Category Archives: Book Review

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Before having little Wolfie, I probably made more raw desserts for myself. Why not? Nuts and dried fruit, it was like trail mix in one easy to eat bite. I’ve been a fan of This Rawsome Vegan Life for awhile, seeing how Emily has evolved over the years. So does this book hold up to the authors new perspectives on healthy eating and body image?


I feel like it has been awhile that I’ve felt like the photos have been 100% that aren’t a major publication of a tried and true writer. (IE Isa Does It, Salad Samurai and the like) Emily’s photos are beautiful. I love her natural light, but the desserts never come off as too fancy, or difficult. It is amazing the Emily was able to make, photograph, and eat all these desserts. I mean let’s be real, that’s a lot of dates, and a lot of nuts.


Emily gives a VERY brief introduction and “where to find” chapters. She divides her chapters into five groups, Cakes & Cupcakes; Bites, Bars, and Cookies; Pies and Tarts; Puddings and Ice Cream; and Basic Recipes. Some recipes seemed a little like it could of be swapped around, but then again nothing is actually cooked so there is little different from many of the recipes other than assembly.


This is where Emily shines. I love her writing, so simple and positive. It is a little interesting reading the book and knowing about her eating disorder. I am sure some some wording would of changed if she was writing the book today, but overall I didn’t feel like it was too triggering with words like “clean” or “healthy” etc. I also love how simple the recipes and descriptions can be.


This book is REALLY easy. There is nothing in the book where I felt intimidated to make it. Perhaps some of the recipes that use fresh coconut meat turned me off, but there aren’t too many. No crazy soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, etc etc which can be off putting in raw cooking. The main reason why I haven’t cooked much from here is because of the use of dates. It is so expensive! But she does offer some subs, like raisins and dried pineapples.

My only other critique, which happens often with raw food books, is that you can easily shape and mold one recipe into something totally different with little changes. One recipe below was suppose to be a cold fridge dessert but could easily be changed to an ice cream sandwich. One dessert is a “cake” but it is pretty much just ice cream. It is all a little relative.

If you are looking for some sweets to make during the summer months, I would strongly recommend this book! The recipes are simple, non-intimidating, and everything has been yummy. She even gives weights which I find helpful to dates, which I always use too much or too little. Naturally though, the recipes can be pricey to use date and nuts for the desserts, so be warned for your wallets.


As always I try and post as many reviews of specific recipes. I try my best to do one recipe per section, but I pretty much missed Basic Recipes. If there are any recipes approved by the publisher online I left a link. Why not? Try a recipe before buying book!

Continue reading

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

When Wolfie doesn’t immediately run to the children’s section of the library, I try and browse the new releases. I love to see what new cookbooks catch my eyes, and which ones appear to be vegan. This beautiful cover caught my attention, and when sneaking a peak inside I was sold on all the gorgeous photos. But I knew there was the word “reset” in the title, and I was wary about the content. Would it be super orthorexic? Would it be super problematic? I checked it out to find out.


Wow, the publisher went above and beyond with the photos and graphics. I can safely say I get excited each an every time I open this book. There are photos for EVERYTHING! Photos of meal prep, photos of each day, each meal, and I think there might not be a photo for all the recipes in the back, but I could be wrong.

There are also a lot of text to the book, talking about veganism and helpful information for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Even in these sections there is a lot of thoughtful graphic placement to keep the interest of the readers. Even if I am just flipping through the book, I find myself stopping at the text to read it. So I can easily give 10 out of 10 for the graphics and photos in this book.


There is a lot to read in this book. Most cookbooks are designed to have the text separate from the recipes, and let’s be real, not many people are actually READING the books. Not the case for this. There is lots and lots of information, and it is easy to digest. That’s perfect for new vegans, and overall I have to say I agree with Hansen’s tone and message.

Buuuuuuuttt….. there are some red flags. There is some talk of detoxing, and that makes me feel icky. I have to say she gives a good answer to most of the problematic views on juice cleanses, but I think she gives too much credit to the idea. So close, yet so far away. Also Hansen quote Tony Robbins. Ugh. Why?! She actually quotes a lot of self-help people, which is fine, but they also give me icky feeling since, well, I feel most self-help people have their own fucked up issues and take advantage of vulnerable people. The last issue I found was talk about weight loss and gain. Overall pretty okay. It might be the authors way of addressing that most people picking up this book will be looking to loose weight.


Somewhere in my cookbook review this section disappeared, and that may not be a bad thing since almost all vegan cookbooks have the same set up. But it’s making a comeback since this book is so different from other cookbooks. This books has four major chapters, Getting Started, The 28-Day Program, Continuing with a Vegan Lifestyle, and Additional Recipes.

Getting Started focuses on shopping and kitchen tips. Hansen explains how to save money while shopping, lays down some ground work to follow the 4 week recipe line up. This is probably helpful to anyone who goes shopping just picking random things, or buying whatever is on sale. The 28-Day Program is laid out in order, she gives a list of things to prep, then has each day listed with what to make and eat. Each day has calorie counts of each meal, and has a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one snack.

Then the second half of the book is Beyond Reset. Here there is a whole chapter on how to go vegan, talking about why to go vegan, what is plant based, how veganism is more than just food, etc. Then she has tons of recipes in the back, including staples like nut milks, smoothies, scrambles, and other meals. There are no calorie counts for these meals, which I think is Julie’s way of saying calorie counting isn’t the best way to design your meals, at least in the long run.


