Giveaway! Favorite Cookbook, EVER

by Ivory Soap


Years ago, I read through all of Rachael Ray’s 365 something-or-other cookbook. I made a standard pantry list. I could cook almost anything in the book on the spur of the moment. My pantry was massive! And Rachael didn’t really help with breakfast or lunch. Also, I found out I was unable to digest grains. And milk. And sugar. Rachael had to leave. 🙁

Fast forward to today. I have teenagers. I am not the only cook in my home. My daughter cooks. My husband cooks. And if an ingredient is something that could be eaten alone, like corn chips for a Wednesday taco salad, grazers will get it well before then. So, if I do go buy ingredients for a set meal plan, I can’t guarantee that those ingredients will be there on Thursday for lunch, or Friday dinner, or whatever. I drooped into a cooking slump.

Then I ran across Mystie Winkler’s Ebook Simplified Pantry . I got the whole collection.

Simplified.jpg (816×1056)

Then I begged her to do a review and giveaway. Here’s why:

  • She uses a standard pantry of SANE shelf-stable ingredients, not fresh Asiago, fennel, or other nonsense.
  • Every recipe uses the pantry. So if one of my “cooks” killed the zucchini or the salsa yesterday, I can easily make a new plan and still have dinner on the table without yelling or hoarding ingredients.
  • It’s not fake stuff. “From scratch” seems like a pain until you realize how easy most things are and that you don’t have to buy separate ingredients. I don’t bake sandwich bread these days, but the “quick breads” are only 5 minutes faster from a can than from the base ingredients. And with the base ingredients, I have more flexibility.
  • It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With my diet, I only cook breakfast and lunch for the kids. I eat dinner leftovers in the early afternoon after I wear out the pot of coffee. So, dinner is grain, dairy, and sugar-free–but nothing else has to be. Wait, we ALL have ADD. I replace all of her sugar in the breakfasts with stevia. Otherwise, no one would ever get their math done.
  • It’s standard recipes with variations.

Let’s hang on that last one for a sec. Back in the day when I first got married….

elope…Daisy taught me how to make standard recipes over the phone. Salad dressings has this much oil, this much acid, this much herb or spice, and a shot of emulsifier, like dry mustard. Pasta salads had this much protein, this much veg, this much of a “strong flavor” like goat cheese or kalamata olives, etc. She did the same for encrusting fish and a couple of other things. It was genius!

Mystie’s recipes are the same way. There’s a STANDARD macaroni and cheese recipe. Then there are variations. There’s a standard “Breakfast pudding” recipe, and then the variations. (We tried the chocolate version today, four kids’ thumbs up, one down.)  I found this worked well with my picky eaters who won’t try anything. Here’s the SAME thing, but vanilla.  They try it every time. Weird.

I highly recommend this collection, especially if you are in a breakfast-lunch rut like I was. If you haven’t cooked in ages, the initial outlay to get your pantry up to date might be substantial, but upkeep is minimal, since ingredients are common, readily-available USA ingredients.

This week, everyone who comments on this post will be in the giveaway.

It closes on Tuesday, March 1 at midnight. A random number generator will pick the winner.

All readers will still get a coupon code, so check back on Thursday morning for your discount!


Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Tori Morris February 24, 2016 at 9:27 pm

Looks like a great book, very helpful and realistic.

Valerie Fanning February 24, 2016 at 10:41 pm

This is how I cook but my menu could use a shot in the arm with some new choices. My family would be thrilled!

Linda Jowers February 24, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Sounds good, count me in, Thanks

Kat February 25, 2016 at 12:00 am

Oh thank you! Grain, egg, sugar free and it still can work? I am in!

anitadsouza February 25, 2016 at 4:06 am

Looks amazing! Can’t wait to check it out!

Kitty February 25, 2016 at 4:29 am

A less frustrating way? I’m in!

Beverly February 25, 2016 at 4:36 am

Just when I thought I couldn’t get anymore thrilled with your blog than the garden planning, you pull this out of your hat! I have been trying to do something like this, but am easily side-tracked when i see new recipes. I love the idea of an organized, well-stocked pantry!

Sybil fisher February 25, 2016 at 4:39 am

Sounds realistic!

jen February 25, 2016 at 4:40 am

Looks like what I need to get out of my cooking slump!

Rosa Elena Rivera February 25, 2016 at 4:44 am

Very cool, I’m always for new things, and ingredients easily accessible, sound like a dream!

David A February 25, 2016 at 4:48 am

I am always looking for new ways to cook.

Linda Hawkins February 25, 2016 at 5:04 am

Interesting, I have a shelf full of cookbooks too complicated or specific to be useful day to day. Would be nice to finally have a practical one!

Bett February 25, 2016 at 5:05 am

Sounds like a great cookbook. Love to see it!

Charlotte February 25, 2016 at 5:15 am

WOW! What a great find. I make just about everything from scratch and I’m always looking for new ideas so this would be the perfect book to have. Thanks!

Julia February 25, 2016 at 5:24 am

This sounds just like what I need. My pantry tends to be too large and I would love to pare it down to the essentials. Plus I’m in a breakfast and lunch rut too!

