Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

Food Blogger Develops and Shares Recipes With Millions of Readers

Social media influencing is a relatively new and successful avenue to market products. Find out how food companies can harness this power with the help of an influential Nebraska food blogger, who is also a GROW Nebraska member.

As a young mom, Michaela Kenkel of Elkhorn let her creativity shine through entertaining with themed dinner parties and cooking. When she shared photos of her decorations and creative foods on her website nearly 10 years ago, friends and family kept asking for the recipes.

Michaela obliged and started transforming her website into a food blog with beautiful photos, cooking instructions and recipes. She called her website ‘An Affair from the Heart.’

After receiving a boost of new followers when two of her recipes were featured on the Today Show website, Michaela turned her hobby into a full-time business.

Michaela’s website is now a highly successful food blog that reaches more than one million viewers each month through her social media channels, her weekly blog/newsletter and organic searches to her website.

Michaela has found a niche within her food blog that also benefits food entrepreneurs and businesses. She regularly works with companies, such as Frank’s Kraut and Dorothy Lynch, to create new recipes using their products and then shares them with her large audience. She is always taking on new clients as well.

“It’s a whole new way to market your business.” Michaela said. “It’s a great way to get your name out there.”

Michaela has created and shared more than 800 recipes over the years, and the Sloppy Dorothy Sandwich recipe she created using Dorothy Lynch salad dressing is in the Top 10 most popular recipes.

“It went bonkers,” Michaela said of the sandwich recipe. “It went to my top 10 in the first month.”

Besides Dorothy Lynch, Michaela has also worked with other GROW Nebraska members, including Gary’s Quick Steak and Spice Isle Sauces.

Food businesses who hire Michaela to create recipes for them harness the power of a relatively new form a marketing using social media influencers. With Michaela’s strong following of regular viewers, it is money well spent.

An Affair from the Heart has more than 180,000 followers on Facebook, more than 3,000 on Instagram, 40,000 on Pinterest, and more than 8,000 subscribers to her weekly email. In addition, organic recipe searches attract hundreds of thousands of recipe seekers to her website each month.

“I have a good following of people, and I always make sure I answer questions posted on social media,” she said. “I take a lot of pride in developing relationships with my audience. I engage with my readers a lot, and I feel like I’m in tuned to what they like and what they don’t like.”

Michaela said her food blog doesn’t cater to one specific food niche.

“I have a little bit of everything,” she said. “My recipes are pretty easy – tried and true family stuff.”

As a child, she learned to cook from her mom and grandma. It was her grandmother’s hamburger soup recipe that was featured on the Today Show.

“It really gave my traffic a boost,” Michaela said. “It was instrumental in showing me that I could do something with this website, and it didn’t have to be a hobby.”

Michaela attends many conferences each year to stay up to date on the latest social media trends and to ensure she is following best practices for clients and readers. She joined a food blogger mastermind group and learned the arts of food photography, photo editing and food videography.

Food companies are now benefitting from her professional skills and audience reach. Once a food company partners with Michaela and gives her a product, she develops recipes for them and writes the blog posts about the recipes, makes sure the posts are Google friendly, and takes photos and sometimes creates video.

“I do all of the social media influencing and make sure people know where to purchase the product,” she said.

Recipes that she develops for other companies are also posted to her website and are promoted to her millions of followers.

“It’s just another way to market your product and another way to advertise and it really, really works,” she said.

Food businesses interested in boosting sales through social media influencing with Michaela can contact her from her GROW Nebraska page at

Save the date! Michaela will speak at Grow Nebraska’s April 15, 2020, MarkeTech conference in Kearney.

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

The Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with GROW Nebraska to boost sales of its Arbor Day Coffee and to help further spread the organization’s mission.

“GROW Nebraska is a wonderful platform to help spread our mission and try some new marketing tools that we have not tried before,” said Kara Ficke, business development manager for Arbor Day Coffee. “We are excited about the partnership to spread the mission of Arbor Day Foundation and introduce Arbor Day Coffee to a growing audience.”

Coffee beans for Arbor Day Coffee are sustainably grown under the canopy of rain forests and then roasted, creating a richer cup of coffee. The Arbor Day Foundation has been producing and marketing the coffee for 20 years, and the sales of the coffee help support the work of the nonprofit foundation to protect and plant more trees.

Conventional coffee farming practices often involve clear-cutting large areas of the rain forest in an attempt to maximize production. This intense method may increase yield and productivity in the short term but ultimately leads to land degradation including soil depletion, loss of plant and animal biodiversity, and frequent landslides…which leads to increased carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and climate change. This is also concerning for the people that call these farms home.

“I think our biggest benefit of our new partnership with GROW is the opportunity to let more people know about the work that is happening at the Arbor Day Foundation and really bring forward the environmental impact that trees have.  Our mission is truly to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees,” Kara said.

Arbor Day Coffee is available through the Foundation’s website, its coffee club, wholesale accounts and through distributors. Kara said she is hoping the new partnership with GROW Nebraska will open up new markets by introducing Arbor Day Coffee to local grocery stores, coffee shops and gift stores. In addition, Arbor Day Coffee is now available on GROW’s Buy Nebraska online store. 

In 2022, the Arbor Day Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary, which will also be the 150th anniversary of the Arbor Day holiday.

“With this anniversary approaching, The Arbor Day Foundation is aspiring to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities around the globe, and we’ll do this by inspiring 5 million tree planters to help carry the mission forward,” Kara said. “The Arbor Day Coffee program will be contributing to this goal.”

Not Just For Businesses

GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke said GROW Nebraska works with many nonprofit organizations across the state.

“Most people don’t think of GROW Nebraska as working with non-profits,” Janell said. “Arbor Day Foundation is Nebraska’s crown jewel. It’s thrilling for GROW Nebraska to be working with them to be marketing this phenomenal coffee product and to expand its mission awareness.”

Many other nonprofit organizations, such as the Willa Cather Foundation, the Nebraska Prairie Museum, Water4Haiti and L2Kids, are also GROW members.

In addition to helping spread the word about the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission, Janell said she is also excited about expanding coffee sales to support that mission.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to provide those growth strategies for the Arbor Day Foundation,” Janell said.

GROW has launched or expanded online shopping opportunities for many businesses, including Dorothy Lynch and Gary’s Quick Steak. Janell said sometimes GROW ships as many as 60 cases a day of Dorothy Lynch salad dressing to places around the country.

“Online shopping is not going to go away,” Janell said. “The more we can also help each other, the better.”

For more information about GROW Nebraska and its membership opportunities, visit

Story by GROW Nebraska member Kristine Jacobson,