A hot, home-cooked meal can chase away the winter chill like nothing else. Food blogs are a fantastic source of regular, new recipes. Once you find one you like, you’ve got a constant source of new dishes to try out. Whether you’re trying to liven up your diet or find a new twist on your traditional Thanksgiving meal, there’s a food blog for you.

Some food blogs focus on dishes that are healthy or food-restriction friendly.

Maybe you’re trying to cut back to avoid any holiday weight gain. Perhaps you’ve got food allergies or follow a restrictive diet. Whatever the case, if you’re trying to watch what you eat, odds are you’re getting bored of the typical bland “diet” foods.

The Picky Eater food blog is run by Anjali, who is a Board Certified Health Coach. According to her About Me page, Anjali grew up eating a very health-centric diet full of organics and fresh produce, but her husband grew up eating pizza and fast food. She balanced both lifestyles by cooking healthy versions of her husband’s favorites, resulting in lots of deliciously healthy dishes. The recipes at The Picky Eater are clear and easy-to-follow, complete with lots of pictures along the way. Additionally, there’s a lot of information about other health topics, such as healthy baking substitutes, information about soy proteins, and tips for enjoying holiday meals without going overboard.

The food blog My Darling Lemon Thyme is by Emma. Emma is vegetarian, and both Emma and her children have lactose and gluten allergies, so the recipes on her food blog reflect this. She’s got some great information for anyone who’s new to a gluten-free diet. Additionally, she grows lots of the ingredients for her recipes in her own garden, so there’s quite a bit of information about gardening on the website. If you have food allergies or restrictions, the recipe list at My Darling Lemon Thyme could be a goldmine for you. Each recipe is followed by a description like gluten-free, vegan, lactose-free, fermented, or sugar-free. This allows you to quickly find recipes that fit your specific food requirements.

Some food blogs push you out of your comfort zone.

I am a Food Blog is run by Stephanie, a self-proclaimed lover of noodles, bacon, potatoes, and breakfast foods. She takes traditional recipes and gives them an unconventional twist, like bacon grilled cheese pizza, or an Asian influence, as with bacon and eggs yakiudon. The recipes from this food blog are eclectic and playful, and the photos of the completed dishes always look delicious. The end result often leans toward gourmet, but the ingredients and directions are simple and straightforward.

Marcella is behind the Broad Appetite food blog. Recipes here run the gamut, from traditional Asian to gourmet Italian. The dishes are fairly simple to execute. Most are accompanied by photos, and some are even accompanied by videos. Additionally, the Broad Appetite food blog sometimes provides general helpful information or food-related experiences the author has had recently. For example, a recent post explained how to deal with a rusted or neglected cast iron pan.

Other food blogs have a little of everything.

The Comfort of Cooking food blog focuses on fresh and frugal recipes, and there is a huge selection to browse. If you’re trying to watch what you eat, check out the diabetic friendly or light and healthy sections of the recipe index. There are also lots of tips and tricks and how-tos, if you’re a bit unsure in the kitchen. The recipes here are comfort foods or homemade versions of popular sweets, and there are enough options to keep you cooking for a long time.

Jessica’s How Sweet It Is food blog revolves around things that taste good. Some of the recipes here are healthy, and others are decadent. Lots are revised versions of the author’s favorites, like the caramelized shallot bacon gravy made with the same method as her mother’s traditional gravy. There are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free sections in the recipe index if you’re working with a specific set of dietary needs. Additionally, the author sometimes does lightened versions of classic recipes, like this lightened up fresh green bean casserole.

If you’re looking for family-friendly recipes, check out In Praise of Leftovers, by Sarah. The dishes here are nutritious versions of family favorites, like turkey kale meatballs. This is a very down-to-earth food blog that focuses on using simple, common ingredients in fresh, healthy ways that leave everyone happy and satisfied. Recipes at In Praise of Leftovers are often accompanied by descriptions of the author’s kids’ reactions. If you or others in your house have a picky palate, this can help you choose which dishes you’d like to try. The author also often writes about her own family and reflections on life. She sometimes writes poetry or posts poetry from her kids, too. This food blog is very uplifting, in addition to being a source of delicious food ideas.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, head for the Top with Cinnamon food blog, which is run by the very young Izy. There are a few savory recipes here, as well as several how-to posts, but the vast majority are baked desserts, muffins, breads, and cakes. Lots of the recipes in the index are accompanied by a short description, like vegan or dairy-free. Also noted next to many of the recipes is whether or not they contain videos or GIFs (which are animated files or images). These how-to videos and GIFs can be extremely helpful in tackling new recipes. For example, the step-by-step guide to making croissants is accompanied by GIFs illustrating each step, which simplify a rather intimidating recipe.

Food blogs are a great way to liven up your Thanksgiving dinner.

There’s definitely something to be said for sticking to the classics, but it’s also fun to mix things up every once in a while. This Thanksgiving, consider adding a few new dishes to your table, even if you just add them to the mix instead of replacing traditional ones. Here are a few alternatives to standard Thanksgiving dishes:

If you still haven’t had your fill of new recipes from food blogs, check out the winners of Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards.

What’s your favorite food blog?

Image by Satya Murthy via Flickr

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