Raleigh writer Tamika Gardner achieved every food blogger's dream: She's now a cookbook author.
Gardner's first book, "201 Organic Baby Purees: The Freshest, Most Wholesome Food Your Baby Can Eat," was published last month. She has three upcoming cooking classes and book signings at the Earth Fare store in Brier Creek.
Six years ago, Gardner's transformation from industrious mom to food blogger to author started with the birth of her first child.
When her daughter was ready for solid foods, Gardner says she started with the baby food from the store. But when Gardner tasted it, she was less than impressed. Then she realized that she was buying bananas and peas for herself and her husband and buying jars of the same for her daughter.
"I thought, 'Why am I buying this stuff twice?' " she says.
When Gardner started making her daughter's food, she documented it on a blog, www.simplybaby foodrecipes.net . Eventually, a publisher contacted her about writing a book.
What Gardner wants parents to know is that it's easy and you can save a ton of money. While there's nothing wrong with commercial baby food, which Gardner used as a backup or while traveling, she says homemade baby food has two advantages: It's fresher and you know exactly what's in it.