Cooking is something that I’ve come to really enjoy as I get further and further into this “adulting” thing. Cooking my own food has definitely helped me expand my palate–and more importantly, my boyfriend’s palate. A recent win? Getting him on board the quinoa train. He’s now even more on board than I am, which I’ll count as a win because damn brown rice takes FOREVER to cook on the stove and I despise cleaning the microwavable rice cooker.
Now that’s not to say that all of my kitchen experiments end up in the “tasty” category, but most of them are, at the very least, edible. Except once when I tried to make creole-style red beans, ended up with weird bean soup and then SCORCHED the bottom of the soup pot trying to remedy the situation. That was a disaster that ended with Chinese take-out and a soup pot in the trash can. And a fair amount of tears because I don’t take failure well.
Thankfully, my cooking has improved since that fateful experience (though I haven’t touched a red bean since). And a huge part of my improvement can be attributed to an investment in pretty-much-fool-proof cookbooks from some of my favorite food bloggers. These cookbook authors/bloggers are HILARIOUS. I followed each of their blogs for a while before getting the real life cookbooks. I wasn’t disappointed at all and neither will you once you check out these three kick ass food tomes. Happy cooking!
- The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty – This cookbook, authored by Serena Wolf of the blog Domesticate ME! Is the newest addition to our kitchen and definitely the one that’s gotten the most work recently. Serena is awesome, the stories of her food-chugging boyfriend Logan are hilarious and her recipes are delicious. The premise of The Dude Diet is “healthifying” some of our favorite, not-so-healthy foods like nachos, burgers and any other standard “bar food” that I’d absolutely order on a Saturday night and then regret come Sunday morning. The lightened-up recipes are pretty simple to make (something that I’m super grateful for when I’m making dinner on a weeknight) and absolutely pass the boyfriend test, so this one will be sticking around for awhile at our house!
- Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food – Jessica Merchant is the blogger behind How Sweet It Is and again, I absolutely adore her. I’ve been reading Jessica’s blog since before she was even pregnant with her now two year old nugget, Max. She embodies that ‘90s child that still lives in all of us and is not ashamed of it one bit. She is a FABULOUS cook and her recipes are out of this world. So much so that some of them are a little out of my comfort zone, but I like having the challenge available to me if I have the time/bravery to attempt one of her masterpieces. Even if some of her recipes are too advanced for me, her blog and cookbook are still one of the places I check every single time I have a food/recipe-related question because chances are she’s done/cooked it and it’s going to be awesome. Also, the pictures in this cookbook are some of the most beautiful food pictures I’ve ever seen, so even if I can’t master the recipes, I can stare at what the final product is supposed to look like. And they look SO GOOD.
- Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half – I think Beth Moncel’s blog, BudgetBytes, was the first food blog I ever read and her cookbook is definitely the first one I ever bought for myself. The premise of BudgetBytes is pretty straightforward – good food that won’t break the bank. I LOVE her blog because she lists out how much each ingredient should cost and includes the total price of the recipe plus the cost per serving… It satisfies my (maybe sometimes too thrifty) mind so much to see how much something is going to cost me before I ever step foot in the grocery store. This is especially helpful when I was first starting to cook for myself and didn’t want to spend a ton on random ingredients that I’d probably never use again. BudgetBytes is definitely my main go-to when I need a quick, affordable and delicious recipe to whip up on a weeknight. SO. GOOD.