Blogger Spotlight: Laura Wright from The First Mess

Join Food Network's Healthy Eats in discovering the best healthy bloggers around the web. Today we're talking to Laura Wright from The First Mess.
A Southern Ontario native, Laura believes that seasonal, whole foods are a celebration of the community. On her blog The First Mess, she uses simple ingredients that are accessible to everyone.  Her cooking expertise derives from her experience in culinary school, working in restaurants, growing up around farms and collecting an extensive library of cookbooks.
What's the meaning behind your blog’s name, The First Mess?

It's a reference to a passage in M.F.K. Fisher's An Alphabet for Gourmets. I wouldn't call myself a “gourmet” by any means, but her thoughts on the first peas of spring really struck me. She refers to the arrival of “the first mess” of them and goes even further to call it “the day with stars on it.” There's was so much reverence and gratitude in that passage, for nature, the earth and our nourishment. The blog takes root in those ideas; eating seasonally, respecting nature, eating well etc.

How do you define “healthy”?

I've always loved to eat healthy, but in a more casual and free kind of way. Celebrating produce in season, the practice of cooking regularly at home, gathering around a meal with people in your life—I look to these easy strategies as guidelines for a healthy and happy life. I've studied nutrition extensively in culinary school, worked in a bunch of restaurants, read countless books on health, but I always go back to those more basic ideas because they are liberating in their simple practicality.

Which do you crave more often: savory or sweet?

Definitely sweet. I love sweet things at breakfast; the pancakes, granola, pastries etc. And I generally love to cap off any meal with a treat of some kind. It could be fresh figs or a ridiculous piece of chocolate cake.

Now that fall is here, what kind of produce are you most looking forward to using?

I love this time of year for all of the hearty produce, but butternut squash is one of my favorites. It's perfect just roasted with olive oil, some herbs, salt and pepper or as an addition to soups and stews. I love cooking it down with some garlic and chilies and pureeing it into a delicious sauce for flat breads or pasta too.

What are some of the ways you like to jazz up weekday breakfast and lunch?

I typically make up a batch of steel-cut oatmeal that I can just reheat throughout the week with a splash of almond milk and whatever add-ins I have on hand. Figs and ginger, apples and cinnamon, cocoa and bananas, nutmeg and pumpkin puree; whatever I feel like in the moment.

Lunch is always an attempt to incorporate leftovers with some fresh ingredients on hand for me. I always have a tasty batch of salad dressing in the fridge and find myself mixing up some salad greens with leftover roasted veggies and cooked whole grains like quinoa or wild rice. The combination is always different and highly satisfying for me.

For seasonal recipe ideas, you can follow Laura on Facebook and Twitter.

Next Up

The First-Ever Chain Restaurant Food Festival Is Coming to Los Angeles

"Chain" is hosting the one-of-a-kind gathering of major restaurant brands, including Pizza Hut, Dunkin’, Chili’s, Panda Express and more, and will include event-exclusive menu items.

Subway Makes Major Menu Change for the First Time in 60 Years

If you’ve always been indecisive at the sandwich chain, you can now choose from 12 signature sandwiches.

How the First Female Chef at a Historic New Orleans Restaurant Celebrates Mardi Gras

Here’s how Meg Bickford faced the roaring return of carnival season at Commander’s Palace — and her recipe for an "obnoxiously good" shrimp po' boy.

The Cheesecake Factory Brings Basque Cheesecake to Its Menu for the First Time Ever

The cake style, which originates from Spain, is known for its burnt top and ultra-creamy center.

Seasonal Spotlight on Cranberries

Warning: Not for the faint of tart.

Chipotle Brings New Chicken Option to Its Menu for the First Time in 30 Years

The chain’s Pollo Asado is tossed in a spice blend before getting grilled.

This Is the Answer to Mess-Free Ice Cream

You’ll eat this so moch-i this month!

5 Easy, Mess-Free Breakfasts to Make on Thanksgiving

Save room for the main event — and ensure your sink doesn't fill up with more dishes.

Cadbury Crowns Its First-Ever Frog

Congratulations to this year’s Cadbury Bunny Tryouts Contest winner, Betty.