Gina Sayers February 25, 2016 at 5:40 am

Let’s try again…. Ha! I can so relate on hiding ingredients from the “snackers”!!!

kathie February 25, 2016 at 5:55 am

That sounds great. I’ve been in a rut cooking lately too.

Nathan February 25, 2016 at 6:00 am

Now I’m interested in checking out this cookbook! Thanks for the tip.

Rowan February 25, 2016 at 6:09 am

Interesting recipes; lots of flesh- cooking- yikes!

Margaret February 25, 2016 at 6:24 am

I love Little House in the Suburbs!

Julie L. Melia February 25, 2016 at 6:35 am

I need this kind of simplicity!

Robin D February 25, 2016 at 6:35 am

I love cookbooks. I’m always looking for the perfect one. Thanks for the chance to win.

Joni February 25, 2016 at 6:44 am

I want in, I’m always looking for a better way.

Rose Anne February 25, 2016 at 6:44 am

This cookbook sounds like a godsend. I feel like I’ve run out of ideas as to what to make for dinner and then not having the ingredients. I need this book 🙂

Faith Dawes Personett February 25, 2016 at 6:50 am

I love your honesty! I’m excited to learn more about these cookbooks.

Nola February 25, 2016 at 6:51 am

Sounds interesting! I’d love to check it out.

Sarah Primack February 25, 2016 at 6:55 am

Would love it!

Molly February 25, 2016 at 7:13 am

Ahhhhhh….so good

Cindy February 25, 2016 at 7:21 am

Would love the cookbook. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Sharon February 25, 2016 at 7:31 am

Now I’m interested in this cookbook. Could use an update in my eating habits

NAancy W February 25, 2016 at 7:34 am

Looks like a great cookbook! Thanks for the chance to win a copy, I would love it!

Judy Stewart February 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

Love the photo. Reminds me of my grandma!

Lisa February 25, 2016 at 7:35 am

Thank you. I struggle in the kitchen so hopefully this will help.

Lisa J February 25, 2016 at 7:37 am

I want this book in the worst possible way!! sometimes I just want to go through my pantry and cook but my favorite recipes always need something from the store. Ugh!!

Sue B February 25, 2016 at 7:37 am

Cooking has become such a chore. I can’t wait to try this.

Robin T February 25, 2016 at 7:39 am

Looks like something I could really use ! I’m always looking for a way to make things easier .

Christine February 25, 2016 at 8:07 am

This is just the kind of cookbook I could use. There is nothing like a well stocked pantry. Thanks

meg February 25, 2016 at 8:09 am

I love new cookbooks–please, oh please!!

Kathleen February 25, 2016 at 8:16 am

This is an easy read for a 71-year old great grandmother. (smile0 I’m in.

Leila Vecchi February 25, 2016 at 8:19 am

Awesome, thank your for this opportunity!

Leah February 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

Thanks! 🙂

Deanna Marie February 25, 2016 at 8:39 am

wow, sounds like an awesome cookbook. I can relate to the ‘missing’ ingredients too 🙂

Theresa C. February 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

I could use this cookbook! Thank you.

Chase February 25, 2016 at 8:50 am

Thanks for making me aware of this.

Bonnie North February 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

I love this. Please count me in!

Danielle February 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

I’d love to try this! Thank you for the opportunity!

Sherri Durham February 25, 2016 at 9:06 am

I seem to get in a cooking rut often! I am trying to simplify our life and use healthy local foods when I can. There are only 2 of us and sometimes we like to change things up and try something new. This sounds like a great option!

Lisa February 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

Sounds great! I would love this.

John Thomas Finzel February 25, 2016 at 9:17 am

like it cool

Charlene February 25, 2016 at 9:21 am

Thanks for sharing! Great suggestions.

Elisabeth February 25, 2016 at 9:28 am

I’d love to try!

Pat Raspa February 25, 2016 at 9:36 am

I have been cooking for almost 45 years and am always looking for good, simple ideas! Helping to raise my grandchildren after an empty nest of 15 years so meals to please are a challenge with picky eaters! Love your Blog and Website!

Michelle Bibby February 25, 2016 at 9:37 am

I would love to try this! We always have the problem of what was for dinner was ate out of the pantry several days before unbeknownst to mom. This would be a great addition to our cookbooks.

Tara February 25, 2016 at 9:54 am

This book looks fabulous. So important in budeting time and money to utilize what is in my pantry and know how to shop to fill a pantry.

Judith February 25, 2016 at 9:58 am

If I could get myself organized enough to read and buy the pantry items, this would be good for me. Yeah, put me in the hat!

Rachel February 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

Sounds very neat!

Brenda Nuland February 25, 2016 at 10:27 am

That looks like the perfect book for my daughter-in-law. She told me she is still learning how to put a meal together on time and with what she has on hand. I’ve given her some of my favorite cookbooks but they don’t teach those skills.

Blythe February 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

Would love to have a pantry like the two women in the top photo! Simple, Frugal, Wholesome, Basics are good. It sounds like what I do already – but there are always tips to be learned and pass on to our sons and daughters.

