Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Final Few Reviews

This month seems to have escaped me much quicker than I was hoping!
So today I will give a final few reviews of a couple more books that I thought deserved a mention.

Firstly I'm going to give a big shout out for Chloe Coscarelli.
Chloe became well known for being the first vegan to win cupcake wars, and that is how my love of her started too. 
Her books are the perfect cookbooks! 

........However, I don't have any recipes to show you today!
You see, she has the most amazing recipes and the most beautiful photos. Part of me doesn't want to destroy how wonderful they are but attempting my own ;-)
These are great books to sit and read on the couch. You simply can't be miserable while you have one of these books in your hand!
These would have to be my top "therapy cookbooks"!!! You know those ones that you just sit and read and know that even if you never cook anything from them you'll be completely satisfied that you own them and they fulfill your life in a funny sort of way ;-)
That said, I have cooked a few recipes in the past from them and definitely will again in the future!

She has a new book just released a few days ago which I look forward to adding to my collection.

You can view Chloe's website here - Chef Chloe

Next in line is Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
She is very well-known in vegan-land. She has written many books - my collection is pictured below. Everyone raves about her!
The vegan cupcake/cookies/pie series are cute little handheld size books that have wonderful pictures through out and the recipes are super easy to make. These recipes are sure to impress anyone who thinks that vegans miss out on treats! 

Shown below is "Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars" from the Vegan Cookies book. My batter didn't spread as well as I was hoping so I didn't layer the top with crumbs as the recipe calls for. They were so so delicious. A really nice dessert to finish our meal with. My husband really enjoyed these and yet "claims" he doesn't like blueberries, then again I don't particularly like them fresh either but frozen ones seem to be quite different ;-)

I was so excited when Appetite for Reduction was released and I got it straight away. I have cooked several recipes from this book. It doesn't have the beautiful photography that the mini books have, rather a few photos in the centre of the book. So some of the recipes require a good understanding of how you hope they will turn out. All the recipes in the book are low-fat, although for our purposes they still require the complete elimination of oil and some other ingredients. Everything we have tried so far is delicious.
As I hear all things from Isa are!
Below is pictured "Smoky Split Pea Soup".

And shown here is "Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach".
Both of these recipes were amazingly delicious and I'll definitely be making them again.
I loved the roasted cauliflower. I have often used cauliflower in white sauce, but roasting it first gave it a wonderful taste.

You can view Isa's website here at the Post Punk Kitchen. She has a wonderful range of recipes on her website.

And last but not least is Leah Leneman.
I can't say that she is an overly popular vegan writer, possibly because she passed away in 1999 and I don't think that the vegan boom had taken off then. None the less, her books have a special place in her heart because her book "Vegan Cooking for One" helped me in those very early stages of changing my diet. I could not of done it without that book.

They are not fancy or flash cookbooks, just basic books with no pictures but they are a great starting point. They have many wonderful recipes, all using basic ingredients and most things I've tried I've really enjoyed. 
They are packed FULL of recipes that require little time or effort to prepare.  

Pictured below is Mushroom and Tomato Pie.

Well that's it from me for Vegan Mofo this year!
I hope you have enjoyed my reviews.
Is there any vegan cookbooks that have stolen your heart?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Happy Herbivore

Next in line for review is the collection of cookbooks from The Happy Herbivore.
Lindsay Nixon is a follower of the low-fat plant based lifestyle. I love all her cookbooks, however it did take a bit of encouragement for me to purchase them. 
A friend was 'upgrading' to ebooks and I was fortunate enough to be offered to buy the paperbacks from her. I have not regretted the purchase at all!
These are some of our most used cookbooks, mainly because my daughter has an aim to cook EVERY recipe from the original Happy Herbivore book. Now if that isn't sign enough how tasty & easy these recipes are, then I don't know what is!

