Monday, August 22, 2011

Books We Love: Cookbooks

When we were on vacation
I really missed my cookbooks. 
I'm a literature major,
which means I've read Shelly,Thoreau, 
Hemingway, Tennison, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy,
you get it.
I've read all the good stuff.
But I have to tell you
my absolute favorite genre is the cookbook. 
Here are just a couple of my favorites.
by Alicia Silverstone

Years back, I remember reading that Alicia Silverstone had a vegan wedding.
How cool is that? But I didn't realize she was a major foodie.
This book is great because she explains all the reasons to be vegan:
 health, environment, and animal treatment. 
So by the time you are done reading all these scientific facts that she simplifies, 
you are not only pumped to be vegan, but you can't wait to get started! 
It's an easy read, and once you have serious reasons to be vegan
it makes it so much easier to give up something you love.
Like steak. I don't miss steak. Crazy, right?
And she isn't pushy. 
She promotes "flirting" which just means easing up on meat and dairy,
instead of making it all or nothing. 
Also, all her recipes are easy and I've loved everything I've made.

Some of my favorites are:

Artichoke, Mushroom, and Leek Crostini with Pesto - good enough for company
Oatmeal, Walnut, and Dried Plum Cookies - My favorite oatmeal cookie, and I've tried them all!
Cornbread - My brother-in-law is a cornbread connoisseur, this is his favorite
Mixed Berry Cheesecake - No, really, it doesn't get better than this.
Nabeyaki Udon - Japanese food rocks!!
Alicia's Magical Healing Soup - For when I feel a cold coming
Baby Bok Choy Drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette - I eat this several times a week
Scrambled Tofu - without this, I would have never been able to give up eggs.
Barley Casserole
Polenta Casserole with Seitan

by Ann Gentry

Her restaurant, Real Food Daily
made a believer out of my omnivore husband.
but like many restaurant cookbooks,
it requires lots of work, and, well, i don't have a sous chef.  
This cookbook is composed of her recipes 
she makes in her own home for her family.
That being said, she is not an amateur chef. 
These recipes are designed to taste good, 
not to take fifteen minutes or five ingredients. 
However, she does have easy dishes in here.

This is my absolute favorite cookbook on my shelf.
Everything I make tastes amazing
and they make me feel like a pro.
If someone had given me this book two years ago
I probably wouldn't have been able to make anything in it.
They aren't difficult,
they just require some savvy.
I don't mind prepping something ahead of time 
to make these dishes happen.
It's totally worth it.

I'm not a salad person.
The only time I would eat a salad pre-vegan
was when I was forced 
or at a restaurant when they load it 
with meat, cheese and creamy dressing.
Talk about calories! 
(We weren't talking about calories. 
And you won't see that word on my blog. 
I believe in eating healthy, not calorie counting.)
Once I became vegan salads turned me off.
Seriously? A bowl full of raw vegetables? 
But Ann Gentry has really perfected the art of a good salad.
No, I mean, she makes salads that make me want to jump for joy
and ask the world to eat them with me.
They are hearty and oh so good!
With her salads, your meal will not need anything else. 

Some favorite recipes so far are:

Watercress and Butter Lettuce salad 
with israeli couscous, orange - basil tempeh, and sweet miso dressing - 
What a title! Best dish of my life. No joke

One-pot vegetables and tofu with sesame rice - Super simple and delicious
Vanilla and chocolate swirl bundt cake with chocolate fudge glaze
Ann's morning power smoothie - My morning staple
Super Hippie granola
Quick oats and quinoa flakes - How I get more good stuff into my toddlers oatmeal
Kung pao tofu and vegetables - Another basic and simple dish

by Erin McKenna

You can read my raving love for Babycakes here.
I prefer this cookbook over her first one
because there are more of a variety of recipes in here.
Their pancakes and waffles are my hubbies and my absolute favorite.
The first time we made the pancakes, I called my mom on the phone,
"Get over here now! I just made pancakes that are going to change your life!"
Some of my favorites recipes are:

Snickerdoodles - Daniel asked me to keep these around the house at all times
It's - It - We made these the first night the book came in the mail. Best ice cream sandwiches ever!
Rugalach - Just made this today. It's a more delicious cinnamon roll. How does that happen?
Blackberry Swirl Donut - I dream about these.
Spice marble Donut - Made these yesterday. Yum!
Chips Ahoy!

If I were single and had no one to take care of
I'd probably spend all day baking every single recipe in this book.
We dream. 
For now, I'm enjoying baking with my daughter,
and trying to convince her one...or three is enough. 
Erin McKenna is probably my favorite person in the world. 
I thank God for her. 


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