Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Dalyn Miller PR, as well as a signed copy to give away to one of my readers. All opinions about the book are honest and my own.
October is one of my very favorite months. The smell of autumn is in the air, school has returned to full swing, Halloween is coming up with the rest of the winter holidays not far away – it’s just so awesome! One of my very favorite parts of my very favorite month can be summed up on one word: apples. I love apples. I love apple cider (I like to call it spider cider). I love applesauce. I love baked goods made with applesauce. I love the smell of apples.
Apples, apples, apples.
You get what I’m saying here, right? Autumn = October = Apples you just can’t go wrong with that combination. The worst October in history was the one in which I was recovering from pneumonia and barely caught the end of apple season. I still made applesauce that year, but I didn’t really get to enjoy the apple goodness.
Two Mondays ago, we hosted the playdate for our local stay-at-home mom’s group here at my house. It was a great way to have our friends come see our new home and for me to bake goodies because let’s face it – the hardest part for me about having a husband with Celiac disease is learning to bake gluten-free. It’s much more complicated than the baking I know, the baking I love, the baking I’ve been (most of the time) successfully doing for years. I’m always eager for a challenge, but gluten-free baking has truly bested me. I’m getting the hang of it (barely), but it was really nice to have an excuse to go back to a confident area of baking, and for other people – so I wouldn’t wreck my half marathon plans by eating the baked goods all by myself! I have some restrictions on when I allow myself to bake, you see.
So I was surfing around trying to find the. perfect. recipe for apple muffins. As with anything else I do, I have several restrictions for what be considered the perfect recipe. I must find the recipe on a blog. The recipe must not contain one (or less than one) apple. The recipe must contain few ingredients. Whole food eating is fun! So I was surfing around and happened to spin across The Amateur Gourmet website. I found a decently good apple muffin recipe, but then I realized that it was for a cookbook review. And he explained that he shares three recipes from each cookbook that he reviews.
MIND = BLOWN
I’ve been doing these reviews all wrong! I adore reviewing cookbooks, but I tend to get stuck between the reading of the press release about the book, checking out all the recipes, trying to decide which recipe I’ll try, photographing the recipe, etc. But this idea – reviewing 3 recipes for each cookbook, sharing the recipes and the results, why it is simply genius! So I consulted one of my cookbooks that I have loved reading but didn’t know where to start for reviewing, and bingo – the perfect apple muffin recipe. And the added bonus of the perfect apple oat square recipe as well! My day was made.
When it comes to healthy eating with whole foods, one of the comments that I hear most often is that it is too expensive for people to eat that way. The second most often heard comment is that the food takes too long to prepare. I’m quite certain that I’m not the only person hearing these comments, as this cookbook is written in a way that directly addresses both of those issues. In EATS enjoy all the seconds by Mary Rolph Lamontagne, gorgeous photography adds visual depth to the a full spectrum of dishes made from healthy whole foods that enables the home cook to prepare colorful, tasty, and nutritious recipes while keeping food costs down.
While I love the traditional recipes in my older cookbooks, I truly think that this is a wonderful time to be a home cook because of the amazing cookbooks that are coming out now. For example, in EATS the photography more closely resembles a coffee table photo book than the old text-only or diagram-only cookbooks that have long been my staples. In addition to the food photography, EATS also has amazing safari and animal photographs from family and friends of the author. When I’m shopping for a cookbook, I tend to look at the pictures to see if I will like the dishes. I realize that no all of my attempts at the dishes will look as though they were handled by a food stylist, but I do like to know what the ideal visual of the dish will be. I also like to see whole ingredients with minimal processing that are not simply soaked in fats. As our family migrates toward ever healthier nutrition, having a cookbook that I know will be on my side throughout the process is priceless, and Lamontagne’s photographs help me to visualize the beautiful, colorful dishes I can prepare with her recipes.