The range of recipes in these books is amazing. And everything we have tried so far is just delicious. 
The recipes are easy to make and require basic ingredients, nothing too flash or fancy & they are all free of added oils. My kind of cookbooks :-)
The recipes are also ones that are sure to please all taste buds, including those who are not used to eating vegan, or low free vegan. 
The books have wonderful pictures through out and have great guides to the recipes, including symbols for quick (less than 30 mins), gluten free, soy free and kid friendly recipes. The appendix at the back is one of the best ones I've ever seen in a cookbook making it really easy to find the recipes you are looking for.
Lindsay also encourages a "minimalist" lifestyle that means not creating clutter in our homes & only purchasing what we truly need.

I recently added her newest cookbook "Light and Lean" to my collection. I must admit that I am yet to actually cook any recipes from it, but I think it's another book that I'll add to my list of 'must cook every recipe' books!!! It all looks so amazing delicious. 

Now onto some recipes!
These chocolate chip cookies are delicious. They were one of the first things my daughter ticked off her list and she has been making them regularly ever since!
Another of my daughters favourites that she regularly makes is this "tofu yogurt". It's quite and easy to blend up and taste delicious.
Below is "miso gravy". I haven't experimented hugely with gravies since going vegan & have only really ever made either a store bought packet mix or my mushroom gravy. This gravy was so so delicious, it was full of flavour and we all really enjoyed it. It perfectly completed this meal of bean patties and waffle potatoes.


You can check out all things Happy Herbivore on her website here.
She also does plant-based meal plans for those who are interested.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Esselstyn

Today's book reviews are from Rip Esselstyn.

Rip Esselstyn is the son of the well known Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, also known as Mr "Heart Attack Proof". Dr. Esselstyn featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives. He has had wonderful success with not only stopping the progression of heart disease, but also reversing the damage already done to arteries. Perhaps most well-known for helping the former American president Bill Clinton. 

Rip was a professional athlete and is now a firefighter - both careers fueled by plants. 
He tells part of his story at the start of his Engine 2 Diet book.

Rip follows in his father's footsteps recommending a whole food plant based diet that eliminates all oils. Data shows that any oils, including olive oil, increase our risk of heart disease just like butter does. Oil is a highly processed food and is in no way a "WHOLE" food. You can watch this short clip on youtube here if you're interested.  

I waited several years after their release date before purchasing these books. I am honestly yet to read "My Beef with Meat". If you've read it be sure to let me know what you think! 

The reason I'm delayed in reading the second book is because, to be honest, "The Engine 2 Diet" didn't really grab me. Don't get me wrong, it's a great book, but it is another one that is aimed at those who need convincing to switch their diet, and not particularly relevant for those already well and truly on the plant-based and oil free) way of life. I also think that it would be a great read for men. I think they would enjoy the fire-fighting stories a lot more than I did!!!

I love the "easy weekly planner" that is included in the book. I think it's a fantastic way of showing how easy a plant-based diet can be. It provides a guide to having variety and incorporating old favourites now turned into new healthy ways of eating. Also it is a great way of planning meals out for the week - both for old and new herbivores!

There are a few stand out recipes in the book, but the rest are real basic and great for new-comers who are looking for easy, no fuss meals that are nothing too exotic! 

Below is pictured "Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna" (minus the ground cashews). 
This is so so delicious and honestly one of my favourite plant lasagna's.

You can find the recipe for this delicious meal on his website here.

I love that the recipes in the book are foods that are familiar to people who consume a standard diet, yet now made in a way that supports a plant-based diet. 
This "Green Pizza" is an example of that. 
I was surprised at how delicious it was. I have never tried broccoli on pizza before and I usually don't use plain nutritional yeast, but instead turn it into a 'sauce'. For this recipe I just sprinkled it over the top, and it worked quite well. 
You can view the recipe on the website here

Now how's that for a vegan pizza! 

I have heard glowing review about the new "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook" - though I am yet to get it.
Anybody got it and want to share your thoughts on it?

I get excited anytime a new vegan cookbook comes out and especially ones that are oil-free and not heavily focused on nuts!

