Defining Success (Recipe: Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies)

As many of you know, I recently returned from San Francisco where I attended a food blogging conference. I’m not going to write a whole recap. I’m not going to gush about all the wonderful people I met and got to see again. Connecting with those friends was a wonderful experience, but I’m honestly just not up for that. What I am going to do is get something off my chest that has been bugging me since I returned home.

Blogging has changed a lot since I began doing it 4 years ago. Success has been defined in so many different ways, even though I firmly believe that success, when it comes to something like blogging, is extremely subjective.

The air of the conference and many of the people who seemed to be “experts” made it seem like if you weren’t the next big thing, just forget it…why bother? Should I feel that because my goal is not necessarily to write a cookbook that I’m not successful? I don’t have a desire to be on The Food Network, so am I not successful? What happened to just blogging and being the best at blogging you can be and that equating to success? Why is it that simply blogging…sharing our gift and life with the world through this platform, seems to not be good enough anymore?

I am incredibly proud of my friends who have taken the next step in their careers by achieving their goals of cookbooks and shows and a zillion Facebook fans and blog followers, but I’m equally as proud of my friends who are finding their voice and refining their sites in an effort to fine tune what they are delivering. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Becoming the best you that you can be, not the best you someone else thinks you should be?

And I’m being ornery again and throwing in a completely random recipe. Well, maybe not so random… we could all be our own little cookie cutter versions of what someone else thinks is successful, but I certainly think life is a lot more interesting when there is a whole bunch of variety thrown in, don’t you?

Kittencal’s Slice N’ Bake Sugar Cookies from

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature ( no substitutes)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract ( can use 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • white sugar (optional)
  1. In a mixing bowl cream the butter with sugar for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in egg yolk and both extracts; beat until no sugar granules remain.
  3. Beat in vanilla pudding mix until combined.
  4. In a small bowl combine the flour with baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and beat until combined (the mixture will be dry and slightly crumbly).
  5. Remove the dough to a surface and gently knead the dough until it comes together (this will take only a few seconds).
  6. Roll into one large log or two smaller logs.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until hard (about 4 or more hours).
  8. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Slice into slightly over 1/4-inch thickness (you may coat the slices in sugar if desired).
  10. Place onto a greased baking sheet/s.
  11. Bake for about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
  12. Allow to sit and harden slightly in the pan before removing (the cookies will harden upon sitting in the pan).

New bloggers are waiting for someone to come and mentor them! Please make sure to check out the new Adopt-a-Blogger website and participate in mentoring a new blogger!

Stay Connected

Subscribe to receive news, updates, and exclusive content from Dine & Dish.

Facebook      Twitter      Pinterest       RSS


  1. says

    I’m a little disillusioned by how blogging has become about touting certain brands and such. I’ll review products here and there and I don’t mind saying if I like (or don’t like) something, but paid sponsorships from brands make me leery, and I also just want to make sure to maintain my authentic voice — and my integrity.

    Also, I know what you mean about folks implying blogging is some sort of stepping stone. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a cookbook (and have already thought of a superb idea for one I think folks would benefit from — you know, when I’m fantasizing about it), but blogging is the end goal for me. I’m not blogging to become a TV chef or even a cookbook author, etc. I’m blogging to be a blogger! My blog is an outlet for me to build community and relationships and I love it for that. That’s what I wanted it to be!

    Loved this post :)

  2. says

    You are my hero. And you had the atmosphere pegged. I was so happy to meet you and hear you speak. Thanks for being YOU and for being so honest. :-) Let’s hear it for having a passion and storytelling!

  3. says

    I whole-heartedly agree. I have a life first and foremost, my blog is not even second on the list. Blogging is just a hobby, and I hate the feelings of insecurity when I even remotely begin to compare myself to other bloggers. I actually kind of LIKE that I don’t get approached often for tons of freebies and trips. #1 I just don’t have time, considering I have a career working 45+ hours a week. #2 I don’t want to have to draw that line! I’m glad such a “well-branded” blogger like yourself spoke up and said this!

  4. says

    I love your honesty too, it’s refreshing! I noticed of all the recaps I read, all read the same, I met this blogger, that blogger and that one, all blogs listed the same people. All bloggers got photographed with the same food bloggers. While that’s great, I really would have liked to hear what anybody actually learned at this conference. I don’t care to go and meet a few “popular” bloggers and get my picture with them, that’s silly. I would like to hear them speak and share their knowledge and I would like to know I’ll learn something and connect with my food blogger friends.

