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Who I Am

Hi!  I’m Lauren Zietsman, a 20-something pediatric physical therapist in Rochester, NY.

But this is not a blog about PT.  It’s about the most important everyday things in life: food, and friends, and family.

My history with food:  I started watching cooking shows when I was six and could usually be found helping mom in the kitchen, making stuffed cabbage and eventually baking things on my own–my first independent project was a chocolate souffle!   I also remember that my favorite Christmas present when I was seven was a cow cookie jar and a set of wooden spoons.  Weird.

Now I still love to cook, and luckily my husband loves to eat.

Joking aside, like many people (and probably most women), I’ve had a love-hate relationship with food my whole life.  I love food, and then I hate myself for it.  When I first started it, this blog marked the first year in which I truly tried not to judge my self-worth by how skinny my arms looked in my Facebook pictures, or by how small my jeans size was, or how few calories I could consume in a day.

I’ve come a long way since then.  In fact, reading my old About Me page felt foreign.  Though I still think about food, and health, and how I feel and look, it’s not all-consuming.  Some days I’m better at it than others.

So let’s have fun and cook food that is delicious and celebrates our bodies the way they are and the way they can be.

Here’s my best friend/hubby/food tester/inspiration and I on a truly momentous occasion: May 30, 2009.  Gettin’ hitched!!

Isn’t this guy just so darn cute?


You can ignore everything I wrote about.  These guys are the real stars of the blog–Henry and Emerson.


I’m obsessed with these cats.  Seriously.  Sorry!


 And of course, I don’t know what I’d do without my family–best friends included.




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  1. tharrie

    I am SO proud of you!!!!!

  2. Eber

    LOVE you sis! You make me HUNGRY…how am I supposed to cook all these things in my TIIINY NYC apartment!


    This is SO cool. I enjoy reading about your cooking experience etc.

    Will try your stuff in South Africa at the Venue on Kraalbosdam.

    1. laurenzietsman

      I’m glad you like it! I love to try South African recipes for Fritz so if you come across something good let me know!!

  4. Ilze Brink-Button

    Love your blog and recipes! :-)

  5. acleansurface

    I love blogging–Have fun!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      So far, so good!

  6. eva626

    love you wedding pics!!! so cute

  7. Lauren

    I love your cat’s name! =) I love your goals for this blog and I can’t wait to read more.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks so much! I’ve already learned so much doing this blog, about cooking and most importantly about myself.

  8. Kat Richter

    Great blog! It’s rare to find a site about food that’s well written too :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thank you so much–I try my best :)

  9. 1veggieatatime

    I think your blog is great, your cat is adorable, and you are just beautiful. Can’t wait to try some of these recipes!!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thank you so much–i appreciate the lovely comment!

  10. Kristen Shumack

    Great site! Love the recipes, pictures, and commentary – truly. Thanks for having “the guts,” as you said, to start this blog. It’s well worth it!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks so much!

  11. Pinky Babaria

    Loved your blog…It is so well written and not very formal.That’s what i like most about it.Must say you are very beautiful and I enjoyed your pics esp the one where everyones smiling (friends) and also your wedding pic is straight out of a magazine.Keep up the good work. :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks so much! i love that picture too–I have it framed in the house :)

  12. scriptorobscura

    You have won an award! Stop by to pick it up :)


  13. Scott M.

    Love the idea of your blog, your writing style, and most of the recipes I saw look great! I just discovered your blog via FoodGawker.

    I am a recovering comfort food cook–trying to also incorporate healthy ingredients that don’t compromise on flavor.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks! I’m glad you like it–I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration so feel free to pass on your ideas!

  14. katshealthcorner

    You are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

    Henry reminds me of my Kittycat! ;)


    1. Lauren Zietsman

      aw, shucks :) Thanks!
      Never knew I was a cat person ’till I met Henry…

  15. Lindsey S.

    I love your blog, I found the link on Angela’s and I will be reading all the time. I cant wait to go home and try your Whole-wheat banana marble cake. I hope everything is going good with school and marrige and you cat. Happy Cooking :)

  16. Emmanuel

    Bonjour Lauren,

    Your Mom sent me some news today-news of the camera hunter you and passionate chef, that is!

