FORTitude FW Where Stories Never Die

Roxo Media House

Alex Snodgrass (The Defined Dish NYT Best Seller)

Alex Snodgrass

The Defined Dish NYT Best Seller

Alex Snodgrass stopped by the FORTitude Pod this week and she was awesome! She shared her journey into the food influencer world, where her love of cooking comes from, and the wins and challenges she faced in publishing her first cookbook. Join the guys as we get to know Alex and prepare to be inspired.


Alex is a food lover, Whole 30 health enthusiast, and the founder of The Defined Dish. She graduated from TCU where she studied Political Science and History and now lives in Dallas where she lives with her husband and two young daughters while running her business. Her recipes use clean ingredients that are known for being simple, easy, and full of flavor. Be sure to check out this episode, you’ll walk away with a new passion for home cooked meals. fined

Audio Only

Episode Transcription: 

Welcome back people of Fort Worth. We are FORTitude to my left today is the lovely Brinton Payne and I am JW Wilson you can find us FORTitudeFW on social media and social media platforms that I get all that right. Yeah. Brinton question for you in the pain household. What’s a typical dinner look like? Is it caviar and Tomahawk steaks for the boys.
I am slowly gravitating towards a liquid dinner. Quite honestly, I sleep much better when I drink a smoothie,
but I don’t drink alcohol. That’s what that liquid dinner sounds like. But
no, but I mean like non liquid like a smoothie. But I do have a confession to make to our diabetic friend to the right of me. Jay brought in some donuts this morning he did from Qt which I would imagine is a fine quality donut. And I was caught scarfing one down over I had to hide behind my desk because I didn’t want to upset you. But I did eat one before the show and so I apologize to both of you before we go.
It’s okay if you want to put that poison in your body. We’re not going to stop you. But in today in studio Britain we have we have some greatness. We have the wonderful Alex Snodgrass. As we all know her the Define dish gal. Alex, thank
you for having me. Very, very
happy to have to be here. So Alex Snodgrass is from Salina, Texas. She did go to TCU. So he’s already already starting off on a good foot with us. I
asked the guys the deal last night I said, Where’s Selena as the bobcat and he said he just said he kept going north right? He’s like he got isn’t it just far north,
Dallas, Dallas Plano Frisco prosper and then select that
was the rhetoric he gave me. Yeah, spot on.
Alex is known. If we don’t if you don’t know Alex, you probably haven’t been paying attention much because she’s everywhere these days. But she’s a food blogger, an Instagram influencer, a businesswoman and a New York Times bestselling author of the Define dish cookbook, which we’ll talk about here today. As we sit today, Alex, you have 620,000 followers on your on your social media page, Instagram, correct. That’s amazing in itself. Congrats to that. We’re gonna delve into all these cool things. But
that’s like 90 XR followers. Yeah,
we have about 620 Here period. So we’re catching up, I think yeah,
a great job there got to start somewhere. Real quick, we’ll
go to the to the bio stuff, we had some bigger questions to ask you. But growing up with food around you, when did When did all this really catch hold, and you knew you had something to go with and it exploded for you. You know,
it was kind of after college. After I had set, my first daughter. And I was home and blogs were just really starting to gain traction. And my sister and I had started to find dish as a hobby. And we did that for about two years just kind of for fun. Or I realized, I really love this, I’m starting to get the swing of it. And it was that time that I thought you know what I’d really like to actually try to turn this into a business and see, see if anything sticks. It’s worth trying and see what happens. And that was about, I want to say 2016 2017. And the rest is history.
When did you know that it was going? Well,
I’d say Right. Whenever I really decided to rebrand and go all in it really gained traction really quickly. I think my rebrand was really great. The community that was already kind of there from whenever my sister and I had done it, you know, more loosely, was really excited to see me, you know, put some more effort into it. I was really consistent with how often I posted my blog recipes each week. And then on top of it, it was kind of around the same time that Instagram stories came about. And so my audience really got to connect with me and vice versa, I got to connect with them. And that’s I really feel like when the sense of community at the Define dish started to really gain some traction, and everyone really started to connect in a great way.
Excellent, but the love of cooking started earlier for you. Yeah, tell us about that. Like how did that all happen? Yeah,
so being from Salina it’s obviously a town that especially when I was there didn’t have any restaurants. So the home home cooked meals were the norm for me growing up and I’ve always taken an interest in helping my mom or my grandmother in the kitchen. I was just really love food. And so I was always kind of helping out here and there and kind of talking about what we’re going to cook and then when I got to college, and we were eating out all the time. I was like, I just want to be at home and I want to have a home cooked meal. Yeah. And so I started calling my mom for recipes that I love that she always made and that would help her make and then I once I mastered those I just kind of kept going and getting better and better in the kitchen. I feel like by the time it was post college and once I had now husband, I were kind of settled down, I really started to get more creative in the kitchen and more inventive. Oh, very good.
