I feel so refreshed. Rejuvenated. Reassured.
Like I’m running through fields of daisies on a sunny, blue-skied summer day.
errr….what? Okay, so maybe that’s a little bit dramatic. But really, as soon as I read the first two pages of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, Appetite for Reduction, I just about took a huge sigh of relief.
As you may recall, my last cookbook purchase left me, to put it lightly, underwhelmed. I didn’t waste very long jumping on my computer and finding one to soothe my disgruntled feelings towards said book, and I knew Isa would have something for me. Truth be told, I don’t know why I didn’t just get it from the get-go, because when I saw the same author of my beloved Veganomicon had an even newer book out that had previously slipped under my radar, I was jumping in my seat with excitement.
I realize I could have been playing with fire; after all, Skinny Bitch was a “diety” type book, and here I was buying Appetite for Reduction – “125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.” What am I trying to do here, watch my weight?!
Well, no. But I usually appreciate a health conscious book, and had faith that Isa (first-name basis) would have a much better attitude about it than Skinny Bitch. After all, this is the spunky, funny author from Veganomicon, you know.
Reading the preface, I knew I made the right decision. You can see for yourself – Isa isn’t pushing beliefs on anybody…
…and rather, being healthy to “enjoy food, enjoy life, and do what makes you feel good.” These recipes are not restrictions. They are not “diety.” And the message is not that you need to be skinny to be healthy. It is that different things work for different people, and everybody has her choice. And this just so happens to be what works for her, and boy am I glad…because the recipes she shares in this book?
I couldn’t find a single uninteresting recipe, and even though the vegan mastermind has written multiple books in the past, myself already owning two of them, I don’t feel like I’ve “seen them before.” There are classics. There are funky twists on classics. There are new creations and there are comfort foods. And they are good for you.
The feeling I get is that Isa isn’t necessarily trying to make these meals low-fat…but rather, realizing that excess oil, sugar and unrefined carbs are easily replaced – and so, if it’s a benefit to all involved and there is absolutely no loss in the final dish, why not “lighten up”?
It was difficult for me to narrow it down to a single recipe to make, but reading Isa’s explanation of each dish helped. For this Tempeh Helper recipe, she shared her nostalgic memories of Hamburger Helper as a child, and it flashed me back to being younger and helping with boxed dinners, too. With those memories in mind, I knew what I wanted for dinner.
Tempeh Helper! Creamy, “cheesy,” “hamburger”-y deliciousness.
…except, I imagine this to be way “more better,” as they say in these parts. Mo’ betta’ if you’re like me.
This recipe incorporated tempeh as the hamburg, and a nooch sauce as the cheesey sauce. The nooch sauce was way mo’ betta’ than the sketchy plasticy, yellow cheese that you get from hamburger helper, and of course the tempeh was much more animal friendly than some ground beef 😉 Not to mention the fact that there are fresh vegetables rather than freeze dried.
What I love most about this book? There is no calling for random, specific ingredients that one would rarely have, or random pre-made ingredients that you’d rather make yourself. This cheese sauce consisted of nutritional yeast (okay, now that I think about it, maybe that is a random ingredient…but I think a lot of vegans are at least in the know of it!) garlic powder, flour, water and a couple other seasonings.
Nowhere in the book was there call for vegan mayonnaise, but if you’d like to make your own, there is a recipe.
I can’t find a recipe calling for vegan cheese,
and nor can I find a recipe calling for vegan cream cheese.
When all was said and done, this was a delicious meal, and even my mom liked it. I don’t think she knows what tempeh or nutritional yeast is no matter how many times I tell her, but sometimes ignorance is best.
After all, it’s only after I’m asked what tempeh is that I’ll say it’s fermented soybeans. If we’re taught all our life to avoid fermented products, how’s it look to someone else when I say I’m eating fermented soybeans?
But that’s irrelevant. Back to the matter at hand.
I can’t sing enough praise for Isa’s Appetite for Reduction, and believe it may be my new favorite. But still, to be fair, I’ll pick it apart in pros and cons, just like I did for Skinny Bitch.
- Wide array of recipes, each feeling like they’re adding something to the pot. You won’t find recipes that have been published a thousand times before.
- No calling for random, ridiculously expensive or hard to find ingredients.
- No reliance on products like vegan cheese, vegan meat (except homemade seitan), vegennaise, tofutti, etc.
- Majority are easy and quick to prepare.
- Nutritional information, which could be a con for some people, I understand. However, the cool thing is that you aren’t just told calories, protein, fat, sodium, etc. This book also includes iron, vitamin c and other vitamins and minerals, too!
- Inexpensive. And most of the recipes are, too!
- Show nutritional information for each recipe (see above)
- No dessert/snack/breakfast recipes, which isn’t too terribly unappealing to me seeing as how I’ve got plenty of other resources and not to mention the fact this is the same woman who authored Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar and VCTOW, but a healthy snack recipe or two are never overlooked in my book 😉
- With 125 recipes, there’s 125 new recipes I want to make now, so it’ll take me a year to get around to making everything. (As you can tell, I’m really grasping at straws to find more cons here…)
Do you own this book? If so, what should I make next?!
What’s a childhood meal you remember helping to make?