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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cooking Dinner With No Inspiration


People think of me as a foodie, as someone who is always chock full of ideas and inspiration for cooking my family and myself delicious meals. I'll admit, lately it has happened to me many times that I've had literally zero inspiration, that I can't even begin to come up with ideas of what to prepare for my family. And it goes beyond that- sometimes I am just craving something so bad, but I have no idea what I am craving, just know what I'm not. It's really annoying to be in that position, because you can waste lots of money and energy and calories on something that just doesn't do the trick, since you can't come up with what you're really got a hankering for.

So, what do you do if you can't come up with ideas to cook?

I just learned about this really cool Flavour Generator from Hello Fresh. The way it works is you pick a cuisine that interests you, then decide if you want something sweet, spicy, tangy, herby, or new, and then it randomly generates a meal idea based on the types of foods you're craving, along with a recipe and how long it would take to make each meal. I've discovered some really tasty meal ideas that way.

But what if you don't plan on going grocery shopping and don't have ideas of what to make with the foods you have available in your house?
There are quite a few websites our there that allow you to plug in your available ingredients and they show results of recipes using only the ingredients you mentioned having available!

I find Facebook dinner groups to be really valuable. Being on a paleo diet, off eggs and dairy, and trying to keep costs down, coming up with meal ideas isn't always so simple, but people on such Facebook groups often have suggested wonderful recipes that work with my special needs and appeal to me, and if not, their suggestions often spark inspiration of other, related dishes for me.

But if this often happens to you that you can't come up with ideas of what to make with what you have available, having a set (loose) menu plan that you follow each week can help, because then you don't have to wrack your brains every single time, but know in advance what you're cooking, and can make sure to keep the house stocked with that.

Cooking shows are also a great place to get inspiration in the kitchen. Sometimes they use ingredients that I'd never buy, but I find I can use similar techniques with cheaper ingredients to get similar results.

And lastly, I never tire of flipping through cookbooks; seeing their gorgeous pictures is generally a good way to get me to start salivating and get inspiration for cooking.

P.S. If you find you keep on craving and craving something, but nothing you eat seems to be satiating you, try drinking more. Thirst can manifest in food cravings that don't get resolved by eating, because you're really thirsty, not actually hungry. It really works.

How often do you find you don't have inspiration for dinner? What do you usually do to get inspiration?

See my disclaimer.

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