We’re going to talk about that Jen to hear and said, I would say it’s it’s I think everybody knows, but whole whole 30 is a big part of where you started where you’re going with this. I wouldn’t call that a fad. But that that’s a big powerful thing before a powerful force in the food world right now. Do you see the next fad the next diet craze is that not that it’s a diet but is there a next thing that you’re privy to
think about? You know, I think for me, whole 30 was like, so it was a really big turning point for me in my life, I was really struggling with postpartum at the time. And I just kind of was in this funk and my sister had done a whole 30. And she was like, I really think this might be good for you to just like, get some mental clarity, I feel really good after doing this. And at that point, I was just kind of willing to try anything. And the whole 30 really changed a lot of my habits in the kitchen, it changed the ingredients that I bought and cooked with it made me Turn around, turn, you know, all the products that I buy in the grocery store and flip them over and see what ingredients was actually in the food that I consume. And so no matter what, even life after hole 30 I will always it’s always gonna leave a huge impact on my life, it changed everything in the kitchen for me at that time. So it’s always gonna be a monumental thing for me, even though it is for 30 days, it’s not a 365 thing. That’s why it’s called the whole 30. So I think for me, now I’m in the stage of like food freedom and really kind of trying to focus on eating real whole food ingredients. And so, you know, do
paleo to do the whole 30.
So basically, it’s a it’s a stricter version of paleo,
do you have to do CrossFit then for your workout? Because those were like,
really go hand in hand. A lot of CrossFit people love the paleo lifestyle. But no, I don’t do CrossFit.
But you can, you could keep that kind of style of eating, like I did the whole 30. And then I noticed that it kind of changed my eating for a good six months, like you’re sure,
and you still operate that stuff, even though you’re not doing it all the time. It’s like, the ingredients that you cook with the way that you shop at the grocery store. I mean, it leaves a lasting impact on you. Yeah, in my opinion. Yeah. Has for me.
Alright, the first book you did the divine dish, was wildly successful, New York Times bestseller, how many copies? Are we talking about? Is there a number you can share with us? You know,
I can’t remember what the last number was? over 100,000 copies for charitable.
That’s cool. You just thought of that and looked that way. And that number came? Do you
know, I know it’s over 100,000. But I have no clue where that
person back there helped out. That’s
good. We dig in a little bit to the business side of making a book of that nature. Yeah, what goes into building a book a cookbook, in your in your experience?
Well, it’s it’s a crazy process, but so much fun. So basically, you kind of first got to go into the trying to get a publisher to pick up your book mode and create a concept and an outline. And your literary agent will pitch it to publishers or one publisher, depending on what you’re trying to get. With my second one, it was more of like a, I pitched it to a lot of them because I kind of was hitting the reset button because it wasn’t going to be whole 30 and endorsed and my previous editor had left and gone to a different publishing house. So it’s kind of like let’s just start fresh. Let’s see what happens. So long story short, you got to go through that. And then once you’re you get your book picked up, it’s like alright, now Now go make the book. And you’re like, Okay, what am I supposed to be doing right now? This
is all prior to actually making the book pitching the idea. Oh, yeah, they accept it. Then you go make the actual book. Yeah,
I don’t know even where to go. Like,
did you so at a time for my first book, a literary agent approached me. Okay. I was like, Hey, I know that you make a lot of 30 recipes. I would love to pitch you to Hmh who does the whole 30 endorse books. I think it’d be great for the next one. They’ve done a series of them. And at that time, I was really wanting to publish a cookbook, but I had no clue where to start even know that I needed a literary agent to be honest. And I was asking around to family and friends of like, do you know anyone that’s published a book like any tips and tricks, and I was kind of having those conversations amongst family and friends when she approached me it was really perfect timing. And it was the perfect situation for me. I’m so glad that my first book was whole 30 endorsed. I felt like it was it was perfect for my community at the time and the way that we that the way that I shared my recipes. And so from there, you basically go and you make you make a bunch of recipes and you don’t really talk to anybody for a while and you’re like am I supposed to be sending you anything? So there’s like a six to nine months. And depending on what your turnaround time is, of creating the creating the recipes, and then you go into Okay, now we have to make the book come to life, we have to photograph the whole thing. So with Book One, obviously didn’t have much of a budget to work with. So I cooked and styled all the food for the shoot. We did it in two weeks. And then Kristin and Kilpatrick also a Horned Frog, shot the photos. And we somehow piecemealed it together at your home. And my hope
we don’t understand piecemeal right here. Like that concept. No big pro. Yes.
You probably figured that out quickly. Right?
