Cooking Inspiration

August 20, 2015

True Confessions?  Lately, I've been stuck in a bit of a

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cooking rut

Which certainly shouldn't be, with as much as I love to experiment in the kitchen.  Admittedly, I'd like to believe I'm better than the rut, although if I'm not on guard, it can happen pretty easily.

Between the CSA, and all of the sweet people who give us produce from their gardens, our refrigerator has been brimming with incredible veggies.  So when dinner time rolls around, I've found myself saying

“Loves, I went to the pool this afternoon and didn't cook anything new.  How about a salad with chopped veggies, some protein, and one of our favorite salad dressings?

Or maybe a veggie omelet?  I'll add some different spices this time.” 

The good news is I'm aware, which is half the battle.  The other good news is, breaking out of a slump can be just as easy as staying in one.  So I thought it might be fun today to write a little about how I've rebounded from a rut in the past, and some of my favorite places to turn for ..


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Old Food Magazines

When my husband and I got married, I found boxes and boxes of old Gourmet magazines left behind by a friend.  It's fun to flip through pages of older recipes, out-dated equipment reviews, and long ago food fads.

Also, we're people who can't bear to throw away food magazines or catalogs like Williams and Sonoma (our friends are always giving us their hand-me-downs – thank you!).  It's fun to re-discover recipes we'd flagged, and then forgotten about.

The Winding Down of a Season

Sometimes a rut comes as a season is winding down.

For example, around this time every year, I'm starting to tire of summer food, and ready to start making soups and stews (comfort food).  I'm starting to miss baking too.  It's not that I never cook or bake in the summer, but it's a reminder of how much I love fall and winter recipes.

I'm thinking a batch of bread for the weekend

Restaurant Menus

Every time we visit a restaurant, I'm inspired.  Most menus offer up the main components, and it's fun to sleuth out the rest.

A couple I've done over the years?  Brunswick Stew and Lamb Sliders with Date Ketchup Caramelized Onions and Feta

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Photo Credit: Maya Angelou by G. Marshall Wilson


There's much inspiration to be found online, but there's something wonderful about cookbooks.  I learn something new every time I open one.  I'll browse through some of my favorites at home or head to the library for an afternoon.

A few of my go-to's?

Jerusalem and Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Supernatural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Any by Ina Garten

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen    (or any in the Moosewood Collective)

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Alton Brown

Julia Child in Paris Kitchen

Photo Credit: Julia Child from WonderusPilgram at Blogspot

Not to be forgotten are podcasts, our neighborhood's ethnic grocery, the local co-op, and friends whose dinner invites we always look forward to

How about you?

How do you break through a cooking rut?  Where are your favorite places to turn for inspiration?  What are you making these days?

Wishing you the happiest of Thursdays!


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  • Reply Mandy April 28, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Facebook videos are also a good way to get inspiration. I’ve found a great recipe for spinich dip stuffed chicken on Facebook, and it tasted amazing.

  • Reply Katie Kinsley June 26, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I haven’t been in a rut lately, but I’ve been in “feeling fat” type of mood. This has brought me to try out a different diet and a searching for new recipes!

  • Reply Ladonna Maxwell Dennis June 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I normally scroll through Pintrest, a couple of Facebook groups related to cooking, or your posts! Your posts almost always inspire me to cook something I’ve never thought to create! Most days, we’re easy-going with just basic foods. Some days I want to be creative, and that’s when I begin looking for that something that sounds good to me and my spouse

  • Reply Lisa Lisa June 26, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I don’t do any cooking much, my husband really cook the most. However, I do use Pinterest to give me some inspiration for when I do cook and Facebook, and I read cooking blogs also to help me. I do enjoy trying new recipes, it helps me get out the cooking rut.

  • Reply Censie Sawyer June 26, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    After sharing random recipes on my blog I got really into baking and cooking. I have been enjoying this for about 5 years now. I love getting creative. I think my inspiration comes from old family recipes and seeing trends in the pinterest world. So fun!

  • Reply Jenell June 27, 2017 at 12:17 am

    If I’m in a cooking rut, I try to find my inspiration through other sources. Some places I like to look for recipes are Pinterest, Instagram and other foodie blogs! I recently grilled some vegetable kabobs, they were soooo delicious!

  • Reply Robin Rue June 27, 2017 at 4:24 am

    I am in a permanent rut lol. Actually, it’s because I have a really and a semi-really picky eater in the house, so there are only two meals that everyone will eat, so I hate to bother if no one likes kit.

  • Reply Heidi June 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

    When I am in a cooking rut, I call my mom. I ask her what she’s having for dinner. Then I make the same thing. I have come to a point that just thinking of what to make for dinner stresses me out.

  • Reply Jeanette June 27, 2017 at 7:29 am

    I am always in a rut when it comes to cooking. I have such a terrible time coming up with ideas for dinner. I think I’m gonna take a couple of these suggestions and see if I can inspire myself.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey June 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

    We were just talking about what to have for tea so this a really timely post to give me more ideas on where I could look for some meal ideas.

  • Reply Natalie June 27, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I often find myself browsing through facebook & pinterest for ideas on what to cook next. When I lived on my own, we had the same thing every night, because that was just easier. But now it’s basically the same, but we’re not in charge of what’s being cooked. Then again, salad every meal works for me, because I love me some salads, I just don’t get full from them.

  • Reply Franc Ramon June 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Restaurant menus can be a good source of recipe. My aunt often times would try to predict the ingredients based on the taste. It’s nice that you get to have a lot of sources for a good recipe.