    Your talent and joie de vivre shine in every word I read. I notice the word “love” is everywhere in your blog. It must be it is everywhere in your Life, too. Kudos on your marrying you best friend. Photos of your wedding day splash my screen with bliss and zest. I married mine 18 years ago and the meaning of best friend has never failed to bewilder us with a real sense of accomplishment and plĂ©nitude ever since-a true blessing from God. I wish you both nothing short of the same. Another thing I realized when reading through your blog is the following-healthy food, pleasure and Love will keep your marriage just about the same (healthy, pleasurable and loving), one day at a time. Cherish and cease the moments and beauty all around you and make happy memories to share and reminisce. Always. Now let me have the photographer talk to you for a while. I just purchased a new toy camera-coz it’s just become harder and harder to pretend being a pro phographer at weddings with a Sony Cyber-Shot or a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 14.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera… so I closed my eyes, swang about for a minute and pointed at the Nikon D700 12.1MP FX-Format CMOS Digital SLR. And to make things even sweeter, I attached a Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens around it. Now, let me tell you, that coktail is not to be had before driving as you might as well be caught in DWI. This said, my handshake is strong and my arm can toss a javelin 150 feet away. I have learned throughout the years it is not about the equipment. Never has. Never will. What good is the best camera in the world if you leave it in the pantry coz it’s just too bulky or didn’t fit in your PJ’s when you hit the beach that night?! Easy answer to that question. My word of wisdom? Stick with a camera you’ll use. Not the one that promises, but the one that delivers. I take more magical photos all throughout the year with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS2 because it’s right there in my pocket. So don’t you dispose of that faithful friend of yours because it could offer more tricks, just dig it and shoot away. It’s already an extension of yourself-and that’s all we ask of a camera-the rest is already in your eyes and your amazing, life-giving playful mind. VoilĂ , c’est tout! All I had to say. Please give my best to your family.

  17. aubrimichelle

    I’m new to the blogging world, and I stumbled upon your blog. It is so clean and fresh looking, and I love the recipes. I’ll most definitely try some and look forward to more!

  18. Sue Fleming

    Our blog Tips on Healthy Living ( linked to your post Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad. We have lots of great tips and hints for your readers on Tips on Healthy Living. Would you link back to us? We’re happy to link to you in the future if you’d like to send me future recipes.


  19. Anna

    Love your blog, so glad you were featured on Freshly Pressed so I could find it! The pictures and layout are awesome, and the happiness jumps off the page! I love the quality of your writing – can’t wait to read more :)

    1. alicemelendez

      Me too! I never would have found it otherwise. Now I have to make time between starting my business and being with my babies to make sweet potato cinnamon rolls!

      1. Lauren Zietsman

        thanks, guys! and good luck with those cinnamon rolls ;)

  20. Sandra McNichols

    Hey Lauren,
    your blog is a keeper. Thanks for sharing your family photos, and congrats on the inspirational hubby. If you check my blog, you’ll see 1 cat (very spoiled) and 1 dog (spoiled beyond very). Hope to try your recipes soon. You blog is “real” and “fun” – keep up the good work.

  21. metrocakegirl

    Fantastic about page. Down to earth honesty. Signing myself up right now. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thank you so much, those are my favorite compliments. So happy you subscribed!

  22. My BlogJect

    I hope you don’t mind me blundering in here, but your wedding photo is the most beautiful I have ever seen. You are a beautiful bride!
    Love the blog by the way. Subscribing now so can keep up with your food journey!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thank you so much!! i never mind a blunder, but especially not when they are nice!! I’m happy to hear you subscribed, I look forward to future comments :)

  23. Sage and Sass

    Love your philosophy and recipes! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Sage and Sass

    and…I absolutely love the way you present your recipes. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Your pictures make me think I could actually cook! I may have to try! ;)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      you can! and thanks for the nice compliments!

