'Best Bites': Moms team up to create cookbook

By Kaylene Morrill

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 22 2011 2:20 p.m. MST

Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak, a recipe included in "Our Best Bites."

Sara Wells

When Sara Wells and Kate Jones started a food blog in Spring 2008, they could finally share recipes with family and friends online.

Since then, their blog started attracting over one million page views every month and, soon enough, readers started asking for a cookbook. The end result is "Our Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen," written by Wells and Jones.

"It is so exciting, it's crazy," said Jones. "It's kind of unbelievable and we're so happy with how it turned out."

"Our Best Bites" includes 150 recipes, all created by the two authors. Many recipes in the cookbook can be found on their blog, but about 50 recipes are reserved solely for the book.

The cookbook includes a picture of every recipe, along with tutitorials that feature pictures as well.

Something unique about the cookbook is it contains a "rollover index," which is used for recipes that might end with surplus of ingredients.

One recipe might call for one tablespoon of cilantro, for example. There is no way to just buy one tablespoon instead of a whole bushel, so what do you do with all that extra cilantro?

There is always the option to just throw it away, but the rollover index directs readers to recipes that also use cilantro to help use the leftover ingredient.

"We try to do that with a lot of ingredients that are either perishable . . . or else you don't have any other recipes that call for it," Jones said.

Wells and Jones still update their blog at www.ourbestbites.com and take turns posting new recipes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The two have posted more than 400 recipes online, and the recipes contain a mix of original recipes from the two cooks, family recipes or other recipes they have adopted from other sources.

Surprisingly, the recipes are still coming.

"I've had people say, 'Are you afraid you're going to run out of recipes one day?' And you know they just keep coming, so it hasn't happened yet," Wells said.

For Wells, cooking has gotten easier over time. With her experience has come a working knowledge of what types of foods and flavors work well together, which has been beneficial in creating her own recipes.

Some recipes, however, just seem to develop out of nowhere.

"There have been several recipes, no joke, that I've literally dreamed about in my sleep and I've woken up and been like, oh my gosh, I should try that!" she said. "And it's so fun when it's actually as good in real life as it is in my sleep."

Wells attributes her sleep-formulated recipes to eating and thinking about food a lot, along with reading other cooking magazines, food blogs and trying new things.

Wells served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil for a year-and-a-half, and said her time there has influenced her cooking style. In Brazil, there were not bottled spices or convenience foods, so people largely used the flavors of the food for taste, which Wells said she also tries to do now.

Wells listed limejuice, garlic, bacon, peanut butter and chocolate as ingredients she could not live without, but not necessarily combined together.

Both cooks said they get some ideas for recipes from restaurants.

"I really like to eat out, but there aren't a lot of places and it's not super affordable to eat out all the time and so I like to cook the types of things I would order in a restaurant," Jones said. "I kind of replicate those flavors and those ideas."

Jones said she loves to eat at restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, which is why she loves the grilled pizza recipes in "Our Best Bites."

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