I reckon myself as being a fairly plain cook, that uses a few recipes (modified, sometimes heavily beyond recognition). One of the reasons behind a good portion of my modifications is because I am severely wheat intolerant, as are a few of my friends, and the Imp was reacting, but seems to have grown out of it (fingers crossed). And I'm going to be honest...a good portion of shop bought wheat free bread and pastry are horrible. They tend to be dry, stale, and flavourless. And stupidly expensive (who wants to pay almost £2 for a half loaf of stale bread?!?). There are a few bits that are ok, even downright tasty, but, the general house rule is if we want something, find some way of making it ourselves.
I'm also not a particular fan of ready meals and jar sauces. There are a couple that I do use, i.e. the sachets of oyster and spring onion sauce (Blue Dragon) that I used in my stirfry last night, but, bolognaisse sauce is not one of them...I make my own, and will put the recipe here in my blog.
If you have kids, let them help. As well as having loads of fun, they'll be spending quality time with you, and learning essential life skills that they can use as adults. If the kids are too little, hand them pots, pans, and bits that they can bang together. The Imp is a huge help, at 3 1/2, and can bring me things out of the veg cupboard and fridge, and help add things to the bowl (as well as 'cleaning the beaters). Just be sure to use common sense regarding safe handling of sharp implements, electric appliances, and hot stuff.
Most of the recipes here will be modified already to what I do for wheat free, but, they can always be modified for normal flour. Some of the sweet stuff can also be modified for diabetic friendly. If you ask, I am happy to look up and help out.
I use recipes of my own creation, as well as a lot of recipes from other online sources, whether I modify them or not. If a recipe I place on here is from another source, I will be posting the link directly to that recipe. If it is from another source, I will quote that source.
If there is something specific in a recipe, I'll name the shops where I get them, or the brands, so it makes it easier for you to find and track down. There are a couple of my recipes that use something from the States...don't panic. If you don't have friends or family that can ship it to you, there are import resources here in the UK. My favourite import company is Let's Eat, which is a cafe and shop at the Milton Keynes Centre. As I now live too far from Milton Keynes, they are on eBay, and, also have their shop online. Google is also a good resource.
My biggest rule...enjoy your cooking. It's not that hard, and it doesn't have to be a chore. Be creative...recipes are just guidelines. If you feel it needs more or less of an ingredient, play around with it, until it suits your taste. If you have a breather whilst something is baking or simmering, use that time to do up some of the dishes, so you don't have to do them later.
Now, off we go...