  5. says

    Thank you for being so honest, Kristen. It hasn’t been that long ago that I realized that in all likelihood I’m not going to be the next big whatever blogger and I’m perfectly fine with that. My blog is simply about sharing what I cook with whomever may be interested in reading. I do focus mostly on southern cuisine, but not solely. I do sometimes tell stories about growing up, but not always. I’m just not one of those bloggers who can focus like a laser on their blog’s “mission” or whatever. I cook and write from my heart and primarily for myself and my family’s enjoyment. If other people find it interesting, that makes me very happy! If not, that’s okay too.

    Keep doing what you do, sweetie! Your authenticity and genuineness show in every word you write. And that’s worth a lot!

  6. says

    Great post Kristen. I was not at BHF last weekend but plan to go next year (please, please, please be on the East Coast). The thing I love so much about food blogging is that everyone — from the smallest blog to the biggest — has the chance to be heard. When I first got into food journalism back in 1987 (do NOT do the math), there were only a handful of reporters out there covering the world of cuisine. To say they were up on a pedestal would be an understatement. Fast forward 25 years and it’s a whole new ballgame. Now, anyone who wants to talk about food has that opportunity. Although the majority of food bloggers will never write a cookbook or host a TV show, they can still be part of the food conversation. To me, that’s powerful stuff. As for anyone who wants to write a cookbook, go for it. My second cookbook was just released … and I self published so I could do it my way!

  7. says

    I loved hearing your honesty about blogging. Yes, many of us would like to do something important or special with our blogs and I have spoken to several other bloggers that feel the same way. It has definitely been an interesting road and the most valuable things I have taken away from this (so far) are the people I have met and have become friends with. If you can find people that love what you love and share in that excitement, then this is truly the special gift from blogging! If you think you are going to be the next Food Network Star, then maybe you need to rethink what you are doing.

  8. says

    I really appreciate your honesty and I definitely agree. I returned home last year from the conference not wanting to blog at all because it seemed it was stripped of passion. I do believe that cream rises to the top and passionate, honest bloggers stand and rise above those that blog for insincere reasons. Thanks for rising to the top.

  9. says

    My blog has saved my life! It is my creative outlet and my family is proud of me. The greatest thing is the friends and networks I have made, there sure are some amazing people out there! Including you, I enjoy your candidness and honesty-thanks for that. I have no desire to write a cookbook even though I’ve been told I should, about what, I think to myself? Maybe someday but my life is so full with family and friends that the blog is a small outlet of me. I do make a little advertising money which is for our family vacations-why not right? My greatest joy about blogging is when someone writes to me saying my blog has helped them in the kitchen. That’s the best kind of stardom!

  10. says

    Amen, Kristen! You had the courage to say what I think many of us feel. There were many times last weekend that I felt a little inadequate because I didn’t have a cookbook deal or TV show in the works. But, that has never been my ultimate goal with all of this. Sure, I’d like to make some “dough” from blogging, but in my own way.
    I felt a very different vibe at this year’s conference. It seemed a lot more “cliquey” and competitive. In fact, some people were downright rude! I guess I just wasn’t one of the “cool kids”. 😉

  11. says

    I just love you Kristen and want to give you a big hug. Thank you. You always write what’s on my mind, I love that I’m totally on the same page as you. Can’t wait to see ya next week!!!

  12. says

    Thank you for this post. Even though I’ve been blogging for so long, I sometimes feel like I’m not one of the “cool” blogs and it gets me down. I need reminders like this one that make me step back and remember why I blog. I love doing what I do, and it’s not always about the fame or the cookbook deals. I’m ok where I am!

  13. says

    I’m new to blogging and am quickly realizing that it’s a totally different world than I thought it was… I thought it was a way to connect with people who share the same interests as me. A place to share great recipes, anecdotes, techniques, etc with other people who would find those things as interesting as I do!… but I”m quickly finding it’s a dog eat dog world out there and some bloggers are only in it for themselves- totally different attitude than I originally thought it was. At least I know some honest and kind hearted bloggers are out there!


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *