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Published: Tuesday, 2/8/2011

Food blogger writing recipe for success

Meet Jamie Lothridge: Teacher, cook, baker, blogger.

And now, award-winning creator of recipes.

Ms. Lothridge of Holland recently won the Breakstone's Blogger Challenge, a contest between three top food bloggers to develop recipes using Breakstone's Triple-Churned Sour Cream.

The rules were simple. The three national food bloggers -- who were picked by Breakstone's -- were asked to develop three recipes for the holidays: an appetizer, entree, and dessert. These recipes were then voted on, online, by the public.

"Instead of going the traditional holiday route, because everyone has so many leftovers, I decided to use the leftovers as the main theme. Everyone has leftover potatoes, everyone has leftover turkey for the entree, and everyone has leftover pumpkin," Ms. Lothridge said.

Her winning recipes were for Red Skin Potato Bites (bite-sized twice-baked potatoes), Individual Turkey Pot Pies, and Mini Pumpkin Tiramisus. The recipes are on Pages 2 and 6.

The grand prize is $2,500, and although the check has not yet arrived, Ms. Lothridge, 31, knows what she is going to do with it: She is going to buy a new camera.

This is no mere indulgence. Her blog, mybakingaddiction.com, stands out in part because of the evocative, artistic, and almost sensual photography that accompanies every entry.

"I just happened to buy a digital camera," she says. "I had a natural knack for it, a little bit. I guess that's what people said."

By day, Ms. Lothridge is a special education teacher -- social studies and language arts -- for Lucas County schools. It can be a stressful job, so when she comes home she heads straight for the stove.

"That was my therapy. I would go into the kitchen and unwind. I would bake and make dinner," she said.

A native of Amherst, Ohio, Ms. Lothridge came to Toledo to go to school, and she never left. At the University of Toledo, she received her bachelor's degree in social work and her master's degree in special education. And all the while, there was another interest.

"I guess I have been cooking and baking since I was very young," she says. "My maternal grandmother was an avid cook and baker, so I have early memories of being in her kitchen, perched up on a stool and watching her. That is part of who I am."

Her blog started out small about 2 1/2 years ago. She joked at the time that it was just her father who would look at it, but then something amazing happened. It began to grow. And grow. And grow.

After just such a short time, mybakingaddiction.com has become startlingly popular. Her Facebook friends and Twitterees number in the thousands. Her friend Brittani Paszko helps sell advertising for the blog (and helps in the kitchen, too), and various kitchenware companies send her new items to review or give away. In many ways, it has become a second job.

"I don't have weekends. The weekends I devote to the blog. I come home at night to write and I take photos on the weekend," she says.

All of which leaves little time to devote to her fiancee, Brian Crow. But there are certain perks to being engaged to a food blogger, and one of them is that he gets to try all of the baked goods that are made for the blog. Some of these he eats. Some he brings in to his work.

"We just have very well-fed co-workers and neighbors," she says.

And although he gets the food, there are certain perks to being engaged to a man who is engaged to a food blogger.

"He's very supportive. He cleans up after me. He is like a glorified maid; he is right behind me cleaning up even though he doesn't help make any of the mess," she says.

Contact Daniel Neman at dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.



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