I have not been one-who-cooks my entire adult life. In fact, I didn't really take the leap to cook meals for myself until after I got divorced! My ex-husband was a great cook and loved doing it, so I always just stayed out of his way. Along the way though, without even knowing it, I learned a lot from him. I mean to say that I am an amazing cooking prodigy considering that I only sprouted wings in the last few years.
I follow recipes, but don't need to. I like to see a bunch of recipes for the same thing and pick and choose what I put in it to make it "better" without ever having tasted it before. I use measuring cups and spoons very infrequently- I can tell how much I'm using just by eyeballing it. My spatial reasoning skills are also off the hook. G questions it though and I get the side-eye a lot.
It's just weird to never have cooked before but have these seasoned skills. So I owe all that to more than a decade of being a resentful sous chef. In fact, after my ex and I decided to separate, I thanked him profusely for everything that he taught me. It was a lot- the cooking stuff I didn't really even realize until much later. I am so grateful.
So why do I even need cookbooks and cooking blogs if I'm such a freakin genius, you ask? Well, I'm not to the point yet where I'm a dish creator, completely from scratch. I like to have lots of recipes at my disposal to give me ideas, get me started, and give me variety. If I were on my own, I'd probably rotate between taco salad and chicken burgers 365 days of the year. I also don't get tired of food. I can OD after years and years of over-exposure, but day to day, I could eat the same thing and be totally fine. G can't have the same thing for lunch as dinner in the same day. Crikey. She's just like Levi. Anyways, it works out, because having a variety of different foods is better for you nutritionally, so it's good (external) motivation to get creative. Did you read my mindset post on change?
One other thing I want to cover before you see a list of cookbooks and blogs all with the word PALEO in it, is that I'm not a strict paleo-follower. People have a general misconception about me on this topic. Although, I don't know how that is possible since I talk obsessively about costco cake and frosting. hmmm.... Anyways, I'm not a diet follower. I don't exclude any food groups (although I really should eliminate dairy as I have terrible eczema) and I don't think that Paleo is any better than South Beach or Zone or Atkins or any such diet. People have to do what works for them long term. And no diet ever devised by man is sustainable for me.
The reason I gravitate towards Paleo books and blogs is because, as a non-vegetarian who needs to eat to refuel the body for intense workouts, basing my general diet on high protein and high vegetable content is desirable, and the world of Paleo is just that. But, if I want a burger on a gluten-full white bread bun instead of a lettuce wrap, then I have it. If I want pasta instead of substituting spiralized zucchini, then I just eat pasta. But, I know very well how to toast bread and boil pasta without recipes, so having them for the more complicated dishes and interesting substitutions is key for me. I can always go more rudimentary route with a recipe, it's a lot harder to go the other way.
With all of that said, here is a list of my favorite cookbooks and cooking blogs. And, I even tried to sort them with my favorites and ones most used in this house first. They are all amazing though!
1. Danielle Walker: Against All Grain
Book #1: Against All Grain - our favorite recipe book of all time. So many gems in here.
Book #2: Meals Made Simple- our second favorite book- she came close to matching the first, but this one also includes meal plans for entire weeks to make shopping lists and grocery buying easy. We don't use that part, but I imagine for a larger family with kids it would be super useful.
Book: Slow Cooker Revolution - OMG it's a non-paleo cookbook! But my favorite kitchen gadget is front and center for every recipe. I love this cookbook because America's Test Kitchen went out of their way to find shortcuts for every recipe - so you don't have to cook all your food before you slow cook your food. How freakin annoying is that?? What you can microwave to pre-cook, what you can make ahead of time to throw in later. Genius all around.
4. Brittany Angell: Every Last Crumb
Book: Every Last Crumb - this is amazing for baked goods, bread, dessert, and any other carby thing you've been missing if you're gluten free. It's by no means "healthier" than normal gluten-full recipes, but gives lots of great ideas for substitutions for those who simply cannot tolerate certain foods such as gluten, dairy, peanuts, and sometimes eggs.
5. PaleoPot Blog:www.paleopot.com - this is my absolute favorite place to go for one-pot and crock-pot recipes that use substitute foods that utilize more high fiber and nutrient dense veggies.
6. Elana's Pantry Blog: www.elanaspantry.com - a great resource for basic recipes including brunch, snacks, side dishes, and desserts. She also has lots of great recipes for kids.
I hope you have time to check some of these out! I'm currently on vacation to visit my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew in the UK, with a stopover to London for a few days of touring. Standby to hear more about my trip and what we ate of course next week.