Why Mindy Kaling Is Cooking Her Way Through Gwyneth Paltrow’s Cookbook

Courtesy of Mindy Kaling/PEOPLE Great Ideas

Shop less, get to the gym, cook at home more: Who among us hasn’t made an earnest to-do list of things we want to do better?

As she began a hiatus between seasons of The Mindy Project, actress Mindy Kaling did exactly this on Instagram, and one of her more impressive goals was to make every recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, It’s All Good. (We’re thinking Paltrow is probably thrilled to make headlines for something besides last week’s conscious uncoupling with Chris Martin.)

Here’s Kaling’s full list of goals, which made us both exhausted and impressed:

“…I’m going to start my journey to minor self-improvement. I’m going to cook every recipe in @gwynethpaltow’s excellent healthy & yummy cookbook … I’m going to try not to wear too much makeup (see raccoon eyes above), I’m going to barre class, I’m going to get down to a 9 minute mile, I’m going to work on my book, I’m going to try to go hiking with BJ and Jeremy and try not to complain once, and I’m going to try to spend time with my dad. Also I’m going to watch 12 Years A Slave and not turn it off out of horror. Also I’m not going to buy any clothes.”

Kaling, who joked on Twitter that she was turning to Paltrow’s book right after watching Wolf of Wall Street, will be working her way through the 185 clean-eating recipes (think hummus tartine and sesame-topped nori) with two friends. Kaling’s strategy of balancing healthful eating with exercise, rather than trying one of the ultra-restrictive diets or juice cleanses often favored in Hollywood, feels refreshingly sane.

As Kaling told Vogue recently, “I’m always trying to lose fifteen pounds. But I never need to be skinny. I don’t want to be skinny. I’m constantly in a state of self-improvement.”

At press time Kaling was already raving about her first recipe attempt: a carrot-ginger dressing for lunch with The Mindy Project writer Jeremy Bronson. She posted her glowing verdict, along with a shot of the finished dressing, on Instagram: “Making my own salad dressing is something that, last month, I might have said “are you f— kidding me? Why do I have so much time? Did the show get cancelled?” But I was stupid. This is the BEST salad dressing I’ve ever tasted and now I want to like, eat salads. (Which I will, this whole week, I think?).”

The blend includes carrots, shallots, miso paste, honey and sesame oil, and sounds delicious and distinctive enough to please a foodie like Kaling, though we don’t see her getting Goop-ifed any time soon. After all, she’s hardly shy about professing her love of elimination-diet enemies like Chinese dumplings, peanut M&Ms and bacon. And as she Tweeted at the end of last year, “I love cornbread so much I wish that my nickname was Cornbread.”

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