Melissa King created Treats With a Twist in October of 2009. At first as a simply way to connect with her mom while she was away at school and over the years, it’s evolved into something much more! Now, she lives in northern Mississippi, just south of Memphis, TN, with her husband and two beloved canine companions, and aims to make Treats With a Twist her full-time job!
Melissa believes that “healthy” comes in all shapes and sizes, and that we all go through phases of what we consider to be healthiest. All of Melissa’s new recipes are gluten-free…but gluten lovers, rejoice! Her recipes are delicious enough for everyone, gluten free or not.
Get a load of her Pecan Pie Banana Bread:
Don’t those look amazing?! Who needs gluten, anyway? In addition to her yummy recipes, Melissa shares workouts and fitness tips under Fabulously Fit Fridays, as well as tidbits from her life about the makeup she uses, music she loves, and photos she takes on the road under Sprinkles of Real Life!
From its humble beginnings, Melissa has turned Treats With a Twist into a successful blog — all while staying true to herself.
What inspired you to turn your love for food into a business?
Honestly I started a blog because I was in college, missing my mom (my parents moved and I took it pretty hard), and wanted to show her all of the things I’d been baking. I knew that I was good at writing in a style that conveyed my natural voice and tone, and I knew that I was good at baking, so I decided to just put it all out there.
Any funny/memorable rookie mistakes that you can share with us?
This is a hard one to answer. I feel like I’ve been growing very slowly because I step carefully. Yes, sometimes I would post really ugly photos that I took in the dark and very quickly (actually, all of my photos from the first few years were terrible, but it just makes me even more proud when I look how far I’ve come), but I didn’t really care at the time, as long as I had a photo with my narrative. At times, I hired the wrong people to help me, but I’ve corrected my mistakes…and I always try to learn from every choice I make for my blog.
What’s the goal/mission of your blog?
My blog has always been about making treats healthier, and although my definition of “healthier” has changed over the years (we all go through stages of sugar-free, low sugar, low fat, fat free, low carb, gluten free, grain free, low glycemic index…yada yada yada) and while my style has changed, my basic mission has always been consistent and true to me.
I make my treats for my family and for myself first and foremost, and all those readers that love what I make too are like a big shiny bonus to me. I love feeling like I have made someone’s day because they made a recipe that tasted sinfully delicious but was actually pretty healthy for them.
I hope to keep blogging for as long as possible. I’d love for this to be my only job (goal wise, because I work two jobs including managing the blog at the moment), and I’m willing to put in the work to get it there.
After a long day when you’re tired but jonesin’ for something yummy for dinner, what’s your go to easy-but-still-super-delicious recipe?
You can’t go wrong with tacos or a taco salad of some sort. I always mix my own seasonings, use lean ground beef or shrimp (my husband and I just aren’t ground turkey people, no matter how much we tried to be), and tons of fresh veggies. My husband could eat tacos everyday for the rest of his life, so this is an easy one for me.
I also love doing a big fresh “noodle” salad, using kelp noodles and lots of julienned veggies, and a creamy dressing I blend up (usually garlic cloves, fresh ginger, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, fresh lime, and tahini). Then I serve it with either meat or a seared piece of fish. Almost all of my dinners take under 30 minutes start to finish.
What’s the “secret ingredient” that makes your recipes extra *You*?
oh goodness! Well, if you consult my husband, there’s always a secret ingredient in my food ;) In my baking though, I think I slip cinnamon and cardamom into almost everything I make! I love those two flavors, and I have a very heavy hand with the cinnamon. I even slip it into our savory meals (chili always tastes better with a pinch of cinnamon!). Can’t help myself.
Where do you look to for recipe inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere! Usually, my ideas pop into my head, but I always get inspired by other bloggers, restaurants, cookbooks, new food items on the shelves, changes in weather…an idea pops into my head and I just run with it.
What are your 3 best/favorite recipes?
How can I choose my favorites?! I think my most popular recipes have always been my morning oatmeal recipes that have dessert flavors!I have a ton of flavors and they’re all super yummy and make breakfast more exciting!
I think the BEST cake I’ve ever made was my Cashew Cake with Lemon Curd. It had a lot of steps and layers, but after one bite, I knew it was MORE than worth it. I wish I could have a slice right now! I love trying to keep things seasonal, so I went pumpkin crazy this fall (I skipped pumpkin season last year because I was so busy with my wedding!), so almost every recipe I’ve published this fall is my new favorite!
Given all the time, tools and fresh ingredients, what would you love to try in the kitchen?
I think I want to try something beautiful that would be cooked in something beautiful too. I want a real, authentic tagine and I’d love to do a spiced chicken thighs and veggie tagine dish. We had that for our wedding and it was amazing (we chose very eclectic food, because we’re both foodie people and our families are so diverse). And to go with it, I want Ethiopian enjira bread. And then I want Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar to come teach me her ways and help me make an elaborate cake.
What recipe have you been dying to master but still can’t get exactly right?
This is a tough one to answer because I honestly don’t cook from recipes very often. If it’s a technical pastry (like croissants), I follow the directions to a T. But with food and most of my baking, I usually just wing it and follow my heart (and my taste buds). I think the thing I fear the most and never do is candy making. I can’t stand the thought of boiling sugar and have a fear of it burning me (even I’m afraid of something in the kitchen!), so I never make caramels or toffee or taffy and I’d love for someone to come hold my hand through that one!
Your tips for #Foodporn worthy photos?
Take your time! I can always tell when I’ve rushed a photo. Find good lighting (natural is best), clean the plate, and make it look extra tasty (if its pancakes, there better be something drippy and syrupy there!).
Don’t over-edit the photo too. If you start editing too much, colors get funky, lighting gets distorted, and the whole thing looks unappealing, no matter how tasty your subject was.
What are 2-3 of your favorite small batch food companies?
We don’t have many small batch companies in our area, so I don’t get to try many small batch items. But when I get to find special little companies, I love it. I’m a granola junkie so I’ll try anyone’s granola! And a GOOD gluten free cookie is something I search far and wide for. I had one from Carol’s Cookies in Chicago once and totally wish I could get my hands on more of those (the cookies are HUGE and I love that she makes a gluten free version).
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