favorite recipes + my favorite cookbook

I have bad news for you in regards to this month's favorite recipe post: I got a cookbook. Thus, I have been immersed in it and not scouring the interwebs for recipes. Fortunately, the cookbook didn't arrive until the middle of the month, so I do have a few recipes to share before I rave about Simply Scratch's: Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy. As for these recipes below, the images belong to the original blogger of the recipe as noted below each image.

Simply Scratch: Kale + Brussels Spout Chopped Salad
At the final weeks of our CSA, Anna kept picking the container of Brussels sprout. "I want balls," she'd tell me. So since I had everything for this salad already in the fridge - except the asparagus: we skipped that - I threw it together. It was so delicious. Aaron was even munching on it in the driveway as a snack - and enjoying it. True story.
image: Simply Scratch

Simply Scratch: Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
Because the above recipe suggested this dressing, I made it. Yum.
image: Simply Scratch

Simply Scratch: Roasted Jalapeno Poppers
We harvest a lot of peppers from the garden, so we've made these a handful of times. We made them most recently the other weekend for Aaron's dad's birthday.
image: Simply Scratch

Simply Scratch: Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches
We've made these twice now: once for my dad's birthday dinner in 2014 and once for Aaron's dad's birthday dinner this month. Both times, they were a hit.
image: Simply Scratch

Tasty Ever After: Loaded Sweet Potato Soup
This recipe appeared as a link on the Tasty Kitchen Blog as Loaded Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. Since I already had both of those ingredients, I threw this together for a last minute dinner. The girls were unimpressed, but Aaron and I found it tasting better with each leftover bowl. The last bowls were even "unloaded," and the soup was still delicious.
image: Tasty Ever After

So let's talk about this cookbook: Simply Scratch: Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy and how much I love it.

I grew up standing on the chair at the kitchen counter beside my mom dipping the chicken into the egg and then the breadcrumbs. I measured her spice tosses to learn how to make her spaghetti sauce during college when I moved into an apartment and ditched my meal plan. My love for cooking (and baking) was cultivated at an early age, but I've jumped into cooking and baking from scratch more and more in the past five years.

If you've been around my blog for awhile, Simply Scratch is no stranger to you as I've I've linked to Laurie McNamara's blog, Simply Scratch, so many times in the past five years. These monthly "favorite recipes" posts always have at least one or two of her recipes because her recipes have proven tried and true for me on so many occasions. As I've journeyed into the world of cooking, I've relied on tips shared on her blog to learn how to do new (to me) things in the kitchen. This cookbook puts all of those tips in one place. If you know how to cook well on your own and have all your staple recipes in place and all your favorite kitchen tools and equipment, this cookbook may not be a favorite for you. But if you're like me (or like I was) entering the world of cooking, the first section of this book will be so helpful to you. (You can even preview that entire first chapter on amazon.) She covers the basics: pantry and fridge essentials; kitchen tools and equipment; tips for easy, from-scratch cooking. As I read that section, I realized how much her cooking has shaped my cooking in recent years.

The next section now saves me from searching her blog every time I need to make taco seasoning for my favorite Chipotle Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl (which we just had (again) on Saturday night).

I have never liked sweet potato sides, but I made these last week; I think I've converted.

The pictures in the book are all Laurie's, and they make my mouth water.

So if you're trying to find your way in the kitchen as you learn to make recipes from scratch, you should invest in this cookbook. Give it to your friends for Christmas! Or, if you don't want to commit to a hard copy cookbook just yet, at least add Simply Scratch to your reader and bookmark it for when you need that recipe for taco seasoning.

I don't know Laurie personally, but I've commented on her blog enough and emailed her with questions to feel like maybe we'd be friends in real life. Whatever the case, thank you, Laurie, for all your delicious recipes and for teaching me how to cook things I never thought I'd be cooking through your beautiful blog!