Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cookbook Review-Brassicas by Laura B. Russell

Quick! Name 3 Brassicas. What?? You don't know what a Brassica is!

I am sure you are in good company, especially since I had no idea what a Brassica was until I picked up this book. If you are interested in finding out what Brassicas are and cooking them, then Brassicas by Laura B. Russell is the cook book for you. Brassicas range from the very mild Bok Choy to the pungent, Horseradish. I have never had much interest in this group of vegetables for many reasons, but Laura gives techniques for avoiding the stinkiness associated with this group of veggies.

This cookbook is not vegan, but there is a handy table at the back that identifies all the vegan recipes in the book. It is also filled with pictures, which may help you to decide that hmmm, cauliflower might be worth a try. 

I tried the Sweet Potato and Kale Saute. We devoured this in minutes on tostadas and topped with avocados. It can also be served over rice or as a side dish. This book is a good buy for persons looking to increase their intake of vegetables in a tasty way.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this unbiased review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kitchen Essentials

I have never thought of myself as a foodie or kitchen elitist. Perhaps, I have naively considered myself “normal.” Well, this illusion has been shattered. I recently took a trip to a family member who shall remain nameless. We went to the local food store to stock up on necessities needed to cook up simple vegan meals. While attempting to prepare my meal I was frustrated beyond belief.  No paring knife, cutting board, chef’s knife, salad spinner. WHAT?? Each time I looked for a particular item, I would text my anonymous family member, “Do you have…?” Only to hear, “No, I don’t.” This was said with incredulity and an attitude that said, “Did you really expect me to have that?” Needless to say, I did not do much cooking during my stay and have promised my ------- that every gift she receives from me for the next five years will be kitchen related.

We have all seen the list of kitchen essentials found at the beginning of cookbooks. I never read these lists and always think, “Is there anyone who doesn't have these things? So I decided to make a list of my personal kitchen essentials, things I use often and do not want to have missing from my kitchen.

Knives- I don’t believe that you need to break the bank, but you do need three knives in your kitchen: a paring knife, serrated knife and chef’s knife.

Cutting Board- Now that I have visited two homes that do not have cutting boards, I will no longer assume that this is a tool found in every kitchen. I did have a bamboo cutting board that I loved, but it got mold so I recommend a plastic board.

Cast Iron Skillet- I plan to pass my skillet down to my grand kids (my son is four years old). It is great for making pancakes and pan frying crispy tofu.

Individual Blender- I have a regular-sized blender that I rarely use, because I hate cleaning it. I use my individual blender sometimes three times a day. It’s simple to use and easy to clean.

Food Processor- I strongly dislike using my food processor, because I hate cleaning it. Yet, I cannot deny its usefulness.

Toaster Oven- Unfortunately after seven years, my toaster oven has gone kaput. This is another tool that I use at least three to four times a week. I use it to bake up veggie burgers and even roast chickpeas in it.

Salad Spinner- Water pooled at the bottom of a salad bowl is unappetizing; this is where a salad spinner comes in. It ensures that greens are crisp and clean.

Slow Cooker- My slow cooker is used mostly to cook beans a pound at a time.

Popcorn Popper- Is this essential? Have you seen the price of microwave popcorn?

Metal Steamer Basket- This is a cheap metal steamer that can be placed in a pot; it can be used to steam vegetables. I have used my steamer to prepare seitan using Terry Hope Romero’s recipe from Salad Samurai.

I am sure that I can think of a few more “essentials” to add to this list, perhaps this explains why my kitchen cupboards are overflowing. What are your kitchen essentials?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Christian Book Review and Other Exciting News!


Perhaps because it's summer (YAY!) I was able to read A Match of Wits by Jen Turano in a day. Another reason may be that this book was laugh out loud funny. I have read and enjoyed previous books by this author that introduced the characters in this book. Agatha Watson is a progressive, young woman who works as an investigative journalist. Her work has caused her life to be put at risk and in her travels she finds her friend and love interest Zayne Beckett. Zayne is clueless, but dedicated to Angela. This dedication takes them both through many mishaps and adventures. They eventually find out who is trying to hurt Angela and (of course) declare their undying love for each other.

I enjoyed this book, it had so many funny moments. Yet for someone who was supposedly so smart Angela really annoyed me. She seemed to have no problem putting her own life and the lives of others at risk. I liked catching up with characters from the other books, but this book can be read and enjoyed without  reading the others. My favorite characters were Mr. Blackheart and Drusilla who had the ahem, privilege of escorting and protecting Agatha. I would like to see a book featuring these two.

A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for my review by Bethany House Publishers .

Now on to the exciting news...

September will be The Vegan Month of Food or VeganMoFo. Vegan bloggers all over the world will blog at least 20 times in the month of September on various themes and topics. For the first time ever I will be participating. I had already resolved that this year I will not buy lunch unless it is a life or death situation. So.. I have chosen lunch as my theme. Each day (fingers crossed) I will blog about the lunches I will pack for myself and hubby. I cannot wait to get started!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Afro-Vegan Cookbook Review

I think I know a thing or two about Caribbean Food, but transitioning to a vegan diet has taken me away from foods that are traditionally Bahamian. This cookbook will guide you back to the flavors you grew up with. It may not be exactly what you grew up eating, but it is reminiscent of what grammy and mommy cooked.
This cookbook is beautiful, I particularly loved the pattern found on the cover.  Each recipe is also accompanied by a song that I guess you could rock to as you cook. Its informative and I learned about indigenous foods and saw how their uses evolved over time.
Usually, when I receive a cookbook, I study it. I begin by marking the recipes I want to try, but I found myself marking very few pages in this book. The ingredients seem relatively easy to find, access to a farmers market would probably help. The recipes do seem to have a lot of steps, which is daunting when trying to decide what to make. I would recommend using this cookbook when you have time on your hands and want to impress.

I used the tofu marinade recipe from Lil' Tofu Po' Boys. This was the first time I saw a marinade recipe using water, the tofu was full of flavor.

I also tried the Sweet Potato Granola with Molasses-Glazed Walnuts. This was the recipe that felt like it would never end. But BOY, was it worth it. I wish that I had doubled the recipe. Sweet, crunchy, addictive.

 Afro-Vegan is an interesting cookbook that should be added to the collections of adventurous Vegan Cooks.

A copy of this cookbook was provided by the publisher through Blogging For Books in exchange for my unbiased opinion.