Learning to Love the Kitchen

*Linking up to WIAW to share my recent dinners and journey in the kitchen*

Before I started cooking for myself the kitchen simply, but very importantly, housed food. Let me rephrase that, the kitchen housed already made food. I would walk in, open the fridge, see nothing prepared – only ingredients – and declare there was nothing to eat. Ok, sometimes I still do that. Anyone else?



I was intimated by cooking. Boiling water, a hot oven, tons of sharp tools and raw meat did not appeal to me. Plus, when I did help my mom with dinner, it was stressful, exhausting, I asked a billion questions and still nothing ever came out perfect.


Lemon tarragon chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini noodles with almonds, basil and broccoli in a dijon dressing.

When I first moved into my apartment sophomore year, most of my meals did not taste good. Basic chicken came out dry, burnt, undercooked or flavorless. I ruined my baking sheet and sautéing pan because I didn’t use enough oil and they got overheated. As a result of these “failures,” I ate at Whole Foods multiple times a week. Goodbye, paycheck.


Dijon-lemon salmon, roasted broccoli with lemon, roasted sweet potato topped with coconut oil and cinnamon.

After a year and a half I still have a long way to go, but I’m improving. I’ve gotten to know the levels of my stove, when the burner is ready, and what temperature works best for baking in my oven (although I still have many mishaps with that). I’ve ventured into the spice aisle, tried new-to-me foods and purchased what I consider “extravagant” kitchen gadgets: multiple sizes of knives, a spiralizer, and soon, a food processor.


Honey mustard salmon (which broke when transferring to the plate), roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower with turmeric

I still eat generally the same things for reasons of price, taste preference and skill level, but slowly I’ve branched out.While I still have a lot to learn, particularly how to cook protein other than chicken and fish, I don’t get bored with my meals like I did last year. I add flavor, oil, and sauces as well as vary cooking technique. Things actually come out edible…major win!

It takes an effort to get in the kitchen, yet it’s not stressful. When I’m in the mood to cook I really enjoy it. Let’s not jump to conclusions and assume I’m going to cook for myself when I’m home for spring break (sorry, mom) but I might experiment more ;) I’m proud of how far I’ve come but most importantly, I’m excited to learn more, try more and eat more. Who’s with me on that?!

What is your must-have kitchen gadget?

What is your go-to spice (other than salt and pepper)? Rosemary.


  1. AJ @ NutriFitMama says

    It took me a while to love the kitchen. Now it’s hard to get me out of it ;) My favorite kitchen “gadget” would have to be…well, there are so may things I love but my VitaMix is my favorite (and most expensive fore sure!). But it gets used almost everyday :)
    AJ @ NutriFitMama recently posted…Red Velvet Cake Granola Love {Gluten Free, Vegan}My Profile

  2. Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says

    Until I moved into my apartment last summer, I was the same way with the kitchen. Until I was forced to cook my own food, I always looked for what was ready or very simple to make. I had my mom show me a lot of cooking techniques over the summer so I wouldn’t be completely lost, but I still text her to ask her questions while cooking. I am so excited you are getting a food processor! I love using mine!!
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Getting Out of My Cooking Comfort ZoneMy Profile

    • says

      Exactly! My mom and I cooked together two summers ago before I moved into my apartment. I learned the basics and that got me started. Can’t wait to use my food processor!

  3. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says

    Don’t be scared of the kitchen and cooking! It is my FAVORITE thing (obviously!). As a Celiac, you have an even more important duty to LOVE cooking and make it fun! ;)
    My go-to spice(s) are smoked paprika, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon!
    And I MUST have my trusty Food Network chef’s knife!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Peanut Butter Puff GranolaMy Profile

    • says

      I’m not scared now :) I agree, having celiac makes it more important to learn to cook. Someone else suggested paprika so I have to try that!

  4. Liv @ Healthy Liv says

    Way to go with learning your way around the kitchen! Apparently, when I was a little kid, I pretty much forced my way into the kitchen and told my mom I was going to cook (haha!) so I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember.
    Laundry, on the other hand, is a different story. I still have to text my mom laundry questions about washer settings and what to use when I get something dirty haha!
    Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Songs for Getting Things DoneMy Profile

    • says

      Haha I was usually dragged in to the kitchen to help with stuff. I still have to text my mom about laundry too. I use the same settings 90% of the time, which probably isn’t right lol

  5. Georgie Morley says

    I can totally relate. Going from a college dorm and dining hall to your own place can be a big adjustment. But once you get comfortable both following recipes and developing your own it can be a total thrill. Plus if you get the chance to cook for others and they go to get seconds you feel so proud!

    Things I couldn’t live without food processor, nice sauté pan & sharp knives (veggies can be tough!)
    Georgie Morley recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday: Happy Birthday to My PersonMy Profile

    • says

      Yes, exactly! The few times I’ve cooked for my family I feel so accomplished. Plus, when picky-little-me likes something I make I’m very proud! As of today I have all of those tools :)

  6. Anna says

    I used to be the same way about cooking! It was definitely due to laziness more than anything else, but the idea of handling raw meats was just impossible to me. Over the course of the last year though, I’ve found that cooking is therapeutic to me, so I do way more of it. I still love it when I don’t have to handle raw meat though :)

    My favorite spices are chili powder, paprika, turmeric…anything to make it a little spicy!
    Anna recently posted…What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile

    • says

      I can deal with fish and chicken but other than that, I don’t have the stomach for other raw meats haha. Ohh I’ve never made anything with paprika!

  7. Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says

    It’s going to sound so lame, but I love my colander that can collapse! I also love my electric skillet. I find it 100 times easier to use than the stove top for some things, like browning meat. I don’t use very many spices (I love everything very plain), but I do use cinnamon quite a bit.
    Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet recently posted…Belated Weekend Recap – Snow TubingMy Profile

  8. Lauren says

    Way to go in making strides in the kitchen! Cooking is SO intimidating to so many people. I love it, I think because my mom does. I watched her cook a lot and had her teach me a few things when I was in high school. I think investing in a cast iron pan and a nice cookie sheet are great for cooking so many things!
    Lauren recently posted…Treat Yourself to DuClaw’s Naked Fish Chocolate Raspberry Stout this Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  9. Faith VanderMolen says

    That’s awesome!! I used to hate cooking, and now I have a food blog:) My favorite, most-used kitchen gadget is my food processor. I use it almost everyday!
    Faith VanderMolen recently posted…Maple Syrup Whole Wheat Vegan Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

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