You can find more information about Rip on his website here - Engine 2 Diet.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Dreena Burton

Today I am bringing to light Dreena Burton.

Now I must admit that I only own one of her cookbooks!

That is because I'm grateful that both our local library's have her other books, and I have borrowed them quite a few times.
My all time favourite home-made veggie pattie to date is her "Too-Good-to-Be-Tofu Burgers" from her latest book - Let Them Eat Vegan.

They are so incredibly tasty and easy to make. They honestly don't have any 'tofu/soy' taste to them but are just so full of flavour. We make them regularly in our home. 
And nevermind using tofu all the time, her "No-fu Love Loaf" is also incredibly tasty and is often spoken about in the plant based world. It's a fantastic alternative to using tofu or ground faux meat in non-meat loaves.
You can find the recipe for it here. I think it's super tasty! If you give it a try be sure to let me know what you think of it. 

One of the main reasons that I'm keen on Dreena's recipes and books are because she doesn't use vegan substitutions, like tvp, fake cheese etc, but instead focuses on using whole 'real' ingredients. 

Also she is a parent of 3 young girls, so it's encouraging for me to read from other parents who are bringing their children up vegan. Her recipes are definitely child friendly.

Below is pictured "Cinnamon Lime Quinoa with Apricots & Almonds.
This is quick and easy to mix up, and adds a wonderful taste to otherwise plain cooked quinoa. This made its way into my daughters lunchbox and she was delighted!
Also pictured is "Sesame Lime Soba Noodles with Shittake Mushrooms & Snow Peas".
Again another really easy dish was that so tasty.

For more information and recipes from Dreena Burton check out her webpage and blog at Plant Powered Kitchen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Joel Fuhrman

Joel Fuhrman calls his diet plan a "nutritarian" lifestyle.
His focus is on getting the maximum amounts of nutrients from the foods we eat. 
And whilst he recommends largely avoiding animal foods, his books are not completely "vegan".

If you're interested in his 6 week Eat-To-Live plan you can find details about it here.

For a great summary chart that is easy to understand and refer to I recommend checking out Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen.

I have personally found it a little difficult to completely stick to the Eat to Live plan and sure do favour having some added starch to my meals. Snacks are also forbidden on his plan, and not that I'm a big snacker, but I don't mind having one occasionally. I hear many many success stories of people who have lost a lot of weight following his plan. Perhaps I haven't enjoyed his plan as much because I have never needed to lose a large amount of weight.
Even with me not completely following his recommended plan, I find that his books are filled with some wonderful recipes, and lots of information too.
I have enjoyed reading his concept of 'true hunger' and found that particularly helpful.

I am lucky enough to have the privilege of borrowing several other books of his from our local library too, all of which I have enjoyed reading.  

I also enjoy following his Disease Proof blog for things that are not only about diet but other areas of lifestyle/health too, such as sunscreens

Now for some recipe trials:
This chocolate "green" smoothie in the Book Eat to Live is my all time favourite smoothie. I have even run this by a few others who are not "green smoothie" fans and it gets their tick of approval too!

Below is "Eggplant Cannelloni" from the Eat to Live Cookbook.

Sorry for the terribly messy picture! It truly was amazingly delicious. 
It's a little fiddly to prepare but well worth the effort.
I think it could be made to look quite presentable when each roll is served on a plate and would look like quite a fancy dish.

You can find more information about Joel Fuhrman and his recommendations on his website here
I have previously joined the member centre and found it to be most helpful. There are a ton of recipes with reveiws from other members, as well as playbacks of many talks given by Dr Fuhrman. 
I also recommend visiting his daughters website - Talia Fuhrman. She has wonderful recipes, interesting interviews, hints & tips about chemical free makeup, and is just all round encouraging. She also has a book due out very soon. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Forks Over Knives

I have previously written about my love of the Forks Over Knives cookbook and well yes, I think I still have to say that it's my most favourite vegan cookbook EVER.