Yeah. So we, we did it and it turned out great. But I did learn along the way. I’m like, when you’re cooking 100 recipes in two weeks, but you’re also trying to like oversee the creative side of it. Make sure everything’s looking the way that you want it to. You really do need to have like a food stylist, the food stylist would cook the food. They
were guinea pig, like a guinea pig like, would they Oh, they would cook it for the photo. They are good for
the photo. They’re so good. And I did that with my second book, I took on a food stylist with my second book. And it helps the process go much, much more smoothly. But yeah, then you shoot the book. And then you go into editing mode. And that takes a while. And now my second book, for example, is printing. And that takes a while. And then it’s got to ship to all the bookstores. It’s a process. Yeah.
So um, I read in the foreword that you had. I think it was Frant Fanny, Jeanette and Nani So how much did they play a part in that first book? Like the inspiration of Yeah, so
Fanny was my nanny growing up.
Okay. That’s a cool name
is the best. So I in the My grandmother was Nani okay? And then Jeanette was a woman that was kind of like my dad’s nanny growing up and they all kind of inspired me as far as like my southern style of, of inspiration and cooking goes. And I was always around them in the kitchen, and they were all fabulous cook, so I learned a lot from them. And then Mimi was on my mom’s side and she cooked more Italian food. So I learned from her on that aspect. And my mom Of course. So yeah, they were all super influential. I loved being in the kitchen with them. My most fond memories of all those women are in the kitchen with them. Yeah,
you think that like, kind of the heart transcends into dishes? I mean, without getting to like emotion. You can really, I mean, maybe that’s why this food doesn’t always taste that great, you know? Yes. Yes.
It’s like why was in college like I just want to eat a home cooked meal. It just it just hits different. Yeah. And I think food is again like so much more than just nourishing your body and what goes into it and the ingredients that are on the back of the label. I think it’s also the you know, gathering on the table with the people that you love and and being surrounded by, you know, women in the kitchen. It’s like there’s so much history and there’s so much culture behind food it’s just the best Yeah,
fast food comment heard our producers feelings by the way. He subsists on fast food
he’s already thinking about
doubles or what else I don’t even know one of those came with the doubles like the number one or whatever. I mean, it was like meat sandwich. So Alex, you
are your brand has steadily grown since you launched it. You’re not just define dish anymore. You’re much more than that. I think your home clothing in some respects other things. This is my opinion. Yeah. What are any new new new new product lines coming out in the near future you
can expel
we’re working on that plate and I my husband. I know you know him very well. But just in case people listening tell. Clayton and I are working with one other partner and starting from the ground up our own product line. It’s going to kind of start off as like dressings and sauces. And that’s been a learning curve for sure. We’re still working with the food scientist. It’s so hard to get recipes to translate to be shelf stable and still tastes the way that you want them to I found
find a food scientist. That’s where
our partner James Beshear has really come in handy. He’s done a lot of great startups and he was the perfect partner just kind of helped guide the way but he found one they’re based in Denver they’ll also be our CO packer and bottle the dressings and the whole thing and they have a food scientists on their on their team. So we’ve been working with them on getting I’m going to start off with two sauces. Hopefully they’ll be out in March April ish.
What kind of sauce can you say? No. Secret sauce?
It’s a secret sauce.
What’s the secret sauce an All American burger
movie I don’t think you want to know.
But this I really want. I don’t want them to just be salad dressings. I’ve made so many different recipes. dressings. Well, yeah, dressings earlier. So I want them to be really versatile and help people get really flavorful dishes on the dinner table on a weeknight a little bit faster but we’re you know kind of cutting that part of having to make a homemade dressing if they want that convenience of it but I’ve made I feel like this new product line will also kind of have its own recipe book where they can see different ways that they can use yeah he’s yeah said dressings like
like kind of as a sometimes a you salad dressing as a marinade for chicken or something exactly.
Or in like different types of tacos or in a stir fry like depending on which one I’m working with,
do they is it going to be healthy because the Newman’s like it’s delicious but I’ve heard it’s not very
it’s really hard to get salad dressings shelf stable that our whole 30 compatible. They’re not whole 30 approved that would have to get the stamp which I’ll go through that process with the whole 30 team eventually once we get the recipes nailed down and hopefully we’ll get that stamp of approval at some point but I have made the first two at least they are whole 30 compatible.
Besides Alex can some anyone in here raise their hand if they’ve ever met a food scientist? You know in a casual pass? Well, I
was gonna call myself a food stylist only because they can make something look good, but it doesn’t always taste good. I think that’s fair like the stylist prepares a thing for photography. Yeah, but they don’t necessarily tastes like it’s gonna taste if you made out
there. They’re great cooks. They usually have a really extensive culinary background the girl that did it for me. I mean, she’s an incredible cook.
Sometimes we just bounce over things when we
don’t know any food scientists think that’d be cool.
Like I don’t know. Do they like a big degree program at some university for psychology? I
think they do go to school for it and like you know, you can’t use fresh garlic in a bottle dressing unless it’s like done a certain way so it’s I kind of have to train to garlic powder. It’s it’s shelf stable longer, unless it’s in the refrigerated section. Oh yeah, I want it to be in the in the pantry.
