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Get Excited About Cooking Again with Our New Cookbook (& Lots of Kitchen Hacks)

October 12th, 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve all done a lot of in the last year and a half, it’s cooking. Some of us stepped up our game, testing out ambitious new recipes. Others started cooking for the very first time (and perhaps learned that one cannot survive on banana bread alone). Whichever camp you fall into, chances are cooking is feeling like a bit of a chore by now…and you might even be a little tired of it.

But maybe you learned something else about cooking in recent months: that it can be a pleasurable act, a calming ritual at the end of a long day, and a way of connecting and sharing with those you love. It can open a door to a new culture, encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, and empower you to make healthy choices for yourself and your family. Whoever you are, however you like to cook and eat, Thrive Market’s debut cookbook is for you.

Healthy Living Made Easy: A Cookbook Created for You

Healthy Living Made Easy is a collection of more than 60 recipes to suit a range of diets, lifestyles, and taste preferences. It’s also the first shoppable cookbook, with convenient QR codes accompanying the recipes that make it a breeze to add ingredients to your Thrive Market order. Best of all, every breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, side, and drink comes together in 30 minutes or less. It’s all part of our mission to make healthy living easy, delicious, and attainable for all.

This cookbook was inspired by you. Our hope is that now we can return the favor and inspire you to get into the kitchen with renewed enthusiasm and confidence. To get your copy, click here.

While you’re waiting for your copy of Healthy Living Made Easy to arrive, bookmark this roundup of our team’s savviest cooking tips and kitchen hacks. We’ve arranged the advice into categories below, but this nugget of wisdom—from Senior Product Manager Frank Snyder—applies across the board: “Don’t panic if you don’t have 100% of the ingredients. Treat the recipe like a guide, not law. Even without a substitute, missing some minor ingredients won’t ruin the dish and it’s still going to be delicious. Try different spices or seasonings to make the recipe your own!”

We can’t wait to see what you cook up next.

Get Back to Kitchen Basics

“Chop or crush garlic at least 10 minutes before adding it to any heat so the enzymes (that are really good for you) can form.” —Lindy Whittlesey, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives

Test it out with: Ginger Cod in Lemongrass Coconut Broth, pg. 89

“I always roll my lemons before cutting and squeezing them to prevent them from spraying everywhere. Just put a whole lemon on the counter, press your palm into it, and roll it around with some weight behind it to break up the membranes and make it easier to squeeze the juice out.”—Amy Roberts, Senior Editorial Writer

Test it out with: Mark Sisson’s Lamb Burgers with Pistachio Pesto, pg. 80

“When cutting onions, keep a large glass of cold water on hand to dip the knife in. It cuts the fumes, so no tears.”—Kadeesha Lockworth, Demand Planner

“All credit to my little brother, who’s worked in bars and restaurants for the last decade, for this tip. To season your food like a restaurant chef, mix 2 tablespoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of ground pepper into one pinch bowl. Then sprinkle to your heart’s content, knowing the flavor balance will be perfect each time.” —Kirby Stirland, Senior Manager of Editorial

Test it out with: Pamela Salzman’s Herbed Sweet & Spicy Salmon, pg. 100

Reduce Food Waste with a Few Kitchen Hacks

“Use older strawberries, blueberries, or other fruits as a compote on pancakes or toast! Just cut them up and saute them in a pan, adding your sweetener of choice to taste.” —Yasmine Borno, Executive Assistant 

“Store your potatoes and onions separately from each other so your potatoes don’t start sprouting. To keep carrots fresh longer, store them in a sealed glass tupperware filled with water. And once you’re done chopping green onions, keep the roots and stems and stick them in a jar with water. The green onions will grow back!” —Lindy Whittlesey

“My grandmas grate their tumeric and ginger, then store in the freezer. Makes it super easy to quickly use it in any recipe!”—Yasmine Borno

Test it out with: One-Pot Chile Ginger Chicken & Rice, pg. 105

“Save any and all veggie scraps (peeled carrots, celery butts, cauliflower stems, onion peels, leftover parsley/cilantro, ends of the zucchini) to make veggie broth. Make ice cubes out of the broth and keep them in the freezer.” —Lindy Whittlesey 

“Tired of tossing out half-used cans of tomato paste? Next time, dollop spoonfuls of unused tomato paste onto a parchment-lined sheet tray and pop it into the freezer for an hour. Afterward, toss all the frozen mounds into a resealable bag and keep frozen until you need tomato paste next. Then simply toss into your pot and use as you normally would.” —Becky Reams, Chef, Recipe Developer & Restaurateur 

Know the Tools of the Trade

“If I want an expensive kitchen gadget, I always look for it refurbished. It’s more reliable than buying it used from an individual person and sooo much cheaper than buying new. Got a Vitamix for a steal (and use it every single day).” —Amy Roberts 

