As a young new wife, my first huge obstacle in my home was learning how to cook. I came into marriage with zero cooking or meal planning skills. And while we were both busy college students living on a shoe string budget, I had to figure out what I was doing really quickly.
While I am FAR from a gourmet chef now, I have learned an incredible amount the last 8 years about cooking, food basics, prep, and meal planning. I’ve learned how to put together meals, more about food safety, how to cook great meals in less time, and overall expanded my recipe repertoire.
As a result, I spend a LOT less time in the kitchen overall while still feeding my family nutritious and healthy meals while sticking to a budget. (Usually – there’s still the occasional $10 Costco pizza that saves my life!)
My secret to learning so much and growing in my kitchen? Intentional study in the art of cooking.
As much as I could on our show string budget as a newlywed and with what time I had as a full time college student also working full time, I devoured any cookbooks I could get my hands on. I was given a copy of The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook as a wedding present and LOVED the fact that they explained every little detail, the science behind certain things (like how to best use yeast), the best pans for things, etc.
However a lot of the recipes took a long time, were way more food than the two of us needed, and were a little “fancy” for our everyday meals. I was also devouring anything related to cooking and meal planning that I could find on the internet (this was pre-Pinterest days).
Overall, it was slow going but I did make progress through the years. Fast forward a few years and I discovered an incredible resource called Craftsy. They are a website that provides very high quality video classes on all kinds of topics from cooking and baking to cake design to knitting and sewing.
I can’t remember how long I’ve been a member of Craftsy but over the last couple of years I’ve purchased and gone through 10 of their courses (and have my eyes on several more). This is the resource I wish I had had when I was first married!
Honestly, in those early days of marriage before kids, I searched everywhere in our city for local cooking classes I could take that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. But any I found cost hundreds of dollars and were too impractical. The Crafty classes (except for a couple of exceptions) range from $20-40 each.
Why I Love Craftsy
With so many cool (or seemingly cool) things on the Internet these days, it can be hard to know what things are really worth it or not. So I wanted to cover how Craftsy works and why I love it so you can decide for yourself if these classes might be worth it to you.
Very User Friendly Website
Their website is slick and easy to use. It’s not clunky or difficult to navigate – which is something I greatly appreciate. It’s really easy to sign up for the classes, access your library, and then the set up for each class is super user friendly. Even if your technology skills are limited, it’s very easy to use.
Download to view offline
All of their courses are available to download so you can go through them offline! I know this is a big concern for many when looking at online classes. Each course and lesson has a little download button which makes it super easy to download on your iPhone or iPad to watch later or when you don’t have an internet connection.
Courses are very affordable
When I looked into cooking classes taught locally, I couldn’t find very many options. The couple I did find, were extremely expensive. There was no way I could spend $400 to take a 6 session class on making sauces.
So I resorted to trial and error learning through cookbooks and what I could find online. But it took a long time to piece together and I was really craving a step by step course for learning a lot of this stuff.
Craftsy makes it super affordable to be able to take specific classes from cooking masters and really grow in your homemaking skills. I think all of the classes I’ve seen (except from those few exceptions I stated above) range from $19.99-39.99 each with a few being even $14.99.
Set up a cooking group or do it with a friend!
I think this would be SO fun! I am just days away from having baby #5, but I think later this year when I get re-adjusted and past the newborn days, I’m going to have to wrangle my sisters to do some of these courses with me.
Sign up for a course with a friend, or you each purchase one course and plan to meet together weekly to go through it. My sister and I are planning to start meeting in February once a week to go through the pressure cooking class and then the class on making sourdough. I’m really excited for the time to spend together AND to learn some new cooking skills.
Printable notes, recipes, and tools for each course
Along with extremely high quality videos and tutorials, each course comes with printable notes and recipes. What I want to do is create a Craftsy notebook for all my courses. Print out all the material and then separate them with dividers. These classes are very comprehensive. Kind of like taking a cooking class AND getting a cookbook all in one.
Great for teaching kids to cook
My oldest boys are only four. So we are just on the cusp of really learning how to cook together but they have a blast cooking in the kitchen with me.
My struggle is being intentional enough to think about having them in the kitchen with me and setting aside enough time to allow them to do so. Since I’m getting my computer out and in the frame of mind of learning how to cook better with these classes, it’s the perfect time to have my kids cook along side me!
This is even more beneficial if you have older kids! And if you homeschool, work these cooking classes right into your curriculum!
My Favorite Craftsy Classes
If you jump over to Crafty’s website…you might get a little overwhelmed. There are literally hundreds of classes you can choose from. I spent a GOOD chunk of time this week looking through all of their cooking and baking classes. So I thought I would share my top ones that look the most interesting to ME. You might find it helpful in sorting through all the options.
- How to Make the Most of Your Pressure Cooker – I just got this one and can’t wait to start it.
- Quick and Delicious: Make the Most of Your Blender
- Homemade Italian Pasta
- Secrets to Cooking Fish: Eight Essential Techniques – I own this course already and it’s awesome!
- Guilt-Free Comfort Food Classics
- The From-Scratch Kitchen – This one looks REALLY fun!
- Sweet & Savory Food Gifts
- Miniature French Desserts: Macarons, Madeleines, & More – This class looks SO FUN!!
- Homemade Sourdough: From Starter to Baked Loaf – My sister and I are going to start going through this one soon!
- King Arthur Flour’s Essentials of Bread Baking
- The Wilton Method: Baking Favorites Class
- Artisan Bread Making
- Secrets to Whole Grain Bread Making – I own this one and it’s really good!
- How to Make Bagels, Bialys, & Pretzels – This one also looks really fun.
- Coffee Shop Cakes
- Simple to Sensational Donuts – I really, really want this one too!
Others that look awesome
- Learn How to Start Your Cake Business
- Basics of Digital Photography
- Product Photography at Home – I just got this one and can’t wait to start going through it.
- Breaking into the Business of Photography
- Simply Stunning Art Journals – This is for YOU Bible journalers ;D
- Bright Ideas: Mixed Media for Every Project
- Vegetable Gardening: Innovative Small-Space Solution
- Grow Better Greens: From Seed to Salad