Power Up with Power Foods

September 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Cookbooks, Reviews

Some unique recipes!!

power foods – 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients

I purchased this book at the beginning of the summer and experimented in the kitchen throughout the season.  Whether you’re a fresh market foodie, a dining diva, or someone who walks the other way when the phrase “eat clean” is mentioned . . . . there’s something in these recipes for even the pickiest of eaters.

The premise of this book is simply the truth:  the foods we eat have a GINORMOUS impact on our health, our well being and our mood.  Food has incredible power and that’s what makes it so interesting!  The editors of the book (also editors of Whole Living magazine) placed 10 “golden rules” at the very beginning of the book (i.e. choose a wide variety of natural, unprocessed foods) that are logical and easy enough to manage on a daily basis.  Next the book is organized by the categories I have listed below.  Each recipe contains one or more of the “38 healthiest ingredients.”  After making and eating these, I’m here to tell you these are the types of recipes that don’t taste as healthful as they are, you know what I mean?  If you buy just one new cookbook this season, make it this one and, I promise you, it won’t simply sit on your shelf.

Here are the “38 healthiest ingredients” and how they are divided in the cookbook~

Vegetables:  Artihokes, Asparagus, Avocados, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Kale, Mushrooms, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Winter Squash
Fruits:  Apricots, Berries, Citrus, Kiwifruits, Papayas, Pears
Grains & Legumes:  Brown rice, Oats, Quinoa, Dried Beans, Green Peas, Soybeans (Edamame)

Eggs, Yogurt, & Fish:  Eggs, Yogurt, Sablefish, Rainbow Trout, Wild Alaskan Salmon

Sample Delectable Dishes I Tried and WILL Repeat!:

~ Pecan Pancakes with Mixed Berries (Scrumptious and unique flavor for morning magic!)
~ Sweet Potato Hummus (Addicting hummus!!)
~ Kiwifruit Summer Roll (Surprisingly refreshing!)
~ Quinoa and Corn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds (Satisfying!)
~ Soba Noodle, Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry (Alternative pasta!)
~ Edamame Succotash (Unique use of edamame!)

~ Lemon Cream with Blueberries (This gliiiides down your throat!)

Grading Girl gives power foods 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients an A+ for downright delicious dishes!!!

CookBook Look

August 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Cookbooks, Reviews

I’m a perpetual experimental cook.  Whether it’s eat clean recipes to supplement my countless workouts, homemade ice cream with my ice cream maker (that totally contradicts the eat clean thing, doesn’t it . . . hey, I make yogurt and frozen ice too!), or mouth-watering baked goods, there’s no better therapy than to mix things up in the kitchen.  I just can’t seem to get my hands on enough cookbooks.  With only a few weeks left of summer before school begins again, I’m squeezing in as many new recipes as I can.  So, faithful readers, sit back for the first two of several cookbook reviews.  These are the two books I currently refer to the most often.  The sticky pages and crumpled post-its atttest to their usage.

The Most Decadent Diet Ever! by Devin Alexander

A recipe from this book, Greek Roasted Tilapia Fillets, was excerpted in Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine.  I tried it and was delighted to discover a quick, easy way to prepare a delicious fish dish that doesn’t taste “fishy.”  I was so impressed that I almost instantaneously ordered the cookbook online.  I’ve tried countless recipes since and am not exaggerating when I say there is not one I tried so far that my daughter nor I have disliked.

Recipes in here taste much more sinful than they are!

Recipes in here taste much more sinful than they are!

Here are some things I love about this cookbook ~

1.  Devin is real.  In her preface, she confesses to being overweight when she was a teenager.  She reveals her frustrations and trials and how she learned to forgo dieting and let food be the friend rather than the enemy through creative cooking.

2.  The “Decadent Diet” plan is not really a plan. It is not a matter of following an unnatural diet.  It is simply finding your estimated calorie requirements and deciphering those calories into “decadent disks,” the measurements Devin uses to measure the caloric count of each of her recipes.  Using the disks instead of calorie count makes it simpler when keeping track of your meals.  It is very easy to do for even the most arithmetically-challenged like myself:  every 100 calories = 1 Decadent Disk.  For example, my daily caloric intake should be 1200 calories (I just had this measured at my gym today!) so I should be eating 12 Decadent Disks worth of food.  Yum!

3.  Devin dishes delightful do’s and don’tsHer explanations are quick, understandable reads – no need for a background in health or nutrition.  She gives advice such as consuming less sodium each day, watching portions (which she meaures out nicely for each recipe), and combatting old excuses for eating well.  She stresses how happy you will be following her dietless diet, and I have to say I agree.  I can’t wait to continue typing and give you examples of some of the most delicious new recipes I’ve made in a while.

4.  Devin reveals her secret!! I won’t tell you what it is here – you’ll have to buy the book.  But I will tell you this is a secret that, if followed, will guarantee healthy, consistent weight loss for each and every person.

5.  Each pantry essential is defined. Not only do I use this part as a checklist to ensure my pantry is complete, but this section clearly defines even the most occasional staple that you may not otherwise be familiar with.

6.  The categories are comprehensive: from “Breakfasts,” “Burgers, Sandwiches, and Wraps,” “Salads,” “Entrees,” “Starchy Sides,” “Veggie Sides,” “Savory Snacks,” and “Sweet Snacks” . . . one could live off of this book!

