One of my favorite things in the world to do is to sit down with a cookbook and a mug of tea and read it from cover to cover like a novel. I realize that most people probably think this is a strange hobby, but I love it. I learn so much about different cooking techniques, interesting ingredients, great equipment as well as travel diaries and life stories from reading cookbooks. I generally try and check cookbooks out from my local library, and if I try a few recipes and they are winners, I usually will buy it. I have dozens of cookbooks, but secretly harbor a burning desire to have an Ina Garten level cookbook library one day. Therefore, I’m always looking for the next good one to hit the shelves.
I once read about a group of women who had a “cookbook club” instead of the more traditional “book club”, and every month they selected a new cookbook to read and review. Each member would then make a different dish from the book and at their monthly meeting they would have a potluck supper of sorts. I thought this idea was brilliant, and have since been scanning Meetup.com for anyone else in the Charlotte area that would share my enthusiasm. So far, I have found a Twilight lovers book club, which I may very well have joined about 5 years ago, a comic book book club, but no cookbook club (if you live in Charlotte and want to try this, write me please!). So, I decided I would have my own online cookbook club where every month, I choose a book, chat about it, and cook a dish to show you. Hopefully it will inspire you to expand your cookbook collection, and if nothing else, I love a good reason to get a new cookbook every month.
So with that, let’s get to January’s pick.
I chose Angela Liddon’s book “Oh She Glows Everyday”. This book was an easy choice for me because I haven’t had it very long and it’s already an old favorite. When I don’t know what to make for dinner, I pull this one off the shelf. I had this book on my Amazon pre-order list for what felt like years before I finally got it in the mail. I also own Angela’s first book, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, which is equally as fabulous.
What I like most:
Her recipes are clear, concise, and well thought out. Angela cooks exclusively plant-based, but does it with whole foods in a healthy manner. I’m not sure what more you could want. Plus, her photographs are amazing, and the food comes out looking like the pictures, which let’s be honest, does not happen that often.
Yes, yes, yes. My family eats mainly a whole food, vegetarian diet, which is where all of her recipes fall. Angela uses mainly maple syrup as her sweetener, which I love, and healthy fat sources such as coconut oil and avocado. She uses a wide variety of grains and legumes throughout her recipes and most are heavily concentrated around vegetables. I also love that she has tons of recipes for kitchen staples, because I like making whatever I can from scratch. She also gives a great ingredient breakdown at the back of the book and gives tips on how to select and store these ingredients. Nothing new for me, but if you are learning about quality and nutritious foods, this is very helpful!
Definitely! Angela has two young kids of her own so she knows any time spent in the kitchen had better feed the whole family. All of her recipes are foods I would happily serve my kids without wondering if they were going to have a meltdown. I do not believe in a kid’s menu and my kids always eat whatever the adults are eating, but it’s nice when a cookbook author thinks about how ingredients or presentation will go over with kids.
Borrow or buy:
It never even crossed my mind to borrow this one from the library, as I knew I would cook from it often. It is very reasonably priced at $15 on Amazon at the time I’m writing this post. Definitely a keeper for the shelf.
Very. Angela writes chapter introductions and head notes for all of her recipes, which are a pleasure to read and really add a lot to the book. You feel like you are chatting with a friend over coffee about what to make for dinner.
What I made:
I couldn’t just pick one here! I decided to make her 6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup with her Garlic Bread Croutons and her Crowd-Pleasing Caesar Salad on the side (or in my case, front and center in the middle, I love a good salad). If January isn’t a soup and salad month, I don’t know what is. This soup is a family favorite, it is slightly reminiscent of broccoli cheddar soup, and gets its cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast, an ingredient that I love.
Sometimes kids can be fussy about the texture of pureed soups, so to combat this problem I usually cook some whole wheat pasta noodles, such as macaroni or small shells, and mix them in with the soup. My kids loved it like this, and I gave them some of the croutons on the side. They also each ate some of the salad, I put a little into small bowls and cut it very, very small. The salad does have raw kale, which can be tricky for little teeth if you don’t shred it. That said, the salad is one of my all time favorites, the chickpea croutons are genius as they add a good dose of protein to the salad while feeling like a crouton. This was a winner dinner all around.
*Note: I can’t reprint the actual recipes here without breaking some serious copyright laws, so these posts are not intended to give you actual recipes, just inspiration!