In my collection of Forks Over Knives books I've also included the cookbook "Better than Vegan" by Del Sroufe as he made the recipes for the Forks Over Knives Cookbook. 
I love his book equally as much as the FOK cookbook. 

His recipes are all oil-free, just as the FOK cookbook recipes are, and they use nuts sparingly which is great for our household. I have made quite a few recipes and they are tasty and easy to prepare. A note though, there are several recipes that call for another recipe in the book to already be pre-made, so it's not always easy to pick this book up for last minute inspiration.

The Forks Over Knives companion is another of my favourites (ok, I admit that I have so many favourites that it's probably just confusing you by now lol).

It's a wonderful combination of information and recipes. 
I was soooo excited when this book came out years ago and I read it cover to cover. It's easy to read & understand and the recipes are all delicious with many coming from well-known names in the plant-based world. No photographs of food though, which thankfully was changed for the actual cookbook. Not all recipes include pictures but there are several photograph sections throughout the book.... enough to tempt you! 

Pictured here is "Vegetable White Bean Hash".
This was such a quick and easy dish with basic ingredients and yet the combination of a few different seasonings that I wouldn't normally think to use made it taste just amazing. The bright colours are just so appealing too!

We regularly have the "Eggplant Moussaka" and I pretty much remember the recipe by heart without having to refer to the book! It's fair to say that it's one of our household favourites.
I have tweaked it a bit though, leaving out the nuts and using more tomato than the recipe calls for.
But for the pictures below I stayed true to the recipe (excluding the nuts), a very rare occasion when cooking in my kitchen lol!
There are several layers to this dish so it does take some time to prepare but it's not difficult to make. And to be honest, I love that feeling of knowing I've made the 'whole' of the dish. It's truly so satisfying!
It might look messy but it is an incredibly tasty & satisfying dish.

A new book to add to the FOK collection is to be released next week. 

The Forks Over Knives plan is a guide to making a plant-based diet do-able in your own life. Although I feel as though I well and truly have this way of eating mastered I'm still very keen to get this book and check it out. 
I am a lover of all things Forks Over Knives really!!!!
It's the very documentary that encouraged my husband to change his diet so it really does have a special place in my heart!

If you haven't watched this documentary then I highly recommend you view it (link only available in the U.S sorry).
The connections between diet and disease are irrefutable. And not from what would be considered diets that are necessarily 'largely' based on animal products, but even as little as 20% of calories coming from animal protein. I remember seeing the chart on cancer growth with comparisons of 5% vs 20% and was shocked. The best news of all, the cancer growth didn't happen when that 20% of calories from protein came from plant protein...... even the dreaded "soy protein" that everyone seems to have a phobia of these days!
So eat your beans my friends!!!! :-) 

And if you need even more recipes and information you can also purchase the Forks Over Knives recipe app here (currently only for Apple products, Android still being developed).
I have only had the app a few weeks and am yet to cook from it, but recipes are being added frequently and it looks like it is a handy app for those who prefer to use electronic devices for viewing recipes/cooking from.

Last but not least, the Forks Over Knives website is AMAZING.
SO much information, encouraging stories, and tasty recipes. I visit it regularly.

Have you seen the documentary Forks Over Knives?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegan Mofo - The China Study

Next up for review is The China Study Cookbook.
I have previously reviewed The China Study book itself here
For those who haven't read it, I definitely recommend it. As far as I'm concerned it's a MUST read for everyone! 
I am yet to get myself a copy of the follow up called Whole, but I hear that it is equally impressive. 

Today I'm here to show you some recipes from The China Study cookbook.

