Category Archives: Cookbooks

Cookbook Review: The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas

The Make Ahead Kitchen

The Make-Ahead Kitchen by Annalise Thomas is, as its subtitle promises, 75 Slow-Cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle.

With most make-ahead cookbooks, there’s the tendency to automatically think cooking in bulk and making enough “freezer meals” for a month.  While there are some freezer meals, this lives up to its subtitle and includes plenty of slow-cooker meals and dishes that can be prepped in advance, with only a little oven time needed for finishing.

(Except if you’re in our house, where the oven isn’t quite working as well as it should.)

This is not an exclusively vegetarian cookbook, although there are a few recipes that meet that criteria. (There are more meat-based ones, though.)  It’s also not a gluten-free cookbook, although several recipes are either labeled gluten-free (GF) or gluten-free adaptable (GFA).

Categories include Breakfasts; Soups & Salads; Appetizers, Snacks & Sides; Main Dishes; Cookies & Bars; Desserts; and Drinks. I liked that the author included a brief introductory section.  So many cookbooks have pages and pages of lists of pantry ingredients, cooking techniques, etc. Many its me, but because I read a lot of cookbooks, I just find that type of information repetitive.  This one goes right into the recipes and I appreciated that.

The Breakfast section has breads, casserole-type egg bakes, cinnamon rolls and other pastries. The Roasted Veggie and Ham Overnight Egg Bake looks good. (I would, of course, eliminate the ham.)  It claims to not be “your usual carb-loaded egg bake full of bread and potatoes.”  Plus, it’s GF.

All of the soups and salads are GF or GFA. The Thick and Hearty Split Pea Soup (sans the ham hock) sounds delicious.  Vegetarian options include The Best Homemade Greek Salad (GF) and Tomato-Feta Pasta Salad (GFA). There’s a macaroni and cheese recipe that I think would be perfect for the non-GF members of my family, especially on nights that I have to work.

And in the cookies and bars section, there is a Fudgy Gluten-Free Dairy Free Brownie that looks scrumptious.

This is a very visually appealing cookbook, with gorgeous color photographs for every recipe. Nutritional information is absent, and most of the recipes look like they might be a bit higher on the carb count than I personally would prefer, but for the occasion when you need to prepare a dish in advance, The Make-Ahead Kitchen offers many possibilities.

The Make-Ahead Kitchen: 75 Slow-Cooker, Freezer, and Prepared Meals for the Busy Lifestyle
by Annalise Thomas
Front Table Books
151 pages

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #78 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project.

Thanks for sharing this post!

Cookbook Review: Carb-Conscious Vegetarian (71/99)

Carb Conscious Vegetarian

“The downfall of some vegetarian diets is a tendency to rely on white rice or pasta as the focus of the meal. After all, pasta and rice dishes can be quick, tasty, and economical. While it’s true that a little pasta or rice in moderation is harmless for most people, sometimes you can find yourself eating more refined carbs than anything else and ultimately putting on extra pounds — a telltale signal that it’s time to reevaluate what you’re eating.”  — Robin Robertson, Carb Conscious Vegetarian

This, in the proverbial nutshell, describes my approach to being vegetarian for two decades. Rice and (gluten-free) pasta are the mainstays of my go-to meals, and the former has definitely increased since going gluten-free several years ago.

Now, as I’ve mentioned in some very recent posts, I need to focus on reducing my carbs and lowering my cholesterol.  My triglyceride levels are in a super-high range and combined with the cholesterol numbers, I’m pretty sure statins are in my future.  Needless to say, I’m not pleased about any of this. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be many cookbooks that are gluten-free AND vegetarian AND low-carb AND low cholesterol. I feel like I need to create my own repertoire of recipes. Expect to hear more about all this in future posts.

So, I’m trying to embrace this and using the need for new recipes as justification for borrowing piles of cookbooks at a time from our library, which has a very extensive cookbook collection spanning every possible cuisine, device, food group, diet and lifestyle, etc. We’re very fortunate in that regard.

Carb Conscious Vegetarian by Robin Robertson seems to be a good place to start. It’s from 2005, and a bit on the basic side with no photographs, but these 150 recipes “contain no refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, sugar, or pasta.”  Recipes using soy (including vegetarian crumbles and burgers, tofu, and tempeh) are included. Robertson describes this as a “moderately low-carb/all good carb” cookbook and includes an extensive list of food items and the carb counts for specific amounts.  She also includes an explanation of the glycemic index, including the number for certain foods. Most of the recipes are either already gluten-free or easily modified to be GF.

Recipes I’m interested in trying (none of these have any cholesterol) include:

Guacamame  (9 g. carbs) – avocado with the addition of edamame

Summer Vegetable Bisque (14 g. carbs) – the creaminess of the bisque is accomplished by pureeing the vegetables and stock

Bountiful “Big Bowl” Chili (28 g. carbs)

Victory Garden Stew (23 g. carbs)

Tabbouleh-Style Quinoa Salad (28 g. carbs)

Sloppy Josephines (18 g. carbs) – a variation on Sloppy Joes, with a note that it tastes better the next day. This sounds like it would be good to make ahead and eat for an early dinner, particularly when we are going someplace where we are unsure of the vegetarian food options.

Rich Man’s Pesto (2 g. carbs)

Wintertime Spinach Pesto (2 g. carbs)

Creamy Cucumber-Dijon Dressing (2 g. carbs)

White Wine Vinegar and Fresh Herb Marinade – for grilled vegetables (2 g. carbs)

Spinach-Mushroom “Frittata” – egg free (10 g. carbs)

Carb Conscious Vegetarian: 150 Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle
Robin Robertson 
243 pages

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #71 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

Thanks for sharing this post!