Tag Archives: vegetarian

Review: How to feed a family

How_to_Feed_a_Family
I was really excited to receive How to Feed a Family
for review when I was pregnant. I also received this as a gift (signed by the author!). While my kid won’t be eating the meals in this book for awhile, I don’t have the same luxury of time to be in the kitchen for hours. It’s tiring work growing a human being, so a lot of the cooking was done by R. He can cook, but he doesn’t like recipes. His meals are much more laid back: grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, nachos and cheese, tuna melts or a frozen meal. While he is happy to eat that all the time, I need some variety. So I made him test out the cookbook.

He bookmarked a bunch of recipes to try which is always a good sign.

Apple and chicken curry was simple to make and the directions were straight forward. It’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner and the yogurt gives the dish a nice creaminess. It wasn’t too spicy so it’s very kid friendly. 2 chicken thighs didn’t seem enough, so we used more. I wish the weight for the chicken was given as pieces can vary in weight.

For an easy breakfast, I made the Oatmeal and Strawberry Blender Pancakes. Because all the ingredients are just thrown in, the batter comes together in no time. The pancakes tasted…well…healthy. I’m used to making fluffy, not very wholesome, but delicious pancakes on the weekend. I understand as a parent you want to feed your kids more nutritious meals. Would I serve these to my kids? Absolutely! Would I make them for a brunch with friends? Probably not. Balance is key so I would consider these as everyday pancakes and the version I usually make as a weekend treat.

The last recipe I tested was Risotto, Spinach and Kale Cakes with Parmesan. These are bite sized and easy to take on the go. Once I made it, I had to make it again that same week. Doubling the recipe and freezing it would make an easy last minute dinner option. I’d also mow down these as a snack. I usually take pictures of what I make, but none of the pictures turned out.

There’s a handy legend letting you know which ones are quick to make or my favourite, the ones that make little mess. I would have also liked to see a quick index for the legend. That way I can see a list of make ahead meals at a glance.

The book is geared to older children so you won’t see any first foods like purees. While I still have a couple of years before my baby will be eating any of the food in this book, I like how it’s fast and uncomplicated.

SpinachKaleCakeswithParmesan2
image courtesy of Random House

Thanks to Random House for sending me a review copy. As always, my opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation.

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Review: Vegan Indian Cooking

vegan_indian_cooking_coverI’ve added yet another vegan cookbook to my collection. This time Vegan Indian Cooking. I have a few Indian cookbooks, but sadly hardly used. I haven’t spent the $ that’s needed to buy all the spices that are required. On top of that, a lot of the recipes in those books are too complicated (exception: Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. See review).

You do need a few spices to get the right taste. I’ve accepted this as a necessary part of Indian cooking and I’ve begun buying spices on an as-needed basis. I find if you start skipping a lot of spices, the end product becomes bland.

The recipes here are simple to prepare and flavourful. I made the tofu curry and I recommend baking the tofu first to boost the texture. The curry was easy to make and if you’re not vegan/vegetarian, this is a good base for meat like chicken. I knew this dish would turn out spicy so I omitted the teaspoon of cayenne which would have been suicide for me.

The sweet and sour potatoes even though the ingredient list is short, it doesn’t come off as bland.

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Chickpea poppers. I think the oven took longer to preheat than the actual bake time. The prep work is nearly zero and it’s healthy because it’s baked, not fried. I did find the original recipe makes a large batch so next time I’ll halve it. Singla, has the chickpea popper recipe posted on her blog.

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The Ripe Banana Curry is another easy one to prepare. It’s a nice change from using those over-ripe bananas for banana bread to make something more savoury.

