SANTALUZ — In 2006, Lori Lange left her job as a teacher at Solana Santa Fe Elementary to devote more time to her son, Brooks. “I was looking for things to do and to use my creativity,” she recalled. “I had a friend who had an Internet business and suggested I do a website about something I was passionate about.”A foodie who loved entertaining, Lange began creating a database of recipes for a blog she planned to launch one day. She started with family recipes, then added recipes from magazines and cookbooks she experimented with until she eventually began developing her own.“The blog was a hobby at first and I didn’t expect to make money,” she added.
Today, recipegirl.com boasts more than 23,000 subscribers, 850,000 unique visitors and 1.8 million page views a month from devotees who click on the website to search a database of 2,600 recipes, indexed by categories and ingredients. Recipes run the gamut, from gluten- and dairy-free to vegetarian and vegan and ethnic foods from Mexico, Sweden and Portugal. There are also recipes for Weight Watchers followers who are counting points.
“I am somebody who believes in moderation and have recipes for decadent desserts along with healthy salads,” she said.
What’s more, the blog has led to publication of “The Recipe Girl Cookbook” by Houghton Mifflin, which will be released on April 15. The volume is fun and family-friendly with 195 new menu ideas that involve kids in both meal-planning and preparation.
Lange’s been able to accomplish all of this, and still be a stay-at-home mom. While some boys may beg for Legos or a video game for their 10th birthday, Brooks asked for a URL last year and got it. Today he has developed his own food blog at recipeboy.com where he writes and posts original photographs and videos demonstrating his own method of food preparation for his 1,000 subscribers, many of whom are classmates at Black Mountain Middle School. Mom teaches Brooks how to adapt recipes and sometimes makes cameo appearances on the videos.
“My mom and I have a lot of fun together in the kitchen,” he explained. “I love the feeling of eating something that I’ve created.”
Mother and son attend food conferences together and also serve as spokespeople for McCormick spice’s Generation Fresh, inspiring Americans to make more healthful meals at home with the help of flavorful herbs and spices.
Like Brooks, Lange remembers cooking dinner with her mom growing up in Carson City, Nev. It was while she attended San Diego State that she got more interested in food, hosting dinner parties with friends and working in catering.
“My favorite recipes are tacos like my mom made,” she recalled. “Instead of packaged taco seasoning mix, I use my own spices along with beans that she used to stretch the recipe because she had a larger family. Today my own family likes fish tacos of any kind, stuffed spinach manicotti and spinach salad with chicken, avocado and goat cheese.”
Lange has also become a self-taught marketing whiz, attending workshops at food conferences where she’s learned to become a food stylist and food photographer using a Canon EOS 7D camera.
As the recipegirl.com’s popularity grew, Lange was recruited to develop recipes, photograph food and write for Gold Medal Flour, Pepperidge Farm, Kraft, Sam’s Club, Betty Crocker, Tabasco, Pacific Natural Foods, Sunkist Nestle and Barilla.
She has contributed to the cookbooks “Junior League of San Diego: California Sol Food,” “Blog Aid for Haiti,” and “GoodBite Weeknight Meals — Delicious Made Easy.” Her work has also been featured online at Saveur’s Best of the Web, LA Times, Huffington Post, iVillage, Shape, Bon Appetit, Fox News Magazine, The Daily Meal, Ladies Home Journal and Glamour.
Lange is currently a weekly food content contributor to Parade Magazine‘s food blog. She has been a featured speaker at food conferences, a television guest on San Diego Living and was a judge alongside Paula Deen in the Real Women of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cook Off.
With all of her successes, she looks forward to planning her next goal: “I’d like to write a cookbook with my son,” she said, smiling.
For more information visit recipegirl.com, recipeboy.com or Facebook/RecipeGirl.