I have a confession to make.
Thinking of original recipes, putting together indoor light lamps, photographing every step of the cooking process, editing photos, and coming up witticisms about pictures of my food seems like absolute drudgery these days.
I have also been feeling exceptionally uninspired lately.
The thing is I still like to read blogs, peruse cookbooks, shop for unique ingredients, put together meal plans, try new recipes, find fun workouts, learn about nutrition, holistic health, the human body, and talk about all things vegan.
In fact, I could spend a whole weekend doing those things.
I could even spend a whole cold, dreary, gray January weekend, curled up in my favorite fleece blanket putting together a list of all my favorite food, health, and wellness things.
I could spend the better part of a day paging through any and all cookbooks, but when I need some meal planning help, it’s a short list:
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
If you’re making your foray into vegan cooking, and you can only afford one cookbook, this is the one to buy. It has everything you will ever need to be able to cook wholesome and delicious vegan food for the rest of your life. It contains recipes from every category including appetizers, snacks, dips, spreads, brunch, salads, dressings, sandwiches, vegetables, grains, beans, soups, casseroles, tofu, tempeh, pasta, breads, cookies, and desserts.
Not only that, it has basic cooking guides for grains, vegetables, and beans so you can try a variety of techniques and put together your own meals.
It is literally an encyclopedia of cooking and recipes.
Mine is splattered with various batters and sauces because every recipe I have tried has been awesome. Usually, I find only one or two recipes I make more than once from a cookbook, but this book is filled with recipes that will become part of your weekly rotation.
When I’m looking for lower calorie fare, I reach for
Appetite for Reduction
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
What can I say? This girl has it going on. All of her food is so, so good! This book is packed with salads, dressings, hummus, veggies, pasta, soups, and comforting stews and chili. If it sounds plain, it’s because I’m not a good enough writer to properly do it justice. However, let the recipes speak for themselves:
Sanctuary Chef Salad
Green Goddess Garlic Dressing
Catalan Couscous Salad with Pears and Romanesco Dressing
OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings
Butternut Coconut Rice
Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale
Mac and Trees
Lotsa Veggie Lentil Soup
Veggie Potpie Stew
Some of the recipes sound exotic, but they are all simple and are perfect for the weeknight meal rotation. Plus they are filled with whole grains, veggies, beans, and aren’t excessive in fat or calories. I also appreciate that it includes the nutritional stats for each recipe for those who like to keep track of that sort of thing.
If you read the blog with any regularity, you have seen this book pop up from time to time:
VEGAN COOKIES INVADE YOUR COOKIE JAR
It’s because it’s filled with no-fuss cookie recipes that no one would ever guess are vegan. They are real cookies. None of that health food crap pretending to be a classic cookie. It’s fat, sugar, and flour and all your childhood memories mixed together in a bowl and baked until the tears from the realization that adulthood is hard have dried up.
The book I’m looking forward to cooking from:
Betty Goes Vegan
by Betty and Dan Shannon
This book is also an encyclopedia of vegan cookery and I can’t wait to get crackin’. Vegan Betty has a little bit of everything but all 500(!) recipes are inspired from traditional Betty Crocker recipes. It’s a combination of nutritious eats and veganized comfort food classics, and there is a recipe for every occasion including:
Blueberry Banana Bread Pancakes
Vegan Ranch Dressing
Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
French Toast Biscotti
Peanut Butter Egg Cookies
Inside Out Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Chocolate Hazlenut Pudding
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
There are also plenty of recipes for sauces, dressings, pie crusts, puddings, and frostings to add to foods already in your arsenal.
A word of warning: Many of the recipes in the book contain processed vegan meat and cheese replacements. It’s nothing to get in a huff about but don’t get all pissed off at me if you buy the book hoping for 100% whole foods. Remember, its imitating the meat and cheese goddess of the 20th century. And personally, I have no problem having those things on occasion. I try not to make them staples of my diet, but if I’m hankering for pizza, then Daiya cheese just might find its way on top of it. All things in moderation and all that blah, blah, blah.
The book I want but don’t have:
Vegetarian Flavor Bible
I’m depending on this book to make up for my shortcomings as a self-taught home cook and help me put together foods and flavors that go beyond peanutbutter/banana and tomato/basil. I like to experiment but since time, money, and resources are at a premium, I’d sure appreciate not having to throw away a whole cake because I was just so sure it needed two tablespoons of cardamom powder.
And in the things you need to know category:
THIN MINTS ARE NOW VEGAN!
Sure, we could get in a debate about the best tasting Girl Scout Cookie but we all know that there is one cookie that punches every other cookie in it’s sweet, sweet face.
Thin Mints have always been my all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie.
And now those cute, little cookie monsters have made them Vegan.
I shall enjoy them by the sleeve and make sure that each and every tooth is crusted in Thin Mint Cookie crumbs.
I’ll be back at a later undisclosed date and time with more randomness floating around my brain space!
*Note: Some people get compensated for featuring things on their blog. I am not one of those people. This is just a list of stuff I truly, actually like.