9 (mostly) little things I’m loving lately: kitchen edition

9 (mostly) little things I’m loving lately: kitchen edition

I like to keep a list in my bullet journal of the (mostly) little, everyday things bringing me a disproportionate amount of happiness these days. I’ve noticed lately—perhaps because we’ve been staying home so darn much?—that many of my everyday favorites are kitchen-related.

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1. Preserved lemons. I love anything citrus-y sour, and when the weather turned chilly I started craving these. We’re using them in tagines and salads; if you have more suggestions on how to use them I’d love to hear!

I know you can make your own, but I screwed up the process the first time I tried years ago, so this time I started by buying a jar, and now I keep refilling it with fresh lemons.

9 (mostly) little things I'm loving lately: kitchen edition

2. Delicata squash. I saw these for sale last year at Trader Joe’s, and wasn’t sure if they were for dinner or decoration! Now I know and I’m glad I do.

We gave delicata a try after my daughter requested “more fall produce” in the dinner rotation. Root vegetables and squashes are obvious candidates, but I’m not a fan of butternut and acorn. My search for alternatives led me here, and I liked what I read: that delicata is GREAT for home cooks because it’s easy to prep and tastes delicious.

So far we’ve enjoyed it roasted simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper (and sometimes a touch of maple syrup), as a component of this sheet pan recipe, and in this vegetarian chili. Now it’s a regular item on my grocery list.

3. Cinnamon almond butter. I impulse-bought this cinnamon almond butter months ago and have been buying it on repeat ever since. It’s gently sweet and super-tasty, delicious on crisp apples or toast (or, let’s be honest, right off the spoon).

4. Better Than Bouillon. I first learned about this from a chef friend; it is MAGIC. I used to be a homemade chicken stock purist, but one day last spring I was halfway through making a big batch of lentil soup when I realized we were all out, and I didn’t have time to make more. I subbed in Better Than Bouillon, and the results were so good I’ve never looked back, and have freely been using it to supplement or even replace the homemade stuff ever since.

I get mine at Costco but more flavors are available online.

9 (mostly) little things I'm loving lately: kitchen edition

5. Great new cookbooks. While I have my cherished go-to cookbooks, I’m so enjoying reading and cooking from some new 2020 offerings. My faves are Sweet Potato Soul, Vegetable Kingdom, and Modern Comfort Food.

I don’t know who I am anymore because I’m actually considering cooking my way through every recipe in Ina’s new one. Have you ever done something like this? Talk me into it (or out of it) in comments!

6. Korean chili paste. I’ve come across gochujang as a recipe ingredient for years and always skipped it or cobbled together a substitute. But after making and loving this sweet potato recipe several times without it, I finally decided to try the real thing. It’s sooo good and I’ve been looking for additional ways to use it ever since.

7. Parchment paper. I used to use this to line my pans for baked goods, while sticking to foil for roasting meats and veggies. I recently realized that I’d stopped reaching for foil altogether because I like the parchment results better. (We get ours from Grove; this is my referral link and it gets new customers a free Mrs Meyers set.)

8. Little bag clippies. Our chip clips tend to disappear (sometimes because my 10-year-old seizes them as a fort-making tool) so I got online and searched for good options. I’m really happy with these versatile Swedish bag clips, even though they’re different from the clothespin-style we’ve used in the past. And since they’re NOT good for fort-building, I can always find one in the drawer when I need one.

9 (mostly) little things I'm loving lately: kitchen edition

9. Coffee maker. What can I say? This is our pandemic splurge. After 15+ years of manual coffee making, we bought a Moccamaster coffee maker. We’d heard from trusted sources it brewed pour-over quality coffee in three mostly hands-off minutes.

Now that there’s a pandemic on we are always home, working from home, drinking coffee at home. No more traveling, no more coffee shop meetings. (What I would give right now for a great coffeeshop latté in an actual mug.) And since we’re always home, we didn’t want to spend so much time making coffee.