Well, if you didn’t know from my new years post, or me reviewing a dieting book, I am trying to loose weight. I did take a “week off” since I was starting to get crazy hungry, so I did try to follow week 3’s meal plan. The meal prep she sets up is just SOOOO much work, like more work than it is worth. She makes you do two days a week of meal prep a week; one huge day, and one smaller day. Some of the meal prep just seems pointless, like making rice or beans. But cooking rice one night doesn’t seem too much to ask. I guess I understand if you are working 9 to 5 and you want to just dump a whole bunch of stuff together and just eat. I also understand that you want quick meals for lunches so your morning is free. It also seems like some meals just seem lacking. Like there are tacos that are just sautéed veggies with chickpeas. And from reading some reviews online, many people who have tried the meal plan agreed.

That being said, I like how hearty she is with the calorie counts. Each day has about 2,000 calories. Some meals are 700 calories, and I smiled that her oat breakfasts were Susan sized, with a whopping 3/4 cup of raw oats. Some foods seemed like a lot of calories for what you are getting. Like 500-600 calories for a soup? It better be delicious!

Overall, I love the style of the book, and I love the idea. But I feel like some of the planning isn’t the best. For starters the meal plan is clearly for just one person. Sure you can just double the recipes, but that might not work so well. For example I was cooking dinner for me, my husband, and Wolfie, but the lunches and breakfasts were just for me. So doubling meal prep usually meant I had extras. And although she gives tips for saving money, I just can’t imagine it being a cheap grocery visit. Especially since all the ingredients will never be in season all at once. But I get it, you can’t please everyone unless you are making a custom menu.

But for most readers of the blog I think this book is a solid pass. The meal plan doesn’t seem tasty enough to justify going on the scheduled menu plan. The recipes in the back aren’t plentiful enough to justify the price, and there are lots of standard recipes that are great for new vegans, but I don’t need another recipe for oat milk. But did I recommend this book? YES! I actually recommended it to my Mother who is trying to eat more healthfully. This would give he a blue print to work with, and she largely eats separately from my Father.


Since this is set up as a meal prep book, the food is set up for an entire week. I did some of week 3, but I can safely say I did my fair share of meal swapping, last minute changes and the like. One thing I did notice was that I consistently ate less calories than listed in the book mostly because the serving was either too big, or because I didn’t have any avocados. I also found that since I had more calories to eat, I would eat extra snacks, or swap out the meals for something slightly different, like a burrito wrap instead of corn tortilla.

Continue reading

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

How did I get this far in my cookbook reviews and not do this one? I first bought it not knowing it was a “dieting” book. I jumped head first into the recipes and about few recipes into it I realized it was a low-fat, low calorie cookbook. So here I am giving the long review, but the TL:DR; it is one of my most used cookbooks that I recommend to everyone.


Biggest pitfall of this book is the lack of photos. There are a few sandwiched in the middle, which I never found particularly inspiring. I usually don’t have a problem picking recipes that I want to make, they have great titles, that make it clear what to expect. But when I started to read through the book, reading each and every recipe description, I found myself making mental bookmarks of recipes I want to try when my CSA starts up. I wonder if there were photos if they would of caught my attention more. I doubt this would get a fancy reprint, but if they did, adding lots of photos I think would be AMAZING. I also noticed that there were a lot of recipes where I couldn’t remember if I made them or not, which I think wouldn’t of been such an issue IF there were photos.


This book has a little more writing than most books by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, at least her newer ones. She writes a lot about prepping food to be low calorie, lots of nutritional information, and great ideas for meals using the recipes in the book. For example she might suggest taking one dish and put on some pasta. Which is sad since many people would probably just gloss over these sections. As always, this book has all of Isa’s usual wit, cultural references, and makes cooking seem more… blue collar? Average? I don’t know what the right term is, but it definitely makes it feel like you don’t need to be some thin, white, rich cis-lady to be in the kitchen.

Oh, and since it IS a dieting cookbook, I will give heads up to any types of trigger warnings. Overall I think it is VERY body positive. There are no muffin top puns, or recipes for the lowest cal cookies. Just reasonable recipes for mostly lunch and dinner. But there are calorie counters on the side of every recipe. It has some basic nutritional information, which I know can be a trigger for some people. So be warned by that. I’ve almost always just ignored them, so it isn’t distracting if it isn’t something you care about. It won’t subtly discourage you from making a dish because it has too many calories (because that always happens to me when restaurants put their calorie counts on the menu)

evidence of how often I have used this book, just look at the worn down spine


I’ve read so many people say how much they love this cookbook. I think that is saying a lot since it is paperback, not as pretty as Isa’s other books, not many photos, and well, a dieting book. But over and over I’ve heard people say they love this regardless. So I tried looking on Goodreads, and surprisingly there are people out that there don’t like the book. Who knew? Why do they hate it, pretty much the recipes aren’t complicated enough.

This is probably the first stepping stone to Isa Does It. Simple, easy recipes for weeknights. Not every dish needs to be rich, decadent, and primo. They can be simple and heck, you can buy that bag of pre-shredded cabbage!

So who would I recommend this book to? Someone is simply trying to eat more veggies. There are tons of recipes that use lots of veggies, and doesn’t require super crazy vegan foods like nutritional yeast, fake cheese, etc. Sure you have some seitan and nooch but nothing overwhelming. I also recommend this to anyone who is trying to eat lighter, because there is one simple fact, veggies are naturally low calorie, and therefore you get to eat a lot more than on a standard american diet. I think the dishes are super yummy and are pretty easy. Plus there are plenty of ideas in the back of the book. What about someone who wants to dip their toe in vegan cooking? Well, I probably would recommend Isa Does It, over this one.


