Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Food You Crave - a Healthy Option

A little while ago I received a new cookbook from Random House. It’s called The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger. Among other things, Ellie is host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite, which unfortunately, I don’t get here in Halifax. I say “unfortunately”, because the web site looks like there are fantastic tips on eating healthy, tasty meals.

The book is based on the show and I guess Ellie says it best on the book jacket… “..delicious food that will make you feel great”. Too often I eat things that are extremely tasty, but then I feel guilty….and you know exactly what I’m talking about- don’t give me that shocked look! Or I look through some of my older cookbooks and am surprised at the way I used to cook, opting for healthier choices today.

That said, I’m not a dietician and lots of today’s lingo is beyond me. I know that antioxidants and probiotics are good for me (just not sure why)…and that different foods contain different nutrients that are important…that trans fat is bad, and there are good and bad carbs…but what does that actually mean? I don’t always know and so it’s great to have a book that actually explains things – there’s even a nutrition chart with daily values and functions…like…”vitamin D – 400 IU - that helps form & maintain healthy bones and teeth and may play a role in cancer prevention”.

I often get asked about the kind of staples new cooks (and some older cook-out-of-necessity cooks, too) should have on hand and Ellie has a great section on what she calls “The New Way Pantry” that’s organized by oils & vinegar; condiments & other flavor boosters; on the shelf; sweeteners; nuts, seeds & dried fruits; bread, flour & grains; and “in the freezer”…and it’s not overwhelming as many sources are.

But on to why most people buy cookbooks…the recipes! And I promise to share a couple with you, but first a word or two about the recipe presentation…besides the stunning photos…every recipe has a section on the right hand side which, at first glance, provides all the dietary info you could imagine…the typical - like calories, fat content, carbs, fibre, cholesterol & sodium, as well as, the fantastic – that the dish is an excellent source of daily nutrients, like copper, iron, fiber, protein, etc. The directions are clear and…most important, at least for me…quick and easy to follow.

I have tons of bits of paper marking the many dishes I’ll be making - like Grilled Zucchini Roll-Ups with Herbs & Cheese; Crab Salad in Crisp Wonton Cups; Curried Butternut Squash Soup; Beef & Mushroom Barley Soup (that sounds even better than my mom’s version); Sweet & Sour Brisket; Lemon Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops; Crab Cakes with Smarter Tarter Sauce; Triple Chocolate Cookies (and that’s just the tip of my iceberg).

I know…I know…you want some examples. Here are a couple that I whipped up recently and they are very tasty!

Whole wheat pancakes

Herbed Goat Cheese Dip

If you’re looking for delicious guidance to healthy eating…this book is it.


pam said...

Thanks for posting this review! I've been thinking about this book for awhile, I love her show. Your review helped me make the decision. I need another cookbook, right?

Patsyk said...

I ADORE this cookbook! You are going to love it. Don't miss the peanutty noodles, they are addictive (but in a healthy way!). Enjoy your new cookbook!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

WE don't get this show here in the wild, wild west either Ruth. Thabnks for posting some of the recipes though. I love the goat cheese dip...and it's even a healthy alternative:D

Anonymous said...

Both of those recipes look delicious! Nice cookbook.

Anonymous said...

Last time my mom came to visit us she sat next to Ellie's father on the airplane (you know how you get to know people next to you on airplanes -- not much else to do!). Anyway, he was so sweet and sent her this cookbook (signed!) along with some photos of his family. I thought that was so sweet!

I love the recipes in it and can't wait to use it more. We tried the Portobellow Panini with Gorgonzola and Sun Dried Tomatoes and thought that was such a unique recipe (and good too!). We've also had the spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs and enjoyed it.

I can't wait to see what you cook up with it! :)

Anonymous said...

I love this cookbook - the spicy turkey meatballs are now a weekly menu item!