When I first started my blog last November, I had no idea the joy it would bring me. One of the best things to come out of it has been meeting readers like you and connecting with bloggers and creatives who are doing their thing and sharing it with the world. One of those fantastic people is Rachael of Kitchen Courses. Rachael is currently studying to become an holistic health coach and believes that “homemade meals are the gateway to a healthy lifestyle”. Plus she’s passionate, kind and she knows her stuff. She is my first ever guest blogger and I hope you’ll welcome her with open arms!
She’s helping us get our inspiration back, which I know I’m struggling with in this heat. Take it away, Rachael!
When it comes to being inspired with cooking, I tend to find that my inspiration ebbs and flows like any other area in my life. Just about anything can send me down a rabbit-hole of possibilities of meal ideas or new dishes I just can’t wait to get started on. But other times, putting meals together can be quite a drag, and when that moment strikes, it’s tough not to feel defeated or that I’ll ever be able to make something that tastes good again.
So when Melanie reached out to me to write a guest post for Dulcet Devotion, I thought to myself “She just spent four weeks with some major motivation and inspiration to create a multitude of different salads – why in the world would she want my perspective on inspiration?” But then I remembered my own ebb and flow inspiration process. Even in the moments where I’m at my highest highs of cooking inspiration, the next moment can be followed with an apathy for all things related to the planning, prepping, and even enjoying cooking. I realized that even if Melanie wasn’t experiencing one of those moments, that at least I could share my experience of getting myself out of those moments, in case you’ve ever found yourself in that spot too.
So how do I push past those moments of feeling uninspired in my cooking? Here are three techniques that I’ve come to rely on that help to pull me out of my funk and push me back into the kitchen:
1. Make It A Game
A lot of times, my inspiration starts to fall short when it involves taking time to plan and organize. One of the easiest ways for me to get excited about pulling a meal together again is using what I have on hand in my fridge and pantry as a springboard for my next meal. When I think about putting a meal together in this way, it becomes more of a game to push myself out of my comfort zone to make things that I hadn’t thought could go together really work in the best possible way. If I’m being honest, it makes me feel like I’m a contestant on Chopped, but without the fancy kitchen equipment or loads of options in my pantry.
2. Return To Past Favorites
When I find myself lacking a little oomph in the kitchen, I’ll almost always try to go back to some of my favorite ingredients or dishes that I always enjoy or get excited just thinking about eating. This works especially well for me when minimal effort results in big flavors and can launch my inspiration again. My favorite dishes include roasted vegetables, pureed soups, and whole grain salads. I know that I can always count on coming back to these simple to assemble dishes (that also are pretty good comfort food too) to help me round out a meal or make it stand alone as one.
3. Simplify Flavors and Ingredients
While I’m not one to follow recipes all too often when I’m putting meals together, I do find that when I’ve found myself in an inspiration rut, it’s often because I’ve been overcomplicating my cooking. When I reframe my goals for a meal to be about taste, texture, and visual appeal, I find that I don’t need to do too much to most ingredients to satisfy those goals. I’ve been using this simple trick particularly in the last few weeks now that tomatoes are in abundance – a chopped tomato salad with basil and a drizzle of red wine vinaigrette is enough to bring my taste buds back to life. Good quality, in season produce doesn’t need much manipulation to make it taste great.
Although I write about food and cooking regularly, I am certainly no stranger to the ebbs and flows of cooking inspiration. When I return to simplicity, a few favorite foods, and remind myself to have fun with my food, my inspiration to get back in the kitchen always returns to me.
What are some of your favorite ways to find your cooking inspiration again?
Rachael is the blogger behind KitchenCourses.com and is the author of 7 Days To Menu Planning. She writes about her passion for food, eating well, and inspires people to get familiar with their kitchens and cook for themselves.