As always, I link any recipes that are free to read and make. I try and only post online recipes that have approval of the publisher but in this case, there doesn’t seem to be many. So I did post unofficial recipes, because you can easily google it yourself. I hope that seeing these recipes will inspire you to go out and BUY the book, because honestly, it is one of my favorites.

Oh and a quick note- the calorie counts in this book are pretty darn close. Some recipes I tracked for dieting reasons, and the number more or less matched the book. There was only one pasta dish that was off by 100 calories. I am not sure if it was a typo or what. But if that is a concern, there you go.

Continue reading

Before going having kids, I didn’t think much about if a kids book is “vegan” or not. It seemed like it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But it quickly became obvious that children’s books aren’t very vegan friendly. So many are centered around farms, zoos, and circuses. Then you have the problem of what the characters are eating. Guys it can be exhausting to say that the hungry caterpillar is eating a slice of daiya cheese.

So, I have a very small collection of books that I read and have a vegan/vegetarian message. I will keep on posting as I read books that I think fit the category, but for now I have a short list. Starting with Ruby Roth.

V is for Vegan by Ruby Roth

Go to any vegan parenting board and ask for a book suggestion and you will be flooded with recommendations for Ruby Roth. It is easy to see why, most vegan books just can’t compare. There are lots of self published books on the market, but they aren’t that great. Ruby really has a talent for writing easy to read text that has rhythm and flow, and the illustrations are beautiful. Roth has released more books, but this is the only one we currently own and is a great books for little ones as it helps teach the ABCs, and the text is pretty short for each page. We started reading this to Wolfie before he turned 1!

T. Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur

This is a book I saw at the library and knew I would have to check it out. It might not be the best first book, it has a fair amount of words, and a considerable amount of pages, but makes a great edition for toddlers who notice they are eating different food from other kids. T.Veg tells a story about a T.Rex who loves veggies, but all the other dinosaurs think he is weird. The story telling has some great rhythm and the illustrations are bright and colorful. 

Bear and Chicken by Jannie Ho

I love this story, though I don’t like some of the descriptions that I’ve read online. Many summaries put as a humorous tale, but it comes off much more heart warming. The story is about bear, who comes across a chicken who is frozen in the snow. He brings chicken back into his home and takes care of him. But when chicken wakes up, all he is worried about is being eaten by a big scary bear. It is cute and adorable, and I love the illustrations. Just like Ruby Roth, Jannie Ho has a great talent for both writing and creating art. And I would even say it is a great read for little kids, if they can sit down for a longer story.

There are more stories to share, and I will be sharing a list of great franchises that are vegan friendly as well. So take a look.

Do you have any favorite story that talks about compassion with animals?

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

I started to brew kombucha since I wanted to start a daily dose of probiotics. Buying kombucha can be expensive, so homebrew was the solution. Sadly I was brewing more than I could drink, and I started to look for ways to use it up without just drinking it.

This book is written by Stephen Lee. He previously owned Tazo Tea, and currently (or at least at the time of writing the book) owns Kombucha Wonder Drink. Sure there is some plugging of the company, but don’t worry, it none of the recipes call for specific products. They don’t even call for a scoby sold by the company, so that is reassuring.


There are quite a few photos in the book. The photos are beautiful and bright. Most photos are center around the recipes, though some are simply included for aesthetics. Glamor shots of a kombucha jar, over the head shots of vegetables on the chopping board, and production lines of a kombucha bottling factory. I would of loved to have a photo for most recipes since they are drastically different from each other, but I don’t think it is needed since most recipes are easy to imagine what they would look like.


I love the writing in this cookbook. It sounds silly to harp on writing in a cookbook, but this kind is particularly important since you are giving LONG INSTRUCTION for the brewing process. I knew how to make kombucha before the book, and I can hands down say the book made me feel less intimidated from brewing at home, and stepped up my overall kombucha game. It tasted so much better. I was a little shocked, how could it make that much of a difference? After reading blog after blog on how to make kombucha it made me appreciate this book even more.


This book caught my eye since it was more than just how-to manual for how to brew kombucha, it has recipes. When looking at the options this one, at the time, was the only one with recipes outside of drinks. It had recipes for soups, desserts, and cocktails. So did it live up to my expectations?

Yes and no. Overall, many of the recipes are not vegan, but are pretty friendly. Most recipes you could add a little this, take away that, etc. But the recipes themselves are very simple. For example there is a vinaigrette recipe that is no joke just oil, kombucha vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. I think this book lends well to people like me who like experiment in the kitchen, and aren’t afraid of doing some quick ingredient changes. Overall I haven’t MADE much from the book, but I am much more comfortable adding kombucha to a soup or salad.

I think the second biggest help has been how much the book helped my brew game. I haven’t done too many flavored kombuchas, but I have mastered a nice dry kombucha. I take breaks here and there from the weekly brewing grind, but it has been in my life for quite some time.

But that was a few years ago, and if I were to buy a book now I might pick a different one. The Big Book of Kombucha is much more extensive. So much so, I am thinking of adding it to my collection. Would I still recommend this book? Yes. Especially for people aren’t sure if they want to commit to brewing. It is a reasonably priced book, so it isn’t a huge investment.


