Cookbook Review: So Easy by Ellie Krieger

Cookbooks are some of my favorite books.  Even though you can find so many recipes online these days, there is something exciting about leafing through a cookbook, looking at the pictures, seeing the splatters on the much loved pages, and picking out a recipe for the day that is intrinsically appealing to me. I am a Food Network lover but have found that so many of the recipes are not healthy.  They are loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar.  This isn’t true of all of the recipes, but a fair portion of them are this way.  Ellie Krieger, who became well known after her show on Food Network Healthy Appetite, is different.  She is a registered dietician with a master’s degree in nutrition from Teacher’s College, Columbia University (Ellie Krieger Bio).  So you know that the recipes she provides are going to be well balanced and include lots of colors and nutrients.  She isn’t a big fan of packaged products, but is a big fan of healthy eating made easy. With a toddler at home, a husband who works outside the home, and too many commitments of my own we need easy, fast, and delicious meals. So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week delivers.  The cookbook begins with an explanation of nutrition as well as what the general breakdown of fat, protein, carbs, etc. should be in a typical 2000 calorie diet.  Ellie emphasizes that you don’t need to count every little calorie, gram of protein, or carb however.  She emphasizes eating lots of fruits and veggies, eating lean proteins, and making sure your plate is colorful. After this informative intro she goes on to provide a list of suggested items for your pantry.  I have a fairly well-stocked pantry and find that I agree with her suggestions.  They keep my options open during the week if I suddenly decide I want to deviate from our weekly plan and make weekly shopping simple. All of this information is great, but you may be wondering about the recipes.  A lot of times when you see “healthy” and “recipe” together all that comes to mind is BLAND.  The recipes in this cookbook are well-seasoned and flavorful.  They range from really simple – cheddar-apple quesadilla with only three ingredients – to spaghetti frittata with salad presto.  It doesn’t matter your level of cooking competence, you can easily...
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Eradicating excess (or at least making an effort)

I am participating in an online book club that my friend and colleague, Julia, facilitates at A Little Bit of All of It.  I have to admit that I didn’t read August’s book (the first for the newly formed book club) because I couldn’t get it in a Kindle or Nook version.  I really only get to read when I nurse during nap and bedtime, which makes an e-version of the book important.  So when it came time to vote for September’s book I checked to make sure there was an e-version of the book before voting for my choice.  The final book choice was 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (affiliate link).  I purchased the Kindle version immediately and read half of the book in two days of nursing sessions. How did I feel halfway through the book?  Guilty. Let me back up and tell you a little about the book without giving away the really good parts.  Jen, through a series of events and variety of catalysts, decided that there was too much excess in her life.  She made a plan to limit several areas of her life.  She focused on one area each month for 7 months in hopes of growing closer to God, her family, and learning to live with less excess (which will help with her relationship with God and her family).  The 7 areas she chose to focus her efforts on were: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.  Her book is set up with daily (not every day is included) blog entries about her experiences, thoughts, struggles, etc.  She doesn’t do this alone though.  Her husband, a pastor, participates with her and she has a circle of girlfriends (The Council) who help guide her, support her, participate in some cases, and give her “exemptions” from the rules when needed.  This book is a recounting of her journey through the 7 months. Back to the feeling of guilt.  After telling Julia one night, as we were chatting on Facebook, that I was halfway through the book she asked what I thought.  Here was the very first thing that came to mind, Easy to read. Makes me feel guilty in a good way; I think. We have been struggling this summer with excess and the book brings it home even more. Ever since I became certified in L.E.A.N. our family...
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