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My Non-Resolution For 2013? Cook Up a Storm: Well-Balanced

You wouldn’t know it from how much we talk about cookies, but Birchbox staffers are a pretty healthy bunch. We love our veggies and mind-clearing workouts, and are always up to try the latest fitness class or nutrition bar. Which is why we have new regular column: Well-Balanced. Check back weekly for our latest wellness obsession.image

This week’s brown bag lunch, adapted from chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Last year, around this time, I vowed to write a weekly wellness-focused column. Let the record show that I only made it eight posts before Well-Balanced quietly bit the dust. Well, dear readers, it’s a new year and I am back.

And what better time to focus on wellness? This month’s Birchbox theme is Best Year Ever (don’t forget the accompanying fist pump). It’s not about drastic resolutions—we’re more interested in the small changes we can make that add up to major daily happiness. For me, that means refocusing on the things I love, starting with the kitchen. One of my non-resolutions for 2013 is to cook more. Since I tend to gravitate toward colorful, seasonal recipes (more veggies, less meat), it automatically helps me eat more healthfully. I also save money by bringing leftovers to lunch (and really, I can out-salad a veggie bar like Chop’t or Tossed any day). 

The best way I’ve found to stay motivated to cook is to surround myself with delicious inspiration. Click through for three of my favorite new cookbooks (and some must-try recipes!).For the reluctant herbivore: Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

If you can’t get excited about vegetables, this is the book for you. Ottolenghi is a London chef known for his ability to make cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, and even lentils thrilling. I roasted, sautéed, and steamed my way through his previous cookbook, Plenty, just in time to pick up his latest. Start with cauliflower with hazelnuts and pomegranates—it’s bright, sumptuous, and perfect for winter.

For the food lover who dreams of running off to the country:The Canal House Cooks Every Day by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

The first time I heard about the Canal House, a quarterly cookbook/magazine by two former Saveur staffers, I was an immediate fan. The two friends meet every day at their idyllic kitchen space in Lambertville, N.J., to cook and blog about stunningly simple, seasonal food. This cheery red book chronicles an entire year’s worth of cooking, with a recipe (and weather notes!) for each day of the year. It’s worth buying just to read, but I guarantee you’ll want to try many of the recipes immediately.

For the visual learner: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Not familiar with Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perelman’s phenomenally successful food blog? Allow me to introduce you. First, meet Perelman’s Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake, the first fruit and chocolate dessert I ever loved. Or how about the decadent short ribs with silky pureed potatoes? Or the foolproof blondie recipe that I now know by heart? I could go on. Suffice to say, Perelman has a knack for creating recipes that you need.to.make.immediately. 

What are your go-to recipes? Don’t keep them to yourself!

—Mollie

You don’t need a flawlessly stocked kitchen to be a good cook but you do need a great spatula. I love these brightly colored ones by Core Bamboo.

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