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Kirsten Turk

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3 Cookbooks I’m Always Reaching For in the Kitchen

March 27, 2023

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– a small town, midwestern girl living in sunny South Florida with my husband and our two golden doodles.

Welcome to my lifestyle blog dedicated to good food, better drinks, easy entertaining ideas and laid-back living. 

Sharing a cocktail, hosting a party with good friends, trying new recipes, making memories over a thoughtfully laid out grazing board; these are the moments I love to live and share with others.

Thanks for being here!

Hey, I'm Kirsten

We have open shelving in our kitchen, and I typically rotate most of my cookbooks depending on how my shelves are styled for that particular season. However there are a few cookbooks I always have to have out and at a reachable height. Today I’m sharing the 3 cookbooks I’m always reaching for in the kitchen, and my go-to recipes from each!

These aren’t necessarily my favorite cookbooks of all-time, but they each contain at least one recipe that I’m constantly making. I reach for each of these cookbooks multiple times per month– you’d think I’d have the recipes memorized by now!

My Love for Cookbooks

I absolutely love cookbooks: I love browsing the selections at Barnes and Noble and Target. I love the feeling of opening a new cookbook that just arrived from Amazon. And I love actually taking the time to sit down and read them. I don’t just skim the recipes; I seriously read cookbooks cover to cover as if they were novels. My husband pokes fun at me for it, but it’s honestly just so enjoyable to me.

Sometimes when I’m bored, I’ll go through my cabinet of cookbooks and pick out a few that haven’t been opened in awhile. I’ll look through and get inspired with new ideas and recipes to try. I also love to buy and revisit cookbooks when I travel that are related to where I am, like the Maple Cookbook I bought in Vermont!

Looking through the recipes, reading the snippets from the author, deciding what I’m going to make first. Feeling the crisp pages that are soon to be splattered with oil, covered in post-its of personal adjustments and dusted in sugar. Knowing I can one day pass down my favorites to my kids. It’s all just so special.

The 3 Cookbooks I’m Always Reaching For

3 Cookbooks I'm Always Reaching For in the Kitchen and my go-to recipes from each cookbook on the blog |

Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple

I love all things Half Baked Harvest. She is a constant inspiration to me both in the kitchen and as a food blogger. Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple was the first cookbook of hers I owned. I have them all now, but I find myself grabbing Super Simple the most.

My favorites from this book are mostly all pantry staples, meaning it’s easy to always have the ingredients on hand. And since I’m somehow in a constant state of needing to go to the grocery store, these recipes come in handy. Maybe that’s why I’m always grabbing for this book; by the end of the week the produce is gone, and I need something simple and delicious.

The Grown-Up Tomato Parmesan Pasta is Tieghan’s version of adult “SpaghettiOs.” I make this a lot in the winter. I love to sub the pasta she uses for cheese tortellini and use thyme instead of rosemary. The red pepper flakes give it such a nice spice that I’ve grown to love in all my pasta dishes. It’s so delish, and the leftovers make the perfect lunch the next day over a bed of arugula.

She has a whole vegetarian section which I can appreciate since I eat mostly vegetarian, with the exception of seafood thanks to living so close to the ocean. From her vegetarian section, I love the garlic butter ramen, caesar broccoli and hot and spicy pot stickers. I love that she loves a fried egg on a lot of her foods, because so do I!

Buy Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple

Magnolia Table

This cookbook is extra special because it was a gift from some close friends who feel more like family. They left us a little hand written note on the first page that I just love. It says “Cheers to many happy years & to warmth, love, laughter and LOTS of delicious meals together!”

To me, food is all about bringing people together and my go-to’s from the first Magnolia Table cookbook are perfect for that! I really enjoy hosting brunch, and I love to make Joanna’s After-School Banana Bread and her The Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes. Both recipes make a great weekend breakfast, impress house guests and make a great addition to any brunch gathering.

I love to use the pancake recipe to make a pancake grazing board with. I include different toppings like berries, maple syrup, chocolate chips and whipped cream. So simple and satisfying!

The banana bread is a household favorite– it’s honestly my favorite banana bread recipe I’ve ever tried! Everyone thinks they make the best, but I think Joanna makes the best. However, I do like to cut the sugar a bit and use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. I also bake it for less time than the recipe says. Sprinkle the extra sugar on top like she mentions– it’s so good!

Buy Magnolia Table

Hot For Food Vegan Comfort Classics

I used to love watching Lauren Toyota from Hot for Food on Youtube. I say used to because she doesn’t post much anymore. However, she’s one of the first food related Youtubers I ever watched. I preordered Vegan Comfort Classics when she first announced it, and I’ve been reaching for it ever since.

Lauren does vegan food well, and there are so many good vegan recipes in this book! The recipe I’m always reaching for though is The Spicy Peanut Sauce. I pretty much do have this one memorized because I probably make it once a week. It’s my favorite peanut sauce recipe ever, and I would buy this cookbook again and again for that recipe alone.

It’s used in her cookbook on the Spicy Peanut Noodles which are delicious, but I also love to use it on buddha bowls, salad and for dipping fresh spring rolls! So yummy!!

Buy Vegan Comfort Classics

Do you have go-to recipes?

Tell me in the comments which cookbooks you’re always reaching for in the kitchen!

3 Cookbooks I'm Always Reaching For in the Kitchen and my go-to recipes from each cookbook on the blog |

Throughout this blog are affiliate links including, but not limited to, links from Amazon Associates and LTK. If you use one of these links to make a purchase, I have the opportunity to earn money from your qualifying purchases.

Editor's note: Affiliate links
easy large batch rum punch inspired by the turks and caicos
simple lychee martini

Eat with the seaons: Find out what's in season for spring >

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