My Favorite Cookbooks of All Time

I love cookbooks, they are one of the only actual books that I still enjoy buying.  I have become so accustomed to purchasing books on my Kindle and while my Kindle is great for reading a novel, I am unable to truly appreciate or peruse a cookbook easily on the device.  So while I try my best to avoid clutter, when it comes to cookbooks I just can’t resist.  Here are a collection of my all time favorites, I hope you enjoy my selections and hopefully see something new.
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

I have collected every one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks over the years and all are amazing, however I have to say that this one is my favorite.  Everything I have ever made tastes delicious and so many of the recipes have become regular favorites that I cook time and time again.  Some of my favorite recipes include Ina Garten’s Pan-Fried Onion Dip (always a crowd pleaser), Cheddar Corn Chowder (the perfect soup on a cold evening), Gazpacho, Grilled Salmon Salad, Turkey Meatloaf, Filet of Beef Bourguignon, Outrageous Brownies and the amazing Coconut Cupcakes.  These are just a few of the dynamite recipes that are favorites, but believe me when I tell you I have yet to make a recipe from this cookbook that isn’t fabulous.

Pasta & Co. by Request
If you live in the Seattle area, chances are you have heard of a little deli by the name of Pasta & Co.   Inside of this deli are freshly made salads, artisan meats, cheeses, gourmet spreads, dips, crusty bread and don’t even get me started on the smell of this place.  This is one of those gems where you walk in and are immediately stricken by the freshness of herbs, olive oil and all around deliciousness.  This book offers up so many delicious favorites that are staples at Pasta & Co. and have been a favorite of mine.  Now, if you have time (and if you don’t live in the area you have no choice really), the recipes in this book are definitely worth making and will not disappoint.  Some of my favorites include

Neiman Marcus Cooks

One of my very best girlfriends came over with this book one night and after perusing I knew I had to have it, and order it I did the second she left.     The book in itself is worth buying as a coffee table book for its grandiose size and extraordinary pictures, but the recipes are truly spectacular.  Some classic Neiman Marcus recipes include their Popovers with Strawberry Butter, the Neiman Marcus Salad Trio (featuring chicken salad, egg salad and tuna pecan salad) and Mandarin Orange Souffles.  The Chicken and White Bean Chili are favorites along with the fresh and flavorful homemade salad dressing recipes.   There is also an amazing chapter devoted just to cocktails – skinny cocktails too!  Perhaps the food didn’t sell you, but if you are in the market for a good new set of cocktails this book will not disappoint.

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Mesa Mexicana

For the past six years my girlfriends and I go to Vegas once a year for our annual girls trip and we always have the best time.  We have our routine which includes laying out by the pool, drinking amazing cocktails, shopping, laughing our butts off and of course eating delicious food.  We have a couple of tried and true restaurants that we always visit and one of these eateries is a place called the Border Grill at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  The Border Grill is a restaurant that was started by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken and Mesa Mexicana is the cookbook with many of the dishes found at the Border Grill.  Favorites include their salsa recipes, specifically the Tomatillo Salsa and Pureed Tomato Salsa Cruda.  Other favorites include the Turkey Tostada Salad and the Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak.

How to Grill

My husband got into grilling a few years back and this is the book he bought.  I was skeptical at first since I had never heard of it and from the outside looking in, it just didn’t look like the kind of cookbook I would normally buy – think very utilitarian.   Boy was I wrong.  Every single recipe that my husband has ever made from this book has been delicious and has recipes that are very different from any other cookbooks that I currently own.  Amazing recipes include Ginger Soy London Broil, Asian Grilled Beef Salad, Bourbon Brined Pork Chops, Asian Flavored Vegetables Grilled in Foil Packets and Barbecued Cabbage.

Do you have any favorite cookbooks?  I would love to hear any recommendations!

Links I Am Loving…

Here are links to some great tips, tricks and new things to try this week.  Check them out!


1. I LOVE Proseco and Sparking wine in general.  My favorite is La Marca which I can get for about $11 at Costco and there is a new Kirkland Proseco that is only $7 a bottle.  Both are delicious and so wallet friendly, however I was intrigued by this article from the Rachel Ray website highlighting the five best sparkling wines under $15.  Click here for the article.

2. I know that Mason Jar Salads are all over Pinterest and they are super fab, but this article featuring 5 Mason Jar Desserts has given me a new outlook (and love for) these trusty containers.

3. Eight Sunscreens That Actually Smell Delicious: I read this and immediately felt like I needed to pass this along.  As I am getting older I am doing everything I can to preserve the skin I have.  Sunscreen is a must and if I can find some that smell yummy as well – then that is a bonus.

4. Summer Bucket List: This article I found on has inspired me to create a list of things I want to create this summer.  I love their fun and inspiring list and am working on my own summer bucket list.

5. Lazy Girl Sweet & Spicy Lime Chicken: This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it.  Also, I have to add that I love the name – “Lazy Girl” totally roped me in.

Summer Must Haves – Beauty, Fashion & More

I love summer!  I love the heat, being able to sleep in with my boys and the overall carefree vibe that summer brings.  Along with all that love, there are several beauty essentials that I find help me stay on my beauty game while beating the heat.  Without further ado – here are my picks (and why) because we all need sunscreen, but I wanted to explain my reasons for why I made specific picks. 🙂

Monday Inspiration

I love looking on the bright side of life and trying to take even challenging experiences as life lessons.  In my quest to see the positive in every situation I have decided to embrace Mondays.

A fresh start, a new week to conquer my to do list and take new risks in life are all reasons to celebrate every Monday.   So, every Monday I am going to post a Monday Mantra – a positive quote to start off the week that is always full of endless possibilities…

How I Make Time Fly On the Treadmill…

Working out is my thing…sometimes.  I recently got a treadmill after years of indecisiveness and I couldn’t be happier about my decision to do so.  I love working out in clothes that I normally wouldn’t be seen in public wearing and getting a good workout in whenever I can.  One of the best ways to get me on the treadmill is to have something good to watch – and only allowing myself to watch these guilty pleasures while working out.  Here are some of my favorites that I love watching – some will make you laugh, some will make you cry and some are just good ole fashioned entertainment…

  • Videos with surprise homecomings from our troops.  Wow…where to begin…I am unbelievably grateful for the the sacrifices that our armed forces give.  These videos show what it means to actually have a loved one go off to to serve our country and the joy that comes when they are welcomed home by their loved ones.

Pet Videos – I am an animal lover.  Is there anything cuter then puppies, or dogs and babies?  Do you love watching cats fly through the air or do mean things to their owners?  If you answered, “no” to either of these questions, please skip to the next set of videos.  If not, click through to two of my favorite YouTube videos.  The first highlighting funny animals and the second where pets play with babies.

Beauty Videos: I am a certified beauty junkie and I love me some YouTube beauty videos.  My favorite types of beauty videos include monthly favorites, “empties” (where girls tell you about products they have used up and let you know if they would buy them again) and tutorials (these include everything from how to apply false eyelashes to how to do a pro manicure).  Some of my favorite gurus include:

Cooking Videos: The only drawback to these is they make me really, really hungry on the treadmill.  Some of my favorite YouTube cooking stars include:

So there it is, my favorite way to get me on the treadmill.  Do you have any secrets to get you motivated and exercising?