Here I go. This latest round of crises is about over, and I wouldn’t want to be caught with nothing to conquer, so I’m taking the dive. I’m really doing this. I’m done with looking at some future date to begin in earnest and I have arrived at the Now is the Time part of this venture. I am committed to publishing my cookbook. It will start out as separate eBooks, but it will also be published in hard copy. Being partly instructional, partly a planner, and partly inspirational, it lends itself to the kind of book you can hold in your hands and take to the kitchen or curl up with as you plan for the holidays or a barbecue, or to read a short, encouraging entry.
I’m writing this for a couple reasons. First, I want to declare it big and loud so I don’t back out. Please keep me accountable! Ask me if I’m working on it. Pester me to prove it!
Second, and far more fun for me, I want your input. I mean, I crave your input! Below is a list of topics and ideas that make this a far different cookbook from any on the market, and I want your input. If I’ve ever cooked for you or you’ve taken one of my classes (or your teenager took one,) or you’ve tried one of my recipes, then I want you to dig deep and tell me what you thought of it; what you liked, what you consider was unnecessary or didn’t like, what part of class you feel needed more time or explanation, how you think it could be improved, what ideas you would like to see that aren’t listed, etc.
Here is the list of chapters, topics and ideas I am considering. Keep in mind that no chapter will be just recipes. I give tips and instruction about each and every topic. It’s like a reference guide cookbook.
- First and foremost, the whole cookbook is health savvy and health oriented. I do not obsess over it so there will be a few decadent recipes, but they will be few in comparison, just as they aren’t the mainstay of how I feed my family. I believe in balance and that if we never eat richly then we are cheating ourselves. Moderation, not starvation.
- Gluten free cooking
- The whole cookbook will be gluten free or have substitution ideas to make a recipe GF
- Includes recipes, but also ideas for substitutions and how to change to a gluten free diet for less and without just buying GF versions of the same old stuff
- Glossary of cooking terms and food related words
- Measurement equivalents
- Throughout the book, recipes and menus will be tagged with icons for diabetic friendly (unless there is a legal compliancy issue,) super-cheap, family favorite, quick and easy/beginner friendly, high entertainment ta-da factor, all ingredients most likely in your pantry/fridge already, vegan and vegetarian, etc. (I would appreciate ideas for tagging. What would you like to know at a glance?)
- A cross-referenced index with sections for favorite entertaining recipes, gift foods, specially healthy menus and recipes,
- All of the regular chapters such as Appetizers, Entrees, Salads, Sides, Soups & Stews, etc., plus
- Different ethnic food types like Mediterranean, Hawaiian, Asian, Italian, European, etc.,
- Templates showing the most common spices, herbs, and/or foods for each type so you know what to shop for to create your own
- Crock pot cooking
- Freestyle Cooking—I coined the term 😀 –This will be a condensed version of the Freestyle Cooking Instruction Book
- I’ve already written articles and curriculum to teach how to find your own style and taste preferences in the kitchen
- Teaches the basics and how to follow a recipe so you can break free and cook without a book
- Includes recipes for basic sauces plus templates for how to alter the sauce to fit your chosen dish
- Cooking for a crowd/entertaining/parties (NOT necessarily the same thing)
- How to do a buffet, includes recipes as well as templates to create your own
- Many options will include how to “cheat” (buy store-prepared) on part of the menu to save time for another part of your menu
- Cooking for a mixed crowd of vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters—includes full menu and recipes
- Affordable cooking for a crowd
- How to choose and plan a menu when having people over, even if you don’t know them well
- This includes reproducible worksheets for food planning as well as a preparation timetable (this has been a lifesaver for me! I created it out of necessity.)
- Weekly menu planning that is both healthy and affordable
- Has step-by-step instructions teaching what needs to be thought out first and how to build upon those foundations
- Includes numerous examples of weekly menus I’ve used for my family and the recipes for each, showing how each menu balanced nutrition and saved money
- Has reproducible menu and shopping list template that I designed and have used for close to 20 years of menus.
- Cooking for the holidays—again includes how-to planning along with recipes—many tips and tricks
- Make-aheads and mixes, including spice mixes for such things as taco seasoning, Israeli spice mix, Garam Masala, Curry, Italian spice mix, etc.
- Freezer cooking—preparing meals that are frozen then thawed and heated when needed. It’s way easier to do than the old way which took me three full days and killed my feet and back. This also includes how to do it so the meal tastes like it was just prepared and the meat is still juicy.
Here are ways you can be part of this project.
- Give feedback as I send out surveys and ask questions
- Volunteer to try my recipes and give feedback through a form that I will provide; it will be on things like how easy it was to follow, how the dish turned out, whether you would use it again, etc. – obviously, you get all the recipes you try, plus free downloads of chapters, depending on how many feedback forms you return
- Share your favorite recipes with me, especially if you don’t plan on writing your own book. I will honor everyone who provides me with recipes that make it into the book by naming the recipe after them and/or something personal with that recipe. For example:
- Nicole’s Taco Soup—and a couple sentences about my friend Nicole and how much my family and I love this recipe
- You will also receive free downloads of chapters, depending on how many of your recipes I include
- Share tips and things you’ve learned that you wish you’d known when you started cooking. If I get enough of these I will have a section titled “I Wish I’d Known” and include the contributors’ names. You also receive free downloads of chapters, depending on how many of your tips I use that weren’t already part of my repertoire. I will be honest! And frankly, I’ll probably just give you a download for the submissions anyway.
So there you have it. A lot to mull over, I know, but think about it and let me know how you would like to be involved. I’m excited for this project and to get this cookbook out there for everyone to enjoy!
Respond below and become a part of this venture. Speak up and help make this the best cookbook on the market!