cookbooks: simple scratch cooking

simple scratch cooking

I was telling my husband on Sunday afternoon how refreshed I was feeling after the Thanksgiving break. It’s surprising, in a way. I spent much of last week cooking and baking, and I spent a fair amount of time organizing and cleaning. Putting on a Thanksgiving feast for 8 adults and 5 children is hard work, despite the fact that I loved every minute of it.

I should have been worn out, both physically and mentally. Instead, I felt inspired and rejuvenated.

Being totally immersed in a creative project — and cooking is definitely that for me — seems to have a snowball effect. The more I create, the more I want to create. And so, despite having a PowerPoint presentation that I needed to work on over the long weekend (which doesn’t count as the kind of creativity I was going for), I found projects to keep my mind and hands busy.

One of those projects that I dove into this weekend was cooking from Jennifer Perillo’s first edition of her new quarterly journal, Simple Scratch Cooking: a homecook’s journal for making easy, everyday meals. The issue is a beautiful 13-pages filled with recipes and essays written in the style of Jennie’s blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen. I’ve been reading In Jennie’s Kitchen for several years now, and it’s one of the handful that I go back to regularly.

Because my family loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, I baked the peanut butter swirl brownie recipe on page 16 of Simple Scratch Cooking, Fall 2014. The brownies were so good that the first batch disappeared within 24 hours. The kids blamed each other for eating more than his or her fair share, and they both blamed their father for eating too many. (I’m pretty sure they were right, on all counts.)

To appease the household, I baked another batch before the weekend was over.

The brownies were incredibly easy, and we were eating them warm out of the pan within an hour. My swirls weren’t as pretty as those in Jennie’s photographs, and I should have sifted the powdered sugar to eliminate lumpiness in the swirl, but by the time I started baking the second pan of brownies, I knew that no one in my home cared what they looked like, only that they tasted amazing.

I’m so excited about this project of Jennie’s. I love the journal and its concept: reliable from-scratch recipes and personal essays are what I’m drawn to. This is one of the main reasons that I’ve been a long-time reader of In Jennie’s Kitchen, of course, and it’s why I bought the first issue of Simple Scratch Cooking. It’s also why I pre-ordered the Winter issue.

Of course, I also pre-ordered because I have a recipe being featured in the new issue. (Thanks, Jennie!)

Jennie has graciously offered a discount code to you, dear readers, so that you can receive 10% off of your first order on any in-stock Simple Scratch Cooking items, including the preorder of the next issue, Winter 2014 (vol. no. 2). The discount code is MG2014.

Happy shopping!

peanut butter swirl brownies | the merry gourmet

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8 Responses to “i am thankful”

  1. Beautiful post, MJ. Grateful that I found your blog all those years ago, thankful to count you amongst my friends. Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving filled with food, friends, family and love. XO

  2. Gail — November 28, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    *weeping* I am grateful, too.
    Enjoy your family today, MJ, and all the beautiful food that graces your table.

  3. Katy — November 28, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

    I, too, am thankful that I found you…your sharing posts bring such pleasure to me!
    Blessings and Love to you and yours, Katy

  4. Eileen — November 29, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    It’s always nice to take a few minutes and reflect on all of the things we have to be thankful for. I’ve found that even when I’ve been dealt the crappiest cards of life I can still find my blessings buried in the muck. I hope that I never lose sight of that. Thanks for sharing such a great Thanksgiving Day post. I hope you had a good day and have a nice weekend! I’m watching is snow here and wishing I was in Florida!

  5. Kedra Mello — November 29, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day. Cherish each moment because they do go by quickly as you know. I always become inspired after reading your blogs. Thanks for writing them. Love you and your family. Kedra

  6. Charles @ The Local Forkful — November 30, 2013 @ 3:35 am

    MJ. You’re blog has been such an inspiration to me since I found it. I’m so thankful for the words that pour out from your heart and continue to spill into these posts. These posts that I feel help heal broken people through food & life stories, people who just wanted a recipe but received so much more through your ability to be vulnerable in this space. Many thanks for what you do here at You inspire me to be a better writer and better person. You’re family is indeed blessed.

  7. Paula — November 30, 2013 @ 9:12 am

    When our lives become too difficult it is easy to become bitter and resentful rather than finding the blessings in the trials and being thankful for them. You have shared so much of the difficult path your life has been on with such grace and shown us all that even in the darkness their is beauty and light. Thank You.

  8. Beth — December 18, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    Love this post. Helps me to take a deep breath, in the middle of the Christmas season craziness, and remember what I am thankful for. (Also, the redesign looks great!!)

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