7.  The recipes are easy to follow.  Most can be prepared within 10 – 20 minutes hands-on time.

8.  I’ve found some new favorites here:  (besides the Greek Roasted Tilapia Fillets mentioned above)

  • Chicken Enchilasagna – a cross between lasagna and enchiladas . . . I made this for a picky guest who came back for thirds.
  • Oven -Roasted Potatoes, Peppers, and Sweet Onions . . . even my no-veggie daughter eats this side dish.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Brownie Cups . . . Devin says you should make “platters of them to give to people you care about.”  I do and they are always a hit!
  • Easy and Energizing Carrot Cake . . . omg!  Move over Costco carrot cake (which I love), this one comes awfully close . . . the best part is, it is made very healthfully.  Don’t miss this one!

And there are more!  I’m still discovering them!  Grading Girl gives The Most Decadent Diet Ever an A+ for easy-to-follow, healthful recipes that even the most picky eater will not recognize as clean-eating.  We should take heed of Devin’s advice and start converting our old recipes in ways she’s created these.

The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno

This was my first “eat clean” cookbook.  I was already a huge fan of Oxygen magazine, and Tosca Reno is an integral part of the magazine, serving on the advisory board and writing a monthly fitness column for women over 40.  As a fan of her advice, it didn’t take much to convince me to invest in her cookbook.  The fact that I since purchased her Eat Clean Diet for Family and Kids cookbook and Eat Clean Diet for Men cookbook attests to how much I value the recipes and information.

Here’s what I love about this cookbook ~

These recipes keep me energized and satisfied.

These recipes keep me energized and satisfied.

1.  Tosca Reno is a leader in the fitness industry. She is a motivational speaker, author, columnist, competitor, and television personality.  Looking as fabulous as she does at age 50, I’m certainly taking heed of her advice.  Her physique rivals that of many younger fitness competitors.

2.  The clean-eating principles are straight-forward and doable. Advice such as eating 5 – 6 small meals every day, drinking at least 8 cups of water a day, combining lean protein and complex carbs at every meal, etc. is advice worth remembering.

3.  Tosca Reno is a visual person. She says so herself in the book.  This is why she created a handy-dandy legend for each recipe that visually represents all the important facts such as serving size, prep time, cook time and is it gluten-free or vegetarian or vegan.

4.  There are unique categories of recipes.  There is an entire chapter devoted to homemade soups.  As Tosca Reno says, soups can be a meal in themselves, and she certainly offers some delectable unique choices . . . roasted red pepper soup, roasted butternut squash soup . . . to name a couple.  Another chapter centers on sauces, spreads, and salsas, another on proteins, another on one-dish and easy meals, another on sweets and breads, etc.

5.  Each recipe is naturally healthful. You can be confident that every ingredient required for each recipe is natural and clean.  Fresh fruits & veggies and herbs, low sodium, low sugar are characteristic of this book’s foods.  Last summer, when I first purchased this book, I ate recipes only from this book when I was contemplating competing in my first fitness competition.  I lost 8 pounds and decreased body fat by four percent – all within less than 2 months.

6. Tosca provides her own “two cents” with each recipe. This is always one of my favorite parts about cookbooks – I love when authors share how they serve the food, the compliments they’ve received, which ones are their favorites . . . I feel like I have a personal assistant there with me in the kitchen when they write personally as Tosca does.

7.  The end results usually look like you spent more time in the kitchen than you did. Tosca includes some of the most elegant yet simple recipes.  Plus, each and every recipe includes a photograph.  That’s HUGE for me since I like to see what my end result should look like.

8.  I have favorites in here that I’ve been cooking for a year now:

  • Eat-Clean Breakfast Burrito . . . I make this ahead of time for speedy breakfasts, and I’ve had this cold for lunch as well.  Who would have thought that cottage cheese and eggs mesh perfectly!
  • Swiss Muesli . . . oh so yummy . . . satisfies the sweet tooth beast in me!!! (without the sugar, of course)
  • Summer Roasted Salmon . . . such a quick way to prepare such an elegant dish . . . makes me truly enjoy salmon
  • Pumpkin Hummus . . . fabulous around Thanksgiving!!!!!

As with Devin Alexander’s book, I’m still discovering new kitchen creations.  Grading Girl gives The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook an A+ for eat-clean recipes that satisfy taste buds used to heavier, sweeter meals.  These are accompanied by helpful information, hints, and advice to stay on track with an eat-clean lifestyle.

These are two very different cookbooks yet they serve the same purpose – to provide healthful meals that taste delicious.  Both of these books accomplish this in their own way.    The Most Decadent Diet Ever! uses similar recipes to those we already have in our cooking repertoires and “cleans them up” with lower sodium content and healthful substitutions such as applesauce for sugar.  The end result is tantalizing taste not sacrificed for lower caloric count.  The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook gently transitions us from someone who tries to watch what he/she eats to someone who starts to automatically eat clean at every meal.  While I recommend both books wholeheartedly, The Most Decadent Diet Ever! is a good one to start with if you are just beginning your eat-clean lifestyle.  The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook is perfect if you have been working out for a few years and are tired of not seeing the results you’d like to see in the gym.  I keep reading how achieving the physique we want consists of 80% diet and 20% working out.  Eating right plays a key role in everything we do.  Why not invest in one or both of these books to be on your way to a more healthful lifestyle?

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