In 2017, Carissa Stanton started posting her favorite recipes on her Instagram (@broccyourbody). The O.C. native shares everything from her version of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme to whipped eggplant dip and her “famous” Italian chopped salad with her followers, who number 400,000 and counting.
Stanton grew up in Trabuco Canyon with a family who shared a passion for cooking. “Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be in the kitchen,” she says. “My parents both cook … it was just how I grew up.” She started posting recipes as a hobby and gradually gained a following. “I would always be cooking cool dinners and my friends would ask me for the recipes. I never (set out to) be a blogger. I just thought it would be fun, and maybe someone would send me free food.”
When starting out, Stanton had to discover what set her apart from other food bloggers. At first, she tried to create the sort of content that she saw other people creating and that performed well for them. “I think that gave me a ton of impostor syndrome. The challenge was figuring out who I was and what I loved to do and really building up my confidence. Overcoming that, I’ve become so comfortable with what I do.”
Easy-to-make recipes with ingredients that won’t intimidate those new to cooking are her signature. “I want you to look at the recipes, see the ingredients, and be like, ‘OK, I have that in my kitchen right now.’ Or if you don’t, (maybe you) know exactly where to find that at the grocery store. I don’t want you to feel lost or like you don’t know where to find something.” Her tagline is, “Simple recipes for a balanced life.”
Most of her recipes are based on what she’s craving or what she has on hand. She also gets inspiration from friends, family, and restaurants. “I love going out to eat,” she says. “I’ve created a lot of my brand off restaurant re-creations; that’s really fun for me trying to break those down. … If I’m in a rut, I’ll just text my girlfriends and ask what’s everyone making for dinner this week, and I’ll go off that.”
In addition to recipes, Stanton created a book club, which started with her posting the books she reads and her thoughts on them. “My No. 1 passion in life is food, and my second is reading; I love books. I’ve really been appreciating reading in recent years now that everyone’s constantly on their phone—I have a slight phone addiction as well. When I’m reading, it’s almost like meditation for me. It’s the only time I feel really removed from all of that. It’s another fun way to engage with my community.”
While being a food blogger and influencer might seem glamorous, Stanton stresses that it’s more work than people would expect. “I’m so lucky that this is my job and I’ll never complain about what I do because it’s so amazing, but it’s a ton of work. I feel like I could work for the next 72 hours straight and still have things to do. It never shuts off. My whole life is my job, which is a lot but it’s super fun. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
“People will message me and ask, ‘When you decided to be a blogger, how did you pick cooking?’ That’s not how it happens. You have to be super passionate about something and then show your passion to others—try to help them achieve that love and passion that you have, even if it’s just a little bit. Then just stay consistent; it’s not going to be an overnight thing. You have to really do the work and post every single day for really nothing, and that’s the recipe for success in my eyes.”