cookbooks, blogs, and mags

I am often asked about which cookbooks I use the most.  Truth be told, most of my cooking is not from a recipe.  Either I’ve made it so many times I don’t need a recipe anymore or I’ve made it up myself.  Definitely trying to get better about writing down my recipes so I can share more of them with you on A Bowl Full of Simple.  When I cook directly from a recipe it is typically from one of the following cookbooks.  These are my favorites.  The recipes are always spot on.  No trial runs necessary before serving at a dinner party.  Who has time for that?  Each of these cookbooks are on my bookshelf and mostly fall into my primary requirement of SIMPLE!

The Barefoot Contessa

I don’t know about you all, but The Barefoot Contessa is by far my fave.  She has such a beautiful simple yet elegant style.  I also happen to love that she includes a ‘want to eat it right off the page’ photo for each recipe.  I do not care for cookbooks with few photographs (anything by Mollie Katzen excluded).  And the GREAT news is that Ina Garten is coming out with yet another fab cookbook this fall.  You can pre-order it autographed from The Barefoot Contessa.

I use all her cookbooks frequently, but Family Style, and The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook are  possibly the most used.  I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her new book.  By the way, who doesn’t wish they could live in her barn?  BarnLove!


Cook’s Illustrated

The Cook’s Illustrated series is a fantastic resource.  Their cookbooks have tons of information on just about every type of food, technique, or gadget.  I don’t use these cookbooks very often, but I head straight for them if I have a question about something.  For example, at Thanksgiving, you could read up on information about cooking times, to brine or not to brine, stuffing, or how to tie up the bird.  Super useful.  A favorite of mine from this series is the Soups and Stews Book.  They also publish a magazine with the same name.



Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking

My kids love this book!  Whenever they are in the mood for baking, this is our go to.  The book is so easy to navigate, the recipes are labeled by difficulty and the pictures make it easy to understand directions and ingredients.  I think they like to see real photos of real kids baking, mixing, and decorating.  There is a section devoted to techniques like how to measure flour, how to prepare a baking dish, or how to test a cake for doneness.  Such a great book to get your kids involved in the kitchen!


The Silver Palette Cookbook

The Silver Palette Cookbook is one of those cookbooks that every cook should have.  It has a recipe for nearly every occasion and has been around for 30 years!  Besides, who can resist their famous Chicken Marbella recipe?  



The food blog world is exploding by the minute.  I read somewhere that there are more than 33,000 food blogs in the cyber world.  That’s a lot of info and a lot to choose from.  Some websites are a source for literally thousands of recipes like Epicurious while others are smaller and curate only recipes they’ve tried like Simply Recipes.  If you are interested in cooking, you are likely already familiar with Smitten Kitchen.  If you don’t know about it, check it out now!  It is likely the best food blog I’ve found.  The recipes are fantastic and the photography is mouth watering.  I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of her first book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook due out October 30th.  There are also food blogs that are more journalistic in nature where they essentially post what they’ve eaten every day like Kath Eats Real Food which has some really great ideas on simple fresh meals (and some nice photography).  It’s a little repetitive to follow everyday as would be if I posted what I ate everyday, we all can be creatures of habit!  She is however, quite possibly the only person in the world that likes oatmeal more than I do!  A favorite of mine lately has been Jenna Weber’s blog Eat, Live, Run.  It is more of a food blog than it sounds like.  She is always one step ahead of my taste buds or food needs.  I had decided to detox this week from a incredibly indulgent week of lots of eating and drinking with a diet of fresh fruits, veggies, and salads when I opened up her blog post Monday morning with this same comment from her and a delish grilled peach salad recipe.  There are more than my desired dessert recipes, but she is truly a girl after my own heart when it comes to fresh simple food.



Do any of you still read magazines in a hardcopy?  I may be one of the few left that still love a glossy photo in my hand.  The only magazine I read and use recipes from is and will always be Sunset Magazine.  I feel like you can’t truly live in the west without reading this magazine!



Please send me your favorite cookbooks, food blogs, and magazines.  I’m always up for some new inspiration!




  1. says

    I too love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and use them most. I also love the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook and refer to the original The Martha Stewart Cookbook whenever I have a question and my mother is not available! My newest cookbook is Babycakes Covers the Classics, which is all gluten-free and vegan baking. Everyone has guests with allergies and/or food restrictions from time to time so this is a great resource. And yes, Chicken Marbella is an entertaining favorite here!


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