This set up will be a little different from other reviews. The book spends a good bit of time with brewing kombucha, ways to alter your brew, then recipes. I will breakdown some basics about each chapter, coming to a conclusion about the recipes in the book AND focus on specific recipes as I see fit.

Continue reading

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Most vegans know about Vedge, a fancy restaurant that all the omnivores eat at. Naturally, when a place is popular there are haters. I’ve herd people complain that the food is too salty, tastes burnt, or too hippy-dippy (yup, that was said about the book at least.) But when I went, I only have wonderful things to say.

That said, I’ve always been a little intimidated about this book. It sat on my shelf forever, and I am pretty sure it was gifted to me by my Mother in Law, otherwise I think I would of felt it would be too fancy for me. But once we went to Vedge, my husband demanded a birthday dinner made completely from this book. *sigh* So I made some food from it, and it wasn’t so hard. So I made even more from the book and here we are now with this review. So let’s go!


The photos in this book are beautiful. They are done by Michael Spain-Smith- who has a few shots on his website. The photos show shots of food and the restaurant itself, heck even some shots of the food within the restaurant (you know, as if it was being served to someone.) I am a little sad that there aren’t more shots of the plated foods. This is suppose to be high end food, and the visuals are an important aspect. It would be nice to have an idea of how to serve the dish. The authors say to use your imagination, and because of this I don’t demand the recipe to match the photos perfectly. For example the recipe for the breakfast radishes show chunks of avocado when the recipe tells you mash them up.


A fairly typical setup- an into by Joe Yonan (because the authors are now famous enough for someone to write about them), then an introduction from the authors, and some “before you cook” tips. Overall I like how quick and to the point the authors are. It doesn’t take long to get into the recipes, and they do stress the importance of fresh ingredients, and basic cooking skills. I didn’t like their chapter on pantry essentials. It felt a little pointless, and dumb, it would be nice if they ditched it.

They divide up the recipes into 6 categories- Small bites and small plates, Soups and stews, The dirt list, Plates (aka mains), Desserts and baked goods, and finally Cocktails. This is KIND-OF how they set it up at the restaurant. Small bites and small plates I guess are normally listed as their vedge bar. They are usually things you could get with a drink at a fancy cocktail bar, or as they suggest in the book something like tapas. The dirt list tends to be cooked veggies, something that resembles a side dish. I find that this category there is a very thin line to the Plates (aka mains) category, which is listed as “The Grill” on the menu. The mains tend to be a little heartier and more umami. But it is pretty hard to figure out the difference in my opinion. The organization is so arbitrary. There is a stew listed under plates- even though there is a soup and stews chapter. Luckily they are pretty on topic for the cocktails and desserts. No confusion there.


I like the writing, it is quick to the point but very informative. The instructions are pretty simple for the recipes, which feels a little odd since we are talking about a fancy pants restaurant. Although it doesn’t give massive clues to a perfectly charred pepper, I think it makes the recipes a lot more accessable. I easily read this book now that I’ve made a few of the recipes, and it feels really easy to tackle on 3 recipes at once. At the very least one recipe that I serve with leftovers.


The recipes really need to be tried out before anyone dismisses this cookbook. I’ve read some reviews on Goodreads, half say how much they love it, and other half usually poo-poos recipes without actually trying them out. I will admit, there are some pretty crazy sounding things, especially in the desserts. A sweet potato and cabbge dessert? An apple wardof salad sweet?!

But just with following the few recipes that I have made, it has given me more confidence in the kitchen with more unusual vegetables. I now have a better idea what I would like to do with radishes. I don’t feel like I have to keep layering flavors to get something that tastes good.

But when you have a cookbook that has such spectacular recipes, but maybe not other inspirational, educational aspects, you need to deliver on the recipes. I found that almost every single vegetable dish needed more time in the oven. Period. There is no mistaking “just cooked” with “not cooked.” I had to add as little as 3 minutes, but sometimes as much as 20 minutes. It happened so often I didn’t bother adding the notes in the recipe reviews. I also felt there was a little sparse detail on what to look for in cooking, I would have to give 4 out of 5 stars for this cookbook. If the devil is in the details, give me all the details please.

The Recipes

As always, I give reviews for individual recipes. If I am able to find the recipe online with a publisher approved website, I’ll link it. I think it is a great way to “test out” a cookbook before buying it. The next best thing is checking it out from the library.

Continue reading

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Get The Complete Vegan Kitchen at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

I feel like every cookbook review starts with “Well, Jenny Marie…” and I am doing it again. I kind-of had a thought that I wanted to do more cookbook reviews for the blog again since I had more time in the kitchen now that Wolfie is a little older. But Jenny Marie’s goal of making recipes from ignored cookbooks made me reach deep and grab my very ignored cookbook- Very Vegetarian.

I got this cookbook in my early “vegan” days. I was mostly trying to loose weight and stay healthy, though ethics totally took some importance. I wasn’t strict, and I remember having a hard time when staying with my parents in Saint George Utah. Not much in the town is vegan now, but it was much less vegan friendly at the time. I mostly stayed at my parents home all day, or worked a temp job at a coffee shop. But there were a few glittering mechas of hope. One was soft serve oat-cream at a health food store. Which blows my mind seeing how popular oat milk now is, they were totally ahead of the curve. Then there was a lone vegetarian restaurant owned by an older married couple. I went probably twice, I don’t eat out often. But I remember they had a good burger, and they even had vegan cheese. The day before I left, my Mom bought me a lunch from there, and a cookbook. And the couple asked if I was interested in a job, I laughed and told them that I was leaving to go back to Philadelphia the next day. I think they were just excited to see a young person into veganism.

