Christmas Gift Guide: my top favorite cookbooks


I believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home.

It’s where we gather.

While I’m making dinner in the cold months, Ben might be reading or researching farming methods, the kids will be playing nearby, and the little toddler will be getting into pots or pans or pulling on my apron to see what I’m doing. It’s messy and a bit loud but it is so good.

Food brings us together. We sit down and enjoy a meal. Being full-time farmers, our meals are simple and reflect our homegrown and local food.

For me, inspiration is a necessity to avoid getting stuck in a cooking rut. I love cookbooks because I can open them on the counter to a page of beautiful photos, become inspired and get cooking. I don’t need to pull up a recipe on my phone and continue refreshing it or getting distracted, or hope the rural internet works to find a recipe.

I have been through my fair share of cookbooks and tried lots of recipes on my family over the years, and these are everyone’s favorites! It’s rewarding to find a good cookbook that the whole family loves.

These cookbooks are my top favorites because they’re tried and true. They’ll make a fantastic gift for the home cook in your life!

(I’m not sponsored at all, I simply want to share!)

Five Mary’s Ranch Raised Cookbook

Written by my friend and mentor, Mary Heffernan of Five Marys Farms, Ranch Raised cookbook is full to the brim with beautiful food & ranch photography, and homegrown, delicious recipes.

Her cookbook is perfect for making meals for your family or hosting guests! Mary covers hearty breakfasts, scrumptious appetizers, features specific sections that highlight the meats raised on their ranch: beef, pork, & lamb, dinner sides, cocktails, and desserts.

The ‘Five Marys Cheeseburger with Bacon Marmalade’ is likely our favorite! We have loved all of the recipes. Plus this cookbook is worthy of being displayed on the coffee table, it is simply that beautiful! Mary shares their story from city to ranch life, and has highlights on butter making, spices, grilling, and more.

Family Table by Shaye Elliott

I’ve been reading Shaye Elliott’s blog, The Elliott Homestead, for probably a decade and have always enjoyed her honest and inspiring thoughts on farm life as well as her homestead-centric recipes.

Shaye’s cooking has an element of surprise while using traditional ingredients, a bit of flare with down-to-earth, homegrown foods. The book begins with wisdom and helpful tips on growing or sourcing your own vegetables, dairy, and meats and has recipes for breakfasts, breads, soups, main dishes, sweets, and a section at the end for butters, salts, oils, and making sourdough starter. We love the simple and sweet ‘Maple Soda Bread with Raisins’ and “Dijon Pork Chops with Gravy.’

Hope’s Table cookbook by Hope Helmuth

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me mention this gem. Hope’s Table by Hope Helmuth is the gift I like to give for housewarming gifts and wedding showers and it is one of the best cookbooks we’ve enjoyed.

Written by local entrepreneur, shop owner, and home cook, Hope has compiled simple, traditional family-style recipes that cover breakfasts, breads, soups, salads & dressings, mains, sides, and desserts.

Ben and the boys love each and every recipe I have tried. The ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies’ are now a staple in our home for fun occasions and friends and family request me to make the salted, buttery ‘Pretzel Buns’ for gatherings. The ‘Classic Meatloaf’ is perfect to make just before guests arrive and is a crowd-pleaser. Hope’s ingredients are local produce and pantry & kitchen staples, with lots of butter and heavy cream. It’s wonderful!

I hope this inspires you in the kitchen or gives you ideas for Christmas gifts for the home cook in your life this Christmas!

Happy cooking!


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