I'm Shanika!


Hey! Hi! Hiya! I’m the girl with a whisk in one hand and a cookie (or chicken wing depending on the day) in another---literally! I create all of the recipes that you see on Orchids + Sweet Tea®, styles everything for the perfect shot, while my Husband shoots it with our camera + does all edits----he's the "techy" one in our family. I know----we're a dynamic duo! Xx

To top things off, I'm a Jesus lover and Millennial Mama to a witty boy, Kam + puppy, Koffee who both always keeps me on my toes! Plus, I'm a Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer, + Creator and have had the pleasure of being featured in Taste of Home Magazine (April/May 2021 Issue), Southern Living (Upcoming Spring 2023), Food Network Magazine, The Every Girl, The Zoe Report, Huffington Post, SELF, Food52, VegNews, + more.

What's MY story?

To dig a bit deeper------I’m a connoisseur of interior decorating + design (I started channeling my love for this at age 13, hence my passion for beautifully staged food photos—-it just oozes from my pores), and I’m absolutely obsessed with things that are simple, YET have a healthy dose of sparkle + 'swag'. Yes, both can co-exist---just in case you were wondering. Haha.

While I don’t come from a long line of chefs or restaurant owners, one of the main ways that my family often came together growing up was through food, music, and laughter which inspired me to create a space that both uplifts and feeds those who choose to visit my little corner of the web here.

As a teenager, I often experimented in the kitchen by making things that I felt like eating and it became my way of coping with depression and anxiety as I got older. After attempting (and often failing) and then successfully mastering simple things like pancakes, biscuits, chicken wings, etc., I realized that I truly enjoyed cooking in the kitchen and seeing what I could create---which made for a great escape from the emotional + mental trauma that I had to face often within my household as a result of emotional + verbal abuse. Literally, cooking + baking became my therapy!

After having my own family, I began experimenting even more with cooking since we were going through major financial troubles and couldn't afford takeout for a period of time. However, I eventually stumbled upon a real passion for food creation and thus Orchids + Sweet Tea® was born in 2016. Shortly after the start of Orchids + Sweet Tea® (while on my Postpartum Journey), I realized that my body could no longer successfully digest dairy + gluten at it's best level in conjunction with everything else-----Why hello, HORMONES! One of the evidences seemed to link to consistent monthly ovarian cysts and endometriosis-like symptoms ---- that often were draining to suffer through for most of the month for a total of almost two years before I realized that it was my new "norm". Countless Doctor visits resulted in no solution (or at least one that didn't require that I be committed to hormonal medication) until I finally decided to use my Faith in God and diet as a way of healing.

MY PROCESS: A whole lot of prayer and a TON of research on self-care, healthier eating, + home remedies that helped my body on it's road to recovery and move things along in my Postpartum healing journey. We're talking things like aroma therapy for calming effects, essential oils for skin, hair, and body; the right foods to eat + to eliminate, herbal teas and supplements, incorporating exercise (no matter how small), and a host of other things. Yes, it's still a journey, but a journey that I am learning to embrace, love + eat through; one plate at a time! Xx

What Now?

Because of my Southern roots + Jamaican background, you’ll find a lot of my old childhood favorites along with many NEW FAVES that offer bold flavors and intricate combinations (often stumbled upon through trial, error, + a whole lot of grace!). It's about the Cooking experience + Music, which creates my therapeutic space. And so I'm sharing that with you!

Orchids + Sweet Tea® is a Food + Wellness blog that includes recipes that stand by TWO THINGS: Complex flavors. Simple ingredients.

In addition, you’ll find a few different options as it relates to eating healthier without being RESTRICTED TO JUST ONE DIET (some Dairy-Free, sprinkles of Gluten-Free, an explosion of Vegan, and Plant-Forward dishes), which all caters to my entire foodie community.

Overall, Orchids + Sweet Tea® holds true to helping others discover their love journey through Foods and an overall Healthier Lifestyle while keeping the comfort of foods; with a little Brooklyn Flare + a touch of Jamaican Flavor + a whole lot of Southern Charm.

At last, I've recently written my very first cookbook, Orchids & Sweet Tea: Plant-Forward Recipes with Jamaican Flavor & Southern Charm, which walks you through why I started my healthy lifestyle journey, my experience as a picky-eater growing up + how that has affected my food choices, easy delicious plant-forward & plant-based recipes that cater to your whole family, and more.

All Eaters Welcome! Xx

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Get to know me

This or that?

Early Bird
Night Owl


What About the

lifestyle & wellness?

To touch a bit on Lifestyle + Wellness —-for me it’s all about Mind, Body, + Spiritual wholeness. I’ve learned that oftentimes you have to lose to win–in the literal sense! Whether that loss comes through eliminating specific ingredients from your diet, self-care, cultivating the right relationships, changing your mindset for the better---whatever that looks like for you!


Cheers to a Happy, Healthy, Hearty Life!

let’s work


I love collaborating with brands and companies and in turn, creating some pretty amazing content as a team! Here’s some ways we can work together: