Hey! Hi! Hiya! Welcome! Shanika is the girl with a whisk in one hand and a cookie (or chicken wing depending on the day) in another---literally! She creates all of the recipes that you see on Orchids + Sweet Tea®, styles everything for the perfect shot, while her Husband, Darnell shoots it with their camera + does all edits----he's the "techy" one of the family. Xx
Shanika is the Founder + Creator of Orchids + Sweet Tea®, a cookbook author, recipe developer, food stylist, Jesus lover and Mama to a witty boy, Kam + puppy, Koffee----who both very well keeps her on her toes! She's had the pleasure of being featured in an array of publications which include but are not limited to: Respin [a wellness brand by Halle Berry], Taste of Home Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, Food Network Magazine, The FeedFeed, The Every Girl, the Kitchn, The Zoe Report, Huffington Post, SELF, Food52, VegNews, + more.
While she doesn't come from a long line of chefs or restaurant owners, one of the main ways that her family often came together growing up was through food, music, and laughter which inspired Shanika to create a space that both uplifts and feeds those who choose to visit her little corner of the web!
As a child, she grew up an extreme picky eater which lead to high levels of anxiety around food and in general. As she got older, she began getting in the kitchen more and taught herself how to master simple dishes like pancakes, eggs, + bacon and cheesecake (the first dessert she nailed in High School). Literally, cooking + baking became her "therapy" as she coped with emotional + verbal abuse during her teenage years.
After having her own family, she began experimenting even more with cooking since they were going through major financial troubles and couldn't afford takeout or high-quality ingredients for a period of time. However, she 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 her Postpartum Journey), she realized that her body could no longer successfully digest or tolerate dairy + gluten in conjunction with everything else [Endo-type pain, etc]. Countless doctor visits resulted in no solution (or at least one that didn't require that she be committed to hormonal medication) until she finally decided to use her Faith in God, changes in her lifestyle, and diet as a way of healing.
HER PROCESS: A whole lot of prayer and a TON of research on self-care, healthier eating, + home remedies that helped her body on it's road to recovery and move things along in her 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 she is learning to embrace, love + eat through; one plate and recipe at a time! Xx
Fast forward to now and she's walking the journey of being able to cook foods beyond what she could have fathomed.
Orchids + Sweet Tea® is a Food + Lifestyle site 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 to ensure that EVERYONE in your family can eat (some Dairy-Free, sprinkles of Gluten-Free, an explosion of Vegan, and Plant-Forward dishes).
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, Shanika has recently written her very first cookbook, Orchids & Sweet Tea: Plant-Forward Recipes with Jamaican Flavor & Southern Charm, which walks you through why she started her healthy lifestyle journey, her experience as a picky-eater growing up + how that has affected her food choices, easy delicious plant-forward & plant-based recipes that cater to your whole family, and more.
To touch a bit on Lifestyle + Wellness —-for me it’s all about Mind, Body, + Spiritual wholeness. Whether change comes through eliminating specific ingredients from your diet, self-care, cultivating the right relationships or changing your mindset for the better---It's all about walking out your wellness journey!