Friday Foodie – Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie

When you emigrate from another country sometimes the tendency is to eat food from the culture you are used to. I know my great-grandparents were a bit like this when they first moved to the U.S. My grandfather was raised in a Portuguese home that ate Portuguese food. But then there are others, like Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie who embrace food. Period. From everywhere. Rather than being boxed in by sharing recipes from her own culture, Vanessa's blog is an exploration of really tasty food she discovers from all over the world. Particularly if you have a sweet tooth!

Let’s meet Vanessa!

Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie

[1] Have you always been a foodie, or is that something's you grew into?

I wasn’t always a great cook. That was something I grew into because I really like food. Eating is honestly one of my favorite things to do and if that is what makes one a foodie, then I can say I have always been a foodie. Cooking the things I love to eat and being creative in the kitchen is really something new for me and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

[2] How and why did you begin your blog?

I actually started this blog in 2011 as a school project. At the time, I was obsessed with cupcakes and learning to bake and a professor recommended I started a blog to improve my writing skill since I was a communications major. Unfortunately, it was very hard for me to manage school, both my kids, the house, the husband, the blog and multiple internships. The blog was always an afterthought and at times completely ignored. It wasn’t until a month ago that I decided to follow my passion of sharing my love for food through blogging and decided to retake the journey only now I’m more focused and with a lot more cooking knowledge.

[3] What’s your favorite thing to make/cook?

At the end of the day, I cook to eat and I have a serious sweet tooth. That is why the food I like to cook most is sweets. Anything from cookies to cupcakes or just about anything sweet like this Chocolate Coquito (Chocolate Flavored Coconut Eggnog).

Food-blogger- Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie Chocolate-Coquito

[4] What is your favorite thing to eat?

I’m very much in touch with my Hispanic roots and culture. I come from a small Island in the Caribbean called the Dominican Republic and my favorite foods to eat are really any of the foods I grew up eating: rice, beans, meat stew, and any fried food. Such unhealthy eating habits, but fried food is really my favorite like this cornmeal fritters. However, I also really enjoy trying different foods and flavors from around the world.

Food-blogger- Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie Cornmeal-Fritters

[5] What is your comfort food?

My comfort food is Sancocho. This is a Latin dish that is simply a meats and vegetables stew. It just brings me great childhood memories of my grandma cooking up a big batch back in the island to share with family, friends and neighbors while enjoying a fun evening out in the patio. But when I’m tired or stressed, cupcakes and wine sooth me. I am just in love with these almond cupcakes. I can’t stop making them.

Food-blogger- Vanessa of Smart Little Cookie Almond Cupcakes

[6] Describe your perfect food day?

My perfect food day consist of a day out trying as many different foods as possible. I love to go out on a nice warm day and restaurant hop. Last summer a couple of friends and I took a chocolate tour around New York City. The guide took us around the meat district into a number of bakeries and chocolate stores, where we were able to taste anything we wanted. Then, we visited the World Trade Center Memorial and had lunch at a great Mexican restaurant nearby. After leaving the restaurant, we stopped for ice cream. That was a good day.

[7] What are three other blogs that inspire you?

Lindsay from Pinch of Yum has really been an inspiration to me. I love her casseroles and her pasta dishes are to die for. Her food photography is amazing.

Aunt Clara from Aunt Clara’s Kitchen has just thought me saw much about Dominican cooking and the dishes I grew up eating. I love going into her site looking for specific dishes I remember eating as a child. I know I can always find the recipes there.

Melissa at Hungry Food Love shares simple unique Latin recipes that will make you want to go home and just cook everything on her site.

[8] Do you have advice for bloggers just starting out?

My only advice would be to just do it. With the number of blogs out there, it can be really intimidating at times. Don’t give up, follow your passion, keep posting and the rest will come with time.

Thanks Vanessa!

Keep up with Vanessa's tasty tidbits on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest and of course by visiting Smart Little Cookie.

How about you? What would you like to ask Vanessa? What’s your favorite sweet?

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  1. OMG her food looks so good! I am going to head over and check her stuff out… especially that eggnog! 🙂

  2. Christina @ Christina's Cucina says:

    Vaness and I would get along swimmingly! Every tooth in my head is a sweet tooth! Love the background and looking forward to checking out her site!

    1. Vanessa @ Smart Little Cookie says:

      @Lindsey, Chocolate and Coconut is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

  3. Cathy Chester says:

    Yum! I love sweets (too much) and I enjoyed reading your post! Of course… PS You have fantastic photos., too!

    1. Thank you Cathy! I’m glad you like the photos. I’m in live with food photography and have been putting a lot of effort into learning the craft. 🙂

  4. Kelly @ TastingPage says:

    So great that she started this during school. What a good professor to encourage her to do so. She has some nice looking treats! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Kelly, I know I love how blogs are part of a lot of college classes now!

    2. It really is great how blogs are being incorporated into school learning. I’m grateful and happy to say I did have great professors. Blogging has helped me tremendously career wise.

