There’s something absolutely wonderful about the perfect recipe coming together before your eyes. It’s a beautiful, creative outlet that can sometimes feel like a good therapy session. Possibly nobody understands that more than Erin Rehill-Seker.
Erin discovered a passion for cooking when her mother introduced her to Cooking Light. However, after moving to a new home with a beautiful kitchen and grilling area, Erin realized a lot of her meals were repeating. She was getting bored with something she loved doing, so she decided to do something about it.
Erin challenged herself to cook something new from Cooking Light every single day for a year. That’s 365 recipes that she had never made before.
Along her journey, Erin gained a group of followers who found inspiration in her challenge. Her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter became a place where she could release her creative energies—and a place where a lot of people found motivation to get back in the kitchen.
Read on to find out how Cooking Light 365 came to be:
How did this challenge yourself come about? I found that I was cooking the same thing all the time, those same three or four things each week. I was getting really, really bored. I watch a lot of cooking shows with my kids and all those competition shows. So it would really bother me that a child would know how to make Panna Cotta, and I had no idea.
So I thought to myself, “Well, if I can force myself to cook something every day for a year, it would force me to make recipes that I would have usually ignored.” On top of that, my kids would be trying new things, and I would be learning how to make some stuff. So I think I ended up making Panna Cotta twice. And Risotto! Things that I had never made in my whole life. It felt like an education thing for me. I was going to learn along the way.
You gained quite a following on Facebook and Instagram. What was it like interacting with strangers and being their motivation? It was great, actually! It’s surprising. When I first put Instagram out there, I left it private. About a month in, my daughter—she’s 15—said, “What are you doing? You have to open it up and make it public!” After that it just started growing, and I was really surprised! It was really nice to see so many people! Even on the last day so many people commented telling me they were going to miss it and asking what I would do next. So that was really nice.
Everyone I know, and some not even well, know that I do this challenge. Every time I go into the grocery store people ask, “So what are you cooking today?” There was never a day where someone didn’t ask me what I was cooking.
A lot of people end up making the recipes, too. They see the picture and then tell me afterward that they made it, too. Everyone I know now knows what Cooking Light is. I think I take it for granted. For 16 years, that’s all I’ve ever known, so it’s like “Cooking Light! Of course. What do you mean you don’t know Cooking Light?”
What was a family favorite recipe? The Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese. There are a lot of mac and cheese recipes, and I made probably all of them, but that is the one recipe I have made throughout the course of the year four separate times. And it's not an easy recipe because it takes a while to make, so that’s how good it was.
My personal favorite? The Green Curry Fritters.
What advice would you give the home cook looking to cook more at home? It doesn’t take as much time as people think. You can find the time to cook.