Got questions? I might already have the answer for you! Please read these FAQ before posting or emailing your questions.
General Commenting Guidelines:
You can often find an answer to your question in the comments of the recipe in question. Most of the posts here don’t host hundreds of comments so please read the comments before posting your question. If you still can’t find your answer or are unclear about the recipe, by all means, leave a comment or send me an email through the Contact Form.
I love reading your comments! While sites like Pinterest have become a way for you guys to share your excitement about recipes, there’s nothing like a blogger reading about your excitement right on the blog. Please remember that your comments (both before and/or after you make a recipe) help others who have similar questions and get other readers excited about making the recipes I post. So go ahead and comment away!!
Please be considerate when commenting. Outright rude comments directed at me or another commenter will be deleted.
If you make a recipe from Smells Like Home, I totally encourage you to come back and leave a comment to let me know how it turned out for you. Feel free to leave a link to your blog post if you blog about it. Comments containing promotional links to your blog or website or erroneous links will be deleted.
General recipe questions:
Q: Where do you find the recipes you make?
A: Lots of places! Some of my favorite blogs (see Blogroll to the left), adapted family recipes, my insane cookbook collection, food and lifestyle magazines, and good ol’ Google searches that point me towards websites or new [to-me] blogs. We do make up lots of recipes as we cook and bake, and sometimes they make the blog if I can remember to write them down!
Q: I see that some of your recipes include both volume and weight measurements – which should I use?
A: If at all possible, use the weight measurements as they are more accurate for measuring ingredients like flour. A kitchen scale that measures in grams and ounces is an important and inexpensive investment for your kitchen. Unless noted, I use volume measurements for ingredients like baking powder, soda, salt, vanilla, and butter.
Q: “I don’t like x ingredient…” “My child has an allergy to y ingredient…” “I can’t find z ingredient in my grocery store…” “I’m gluten-free and can’t eat flour…” “…What can I use in place of it?”
A: Sometimes you can find the answer to these types of questions in the header note or in comments of the recipe. Other times, Google is a fantastic resource for these types of questions.
Q: Why didn’t this recipe turn out for me the way it did for you? (And related: Your photo looks nothing like how my food turned out!)
A: Sometimes, this question is impossible for me to answer. Not to be rude but I don’t know what happened in your kitchen while you were making “x” recipe. What I can say is that sometimes mistakes happen, recipe ingredients and instructions are misread, oven temperatures are off, ingredients are expired, kitchen equipment varies, and personal tastes are different. (And yes, there are many more factors here.) Please try not to blame me if your recipe doesn’t turn out the way it did for me. I only share recipes with you that have been a success for in my kitchen – many have been retested multiple times – and I do my best to accurately type out my ingredient lists and instructions. On a rare occasion I make a typo, inadvertently drop an ingredient, or mistype a step and I certainly apologize in advance for any errors. If you drop me a line about a typo in a recipe (and not by yelling at me), I’ll be more than happy to check it out and make the appropriate adjustment, if necessary.
Q: What type of chocolate do you use?
A: It depends. For chocolate chips, I use either Nestle, Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger. When bulk chocolate (i.e., ounces or a % cacao) is called for, I primarily use Callebaut for semi-sweet, milk, and white and either Scharffen Berger or Vahrlona for dark chocolate. My decision about which chocolate I use depends on the type of recipe I’m making (super special vs. sort of regular) and the availability of the chocolate. My regular grocery store doesn’t carry Scharffen Berger and Valrhona but it does have Callebaut and so most of the time, I opt for that brand for semi-sweet chocolate.
Yeast recipe questions:
Q: Why didn’t my dough rise?
A: This is a tough one to answer because the problem could be a number of things. Here are a few common issues:
- Your yeast is expired. Always check the expiration date.
- Your water was either too warm or too cold. Many recipes indicate using just “warm water” – this means your water temperature should be between 100° and 110° F. Use a thermometer to test the water if you feel most comfortable, but to the touch, the water should feel like hot bath water.
- The air temperature in your kitchen is too cold. Dough will rise best when the air temperature is above 72° F. Try warming your oven ever so slightly (like 200 or below) for 2 minutes. Turn the oven off, put your bowl in, and close the door. Don’t worry about the plastic wrap melting as long as the oven if off.
- The recipe you used is wrong or has a mistake. Yes, this happens sometimes!
- User-error has occurred. Yes, this happens too! I make lots of mistakes when I’m cooking and baking and I’m notorious for starting a recipe before I read it through fully.
Q: What is the difference between Active Dry and Instant yeasts?
A: Put simply, Active Dry yeast is coarser than Instant yeast and it needs extra time to allow the yeast to bloom or activate. When a recipe calls for Active Dry yeast, you’ll need to allow it to sit in the water (usually with some sugar added – see the specific recipe) until the mixture becomes foamy. This takes about 5 minutes. When a recipe calls for Instant yeast, it can be used right away and sometimes it doesn’t even require being added directly to water to activate. I only use Instant yeast in my kitchen, even if a recipe calls for Active Dry.
