Blogger of the Month: Kim Nguyen of Lovin' From the Oven

Blogger of the Month: Kim Nguyen of Lovin’ From the Oven

The difference between baking and cooking is very finite. Baking requires exact measurements, temperatures, and timing. Most culinary enthusiasts sway towards cooking, a practice that allows for experimentation: a dash here, a dash there. Our March Blogger of the Month, Kim Nguyen of Lovin’ From The Oven, will always stick to what she knows best: sweets. And the oven. We talked with the full-time flight attendant about eating while traveling and her love for bread. Don’t forget to check out the “Pam’s Picks” throughout the article as well.

You say you can’t cook but you love to bake. Baking is so precise. What’s your favorite part about baking?

I love the surprise of opening an oven. It’s like you put all this work into making something, throw it into the oven, and hope for the best. You never know how your final product will be until that oven door opens. Sometimes it’s a complete dud, and other times, it’s so heavenly you could cry.

Besides sweets, what else do you like to cook in the oven?

I love baking chicken and salmon, although it definitely takes a lot longer. I’m still trying to get my head around baking with yeast so that I can make bread, which is my favorite thing to eat.

Pam’s Picks #1 — Sour Cream Baked Chicken: the best way to keep your chicken tender and creamy.

Being a full-time flight attendant, how do you find time to blog?

On layovers! I bring my computer with me everywhere I go. I also have around one hundred posts in queue so that I’ll always have something to blog about. It isn’t hard to create posts since I have to eat everyday. I just have to remember to take a picture of the food before I consume it.

Where do you travel the most? When you do travel, do you get to go eat at local restaurants? What kind of places do you look for?

I tend to stick to the best coast — the west coast! Seattle is my favorite city outside of California to travel to. I plan all of my vacations around food. Before a trip, I’ll map out breakfast, lunch, and dinner and work my activities around the restaurants. I even carry a food journal with me to document what I ate and how much I spent so that I can recap my trip at the end. I love eating at Ma-and-Pa shops since I tend to meet the greatest people there. They’re really passionate about the food they serve; I love that.

What’s the biggest challenge you find yourself facing in the kitchen?

Trying to use up all my ingredients before they go bad! That’s why cooking is so difficult for me… I have to go grocery shopping a lot more and know exactly what I need in order to make a meal. If I don’t use vegetables or meat within a couple of days, they end up expiring. It’s also hard because it’s just me and my boyfriend. There’s not a lot of people to cook for and it’s always difficult figuring out just the right amount to buy and cook.

Baking is the opposite. You can store the ingredients for much longer in the pantry, so you have a lot more on hand when you decide to make a dessert spur of the moment.

Pam’s Picks #2 — Peeps Brownies: Just in time for Easter, this is a great way to add some creativity to this traditional holiday candy.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’m not very brave when it comes to eating things, but I guess solidified pork blood (in Vietnamese porridge) is pretty high up there. I used to eat it when I was little, not knowing what it was. Now, I can’t stomach it.

Tell us one food you can’t live without, and tell us how you’d cook it.

It’s definitely bread. I’m a carb lovin’ kinda gal and will eat it anyway I can get it! Focaccia, french bread, sourdough, toast, challah… I’ll eat it all. My ideal bread has lots of rosemary, a crunchy shell with a fluffy interior, and oil mixed with balsamic vinegar for dipping.

Any advice to other bloggers?

Be passionate and don’t let others rain on your parade. The internet is full of negativity. I got some really mean comments when I started out that tore me apart, but then I figured hey, that “anonymous” person is spending all their time on my blog and commenting so I must be doing something right. There’s a lot more good than bad out there in the internet world, even though sometimes it seems like it’s a lot more bad.

Pam’s Picks #3 — No Fail Sugar Cookies: a true baker must know how to make even the simplest cookies and the frosting looks amazing!

Catch Kim on Twitter @kimberlywyn. Photos provided by the blogger.