Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vegan Everyday: 500 Delicious Recipes

Vegan Everyday
500 Delicious Recipes
by Douglas McNish

Paperback, 480 pages

It's a good time to be vegan. So much information is out there now, and many mainstream grocers and restaurants are recognizing the need to accommodate for specific diets and sensitivities. Same goes with being gluten-free. When we found out my daughter couldn't digest gluten several years ago - it was a lot more difficult to find options for her. 

But there is still the pervading concept that vegan and gluten-free diets can be onerous to cook for on a regular basis. You fell that you can't exactly cook on the fly like you used to. It requires some thinking and planning.

Vegan Everyday teaches you how to stock a vegan, gluten-free pantry - I like that the book really goes to town with herbs, spices, and assorted exciting flavourings. Something we should all be using.

With a well-stocked pantry and this collection of 500 simple and healthy recipes, you will be well on the way to healthier living. 

(I am a part-time vegan myself - whether you live it full time or just for a well-balanced lifestyle, this book will take the fear out and put the fun in!)  

Chapters Include:

The Vegan Gluten-Free Pantry
Juices, Smoothies and Non-dairy Milks
Sauces, Butters and Spreads
Snacks and Sides
Beans and Grains
Pasta and Noodles
Sautes and Stir-Fries
Soups, Stews, Chilies and More
Baked Goods 
Vegan Basics

Vanilla Chai Power Bars

Energy bars are a great item to keep on hand for snacking on the go, or enjoy them as a quick breakfast with a cold glass of Almond Milk.

•    8-inch (20 cm) square glass baking dish, lined with parchment

3 cups    puffed quinoa cereal     750 mL (see Tips)
1 cup    puffed millet    250 mL
2 tbsp    chia seeds    30 mL
1 tbsp    raw shelled hemp seeds    15 mL
1 cup    brown rice syrup    250 mL
1⁄4 cup    raw agave nectar    60 mL
1⁄2 tsp    ground cinnamon    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    ground cardamom    1 mL
1⁄4 tsp    ground ginger    1 mL
1⁄4 tsp    ground allspice    1 mL
1⁄4 tsp    organic vanilla powder     1 mL
1⁄8 tsp    ground cloves    0.5 mL

1.    In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, millet, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Add brown rice syrup and agave nectar and stir well. Stir in cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, vanilla and cloves.
2.    Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
3.    Using parchment liner, lift from pan. With a sharp knife, cut into 8 equal bars. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Puffed quinoa and millet are available in most well?stocked supermarkets and natural food stores.
This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled. Just adjust the size of the baking dish or use multiple dishes. You can freeze extra bars for up to 2 months.


Courtesy of Vegan Everyday by Doug McNish, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Singapore Summer Rolls

These simple fresh rolls are perfect for summertime entertaining.

4 cups    hot water    1 L
8    10-inch (25 cm) rice-paper wrappers (see Tips)  8
4 cups    shredded carrots    1 L
2 cups    finely sliced red bell peppers    500 mL
2 cups    finely sliced cucumbers (see Tips) 500 mL
1    bunch fresh mint leaves (see Tips)    1

1.    Place hot water in a heatproof bowl. Working with one wrapper at a time, submerge wrapper in hot water until pliable, about 30 seconds. Remove and pat dry. Lay wrapper flat on a clean work surface.
2.    In the middle of wrapper, place 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) carrot, 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) red pepper, 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cucumber and 5 or 6 mint leaves.
3.    Carefully fold bottom edge of wrapper over filling. Fold in sides and continue rolling up from the bottom, gently packing roll as you go. Press down firmly to ensure that roll holds together. Repeat with remaining wrappers and fillings. Serve immediately or cover with a damp paper towel, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Rice-paper wrappers are available in most well-stocked supermarkets and natural food stores.
Substitute an equal amount of finely sliced mango for the cucumbers, and fresh basil leaves for the mint.

Courtesy of Vegan Everyday by Doug McNish, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold

Chipotle Walnut Mushroom and Rice Burgers

These burgers are perfect for summer barbecues or get-togethers. I love serving them on a crusty bun with lettuce, tomato and pickles.

•    Food processor

5 cups    water    1.25 L
2 cups    short-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained    500 mL
1⁄4 cup    nutritional yeast (see Tips)    60 mL
1⁄2 tsp    fine sea salt, divided    2 mL
6 tbsp    grapeseed oil, divided    90 mL
1 cup    finely chopped onion    250 mL
6 to 8    cloves garlic, minced    6 to 8
3 cups    thinly sliced mushrooms (see Tips) 750 mL
2 tsp    chipotle powder    10 mL
1⁄2 cup    tomato purée    125 mL
4 cups    raw walnuts    1 L
1⁄4 cup    ground raw golden flax seeds    60 mL
    Burger trimmings, such as sliced tomato, onion, lettuce, optional
    Gluten-free hamburger buns, Optional

1.    In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water, rice, nutritional yeast and 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 50 minutes, until rice is tender and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Using a fork, fluff rice, then cover and set aside for 10 minutes to absorb any remaining liquid.
2.    In a skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp (45 mL) oil. Add onion and remaining salt and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add mushrooms and chipotle powder and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato purée and simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
3.    In food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine cooked rice, mushroom mixture and walnuts. Process until mostly smooth (small pieces of rice and walnut are fine).
4.    Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in ground flax seeds until well incorporated. Using a 1⁄2-cup (125 mL) measuring cup, divide mixture into 8 equal portions. With your hands, form into desired burger shape.
5.    In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) grapeseed oil. Cook burgers in batches, adding more oil as necessary, for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Alternatively, cook on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown, turning halfway through.
6.    Serve immediately, on buns with trimmings if desired, or transfer to an airtight container and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that has been grown on beet molasses and then pasteurized. It provides a rich, cheesy flavor in sauces, stews, soups and dips. Look for it in well?stocked supermarkets and natural food stores.
The quantity of garlic depends on the size of the cloves. If large, use the smaller number. If small, more may be required.
Choose portobello, cremini or white button mushrooms for this recipe. Their dense texture will give the burgers body.