Q: Can I use Rapid Rise Yeast in place of Instant Yeast?
A: I don’t recommend using Rapid Rise yeast. Instant yeast works just fine and can be substituted in any recipe where Rapid Rise yeast is called for.
Blogging and Social Media questions:
Q: I want to start a blog. Where do I start?
A: I recommend using an easy and free blog building system such as Blogger or WordPress.com. There are also tons of web resources and books (like Blogging for Dummies) that you can use. Try a Google search for this type of information.
Q: I just started a blog. Do you have any advice?
A: Why yes, yes I do. 1) Blog for your own reasons. Sticking with blogging is much easier to do when you’re doing it for yourself rather than for others. 2) Be yourself. Falseness is transparent in the blogging world. 3) Blog what you love and do it because you love to. Blogging shouldn’t feel like a chore – when it does, consider the reasons why you’re doing it.
Q: Can I use your photo?
A: I do not authorize the use of any of my photos without my direct permission. Please email me to specifically ask for my permission. If you ABSOLUTELY cannot get in touch with me and posting one of my photos is a life or death situation, I truly only ask that you post the photo with a link back to the recipe post on Smells Like Home. In other words, DO NOT POST the recipe and any of my photos together in any format (blog, website, print, etc.) without my permission.
Q: Can I share your photo on websites like Pinterest?
A: Of course! You can use the “Pin It” button at the bottom of each post to choose a photo to share on Pinterest. I do ask that you do not copy any portion of my post or recipe onto Pinterest (or any site like it) though.
Q: Can I share your recipe on my blog or website?
A: Definitely! Share away! I only ask for a few things:
- You properly cite that the recipe came from Smells Like Home and provide a link back to the actual recipe (rather than the homepage address).
- You do not copy any portion of my post text.
- You try to rewrite the recipe instructions in your own words.
- You do not use any of my photos in addition to the recipe. See the two previous questions.
Q: I tried to “Like” your page on Facebook but I can’t get to the page.
A: You have to have a Facebook account and be logged into your account in order to access the Smells Like Home Facebook page.
Q: I sent you a Friend Request on Facebook but we’re still not “Friends” – what happened?
A: I keep my personal Facebook page private to my friends and family but if you want to connect via Facebook, feel free to do so through the Smells Like Home Facebook page.
Q: How can I keep up with what’s going on here?
A: Check out the social media icons under “Let’s Connect” in the sidebar to the left. There you can follow along with new stuff here through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and through your RSS feed. You can also get emails delivered to your inbox when I post new recipes or content here. Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box, hit enter, and follow the instructions.
Q: Why do you reference specific brands, companies, or products in your posts and recipes?
A: When I find a product I love to use in my kitchen, I want you guys to know how great it is. And I won’t lie to you: I am a brand-specific consumer. When I find a brand that I love, you’ll be hard-pressed to get me to change. To that end, I do love to share my favorite brands with you because I believe in their products and what those companies stand for.
Q: Are you compensated by companies for mentioning their products?
A: Absolutely not.
Q: What’s up with all of the Amazon links?
A: Amazon.com is my favorite online shopping resource so it’s the easiest way for me to share some of my favorite products with you. I do not have an Amazon Affiliates Account (which compensates Affiliates for purchases made through Amazon.com links) – the State of Connecticut doesn’t allow for such accounts to be held by its residents.
Q: If my company sends you a product, will you do a product review on your site?
A: It depends. If I feel your product is related to the mission of Smells Like Home and I think that my readers will enjoying knowing about it, I can work with you in setting up a blog-based giveaway of said product. This giveaway is solely dependent upon my liking your product, of course, since I won’t ever review a product or host a giveaway on Smells Like Home that I do not personally endorse. Please use the Contact Form to connect with me about it.
Q: What do you mean by “the mission of Smells Like Home” in relation to products?
A: Basically, I strive to make as much of our food from scratch as possible. Thus, I do use a whole bunch processed food products and likely will not respond to emails which offer products that are outside of my mission.
Q: Do you work with specific companies to advertise on Smells Like Home or are you part of an ad network?
A: Both. I am a publisher within the BlogHer, Inc. advertising network and run their ads exclusively “above-the-fold.” I run back-up ads to BlogHer ads through Advertising.com.
Q: Do you have control over which ads are run on your site?
A: Sort of. Within my advertising networks, I have control over the types of ads that are run, both by-industry and by-type (i.e., flashing, pop-up, etc.).
Q: Are you open to private advertising or blog sponsorship?
A: Yes, I am open to working with specific companies who wish to privately advertise “below-the-fold” on Smells Like Home. Please use the Contact Form to request a Media Kit which includes Smells Like Home’s traffic statistics, reader demographics, and advertising placement and rates.