New Year, New Recipe Inspirations

Who doesn’t love a new recipe book?

Budget Minded OrganicsI absolutely love them and nothing gets me more inspired in the kitchen than a new one.

Recipe Books Over the Decades

I’ve been cooking for fifty years now!

I know; I can hardly believe it myself.

My first cooking memory was of my mother setting up a chair in front of the stove so I could stand on it and stir the Jello chocolate pudding slowly warming in the saucepan.  I was six years old.

I always loved the cooked chocolate pudding versus the cold version.

I would eat the pudding still warm off the stove and it always reminded me of the chocolate river in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.  :)

Awwww, memories!

Anyway being the oldest of six kids, mother of four, stepmother of two and grandmother to seven, with a new grandbaby on the way, I’ve always been cooking in some capacity.

And now that I work at a health bar, my food preparation has broadened to raw/vegan.

When I first started cooking seriously,  Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens were the cookbooks of the day.

In my thirties, I found the recipe book Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond. That book changed my perspective on eating in a lot of ways, namely how animal products adversely affect the body and how eating plant-based foods is more healthful.

Still, I was an omnivore until I hit my forties when animal products starting creating health issues for me.

That is when cookbooks like The Moosewood Restaurant could be seen on my bookshelf.

I still have The Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook  and refer to it often. It’s hard to get rid of a cookbook that has so many good recipes in it. It’s a vegetarian cookbook, so with me no longer eating dairy, I simply omit the ingredient if it isn’t necessary, like cheese on top. Or I use non-dairy cheese as a substitution. No problem!

Today, though, my cookbooks are more in line with a raw, vegan diet.

Here are some of my all time favorites.

Recipe Inspirations Today

Along with some of the recipe books I use today, I will also include a blog site link for those amazing cooks who also have blogs as well as affiliate links.  These guys are pretty awesome.

  1. Emily Von Euw and This Rawsome Vegan Life
    Emily is amazing, especially her raw/vegan desserts.  She is a gifted and talented (is that redundant??) cook and recipe developer.  I love her recipe book Rawsome Vegan Baking: An Un-cookbook for Raw, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Beautiful and Sinfully Sweet Cookies, Cakes, Bars & Cupcakes.  My husband loves this one, too!  :)
    I also have her smoothie recipe book called 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks: Easy Recipes For Natural Energy & Weight Control the Healthy Way
  2. Richa Hingle and her site Vegan Richa is a wonderful resource for classic, traditional Indian food.   Her early lessons came from her mother and she has continued with her own unique flair.  I recently bought her book Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen: Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook for my Kindle.  She even offers suggested recipes for beginners at Indian cooking as well as advanced, and experts.
  3. Matthew Kenney Cuisine.  I learned about Matthew Kenney through my daughter-in-law who also served me my first raw dinner.  She told me that the easiest and most versatile recipe book for raw food preparation was by Matthew Kenney.  And she was right.   I love his two recipe books for desserts:  Everyday Raw Desserts and Raw Chocolate.  He has several other raw recipe books that are all available on Amazon.
  4. The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them is a recipe book as well as a guide for vegans and their relationships with non-vegans.  Written by Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg, a man and woman who, though not dating each other, are dating others.  They share their dating stories and include recipes to WOW any non-vegan.
  5. Miriam Sorrell and The Mouthwatering Vegan was one of the very first vegan sites I started following.  She has a love for all things plant-based, no processed foods at all, and her recipe book Mouthwatering Vegan: Over 130 Irresistible Recipes for Everyone is an inspiration.  I also have this one on my Kindle.
  6. Vegan Bowls: Perfect Flavor Harmony in Cozy One-Bowl Meals by Zsu Dever is a recent Kindle purchase.  (I told you I’m addicted to recipe books.)  :)  I love one-dish meals like Buddha bowls and she offers a wide range of options with a variety of ingredients and flavors.
  7. Susan Powers and her amazing site Rawmazing was, again, one of the very first vegan sites I followed.  Susan has not only inspired me with her life philosophy and with her food, but she is around my age and I’m always inspired to do more with my site when I see how successful she has become with hers.  I love her recipe book Rawmazing: Over 130 Simple Raw Recipes for Radiant Health and I think you will, too.  Susan has a second recipe book out that focuses exclusively on raw/vegan desserts, Rawmazing Desserts: Delicious and Easy Raw Food Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Ice Cream, and Pie. If you’ve never made or even tried a raw dessert, then you are missing something extraordinary. Not only are raw desserts easy to make, they are also quite delicious and very good for you.

