but still sometimes back-tracked a little?

    Comment by Kathy — May 11, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  30. A couple of years ago, I was in a client meeting with Randy when he mentioned your blog and, among my many notes, was “danatreat.com.” I have been a fan ever since. Congratulations on such a great milestone!

    Comment by Erika — May 13, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  31. I am away on a short trip, and haven’t been reading my favorite blogs (like yours!) for a few days, so I just now see your three year anniversary.

    Loved reading your answers to all the questions, it was nice to know a little bit more about you through them


    Comment by SallyBR — May 16, 2011 @ 4:59 am

  32. Congrats Dana!! Three years and 500 posts is quite an accomplishment.

    Comment by Andrea — May 18, 2011 @ 2:51 am

  33. Happy blogiversary, Dana! 500 posts is HUGE!

    Comment by Lucy Vaserfirer — May 23, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  34. Congrats on 3 years and 500 posts!! :) I look forward to many more posts from you.

    Comment by Ashley — June 18, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

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