I love it. And I also appreciate one unanticipated development: because it’s easier to brew for two people than for one, Will has mostly cut the caffeine and joined me with the decaf. I never saw that coming, but I love how much it’s simplified our mornings.

We ordered our basic stainless version from Williams-Sonoma, though Nordstrom has all kinds of pretty colors if that’s your thing.

What (mostly) little things are bringing YOU a disproportionate amount of happy in the kitchen lately? I’d love to hear in comments.

P.S. 9 (mostly) little things I’m loving for early fall, and 20 board games to beat the rainy day blues.

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160 comments

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  1. Sue K says:

    I’ve had this Gochujang recipe tab open for a couple weeks now, debating if I should actually add it to a shopping list. Seeing the ingredient here seems to be confirmation that I should. 🙂

  2. Julie Clemente says:

    love those clips and thanks for the parchment paper tip; i roast everything so it’ll be an interesting change! stay safe and healthy

  3. Ellen Roberts Cole says:

    I love parchment paper too, but the revelation I had this year came with parchment paper sheets! I watch cooking shows and see them with these perfectly fitted parchment paper on their sheet trays and have thought all along that this was the result of having assistants do the work in advance! Every time I got out my roll of parchment paper, it curled and needed to be folded to fit. Parchment paper sheets, however, are in a flat box and are sized to fit a standard half-sheet tray (and can just use half of that for a quarter sheet tray). I just pull one out of the box and place it on the sheet pan just like I’m on the Food Network!! MAGIC!

  4. Amapola says:

    Yay for Gochujang! It is great, pulled pork, wings and roasted meats. Some years ago I fell in love with Garam Masala and it has become a staple on my spice rack. Recently I tried roasted spaghetti squash for the first time and it was great. And Better than Bouillion is a life saver.

  5. Cindy Homan says:

    Preserved Lemons-I love to make my own with different types of salt. My favorite way to use them is in a dirty lemon martini-replace the olive with preserved lemon. Also, Moroccan chicken. Yay also for Gochujang- i don’t like spicy but this adds a complex level of heat that doesn’t bother my mouth or stomach and adds so much flavor!!

  6. Liz Snell says:

    My husband bought me a new old fashioned flour sifter for my birthday! I’ve been baking like crazy, and there are times when it’s just needed: powdered sugar especially. Seems loony to buy this when “everyone used to have one” and it’s used rarely. But the right tool for the job means a lot!!

  7. Cindy Homan says:

    YES! I love cooking through cookbooks-its like living out the whole story. My daughter and I cooked through Curate together. During Covid I cooked through Under the Tamarind Tree which really felt like traveling. I read cookbooks like novels. Cooking through Washoku now. Falastin is on the list to go next. LOVE IT!. Indianish-that was a really great one to start with because it was so easy and americanish. If you ever wanted to learn to cook Indian its definitely where to start. (Especially to control the spice) Also-shcek out Spicewalla.com. They have several cookbooks with the necessary spices already packaged together. Plus I LOVE their spices.

  8. Terri says:

    I’m almost two years into a project to cook every recipe from a cookbook. I’m not even halfway through but I love it. I picked a cookbook that I found I was liking SO many recipes from, The Minimalist Kitchen. I’ve taken a slow approach which I find relaxing and fun. Many of the recipes in the book I love and make over and over again so I continue to have to push myself to try a new one.

  9. Kristy says:

    We also bought a Moccamaster during the pandemic and we love it! We still have our Nespresso and aerocino milk frother, so I still love an afternoon latte. I also bought a Le Creuset and use it 4 times a week. I tried a Lush bath bomb last week and it was all they say it is.

      • Sheila says:

        Espresso machine is the way to go. We contemplated one after our month in New Zealand (strong coffee culture down under), but didn’t commit until our trip to Italy the following year. We’ve had it for over 10 years, so we still have our lattes, mochas, and straight espresso (my husband makes a quad shot every morning) even in pandemic times.

