Cookbooks that inspire me daily

Cookbooks that inspire me daily

I love cooking, but I can’t say I’m always inspired enough to know what I’d like to eat. This is where my cookbooks come in! I love using the internet for some quick ideas if I already have some ingredients in mind. However, my books will help me out if I have literally no clue where to start. Although I have a lot of cookbooks, I have a few that I’ll always reach for first. Let’s take a look!

Donna Hay

I can’t name one of the books of Donna Hay, because all of them are so amazing! I have three of them: ‘Fresh and light’, ‘Life in balance’ and ‘No time to cook’. What they all have in common is that the recipes are generally pretty healthy. In addition, they often are very easy to make vegan or vegetarian. The photography also is gorgeous, which inspires me the minute I open the book. Donna’s recipes are always very interesting to me and they pull me into other cultures, which I love. However, the ingredients she uses are sometimes a little hard to find (at least in The Netherlands), so you might have to get a little creative with that. I’d say these books are therefore more suited for somewhat more advanced homecooks.

Obviously, the fresh and light one has very light recipes in it that aren’t too heavy on the stomach. That’s why I tend to open this one in spring and especially in the summer. When the weather is really warm, I always lose my appetite and I won’t be interested in standing in front of a hot stove any longer than I have to. This cookbook solves this problem like nothing else.

Life in balance on the other hand has somewhat more warm flavoured dishes, which makes it perfect for the fall and winter time. This book is focused on cooking fresh and healthy food without too much hassle around it. It brings you back to the basis and is therefore a great start when you want to eat healthier or when you’re starting a diet. This is the book that I use more in terms of inspiration than the actual recipes, since some ingredients are harder to find in The Netherlands. However, her clear explanations make it easy to think of switches to make, since she describes the flavours so well.

No time to cook is perfect for every season and it contains recipes that match the title to a T. The recipes in this book are quick, easy and generally pretty healthy as well. Therefore, I tend to browse through this book on my weekends when I plan my meals for the week ahead. It’s so easy to just make a boring red sauce with pasta, but with the food from this book, you’ll never be bored again. The only ‘downside’ is that when I have no time to cook, I also don’t have time to browse this book. A little preparation is therefore still necessary.

Save with Jamie: Shop Smart, Cook Clever, Waste Less

Although I know there’s a lot of debate about how Jamie cooks, I love this book! Especially as a student living alone, I had to learn how to use as much of my ingredients as possible. In addition, I didn’t want to buy expensive products or too many products that I didn’t already know, because of my small budget.

This cookbook definitely gave me some tips that I still use to this day. How and what to freeze or refrigerate or how to play around with certain ingredients. For instance, think about potatoes. You always have to buy multiple potatoes, but I could live on that for more than a week straight. To switch it up, I learned how to cook, make mashed potatoes, make jacket potatoes and more! Without this book, I would have never build that mindset. So, it didn’t only save me money, it also helped me waste less.

Greece: the cookbook

Whenever I want to spoil myself and really want to celebrate life, I turn to greek food. Normally, I can be pretty hesitant in trying out new things on holiday. However, in Greece I totally trust that I’ll love whatever is put in front of me. It’s no wonder that the recipes in line with my Happy healthy brain diet are more often than not Mediterranean. This cookbook from Vefa Alexiadou contains all those beloved Greek classics, from feta in wine leaves to how they prepare certain meats. When I eat this food, I’m immediately back in Greece and I can relax. The only thing is that this book is not specifically made for quick and easy recipes, so I would recommend trying these recipes whenever you have time to really dive into it.

Leon: happy one-pot cooking

I love take-away from Leon, since it’s just a little bit more sophisticated than your average take-away, so imagine my surprise when I found this cookbook. Since I’m living alone, it feels ridiculously decadent to use too many pots and pans. That’s where this cookbook comes into play! These recipes are all made in just one pot. Some might be on the stove longer, some are ready in just a minute, but they all barely use appliances. Less dishes to wash and anything you don’t eat right away can easily be put into a container for later.

Tasty: latest and greatest

Who isn’t familiar with those short and easy movie clips from tasty? I’ve always loved those clips, but I never remember to look them up whenever I’m in need for a treat. This cookbook totally solves this problem. It might not be the most fancy, culinary cookbook on the list, but it’s one that makes you feel good. The ingredients are easy to find, the steps are super clear and the result is very tasty indeed. It’s a great book for someone who would love to learn more about cooking, but isn’t ready for the complicated stuff yet. I also love this cookbook when I’m having casual dinner parties with friends, since there are lots of simple bites in it as well.

I hope you liked this post! What is your favourite cookbook and why? If you want more content like this, please subscribe and get my free e-book to help you save money for these amazing books. You can also find me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, so you’ll never have to miss a new post.

Lots of love,


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Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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2 years ago

I LOVE cookbooks, I have way more than I actually use! I’m going to check out Donna Hay as your praise has really intrigued me! Thanks for sharing.

Molly @ Transatlantic Notes

Cookbooks are wonderful, especially if they are used regularly and well loved. I often leave notes in them when I’ve made something and like the idea of passing them on to friends/family through generations (just like my Mum’s collection). My favourite books are anything by Bad Manners Food (once called Thug Kitchen) because of the swearing in them, haha, which makes them very entertaining to read!

2 years ago

An nformative share.

2 years ago

These sound like some great and inspiring cookbooks. Thanks for sharing!

Jenny in Neverland
2 years ago

Thanks for sharing these! I love cooking but don’t cook nowhere near enough – I never know what to make and find most recipes just require too much stuff!

Isabelle vita NYC
2 years ago

Great recommendations! I’ve been looking for a good cookbook and will definitely be adding a few to my shopping list 🙂

2 years ago

I’m guilty of just throwing ingredients together haha! These sound really good, I’ll check them out x

Her Digital Coffee
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your favourite cookbooks. I’ve been meaning to pick up some new ones and now I’ve got a great list to choose from! Save with Jamie sounds wonderful, especially wasting less in the kitchen. I love Mediterranean foods and Greece sounds right up my alley! Leon’s one-pot cooking also interests me, having recipes that we can throw together in one go is super convenient.