When I heard this cookbook was coming out I was so excited to get it. 
A lot of the recipes are quite basic, which I like & dislike at the same time.
Whilst it's great for people who want basic recipes and are in the transition stage, or who aren't confident cooks, for me personally I felt that the recipes were nothing flash that I would not of thought to cook myself. 
I love the pictures throughout & I must admit that I enjoyed seeing pictures that were clearly not professionally taken as it made me feel a bit better about my own picture-taking ability, or lack thereof! 
The introduction section filled with information is fantastic. 
I reallllllllllly like the way the appendix is set out as well. It might sound silly, but when a cookbook just lists the 'name' of the recipe, I find it a little frustrating. This book has the ingredients listed too, which means if you are looking for a particular ingredient you have, then it makes it super easy to find something suitable to cook.
I found the tips on the bottom of the recipes really handy. 
There are several recipes that call for nuts/avocados/coconut, and so we find that a little challenging as we are largely fat-free in our home, however most of the recipes I've tried so far, work equally as well when omitted. 

Below I show you "Hearty Stew" (however I did cook it in the slow cooker instead of the stove top as the recipe says). It was really delicious. Definitely hearty!

Other favourites in our home that I haven't photographed are the "Zesty Bulgar Stew" and "Lentil Soup" - I can't explain what it is about the lentil soup from this cookbook that I love so much but it is honestly the most delicious lentil soup I've ever had! 

Here is the "Fresh Strawberry Pie". With strawberries being so inexpensive lately I had to try this while it wouldn't cost a fortune to make!
I used my own healthy pastry crust instead of the one given. 
This filling was delicious. I would definitely serve this to dinner guests. It can look quite fancy too, if you topped it with a dollop of cream or other fruits to decorate.

My daughter is LOVING looking through cookbooks with me and deciding what to make! When she saw the slice on the cover of this book she knew it HAD to go on her own to-try list!
So below you see "No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars". OH MY!!!!!!!! They smelt amazing as I was helping her put this together. Apparently they are the BEST vegan food she's ever eaten. I skipped test-tasting due to being nut-free at the moment!
I was surprised at how well the chocolate coating worked & will definitely be using this for my kitchen experiments more regularly. It was much more soft and 'gentle' than just melting chocolate and allowing it to set. 

There is also The China Study - All Star Collection, which has recipes from several well-known Chefs in the plant-based world.

I must admit that this cookbook is one that I just LOVE to sit and read & flick through. There is something so comforting about knowing that it really is easy to be vegan & eat healthy. This book shows you how.
I LOVE the pages that have information snippets speckled throughout the recipes. And I love the shiny pages (as opposed to paper ones) that means if you accidently spill a bit of dinner on them, then it will wipe off easily!!!!! ;-)

If you'd like to see some of the great yet easy recipes in this book I believe you can view some sample recipes at this link.

If you'd like to hear T. Colin Campbell give a talk about "The China Study" and it's findings then click here.

Have you read the China Study, or Whole?
Do you own both cookbooks? Am I missing out by not owning the All-Star Collections?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Dr John McDougall

I am a massive McDougall fan!
John McDougall is so passionate about eating well. His diet-plan is based around starches. It is probably fair to say that the way I, and my family eats, is most inline with his approach more than any other views. And we think it works wonders :-)  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE listening to him talk! If I had to pick just ONE of his talks to share with you I'd be devastated as all of them are so valuable - so instead here's a link to his youtube channel and if you're interested then you can pick out what takes your fancy!
He talks with such passion & has a don't-take-garbage attitude. He knows his stuff and isn't scared to say what is true even when others don't approve. I just LOVE it! 

My most favourite quote of his is this, "People love to hear good news about their bad habits." And yes, that applies to dietary habits as well as many other habits too ;-)

I have previously written a review of his most recent book The Starch Solution
And I could talk for hours on end about all the things John McDougall has said that have sunk deep into my memory......

But today I'm here to share with you some recipes. 
These 2 cookbooks have recently become favourites of mine. I purchased them just a few months ago and they are actually cookbooks that I already regularly use.
The recipes are practical & easy enough for every day use. And, well, since I am following a McDougall way of eating then I don't need to alter the recipes in anyway - which is handy for those days when you don't feel like thinking or don't have the time for a substitution to go wrong.
The ingredients are everyday items that we regularly have on hand too so when it's 5pm and I haven't made a weekly meal plan & can't think what to make for dinner then these always provide a meal that is delicious & easy. 
Pictured above on the left is "Spicy Bulgar" from the Quick & Easy Cookbook, and on the right "Cuban Black beans" from the New McDougall Cookbook.