And he wanted a refrigerated section like that’s that’s
to get the refrigerated section because there’s not enough space. So it’s harder for me as a product to get my stuff on the shelves there. It’s process we learned a lot. Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy learning. The middle of it
since you mentioned him. Let’s talk about this guy you call Clayton rowdy man, you say he’s your husband. Right. I have known him for a long time. I actually had the privilege of coaching him in high school, which is great. Clayton has taken on a role in all that you’re doing in one thing particular that has become a staple for Clayton is his Margarita. Oh, yeah, there is. There is now a Clayton Margarita if you search for the Clayton it.
It I know. compliant? Definitely not. I chose to tequila doses simple syrup in there for show.
Yeah. And I’ve had one several times I know you guys have had many of them but they’re they’re quite good. And they’re it’s unique because I think egg whites is the foamy part on top. So unusual but that’s essentially become the the best part about it, I think. Yeah,
for sure. Yeah, no, it’s definitely one of the signature things about his Margarita. But he always tells people and he’s true. It’s true. It’s one of the most popular recipes on my blog. If and sometimes it’s number one depending on the time it’s up there
was like a restaurant ever come and say we want this Can we have like your signature dish? I
mean, I guess you could just make it oh, just copy. Yeah. Sorry up there.
I completely forgot about plagiarism and counterfeit in this day and age. My bad.
No. You know, whenever like I did my last book tour a couple of places. They would make it like we teamed up with the rustic and did an event in Dallas and they serve Clayton Margarita. So we’ve done some fun events where people will add it to the menu whenever I’m I’m there. Yeah,
we do that we should have like a kickoff and cook one of your dishes the same one and see which one tastes better.
And then all the blind. Yeah, yeah, totally.
I think that’s a great idea.
Food styling is also part of your points. Well, we
do in our presence. Somebody already self admitted him. So
we’ll see it’s part of it. Eat with your eyes.
So let’s talk about for a second the, the job of an influencer safe to say you are that and people watch what you do and they follow you and what does it mean to be as a social media influencer, for those of us who are so familiar? Oh,
it’s such a crazy word. And like, of course, when I started my food blog, I never ever in a million years dreamed of like what this would turn into and the power of social media and the audience size that I’ve grown. So it’s been it’s definitely been a learning curve and definitely the hardest part about my job, emotionally and mentally. But I don’t really know what it necessarily means. But I do think that, you know, we’re putting out free content other than like my book every day, I’m providing recipes on my blog, that are free and the way that We’ve made weight money influencers is by doing paid partnerships in collaboration so that’s a huge aspect of being a quote unquote influencer. And then the other aspect is just you know, sharing your day to day life and people picking up on what you do and doing similar things and getting tips and tricks from you or, you know, for a fashion blogger like people start to dress you know, get tips and tricks on what to buy and inspiration from them. So I don’t know if I have the answer of what social media influencer is, but
do they have a food stylist influencer? Mine?
Yeah, my food stylist has a has a great account. Oh, yeah, beauty Kim.
I’ve seen JW picture all over. That’s weird. I haven’t so
safe to say because people were asking you about fashion and things that drove you into the fashion
world, I would not consider myself a fashion person. In fact, I try to avoid answering that question. But if I get enough DMS about something, and people are asking me enough about, you know, a sweater that I’m wearing or my sneakers that day, I’ll put up a post and link to it. And I’ll use rewardstyle, which I’ll get a small commission off of every sale as if I can. So, you know, I don’t do that that much. Because I don’t want to make my page about that. There was a while. And there was a while there. Like whenever I was smaller, and I was starting to grow people, like share your clothes. And I start I did that for a minute. Sorry, I have a frog in my throat. As I’m in Fort Worth, um,
was it a forward slam?
No, but I just felt like it was very an authentic for me, it didn’t feel organic. I felt kind of like, oh, this is awkward. So if I’m doing something, and I’m at an event, and people are like, oh, please tell me where you got that dress. All share, but I’m not like gonna just be like, Look what I’m wearing today.
Yeah, yeah. Is it hard? Like, do you feel? I mean, you got a lot of stuff going on? Like, is this just a constant pressure? You kind of wired that way to where? What else would I do? You know, like, I love this I love I mean, some people they just love posting you know, all the time.
I definitely don’t share as much as I used to. I think I’ve definitely put some walls up over the last couple years, especially my kids are getting older and social media is getting weirder. And the way that I shared when the Define dish was first starting and Instagram stories was first starting, I just shared willy nilly. I didn’t think about it. I was you know, like, totally. What’s the right word that I’m trying to give you just like naive and have no clue. Like, the consequences of it. Yeah. And then as a, as I’ve grown, and as I’ve seen the world of social media change ever so drastically, like every day, I’m more cautious. And I think about things before I share them. And my family and I have a lot of walls up there. So it’s hard. Yeah.
