Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review: Crave, Eat, Heal

Crave, Eat, Heal is a vegan cookbook.  I am not a vegan, my husband is gluten free, I can’t eat oats or an ingredient in tofu.  But I am so glad I tried this cookbook!  This cookbook has multiple gluten free recipes and there was plenty that we COULD eat despite our dietary restrictions!!
The first thing I tried was the Cauliflower and Potato Wraps with Tahini Dressing.  I made this when I had company over.  It was amazing! 

Here’s the recipe
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups chopped cauliflower 1 small onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth (see page 60 for recipe), or store-bought low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. liquid aminos or tamari
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch sea salt
Pinch cayenne
 Pinch sweet paprika
 2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
4 kosher dill pickle spears
4 whole wheat or gluten-free tortillas, lavash, or pita

1/2 cup tahini
1 clove garlic
 2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp. white miso paste
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the potato, cauliflower, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, liquid aminos, and spices and toss to combine. Pour this mixture into a shallow baking dish and spread into one layer to speed cooking.  

Bake the potato-cauliflower mixture for about 45 minutes, turning the vegetables two or three times. The vegetables should be soft and slightly browned at the edges. If the mixture dries out during the cooking time, add a splash or two of water or vegetable broth.  

While the vegetables cook, prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth. Set aside. 

To serve, gently warm the tortillas, lavash, or pita breads. You can either mix the vegetables with the dressing, or you can spread some of the tahini dressing on/into the breads and then add the other ingredients on top. Divide the romaine lettuce between the breads, then spoon on the potato-cauliflower mixture, sprinkle with chopped parsley and top with one pickle spear per wrap.

I made a special stop at the grocery store to purchase the goods for this meal.  But I forgot my list at home and forgot an onion.  I contemplated the 40 minute roundtrip to the grocery store for an onion (with a 3 year old and a baby), and decided to just use onion powder.  After all the chopping and dressing making, I decided to not make tortillas (we make them at home), so we didn’t have this as wraps.  I cooked pasta and mixed the cauliflower mixture with the pasta.  We ate it on a bed of lettuce, and added the parsley and dressing on top.  It looked beautiful!!  And it tasted delicious!  I was a little unsure of the dressing when I tasted it, but together everything had the perfect combination.  Literally.  I tried this on company, and everyone had seconds.  There wasn’t even enough left for my husband (who was working late out of town.)  I did make this again with the other half of my vegetables when my husband was home.  It seemed easier the second time, since I had made it and the dressing was already made.  This is a recipe that I think will be added to our regular rotation!!

This was great soup.  It’s been cold and rainy in Colorado, so this was the perfect time to make this receipe!  Plus I was craving carrots.  I love curry.  Always.  I don’t always love coconut.  This recipe also suggested putting chopped peanuts and cilantro on the soup for a garnish.  Now, I never would have thought of putting cilantro on a curry soup.   But I loved it.  Instead of putting the peanuts on the soup, I decided to use some peanut flour that we had (and never use) and mix it into the soup.  This soup hit the spot, I really enjoyed it and filled my craving!  I will make this again, but I will probably use almond milk instead of coconut milk.  My husband really liked the coconut milk. 

The author and creator of this book did a great job coming up with unique combinations that are deeply satisfying and will make you crave her recipes!  I can’t wait to try the Maple Cinnamon Glazed Chickpeas!  I just need to get some pure maple syrup!! 
The book is fun because each chapter is separated by different types of cravings instead of meals.  The pictures are beautiful, all the more impressive since she did the photography herself.  I do wish this book had a better index, because of the unique layout of the book, I have trouble remembering where I saw the recipe (except for the chocolate recipes – it’s easy to remember where chocolate is).  The index only lists the recipes in alphabetical order.   I would have loved to see an index by main ingredients or types of food.  But that is easily solved by marking your recipes. 

This book is only available for pre-order, but it is a book worth having!  

