FAQ and Contact Info

How to Contact Rachel:

Facebook: Check out my Facebook page. I reply to all of my Facebook wall comments & questions and it’s usually the fastest way to hear back from me. Please allow 1-5 days for a reply (longer around holidays). Also, feel free to post pics of the recipes you make on my page!
Instagram – Check out my Instagram page. I post lots of food pics, pics from my hiking trips and pics of my cat, George. Make a recipe from my blog? Be sure to tag it #rachelvdolekkitchen and @rachelvdolekkitchen on Instagram so I can see it!
Questions/comments? You can say hello via email: rachelvdolekkitchen [at] gmail [dot] com. I personally respond to as many of your emails as I can fit into a day, but occasionally I cannot keep up with them or lose track of emails. I appreciate each and every one of you who take the time out of your busy day to send me a note. Thank you for making my days brighter!


Why did you start a cooking blog?
Originally, I started this blog in April 2009 as a way to catalog my recipes as I was trying new ones from my 100s of cookbooks. It has catalogued my adventure into dairy and egg free living, along with my hiking trips and traveling.

How long have you had food allergies?
I have had food allergies/intolerances my whole life. Growing up, I was intolerant to wheat, which made life a little more difficult for a kid who loved cookies and brownies and other baked goods. I would have horrible seasonal allergies and always had a stuffy nose.
Once I went to college, I started having health issues, so my dermatologist suggested I see an allergist, which I promptly did, and found out I was allergic to dairy and eggs, along with every environmental allergen out there.

When did you remove dairy and eggs completely from your diet?
It took me a few years after I was diagnosed to finally get that lightbulb to click that maybe if I removed dairy and eggs from my diet, I might not get sick as much! In 2011, a co-worker suggested I remove dairy and eggs completely from my diet for a week just to see if I would feel better. I decided to do it for a whole, and haven’t gone back.

What did you go to school for? What was your previous job?
I graduated with a Bachelors in Chemistry from the University of Washington. I worked as an analytical research chemist at Boeing for 3.5 years.

I heard that you lost a few pounds.  What’s your story?
In college, I tore my ACL and had to wait 6 months for surgery due to school and an internship, and then had to wait another 9 months before I could do any major activities other than walking. Unfortunately I didn’t change my eating habits when I basically went from an active person to a couch potato, so I gained 25 lbs, which put me into the overweight BMI category. 
I really didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, I was sick of being a couch potato and skiing was not as easy as it used to be, so I decided to get in shape and eat at home more. I also picked up hiking around that time and the weight came off over about 6 months.

I also heard that you’re a hiker.  Have you written any posts about that?
Yup! I started hiking in 2011 as a way to lose weight and I fell in love with it! I write tons of posts about me hikes. Click on the “Exploring” tab at the top of the page for my hiking posts.

What other activities do you enjoy?
I love skiing. I have been skiing since I was 2 and have only missed one season (see ACL tear story above). I also recently have fallen in love with snowshoeing. I love doing mud runs, trail running, cycling and swimming, although I do not want to compete in a triathlon (lake water freaks me out!). I love to travel, even though I don’t get to do that much anymore. Other than outdoor activities, I also knit and make jewelry, which I sell at fairs and on my other Etsy shop Huckleberries and Rain.

What’s up with all the post office pictures?
One of my life goals is to visit every city or town in Washington State that has a post office. The reasoning behind it was that I have lived here my whole life and have only explored a little tiny part of it. Even though I want to travel to every country in the world, I realize that is not feasible due to monetary and safety issues, so I decided to get to know my little corner of the world better. I started this project in 2011 with the city of Pateros. Why Pateros? I was on a ski trip with my dad and brother and we were waiting for my brother to finish his conference call with work while sitting in a parking lot in Pateros before heading to Loup Loup ski area where he would have lost service. So while we were waiting, I walked around the whole town with my dad and took the first picture of the post offices.

What other goals do you have?
Please see my Fitness Goals page on the left.

How many hours a day do you spend on your blog? What does your work include?
Usually I spend about 3-4 hours per post, cooking, writing, taking photos, editing photos and finally doing the posting. I spend a lot more of my time developing recipe ideas and working on my cookbooks.

My process usually starts with an idea, whether it’s a planned one from a list I made a long time ago, something inspired from a cookbook I have, or (most of the time) it comes from having lots of extra produce in my fridge that needs to be eaten. Those are some of my best recipes!

What kind of camera and lens do you use?
My most recent photos are from my Canon T3 Rebel. My photography is certainly a work in progress and I am continually inspired by the photos of many of my fellow food bloggers.

What kind of light do you use for your photos?
I am fortunate, as I have the luxury of shooting my photographs during the day.  I set up a collapsible table outside on my covered patio facing south west with the light bouncing off a white door, taking photos either during the morning or afternoon, depending on the light that day (and my schedule). My backgrounds include a wood board, cutting boards, and placemats.
How many cookbooks do you own?
I used to have over 170 cookbooks, but currently I am down to only about 90.

When are you going to write a cookbook?
Good news – my first cookbook is available for purchase either as an e-book on Amazon or as a softcover book on my Etsy shop.

Can I use one of your recipes on my own blog?
If you have not changed the original recipe I prefer that you simply link to the original. If you have changed the recipe significantly, feel free to post it along with your changes and a link back to the original recipe.

Can I use your pictures on my blog?
I do not permit the use of my photographs without consent. If you ask me, I’m usually fine with it pending that proper credits are provided.

Do you have any help with your work? Are you looking for an intern or recipe testers?
Aside from my boyfriend who is my taste tester and idea bouncer, I do everything else on my own. I’m the one responding to your comments, questions, chatting on Facebook, and Instagram and of course what you see on the blog each week. I’m not looking for an intern at the moment, but I may need to hire help at some point in the future.
At this point, I am looking for recipe testers for my next few books. If you are interested, please email me at rachelvdolekkitchen (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks for asking and offering to help!

Where can I find the products you use every day?
You can find many of my favorite kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, food products, and photography equipment in my Amazon store. Thanks for your support!

Do you review products, host giveaways, or write sponsored posts?
If you represent a product that fits with the recipes and features on my blog, please feel free to email me at rachelvdolekkitchen (at) gmail (dot) com so that we can discuss your proposal.
Do you trade links?

No, I do not.  I do have a blogroll on the left that links to my favorite food and travel blog sites. 

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