The following recipe books are vegan/raw and also low-fat, low-sugar recipe options.  If you are looking to improve your cardiovascular health, blood pressure, or weight, these recipe books are for you.

  1. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet… by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas M. Campbell, II | Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review by T. Colin Campbell is the book that, in my opinion, revolutionized the way “healthy eating” should be.  Dr. Campbell’s wife, LeAnn Campbell is the author of several recipe books that support this eating lifestyle.  The recipes are delicious and easy to make and can be truly life changing.   The two that I have are The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes and The China Study All-Star Collection: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes from Your Favorite Vegan Chefs.  Dr. Campbell’s website Center for Nutrition Studies has a wealth of information on nutrition, foods that are good for you and the ones that are not, along with resources, recipes, and so much more.
  2. The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Rip Esselstyn who is the son of Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., the author of the revolutionary book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.  Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell have worked together in the past to bring this new information to the public. Rip Esselstyn, a former firefighter and triathlete, is an American health activist and food writer.  His second recipe book, Plant-Strong: Discover the World’s Healthiest Diet–with 150 Engine 2 Recipes, is available at Amazon.
  3.  Last, but certainly not least, we have Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her wonderful website Post Punk Kitchen.  Isa’s recipe book Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes was another of the first recipe books I purchased after adopting a vegan lifestyle.  She has an offbeat and fun approach to vegan cooking.  I think you’ll absolutely love her website and her recipe books.

Whew!!  That was a lot of recipe books!  And I love everyone of them!

If you haven’t tried raw/vegan meal preparation, then these books will certainly guide you to a successful outcome.  Check them out, check out the websites, and let me know what you think!

Budget Minded OrganicsAloha!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means I get a percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase. Thank you in advance for helping to keep my garden growing. :)

Simply Awesome Granola

Budget Minded Organics
Homemade granola and chia seed pudding with berries.

I have to make a confession!

I am not a recipe developer!

I am a recipe follower.

There are some really gifted people I know who can see a bunch of ingredients, and through some great, unknown muse, are able to create an amazing appetizer, entrée, side dish or dessert.

The same can be said about making an outfit from scratch, or doing some other sort of artsy, creative something with no other help than their own imagination.

And with so much creativity out there in the blogosphere, I always ask myself, “What can I contribute?”

Being the oldest sibling of six, I’ve been cooking most of my life. Yet, when I took a new job working at a raw, vegan health bar, I was intimidated by all the creative energy flowing in the kitchen with little or no recipe guidance.

But with the help of the owners, who are hands on in the kitchen, and encouragement from my co-workers, I have gained a lot more confidence with my new raw/vegan prep skills.

Yes, I do still follow recipes and that’s why the Internet is such a great resource.

Most recipes I find and use are really awesome from the start, usually though I end up “tweeking” them a little to make the recipe more suitable to my personal tastes.

What I’ve also discovered through all my recipe journeys is that there are some definite similarities between like recipes that make creating and personalizing a recipe much easier and less intimidating.

Take granola for instance.

Most recipes on the Internet for granola start with oats, maybe add some nuts and dried fruit, a sweetener of choice and some spices to round it all off. Pop it in the oven for a half hour and ta-da, granola!

At my work, I make a paleo-granola about once a week in the dehydrator.

Personally, I like a lot of nuts in my granola, I also don’t like my granola too sweet because I usually top it with fresh fruit and almond milk when I eat it.

I also like the option of either baking the granola in the oven or using a dehydrator for a raw version.
Continue reading Simply Awesome Granola