  25. financebitch

    wonderful blog! :)

  26. Yarni

    Want to try and avoid starting this comment with ‘love your blog’ but I can’t think what else to say! Great, great blog – love it! I’ve linked you, hope that’s ok. Your pictures are fantastic by the way!! I look forward to more posts. And Henry is adorable! x

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      that is ALWAYS okay!! Thanks so much :)

  27. losangelas

    you’ve got a great blog!
    Love your recipes, your pictures are amazing!
    Thanks so much :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thank YOU so much! :)

  28. Susan Sunde

    Lauren, have you heard of Carrots n’ Cake? You have a lot in common with the young lady who has this website/blog. I think you would enjoy it. I just discovered your site and really enjoy your recipes and your spirit.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I have heard of it but I haven’t yet started reading it–must add it to my long list of blogs to read :) I consider it a compliment to have a lot in common with her, though! thanks :)

  29. courtneyryanne

    I saw your fresh pressed post and I LOVE your Who I Am page – especially when you talk about your relationship with food. “I refuse to torture my body and mind” sounds like a great mantra to live by, in my book. Best of luck exploring your love of food – and you made a beautiful bride!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thank you! I appreciate the comments–and it really is a journey, but I’m learning a lot about myself and how powerful our minds and thoughts really are!

  30. Meghan (My Kitchen and I)

    What an AMAZING blog you have Lauren! You will be a daily read of mine!

  31. Julia

    Great blog. I’m using the White Sangria recipe today at my son’s 4th birthday party (for the adults, obviously!). Can’t wait!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks…hope it’s a hit!

  32. tryityoumightlikeit

    Your blog is awesome!!!!! I especially love the photos of the cat included with the ones of the recipe. How do you do the printable recipe cards? That is a great feature.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I just use a recipe card template (you can download it from microsoft word; it saves the basis design of the recipe card so I just have to input everything without redesigning it every time) and save it as a PDF file then upload it just like you would upload a photo.

  33. Samantha

    Lauren, could you please tell us all more about C S A boxes and how to locate suppliers in our area?

  34. ziabaki

    Lovely post about women’s relationship with food. I’m such a crazed foodie I actually put myself on a “foodie” fast, which meant no blogging, no magazines and no food porn sites for two weeks, just to see how it felt. I’m back and I LOVE it. I am what i am and refuse to torture myself too. Cheers my sister!

  35. Jonathan

    OMG I love this blog! Your posts, recipes and everything!!!
    And you are beautiful, your husband is very lucky.
    Keep POsting!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks! I’ll let him know you said that ;)

  36. Jenelle

    Hi Lauren, I found your blog through Pinterest…. What initially caught my attention was your necklace holder idea. Then I continued reading your blog because I’m new to the cooking world and you have really great ideas! In addition, I’m applying to PT school right now (overwhelmed trying to juggle 100 different things) so you have really inspired me to keep on trying new things on my journey to PT school.
    You rock Lauren, Thanks!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks so much! Best of luck with your applications–I think the year before I started PT school was my craziest ever–I was graduating, doing a senior thesis, getting married, applying to PT school, and working–but it was one of the best times of my life, so enjoy it!

  37. Amanda

    LOVE your blog!

  38. Rouges

    this blog is awesome!

  39. inpursuitofrealfood

    Fantastic blog, great photos. It looks like you have A LOT of natural light filtering through your home:)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I do! I’m lucky in that respect!

  40. Mēnessmeitēns

    I love your blog! :)
    And I love the new look of it. :)

    Many kisses and hugs from Ventspils (Latvia). :))

  41. Matthew Przydrozny

    Hey Lauren, it has been quite a while! I hope all is well, I stumbled upon your blog here one day and thought the recipes sound amazingly delicious. They are most definitely right up my alley, I just wish I had more time to try some of them out! (I’m also in PT school and I commend your great time management skills, as are evident through keeping this blog current). I’ll stick with trying the simpler recipes, just for now. Good luck in school this semester and I’ll let you know when I try one of your recipes out! All the best!


