Made with Love Mondays: Start from Scratch

The pretty ones get all the attention.

Pretty recipes, that is. In fact, a beautiful photo (or lack thereof), can make or break the success of a food blog post - especially with the advent of Pinterest. Beautiful photos of scrumptious food create a frenzy of attention, while poorly lit and poorly staged "normal" photos die a quiet death no matter how divine the food's taste.

Now, there's nothing wrong with beautifully photographed foods, but sadly many of the most gorgeous food photos I stumble across are linked back to recipes positively stuffed with preprepared shortcuts (like canned sauces, frozen pie crusts, tubs of icing, boxed cake mixes, etc), artificial food dyes (frosted cupcakes and red velvet everything are frequent offenders) and crazy-bad-for-you add-ins (packaged candy, salad dressings and dips are particularly sneaky).

Let's face it: boxed cake mixes make gorgeous cakes, food dyes can lend eye-appeal to most anything, and tossing in a handful of M&Ms will catch most any wondering eye!

But if you've read even one of my blog posts, you know where I stand on food - make it from scratch (with love) or don't bother making it at all. In fact, I go so far as to cook my own beans, stew my own tomatoes, whip my own cream, and make my own pie crusts. Call it respect for food, call it respect for my loved ones' health, call it love - but I'm obsessed with food from scratch.

So I'm starting a new weekly series to promote, encourage, share, and celebrate foods make from scratch. And I'm and calling it:

Made with Love Mondays

The best part is, ANYONE can participate and EVERYONE gets promoted. Beauty is NOT the objective. Glamorous photos are NOT the objective. The challenge is to make a recipe entirely from scratch - no shortcuts, no preprepared ingredients, no added extras.

If you already make everything from scratch, consider this an opportunity to share and promote your recipes and techniques. If you've never made something entirely from scratch, take the challenge and be recognized for your efforts. Either way, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Your Challenge:
  1. Select a recipe (any recipe) and make it entirely from scratch (see Guiding Principles below)
  2. Blog about your experience and link up your recipe post to Made with Love Mondays (link-up list available Monday 2/6)
  3. Add the Made with Love Mondays banner to your recipe post (use the code below)
Your Reward:
  1. A link to your recipe post will be added to the Made with Love Mondays Recipe Archive
  2. A link to your blog homepage will be added to the Made with Love Mondays contributor list
  3. A picture from your recipe will be pinned to the Made with Love Mondays Pinterest board (if a picture is available)
  4. At the end of each week, 10 linked-up recipes from that week will be randomly selected for a feature in the next Made with Love Mondays blog post
  5. I will send a weekly "thank you" tweet to all weekly Made with Love Mondays participants and re-tweet your challenge related tweets that include #MadeWithLuv
  • The very first Made with Love Mondays will start Monday, February 6, 2012 and will run until Sunday, February 12, 2012. So pick a recipe and get cooking!
  • Subsequent Made with Love Mondays will always begin on Mondays and end on Sundays. If you miss the deadline to link-up your recipe for one week, link-up your recipe the following week.

Guiding Principles:
It would be difficult to list every restricted ingredient or preprepared shortcut, thus please adhere to the spirit of "Always fresh. Always from scratch." Here are a few guiding principles:
  • If it comes out of a can, jar or box don't use it - UNLESS making or procuring the ingredient from scratch is nearly impossible (exceptions might include pasta, tomato paste, peanut butter, tahini paste, oils, Nutella, honey, puff pastry etc)
  • Do not use preprepared shortcuts or mixes of any kind such as pre-made biscuits, cake/muffin mix, pastry dough, frosting, jarred marinara, mac and cheese, etc
  • If you can find it fresh, don't use frozen
  • Check the ingredients label and use only ingredients with NO transfats (partially hydrogenated oils), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or preservatives
  • No artificial food dyes and no "candies" (such as M&M's, peanut butter cups, etc)

Add this banner to your post

Grab Banner Code (copy/paste this code into the HTML of your blog post):
<a href="" title="Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior"><img src="" width="240" height="187" alt="JWsMadeWLuvMondays"></a>

More Details:
  • You can link-up recipes you have previously posted as long as they adhere to the from-scratch Guiding Principles and you have added the above banner code to the post
  • You post can be submitted to as many other blog challenges or link-ups as you like - just make sure it adhere's to the Guiding Principles and includes the above banner code
  • You do NOT need to participate every week in order to contribute to Made with Love Mondays
  • You do NOT need to email me your posts
  • You do NOT need to add label/tag to your blog

Stay Connected:
I've created a page for Made with Love Mondays and added it to the above link bar. Now you can easily find other foodie contributors, browse previously added from-scratch recipes, and review the guiding principles for participation. You can even add suggestions or comments to the page.