Best compliment from my pastry chef sister: “When I read a cookbook, I think about 3 things…would I make this, how can I adapt this, and what would Melinda do?” So next time you’re looking at a recipe, don’t forget WWMD?

1. Always change at least one thing about a recipe: When you are using a recipe that is not originally yours, try to change at least one component in the ingredients to make it your own. Don’t be afraid to try something different!

2. Buy something extra at the supermarket: Always buy one thing that is not on your grocery shopping list. I always like to be inspired by new things I find in the supermarket and there is always going to be something that I haven’t tried.

3. Make it non-dairy: Almost any recipe can be changed from dairy to non-dairy. Butter to margarine, milk and cream to soy milk, buttermilk to soy milk with lemon juice or hot sauce, etc.

4. Leave your eggs on the counter: I know it sounds crazy, but you don’t need to refrigerate your eggs. And when your ready to cook with your eggs, they will already be room temperature, which is better for the baking process.

5. The temperature of your butter or margarine really matters: When making a dough, you want to use cold butter so the crust will be nice and flaky. When making cookies, cold butter makes tall and chunky while melted or room temperature butter makes flat and circular.

6. Always double your cookie recipe: cookie dough freezes extremely well so bake half of the dough then roll the rest in to a log using plastic wrap and freeze for later. Just like using store-bought dough, all you have to do is remove your homemade cookie dough, slice and bake. Just don’t forget to label your frozen dough!

7. Use a thermometer when the recipe says to use a thermometer: I’ve learned from experience that if a recipe recommends using a thermometer, it’s a good idea to listen! Otherwise, you might undercook the turkey or overcook the taffy and then you will have to start all over.