Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kitchen Gadget # 10: Cook Books! Part 1.

I have plenty of kitchen gadgets but I sat here thinking, "what to post about next?" I drew a blank. Why? Who knows? The baby has been in a fussy mood all day and I'm a bit spent. Moms/dads haven't you had those days before?  Yikes!

I looked around the kitchen, my eyes fell upon the cookbooks on one of my counters. Seeing as we don't, yet, have a bookshelf in our kitchen, I keep those I use often on my counter. Anyway, I looked at them and the thought occurred to me, I use those ALL the time. What better kitchen gadget, right?

So, here is a little review on some of my favorites.

My favorite vegan cookbooks (one is a baby food book which is mostly vegan):

Eat Raw Eat well is my first raw foods cookbook. When I changed my diet to a plant-based diet I had no idea what raw foods meant. Raw food? Like salad? Sure, I like salad. Who doesn't? But, once summer hit here in the Southwest I couldn't fathom cooking inside. It was just too hot. As I kept up with my Twitter peeps I found Doug McNish, a raw foods chef. Doug's background is like many Americans, overweight, acne and migraine headaches. Of which, his doctors, treated with medications. Most doctors don't ask what your diet consists of, I know mine never do. After Culinary school Doug decided to change his lifestyle. He changed his diet, went vegan and lost more than 100 lbs over a two year period.

Inspiring! After reading all that, I continued on through the book. The "meat and potatoes," so to speak, the recipes. There are 400! 400 raw delicious recipes. The cover photo was what I wanted to try first. To be honest, I thought that was pasta on the cover and wondered how on earth pasta could be consumed raw?   This dish was actually the Pesto-Coated Carrot and Parsnip Fettuccine. What you should realize about raw foods, though, is they are not quick meals. This meal took some time to prepare and some effort but I assure you it was worth it! With lemon juice, hemp oil, hemp seeds, garlic and cilantro this light pesto dish was remarkably good. I ate a few servings and had some again for lunch the next day. I was highly impressed.

I've made several other items from this book and in all actuality I have yet to find something I haven't liked. This book has it all. How to equip your raw foods kitchen, breakfast, smoothies and juices, dips, soups, salads, sauces, mains, sides, snacks, breads and desserts. Doug certainly covers it all. He also does well at putting your mind at ease when it comes to the unknown, raw foods.

Veganomicon was my first vegan cookbook. I bought it because I liked the name. The hubby likes the humor Isa Chandra has throughout this entire book. This book is rather large with many tempting recipes. From snacks, appetizers, dips, spreads, to dressings, desserts, grains, vegetables and beans. It really does have every aspect of the vegan diet. I've tried a few of the recipes and most have been good. One, however, is my absolute favorite and makes this book worth the read! Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-fry. This recipe is simple, fairly quick, and incredibly tasty! I love that the quinoa is cooked in pineapple juice. Such a simple yet pleasant technique.

I recently tried the Pumpkin Saag. This too was very tasty. I altered it a bit and it was wonderful. Especially with Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner.
This book is great! So many different areas are covered. There are so many recipes I can't wait to try more!

Let Them Eat Vegan is by far my most favorite cookbook! Without this book I'm not sure how far I would have made it in my plant-based journey. I've found so many books rely on fake meats, something I'm not fond of. Dreena relies on whole simple foods, nothing processed. That's what I love most about this book!  You can see my whole review of LTEV, here.

Dreena is the mother of 3 plant-powered kiddos, cookbook author, and genuinely compassionate lady. She's written 4 cookbooks and I'm sure there will be more. She and her daughters even produce some super videos. She seriously makes being vegan fun, easy and awesome!

I admit, I have yet to read the entire cookbook. I've read several, but with this one I couldn't wait to dive into those recipes! But, when I get some free time I will certainly read up on what Dreena has to say about tools to get the cooking job done, what you need to know before strapping that apron on, and the plant-powered pantry and kitchen buzz. I'm sure it's knowledgeable, plentiful and informative. I dove in to the recipes. From Chia Banana Muffins, Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls, any of the smoothies, to the Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing, Raw-nch Dressing, Vegveeta Dip, Beans 'n Greens Soup, and Jerk Chickpeas I've tried so many. I love them all! Mac-Oh-Geez, DJ's Hummus Salad Dressing, Winter Veg Chickpea Potpie, and Troll Cookies. These recipes are so good. Healthy, whole, fantastic. I use this book often, it's quite dirty, and I use it as inspiration to boost my own vegan kitchen.

Dreena is as sweet as sweet can be too. What better than a great cookbook? A wonderful cookbook author. If you are thinking of eating better, feeling better, and getting healthy start here!

The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Coobook is a cookbook with 125 recipes to jump-start weight loss. I didn't purchase this based on weight loss, more to add to my repertoire of vegan books. This book, written by a doctor, adds in the science behind a healthy diet, foods that fit your goals and ways to revolutionize your menu. The menu includes; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dips and desserts. There's even a section for entertaining. If you are looking for more than just a diet this is your book. This book gives you a lifestyle. Gives you health!

My favorite recipes include; Udon Noodle Salad, Italian Fusilli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts, Soba Noodles with Chinese Vegetables, Cassoulet, Pepper, Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach, and Garlic Pizza (my first vegan pizza!), and Quinoa Timbales. Each recipe has been excellent. Simple, feel good, healthy food. Love it!

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Barnard at a conference in town. He is a genuine guy who just wants to give everyone the opportunity to get healthy. He's a great speaker, inspirational.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to come soon. I will finish the mini reviews for the rest on my list.

My cat decided to get in on the fun too!

What are your favorite cookbooks?

Cheers and happy eating!


  1. Wow I feel like, how can I have not one of these books? Most of mine are vegetarian, some vegan and gluten-free. After nearly 20 years vegetarian, I am getting ready to make the leap to vegan. I honestly think it might be harder having learned 20 years of non-vegan living.

    1. Good luck with your leap to veganism. I think, once you make that leap, it's easier than you might think. I made it from a full on meat eater. One who had a love affair with bacon. It was certainly easier than I had expected and I wouldn't ever go back. These books are fabulous and have made things much easier for me.
      I think you'll do great. If you have questions feel free to ask. :)