As someone who can’t really tolerate spicy food, I found I had to tone down the recipes quite a bit. If you’re spice averse, I’d only use a fraction of what’s suggested or omitting some items completely (e.g. if a chile pepper is needed, you might not need the cayenne pepper as well). The index is a little frustrating to use and could be laid out better. They’re sorted by their title name and that makes it harder to find what you’re looking for. The banana curry, for example, wasn’t under banana or curry. It was listed under the Indian name and the title (which was a person). I’m not too familiar with the Indian names so I’d often have to flip through the book to find what I was looking for. Another thing I’d like to see is the serving size. The yield is stated, but serving sizes are my lazy way of seeing how many people it can feed. I do like how the author has included weights for some ingredients. I’d like to see more cookbook authors do this as a “large” potato is open to interpretation.

I’ve bookmarked more that I need to try (baked samosas, anyone?) and I really like how it’s health-focused without sacrificing taste.

Thanks to Agate Publishing for sending me a review copy. As always, reviews are my own opinions and I did not receive monetary compensation.

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Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Mushroom and Black Bean Casserole

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about me is that I must eat really well and make fabulous intricate dinners because I have a food blog. My passion for food is high, but laziness and lack of time and energy will usually win out. People will ask me eagerly, “What did you eat for dinner?” and I shamefully answer “Toast.”

I’ve been searching for easy to put together meals and this mushroom and black bean tortilla casserole are mostly made from pantry staples. This is a “throw random ingredients together” recipe where you can fool around with what’s kicking around in your kitchen and still turn out with something decent.

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Veganomicon: Review

Still doing the weekly reviews! I thought I posted the dish that’s in this post earlier this week, but I guess it didn’t go through. I’ve been trying to eat more veggies so my vegan books have been getting more use.

After loving Vegan with a Vengeance so much, I picked up Veganomicon without even looking through it. I have to admit that I don’t really use this book as often and had to make an effort to make something out of the book. I don’t think it’s as approachable as the first one and find a lot of the recipes require many ingredients or steps. I still regularly make items from the first book, but very few recipes I’ve tried in this book seem to repeat worthy. I have yet to make any of the desserts, so maybe that will change my mind.

The portion sizes in this book are rather large for me and what might serve 4-6 people would really be 8-10. This is another draw back for me as we only have 2 people in this household, but I wouldn’t hold this as a negative for the book, it was never meant to serve on a small scale.

Amazon is giving rave reviews on this book, so if there’s a must try recipe, please let me know!

Chickpeas Romesco

I made Chickpeas Romesco from Veganomicon. The recipe makes a ginormous batch for 2 people. We ate this dish for what seemed like forever. I liked it, but R didn’t find it “flavourful” enough. I thought this could be a repeat recipe, but he nixed that idea saying I’ve made better things. This is a very hearty and saucy dish so be sure to serve this with some rice or even pasta.

Recipe here.

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Buddha Bowl – reFresh

Buddha Rice Bowl

I love the restaurant Fresh. The smoothies are awesome and I’m in love with their wraps. I have a blender coming soon so I wanted to be able to reproduce some of their smoothies. In the mean time, I’ve been trying some of their other stuff.

I picked the Buddha Bowl recipe because it was relatively easy. The cookbook are split up into different chapters for the sauces and marinades so there is a bit of flipping back and forth. I find that the portions (just like in the restaurant) are big. The peanut sauce made a vat’s worth. You could get away with cutting the recipe in half.

I wasn’t completely thrilled with this recipe at first, but it grew on me and got better the next day. R LOVED this dish, probably for the same reason I didn’t like it. I found the lemon juice (I used fresh squeezed as I had it on hand) made the peanut sauce too tangy where he loved the tanginess of the sauce. What I loved the most is the tofu marinade.

I’ve used many different recipes for marinating tofu and I found this flavour to be the best. You also don’t need to press the tofu first like in other recipes. If you’re into tofu, definitely give this a try. I’m even going to give the recipe for this, that’s how much I like it.

Marinated Tofu Cubes (adapted from refresh cook book)
– 1 package of tofu (300g, about 1 pound), cut into small cubes
– 1/4 cup apple cider
– 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons tamari
– 1/8 cup filtered water
– 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except tofu. Pour marinade over tofu cubes. Marinate for an hour. Keeps up to 5 days.

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