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How to Get Over Your Fear of Cooking (Plus 6 Yummy Recipes!)

How to Get Over Your Fear of Cooking (Plus 6 Yummy Recipes!)

One of the most nerve-wracking things about being a food and faith blogger is coming up with new content on a weekly basis. Sometimes inspiration and ideas are swirling around inside my brain and I feel like I could write about anything. Other times I might not have the focus I need to write a deep faith-related post, or any ideas for how to photograph a recipe I’m developing.

A few days ago, as I joyfully prepared to make an egg salad recipe for one of the brands I partner with, I opened my Instagram feed to gain some food styling inspiration from a few of my favorite food photographers and fellow bloggers. After one minute of scrolling I felt insecure about the recipe I was about to make.

My cooking and photographs are not as good as theirs. After all, I’m just a self-taught food blogger. What if I screw this up and it doesn’t turn out? I thought to myself. And just like that, my joy over making the egg salad turned to anxiety.

Have you ever felt nervous or inferior about being in the kitchen? Too afraid to try something new? Not sure how to enjoy cooking? If by this point you are nodding your head in agreement, know this — you are not alone.

We live in the age of Instagram and professional blogging, where everything looks perfect all the time.This can create a lot of anxiety for all of us, especially for those who maybe aren’t the best chef in the kitchen.

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I can’t tell you how many times someone has visited my blog and told me, “Your recipes look amazing Lauren, but I’m too afraid to try them in my own home because I’ll probably mess it up.”

The good news is there are easy ways to learn how to enjoy and embrace cooking. Here are three things to keep in mind whenever you start to feel anxious or don’t feel like cooking at all.

1) Perfection is not real. No one is perfect. {Say this out loud!}

All of those photos you see on Instagram? Guess what, they are not reality. Chances are, for most food posts, someone spent anywhere from 10-30 minutes organizing, taking and editing that one shot. Chances are before they took that one great shot they also took 50 mediocre shots. Maybe they even messed up the recipe and had to make it twice before photographing it. Here’s the truth: even the best chefs make mistakes. Want proof? Read this article where celebrity chefs share their most memorable mishaps.

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If you happen to mess up in the kitchen, try to keep an open mind and have a sense of humor about the whole thing. It also helps to have a back-up plan, just in case everything else fails.

2) Food should taste good. That doesn’t mean it has to look flawless.

The goal behind those seemingly perfect photos on blogs and social media is to make your mouth water and persuade you to make the recipe at home. Don’t worry about trying to recreate the look of a recipe — focus on taste instead. (Full disclosure: When I am not photographing things for my blog, I plop our family’s meals on top of our plates without thinking twice about how it looks. All I care about is that the food tastes good and makes my family feel good, too.)

3) You have the power to set yourself up for success.

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You might not have control over your current level of skill, technique and comfort, but you do have control over the way you approach a recipe. Before you even start cooking, read through the entire recipe from start to finish to decide whether or not you want to make it. Familiarize yourself with the instructions, to the point where you can follow along confidently and predict what’s coming next, and check your pantry to ensure you have the right ingredients. Finally, measure out all ingredients prior to getting started. This moves the cooking process along faster while eliminating confusion and potential error. If these preparation tips aren’t enough to ease your nerves, try cooking with someone who is more experienced first and learn from them. Cooking with a friend or family member can be a fun adventure, and it also helps eliminate intimidation.

Hopefully by keeping these three things in mind, you can learn to approach the kitchen with a little more confidence and stress less over the next meal you are going to make.

If you’re up to it, I want to encourage you to try what I like to call the “Embrace Your Inner Chef 30-Day Challenge.” For 30 days, I want you to try at least one new recipe each week. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to be new. After each week, record what you learn and how you felt while making the new recipe and track your progress as you go. Here are six delicious, simple recipes to get you started:

Skillet Eggplant Lasagna
Black Bean Enchilada Verde Bake
Curried Chicken Salad
Refried Bean Tostadas
Blueberries & Cream Oatmeal
Honey Lime & Garlic Chicken

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P.S. I’d love to hear from you if you want to try this challenge, so comment below and let me how it goes!

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Lauren GaskillLauren Gaskill is an author, blogger and speaker who is passionate about inspiring others to lead joyful, healthy, redeemed lives. She believes life should be sweet — rich in stories, and full of good food, love, encouragement and inspiration. Lauren is the creator of MakingLifeSweet.com and the Finding Joy podcast, and she is in the process of publishing her first inspirational book. When she’s not writing, Lauren is creating new recipes in the kitchen or spending time outdoors with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest

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