Sue February 25, 2016 at 10:52 am

I haven’t heard of this cookbook but sounds right up my alley! I’m dairy free, low sugar and try to not each many grains, too, so I’m looking forward to adding this little gem to my collection.

Yasha February 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

What a great post! I love the sound of this book, as I am a pantry-stocking maniac.

D. Stone February 25, 2016 at 12:17 pm


Donna M. February 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm

I’m something of a prepper, and it sounds like these cookbooks might help me to use what’s already in my pantry. I hope I win!!

Cynthia F February 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Breakfast and lunch I can figure out – dinner, no clue. Sign me up!

Vicki February 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm

I need some inspiration. A couple of years of working full time and then some has left our eating habits in shambles. I need to get back to simple, homemade, real food! These books sound like just the ticket without being overwhelming.

Sheila February 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Sounds like a great book!

Rose February 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

After being married for over 53 years maybe this is the miracle book I’ve been looking for. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

lisa mawson February 25, 2016 at 2:19 pm

i think this book would be great my my youngest two. they tend to prefer meals de-constructed rather than mixed together or however the meals come.

Judy S. February 25, 2016 at 3:38 pm

This book sounds amazing! My husband is such a picky eater.

Brynne N February 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm

This sounds awesome – I tend to repeat the same 8 or so recipes. All. The. Time. It would be great to have variations!

Michelle February 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I’d love to try this books! I’m a mom to 4 boys, 2 of them teens. I’m always looking for easy meal and snack ideas! 🙂

Kathy C. February 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm

This sounds very interesting!

Alysia February 25, 2016 at 4:28 pm

This sounds perfect for me. I am constantly having to figure out what I have to use on place of some specialty ingredient. I like to work with basics.

Kathy Davenport February 25, 2016 at 4:57 pm

I need this!!! Planning meals is a constant
drain of energy. Thank you so much for posting, Ivory.

Colleen February 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm

I have 3 boys and am often scrambling with what to feed them. This sounds great.

Claire February 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm

This book sounds like what I need! I was also a RR fan & got the mag regularly. Then one day I woke up & thought “how many burger recipes do I possibly need?” And then I promptly cancelled the subscription.

Kate Reid February 25, 2016 at 5:35 pm

I’d be up for some new recipees. Being doing mostly paleo for several months and have lost over 10 lbs and feeling soooo much better 🙂

Janet Slawik February 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

That’d be lovely. Around here, it is always basic cooking. and I would love to have a pantry like that. My mother had one.

Brittany S. February 25, 2016 at 6:33 pm

This sounds like a lovely read! Whether I win this or not, I’m still really interested!

Janet February 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Sounds wonderful. Goats kidding in three weeks, then time to milk so this would be great to add to my kitchen.!

Sue D February 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Sounds very interesting and helpful for meal times–thanks for the chance.

Candice February 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

I love to keep things simple. Well, really I have to keep things simple with being a homeschool mom of 4 young kids. Her books sound like something I would love!

Barb J February 25, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Sounds very interesting!

Mia February 26, 2016 at 12:45 am

It sounds like a great collection.

Patty February 26, 2016 at 12:56 am

This sounds really practical! I’d love to try her recipes.

Emilie February 26, 2016 at 5:56 am

I’m always looking for better ways to get food on the table. This book sounds like it would be a great help.

Terrie February 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Please put my name in the hat. Always need help with “what’s for dinner”. Thanks!

Tina Louise February 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Sounds like a great plan. I am in a rut as to planning breakfast, lunch and dinner. I sure could use some help.

Kathy February 26, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Sounds like a great set of ideas. I love that normal pantry items are used.

Tenesha February 26, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I am a mom of 1 teenage and 2 tween age boys that love to eat. This sounds like the perfect way to keep my sanity and feed them wholesome food that I can feel good about. I would love to give it a try.

Brenda February 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm

I teach kids how to prepare meals on a budget, this would be an awesome tool!

Carmen N February 26, 2016 at 10:38 pm

This sounds like a wonderful book. I know how to make quite a bit from scratch, but I’m sure I could learn from this book – especially when it comes to the variations.

Samantha D February 27, 2016 at 6:35 am

Simple is better. I really love cooking, but with a part-time job and three children, food has got to be fast and easy these days, unless I slow cook. I would love to win. Plus I love reading cookbooks.

Amy February 27, 2016 at 8:08 am

Thanks for the encouragement to plan ahead. I needed that. I love looking at cookbooks since I don’t have the courage to cook without one. Love your wedding photo.

Denise M February 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Simple recipes are always the best. I would love to give these a try.

Jenny Simpson February 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

Sounds awesome! I’d love to try it!

Renee February 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I would like to try this cookbook.

Carolyn February 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

I would love to win this book and have on organized pantry like the photo above!!

Margie February 29, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Since my DH and I have both retired, I am now in charge of coming up with 3 meals a day, and running out of ideas. Could really use some help!

Holly February 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm

My pantry really does look like your picture…I just need to be reminded what to do with everything in my beautifully bottled food.

BrownThumbMama February 29, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Sounds like my kind of cookbook! Variations are a great way to make old recipes seem new.

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