  • Reply Kimberly June 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    My favourite place to look is my old cook books! I always forget that they’re there since I always pick up my phone and click on pinterest nowadays. But my old cookbooks always have the best tried and true recipes!

  • Reply Lisa Favre June 27, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I totally get what you mean when you say you’ve gotten to a cooking/recipe rut. I’m the same as you and love flipping through old cooking magazines. More recently though, I’ve been a fan of Pinterest for cooking inspiration!

  • Reply Kim June 27, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I actually love veggie omelets and toast for dinner. It’s quick and yummy and a great source of protein. LOVE the yawning dog:)

  • Reply Ania June 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Restaurant menus are my favorite form of inspiration. I love reading the ingredients in regular items like “mac and cheese” or “ravioli” to see what they put in there to jazz it up, then I create a similar version at home.

  • Reply Marysa June 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I think it can be tough to come up with unique recipes. Summer is an inspiration to me just because I love eating so many fruits and veggies. Of course, that might mean a colander full of fresh cherry tomatoes..!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus June 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Sometimes we can all get stuck in a creative rut and it happens to me all the time. I like the idea of getting inspiration for new recipes from restaurant menus x

  • Reply Pam June 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I definitely get into a cooking rut sometimes. I have tons of cookbooks to flip through for inspiration though.

  • Reply Betty Boiron June 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    This is just the post I needed right now! I just told my friend yesterday I was in a cooking rut and I didn’t know where to turn for ideas, though you can find som many online that it sounded ironic.

  • Reply Jaime Nicole June 27, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    I have such an amazing cookbook selection! I go there for inspiration when I need it!

  • Reply Val June 28, 2017 at 12:44 am

    When we first married I didn’t really know how to cook. I made like 6 things and always felt in a rut. Now that I let myself relax and enjoy I don’t often run out of ideas.

  • Reply Shannon June 28, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Cookbooks for sure for me. These days I get a lot of inspiration online as well. Blogs like this, pinterest and instagram have all been a good source of inspo for me as well.

  • Reply Nikka Shae June 28, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Sometimes I get in a cooking runt too. Then I turn to Tasty videos for inspiration.

  • Reply Anosa June 28, 2017 at 5:13 am

    To date I haven’t been much of a cook, but lately I’m trying to change all of that. Mostly I make easy things that don’t require a recipe, and get all of my cooking inspiration from my best friend. She’s always making colorful, heathy, and quick meals for her family. All I have to do is look over her shoulder!

  • Reply TIm B June 28, 2017 at 5:42 am

    that yawning puppy looks like me in the morning. Great pic! I’ve been trying to get up earlier to be more productive in the morning. But I’m just not a morning person 🙂

  • Reply Eileen June 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

    These are some great places to find some food inspiration. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut to and end up cooking a few of the same meals often.

  • Reply Abigail June 28, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Honestly there are days that I don’t like to cook. It seems like that is what I have been doing for my entire life! However, since I cannot escape that task, I usually “invent” recipes and try to come up with some thing new and interesting. Where do I get my inspiration? From facebook videos.

  • Reply Neha Saini June 28, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I was also not much into cooking. But since I started reading the blogs and watching different recipes made me excited. Now, I’ve started cooking and I just love trying new recipes from your blog. My inspiration is you .

  • Reply Tiffany Haywood June 28, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I love to eat but hate to cook. I think the only thing I have that truly inspires me in the kitchen – is my hunger..LOL I love how cooking is your passion and you’ve found ways to be inspired even when you hit a rut.

  • Reply Nikki June 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Okay, what is in that first picture? It totally made me smile! As far as cooking goes, I’m not really all that good at it, but I like to try. Sometimes. Most of the time, I prefer when someone else does the cooking! Yet I love reading cook books. Go figure.

  • Reply Amanda Kee June 28, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I haven’t done a lot of cooking lately. In a way I am thankful, but then I’m not because I love to cook. I love browsing blogs and watching those videos on FB for inspiration. I’m gonna have to check out these cookbooks though. I have some really old ones from my grandmom that I love.

  • Reply Maureen June 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Love this post and your ideas to look for cooking inspirations. I am fortunate that where I live there are tons of really affordable food deliveries services. I sometimes struggle with cooking since I work full time 😀

  • Reply Kean Raph June 29, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Love these ideas for cooking inspirations. My mom used a cookbook for her recipes and she’s enjoying her cooking most of the time.

  • Reply Echo June 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I definitely get into cooking ruts as well. When I do, it seems like I make the same 3 or 4 recipes over and over again. I tend to get inspired by stuff I see online or things I see on the TV. Sometimes, it just takes a spark and sometimes, it takes the whole damn fire, LOL!

  • Reply Casandra June 29, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Everyone faces a cooking rut from time to time. Love all of these great idea. For me? I turn to Pinterest and find myself lost in a sea of endless ideas!

  • Reply Anele June 29, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I love soups, their so easy and the bread that goes along with it is fun easy to make too. At least that’s how we do it in South Africa. When I go through a cooking rut I think of my mom and some of her fav dishes. Xx

  • Reply Liz July 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Don’t worry you’ll get it back! I do love cruising Pinterest when I need some inspiration! My mom has a cookbook of special family recipes and I love to go to when I’m feeling in a rut!

  • Reply Deborah Cruz July 4, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Love all of the tips of places to look for inspiration. I do a similar process when I get writer’s block. Sometimes we’ve just got to change the scenery to change the perspective.

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