So obviously, everybody’s giving you lots of positive feedback online. Are there some is there some bad involved with that as well, just because the nature of the business for sure.
I think, you know, sometimes people think because they don’t know you personally, and they’re watching you, and maybe they’re having a bad day, or maybe something that you did didn’t resonate with them. There’s people out there that need to comment on that. Whereas most normal people would just be like, oh, that didn’t really resonate with me move on to the next thing and yeah, don’t need to dress it. But some people just really
say, I mean, you got ditches of like, I tried to cook this and it didn’t taste good
to hear some good like food, blog comments and if something didn’t turn out the right way like that. I think that is you know, good feedback. It’s stupid things like oh, you should wear a belt with that dress. Oh you need to tell me that I feel great today like
winter does anybody ever say like oh my god, I would not have put the jalapenos like the fashion of this photo is just terrible. Like a fashion food fashion.
Oh god. This is question real quick. He’s smiling. We just discussed this No, nobody’s really said anything about that but sometimes like oh, I went I posted like a potato salad and it was really yellow cuz I put like mustard it was good. Yeah, but it kind of looked like scrambled eggs and people like oh my God thought that was scrambled eggs you know it’s things like that which God does it I mean, that’s kind of funny. I’m like you know what it does look well a little bit like a hair in my food in my photos and I posted it y’all in Saudi so embarrassed what are these zoom in on it like Well, you got to see it. I didn’t see it. I was just here and I had posted this it was a stir fry it was years ago. And it was like still when I was growing and I was so mortified about it. But you know, you
get your hair nets now when you prepare for the phone that’s another comment.
Like if I’m doing like a video content that like put your hair up when you’re cooking. I’m like I’m not serving anybody. This isn’t a fucking restaurant
is margaritas.
My hair When I cook in my kitchen like I’m also I’m on, I’m on camera right now to look good. And my hairs down. Yeah. People just like to poke and prod sometimes, and for the most part, it’s stuff that doesn’t upset you. But then sometimes people will go low and like, your feelings are hurt. And it used to affect me, way more. And over the years, I’ve gotten thicker skin about it. And yeah, I think also just expectations of people and everything that’s going on in the world all the time. I think that’s really a hard element of it too. And addressing that sometimes and knowing when or when it’s authentic for me to talk about things and when it’s not, and really just kind of following my gut and my heart and, and setting boundaries for myself to one what I share. So it’s been a learning curve for sure. But why live you learn? Why is
healthy food, it makes you feel really good. Like, if you do like two or three days of just healthy food, pay attention producer, it’s a it is crazy. Yeah. And I watched this documentary one time on just food and with sickness and stuff. And the lady was like, you know, you have all these people who do all this external work on themselves. And if they would just eat healthy, like from within, like, you would be amazing. i What is? Where’s the separation here? Like what is? Is it because you can make more money selling the fast food? Or like, I don’t understand, can you kind of articulate like all your stuff healthy. And it’s like I all
I can do is articulate, like the way that I feel whenever I eat and the reasons why I do it. But it’s like, you know, you get off track. And maybe you go on vacation, eat all the things and you feel sluggish. And you’re in your brain fog is there and you’re like, I kind of want to like clean up my diet this weekend, you, you show up for your workouts every day and you eat really healthy and cut the alcohol out and you feel amazing. And you’re just like on cloud nine and then and then you kind of start to get off that but yeah, like right now I’ve been really, you know, my better side of behavior as far as like being consistent in the gym, being consistent with my diet. And I’ve been feeling so much more energetic, and so much happier. And I just felt like when people do that, and they do a whole 30, for example, and see that 30 days of how taking care of yourself, in turn makes you so much better in every aspect of your life. You’re a better you’re happier wife, you’re a happier mom in my, you know, circumstance Exactly. And like just, you’re just more present with yourself and your family and everything around you and you just feel good. So, and I think sugar, everything is sugars and everything. And you don’t realize that until you do something like a whole 30 and, and really take a moment to step back and be like, What am I eating, and you have to be the your own advocate, and nobody else can be an advocate for you. And you can make excuses all day. But it’s like, it’s a lot more expensive to go to the doctor all the time than it is to spend a little extra money and time on keeping yourself as healthy as possible.
Yeah, this I once saw this one guy, he’s like, you know, I’m not against like a quote, he’s talking about sugar in the synthesis of sugar, and how it’s like super sugars that are going into this stuff that it’s not just raw sugar, right? And he’s like, I mean, I’m not against like a cocoa leaf in the jungle, but when they turn it into cocaine, then everybody’s gonna it’s like it’s the same kind of thing, you know that
that’s the ultra processed foods that just aren’t good for. And if
you just look at that label, like the added sugars, it’s unbelievable. For
sure. And there’s so like you said earlier, like the world of understanding health and, and food and what it does to our bodies is ever changing. And I’m always open to like shift gears, whenever new information comes out. And I think, you know, the more you know, the better you can be like, people are always studying it. So you have smoothie recipes. You know, I’m not a big smoothie person, but I do have some smoothie recipes. Have you tried rolling? Bolon?