          • Linda Moore says:

            love, love, love our espresso machine…Jura e8. A carafe of milk can be attached for lattes. I’m sure there are newer models.

          • Diana says:

            I also Have a Jura fully automatic espresso maker. I have had it a few months now and it is honestly my MOST favorite things. Morning cups of coffee , journaling, reading, amazing start to my day. The coffee is incredible with this machine! (Built in frother is so much fun!)

        • Libby says:

          As someone who needs to start making a wedding registry and with an espresso-loving future husband, I am also very interested in what this decade old machine is!

      • Susan says:

        I have a nespresso machine and this milk frother: https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/coffee/bmf600.html

        I had a nespresso frother but the non stick coating flaked off. This one is stainless steel and is much better for making hot chocolate for 2+. Highly recommend!! I really love both, but I think you’d prefer an espresso machine without pods since you like to find favorite decafs. Nespresso’s decaf selection is limited for the Vertuo design pods. Not sure about the classic pods.

    • Kate Olson says:

      My parents bought me a Le Creuset casserole dish back in the 90s. I use it on the hob and in the oven and it still cleans up well after all these years. One of the best bits of kitchen ware I’ve ever owned. Enjoy x

      • Nicole says:

        I joke to my kids that they will get my Le Creuset pots as an inheritance because they will be good forever and never go out of style!

  10. Peggy says:

    I forget where I learned about Better than Bouillan but it’s a favorite to have in our house too. Although I never made broth homemade I like it better than the box or canned stuff. I found this lovely tea concoction that I’ve been making since January. Some have called it the Medicine Ball from Starbucks. But it’s peach tea and mint tea with lemonade. In the winter I add some honey. In the summer just the lemonade. Bonus no caffeine so I can drink it after dinner with no worries of not being able to fall asleep. Another find has been a crust for making quiche that is very yummy and I don’t have to make it from scratch. The brand is Oronoque Orchards Flakey Deep Dish pie crust. I’m sure there’s other things but that’s what I’m currently enjoying.

  11. Jennifer Geisler says:

    I haven’t done this much baking in years! This week I tried the Yankee Magazine’s recipe for Cider Doughnut Muffins. OH MY. Exactly the same taste, with only 20 minutes to prepare – then bake for 17 mins. With a tall glass of cider, these have become my family’s (and neighbors’) favorite Fall treat! The recipe makes one dozen, so they go fast.

  12. Rada Foote says:

    I’m going to have to try gochugang, and better than bullion. I love garam marsala and recently put it in butternut squash soup;game changer!
    What is bringing me joy is to figure out what to do with leftover random ingredients from the fridge and pantry. The forgotten granola got new life and top billing when they were turned into chewy granola cookies. Leftover cooked rice from an Indian dinner became rice pudding. I just love the creativity that happens when I reimagine what an ingredient could be instead of throwing it away.

  13. Amanda says:

    Love those clips! We get them at IKEA for super inexpensive! I can never seem to have too many.

    My little thing is the ASMR/ambience rooms on YouTube. I can be at a tea house or cafe or on an autumn porch or in a cozy cottage with a fire burning during a thunderstorm while staying in and working from home. Obsessed!

  14. Margie says:

    I have a slightly modified version of “cooking through” a cookbook. I get myself a cute set of page tabs (the ones from jetpens are my favorites) and I tab every recipe that catches my eye. Then, I challenge myself to remove all the tabs by cooking that recipe, and noting in the book what I did or didn’t like. There will always be that one recipe that you just know that no one in your family will like and of course, it requires you to grab three new ingredients that will clutter up your pantry. The project should be fun and giving yourself a pass on the ones that just don’t appeal to you keeps it light and easy.

    • Susan says:

      Love this idea. I’ve tabbed recipes using post-it notes so I can add ‘changes’ to accommodate my families eating proclivities. Great idea to challenge oneself to remove them.

    • Suzanne says:

      Uh-oh, I just looked at the Jetpens website- I’m in trouble now!