  5. Wow! All that food looks amazing!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Melanie, I know the danger of reading food bloggers!

  6. Yum. Checking out the recipes that Vanessa mentioned. They all look so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Estelle, her recipes are hard to resist!

  7. Doreen McGettigan says:

    You had me at almond cupcakes and cornmeal fritters, yum! Those photos should be illegal:)

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Doreen, I have not had almond cupcakes before and I am anxious to try one!

  8. Carol Cassara says:

    I would like to ask Vanessa to come over and cook this stuff for me! OMG yummm!

  9. I am with you, I have a huge sweet tooth so a lot of the things I cook and bake are sweet! Those Almond cupcakes look SO good!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Tara, what is your favorite sweet to make?

      1. There are too many to count! Brownies, Cookies or Scones I love scones!

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Oh my, you’ve got my mouth watering now. Your photos are amazing!

  11. I want to go on a chocolate tour! That might be dangerous for me since I do love sweets!!!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Tori, I agree, they have one in Paris too and I am afraid to go on it!

  12. you are so pretty love the post

    1. Vanessa @ Smart Little Cookie says:

      @Krystel, Thank you! 🙂

  13. Lois Alter Mark says:

    Oh, I totally share Vanessa’s sweet tooth! I can’t take my eyes off that chocolate coquito!

  14. Adelynn Lovellette says:

    Never had eggnog before, doesn’t sound appealing. But if it has chocolate in it then maybe I’d give it a try 😉

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      Adelynn, it is definitely an acquired taste, I have never heard of a chocolate version and now I am dying to trying it!

    2. Vanessa @ Smart Little Cookie says:

      @Adelynn, Believe me when I say this Chocolate Coquito will have you changing your mind about eggnog. And it is such a simple recipe. Unlike, regular eggnog it doesn’t have any eggs in it.

  15. OH BOY! Between the cornmeal fritters (I currently live in the Caribbean so I get it) and the Chocolate Eggnog, I would be in heaven! Thank you for introducing me to a new blog and fellow foodie : )

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Krysta, I never of heard of chocolate eggnog before – I love chocolate and I love eggnog so I totally want to try this!

    2. Vanessa @ Smart Little Cookie says:

      @Krysta, Cornmeal fritters are my favorite! I make it just for fun all the time. And trust me that Chocolate Eggnog is amazing! You must really try it.

  16. Shannon Peterson says:

    Those almond cupcakes look so so yummy!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Shannon, I think so too, I have never tried almond flavored cupcakes before!

  17. Thanks for introducing us to Vanessa! Those corn fritters look amazing! I think I know what I will be making this week. The cupcake look every so yummy!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Carolann, isn’t she beautiful and those fritters are so tempting!

  18. I like making fritters too

  19. Jess Benoit says:

    Great interview! Her food looks amazing!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Jess, thanks! I am in love with those fritters!

  20. Carrie Chance says:

    her food looks amazing! I MUST try that eggnog!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Carrie, I want to try it too! Chocolate eggnog together sounds out of this world!

  21. What a fun highlight! And I agree, her food looks divine!

  22. that chocolate eggnog looks bomb :O

  23. It is always so neat and inspiring to hear how a little side project for school or just for fun turns into something big and so special!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Jenn, I know, I think it is really cool!

  24. Cara (@StylishGeek) says:

    Wow! I may have to try her latin comfort food Sancocho. I’ve never heard of it but it sounds delicious! 🙂

    1. Vanessa @ Smart Little Cookie says:

      @Cara, Sancocho is the ultimate comfort food in the Dominican Republic. I encourage anyone who has never had it to try it. I recently added the recipe to the blog. If you would like to try it, I definitely recommend checking the recipe out. I’m sure you’ll love it!

    2. Andi Fisher says:

      @Cara, I had not either but it does look so good!

  25. barbara langley says:

    My boys have big sweettooths. Everything looks so good.

  26. Lou @ Mommy Sanest says:

    Great post. I love learning more about the bloggers behind the blogs.

  27. Stephanie Manning says:

    Those Corn Meal Fritters look GREAT! We make our own cornmeal from corn that we grow here and I usually end up with 12-15 gallon bags in the freezer each year of fresh-ground cornmeal. It’s soooo yummy but, finding enough recipes to use it seems impossible. This is another one I will be adding to my list and trying very soon!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Stephanie, freezing them, what a great idea!

  28. Fun With A Message says:

    All those foods sound and look delicious!!

  29. Almond cupcakes sound sooooo good right now! Sweet tooths of the world unite!

  30. Lisa Coomer Queen says:

    All this looks amazing! Those almond cupcakes are getting pinned and baked! Thanks

  31. You have me drooling over here! Those cupcakes look incredible, as does everything else!

  32. I love reading about food bloggers, and this woman was adorable! Thankyou for bringing her to our attention. Have a great Monday….sorry it took so long to read

  33. I made my way over and started following Vanessa! I’m loving her blog so far! I love these interviews because it helps connect us with other food bloggers I would probably have never found!