No, what is it? Oh, they’re
based. They started here at TCU. It was like a food truck originally. And they have it where you can order these little packets of smoothies. I’m going to get throw menu in here. That’s what I do a lot because otherwise, there’s too many options
for sure. I know. Yeah. It doesn’t get a little daunting. Let
them do the work for you. In there. I just added coconut
oil to the boat if it’s me the patience of Job. Um, I don’t know what I want. Can you hang on a second? The lines going on? Or?
Okay. One of the common things we’ve heard over the years about this guy you call Clayton One can only imagine this common husbands imagine that Clayton every day of his life gets to partake of these wonderful dishes. I mean, is it is it common that Clayton your family eat these meals you create every day?
You know? Yes, but I think it’s also not as glamorous as everyone would think to like some nights I’m just like, here’s some roasted Brussels sprouts here some roasted asparagus in here some sliced chicken but usually I get more gave him that because I love to you but some weeks I’m tired of cooking. I’m like, This is what we’re eating. But yes. Does he ever served well?
Does he ever do like getting a marital argument? He’s like, I’m going to get a mama’s pizza to show you, you know, or something like,
no, he’s like, he’s his request for dinner are sometimes comical. They’ll be like, Hey, we’re having some people over, like, what should I cook tonight? And he is really ambitious, you know, this JW. He’s like, I think you should make grilled octopus, and da da, da. And I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa, I’m trying to enjoy myself tonight and not be your caterer.
That is crazy that you brought up octopus though, because we had another chef on last week. And they that’s the thing that their family goes for every time
they love scroll doctrines. Like, I’m like, can we just like, you know, throw some burgers on the grill? And like, I think also sometimes people come over to our house, and it’s like they expect Yeah, the red carpet. And I’m Mike, I’m willing to cook a really good meal for you. But like, I’m also trying to have fun. Yeah, yeah.
Have you seen my Octopus teacher? That seems Oh, yeah. really hurt the octopus. I know.
Those little ones, aren’t they the big ones that they get? You don’t see those little ones? Do you think?
You Why are you asking me? These movies? Fantastic. Yes. But it makes you not want to have as much octopuses. Yeah, for sure. Yes. One of our female client or female followers have asked us about your signature drinks. And they’re wondering if you could possibly do more or if you have more signature drinks in the future. Coming for?
Yes, people love so cocktails. So
you could do could be afforded to drink. It could be almost anything really hodgepodge of a lot of different things.
Yes. Make like a Long Island Iced Tea. Yeah.
Every big or whatever gets you drunk. Yeah. That’s called. Yes, yeah.
So in the new book, there’s a chapter called Clayton’s cocktails where we have a lot of cocktails there. So that will be out in December. So they’ll have I can’t remember how many recipes eight to 10. I think there’s eight. And yeah, I’ll keep doing some more cocktails here and there. It’s never like it’s more of like the Clayton come up with something new. And he tried to get him to sit down and write out a recipe is always tricky.
Can we talk about the new book real quick? Yeah, of course. So I’d love to Yeah. selling like crazy, right? Yeah, we pre sold a lot. And it doesn’t come out till I saw December 28. Or after Christmas more or less? Yes.
How come right after? Why wouldn’t?
That’s good question. Because everybody’s pissed off. No, just kidding. Oh, yeah. That’s how the last book was. So it’s really more of a publishing standpoint. They really to get media and to do any local news and, and, you know, national news, they don’t really want to talk about a healthy book, they were talking about holiday stuff. And they’re talking about entertaining. And it’s just less likely for me to get a lot of media around my book until after Christmas time.
Think of how many returns like socks returned. And then you could just go pick up your book, the days after Christmas? Yeah, like bad gifts.