But the book sat on my shelf, mostly flipped through for the memories. And I thought now would be a great time to finally dive back in. Reflect on how much cookbooks have changed. Pro-tip! Try picking up a digital copy of the The Complete Vegan Kitchen. It appears to be the same book as Very Vegetarian but is updated. Plus the digital copy is $3, so not much of a financial risk.


I am still in shock and awe at how much food photography has changed over the years. I’m not even talking about the crazy posed retro shots of food, in just as short as 10 years ago, photos were very RED. But it is obvious the photographer tried to combat this with blue flatware and other tricks, but there are one or two photos that are just stained with yellow or red. The photos often feature shallow depths of field and have bright colors placed behind the food. And naturally there is a group shot of all the types of soy based foods on a plate, something I swear I’ve seen a million times between vegetarian and asian cookbooks pre-2010.

But it is funny looking at these photos. Some I see and think “I could see this on a blog,” like the one shot of a millet paella sitting on an old brown bag for rice (it’s actually used for the cover of her other book.) Oooh rustic! But then there is this weird shot of a compilation of desserts that I are laid out by a fancy balcony. Where the heck are these people? I guess they wanted to give the appearance of a fancy soiree? Like vegan dessert can compete with fancy French pastry?

Ignoring the merits of the photography (it isn’t the worst, but about fifty percent are dated) they are sandwiched randomly through out the book. Most pages are pages with black text, on rough paper. I largely forget that there a photos in the book since there are such a small amount.


This book is written at a time when veganism was pretty unknown. It is assuming you don’t know what it is, so it gives quite a bit of information about it. Bennett actually gives quite a bit of helpful information on servings (fruit, protein, grains etc) and which nutrients to focus on as a vegan. She even includes zinc which I feel like no one does, but I know I always fall a little short on. I’m a little sad I never read this when I was younger. She does talk quite a lot about something that should of been skipped over. Like she talks a LOT about tofu, when many of the soy products mentioned aren’t even used in these recipes. Don’t want to loose your audience! There is also some quick notes about cooking, like how to cut veggies, etc. As you can see below, Bennett covers a lot in this book- having over 300 recipes, which is a lot. Most cookbooks now only have about 100-120.

There is a list of chapters in the front, but each chapter has sub-categories, and the recipes listed. This is nice except the recipes don’t actually have page numbers. This is a giant pain. I am not really sure what the point of that is. If you are wondering here is the list of sections:

Appetizers & Snacks (Dips and Spreads, Pates and Terrines, Pancake like Appetizers, Filled Appetizers, Bruschetta)
Soups (Stocks, Hot Soups, Chilled Soups)
Salads & Dressings (Salads, Dressings)
Condiments & Sauces (Condiments, Sauces)
Sandwiches (Cold Sandwiches, Burgers, Hot Sandwiches)
Beans & Grains (Beans, Grains)
Pasta (European Pasta, Middle Eastern Pasta, Asian Pasta)
Soy Foods
Breads (Quick Breads, Yeast Breads, Flatbreads)
Desserts (Cakes, Frostings, Bars Cookies and Candy, Puddings, Pies and Fruit Crisps, Frozen Desserts)
Beverages (Milks, Smoothies, Ades and Teas)
Treats for Kids


This book has a lot of information in it. I feel like if I wrote a cookbook, it would be very similar in it’s density (I mean look how long this review is?!) Aside from ALL the information from the beginning, each chapter has a few notes by her. This book is clearly written with the mindset to help someone is recently went vegan, and perhaps doesn’t cook often. I feel like MANY early vegan books are like this because of how uncommon it was. Now with blogs and social media people are always bumping into vegan recipes, or non-vegan bloggers are labeling recipes as vegan when they make them. The term vegan and what it means is somewhat in the mainstream.

It is also worth noting that “health” is a huge part of this book. Carl Lewis writes an introduction talking about how a vegan diet helped him feel his best. There is a lot of nutritional information in the book, and generally the recipes are overall pretty healthy. None of the claims are extra-ordinary, but something to keep in mind if too much health talk is a trigger.

Although I like how much information is given in the book, I wish it was organized differently. For example, in the vegetables section Bennett organizes the recipes alphabetically by vegetables. She often gives a description on the vegetable with tips and info on how to prepare and store it. But sometimes the description of the vegetable would be underneath a recipe using a different vegetable, making it look like it is part of the recipe. She needs better graphics to divide the recipes from informative text.


If you are wondering who the heck is Jannequin Bennett, you aren’t alone. I thought it was odd how little comes up when you search her name. Gurl- you gotta build a website! Sure she has a twitter, but it seems that she uses it for a lot of political tweets. It seems, from my quick search is that Jannequin ran quite a few restaurants in her day, first in Manhattan, then moving to Richmond Virginia. She currently isn’t running a restaurant, but is known for her vegan and macrobiotic menus. To make things even more confusing she has two book released- Very Vegetarian and The Complete Vegan Kitchen. It appears that The Complete Vegan Kitchen is just a renamed version of Very Vegetarian, so maybe some of the formatting has been fixed, maybe not. She is supposedly working on a new book of gluten-free recipes, and she has helped with Chefs Move to Schools.

