I love the kitchen. It wasn't always that way. When I got married, my family joked that I needed a cookbook just to boil water... and truth be told we ate a lot of hamburger helper that first year (we also worked opposite shifts, so meals weren't really worth the effort.
Then I improved thanks to Taste of Home subscriptions and other great cookbooks. But I still made every effort to follow recipes to a T... I'm a big rule follower and that spilled over into recipes, measurements and ingredients.
Then, enter the internet... and allrecipes.com and my recipe "box" grew exponentially. I began to love cooking and had a few go-to meals that I perfected! Over time I could even make the meal without the recipe in front of me and I even learned to tweak recipes for my own liking. *Gasp*
Then I had a baby and I wasn't working full time any more, so I actually had more time for experimenting in the kitchen. I found great satisfaction in a meal well done. And then I had three more kids, one right after another, and time in the kitchen was limited. And when I did take time in the kitchen, these little toddlers didn't seem to appreciate my effort... and sometimes hubby worked later than scheduled and the meal "perfect" at 5:30 was cold, slimy, or otherwise no good anymore.
Sad to say, my meal planning, trying new recipes, taking pride in my kitchen efforts ... dwindled and I lost my spirit for food (Not that I didn't eat, believe me, I LOVE FOOD) but I started picking the easy stuff, the prepared stuff, the horrible-for-you stuff.
Enter Bread and Wine via the (in)courage Bloom book club
I'm not saying Bread and Wine changed all this for me. I had started to make improvements before I picked up this book. I have been meal planning a little better since my sister-in-law made me the awesome meal planner for my fridge. I have been working on increasing the fruits and veggies we eat and other healthier options. But it was mostly because of duty--it's what I SHOULD be doing.
But when I picked up Bread and Wine, it breathed life into my soul and gave me a craving for the soul part of cooking again. I got giddy when planning out a few new recipes. And grocery shopping was almost fun again as I searched for never-before-purchased items! And then I tried the recipes, and OH MY WORD, I started drooling! :)
I loved the Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce... even though I had never heard of sriracha before I picked up this book!
and the Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin made me feel so sophisticated (although I over cooked it... and the glaze became thicker than Molasses and hardened on my plate. I'll do better next time).
and making your own Basic Vinaigrette... WHY didn't I try this sooner?!?! It beats store bought by a mile!!
and the Dark Chocolate Mousse... soo simple, soo rich, soo perfect with raspberries!!
Just last week I tried the Goat Cheese Biscuits, and was disappointed to find that all my freezer jam was still ... frozen! So I just ate them plain--still delightful! Just a perfect tang with a lot of salt, that will taste DELICIOUS with jam! I'm hoping that they reheat well, so that I can try them with jam in the morning! The strawberry jam is defrosting now!! (edit to add: they tasted okay reheated, but nobody else in my family raved about them, so I will have to have company before I make them again)
I have all the ingredients for Blueberry Crisp and the flourless brownies and the Enchiladas... so there will definitely be some more cooking going on around here!!
What I loved about this book is that it is so much more than food and recipes! I learned so much, just from the first few chapters and I haven't stopped learning and underlining (and tweeting) the good stuff!!
I have mostly been trying these recipes out on my husband and kids, but I am looking forward to inviting people into my home again and embracing life around the table.
Community Conversation: What is one of your go-to entertaining recipes? What is your favorite cookbook or food website?
PS. you can pick this book up at Amazon or Dayspring... and probably your local bookstore! (attempt at affiliate links present)