Do you cook often? If you have weight loss goals, it’s time to start. Here are 5 tips to help you get started and more comfortable:

1. Do it! This is one of the best things you can do for your health. Eating out is a recipe for over eating, and often eating things you would never eat at home. Cooking is also a great option for the bank account.

2. Sometimes you’ll want to cut a recipe in half or thirds. Unless the recipe has one egg, this is often easy to do. Just be sure to commit these two conversions to memory:
  • 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon
  • 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup.

In fact I just made a combination of these two recipes, but only a half head of cauliflower:

Not bad.
3. Further to that, sometimes you realize you’re missing an ingredient at the last minute and you really don’t want to go back out to get it. Odds are, you can substitute. Sometimes it’s simple: recipe calls for broccoli, which you don’t have, but you do have zucchini. Easy – just swap it out. Other times it’s a bit trickier: maybe you don’t have cloves of garlic
but you have garlic powder. It won’t be as good, but it’ll still be good. The question is – how much to use? Or maybe the recipe calls for a certain type of vinegar you don’t have, or an ingredient you’ve never heard of. I’ve got a few go to resources to help figure this out:
  • I have two great books for this in my kitchen: The Visual Food Lover’s Guide and The Food Lover’s Companion (disclosure: those are Amazon affiliate links), they are the first place I look to find out about an ingredient and to get ideas for substitutions.
  • I can’t say I fully trust Chef Google as there are lots of sites out there that I don’t know if they’re good or not. But I usually start there and hope that I’ll see a result on chowhound, as that tends to have contributions from knowledgeable cooks.

4. Baking is chemistry – don’t mess with it unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Often cooking can accommodate substitutions quite easily, but baking is not so forgiving – don’t do it unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re doing, or are ready for a potential disaster. How do I differentiate baking from cooking? Baking includes all variations of breads and pastries.

5. The more you cook, the more likely you will be to post food pictures to Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. Some of your friends will mock you for this; others will applaud it and ask for recipes. Be prepared for this inevitability, and know that it’s okay and you will get through it. You may even get through it with your friends list intact.
sesame spaghetti squash
Interested in more of my cooking tips? Check out these two posts:

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