Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review - Eat, Drink, and Be Green

Eat, Drink, and Be Green: Easy and Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle

By: Michele Nielson
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Publication Date: May 2015
ISBN: 978-1462116140
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 27, 2016

Years ago when someone said they were a vegan or vegetarian, people considered it to be a rather quirky food identity. Not so today and in fact many people are adopting a more “green” approach to eating. People from Dr. Sanjay Gupta to Bill Clinton have adopted a green or plant-based diet. Clinton learned the hard way that his jogs to McDonald’s were detrimental to his health. Those who have gone green, in whole or part, are always looking for cookbooks with recipes to go with their lifestyles. Eat, Drink, and be Green is exactly what I was looking for.

There are plenty of cookbooks, old, new, and vintage that I can find a smattering of recipes in, but I seldom find one with so many awesome recipes. Mind you, some of the recipes I’ve tried are simply tasteless. Not so with Michele Nielson’s fare. This is the type of book that were it sitting in Trader Joe’s would fly off the shelves. In fact, when I decided to try out a few of the recipes, that’s exactly where I went. The shelves were filled with those specialty items I needed from rice vinegar to sliced almonds, all at reasonable prices of course.

Nielson herself may have had Trader Joe’s in mind when she experimented with the Asian Crunch Salad recipe, a favorite of mine. The recipe calls for broccoli slaw, one of their specialties, which is always on shelves when I head there. I found that this is a recipe that can easily be experimented with. For example, this recipe calls for soy sauce, but I chose to use Trader Joe’s Soyaki, which can also be used in other recipes. The Asian Crunch Salad was unexpectedly good by the way and if one has someone who isn’t going green in the house, slices of roasted chicken can be placed on the top. Always a big hit if there’s an easy way to make a recipe a crossover one. I found that several of them could be adapted.

Eat, Drink, and be Green has great visual appeal. Each recipe is accompanied by a totally scrumptious looking full color photograph of the finished product. Mind you, I took a pass on the Orange Creamie Greenie smoothie, but I’m sure one other family member just might love it. Each recipe begins with a short and sweet, but very appealing blurb from the author about not only how she feels about the recipe, but also good times to serve it up or who to serve it to. We then can check out a sidebar with the ingredients for a single, double, or quadruple batch with the servings listed below.

The introduction is a wonderful way for the newbie to the green lifestyle to know what to look for and to look forward to. There’s even a short blurb about how to work with your diet away from home: “At Subway, ask for triple spinach and leave off the cheese.” Good advice for the vegan, but from experience, not all Subways are amenable to leaving the cheese on the side for a friend. Ask first! There’s a great “Equipment List” and if you’re purchasing Eat, Drink, and be Green as a gift, perhaps including some of these kitchen tools would be quite welcome. In the back of the book is an list of FAQs and a very comprehensive index as well as a recommended reading list.
This is definitely one cookbook that I’ve made good use of, from the recipes to the advice. There are six main sections filled with delightful recipes: Green Smoothies, Salads, Main Dishes and Cooked Vegetables, Weekend Breakfasts and Healthy Breads, Appetizers, Dips and Dressings, and Drinks and Sweet Treats. The variety of recipes is amazing and needless to say, the ones I tried were delicious. Now, there are plenty of gluten-free recipes as well as those that will suit the vegan. I found they were easily adapted to the person who isn’t on a special diet by adding meat or poultry to the dish. Quite a nice cookbook that’s definitely a winner in the green corner!

Quill says: If you are going green, Eat, Drink, and be Green is a fabulous cookbook for anyone on a plant-based diet!

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