Below I show you "Banana Milk" being poured onto my breakfast. Another fantastic recipe. This is a super delicious alternative to packaged non-dairy milks.

One of the things I love most about these recipes is that often they are just 'ideas' put onto paper. They really are so simple and yet things that make meals so much easier. Often the 'recipes' are ones that stick in your mind so you don't need to go back and see them each time. 

You can check out all things McDougall related at their website here.
It is an amazing resource. I also highly recommend signing up for their monthly newsletter. The search function on the website will find you anything you're looking for and it goes back a loooooooong time with great information. 
Recently they have added a booklet about "Food Poisoning" and it is FANTASTIC! So simple to understand and yet vital truths everyone should read. It's sad to think that the reality is that the way most people eat truly is "poisoning" them. 
The FREE 10 day program is a great place to start if you are looking to improve your health by a starch-based diet. I know I will never look back from this amazing lifestyle. I am quite pleased to call myself a "starchivore"! I love that term - hehe. I hope to one day have the privilege of attending one of his programs in America. I think I'll cry tears of joy if I get to meet him in real life!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Neal Barnard

Next in line for review is my collection of books from Neal Barnard.

I must admit that I am also in love with all things Neal Barnard. I had the book "Turn off the Fat Genes" sitting in my bookshelf at the time that I read Skinny Bitch & it was only that it was mentioned in the book that a light-bulb went off as I remembered having it and I then picked it up to read it also.

Neal Barnard comes from a more 'health' side of veganism, not just being vegan for the sake of animals. 
He encourages following a low fat vegan style of eating and explains in details links between various diseases in society that are seen as "normal" as we age, but are in fact dietary related. 

These books are easy to read & yet so very full of information.
They all have FANTASTIC recipe sections in the later part of the books - and not just a few recipes, HEAPS of recipes! I think it's fair to say that the books are about 2/3s info, 1/3 recipes. 
I have cooked many many meals from all these books & there are only a very few that I have come across that I haven't totally LOVED.
These have often been my fall-back recipes when I need to make a bunch of salads to take to events. 
I make this "Couscous Confetti Salad" below for EVERY occasion we host and each time I am asked for the recipe! It is loved by omni's and vego's alike! I may have to say that it's my favourite recipe in the book "Turn off the Fat Genes".
You can access the recipe online here.

I recently enjoyed the "Curried Chickpea Spread" from "The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook."

This is one of the books that I got and had every hope of cooking all the way through from beginning to end and I must say that I have tried about 70% of the recipes in this book! This was the first time I had tried this spread so I was quite pleased to be able to tick it off my list ;-)
Delicious! I even went to the effort of roasting a single onion to use in the recipe! Usually I'm lazy when recipes require effort like that and I would just dry-fry it instead!

I also must speak very highly of his book "Program for Reversing Diabetes". 

I have had the privilege of helping two people use this program (based on a low fat vegan diet) to reverse their T2 diabetes. It is so wonderful watching people heal themselves with food. If you, or someone you know has diabetes then I definitely recommend getting this book.
To see if this is the type of program that could be of interest to someone you know you can view a summary here on youtube.   

Neal Barnard is the president of an organisation called "The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine" (PCRM). They encourage preventative medicine using the method of "The Power Plate". Their website in full of wonderful resources and publications you can download and print. They also have great information regarding children and feeding them healthfully. I highly encourage you to check it out here. You'll also find links to other websites run by them including NutritionMD where you'll find many delicious recipes like the ones shown above. If you're tempted to try a vegan diet but don't know where to start, I encourage you to try their 21 day vegan kickstart program. I have often followed this program in the past when I want to get my eating back on track or want my meals planned out for me. All the recipes are super easy, super delicious and use easy-to-find food items.
Give it a try!