in the kitchen with savory sweet life

Alice from Savory Sweet Life

Confession time: I'm totally jealous of Alice from the food blog, Savory Sweet Life!

This stay-at-home-mom of three from Seattle has a gorgeous family, a cheery kitchen, not to mention mad camera and baking skills. See for yourself...

I'm thrilled to feature Alice on CafeMom because she takes simple family-friendly recipes like coconut chicken tenders, cherry jam, and London broil and makes them look like something you'd order at a restaurant—and an expensive one at that! But even better than her savory fare are her sweets: strawberry shortcake, ricotta pound cake, S'mores, and more. Check out her blog, but first, a tour of her kitchen...

CM: Tell us about your family.

I am a blessed woman. I have three beautiful children and a wonderful husband. I am a Seattle native and stay-at-home mom. Fortunately, I married a family man who has turned down many job promotions in order for us to stay in Seattle near my family. He is a family man in every sense of the word. Not only is he an awesome dad, he is very supportive of my food-blogging adventures. When he is not playing with our kids, he can be found cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes after I have cooked.

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

My husband and my son.

I have two amazing daughters, ages 8 and 6. They are 19 months apart, best of friends and occasionally worst of enemies. Both love to help in the kitchen and can operate my Kitchen Aid mixer without help or supervision. I've taught them both how to eyeball when cookie dough and cake batter are oven-ready. Oh yes, did I mention they're amazing? They love to bake and invite their friends over to taste their latest creations. And then there is "Mister." He is my 14-month-old joy and delight. He is the best surprise blessing a mother and father could ever have or hoped for. Each morning he wakes up flashing me the biggest smile ready to start the day. He is my constant companion and best hugger, ever.

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

My 6- and 8-year-old daughters.

 

 

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

My 14-month-old son,

 

 

How would you describe your cooking style?

I would describe my cooking style as freestyle. What is freestyle? Creative, practical, and not overly-complex. I'm not a menu-planner and frankly would be disinterested in preparing meals if I had to plan them all out. Instead, I like the flexibility and creative process in cooking meals last-minute or based on what I'm craving at any given moment. Most nights I don't know what we will be eating for dinner until around 5 pm. By 6 pm we're eating. I know this type of last-minute cooking would not work for many families, but it does work for ours. It is amazing how a 1-hour window can fuel and spark so much creativity. Some of my best dishes were born this way.

Can we see the inside of your kitchen?

Shortly after we were married, my husband and I bought our house. When we purchased it, everything was still original from 1952. The kitchen was quite pathetic. The few kitchen cabinets we had were covered in wood-paneling contact paper and would not shut properly. Not only was our kitchen small, it also doubled as our laundry room, or what I called extended counter space. While I was pregnant with my oldest daughter I was constantly being shocked every time I had one hand on the refrigerator door and the other on the oven, they were right next to each other. Oh the memories! I wish I had before and after photos to show you. However, our kitchen has evolved since then. Five years ago we remodeled our kitchen from 1952 to the 21st century. The space is the same, however we moved the washer and dryer to the utility closet, added a dishwasher, and completely re-did the whole space. Because we have a galley-style kitchen, the useable workspace is still very limited.

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

This is my kitchen when I am baking and cooking like a mad woman.

ADD cooking at its finest moment.

 

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

The right side of my kitchen...

 

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

...and the left side.


My favorite spot in the kitchen is the small counter space where my Kitchen Aid mixer lives. Baking magic is created there and having it next to the sink is practical and useful. I pretty much do all my cooking and baking right there. My favorite part about my kitchen is the simple fact that I designed it. When we remodeled it, I designed each aspect of it.

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

This is where I bake the most -- in front of my K-5, near the sink.

 

 

in the kitchen with savory sweet life

This is where I spend most mornings -- in front of the toaster and espresso machine.

 

 

When it comes to cooking, where do you find inspiration?

As a child, our elderly neighbor, Alice, would always bake pies, cakes, cream puffs, and many other wonderful baked goods. Although she never married or had children of her own, she would bake birthday cakes from scratch each year for my siblings and me. There were six of us. In fact, I was named after her and apparently inherited her baking genes. She inspired me with her baking skills and generosity. My mother was so creative in the kitchen being limited to whatever was in the pantry. She inspired me with her creativity and her philosophy on simple cooking methods.

Today I find myself being inspired by other food bloggers, cooking magazines, TV shows, and meals I enjoy while eating out.

What traditions do you and your family have with respect to food? Are any of your recipes passed down from other family members?

Every Sunday morning, my family wakes up to the smell of something fabulously sweet and baked. My mother coming from Korea never cooked with a recipe. She cooked by instinct. So unfortunately I don't have any recipes from her that are written down. However, fortunately for me, I also cook by instinct and have duplicated many of her Korean dishes I grew up eating. She was a wonderful teacher in her methods.

What do you make better than anyone else?

I am a baker, so I would have to say I probably bake the best Sour Cream Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread known to man, or at least to my friends and family. Because I do not know of anyone else who bakes this, I guess it's safe for me to say I bake it better than anyone else, right?


What is your one indulgence?

Any chocolate dessert. Asking me to pick one is like asking me to pick who my favorite child is. It just cannot be done. With that said, I typically have a piece or two (or three or more) of chocolate every night after my kids have gone to bed.

How has your taste/cooking changed since you had children?

Since having three kids, I don't think my taste or cooking has changed much, but I will say that I try not to prepare anything I know my kids will hate. For instance, my husband and I really enjoy sushi. I would never expect my kids to eat the types of sushi we like. But what I will do is allow them to eat roasted nori (seaweed paper) with plain rice while my husband and I enjoy eating more sophisticated rolls.

What are some ingredients/food items that you could never, ever live without?

Chocolate, Coffee, Flour, Sugar, Rice, Eggs, Milk, Beef, Vanilla, Edamame, and Soy Sauce.

What are you favorite food blogs or Web sites?

I have so many favorite food blogs it would be impossible to narrow it down to a few. But I do love food porn sites such as Tastespotting.com, Foodgawker.com, and Photograzing.com. I also enjoy Allrecipes.com, Epicurious.com, and FoodNetwork.com.

Thank you to Alice for sharing her kitchen! And don't miss these other "In the Kitchen..." features: