Elizabeth (Vetne) Lindemann (B.ARCH ’07; M.ARCH ’09) had been working 10-hour days for four years as a high school art teacher when she started to reconsider her career goals and reflect on the kind of lifestyle she wanted. While she loved teaching, the long hours and demanding school environments got her thinking of alternative ways to earn a living and have the kind of work-life balance she desired.
Elizabeth saw in her hectic lifestyle, a business opportunity. She would frequently return home too exhausted to cook or make the effort to eat healthy. She also watched colleagues snack on junk food throughout the day and rely solely on carryout for meals. But Elizabeth quickly “realized that cooking healthy meals made from quality ingredients at home helped me have more energy, be less stressed and save money,” she notes. “I want to have time to do this basic thing—that I need to survive—in a healthy way even if my job is really stressful and demanding."
The idea for “Bowl of Delicious” was born. This is Elizabeth’s personal food blog where she shares simple, yet healthy and made-from-scratch recipes designed for people with busy schedules. “It kind of started off as an experiment—like, can I make this into a business?” she says. “And it grew.”
In 2016, just three years after launching the site, Elizabeth was earning enough income to retire from teaching and turn blogging into a full-time job, which she now runs out of her home near Austin, Texas. “I think I was a little surprised that it actually worked,” she says.
After earning her master’s degree in 2009, Elizabeth took her first job as a design teacher at a charter school in New Orleans that focused on architecture and engineering—an apt fit. The school was under-resourced and enrolled underprivileged students, many of which were displaced from Hurricane Katrina just a few years prior. “I got my ass handed to me,” Elizabeth says candidly about the experience. “It was very challenging in a lot of ways.” Despite the difficulties, Elizabeth enjoyed working with kids, and went on to teach art at two different schools over the next six years.
Now that “Bowl of Delicious” has become a profitable blog, Elizabeth has plans to expand the business by publishing a cookbook or engaging with the community offline. She also envisions working with teenagers again, perhaps by teaching students basic cooking techniques before they leave for college. It was at UMD that Elizabeth says her passion for cooking began as an escape from the academic rigors of an architecture education.
Although she concluded after six years that architecture was not the career path for her, she credits her education for fostering a set of creative and problem solving skills useful in various aspects of her professional life. “Figuring out everything—from how to do some simple HTML coding, to teaching myself food photography, to search engine optimization—there are all these things that go into it,” she says. “I think the problem solving aspect of an architecture education has translated well [to the blog] and other areas of my life as well.”
To check out Elizabeth’s recipes, visit Bowl of Delicious.
-By Dan Novak