From a Galentine’s Day DIY Homemade Pop-Tart party to making healthy chicken pot pie with Lauren Conrad, Public Lives Secret Recipes creator Caitlin Lee knows how to have fun with her food. Caitlin’s fantastic blog features interviews and recipes from people in the public eye as well as all of her favorite things in the lifestyle and food space. We’re excited to welcome Caitlin to our corner of the internet this week to talk about comfort food, her first year in LA and where to go for creative inspiration.
1. What inspired you to start Public Lives, Secret Recipes and are there any recipes in particular that stand out as favorites?
I’m not sure there was one thing that inspired me to start PLSR. It was more a combination & natural build-up over time. When I was in college I had to live in my sorority house for 3 years. Don’t get me wrong, it was the absolute best, however, we only had access to a toaster & microwave. After I graduated & moved to Chicago I began baking a ton. It was something I had grown up doing & when I finally had all the tools to do so, I remembered just how much I enjoyed it. I would bring everything I made into work, post it on my personal Instagram, & send some to family. Everyone would ask for the recipes & it just seemed like posting them on a website would be an easier way to go rather than emailing, texting, etc. for people individually.
Once the site was live I was shocked that people aside from those I shared it with were viewing it. The OCD in me immediately kicked in & realized I needed to make this site aesthetically pleasing. In that process I began brainstorming exactly what I wanted to blog about. I knew there were a billion other baking blogs out there so I decided I wanted to do something different. Food to me is so much more than the taste, it brings people together & is the ultimate ice breaker. I realized I wanted to start hearing other people’s stories & get recipes from them.
Four years later that is still the most prominent part of PLSR, however, there are some other aspects such as travel, my own recipes, style & more that have been fun to dive into.
I go through phases of what my favorite recipes on the site are. Right now my top three would have to be Coolhaus’ Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwich (their founder & CEO, Natasha, is one of the coolest ladies I know & she shared this recipe exclusively for my site!) for the ultimate indulgence, Lauren Gores’ popsicles recipe for a sweet yet healthy treat, & Lauren Conrads’ healthy chicken pot pie for when I need to balance out the Coolhaus recipe.
2. You moved to LA in the last year, what are a couple of your favorite spots in the city so far?
Oh man, there are SO many! For food: Gjelina, Lodge Bread Co., Great White, Malibu Farm, Pressed Juicery, Sugarfish, Moon Juice, Katsuya, Zinque, the list goes on & on. For something other than eating… hiking in Malibu, biking down Abbot Kinney, & exploring all of the different neighborhoods LA has to offer.
3. As someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, what is your favorite comfort food to make at home?
A few years back my parents were hounding me for gift ideas of what I wanted for my birthday (they’re clearly the kindest!) & I told them I wanted the two of them to make me a cookbook of all their favorite recipes. I don’t think they were expecting me to ask for a gift that required them to really work but it’s easily the best gift I’ve ever been given. Any of those recipes or my grandma’s bread recipes are my go-to comfort dishes!
4. Where do you go for inspiration when you’re in a creative rut?
For the obvious, Pinterest. The less obvious, Malibu, my family, & my website. I love combining a few old recipes into one hybrid recipe so looking back on what I’ve done in the past serves as a huge form of inspiration for me.
5. What would be your ideal food day if distance was no limit (breakfast, lunch and dinner)?
Holy moly this is one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. Can I include tons of snacks & desserts too?! Breakfast: Parisian croissants (yes, multiple!) in bed with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Snack: Pinkberry Tart Froyo with Gummy Bears (in a dream world they’d also have chocolate covered gummy bears as an option there!), Lunch: Ravioli from 4Leoni in Florence, Snack: My sister’s homemade cinnamon rolls, Dinner: Peppermint Thai Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio Dessert: My homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies!