I Ate Like Chrissy Teigen & Taylor Swift For 30 Days

Photographed by Davide Luciano.
This story was originally published on March 9, 2016.

You know that toddler who's freaking out her parents because she only eats string cheese and dinosaur chicken nuggets? I'm basically that toddler, only at 26, no one is chasing me around with a bottle of PediaSure. I'm free to live off a strict diet of produce, salmon, baked goods, and frozen yogurt, not because I'm on some diet, but because everything else seems completely unappetizing to me. The extent of my cooking involves bimonthly ambitious Sunday nights when I throw some carrot sticks in the oven with a coating of Pam. Dinner-party prep has been usurped by my roommate, for the health and safety of my friends.

That said, I like to jump into new challenges. And, I wanted to cook more. Cereal, even fortified cereal, can only sustain you for so long. So, instead of mastering a single dish or learning to fricassee (that's a cooking term, I'm pretty sure), I decided to find a month's worth of dishes featured on celebrity Instagram feeds. Somehow it felt comforting to know that celebs had succeeded at creating these meals. It was like cooking with Hilary Duff and Oprah, which sounded like way more fun than cooking alone.

The plan was to make a different meal every night in February, but — full disclosure — I missed three days. I learned, I ate, and I bought more spices than I will use in this lifetime. This is my eat-like-the-other-half experiment, copycatting everyone from Aziz Ansari to Taylor Swift.

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Photo: Via @chrissyteigen.
Celebrity: Chrissy Teigen

Dish: Sweet potato wedges

Difficulty: Cutting them into wedges instead of fries was a little challenging.

The Results: Not as crispy as I would have hoped, but still good with plenty of ketchup.
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Photo: Via @hilaryduff.
Celebrity: Hilary Duff

Dish: Mini apple pies

Difficulty: Figuring out exactly how much filling to make for muffin tin-sized pies was definitely the most difficult part.

The Results: Tiny pies are just as tasty as a normal sized pie but way cuter.
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Photo: Via @milano_alyssa.
Celebrity: Alyssa Milano

Dish: Christmas cookies

Difficulty: Chilling the dough was time-consuming, but after that, everything was pretty simple

The Results: I feel like the cookies look better than they taste. And they didn't look awesome.
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Photo: Via @oprah.
Celebrity: Oprah

Dish: Roasted cauliflower

Difficulty
: Super-easy

The Results: I really needed to ease myself into cooking, so smothering a head of cauliflower in olive oil and letting the oven take care of the rest seemed like the best place to start. It tasted like a vaguely olive-y vegetable, so overall, success!

Links to the recipes I used can be found on the dish's names. If there's no link, then I just kind of guessed.
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Photo: Via @hilaryduff.
Celebrity: Hilary Duff

Dish:
Sweet-potato fries

Difficulty: Super-easy

The Results: This was one of the only dishes I had made before. Even with my limited culinary skills, I can turn a peeled sweet potato into several long, skinny pieces of sweet potato. And even if they were a little soggier than I would have liked, anything can be fixed with ketchup.
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Photo: Via @lenadunham.
Celebrity: Lena Dunham

Dish: White-bean soup

Difficulty: Tedious, but not really complicated

The Results: My first attempt at a truly multi-ingredient dish did not go well. It tasted like a vaguely sour, mushy salad. I did not go in for a second bite.
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Photo: Via @therealalil.
Celebrity: Ali Larter

Dish: Vanilla-blueberry muffins

Difficulty: Medium to hard, depending on whether you can find your beaters

The Results: I had high hopes for these muffins, hopes that were only briefly dampened by the realization that a past roommate might have taken the beaters, and I would have to mix the butter by hand. They were pretty tasty, even without the vanilla paste (I was met with blank stares when I asked for this in the supermarket).
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Photo: Via @mandymooremm.
Celebrity: Mandy Moore

Dish: Blackberry compote

Difficulty: Simple, but when attempted early on a Sunday morning, a bit dangerous

The Results:
It wasn't bad? I mean, it made a very pretty Instagram photo, and I think my efforts resulted in what the recipe said would happen. But in the end, I decided I'd rather have my berries cold and unsugared. And, actually, to skip berries altogether in favor of Mrs. Butterworth's on my waffles. Oops.
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Photo: Via @drewbarrymore.
Celebrity: Drew Barrymore

Dish: Parchment fish

Difficulty: Depends mostly on your paper-folding skills

The Results: Cod with lemon and tomato baked in parchment paper turned out to be pretty delicious. That said, even with years of origami practice (I have made a lot of paper cranes), folding and sealing the paper with the melted butter proved to be very challenging.
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Photo: Via @sarahmgellar.
Celebrity: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Dish: Almond-butter bear toast

Difficulty: The easiest

The Results: Yes, Gellar probably created this whimsical treat for her kids. But adults can enjoy food with chocolate chips (or sprinkles, which is what I used) for eyes, too. And the mix of almond butter and bananas was delicious.
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Photo: Via @azizansari.
Celebrity: Aziz Ansari

Dish: Pasta and shrimp

Difficulty: Fairly simple once you figure out the parsley grater

The Results: I made this one with my soybean pasta, and decided the powdered green stuff in Ansari's photo was probably parsley. This is one dish that was easy and tasty enough for me to see myself making it once in a while for a simple dinner.
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Photo: Via @taylorswift.
Celebrity: Taylor Swift

Dish: Chocolate-chip cookies

Difficulty: Medium to hard, depending on the state of your brown sugar

The Results: My otherwise relaxing evening of getting one step closer to being in Taylor Swift's squad was interrupted by the rock-solid lump my brown sugar had become. To make it into a usable powder, a quick trick is to microwave it with a damp paper towel. An even quicker trick is to hack at it maniacally with a fork. The cookies were tasty, though a bit burnt.
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Photo: Via @lindsaylohan.
Celebrity: Lindsay Lohan

Dish: Shrimp scampi

Difficulty: Surprisingly simple

The Results: As someone who normally warms her seafood in a pan until it's no longer raw, without adding anything, I found it a pleasant change to enjoy shrimp with a secondary flavor. This was definitely one of my most successful dishes.
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Photo: Via @mollykateri.
Celebrity: Julianne Hough

Dish: Watermelon lemonade

Difficulty: Not too hard

The Results: I decided it was a good idea to make a beverage I had never quite mastered in my younger lemonade-stand days — now, with a twist. I squeezed, I blended, I mixed, and what I created could best be described as "watermelon tears."
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Photo: Via @mollykateri.
Celebrity: Lauren Conrad

Dish: Apple tarts

Difficulty: Hard — this is part recipe, part art project

The Results: This was so successful that I might be able to convince myself to try to re-create it at a later date. The pastry was flaky, the cinnamon and sugar baked into the apples beautifully, and each tart was just so pretty. I would definitely recommend this.
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Photo: Via @kourtneykardashian.
Celebrity: Kourtney Kardashian

Dish: Smoothie

Difficulty: Way harder to drink than to make

The Results: Maybe it was because I couldn't find rosewater. Maybe it was because not all my ingredients, like Kourtney's, were organic. Whatever the reason, this unpleasant drink swiftly ended up going down the drain.
17 of 30
Photo: Via @tiamowry.
Celebrity: Tia Mowry

Dish
: Heart-shaped watermelon pieces

Difficulty: Simple, as long as you have a steady hand

The Results: Trolling Instagram for recipes, I saw this artful take on cutting up fruit and thought, This is what I'm about. This dish had exactly the prep time and taste I'm looking for in a dinner.
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Photo: Via @karliekloss.
Celebrity: Karlie Kloss

Dish: Pumpkin bread

Difficulty: Medium

The Results: I have watched my mother make dozens of loaves of pumpkin bread, which made me think I could make pumpkin bread. But I've watched Meredith Grey stitch up dozens of people's insides, and I don't think I could do that. My bread was dry, tough, and burnt. My roommate and I still polished off half the loaf, though.
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Photo: Via @chrissyteigen.
Celebrity: Chrissy Teigen

Dish: Roasted potatoes

Difficulty: Super-simple

The Results:
I kept coming back to Chrissy Teigen because she really does know how to pick simple, yet tasty dishes. It's hard (but not impossible) to mess up roasted potatoes. These were a success.
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Photo: Via @minkak.
Celebrity: Minka Kelly

Dish: Tomato galette

Difficulty: Easy-to-medium

The Results:
I felt incredibly fancy eating this galette with not one, but two colors of tomatoes. I used naan as a base, which worked really well with the basil.
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Photo: Via @laurenconrad.
Celebrity: Lauren Conrad

Dish: Baked peaches

Difficulty: Simple, but slippery

The Results: This is the only failed recipe that I feel isn't all on me. It isn't peach season, and not even sugar and cinnamon could hide the fact that these were less than awesome peaches.
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Photo: Via @carrieunderwood.
Celebrity: Carrie Underwood

Dish: Overnight oats

Difficulty: Harder than pouring a bowl of cereal

The Results: Paste. I made almond-speckled paste. Is my night longer than Underwood's? Is my fridge colder? Because the night is dark and full of terrors, and they all ended up in my breakfast bowl.
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Photo: Via @karliekloss.
Celebrity: Karlie Kloss

Dish: Star Wars pancakes

Difficulty: Nearly impossible without the Force

The Results: These were tasty pancakes, made with a kind of protein mix that I feel like a model would favor. My pancake was almost as Yoda-like as Karlie's...
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Photo: Via @chrissyteigen.
Celebrity: Chrissy Teigen

Dish: Scallops on tomatoes and corn

Difficulty: Super-simple

The Results: I could have done a whole month of just Teigen's recipes. The scallops turned out well, although the corn felt unnecessary.
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Photo: Via @camillabelle.
Celebrity: Camilla Belle

Dish: Blueberry muffins

Difficulty: Gets easier with practice

The Results: These muffins were not quite as good as the ones from Ali Larter, but they were edible. Sprinkling sugar on top before they go in the oven helps.
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Photo: Via @gwynethpaltrow.
Celebrity: Gwyneth Paltrow

Dish: Fresh pasta

Difficulty: Hard to work through all the disgust

The Results: Fresh pasta, while technically easy to make, involves blending egg and flour with your hands. It's kind of like playing with Gak, but with the threat of salmonella. The noodles looked fine, but I think I cut them too thick; they had a rubbery taste.
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Photo: Via @jessicaalba.
Celebrity: Jessica Alba

Dish: Chocolate cupcakes

Difficulty: Easier than finding paper fairies

The Results: After following the recipe on the side of the Betty Crocker box, I enjoyed decorating these treats — with sprinkles and with the fairies found on a "Yay, You're 4" birthday card I picked up with the mix. And they were good!
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Photo: Via @chrissyteigen.
Celebrity: Chrissy Teigen

Dish: Zucchini noodles

Difficulty: Easy, but slightly nerve-racking

The Results: The bowl of zucchini noodles was very tasty. But the entire time I was using the bladed noodle-shaver, I was worried the special ingredient was going to be a piece of my thumb.
29 of 30
Photo: Via @jessetyler.
Celebrity: Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Dish: Pear-and-apple galette

Difficulty: Time-consuming, but worth it

The Results: Pear and apple make for a great combo; this galette was delicious!
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