Okay, so that said, should you buy this book? Hmm… it feels like a big “Why Not?!” with the $3 digital copy on Amazon. If there are a few recipes you enjoy from it, sure go for it. But there is a lot of dated info, like she gives some outdated information about shortening and margarine now that US is phasing out transfats. Or that she says there is no current replacement for egg whites. There is now- aquafaba. But there are recipes I would like to try from the book, and things that I’ve learned from it. But knowing what I know now about it, I wouldn’t pay more than $5 for a second hand or digital copy.

What would I love to see the author release? A vegan vegetable bible! My favorite chapter in the book is the vegetables chapter. So much attention to detail is given, but there would only be one, maybe two recipes for each vegetable. Bummer. She gives so much information but tries to cover so many topics, it comes off a little scratter brained. I think she should REALLY focus on one topic, or get a bigger book like the New Basics. The recipes were either really good, or pretty good with some personal tweaks.

The Recipes

I posted reviews of all the recipes I made from the book. I wanted to make a recipe from each chapter, but this did not happen. I usually leave links to recipes but I found zeros recipes online. So, sorry about that. Enjoy the reviews!

Continue reading

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

This is another cookbook my Mother-in-Law found and thought of me. She was browsing a local second-had bookstore, Second Time Books, and found this little jem. I was pretty skeptical. Mason jars are made for jarring and holding things, not for drinking and eating. A fad that I am totally against. I smiled, took the book and flipped through it. I figured I would give it a fair shot.

After reading Jenny Marie’s cook-a-long monthly challenge, I thought it would be fun to share some posts reviewing the book as well. If you have a blog with a review (specifically of the recipes), leave a comment and I will add you to the list.

Love Elycia | Scraps of Life


My first guess was that Kris took the photos herself (she did!) I could tell they weren’t professionally done, but they are still very good. It certainly not like when your boss at the restaurant you work at says “Can you believe they wanted $200 to take photos of food! I mean look at my photo? Isn’t it just the same?” You nod yes, but your bosses crummy photo pretty much explains why a professional photography wants $200. This has happened to me TWICE, just pay a damn photographer! NOW if KRIS was my boss and showed me her photos, I would of been impressed. She uses lots of natural light, and does a great job making the food look enticing.

But she does not have a photo for each recipe. I think that is overall fine. I think there is enough to leave out some of the doubt and guesswork, like what the heck will a babka in a jar look like? Or how will a whole loaf look in a mason jar?!


Like most modern cookbooks, this has and introduction then chapters full of recipes. I have to say I STRONGLY recommend reading the introduction! She gives some important information about mason jar safety, that you might want to read to make sure you don’t have any exploding jars in the oven. She is short and sweet, so you can move on to the recipes.

She divides the recipes in 9 chapters- No-Bake Treats, Cakelettes, Pie and Friends, Pastry, Odds and Ends, Treats for Two, Mixes, Jam on It!, Toppings and Fillings. I like how she starts with no-bake so if you are excited you can jump right in. I also like how she does include some jam recipes, I mean that’s what mason jars are for, right?


Kris does a great job getting to the point but talking about what is important in the beginning. And I quickly went from “why can’t we move on past the mason jar trend!?” to “oh, she makes a really good point!” I am not 100% sold, but I think it does create some great points. You get self portioned desserts, you can easily bring an apple pie for lunch at the office. Okay, I’m getting this. So what I am trying to say is that Kris is really good at getting you excited about making food.

She should be good at it, she has written quite a few books, mostly about baking and has a now dead blog called Nom Nom Nom Blog. I know for a fact that I’ve stumbled onto this blog a few times in the past.


There have been both hits and misses with these recipes. I think I found that the delicate oil based cakes we are used to in the United States just don’t work with the glass baking dish. I had zero luck with the hot water bath baking. BUT I loved the premade portions for the desserts. I think my husband was in heaven taking a small little apple pie into work. And the heavier cakes worked beautifully.

There are a lot of recipes I am interested in trying. Mostly the baked fruit pies for my husband. I am usually making a WHOLE pie for him. Sure I’ll eat a slice, but I am happy eating only one or two slice and letting my husband polish it off. Having small jars makes it easier for him to enjoy and the oven is on for less time.

The book is pretty short, which is kind-of a bummer, but in some ways great. I think overall this book helped me get excited about a new baking tool. It has very much inspired me to try converting some recipes into a jar. I am sure my husband will enjoy the more elaborate desserts that he can bring into work.

The Recipes

Below are my individual recipe reviews. I tried to leave links to any publisher approved online recipes, which was only two. I also try to pick a recipe from each section, but skipped Treats for Two, Mixes, Jam on It!, Toppings and Fillings. The mixes I felt didn’t fit my definition of a baked good mix (too many non-shelf-staple mix in required). I made a few topping and fillings, but they are mixed in the reviews (two cakes, and a grasshopper pie). Finally summer creeped in and turning the oven on seemed irresponsible for making anything from the Treats for Two section, and I wouldn’t be making anything from the jarring section. You probably didn’t care, but there you go. My logic for the whole thing!
Continue reading

Well, Jenny Marie is doing another cookbook challenge with a cookbook I own- Vegan Eats World. I made a review awhile ago that you can check out, but I’ve cooked a few more things from the book. I mean I wrote that review 4 years ago! Wow. Also, I didn’t cook NEARLY as many recipes from cookbooks as I do now.

As mentioned in the original review, my copy broke pretty early on. I was pretty pissed since this was a gift, but because of this I recommend trying to get a hard copy of the book. This is also why there aren’t any photos of my book, and just photos of a big binder. Oh well.