It shows if you pre ordered, it’ll show up at your doorstep on the 28th. Oh, nice. So pretty good. Christmas gift. Yeah, we’re putting together some things that like people can if they will, a lot of people want to get the book. And that’s the that and I really tried to get my publisher to publish it before because I’m like, Okay, I understand the media thing. But I’m willing to do media a little bit afterwards. And they were just like, This is what we need to do. This is the right thing to do. Like when
you think about people, though, making a new start. That’s typically the timeframe when they’re like, Alright, I’ve eaten so much crap during the holidays. Now I want to get healthy. Let me go get a book. So that was
that’s why the whole 30 endorsed books and that’s why the publisher did it then because it’s really centered around January hold 30 is a really big time for people to do all 30. And so that made sense for that book. And this book is is an extension of that. It’s got a ton a whole 30 recipe. So yeah, it does kind of follow this book sullied. But it’s really the media stuff is the employer
told me prior there’s a story behind book number two of how it got filmed and photographed it was small shows time and the city can you share that story with oh my
gosh, so whenever the team full first of all, I was trying to even schedule this whole shoot, and I was like, I don’t want to shoot at my house this time. Last time. When Chris and I did Book One, it was just a total shit show. And it’s just really stressful. Yeah, there’s just food everywhere. The house is a disaster. She’s got like, her whole studio set up in my living room. And then I’m in the kitchen within it looks like a bomb went off. And so with the second book, I was like, let’s let’s do it in a studio. Let’s do it a little bit, the more professional way. But it was also in the middle of the pandemic and like a lot of people weren’t comfortable with, with us flying in to either New York or LA to do that. Oh, yeah. And so I had like a couple people booked out to do that and it just like cap not coming through. So I was like, all right. We’re doing it the house again. Let’s do this. And so Judy flew in with her assistant and they stayed in Airbnb and then Kristin and her digital tech. The photographer stayed in Airbnb. And then we were at the house and every day everyone would come to the house. So we chill Week One goes by. Everything’s good. Well, that weekend, the snowstorm snowpocalypse hit in Texas. So they all had to come stay at our house because all their electricity was out. Luckily, my house electricity never went off. We had I think it was 12 people at the house because Katie she didn’t want to drive in the snow all day. Yeah, well, we did. We did for a while we finally were like, Okay, we’ve all been together for over like three days. So let’s take off the mass but so we so we all get there. And then Taylor, who also works with me whenever I do my cookbook, she kind of comes on her house. Electricity went up so her and her husband and their dog came to say so we had so many people our house was like a giant hotel. It was a disaster. It was a disaster.
That stuff’s fun for like the first night right?
We ended up having a lot of fun together and we all bonded so much like it’s time that whatever forget but I’ve got a pro cook there. We luckily had. Well the other thing was is the grocery stores were shopped out so we had kind of luckily Judy had shopped for like ahead of time, we had a lot of the steps ready to go. But also there was like loose ingredients that are more fresh that we needed for some salads that we needed to buy the day. Yeah, or the day before. And we were like, in the mornings. Okay, let’s divide and conquer and see which grocery store has kale today.
Yeah, I was gonna ask a grocery store question about Selena, like, when you lived up there growing up drove to Frisco, is that what happened? Cuz I was gonna think about like, Did those ingredients you know that you’re able to get or not, you know, not really big metropolitan area kind of dictate the way the food was made?
Like we ate a lot of like more southern style food meatloaves and things starching classic pastas? My mom made lasagna a lot. Yeah, we had a lot of starches. My dad’s meat potato guys of himself. Yeah, they like their things. And like it’s like a routine. Like we had the same things grew up my mom. So really good cook, though. Yeah, she’s made the same things better than you? Definitely not.
Is it competitive ever, never gone? Oh,
no, no, I’m, I’m just more of a creative in the kitchen. She’s more like, this is a recipe that I’d really know how to make. And I know how to make it really well. And she’s taught me so much in the kitchen. I mean, she’s a really good cook.
My wife has a cookbook from like her mom and her mom’s Nan. Yeah, you know, and stuff. And it’s cool. Like, do you have some of those pages? Like,
I have all my grandmother’s on my dad’s side. Her recipe cards? Yeah. Handwritten. Yeah, there’s a cool, like in my new book. There’s a Texas tamale pie. Which it’s not a tamale and it’s not a pie, but it’s, you know, one of those casseroles from back in the day that everyone made. It was like Wolf brand chili with cornbread on top. Delicious. So I remade paleo rendition is that in J dub, it’s not vegan. But I remade it a better for like, you know, cleaner ingredient version of it in my new book. So I got a lot of inspiration from her cards kind of flipping through. I’m like, I want those like cozy meals that we grew up eating but made in a more wholesome way. So I had some fun with that
brand that it says it’s healthy on the front, like it says all natural ingredients and things
I can’t be true. Just
all the all the recipes you created and put out there. Is there some one of the recipes you’re most proud of, or the one you want to be known for? If that’s a fair question.
You don’t know. And I think it’s one of those things that when I first started my blog, I’m like, I didn’t go to culinary school. My recipes are very approachable and simple. And at first, I was like, Are they not impressive enough. And what I’ve realized over the years, it’s like, there’s a need for just ease in the kitchen of something that tastes really flavorful and delicious, but comes together very quickly. That isn’t any sort of special techniques being involved in I feel like I do that really well. So and I’m sticking to that. And I don’t need to be any more fancy than that.
