28 Dinner ideas, carefully taste-tested
21 Side Dishes, kid-friendly
20 Meal Replacement Shakes, blended
16 Snack & Dessert recipe, sweet tooth ready
13 Salad Dressing recipes, shaken not stirred
8 Breakfast recipes, Sunday morning quality
1 Designer, beautifully creative
1 Team, fantastic
1 Author, motivated
I come from a long line of eaters. We base vacations around food, snacks are always a must, and my maiden name is even Farmer. When I met my husband Jake, he didn’t understand why my family and I centered our lives around food. But it went deeper than just wanting to eat. Dinner time was where we shared our day and reconnected. My dad and I would go on hunting or fishing trips with the end goal of getting meat for us, just like he and his dad did. Because of my upbringing, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in dietetics so I could help others balance the joy of eating along with their health. Food is my life, and while that sounds like a recipe for obesity, (haha recipe) I’m determined to show others that food isn’t the bad guy.
Flash forward now to the spring of 2016. Jake and I were engaged, and I was a moderate bridezilla who needed to make sure I fit into my dress. So I began cooking an assortment of new recipes. I experimented with Paleo, Whole 30, Keto, let’s just say it got interesting. New ingredients were intimidating, but eventually, we got to know each other quite well. Some of them too well. I found more ways to use spaghetti squash than soap. I’ve made entire meals, even dessert, that included zucchini. I soon built up a small arsenal of healthy recipes that helped keep the pounds away. Our day finally came and thanks to my completely pleasant and never unreasonable demeanor for the past few months, our wedding was perfect.
Here at Wilderness Athlete, one of our most asked questions from customers is “What do I eat?” We would give some simple answers, but it wasn’t enough. I would want to spend hours on the phone with customers walking them through recipes, but that just wasn’t feasible. Cooking can be intimidating, especially when you are trying to shed some weight. So when Courtney told us last summer we would get to come up with a project to lead, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I wanted to take over the world. Just kidding. Writing a cookbook was a dream I’d had since college, and the perfect fit for our customers.
So I began cooking like a mad woman. My collection from the wedding was a great start, but I needed more. Lucky for me, everyone here at work was more than willing to be my victims, I mean taste testers. My kitchen quickly became a disaster zone; I’m not a tidy cook at all. During one of my first times working with almond flour, I spilled a bunch of it on my dog. He’s brown, so the pale powder on him looked even more funny.
The day we did the photoshoot was definitely a messy one. I prepped most of the food at my house the night before using every pot & pan I own at least twice. I realized a lot of my recipes use bell peppers (delicious!) and they were everywhere. Somehow, I managed to get all of the food over to Courtney’s house where the photoshoot when smoothly. We had our other designer Ashley with us and she worked magic with making the food beautiful. My personal favorite picture she took was the Venison Chili. To me, chili is not a pretty food. So for her and Ashley to make that dish look appetizing was a miracle. All of the food in the pictures we took is real, something I’m very proud of for us accomplishing. After that, the boys got a hold of the food and there wasn’t much beauty left. But I’m thrilled to say that no food went to waste during the making of this cookbook!
After the fun part of eating, we had to get down to the design. If you’ve seen the cookbook, it’s unlike anything Wilderness Athlete has ever produced. I’ll be straight up with you, it was designed with women in mind by women. We are more prone to display cookbooks in the kitchen and will want to show it off to people. Wilderness Athlete doesn’t have many women specific products and gifts, so we thought this could help fill that need. Men, you can of course love my cookbook too, but I just don’t see you standing around the kitchen chatting about how beautiful you thought the cover was. Jena, one of our designers, was the talent behind the art. She is the primary designer behind our labels, so she took on the task of making the cookbook come to life. Working with her is always such a pleasure as her work is top notch. She put together the book in sections, so every time I would get an email from her with another completed part it was like Christmas morning. I’ll admit, I squealed a few times with giddiness.
Even more challenging than picking out the recipes was picking out the paper it was printed on. I’ve never been artistic (hence my messy kitchen) so I just thought we had basic paper in the world. You know, printer paper, construction paper, and wrapping paper. I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life. There are entire companies devoted to just making paper. People make a living off of knowing what kind of paper would best suit my needs. It truly fascinated me. Luckily our printer, Brad, is a good friend of the company, so he was very easy to work with and went above & beyond to make sure the cookbook was done right. He walked me through the numerous types of paper until we found what would make this book stand out.
Brad sent me a stack of blank, sample paper so we would know what size the cookbook would be, I refer to it as the first edition of the cookbook and still have it on my desk today. Once it was printing, he would give me updates during the process and say that everyone in the building would stop by to ooh and awe over the book. I knew it would be pretty, but I didn’t realize just what he was talking about until I held the first copy for myself.
I was so excited with the first cookbook that I’ve already started writing the second edition. It’s a slow work in progress, but the next one will be even better and worth the wait. If you want a chance to appear in the next cookbook, please submit your recipes to me at Kimberly@WildernessAthlete.com You never know, I might just pick your recipe to be featured!