As always, I am linking to other recipe reviews of the book, to share all the fun. If you have a review of the cookbook on your blog leave a comment. I will happily link it. And as always if I find a recipe online, I will link it.

A Dash of Compassion | Herbivores Heaven | Kittens Gone Lentil | The Unintentional Vegan | Vegan in Brighton

Berbere Spice Blend
Section: Spice Blends
I made this spice blend for a recipe in The Great Grains Cookbook. I couldn’t find any berbere spice blends at any of my normal grocery stores. I think that is why I love this book. It does provide some useful tools for people who don’t have access to global/international food stores. I enjoyed the blend, though I do wonder how authentic it is. I’ve never actually had it before. But still yummy.

Deluxe Tofu Vegetable Mafe
Section: Curries, Heart Stews, & Beans
This is hands down one of my favorite dishes from this book. A nice peanut buttery stew. Yum. I think one of my favorite parts of this dish is that it is very flexible with the vegetables you can put into it. At the end of the recipe there are many different alterations, okra, winter squash, whatever really. This is really helpful to make over and over again as the produce changes over the season. If you are going to make one recipe from this book I would either recommend this one, or the other peanut based dish- Flying Massamn Curry. Oh, and I recently ate the leftovers of this dish on a corn waffle. It’s a great way to eat it.

Flying Massaman Curry
Section: Curries, Heart Stews, & Beans
Recipe: The Veracious Vegan
More peanut butter please! I make this a lot during the summer months since our CSA makes really good cherry tomatoes and I can’t keep eating them in a salad! I love how the cherry tomatoes go into the curry, and I believe this is yet another recipe with a million veggie options. I have a feeling that I usually do green beans… if my memory is serving me right. I love how easy this curry is to make, and like the mafe this one of my favorite and most frequently used recipe from the book.

Fusilli with Almost-Sicilian Arugula Pesto, Potatoes, and Peas
Section: Asian Noodles to Mediterranean Pasta
This was a hit. I am still not convinced that arugala should be a pesto, this is the second recipe that used it that I’ve tried. But everything is very good. Apparently putting potatoes in a pasta dish is a very Italian thing, though I’ve never heard of it before. It is pretty easy, just make the pesto, then boil potatoes adding the pasta at the end. Toss. I used the suggested green beans instead of peas since I was making this dish for my Mother in Law who doesn’t like peas. Although this is good, I would only make it again if I used an all basil pesto instead of arugula.

Golden Tandoori Tofu
Section: Hearty Entrees
Recipe: The Veggie Table
I never really thought much about this recipe until My Cat Loves Daiya made it. So I took the plunge and I am glad I did. The tofu is a beautiful golden color, which prompted me to eat it next to “purple” beets for a vegan mofo complimentary colors challenge. I like the sauce, it is creamy but full of flavor. I am not 100% sure if you need to use yogurt. I didn’t taste any of the tangy notes in the dish, which I bring up since vegan yogurt can be a little pricey for people. This is a dish I will make several times again, for sure.

Mediterranean Seitan
Section: The Three Protein Amigos Touf, Seitan + Tempeh
This was my first time making seitan and it helped me get over my anxiety of making it. I hear lots of people say it is hard to mess up seitan, but then I’ll read blog posts about how people hate when it gets spongey or whatever. I was happy with this recipe, and it inspired me to make these adzuki seitan sausages.

Ninja Carrot Ginger Dressing
Section: Salads, Spreads, and Sandwiches
Recipe: Vegan Latina
This was really easy to make, even easier for me since I had my crazy high speed blender. I didn’t even need to grate the carrot, all I did was throw a bunch of carrot chunks with all the other ingredients and blend. I enjoyed the recipe, my husband wasn’t a huge fan (though he didn’t hate it.) We ate it with the tofu burgers, and the leftovers were tossed with some pasta and peas that Wolfie really enjoyed.

Okra Masala (Bindi Bhaji)
Section: Robust Vegetable Entrees & Sides
Recipe: The Blender Girl
I don’t really like okra, but my CSA grows it. And if you have a CSA like I do, sometimes you get put in a corner where you either take something you don’t like, or deal with less veggies or too many of the same veggies. So I made this recipe, and I can safely say this is my favorite way to eat okra. This dish is very easy to make, but is really something that needs other dishes to be served with it (like that sri lankan dhal) The instructions are detailed, and cook the okra in a way to help reduce all that slime. But I think the star of the recipe is the amchur powder. My sister gave me some awhile ago, but this was the first recipe to use it. It makes the dish tangy and amazing.

Roasted Chili Pepper Harissa Paste
Section: Spice Blends
I’ve made this many times, and it is only recently I’ve actually BOUGHT harissa from Trader Joe’s. So going from that bit of information, does the recipe hold up? I’m going with yes- mostly. I think Trader Joe’s version is more oily, which might be more traditional. But I do like making it at home because you can control the spice levels more, which is great for my husband. I also love using the hot peppers from my CSA. So I get very fancy ORGANIC and LOCAL harissa. Can’t beat that?

Savory Tofu
Section: The Three Protein Amigos Touf, Seitan + Tempeh
I love this recipe. It gets made all time, though I’ve taken a step back. I make it constantly for stir-fries, but since having Wolfie, I’ve chilled out with it a little. I just don’t have the time. I like how lazy I can be with it, but it is time consuming, and makes the house hot during the summer. You need to press the tofu, then bake for 40 minutes. The recipe is pretty simple, mostly getting flavor from soy sauce.

