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Cooks We Love: Alyssa Brantley

Alyssa Brantley is the mastermind behind Everyday Maven, an incredible website. Her story is super inspiring and one that really resonated with us. Her site is described as a place to find simple and delicious everyday recipes for the home cook who wants to keep their food clean and their waistline trim! Her food is simple and gorgeous, but we're always left inspired by the cool ways she chooses to prepare everything, and tons of flavor is always a must. The best part? Never any processed anything. She's a champion for moderation and balance and always is cooking up dinner inspiration for our house.

Website or blog: www.EverydayMaven.com

Blogging since: 2011

Where you call home: Seattle

What’s your earliest cooking memory? Making holiday cookies with my mom and brother with an old-fashioned cookie press!

How would you characterize or describe your cooking style today? Clean ingredients, flavorful food. I like to use a lot of herbs and spices. I don’t like bland or boring food!

What’s your favorite thing to cook at home? Why? Soup! I am a total soup addict and make a big pot of soup at least once a week in the fall, winter and spring. Making soup is never boring—it’s always a bit different depending on what I have available in my fridge and pantry.

What are three things you have in the pantry at all times? A large variety of fresh spices, coconut palm sugar and homemade stocks.

What’s your “there’s nothing in the fridge" dinner? The one thing you often whip up with very few ingredients or, perhaps, very little inspiration? That’s easy. It’s meatballs with jarred sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Arrabiata) over spaghetti squash noodles or zucchini noodles. Plus a side salad or some greens.

What are some of your kitchen goals—skills you want to improve on or recipes you want to try or master? Great question. I love to be challenged, especially in the kitchen so I am always looking to grow and build on my skills. Right now, I am focused on becoming a better gluten-free and grain-free baker. That is a tall task as the volumes and baking formulas that you would use for gluten baking pretty much don’t apply. Also, to continue cooking with more exotic cuts of animal protein—utilizing a more nose-to-tail approach.

How has becoming a mother changed your experience as a home cook? It has made me more focused on food quality and supply chain integrity. It really matters what we put into our bodies and I want to provide the cleanest (but most delicious!) food possible for my family.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks and/or food blogs? Right now I am slowly making my way through “Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore" by Robert Danhi. One of my standby favorites is “Think Like a Chef" by Tom Colicchio. A good cookbook is one you find yourself referencing over and over again for new information or techniques. I follow a lot of amazing food blogs but some of my right now favorites are Chew Town, Karista’s Kitchen and Gourmande in the Kitchen.

Besides other cookbooks or food blogs, where do you draw inspiration for your cooking? Restaurants and magazines. I am a total magazine addict and regularly draw inspiration from dishes I bookmark.

Where else can we find you? Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

All images via Everyday Maven.

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