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Blogger Spotlight: Lemons and Basil

The mastermind behind Lemons and Basil, Kaylee Pauley, shares her love for healthy food and living, along with a few of her favorite recipes!
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Sandie at SideChef
Director of Content Management, which is code for looking at delicious food all day and solving cooking problems so you don't have to.

Meet Kaylee!

Kaylee is the recipe developer, author, and photographer behind Lemons and Basil. In short, Kaylee is a full-time mama, part-time food blogger, and part-time interior designer. Wow!

As for the longer version? Her love of food and appreciation for how it affects our bodies started somewhere around her freshman year of college. But she never actually considered any sort of career in the food industry.

Kaylee studied interior design at Middle Tennessee State University and graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree. Shortly after graduating, she had the opportunity to work for an incredible firm in the heart of Nashville, doing high-end residential design from 2010 to 2015, and truly loved every minute of it.

The more Kaylee read about certain foods and how they fuel our bodies, the more she wanted to cook using organic produce, whole grains, and high-quality ingredients. As she fell in love with other bloggers, the way they cooked, their creativity, photos, and their writing voices, she found herself longing to be a part of that community.

“I started Lemons and Basil about halfway through my time as a full-time interior designer, giving as much attention to it as I could. Once my husband and I were ready to start a family, I knew I wanted to be home with our family and blogging was something I could still do from home."

What was your favorite childhood meal?

I think I had many favorites, starting with anything sweet. Even today, I love eating loads of vegetables, fruits, eggs, Greek yogurt, whole grains, etc. But then I want something sweet! So as a kid, I loved my grandma’s peanut butter balls and buttermilk cookies.

We also did a lot of hiking as kids, which meant a lot of hobo dinners: hamburger meat, carrots, onions, and potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper, wrapped in cabbage leaves, and cooked on a bed of warm coals, and s’mores. Both are favorites to this day.

As I got a little older, I remember loving my mom’s spinach lasagna (still do)! My mom was always concerned about what we ate and wanted my sister and me to learn to eat healthy and nutritious foods. So much of what I know and value in the way of living a healthy lifestyle came from my mom.

What's in your bag and what are your kitchen essentials?

I rarely go anywhere without my phone, a small notepad, and pen (in case I need to jot down notes or dimensions), hand lotion, lip gloss, and gum.

When it comes to my kitchen staples that make it in my shopping cart nearly every week, they include organic greens, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, Greek yogurt, lentils, shredded mozzarella cheese, eggs, fresh berries of some sort, garbanzo beans, whole grain flatbread, sliced turkey, onions and bell peppers, split peas, quinoa, zucchini, and spaghetti squash.

What is the weirdest or best thing you've ever eaten in your travels?

I really don’t feel like I’ve eaten many weird things. Love any sort of vegetable, grain, or cheese, but I’m not overly adventurous when it comes to meats. One of the best things I can remember eating was on our recent trip to Vermont.

We love New England in the fall; the colors are breathtaking. We stayed in Montpelier this past October and ate at Asiana House one evening, sharing a few sushi rolls, but this Lobster Maki was by far our favorite. It’s cooked lobster, with avocado and cucumber inside, and topped with real crab meat salad and two kinds of tobiko, then slightly torched with sweet miso sauce.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m sure it sounds cliche, but honestly, my husband Josh, my son Brighton, and the family we’ve created are my biggest accomplishments. I do have a perfectionist personality, which is a blessing and a curse, and I am willing to work hard at whatever I commit to. Because of those traits, paired with God’s favor on my life, I feel as though I’ve often succeeded at many things.

In truth, those things are fleeting. But for what we’ve been through together, who we have grown to be, the love that we share, and the life we have, I am beyond thankful and so proud.

What is the kitchen of your dreams?

My dream kitchen is a beautiful mixture of old and new, warm in textures, yet open and airy. I love a large island and the combination of warm white cabinets with a touch of antique brass, black, and warm wood tones. My choice of countertops is either honed white marble or soap stone, paired with dark bronze windows, and surrounded by simple white subway tile. Overall, I want my kitchen to feel warm and inviting, a place you want to linger.

My perfect day would be...

Spent with my husband and son, hiking with a great picnic lunch.

I believe any problem can be solved with...

Ice cream.

My guilty pleasure is...

Dance movies, ha, so embarrassing! I love Step Up and other movies with hip-hop dance. I think I secretly wish I would have taken dance when I was younger. While I wouldn’t say I have any great moves, we do have “dance parties” quite often after dinner. We crank up the music and bust out our best moves with Brighton, who also loves to dance.

I wish I had the superpower...

To hear the thoughts happening in our son’s head. He is at such a fun stage and is chattering all the time; of course, we have no idea what he’s saying, and so often I wish I could just know what exactly he’s thinking or saying as he encounters things for the first time.

What are your favorite recipes on the app, and why?

Some of my favorites are my Vegan Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry, BBQ Sweet Potato and Veggie Pita Pizza, and Roasted Veggie Breakfast Bowl. They are all quick and easy to make, yet loaded with veggies, whole grains, and, most importantly, flavor.

GLUTEN-FREEPEANUT-FREE

Vegan Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry

Lemons and Basil

This healthy Vegan Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry has a lovely robust flavor and hearty texture, the perfect combination.

EASYPEANUT-FREE

BBQ Sweet Potato and Veggie Pita Pizza

Lemons and Basil

This BBQ Sweet Potato and Veggie Pita Pizza is a delicious thin-crust pizza, full of flavor (and nutrition), that can be made in half an hour!

GLUTEN-FREEPEANUT-FREE

Roasted Veggie Breakfast Bowl

Lemons and Basil

This Roasted Veggie Breakfast Bowl with Fried Eggs is a delicious and healthy dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! There is so much color and flavor to this nutritious goodness, and while it may be vegetarian, I promise it’s both hearty and filling!

The Veggie Pita Pizza and Roasted Veggie Bowl with eggs are things I make weekly, and the Lentil Curry is one I like to make at least once a month, since it feeds our family of three for a couple of meals. These are all things our little man loves to eat as well. Although I must admit, he’s a very good eater.

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