If you are interested in checking out more reviews, click here

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Have Gavel, Will Travel

When looking at this book, I chose to read it because I thought it would be entertaining.  Having spent some time in a courtroom daily practicing law, I was curious what a judge would write about his experience.  This book did not disappoint, it had humor and thoughtful perspective on life and family.  I was most interested in the different cases he presented and how he struggled with making some of the decisions. Some of the cases reminded me of my own clients, some good people and some bad.  I did enjoy this book and recommend it to anyone who is curious about the people in the courtroom and what they think about the experience. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review: Daily Tortilla

Corn tortillas are used in our home as commonly as bread.  Surprisingly, we have never before attempted to make them at home.  And I am so glad we did!  Using the recipe in this book was surprisingly easy and fast (now we just need a tortilla press!!).  I am sure we will never buy tortillas from the store again.  I have always thought the store bought corn tortillas have a weird taste, and they seem to crumble a lot (no matter what brand).  Our homemade ones taste delicious, and stay together well!  We finally have a happy compromise for tortillas in our gluten free home. (My husband prefers that I do not bring wheat home!)

I also made the Mexican Cream.  We prefer to make things as fresh as possible, and this was easy to make.  I used it in the Enchilada Sauce.  I did not taste it prior to adding it to the sauce because I don’t really like sour cream if I can actually taste it.

And finally, I made the Swiss Enchiladas.  I have never heard of these, apparently they were made by Swiss immigrants to Mexico.  These were amazing!!  I will happily be eating these for the rest of the month (I meant to make a double batch, but it turned out to be a lot more than a double batch.)  I never would have thought to make a sauce out of zucchini and spinach for enchiladas.  And cilantro.  I might have gone a little overboard on the cilantro, but I loved it.  My 3 year old daughter and husband loved them too.  My daughter wanted to help, and had a great time taking the skin off of the tomatillos, and collecting their seeds to plant in our garden.  Tomorrow I’ll have her help me make up more enchiladas to store in the freezer.  I love having projects she can help me with.  I’m sure I will make these enchiladas for years to come and I am looking forward to trying more authentic recipes from this book!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book Review: A Mother's Greatest Gift

I rarely read parenting books because they often make me feel like I am inadequate or doing something wrong.  But not this book!  Heidi Poelman’s book, A Mother’s Greatest Gift, is inspiring and reminded me of many things I have done right as a mother of an almost 4 year old and a 7 month girls. 

Heidi is teaching us about motherhood, but uses the scriptures and the prophets.  Many of the quotes and scriptures are some of my favorite; looking at them through the lens of motherhood gives me a different perspective on how I can apply them in my life. I love that everything is compiled together with a focus on mother.  Yes, I can read each talk and each scriptures that she uses, but it is so helpful to see and to ponder how they apply to motherhood.

For example, she quotes President Henry B. Eyring, 

“He sends truth line upon line, like the lines on the page of a book. Each time a line of truth comes to us, we get to choose what we will do about the light and truth God has sent to us. If we try hard to do what that truth requires of us, God will send more light and more truth. It will go on, line after line, as long as we choose to obey the truth.”

This quote made me think about how we can receive more and more revelation to help our children and act upon that revelation.  Our Heavenly Father does not leave us alone to raise our children!
Heidi also shares examples of spiritual experiences mothers have with their children.  Reading about the different experiences, reminds me of how unique we are and how much the same we are, and that the Spirit will help us.  Each story was another witness for me that the Lord loves us.

The book is divided up into different topics for each chapter.  Some of the topics are the Holy Ghost, seeking revelation, and receiving promptings.  In each chapter she shares different teachings and real life example, including some from her own life.  She also explains the topic.  In each chapter, I am reminded of my own experiences when I have listened to the Holy Ghost and received revelation and have felt the Spirit being a mother.  Some of the revelation has been “bigger,” revelation I believe saved my children’s life.  Some of the revelation I remembered were little, and maybe only special to me and my daughters.  Being reminded of my revelations reminds me that I am doing motherhood right and the Spirit will continue to help me, despite the mistakes I have made (and I’m sure I will make more in the future.) 

