Hi, Ya’ll! I’m Shanika.
I’m the 28 year old–self-taught cook + baker, author, writer, and all around ‘creative mind’ behind Orchids + Sweet Tea. In addition, I’m a connoisseur of interior decorating (hence my passion for beautifully staged food photos!), a wife, Mama to a witty toddler, AND absolute Foodie + Sweets-Lover! Whew! I know–I just described myself as a lot right? Haha.
I was Born and raised in the South (Florida to be exact!), but am currently a resident of the Big Apple (NYC) + explorer of all the amazing Gems that exist within this big melting pot of a city! Because of my Southern roots, you’ll find a lot of my old childhood favorites along with many dishes that showcase bold flavor and intricate combinations. I have written for several Blog platforms/Online Magazines, including The Breakup Queen, Rover’s Theo Magazine, UniDays The Edit, Enigma Life + continues to expand my fresh & creative perspective throughout many other opportunities. I also pride myself as a Letter Writer for the To Love Ourselves Letter Project, which I voluntarily spread words of encouragement + love to women around the world! Orchids + Sweet Tea has also been humbled to have been featured on Blog News Weekly for one of my favorite recipes–Loaded Sweet Potato topped with Guacamole as well as an exclusive interview by the awesome blogger, Miss Ashley Allison. I am also currently a contributing Chef on a new Food App–UHungry?, where consumers learn to rethink their relationship with food! See my freelance work on my Freelance Page.
More importantly, I pride myself in being a wife + Mama first. Throughout most of my journey to ‘My Happy Place’, I’ve had the privilege of being loved by my two favorite guys. While your journey to happiness is in fact an individual effort, it is so important to have a great support system, especially on days when you feel like giving up or turning away from life’s most challenging moments. Sometimes, it may not be an entire army or community, however, every little bit counts. I can attest to that! Like many of you, I’ve been a survivor of some unpleasant things in my life, but my foundation in God, my support system, and my own will to fight has brought me to a place that has transformed who I’ve become in so many amazing ways. My own personal journey has inspired me to create the other element of Orchids + Sweet Tea—-Wellness.
Wellness for me is all about Mind, Body, + Spiritual wholeness. I’ve learned that oftentimes you have to lose to win! Whether that loss comes from eliminating certain things from your diet for optimal health or killing certain relationships to ensure that the positive aspects of yourself are secure and protected, or setting aside time to cultivate your spiritual being through self-care or spiritual practices. In the end, your losses will only bring forth new + fruitful gains.
Check out a few of my Wellness posts:
- 8 Secrets to Being Your Best You
- 5 Surprising All-Natural Ingredients to Great Skin + Recipes
- Is Not Letting Go Affecting Your Growth?
- Curly Kid: Natural Hair Care 101
One thing you should know: I’m here to prove that you can have your cake + eat it too…It’s all about recreating your favorites through the use of healthier ingredients.
I started this blog in July 2017 as a way to build a community for those who desire to use the little they have to make the best in their lives, especially when it came to making recipes. But then Orchids + Sweet Tea took a sharp turn in just a few short months, where Vegan desserts became the star of the show! However, yet another transition happened, and using healthier ingredients overall became the mission for Orchids + Sweet Tea in addition to the Wellness piece. Today, many vegan dessert recipes remain true while other recipes continue to be added in hopes of joining in on the food-lovers craze. On any given day, I’m the one who enjoys a daily dose of Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks (that equates to a good glass of Wine in my head!), BUT instead, I chose to substitute dairy for almond or coconut milk. As you can see, the recipes on Orchids + Sweet Tea prove that eating COMFORT FOODS can be a reality, while using healthier alternatives to practice a healthy lifestyle; with a little Brooklyn Flavor + a whole lot of Southern charm!
If you’re new to Orchids + Sweet Tea, you won’t want to miss these POPULAR vegan recipes:
- Chunky Vegan Chocolate Chip + Pretzel Cookies
- Fluffy Cinnamon Vegan Belgian Waffles
- Apple, Blueberry & Blackberry Parfait
- Vegan Fudge Zucchini Brownies with Pistachio
- Almond-Cinnamon Crunch Blueberry Banana Bread
- Vegan Banana Pancakes
Are you a foodie looking for some additional flavor? Check out these recipes:
- Creamy Lemon + Herb Parmesan Chicken
- Sweet Potato Berry Breakfast Boat
- Traditional Southern Iced Sweet Tea
- Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Shredded BBQ Jerk Chicken + Sweet Plantains
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicate masterpieces–just GOOD food from fresh ingredients.” -Julia Child
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