    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Hey Matt! You just made my day by commenting! Nice to hear from you and it’s awesome that you are in PT school, too. Is this your last year, too? I hope you find some time to try some recipes :)

      1. Matthew Przydrozny

        I’m glad to hear that :) Far from it, actually. I just started my first year of the professional phase this fall semester after taking a couple years off and deciding to go back to PT school. Congrats and good luck in the home stretch! I’m sure I will find time for some recipes eventually :)

  42. Kate

    Hi! I was just wondering if the “t’s” in your Pumpking Biscotti recipe were tablespoons or teaspoons – it looks delicious, and I’d love to try making them sometime!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      By convention I use “t” for teaspoon and “T” for tablespoon–hope you like them!

  43. Carol

    What a great site you have. I was wondering if I can reprint any of your recipes. I have a coffee website and very new blog. I am looking for fun interesting things including coffee recipes and things that go with coffee. I really like the pumpkin scones recipe. Thanks.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      feel free–just link to the post for me!

  44. Anna

    Hey, I love your blog and have chosen you for the Liebster blog award. Have a look at my post for more info on the award and how to past it on to others. Merry Christmas.

  45. Laura

    Hi, I just found your blog by googling cottage cheese bread. I’ll be baking your bread today. I just wanted to tell you that your Who I Am page really resonated with me, and it is so real and touching. I am also a BIG reader and enjoyed seeing your list (Muriel Spark is the best, like, ever.) I’ll be subscribing and reading along with your lovely blog. Thanks for putting it out in the universe.

  46. Rebecca

    Just wanted to say that I stumbled upon your blog via TasteSpotting and immediately added it to my Google Reader list. You’ve done an amazing job with the blog and I’ve already bookmarked a whole bunch of recipes to try. I also thought it was pretty cool that you’re from Long Island, because I am, too! :) Keep up the good work!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks so much! I hope to hear more from you, fellow Long Islander!

  47. Helen

    Happy to have found your blog Lauren :) Thank you for taking beautiful pictures and making delicious food, while also inspiring me to be healthy! How did you learn to photograph your cooking process and foods so well?

    Also, I share your passion for reading. I’m currently reading “Villette” by Charlotte Bronte..I love the classics.

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Just saw this message! Helen, learning photography was a LONG and slow process–I would definitely suggest reading the book From Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin for inspiration and tips! If you look back on the beginning posts you’ll see how much I learned (and upgrading to a digital SLR and a new lens helped a lot, too).

  48. Helen

    Thank you Lauren for your reply! I will most definitely check that book out. Your pictures are most definitely a work of art :) Good luck in your new home! Keep the smoothie recipes coming haha

  49. Jessie

    I just came across your blog and I am one big FAN. What, with your recent chocolate and red wine cookies, how can I not be?!
    Not to mention, I think our cats our brothers from another mother. 3% cute and cuddly, 50% Satan, and 47% piranha sounds all too familiar.
    Thanks for keeping it real!!!

  50. Erin

    I feel pretty amazed to be comment #79 on your “Who I Am” page – apparently, I’m now famous by association. :) You are an amazing writer and I am so glad that you chose to share your journey to a more healthy relationship with food with me and the rest of the world. I think it’s something that we can ALL relate to and I love that you are consistently striving to have a better perspective and thought life, too! It really does make SUCH a difference! It’s also fun that we now get to share a love of photography and writing – though I need to borrow some of your time management skills, since I am not always great with finding the time to do either. Love you, sister, SO proud of you – keep up the good work!

  51. Leah at One Vignette

    I have to tell you this: I read your blog constantly, and I just realized what I like so much about it, besides the recipes, of course: You’re so upbeat. You’re always so positive, and happy, and excited, and your posts are such a pleasure to read because of it. (I come from a world of gripey mommy bloggers who complain about their kids whining all the time, so this is like a breath of fresh air. :) Keep up the excellent work, Lauren! There aren’t many sites out there as genuinely happy as yours. (Oh, and the recipes ain’t half bad, either! LOVE that you’ll have a caramel sauce one day and a samosa casserole the next.)