This is a book I will read again and again to be uplifted and to renew during the ups and downs of motherhood.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: The Olive Tree

This book is beautiful!  I have always loved the allegory of the olive tree, found in Jacob 5 of the Book of Mormon.  But it is hard to follow without taking notes and having an understanding of basic tree care.  Reading through this book, makes the scripture much easier to follow!  It makes it more like a story.

The art work is beautiful and a great addition.  I think olive trees are beautiful and I am glad to have the visual work to help with the imagery.  I love the calligraphy.  I do have to slow down to read it (since I don't read calligraphy very often), but it helps me focus more on the words and think of the meaning.

The Olive Tree is a beautiful book to have - one I would put on a coffee table.  I look forward to sharing it with my daughters when they are older to help them understand this scripture.  I'm sure now, my 3 year old daughter would love looking at the pictures and listening to me read it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Gluten-Free on a Budget

We eat gluten free, so I was excited to try some recipes from this book!  The first thing I noticed was that every recipe has a picture – a must in the cookbooks I like.  I like to see a picture of what the recipe is supposed to look like to determine if it is appetizing.

When I first glanced through the recipes, there were quite a few that I was looking forward to trying, including Cream of Chicken Soup, Southwestern Corn Chowder, Nut Encrusted White Fish, Three Cheese White Sauce Lasagna, Creamy Italian Chicken, Creamy Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Chicken Enchiladas, Navajo Tacos, and the Peanut Butter Delights.   I was especially excited about the Navajo Tacos.  I have never had them, but my husband spent some time on the Navajo Reservation during his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He has talked about the fry bread before, and I knew he would look forward to trying this recipe!

Most gluten free cookbooks have a mix (or several!) that they use for their recipes.  Each book has a different mix.  This is often a hindrance for me to cook, because it seems to involve extra work, with a 3 year old and a baby I want to be able to make stuff that is easy.  This book does not have a mix!  Yay!  It lists all the ingredients necessary in each recipe.   This made me like the book right away! 

One flour that the book uses a lot is Sorghum flour.  When we went to make the Navajo Tacos, I thought we had some, but we didn’t.  It isn’t a flour that I regularly use, and the closet store that would stock it is 30 minutes away.  So we substituted a black bean flour.  Of course the recipe still worked and the fry bread was delicious!! They stayed moist and were not crumbly, an important and difficult task to achieve with gluten-free bread. My husband wanted to eat it with butter and honey to dip it in.  I’m not a fan of honey, so I ate mine with only butter.  Then I tried it with some salted caramel chocolate hazelnut spread.  It was delicious both ways!  I am sure that we will make this recipe over and over again!  My husband thought they tasted close enough to how wheat Navajo Tacos would taste – which is always a difficult task with gluten free bread!

My 3 year old daughter wanted to make cookies, so we tried the Peanut Butter Delights.  I love how simple this recipe was, with only 3 ingredients I could get everything together quickly and let me daughter do all the stirring, her favorite part of cooking.  She did great even with the natural peanut butter.  She also thought it was so fun to use the fork to flatten the cookies down and did not want me to help with that part of the job!  These cookies didn’t last the night; my husband ate half of them as soon as he got home from work. 

Having never cooked fish before (usually I only allow it to be cooked outside on the grill), but I wanted to try the Nut Encrusted White Fish.  We had tilapia, which thankfully doesn’t smell too fishy!  I always have almond and hazelnut flour on hand, and think either would be great to use in this recipe.  The recipe also called for parmesan cheese, and I thought that was the perfect addition!  I couldn’t believe how good it tasted!  I think I will start adding parmesan cheese to whatever bedded meat I make.

I was pleased that I enjoyed all three of the recipes that I have tried and am looking forward to trying more.  I am excited to try the cream of chicken recipe.  There were quite a few recipes I liked before I met my husband, that call for cream of chicken soup that I will be looking forward to making  a gluten free version.  I think this a great book for a gluten free household – it has a good variety of different recipes from different food genres that are easy to make and are good tasting food!  There is even a recipe for Hawaiian Haystacks.  I love that there are recipes in here that we have missed since going gluten free!