Cook More, Eat Better (Giveaway!)

February 26, 201536 Comments

Fill in the blank. I would cook at home more if I had ___________.

a) More time.
b) A bigger kitchen.
c) Any idea what to cook or how.
d) All of the above.

I can’t help out with a) or b). Sorry. But I do have some ideas for c).

I’ve been in my kitchen quite a lot during these winter months, as cooking seems to be what I do when it’s cold. I also participated in the barre3 challenge, which helped keep me on track with whole foods and clean meals loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fats at a time when it’s tempting to laze around the house munching energy-zapping comfort foods. While cooking up batches of soups and roasting pan after pan of root vegetables, I made a mental list of things that inspired me to cook more and therefore, eat better. It’s a short, tidy list.

1. Parchment Paper
Yes, that’s right. A roll of paper that isn’t metallic and doesn’t cling to anything. I didn’t know what to do with parchment up until just a few years ago. Now I know. Use it to line baking sheets when roasting vegetables for easy clean up. Make an envelope for healthy cooking packets for fish or chicken (this method is called “en papillote” – it’s easy and so healthy). Use sheets of it to separate layers of homemade cookies, granola bars or other treats. Line the bottom of loaf pans with it for easy removal (see the method here).

2. Freezer and oven-safe glass storage containers
It’s only fun to make a giant pot of soup if you have a smart way to store it for later enjoyment. I like to freeze a quart for later and store another quart in the refrigerator for lunches. The glass storage containers can be put in the microwave and freeze well (just be sure to leave a little space at the top for expansion). You can even put the Pyrex kind in your oven. Don’t put them on the stove. I once experienced a frightening kitchen glass explosion when I left a Pyrex dish on a hot burner. I’m lucky to have my eyesight.


3. Fresh Inspiration
If you are like me, you need a constant stream of inspiration and new ideas. There are the blogs you regularly visit (thanks for being here!). The magazines. The cookbooks. An occasional meal out that makes you think you can come home and recreate it. But sometimes you just need something else. Meet the Super Food Cards. Don’t know how to use all those superbly healthy foods teeming with antioxidants and good-for-you stuff? Check out this neat-o cheat sheet of eight cards that acts like a cooking class, grouping foods by category. I’ve never seen anything quite like them. Local DC moms Casey and Katherine created these handy, waterproof cards to help you cook fresh healthy foods with ease. They offer the why and the how-to in addition to tips and recipes (more than 75 of them!).

I can’t give you more time or more space, but I can give away a set of Super Food Cards to keep fresh ideas and new skills in your corner. If you’d like your own set, just comment below and tell me a fun tip or trick you’ve discovered that makes cooking or clean up easier or more fun. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner in March!

36 responses to “Cook More, Eat Better (Giveaway!)”

  1. Jenny H says:

    Getting my husband to help! Ha ha ha.

  2. Nikki S. says:

    Someone to plan out my meals for the week and write a handy shopping list. Hint, hint. 😉

    • Alicia Sokol says:

      Oh, then you’re in luck. See that ingredient archive in the column to the right? Pick one. Voila! Menus and lists done.

  3. Harriett says:

    I like the shopping list idea!

  4. Shari says:

    I purchased the app Paprika and started to catalogue my recipes in one spot. Can read recipe on laptop or iPad when cooking.

  5. Karmen mannella says:

    Haven’t yet mastered parchment … It rolls and slides and so I’m still a tinfoil girl!!! And I also keep a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven for bubbling over foods!

  6. Ginny W. says:

    Could you recommend some freezer and oven-safe glass storage containers? Thanks!

  7. Aimee says:

    Parchment paper, tin foil and kids to help with cooking, setting the table and clean up.

  8. Melissa K says:

    I would cook more if I had some really healthy slow cooker recipes (with lots of veg and lean proteins) that could be prepped easily in advance and be cooking while I’m at work, on-call, or running kids to sports.

  9. Jan Richards says:

    Beans, beans, beans – emulating French and Spanish cuisine and using the fiber-rich, low cal protein source — in soups, with pasta, and alone. Don’t forget lentils — yummy!

  10. Stephanie T says:

    A shopping list helps immensely. Another thing we’ve taken to doing around here (it’s just my roommate and me) is tagging recipes in new cookbooks… sort of a physical Pinterest board.

  11. Nanda says:

    I get weekly email newsletters from many cooking sites like,,, etc, and that really helps me get inspired.

  12. Tammi says:

    …if I had an extra hour in the day! And I echo parchment…looooove that stuff! Made chocolate lava cake in the crockpot and lined it first – no cleanup and easy removal of the whole cake! It’s magical.

  13. Theresa N says:

    I’ve always found when cleaning up if you need help opening a garbage bag wet the tips of your fingers.

  14. Karen Ripkey says:

    When measuring ingredients by the cup or spoonful, use it to measure any oil or shortening before honey or molasses and the container will easier to clean.

  15. Robyn says:

    I created a freezer inventory (we have a chest freezer in the garage in addition to the regular one in our kitchen. It’s just a couple sheets of notebook paper on my fridge, nothing fancy, but it really helps me to see at-a-glance what I have on hand to narrow my focus when planning the weekly meals.

    • Alicia Sokol says:

      Brilliant. I should try that. I just cleaned out our freezer and I was frankly appalled by a few of the surprises I found in there. Oops.

  16. Celia says:

    Just need more time and maybe a sous chef 🙂

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Cooking easier: If I can muster the 15 minutes to make a meal plan every week, I am much more likely to cook healthy meals and have better leftovers.
    Cleaning easier: The garbage bowl, a la Rachel Ray. I kid you not.

  18. Kerry says:

    I am in love with the little frozen garlic and basil packs. I have used them in a variety of ways including roasting vegetables, making sauce or baking. You take just what you need and nothing goes to waste. love love

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