    :) Leah

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks Leah! It makes me very happy to hear that that is your overall impression :) I will, however, probably start whining a lot more when I have kids…but we have a (long) while to go before that happens :)

      1. Leah at One Vignette

        Eh, take your time. :) We had our first daughter when I was 31. And even then, you can blame your whining on sleep deprivation and hormones. It’s what I do, anyway. :)

  52. Beth

    I too am a PT student, and love that you have found the time to share all your creative energy in the midst of the chaos of school. Thanks for the inspiration!

  53. Christianne

    Just found your blog looking for a yummy tahini- lemon dressing. My last one i just ‘winged’ and it turned out grainy.
    This was delicious and I look forward to perusing your blog.

    I absolutely love your philosophy and description of how you deal with your love hate relationship with food/body. I teach middle school girls and their self images are so distorted. Of course I have dealt with my own distortions at times.
    I commend you for your postitive outlook and encourage you to keep your in thoughts what you want to see on the outside- Kudos!
    btw, this picture is beautiful and filled with love!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks for the comment! Happy you stopped by :)

  54. Beverly Dettis

    Hi Lauren,

    I look forward to trying your yummy recipes. I have some black bananas and I’m going to try your chocolate chocolate banana bread. Thanks for the recipes and ideas!

    Beverly Dettis
    Roseville, CA

  55. Jen

    I recently stumbled upon your blog, and loved what you shared in the “who i am” section- you spoke so many truths to so many of us women who struggle with the exact same issues! props for naming your struggles- our struggles- out loud, and for desiring a life of health, happiness, and wholeness, for yourself and for others! i felt uplifted just reading your journey. thanks for that!
    can’t wait to start trying out your delicious recipes :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks for commenting–I really appreciate it and am happy to have you along!!

  56. Hannah @ All-Purpose and Semi-Sweet

    I found your paragraph about your love-hate relationship to be so comforting – I’m trying to re-program my thoughts about my body and my food too! Some days are definitely easier than others…your blog looks great and I’ll definitely be back!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks! you are so right–it ebbs and flows :) happy to have you!

  57. Eliz

    Just stumbled on your site, I was looking for crockpot vegeterian recipes. Glad I did, your recipes look delish. I will definitely save to my favorites. We have a couple things in common, amature photographer (I have a darkroom), love to cook, and Im from LI. Are you a native or a transplant to the Island?

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I’m a transplant to the island. I grew up in upstate NY and will actually be moving back there in a few months–I did, however, enjoy my time on the island!

  58. Eliz

    Enjoy Upstate, and hopefully you keep your blog going, your pics are great and your fun to read. I wish I had the courage to start one I’d call it Eliz’s Soapbox.

    1. Eliz

      Oh OOPS, forget to mention…I made your Moroccan Stew and Orange Muffins..Delicious and they went beautifully together.

    2. Lauren Zietsman

      That’s a great name! You should do it!

  59. Fran

    Your blog is gorgeous. Do you plan out your meals or figure out each one every day? I am trying to do some meal planning and I came across your blog. Can’t wait to try out some recipes!

  60. Kristi

    Hi! Just discovered you tonight while searching on Pinterest for a DIY compost bin plan. I will be starting on that tomorrow, but in the meantime have fallen in love with your site. This is good, because I love a good blog and need some new inspiration. :)
    -A fellow upstater

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks! hope the compost bin works out well!

  61. Borris Konoviche

    You are very beautiful American woman! Maybe someday you come to Ukraine and I’ll make good Russian dinner for you. If you must, bring husband to!

  62. Samuela

    I love your beautiful cats. Your white cat looks almost exactly like my little girl! And your grey cat looks very much like the mamma of my white cat. Crazy!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      Thanks! :)