Sensei Tofu Hijiki Burgers
Section: Hearty Entrees
Oh mixed reviews on this recipe. I loved it, my husband was not a big fan. I am a little clueless as to why, but I guess you can’t please everyone? This was super yummy as it was mostly drained tofu that had been crumbled and mixed with hijiki seaweed and panko breadcrumbs. Then coated with more bread crumbs and baked. The burgers were pretty small, so you can’t fully make them into a burger with a bun. Well, you could, you would just need to make less than 8.

I served it with the ninja carrot dressing as suggested which was easy to make and tasty. I think these would be great to try and make those rice “burgers”. This would also of been better if I made a side veggie while the burgers were baking in the oven.

Spicy Savory Soft Tofu (Ma-po Tofu)
Section: Curries, Heart Stews, & Beans
Recipe: Vegan Latina
This is a recipe that I’ve seen a few times in various vegan cookbooks. I didn’t seem to care too much about making it. But I figured why not? I have some black bean paste in the fridge, so why not learn a new dish? Overall I wasn’t a huge fan. I think I might try it eating out, but it seemed weird. I think I felt compelled to add some veggies to the dish. You also use soft tofu, making it hard to cook. I am not very gentle, so I struggled to keep the tofu cubes in one piece. Overall it tasted good, I just wasn’t feeling the recipe.

Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry
Section: Curries, Heart Stews, & Beans
I use to make this dish a lot. It’s been awhile though. I altered the recipe to make it into a slow cooker curry, and it got so creamy and delicious that it was to die for. This recipe takes awhile to make, you need to soak the lentils in hot water, then cook them. You temper some veggies and spices on the side and add at the end. It involves little work from the chef, which is ideal for making other sides, proteins, or maybe a flatbread.

Shop on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

My Mother-in-Law knows I love to cook, I can almost assume I will be getting some sort of cookbook during the holiday season from her. Sometimes I specifically ask for it, sometimes it is a cookbook she happens to see. One year, she saw this book and thought it looked pretty tasty. It was something that wasn’t on my radar- although I’ve heard of the blog Fettle Vegan, I never actually read it. I didn’t see any reviews for this cookbook, it was completely new to me. The book sat on my shelf forever and ever, and I finally thought I ought to make a review of this book and finally put some of the recipes to work!


I think the photos were taken by Amber St. Peter herself, so I feel a little bad saying this- but I am not impressed by her photography. Overall they are great photos, it most definitely not as bad as Martha Stewart’s instagram account. But her photos are very warm, and the reds are over saturated, making her photos look more like they were taken closer to the early 2000s.

But she does deserve more credit as she has photos for pretty much each recipe. Some recipes are on her blog, but many are not. And the food looks very appetizing and still pretty to look at. I simply think it would of been best if there was a special photographer hired to take the photos, but I’d rather have these photos than none at all.


This book is a cookbook through and through. Amber wastes little time and dives into the recipes after a very brief page-long introduction. The downside is that I think it makes the overall theme a little hard to figure out. I always thought she had a weird selection of recipes, but once I read the descriptions it became clear that it is comfort foods that she grew up with (mostly.)

The sections are as follows: Rise + Shine, Meals That’ll Stick to Your Ribs, Feed Your Friends, Crowd-Pleasers, Cook Up Some Comfort Food, Bake Sale-Worthy Baked Goods, When Cookies Won’t Cut It, Have a Drink, and Stock Your Pantry. Frankly- I don’t understand what defines HALF of the savory-meal sections. I start to think “oh these are appetizers?” then suddenly there is a cornbread and potato salad. There needs to be a little more rhyme and reason! A good portion is also sweet dishes. Most of the breakfast foods are sweet, and then you have two dessert chapters. The “have a drink” section is also predominantly sweet drinks, which follows the comfort food themes. I tend to not like the sweets so it wasn’t really my thing, and I think a major factor to why I never used the book.


I really like Amber’s writing style. It is very inviting, and I found myself more interested in the recipes once I read her description. She is very laid back, and really good at convincing you that you’ve got this recipe, and it will really taste delicious. My only concern is how often she says “healthier” in the description. Although I totally agree with her, her food tends to be healthier than the originals, I do have major concerns about selling veganism as a healthy diet. It can be, but people do expect life altering changes in their health.


This isn’t the cookbook for me. I think all the recipes have tasted pretty good, I could modify them as needed, and I can think of quick ways to make them work better for myself. But I find her categories confusing and therefore a little hard to figure out what to make. It feels like there are so many sweets for the categories, but I guess that is mostly because I am just a savory girl. And she has some staples in the back, but none I felt compelled to make.

I think what it comes down to is that would probably be a good book for a totally new vegan. Maybe someone who is making vegan meals when a friend or family come to visit, or maybe if someone is just wanting to try more food that are meatless/dairy free. None of the recipes seemed particularly new to me, and I could easily find in some vegan cookbook on my shelf. There are few little sparkling jewels that I wasn’t going to find in the other cookbooks, but I think most seasoned vegans might want to pass on this book.

I am thinking about donating this book to the library. I think a new vegan would find this book MUCH MORE HANDY than myself. I think there are lots of nice qualities to this book, like the recipes are very veggie heavy and the book has a wonderful “flat-lay” pages, making it extra easy to read recipes while cooking.

The Recipes

As with all my cookbook reviews, I try and review as many recipes as I can, from each category from the book. If there is an online recipe available I try and link it, but I only link up recipes that are approved by the publisher. Any photos I’ve take are shown as well.

Continue reading