The Joy of Cooking
Contributor
Written by
Jolie du Pre
December 2011
Contributor
Written by
Jolie du Pre
December 2011

N2 fruit salad

As a busy author and writer, my days can be inundated with stress (if I allow it.) Article writers, for example, can be some of the most negative people you'll ever run across on the Net. It's easy to get bogged down with the drama.

To ensure that I live a healthy and productive life, I find ways to escape it. One way I nourish my life is to cook.

I love to cook. I learned how to cook from my stepmother, who is a fan of cookbooks. In turn, I became a lover of these books, and following a recipe book is the only way I prepare meals. I love the variety of cookbooks out there, and I have no idea how many I own.

Cooking keeps me and my family healthy, because we rarely eat McDonalds or Burger King or other fasts foods. (And since we're healthy eaters, when we do we usually feel sick afterwards.)

There are a few things that are important to me regarding cooking.

I use fresh ingredients regularly

You'll find that food tastes better when the ingredients you use are fresh. Every week, I create a shopping list based on the meals I want to make. My husband then goes out and buys what I need. The ingredients my husband has bought for the week need to be prepared sooner rather than later. Otherwise, they'll go bad. Some can go in the freezer, but things like fresh vegetables cannot.

I cook vegetarian whenever possible

I believe that red meat is not good for you. However, as Christine Rosenbloom, a nutrition professor at Georgia State University, says, "People don’t need to give up red meat. They need to make better selections in the type of meat they eat and the portions."

For me, that means limiting red meat consumption to no more than once a week. Most of the time, I cook vegetarian. I think that vegetarian meals are healthier for you than meals that focus on red meat or meat in general.

My family and I sit down at the dinner table to eat

We don't always follow this rule, but it's important that we do it often. In a world filled with iPads, Kindles and computer games, family dinner time is a great way to communicate with each other, face to face, and to catch up.

Here are two of my favorite cookbooks:

Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way

This cookbook has fabulous vegetarian recipes that you and your family will love. Two of my favorites are the Black Bean and Cheese Melts recipe and the Bountiful Burritos recipe.

The 5 in 10 Cookbook

Paula Hamilton, the author of this 1993 cookbook, wrote, "The idea for this book was born the harried day that the four members of our family sat down to eat at 9 p.m. (about my 8-year-old's bedtime) for the second pizza in nearly as many days."

Many of us live busy lives. So it's easy to put a healthy and nutritious dinner on the backburner for some quick, unhealthy fast food.

This classic cookbook is perfect for the person who wants a simple list of ingredients to make a meal that doesn't take much preparation and cooking time. One of my favorites, that I have made over and over through the years, is the Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Although I have lots of cookbooks, I look online for awesome recipes too:

Allrecipes.com is one of my favorite online places to get recipes.

Let's be friends

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