Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inspiration from old friends....

Lately I've been on a pretty big cooking kick. I can't help it, our new kitchen is very inspiring!
I'm a pretty simple gal when it comes to cookbooks. I have a few trusty sidekicks that I keep close at hand. The number one cookbook all new cooks should have (in my humble opinion) is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The one in red plaid at the end. I can't tell you how many times I've been saved by the emergency substitution list in the back! This is a great cookbook to get you started and experimenting!

Jamie's Dinners is another favorite of mine by chef Jamie Oliver. This book is from my pre-gluten free days, but I can still substitute to get the same yummy results. The recipes' are written in more of a story format but the pictures will make you want to eat the pages!

You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free is a recent acquisition and I would equivocate it to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for the gluten free crowd. Lots of basic information that will get any gluten-free wannabe up and going!

As of just a few weeks ago, I was gifted the Local Flavors cookbook as well. Yet another fabulous cookbook for gluten free eaters as well since it focuses mainly on vegetables and Farmers Markets!I saved the best cookbook for last, however. When I got married, an old college suitemate of mine scrapbook-ed an entire recipe book for me! It's beautiful and so much fun to use! It's been one of my favorite gifts received for our wedding!
Above are just a few of my favorite pages from the book. I have been blessed with some amazingly talented friends!

Ok, on to the real reason for this post!I love looking at and receiving food magazines in the mail! Flipping through them, drooling on the pages, earmarking my favorites to come back to, and storing them all in my cupboards!

Whoa, what?!

Yea... when I went to clean out my kitchen cupboards before we sledgehammered them off the walls, I couldn't believe the stacks of cooking/baking magazines I had accumulated. In some of them there was only one page earmarked! In addition, I know I had spent hours scouring them before for that ONE recipe I knew I loved but couldn't remember which magazine it was in! Thankfully Nel saved the day on that one and I was able to retrieve it!

So, instead of storing a huge pile of magazines for a couple of months while we demo'd the kitchen, I painstakingly went through each magazine and cut out the pages of recipes I had loved, put them in a basket, and forgot about them......

Until two weeks ago.

You see, that's where my other old friend comes in! On vacation, ♥J was reminded of me in the scrapbook aisle when she saw a big sticker with her nickname for me on it, "free spirit."

And that's how my "free spirit cookbook" was born! Thanks to two dear old friends- one provided the idea (and a great example!), the other the motivation and supplies to get kickin'!I created a separate scrapbook recipe book just for recipes that I find in magazines. This way I can keep them all organized, sorted, and pretty!Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut! If you're like me, every square inch of space is precious! Don't let it get eaten away by all that "STUFF." Instead of sighing every time you open your cupboard door to find a recipe, keep it simple. Focus on your favorite cookbooks, and if you find you're not using one, have a cookbook swap party with friends! Don't be afraid to doodle in your cookbooks either! I like to use a 5-star rating system in my cookbooks since I'm constantly experimenting. If a recipe is amazing- 5 stars! Just ok is three, and never make again gets a big X! I always write the different substitutions I try (especially helpful when substituting the gluten) or note side dishes that go well, etc. You'll be amazed at how much fun cooking can be when everything is "decently and in order!" You can actually start to have fun with your food!

Now if I can just get my herbs to be a little more hearty for pickin'!


  1. S, you amaze me, where do you find time for all these projects?? Will you bring the "Free Spirit Cookbook" Friday? I want to see it in all its beauty! I think a cookbook swap is a super idea, let's do it!!! Nel

  2. you go free spirit!!! love the herb garden you got goin'...♥J.

  3. S, I love the blog. As for the herbs, I neer have any luck with them in the winter months. I think it's the short days/ lack of sun...even by the window. You may need a sunlamp in addition to window light to help them grow...


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