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August 12, 2015

Inspirational Cooking Blogs --- Guest Post by Shelley Sackier

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Nowadays, it's never been more easy to take out your phone when you're hungry and scroll through pictures of delectable-looking meals or look up quick recipes. No matter if you're a five star chef or you've never upgraded beyond an Easy Bake Oven, the Internet is bursting with sites to satisfy all of your cooking desires. The only problem? Sorting through it all! We asked author Shelley Sackier to help us out, as her new novel DEAR OPL aptly follows a 13-year-old through the crazed world of blogging, weight loss and diets. In the post below, Sackier gives us a rundown of her favorite cooking websites.


Oh how I love cooking blogs! Inspiration is just exploding from our computers these days. Whether you’re looking for something on a big screen with mouthwatering pictures or you’re in the supermarket with nothing more than your smart phone and choice overload, you have INSTANT help at the snap of your fingers.
 
 
I’ve scrolled through hundreds if not thousands of sites during the last few years and have put together five of my all-time favorite food blogs and video sites. These folks will get you all geared up to make easy, delicious and most importantly, fun food that will have your taste buds sending you a thank you note.
  1. I have to start off with the inspiration for one of my book’s characters: Jamie Oliver. His website jamieoliver.com is chock a block full of some of the tastiest recipes I’ve yet to come across. When writing DEAR OPL, I wanted Opl to discover how easy and fun cooking could be. Having her watch a few online videos and then whip up the recipes in her kitchen seemed the way to go. I tested the videos out with my own kids and we all agreed: Jamie Oliver is a terrific teacher. When you go to his website, hover over the tab “Recipes” and scroll down to Family Food and Kids Recipes.  Also, when researching for the book, we had a blast cooking through the 10 minute (or less!) videos that were part of his Ministry of Food series. Many of these are on YouTube. Opl’s favorite? Type in ‘Jamie Oliver on making the perfect omelette.’ Five minutes and poof. So much fun.

  2. ChopChop is another treasure chest full of gemstones --- it has a magazine, a cookbook, a blog and recipes galore. Make Perky Pesto or Pretty Purple Grape Sparklers, Monster smoothies or Rhubarberry Mash. Or how about Cheesy Scrambled Eggs and Crispy Carrot Fries? Yeah, they all scream “yum.”

  3. Speaking of yum, YumFoodandFun is a magazine, but its online site has a bucket load of recipes that have been repeated hits in my house. The food focuses on nutritious, fun food that gets families into the kitchen and cooking together. Sweet Corn and Bean Enchiladas? ¡Qué delicioso! Honey Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies? You’ll think you’re breaking all healthy rules and regulations and that the Nutrition Police will be knocking on your door even before school starts, but have no fear. You can grab one --- along with a Berrylicious Smoothie --- and head to school guilt-free! I also love that this site teaches you how to make an easy kitchen garden in old tin cans or recyclable plastic containers. They also occasionally they runs kids’ taste tests, which are important since we all know that if food doesn’t taste good, no matter how good it is for us, it’s probably not going down our gullet.

  4. TheKidsCookMonday is a website that was the perfect ‘starter kit’ for me and my two hooligans. We all discovered early on that being in charge of a meal meant that you were sure to be eating something you liked and not somebody else’s version of  “Eat this, it’s good for you.” No one who’s ravenous after a day of school and soccer and afterschool lab experiments wanted to sit down to grub that would end up getting pushed around by a fork. Choice is pretty powerful and definitely delicious. The site not only has great articles with topics the whole family can talk about, but they’ve got an ecookbook with drool-worthy pictures, and my favorite --- the Family Dinner Date Newsletter, which comes jam-packed full of all you need for a spectacular evening together: your week’s recipe, cooking tips, featured videos, and most importantly, conversation starters. My dinner table companions LOVE to argue --- er talk, okay, well maybe debate --- all things food.

  5. Lastly, SuperHealthyKids will steal your breath away with its gorgeous food photography but will whet your appetite with its simple and wonderfully nutritious recipes. Although some of the content is part of a membership plan, where you receive meal plans created by dieticians, they’ve still provided plenty of free recipes that will make your eyes practically pop out of your sockets. Eye candy, indeed!

So now it’s your turn. Grab someone you love --- or someone you’d love to see with a little bit of flour on their face --- and pull them into the kitchen. Wash your hands, get hungry, and GET COOKIN’!


Shelley Sackier is an author and blogger who writes about the everyday, ordinary grand slams and gruesome snafus in completing the Herculean task of raising two healthy human beings. Ultimately, she hopes to impart the necessary knowledge of how to balance their checkbooks and pay their taxes. Her greatest hope is to discover that parallel universes are a reality and that somewhere she is living a life where her children have agreed to occasionally make eye contact with her. They live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.