Thursday, January 15, 2015

Curating a Collection of Cookbooks

In the past year I've been building on my skills in the kitchen. I used to be only a baker (cupcakes are still my specialty), but I've really enjoyed learning how to make all sorts of dishes. When I picture my dream home, the first thing on my list is always a personal library. Recently I've also been daydreaming about a cute, cottage-type kitchen with a collection of eclectic, brightly-colored dishes, vases with fresh flowers, and my own little garden right in the backyard. I've become increasingly interested in making things from scratch, and I love that cooking is a hobby that you can share-- whether it's creating something together with a significant other or making a delicious delivery to your bestie.

Meal planning sounds daunting, but it's actually one of my favorite ways to prep for the week. Pinterest is always a great source for recipes and I have a few food blogs on hand that I love to browse when planning, but I've also been coveting more than a few cookbooks lately. Though I love indulging in treats just as much as anyone, my focus is mostly on choosing meals that are filling, vibrant, and healthy. Below you'll find some of the books that I want to have (eventually) in my kitchen.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman // This book was written by a woman who started out with no experience in the kitchen. She was daunted by the number of recipes out there on the web, never knowing how to pick the best one. Her recipes look amazing and I feel a total sense of connection over the no-experience thing. I would love to have this be a staple on my kitchen shelf.

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living // If you ask me, Martha can do no wrong. I absolute covet my issue of Martha Stewart Living when it comes in the mail each month, and I love that this book is full of recipes that are beautiful, healthy, and sure to leave you feeling great.
It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes that Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great by Gwyneth Paltrow // Every recipe in this collection looks delicious and is made with whole foods. And if eating that food gives me a glow that's equal to even ten percent of Gwyneth's? I'm in. 
Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar // If you're not totally sold by the photograph on the cover of this cookbook, I can't help you. Everything in this book looks so yummy and is a lighter take on the Italian food that we all crave.
One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Crockpot, and More by the Editors at Martha Stewart Living // I love the idea of cooking an entire meal in just one pot, because dishes are my least favorite part of my new favorite hobby. Besides, these recipes also come from Martha Stewart, and we all know that means they have to be really good.
Meatless: More than 200 of the Very Best Vegetarian Recipes by the Editors at Martha Stewart Living // I'm not a vegetarian, but my diet tends to lean in that direction, especially when I'm in charge of cooking dinner. I have a weird aversion to cooking meat, so unless someone is doing that part for me, I'll choose a recipe that's vegetarian. Hence why I feel the need to have an extensive collection of recipes without meat in them. 
The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes by Beth Hensperger // One of my favorite gifts that I received for Christmas this year is my new bread machine. So far, I've tried out a rosemary bread recipe (amazing) and a buttermilk loaf recipe (incredible). I'm smitten with making my own breads because it ensures that there are less preservatives in the food that I eat, plus the smell of it baking in the oven is amazing and makes the kitchen feel more homey. I'm definitely interested in having a go-to cookbook for different delicious bread recipes.
The Baker's Four Seasons by Marcy Goldman // Everything in moderation, including delicious homemade desserts. I love that this book gives recipes by the season, so you can take advantage of farmer's market finds (my favorite) and always use the freshest ingredients possible. 
Hand Made Baking: Recipes to Warm the Heart by Kamran Siddiqi // This book will be a sure go-to when you need to impress your friends with your baking talents. It has classic, indulgent, delicious recipes and an incredibly high rating on Goodreads.

I love that these books can double as great gifts for your favorite cook! I have received a number of cookbooks in past years for special occasions and love that they are functional as well as beautiful. I mean, food photography gets me every time. I also always keep an eye out for cookbooks at library sales, as you can get them for around $1!

P.S. While you're waiting for your new cookbooks to arrive in the mail, get your healthy on with a new recipe!  How about a hearty soup? Soups and fresh breads are my favorites right now-- they keep me warm and happy in this chilly weather, and are a great way to sneak extra veggies into your meal.

I recently made this Lentil Spinach Soup and let me tell was amazingI added a side of fresh farmhouse bread, made with my new bread machine. It instantly earned a top spot on my favorite recipes list. 

Do you have a favorite cookbook? Share below! I'm always looking for more to add to my wish list.

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