      I’m loving pre-cut butternut squash right now. We have a favorite grain bowl that includes roasted butternut squash, but I hate cutting them up. Trader Joe’s and Publix both carry it already cubed and it’s so helpful!

      • Margie says:

        Jetpens is amazing. It’s such a great place for picking up teachers gifts and treats for stockings. My nieces love getting little things in the mail.

    • Heather Gilliland says:

      I love Jetpens!! I order something from them every month. I love the hard to find .038 pens in hard to find color ink.

      • Margie says:

        The .038 pens are a bit scratchy for me, but I love them for the super fine paper in my planner. And yes to the crazy colors. Have you ever ordered one of their color test packs? That was a great way to find some new pen brands.

    • Maryam says:

      I have done something like that. Inspired by a blog, I did cookbook of the Month. I used to take a cookbook(the one I like) every month and select recipes to make/bake. Some recipes are out of my comfort zone and some are easy. It was fun!!!

  15. Rikilynn says:

    I cooked my way through Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop. I even bought an actual wok and the tools needed to make it authentic. I loved every minute of it and my family enjoyed most of the recipes. It was such a fun learning experience! I hope I find another cookbook I am that motivated to work my way through.

  16. Stacey says:

    I’ve been thinking of cooking my way through Modern Comfort Food too. I’ve always wanted to do it and it just seems like there will never be a better time

    • Margie says:

      Where is modern comfort food from? I miss browsing the new cookbooks at my library which is still closed here in Houston.

  17. Elizabeth Whittaker says:

    Okay, I admit it. I am an Ina Garten junkie. I read cookbooks like I read novels and ALL of my Ina cookbooks have highlights, notes, coffee stains on the pages. Another cookbook author I just adore is Stanley Tucci. He played Paul Child (husband of Julia) in the movie Julie & Julia. If you like Italian… and who doesn’t, check out one of Tucci’s books. It reads like a novel.

    • Liby says:

      A cookbook I enjoyed reading like a novel was Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese! She decided after getting laid off that she’d try to make everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in her kitchen from scratch to see what would save money versus the prepackaged convenience food. For each recipe she lists the Hassle vs Payoff for homemade versus storebought. The project is, of course, a little ridiculous, and she’s such a funny writer I was truly laughing out loud at it. The recipes in it are also very good!

    • Diane says:

      I love Ina Garten recipes. I have never had a failure with one of her recipes. She gives clear cut instructions and also doesn’t use a lot of unusual ingredients. My guests always want to have the recipe. My guests were pre pandemic. One tip I always use is putting instant coffee granules in anything chocolate. It really enhances the flavor

  18. Jill Duffin says:

    Ina Garten is a never miss and my go-to. You could easily go through her book and make everything and love it all! BTW – the one pictured here is not her latest! Cooking for Jeffrey one of my favorites!

  19. Kimberly Fox says:

    I have been using those bag clips for years and they are the bomb. I used to get them from Pampered Chef and once I found them on Amazon, I have been ordering from there. I like them because they can also be used in the freezer for like bags of fries and stuff and they won’t break. The Korean Chili Paste and the Better than Bouillon are staples on my kitchen. Back in April, right in the middle of the lockdown I started reviewing cookbooks. Perfect timing! I got my second batch this fall from two different publishers and I am loving it! I have never been much of a cook, but I am inspired now! I think I want to cook every recipe in Milk Streets Cookish and Vivian Howard’s This Will Make It Taste Good. Both are amazing and the recipes are delicious!!

  20. Lee Shaffer says:

    I record The Kitchen and Barefoot Contessa on tv. Then i print off the recipes of the dishes they make that i like. Have made some amazing dishes from those shows.