“The easiest way to measure solid fats, like butter, ghee, or coconut oil?  Weigh them! Using an inexpensive scale will save you so much time and heachache AND dishes! 1/4 cup of butter, coconut oil, and ghee all weigh 55 grams, or about 2 ounces. Then just scale up or down, depending on your recipe. Plus there are easy downloadable conversion charts online. My favorite scale is made by OXO and it’s only $30.” —Becky Reams 

“No steamer basket? Take some aluminum foil and crunch into a ball, then flatten to about 1 inch (think a thick pancake or mini slider). Make three of these, put them in a pot, and then place a microwave-safe bowl on top of the foil pancakes. Pour water into the pot to just above the bowl and steam.” —Lindy Whittlesey

Keep These Genius Shortcuts & Easy Fixes in Your Back Pocket

“Did you accidentally over-salt your dish? The best way to fix it is two fold: First, add some fat, i.e. butter or olive oil, and some bright acidity like a hefty squeeze of lemon or splash of sherry vinegar. Secondly, bulk up the dish if you can! Get creative—maybe add more veggies, if it’s a stir fry, or roasted vegetables, or stir in some Greek yogurt and herbs, maybe even a spoonful of tahini. Anything to stretch that salinity with other ingredients. Is your dish too spicy? Add a creamy element! My favorite stir-ins to mild out a dish are: coconut cream, sour cream/creme fraiche, tahini, or yogurt. Even a combo of tahini and yogurt (for Mediterranean dishes) or coconut cream and peanut butter (for Asian-inspired dishes) are great combos to add some chill AND flavor.” —Becky Reams

“Add a bit of tapioca flour to any dish to thicken it up. I like to use it in my gluten-free mac and cheeze! Makes it super creamy.” —Yasmine Borno

Test it out with: Caitlin Shoemaker’s Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, pg. 102

“Here is my magic sauce for all stir fry dishes:

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)

2 teaspoons sugar

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and simmer. Add the sauce after your veggies and/or proteins are 95% done. You can also use miso butter (1:1 miso paste and butter) as a sauce.” —Nguyet Ly, UX Designer

Test it out with: Robb Wolf’s Stir Fry Beef Salad, pg. 91

Master Your Meats

“When preparing poultry, try using a dry brine (a mix of salt, pepper, and herbs). Cover the outside and cavity, letting it chill for 12 hours. Flavortown, USA…population: you.” —JP Danley, Senior Digital Designer

“Save pickle juice as a brine for pork chops, steak, or chicken.” —Lindy Whittlesey

Pasture-raised chicken is going to remain more red/pink in the middle because they are walking and running around using their muscles, which oxidizes and darkens the color of their meat. Being aware of this will help you avoid overcooking and ensure you enjoy a juicier bird.” —Casey Bradford, E-Commerce Operations Associate

Test it out with: JJ Virgin’s Roasted Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs, pg. 87

“Goodbye dry chicken, and hello juicy succulent chicken breasts! The secret is all in the brine. Simply whisk 1 quart of water with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 3 tablespoons sugar, until it dissolves. Add your chicken breasts, cover, and store in the refrigerator for 2-12 hours. Remove chicken breasts from the brine, rinse off, and cook as you normally would (but without salting them). They’ll be juicy, moist and perfectly seasoned!” —Becky Reams

On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake

“Need room temperature butter but all you have is in the fridge? Fill a glass bowl with water and microwave for 2-3 minutes (nearly boiling). Place the butter on a cutting board. Pour the hot water out of the bowl and turn upside down over top of the butter. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Repeat if necessary. Works without causing your butter to melt into a liquid!” —Matthew Schulert, Senior Studio Photographer

Test it out with: Keto Collagen Brownie Bombs (use this tip to soften the cream cheese), pg. 148

When making a citrus baked good, mix your fruit zest with the granulated sugar and let it sit for 30 minutes. The flavor will be much stronger!” —JP Danley

Swap Ingredients with Confidence

“Tofu can be ricotta! Just blend it up with lemon juice, garlic, some unsweetened non-dairy milk, and seasonings of choice (I like to use Italian). Best vegan lasagna EVER.” —Lexi Silvers, Support Communications Specialist

“No brown sugar? Add 1-2 tablespoons molasses to white sugar to substitute. No buttermilk? For 1 cup, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to almost 1 cup of regular milk.” —Lindy Whittlesey

Finally, Capture the Moment

“The secret to getting beautiful light on your dishes is to use only natural light. Turn off the lights and place your dish next to a window. Now you’ll have Insta-worthy images!” —Elisha Knight, Photographer

Making a dish from Healthy Living Made Easy? Don’t forget to tag us @thrivemarket!

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This article is related to: Cooking Tips, Healthy Recipes, Kitchen Hacks

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Kirby StirlandKirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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