When Julie Clark, a 1998 English education major, graduated from Cedarville University, she expected to be a teacher. Little did she know, however, that her students would be those learning how to create desserts and breakfast specialties through recipes posted on her family business food blog.
The online food blog, Tastes of Lizzy T, began as a midterm creative project for Maddie, Julie’s oldest child, when she was a sixth-grader at a charter school in Springfield, Ohio. Maddie is now a senior at Cedarville, majoring in English.
“We liked to bake together, and Maddie enjoyed writing and taking photos, so we spent a couple weeks putting together a website for her project,” Julie said.
The website’s name, Tastes of Lizzy T, is a creative mashup of the middle names of Maddie and her younger sister, Kinslee.
After completing the homework project, Julie and Maddie continued working on the website. They became intrigued by the possibility of turning it into a business.
Then, their chocolate peanut butter brownie recipe went viral, and readers from around the world began visiting the blog and commenting on their recipes.
“From there, it was a lot of hard work, writing, photography, designing recipes, web development and social media marketing,” Julie continued. “To help Google find us, we decided our blog would be teaching-oriented instead of featuring personal, story-based articles.”
Maddie serves primarily as Tastes of Lizzy T’s photographer and design consultant. Kinslee, the family’s youngest, helps with social media management. Husband and dad Matt handles the website development.
Julie appreciates the foundation Cedarville provided that prepared her for success with the website. “One of our goals, and one of my favorite parts of the website, is teaching the next generation how to make the classic recipes that our grandmothers taught us,” she said. “The writing and teaching skills I gleaned from Cedarville helped equip me to fulfill this goal.”
Cedarville’s community service opportunities provided an outlet for Julie’s desire to serve others. Every Saturday morning, she would help take care of children at a homeless shelter in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Further, in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, she went on a spring break missions trip to south Florida to help rebuild houses.
“At the beginning of 2021, we wanted to do something in the community,” Julie noted. However, Tastes of Lizzy T is an exclusively online business, so creating a visible local presence proved challenging. When Ironworks Waffle Café in Springfield, Ohio, approached the business and suggested a collaboration, they jumped at the chance.
As part of giving back to the community, Tastes of Lizzy T is offering a cinnamon roll cheesecake waffle as Ironworks Waffle Café’s waffle of the month.
The waffle they designed takes Ironworks’ signature classic Belgian waffle and inserts homemade cinnamon chips, topping it with a unique cheesecake topping and made-from-scratch cinnamon buttermilk syrup. “We wanted to design a waffle based on what we’re known for,” Julie said, “and that’s cinnamon rolls, our top recipe.”
At Julie’s request, half of the proceeds support Safe Harbor House, a local residential recovery center for women. “It’s cool how they provide a safe home for women to live in and help them deal with their physical needs while they’re healing from whatever they’ve been through,” Julie noted.
“You have to be part of the community to see its needs,” Julie said. “We’ve always been involved in our local church, and we served in the Springfield soup kitchen when the kids were in junior high and high school. This service opened our eyes. Two minutes down the road there are people with a lot of needs who are hurting.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts Education, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visitcedarville.edu.