The BEST Cookbooks on my shelf
I've been thinking about the fact that my signature program with my clients is called "Love Every Bite" and yet I have never really told you what kind of bites that I LOVE!
Now, when the Kitchen Witch comes out you'll find out a lot more about that, since there is a whole section of sort-of recipes :)
But in the mean time I thought I'd share my all time favorite cookbooks and why I love them so much!!!
First, though, a caveat. Several of these cookbooks are vegetarian, but I thought you should know... I'm not actually vegetarian. I was vegetarian for many years, so partly I have cookbooks from that time period, but the truth is that I like to eat mostly vegetarian at home, and when I do add meat, it's usually salmon that I cook in a pan or tuna our of a can.
This is because I'm used to cooking vegetarian, my husband eats fish but not meat, and I'm super weird about germs from fish and meat in my kitchen. Also, it's always easy to ADD a bit of meat to a dish, if that is your preference.
So, without further ado...
My favorite cookbook at the moment is a new addition to my shelf...
However, I also almost never follow a recipe, and with 4 versions of the same recipe it is very easy to mash them up and make my own unique version, and still have it turn out great!!
Also, the recipes so far have been easy to follow, not too time consuming or complicated, delicious and nutritious!!!
Another fairly new addition to my cookbook collection is...
It really makes on the fly cooking way less stressful.
Also, I know that the recipes will be easy to shop for - I won't have to hunt around wondering if the store carries certain ingredients.
This is really a great solution for a busy person like me (or you) to have on hand. The recipes are pretty no nonsense, a great selection of sandwiches, some casseroles, lots of quick things. It's not a dinner party kind of cookbook, but it is amazing at weeknight dinners, fast lunches, and making the empty pantry seem not that empty!
Now to some of my old standbys that have bee used and loved for many years.
This is my go to book for dinner parties!!! The recipes are not hard to make, but they are delicious and turn out well every time. That is a rare combination!!!
One of the show stoppers was the vegetable, feta, and pesto parcels...delicious vegetables packed into filo pastry. (I didn't exactly follow the recipe of course... but they were delicious none the less!)
This cookbook is truly international in its dishes, but it does them well. The meals are light, flavorful, and present well on the table. A mainstay in my kitchen!!!
My favorite book for fast weeknight dinners...
Plus... you can always grate some cheese on top if it would improve the meal ;)
Vegan Express was a passed on cookbook fro ma friend who ended up with two copies, and I'm SO grateful! Both to her aunt for giving her the same book twice, and to her for passing it on to me!
You'll notice a theme here: The recipes here come together quickly, are fresh and flavorful. The contents are organized by major ingredient just as much as type of food: protein (tofu, tempeh, seitan), grains, beans, noodles, pizza/quesadillas/wraps, salads, soups, sauces, and sweets. The way she breaks this down and clusters the recipes also makes it easy when you haven't been to the store to find something yummy to cook in a pinch.
The pizzas/quesadillas/wraps section is particularly helpful, since she explains that these methods are interchangeable, so you can use the toppings/filling from one recipe with a different kind of bread to hold it, if that's what you prefer (or have on hand).
She also includes a "recipe not required" section and just gives a whole bunch more ideas!! Now that is what I call inspiration!
The last cookbook is also one I go to for inspiration just as much as actual recipes...
For example, The Sneaky Chef hides a bunch of zucchini and cauliflower in her mac and cheese. So if I'm making mac and cheese, I'll go look up her recipe and figure out if I can either quickly grate some extra veggies in or use some puree. Since I don't tend to follow recipes anyway, I might not use cauliflower, but opt for some cooked butternut squash or whatever I have on hand. The idea is to get inspiration.
Well, that's the review of the most used cookbooks in my kitchen in the past few years. I'd love to know what you think or what YOUR favorite cookbooks are!!!!
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This is something I've spent a lot of time thinking about because I want to know how to refer to my clients in a way that actually makes sense for them - here are my thoughts on all the approaches I've tried (and the one I created!) I hope it's helpful!!!
I use emeals. They give a two week free trial. I think it was $59 per year for a dinner plan (you can add on breakfast, lunch, special occasion, etc), and lots to choose from (kid friendly, vegetarian, paleo, etc). The recipes are all pretty quick.
It is somewhat seasonal (lots of squash and pomegranates on menus lately - yum!)
I love that I don't have to think with this one!
I choose the recipes I want to use as I enter the store and it makes my grocery list, with pantry staples separated out for easy shopping. The only down side is the app takes a few minutes to open - it always wants to refresh. Sometimes it fails to open at all, and then you are stuck winging it (see MY meal planning program below to get you through those days).
Also the web version is not interactive, you have to get the grocery list for all 7 recipes for the week - so just use the app.
I also noticed it saves me money at the grocery store (which is a claim they make as well)... as long as I don't just start throwing random things in (which I still sometimes do).
PLAN TO EAT
I've used Plan to Eat, but it requires a bit of computer time to devote to it. People who avidly use Pinterest seem to have great luck with it - they just move from Pinterest to Plan to Eat and pop them in the calendar.
You are completely in control of all the recipes each week. The service combines them into an easy to use format to schedule on your calendar and then compiles a grocery list for the days you select, which is mostly cohesive to put onions with onions, etc, but sometimes onions will appear more than once - not a huge deal, just a bug of the system to be aware of.
But if you don't want to go around pinning recipes, then this is NOT the plan for you. It takes time, time that I was never able to get into my routine.
It is only $40/year; they also give a 30 day free trial.
There is also my fellow Boss Mom, Sam Rodgers' Eating Clean Cooking Dirty!!!
I've used her plan before - it is all clean eating, with several options to choose from. It is based on the premise of one prep day that is longer than other days, then everything is basically ready to go when you want to eat it.
She integrates all the recipes into one set of instructions. She is seriously amazing at this!!!! It is like following ONE recipe, but at the end you are set for the week! She is as crazy about making yummy and easy to follow meal plans as I am about assimilating every self help book I've ever read into my coaching programs!
This is great if you want to streamline your time in the kitchen - it's not as good if you like to improvise while you cook. i.e. If you can't or don't like to follow recipes strictly, this is probably not the plan for you; messing with one recipe is ok, but messing with 5+ at once may not be a good idea.
She gives a free week to try, and then her monthly cost is fantastic for the quality of her product.
Finally I also have a meal planning book, but mine is actually ALL about how to have a plan...and how to improvise when you need to!!! Because I'm a master at improvising in the kitchen :) ...
But you still need a plan.
You can get a free week of sample meal plans and also an introduction to my approach (basically break it down into simple steps and commit to them one at a time.)
My approach works in conjunction with other meal planning tools! I use emeals AND I improvise :) Haha