After getting hitched almost two years ago, domestication set it rather quickly [to my surprise, of course]. I think it was a direct correlation between my new wedding gifts and my desire to be a new wife. I’d never had proper tools to prepare food with or the pretty plates and bowls to serve said food in, so, yeah…I was excited. I had finally found my special place in my own kitchen and started to enjoy my time spent there each night [well…almost each night].

My mother always implied that cooking is simply reading. “If you can read, you can cook,” she’d say; and I’m starting to believe that’s true. Additionally, I’ve come to find that my crockpot and my freezer are my best friends and that as long as you’ve got pasta in your pantry and eggs in your fridge, you can feed thousands.

Moving forward, I don’t intend to start sharing my daily recipes or showing y’all my EXTENSIVE culinary skills [ha], but I thought I’d share some of the online recipes I’ve tried that worked out well enough to have them as regulars on the menu and some of my favorite cookbooks that I reference regularly.  In return, I’d love to hear your favorites. I’m always looking for something new to try. No, seriously….tell me.

// Tomato & Spinich Risotto // Brocolini Fried Rice //
// Spicy Roasted Vegetable Mac & Cheese // and for dessert… PB&J Cookies [not pictured]

Seasoned to Taste  – My friend Amanda gave this to me as a wedding present and it’s by FAR the prettiest Junior League cookbook I’ve come across. It was made in Chattanooga and I love that it is sorted by season. Not to mention, it isn’t a book full of “casseroles” filled with cheese like most junior league cookbooks. There are some healthy alternatives AND some crazy names in here. I highly suggest the “Catch A Man Dip” for parties and the “Easy Like Sunday Morning Salad” :)

Slow Cooker Revolution – I swear I spent my first year of marriage using this thing. I made just about every recipe in this guy. THEN…they came out with another one. Some people think using a slow cooker is lazy…I think it’s a genius way to multi task and not sweat the small stuff. I purchased both of mine at Fresh Market in Brentwood, but you can also buy them on amazon. I’ve made just about everything in both of them, but my favorite is probably the Beef Burgundy.

Mad Hungry – Lucinda Scala Quinn is all about cooking for her men and she’s really good at it. This is by far the best book for me to grab when I know Ryan is having some guys over to watch a game. My favorite part are her various, useful instructions in the beginning. Before she delves into her recipes, she talks about everything from caring for your cast iron pans to food shopping and quantity control. She even talks about what knives would be better for cutting certain things and how to convince your husbands and boys to help with clean up. I love her Apple Crisp recipe – it’s delicious.

What Katie Ate – This is your quintessential blogger cookbook. Katie Quinn Davies has one of the most famous food blogs in the world. Her photos are flawless and styled to perfection. I love this book is because it is FILLED to the brim with bizarre, off-the-wall recipes that actually sound delicious. Often times, said recipes sound like they’re trying too hard with their ingredient selections…but I’ll be making Red Cabbage and Fennel Salad with Tarragon and Lemon Yogurt ALL. DAY. LONG. Some other interesting choices include: Mini Pork, Apple and Pistachio Sausage Rolls or Gourmet Chicken Wraps with Chipotle Mayo, Chunky Salsa, and Salad. She’s from Dublin so let’s throw in a Beef and Guinness pie for good measure :)

The Brokeass Gourmet – This is my favorite cookbook of all time ever. I’m the kind of person that eats to live [I don’t live to eat]. Therefore, I love that Gabi Moskowitz knows how to cook really good food on a super tight budget. I’d rather be saving that money for booking flights and not on expensive ingredients for one, silly, dinner. Not only are her recipes cheap, but she breaks down the costs for you so you know [roundabout] what you’ll be spending. I adore her Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, Thai Iced Tea Cakes, Pantry Spaghetti, Spicy Fried Chicken Sando, Pork Pho, Beer Battered Fish Tacos, and her Garlicky White Bean Dip. SEE? So many good things in here.

I made this from Brokeass Gourmet the other night!

okay, your turn. go! tell me your favorites!

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