  34. oh my gosh those Almond Cupcakes and Chocolate Coquito sound amazing… I am suddenly starving!

  35. susan king says:

    It all looks so good !! I’d weigh a ton if I cooked like you do and you don’t look like you eat much of what you make !!

  36. Emily {Rainbow Delicious} says:

    I love this series and getting to know a little more about other bloggers. Thanks for introducing us all to Vanessa’s Smart Little Cookie blog, I’m excited to check it out and try out some of her recipes!

  37. Emily Endrizzi says:

    Everything looks so delicious! Now I need a break from the computer. Kitchen, here I come!

  38. susan king says:

    The almond cupcakes sound and look so good !! I have to go to the store now. You have made me to hungry !! Thank you for sharing !

  39. Winter White says:

    So now I’m addicted to Pinch of Yum after reading this lol. I find food photography so interesting, I’d love to be able to tackle it some day. Gotta learn how to cook first though 😉

  40. I am a sweet tooth. Everything looks so delicious!

  41. Amy Groves says:

    All of this looks so great! Thank you so much for sharing.

  42. Everything looks so good! Nice to meet you, Vanessa! 🙂

  43. Kim Croisant says:

    That’s some great questions!! And I do like the idea of a Coconut Eggnog!

  44. Debi (thedeb83) says:

    Love this.. I’m going to have to check out these other food blogs. 🙂

  45. lauryn hock says:

    I always admire those who can take beautiful food pictures and make beautiful food!

  46. Corina Ramos says:

    This was a great interview. I would love to hang out with her! And she gave great advice for anyone who wants to start blogging.

  47. Richard Hicks says:

    I have to make the Chocolate Coquito. Looks irresistible!

  48. Those corn fritters look really good! I love all sorts of sweets..too much actually!

  49. Thanks for introducing us to a new blogger! Gotta check out those recipes 😀

  50. Terri Ramsey Beavers says:

    I feel like I’m a foodie too although I don’t really blog much about foods. I’m going to have to visit Smart Little Cookie because I love to bake and cook and although I’ve never tried Portuguese food, it’s one of the things I’d like to try this year. And maybe sushi.. maybe. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this food blogger with us.

  51. awww I love coming across new food bloggers! ( I am a food blogger myself) I am always interested in knowing what inspires others. I think her photos are awesome!

  52. Tammilee Tips says:

    All of her food looks amazing!! I think my favorite would be the Almond cupcakes. I also have a huge sweet tooth and cupcakes are one of my favorites to make as well. Great interview I love to learn about other bloggers.

  53. Chubskulit Rose says:

    That cupcake is whispering to my ear “Grab me!” lol. Those looks so tasty right now. Great advise, despite some discouragement I encounter in blogging, I still continue to post because I love to write and I love to connect with other bloggers as well. I learned so many new things just by reading other blogs.

  54. We could be friends for sure. I love those cornmeal fritters, and cupcakes are my comfort food! My question is how do you stay in shape? You look great and I’m wondering how do you maintain while indulging in these foods?

  55. Thanks for sharing Andi! I hadn’t heard of Vanessa or her blog. Those foods look amazing though, especially the cupcakes! I’m a sucker for those. 😉

  56. Margarita Ibbott ~ @DownshiftingPRO says:

    I consider myself a foodie because I love food but I don’t really like to cook. I love food blogs so thanks for the great interview and introducing me to four new blogss. Lots more reading to do.

  57. Lauren Harmon says:

    Vanessa seems like an amazing person! I’ll definitely have to follow her and stay up to date! Those cornmeal fritters look pretty bomb too! 🙂

  58. Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar says:

    Yum! Love the recipes you shared. The chocolate coconut egg nog sounds delicious and those almond cupcakes – AMAZING. I also have a food blog and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done for myself. And just like you, Pinch of Yum is one of my inspirations! Such an awesome blog to follow and learn from.

  59. Christine Gallagher says:

    I am not an eggnog fan by any means but rethinking it now that you have mixed it with chocolate and coconut =)

  60. Well this lady has some seriously good tastes 🙂

  61. Jaclyn Anne says:

    I would love some cornmeal fritters! Yum!

  62. Cara (@StylishGeek) says:

    This feature on Vanessa is awesome! Thank you for that. I am now curious to try cornmeal fritters. I’ve never had them! And I love her advice of ‘just do it’ when it comes to blogging. True that there’s so many blogs out there, but there is only one voice that is unique and that is one’s own. So just do it! 🙂

  63. Katriza @ Everything Home Life says:

    great pics! Made me so hungry just now! lol thanks for sharing!

  64. Christine says:

    I have a really bad sweet tooth too!! Although, since I have had kids, I tend to stay away from the sweets and make healthier treats!

  65. Your photos are amazing!

  66. Stephanie says:

    I love getting to hear about how other bloggers started out. Thanks for sharing!

  67. alicia szemon says:

    i have a serious sweet tooth too! ugh. i want sweets now!