As we kind of wrap it up, you have any regrets? Or like do overs. I mean, you couldn’t control the weather that day on the photoshoot, but anything, you know that like great, anything that you look back and go, Man, I really like I was thinking about the book thing, even when you said you pitch to a bunch of publishers, I get worried they’d steal your ideas or recipe, you know, or the conceptually so
no, no, I mean, at the end of the day, like a lot of cookbooks have very similar themes and ideas like super simple dinners or whatever. And so they you know, at the end of day, it’s just who’s the person making the recipes and what style or recipes are they that helps us kind of differentiate herself but you know, I don’t have any regrets. I feel like even the obstacles that have along the way have been the best learning curves. And I feel like I’m pretty nimble and willing to make mistakes and, and admit when I’m wrong and learn as I go. And I think that’s the beauty of being a businesswoman. Yeah. And businessmen.
Yeah. In your mind, Alex, you’ve you’ve gone to school in Fort Worth. You’ve lived in Dallas, better part of your life. You have a Do you have any opinions on Dallas versus Fort Worth?
I am not going there. No, I love I love Dallas. And I love what we’re so much like they’re both home to us. We spent so much time in Fort Worth, because my family’s still here. So many of our best friends are we got to a lot of TCU games. So we I feel like we’re kind of split between the two. They’re both so unique, but similar in some ways, but I can’t pick favorites. The
biggest difference between Dallas and fourth it was stick to restaurants and food. Is there anything I feel
like when we come to Fort Worth, it’s a little bit more of a bubble dress like you get with our friends, we kind of do the same thing. And that’s really comforting and lovely. It’s like that routine that you have. Whereas in Dallas, it’s just a little bit more like kind of all over the place with what we do in a week and who we hang out with and what’s going on like
bigger city I mean I know it’s like it’s we’re growing and stuff but yeah, it’s got
its I think that’s the biggest difference for us that we can’t ever
be done better be had your dinner by 10 o’clock in Fort Worth and Dallas dinnertime could be up till 234.
So we’re still we’re not eating that late,
of course but if you want it to hear a different
this is true. It’s true. These closes at nine so they don’t really serve after five.
Yes. Louise is actually gone now Is it is it was closed down.
Yeah, sorry. There’s still a Ryan Steakhouse, right by there. But
there, is there a constant pressure do you feel being an influencer, being always having to post and do things and create? Do you feel a pressure on you all the time to come up with the next idea?
Yes, and no, I think the algorithm the way that Instagram wants creatives like myself to perform and post is really hard. But I do feel like I have a really strong community already behind them that I find it and if I stall out, it’s 630 for a year, like, or two years, I’m okay with that. Because I know they’re there for my recipes. And like, I just have not willing to sell my soul to the Instagram devils. And, and, and go that route. And that’s, that’s another reason why I am trying to diversify my income and trying to start a product line and try to do other things. Because I know that at some point, I’m not going to be a quote unquote influencer for the rest of my life. And I need to find other ways to monetize my business, so that I can continue to do what I love for my community. And so that’s been definitely a priority for me. So yeah, there’s a pressure for sure. But I also tried to put my sanity and my family and myself up up there. And, and I think social media can have a really negative impact on your, your mental capacity and just your emotional state. And so I really tried to not let that happen to me. Yeah. And I’m like, at the end of the day, if I didn’t post for three days, like, that’s fine. nobody really notices. Yeah, that’s the only
What’s the hardest part about being you?
Just, I guess, always trying to be on and people’s ex trying to meet expectations? Well, I think, you know, it’s, it’s a lot of pressure sometimes.
Okay, you’ve done an amazing job.
Yes. Yeah. So we always ended the show asking this question like, family aside. You can’t have you know, no weddings, or birthday kids or anything like that. Like, what’s the what’s been the best day of your life?
When I became a New York Times bestseller, I’m gonna cry. It was awesome. I mean, I’ve never ever expected that to happen. Yeah, quite wonderful.
Was it? Was it a phone call saying Alex guess I got
an email from my editor. And it was just myself and my two daughters in we were living in downtown at the time as we were remodeling our house. And it popped up immediately on my phone. It’s like, you’re all the best sellers. Listen, I just started screaming and my girls are like, whoa, what are we screaming about? Yeah, no, they cheering with me. And I’m like, The New York Times bestseller. They’re like, they have no clue what that means. But we were all screaming together. And it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Was that really an aspiration from the beginning? I mean, it’s like, it’s like when you’re
writing a book, you’re like, Wouldn’t it be cool if that happened, but I was like, There’s no way I’m gonna get that. But like, that would be cool.
Yeah. That’s great. That’s great.
It was incredible. I’m really proud of that for sure.
Yes, you should be. Well, Alex Snodgrass, the Define dish. Thank you for your time. We’ve loved it. You’re doing a hell of a job and keep on going. You make a lot of people happy with what you do. And that in itself is the best part about my job. Thanks for having me and a shout out to Melanie pay happy 40th birthday. We love you Happy birthday and while we’re talking loud