  21. Erica says:

    I live in Houston so fall comes late, if at all. We celebrate the season by decorating. I love seeing all the pumpkins, mums, and crotons on doorsteps. So colorful! This year, I bought several varieties of all of the above and, best of all, found a vanilla-scented broom (usually, those décor brooms are cinnamon scented and are way too strong for my taste!). Every time I open the front door, the scent of vanilla wafts in and it is lovely!
    I’ve been cooking through Cook90 by David Tamarkin, one of the editors of Bon Appetit. You can use it to help you meal plan, and he has copious instructions for this, or you can use it just for the recipes. I love the variety of recipes and the fact that almost all of them prepare a family meal rather than just a main dish or side dish. I really dislike having to figure out, now what goes with this dish?

  22. Wendy Barker says:

    Instead of using parchment paper for lining baking pans and then throwing the paper out I bought a couple of Cookina reusable parchment sheets and I love them. They are about $10 Canadian so probably only about $7 US. They fit up to a 9×12 pan. Just wash them in the sink with dishwashing soap and leave to dry hanging over something or flat on the counter.

  23. Heidi says:

    If you want to know what is like to cook through all of Ina’s cookbooks, check out @storeboughtisfine on Instagram. He’s something like 1100 recipes in, and is still having a blast.

  24. There needs to be a “like” button! Thank you for the great ideas! Two things: Buy the espresso machine. I have a Breville and it is worth every penny! 2. My newest go-to fall snack: 2% Fage yogurt, stir in 2t Trader Joes Pumpkin Butter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and 1T flaxseed meal. Divine!

  25. Angela says:

    I get those little bag clips at IKEA! I don’t have any fort construction going on in my house but I have a big stash of these and they don’t take up much room.

  26. Heather says:

    I really like the garlic Better Than Bouillon! Although, that one is harder to find in some grocery stores. I have been eating Gojuchang sauce on so many things lately. I love the sweetness and spiciness. It was a Skinnytaste recipe that got me into it. I’m a huge parchment paper proponent and I’ve been getting mine at Costco for years. At one point they discontinued it and I had to get it from elsewhere and then a year or two ago I saw that they were stocking it again so I bought a bunch of it, just in case they get rid of it again. Lastly, I cooked my way through What’s Gaby Cooking’s second cookbook and documented it on IG. I started this year on cooking my way through her third cook book, but I’m only 1/2 done. It’s been harder this year because I try not to go to the grocery store very often. It was a fun challenge.

  27. Nichole Fournier says:

    I have been cooking my way through Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year for almost 12 months, now. (Thanks for introducing her to me!) I have made so many dishes that I would never have thought to try– it’s been a great pandemic project. Also, Gochujang is delicious on any kind of a rice bowl, especially when topped with an egg.

  28. Sarah says:

    Something that I have been loving for the past couple of years is the AnyList app. I can’t say enough good things about its versatility and intuitiveness, and the developers actually take their customers suggestions into consideration, making great improvements for the time I’ve been using it. It shaves literally an hour off my menu planning and grocery list-making each week, not to mention all the other kinds of lists you can think up. I feel like I should be getting paid by them to rave about their product, and I don’t normally take time to even rate my other decent apps, but I’m willing to share the love for this one since I’m a firm believer of spending less time with stuff and more time with people (or sleeping). And, yes, I splurge for the pro version, app tightwad that I am.

    • S says:

      I have marked so many recipes to try from Ina’s latest, which I preordered from my local indie. I have made the breaded fish recipe a few times already, although my tried and true was very very similar. Parchment paper is the bomb and the sheets are my go to for holiday baking. I need to check out Costcos! I just use clothespins for bag clips but I don’t have any fort makers… My go to kitchen item lately are Swedish dish clothes, which come in such fun patterns and themes. I buy them to add to gifts, and were a go to during shutdown when my paper towel supply was dwindling fast. Love love love them and their cute and colorful patterns near my sink make me happy!!

  29. Diane says:

    Go check out @chefandtheblogger On Instagram. She recently cooked her way through Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard (of A Chef’s Life & Somewhere South on PBS)

  30. Virginia says:

    Some great items I need to try here! I’m loving tea as always and homemade cookies. Great for the chilly weather we’re having in the NE.
    Would love another post about your favorite pens. Pens & new notebooks always make me happy!