The very next aspect of the book that caught my eye after the photography was the organization of the contents. We know from the title that we are going to be reusing leftovers in the book, so it is not unusual to see recipes with the same key ingredients grouped together, but what I find really cool is that the groups are sorted by the color of the key ingredients. As anyone who has studied food and healthy eating can tell you, it is vitally important to eat a range of colors, and the visual of the recipes grouped by key ingredient with the groups sorted by color of the key ingredient is very powerful to me. We have The Greens, The Purples, The Reds, The Yellows, and The Whites. The key ingredients include both fruits and vegetables and some recipes contain meat where others do not. There are salads, appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and even desserts. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus could all be put together with just this cookbook. I also love that there are 2 indexes in the back of the book – one listing recipes by course and one listing recipes by ingredient to further aid your cooking adventures. As far as multi-purpose kitchen tools go, this cookbook can definitely earn it’s spot on a prime cookbook shelf – it can fit just about any occasion and has simple, nutritious recipes.
Regardless of whether a cookbook has beautiful photographs or a variety of neatly organized and colorful recipes, the nutritional value of the recipes is what I am primarily concerned with. This has not always been the case, but our family is thriving from our healthier living and the nutrition is a VERY significant contributor to that process. I knew from the introduction to EATS that this book would fit the bill – Lamontagne spoke of being the kids who didn’t eat “Wonderbread” or drink soda, but instead visited natural food stores and being allowed to choose select pieces from their Halloween candy. This is how I was raised. I didn’t have problems with my weight until after I left home – you see, my mom has always been my food and nutrition beacon, she studied food science courses while obtaining her Restaurant, Hotel, and Institution Management degree from Purdue University, worked as a cafeteria manager in both public and private schools, and was even the first person to teach me about the dangers and potential implications of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as early as the mid-90’s. Even reading her the first two paragraphs from the introduction to the book over the phone, she agreed that she would probably like the cookbook (and then she had to run out the door because one of her goats is kidding!). This week, I will share with you a few of the recipes from the book so that you can judge for yourself, but I will warn you – the ingredients are primarily whole foods with minimal processing.
In the beginning of January every year, it’s fairly obvious as you go through the grocery store when people have made resolutions to improve their eating. You’ll see carts weighted down with fresh fruits and vegetables – but if you’re one of the people who has ever blundered through healthy eating (that would be me…), you may have a recollection of vast amounts of fresh produce being allowed to wither and rot – not only is the expense great to purchase the produce, but the shame of wasting it often keeps people uncertain about how to eat healthy. In EATS, Lamontagne does a superb job of explaining how to choose and store your produce to keep it as long as possible. But the real gem of her book is the concept of using the seconds – for each key ingredient, she includes a Master Recipe that the following recipes will use as well. You create the master recipe and you use it in each one of them, which means the waste is minimal. Simply reusing those seconds or having different ways to prepare that fresh produce saves money on good nutrition in a very dramatic way.
In her acknowledgments at the beginning of the book, Lamontagne mentions that she once had her astrological chart done and that it told her she was destined to write a book. I, for one, am delighted that she not only wrote a book but wrote this amazing cookbook that successfully brings her food epiphany – using seasonal, local foods with minimal waste – to the home cook in a way that will not put holes in the pocketbook. Her recipes bring excellent nutrition using whole, healthy foods, to all varieties of menus so that even the pickiest of husbands (or two-year olds) will find at least one healthy dish that they will devour. In my opinion, EATS enjoy all the seconds by Mary Rolph Lamontagne is an excellent cookbook that can be successfully used by home cooks, even those who are just starting to cook healthy whole foods, to create delicious healthy dishes while keeping down the cost of healthy eating, and I share with you the recipes that I tried from this cookbook, I think you will agree!
Purchase from Amazon (affiliate link):
I’m pleased and excited to announce that I will be able to offer a giveaway to my readers – a SIGNED copy (by the author, not just some random weirdo) of EATS enjoy all the seconds! Here’s the entry form, and good luck! Make sure you stop back by over the next week to see my reviews of 3 of the recipes from the book.
Latest posts by Joanna (see all)
- Take Your Computer to the Next Level: Set Up Virtual Machines - July 25, 2016
- Mother’s Musings: What I Want for My Sons - June 14, 2016
- 14 Necessities to Prep Your Summer Car Emergency Kit - May 4, 2016