  31. Vicky says:

    I just discovered delicata squash too. A favorite way to cook is to slice it, add sliced baking apple, chopped onion, minced ginger (or ginger paste), olive oil, salt, pepper. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 24 minutes, stirring halfway.
    Serve it on top of bed of cooked quinoa or other grain. You can throw in some chopped swiss chard or baby kale into the quinoa after it has cooked to soften the green leafy vegetable. For the meat-eaters in your family, you could top the dish with grilled sliced pork chop, steak, etc. So good!

    • Ruth O says:

      Have to chime in on Sweet Potato Tacos! They are the best! Well, I haven’t tried anything Smitten Kitchen and been disappointed, but love those. That recipe turned us into Pickled Red Onions, and how easy it really is to make quick slaw. Love how she writes.
      I love parchment paper, also. Haven’t tried the sheets. I am now going to try that Korean sauce, love adventures with different flavors in cooking.
      Thank you so much, love these posts!

  32. Tina G says:

    For the past couple years, I’ve chosen a cookbook and cooked my way through every single recipe between January 1 and December 31. It’s a lot of fun! And, depending on how many recipes there are, also a lot of work! I find it helps simplify meal planning, because every week I go to my cookbook for the year to find some recipes to make. It means we try recipes I never would have and some surprise us by becoming new favorites. I love that I learn new techniques and outlook on cooking by working my way through one chef’s vision.

    Cookbooks that are regionally focused are also fun. Last year I cooked my way through Pati’s Mexican Table and learned so much about food and cooking techniques from all across Mexico, and so did my family! The kids loved it.

  33. Libby says:

    A cookbook I read like a novel was Make the Bread Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. She decided to make all of the so-called convenience foods in her kitchen from scratch. And we’re not just talking about peanut butter, she made stuff ranging from cured meats to ice cream cones. She’s a really funny writer, and fully committed to the project despite it being somewhat absurd, so I was laughing out loud at some parts. She rates each recipe on whether it’s cheaper than storebought and worth the hassle. The recipes are also really good!

    • Ellen W says:

      I wish she was still writing on her blog – I need to see if she’s writing on any other sites. That was a fun cookbook.

  34. Cindy says:

    I just purchased the latest Ina Garten cookbook, Modern Comfort Food and also have thought about cooking my way through it. I have a few of her cookbooks and her recipes never disappoint. I vote YES, let the cooking (and tasting) begin!

      • Aimee says:

        So I am also wanting to cook my way through her cookbook. The only shellfish I like is crab but as I was looking through the various recipes, I think I could sub a different protein for most of them. I guess I’ll find out!!!

  35. Anna says:

    I love, love Better than Bullion. My Costco typically has the low-sodium organic too which is great. I used the roasted chicken, roasted beef and occasionally the vegetable. I lived in China for a few years and would bring it over with me! Also many years ago I got a giant box of parchment squares from a restaurant I worked at (I have no idea why they were parting with them!) and I’ve loved them ever since. If you have a restaurant supply store in your vicinity, you can typically find a great value.

  36. Kelli says:

    YES, YES, YES to the Moccamaster! We bought one during quarantine and it has brought me so much joy each morning. Next purchase is going to be a coffee grinder!

    So fun to read all the comments and get even more suggestions.

  37. Jo B. says:

    Love the BTB and get mine at Costco too! Just ordered the parchment sheets, I love parchment paper but despise the curling. I’m picking up Ina’s new book at Costco today and making the muffins tomorrow. Thanks everyone!

  38. Cady says:

    I chose this year to work through the 52 cakes of the South Australian Country Women’s Association Calendar of Cakes. Thought I’d be sharing the results widely with friends and workmates. I’ve spent 7 months working from home and/or in some kind of lockdown … by the time this is over I may never eat sugar again.

  39. Lynne says:

    Rather than those clips, try old wooden clothespins if you have them. The ones with the spring.

    Also, for a super absorbent dish towel, I highly recommend the flour sack towels from the Vermont Country Store.

    Thanks for so many great ideas!

    • angie says:

      I second the old-school wooden clothespins and you sealed the deal on the flour sack towels from the Vermont Country Store. I’ve eyed them many times, but never bit. Now I will!

  40. Nikki Senecal says:

    Alison Roman has a pork recipe with preserved lemons that is out of this world, Harissa-rubbed pork shoulder with white beans and chard in Dining In. And to help me cook more from my cookbooks, I subscribe to Eat Your Books–you create a shelf of your cookbooks and then you can search all of them on this site. So, for example, if you want to bake all the chocolate chip cookie recipes you have, say during a pandemic, you will know you have 25 recipes to choose from. (It’s also great for finding recipes among my 50+ books for the farm share produce.) The results tell you which cookbook has the recipe and what the ingredient list is, but you have to go back to your cookbook for the recipe. Much easier to find things than flipping through all the indexes.

    • Suzanne says:

      I’ve been cooking from Alison Roman’s cookbook lately. Haven’t tried the pork yet- but sounds good. She also explains how to make your own preserved lemons.

    • Robin says:

      This sounds amazing! I much prefer real cookbooks over digital ones, but it leaves the problem of hunting through them to find recipes. Brilliant!

    • Robin says:

      Ok, I’m even more excited now that I’ve perused the site! I can search my cookbooks, both digital and hard copy, AND my favorite cooking blogs/sites at the same time without extraneous internet results! I can input favorite back issues of magazines! This is incredible. Thank you!!!!

  41. Molly says:

    I have those clips in many sizes. Love them. I know this is old news, but my kitchen life saver is dehydrated onions. I hate slicing and chopping onions because they burn my eyes. These don’t. I can easily rehydrate them with a little bit of water in a cup. The only struggle now is how to get sliced onions without tears or bloody fingers.

  42. Meg says:

    I’ve been baking through the Sister Pie cookbook! Because most of them are dessert pies, I’ve loved baking a new pie for a special occasion or small dinner party gathering. In the book’s margin, I’ve been writing the occasion, who was in attendance, date, and any notes about the night or recipe. For example, I recently made the INCREDIBLE Apple and Sage Pie and included: Dinner party at X’s house with Y, Z, Q. We ended the night carving pumpkins! 5 Star Review all around. I’m excited to have a record of memories of the dinner parties and friends sharing pie when I’m done.

  43. Jean Vogl says:

    I, too have decided to cook every recipe in Barefoot Contessa’s Modern Comfort Food. I am 6 recipes into my journey, and keeping a journal detailing each recipe (along with my family’s ratings). My challenge will be the baked goods (not my forte!). I have also committed to following each recipe to the letter and no ingredient substitutions. This has forced me to plan ahead, read the recipe thoroughly first and be very thoughtful about the recipe choice and the process, all very good exercises for my impulsive, fly by the seat of my pants self!

  44. Jan Roberts says:

    I’m late to the comments game here, and in some ways this doesn’t exactly fit, but it’s one of my all-time favorite kitchen things, and maybe someday we’ll get to put it back into practice! When I moved to my current city 17 years ago, I was invited to a lunch group by a new friend. The premise is this: we all subscribe(d) to Southern Living magazine, and each month 1 lady would host lunch at her house. Each of us choose a recipe to make from that month’s issue, and the hostess fills in whatever is needed to make a complete meal (we try to balance between salads, vegetables/side dishes, main dish, dessert, etc.) & provides drinks. The idea is to be able to try several recipes from the magazine without the cost of making them all, so you can then decide which you’d like to make again. A few years ago, we started seeing repeats in the SL recipes, so we expanded, and nearly anything goes as long as you provide a copy of the recipe (so getting a group of friends to cook through an entire cookbook could also work!). COVID pretty much squashed our year this year, and I SO miss these monthly get-togethers. I’m hoping we’ll be able to meet up again soon.

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