Courtesy of Vegan Everyday by Doug McNish, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel

The Little Paris Bookshop
A Novel
by Nina George

Hardcover, 400 pages

I did not fall in love with this book right away.

I can't even tell you when I did. Certainly reasonably close to the start, but at least several pages in. I may have to go back and read the beginning again, now that I feel that I understand the book a little better. The magic of it. The absurdity and the poetry. The simplicity and satisfying gifts of the Odyssean journey of emotions for these strange characters.

It is a hard book to classify. And I don't think I have ever made so many notes on a novel before. I found myself reading quotes and paragraphs to people. Sometimes long distance.

There is no formula, no recognizable form. The author encourages writers to break the rules and forge their own paths.

And she definitely let the characters take their own paths. Do what they needed to do to heal. To forgive. To live.

Likely not everyone will love the book for what it is. But I did. I sure did.

The characters are mainly men but the tone is feminine. A tonic of a book.

From the Back Flap:

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

NINA GEORGE works as a journalist, writer, and storytelling teacher. She is the award winning author of 26 books, and also writes feature articles, short stories, and columns. The Little Paris Bookshop spent over a year on bestseller lists in Germany, and was a bestseller in Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. George is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Hamburg and in Brittany, France.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Wrong Man: A Novel of Suspense

The Wrong Man (430x648)
The Wrong Man
A Novel of Suspense
by Kate White
 Paperback: 336 pages 
• Harper Paperbacks; First Edition edition (June 16, 2015) 

A classic chiller that keeps you hooked and guessing from page to page.

I love a good mystery novel. I love it when they can grab me and keep me and fool me in an intelligent way, all while keeping me enthralled and entertained.

A good book that you feel compelled to bring everywhere you go and start reading at every opportunity. Like in the middle of a sailboat race, while the wind was resting. I might have gotten in trouble for taking my reading fixation that far, but I needed to know what was going on. That's the sign of a good book.

The only bad thing? Ending. When is the next one coming out?

Great book to take to the cottage this summer. Provided you keep a nightlight on, just in case.

From the Back Flap:

She wanted to be more daring, but one small risk is about to cost her everything­—maybe even her life. Bold and adventurous in her work as owner of one of Manhattan's boutique interior design firms, Kit Finn couldn't be tamer in her personal life. While on vacation in the Florida Keys, Kit resolves to do something risky for once. When she literally bumps into a charming stranger at her hotel, she decides to make good on her promise and act on her attraction. But back in New York, when Kit arrives at his luxury apartment ready to pick up where they left off in the Keys, she doesn't recognize the man standing on the other side of the door. Was this a cruel joke or part of something truly sinister? Kit soon realizes that she's been thrown into a treacherous plot, which is both deeper and deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Now the only way to protect herself, her business, and the people she loves is to find out the true identity of the man who has turned her life upside down. Adrenaline-charged and filled with harrowing twists at every turn, The Wrong Man will keep readers riveted until the final page. 

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About Kate White

Kate White, the former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of the stand-alone novels Hush, The Sixes, and Eyes on You, as well as the Bailey Weggins mystery series. She is editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She is also the author of popular career books for women, including I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve. Find out more about Kate at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Dehydrator Bible

The Dehydrator Bible
by Don Mercer, Jay Nutt, and Jennifer MacKenzie
Paperback, 368 Pages

Do you DIY? Likely at least somewhat. There is such a good feeling with making your own meals. And growing your own food. Even some herbs on the windowsill.

Next step is preserving your foods. Freezing, canning - and dehydrating!

Yes, I have a dehydrator. I am an appliance junkie. Earlier cultures used the sun and heat to preserve foods this way. I think I could make the leap with certain foods.

Not only does dehydrating preserve your foods, but it concentrates the flavours. Carrots turn watery in the canner - but a dehydrated carrot retains flavour. And can be used in the Zombie Apocalypse. Unlike whatever is in the now defunct freezer.

The Dehydrator Bible starts with a section on dehydrating foods. Which, once you get used to it - is pretty easy. Times and process are important and the authors are tops in their fields in food preparation.

There are 150 recipes for dehydrating foods and another 250 for using the dehydrated foods you have made!

More than just leather and jerky, which is what I generally made. Until now!

Whether for camping or hiking, or to stock your pantry with seasonal foods - you will love having dehydrating as part of your repertoire.

They even have a few dehydrator recipes for crafts!

From the Back Flap:

This 50,000-copies-sold bestseller on food dehydration has been updated!

Whether you grow your own food, buy it locally from farmer’s markets or farmstands or even buy it from a regular supermarket, seasonality still affects its price and abundance. Therefore, it makes sense to preserve food for those times when it’s not as plentiful, or not available at all. Drying food is a wonderfully tasty and easy way to do this.

All of the wonderful original recipes are still here. What has changed is that the “Dehydrating Foods” section has been expanded to include even more comprehensive and complete information about dehydrating foods, along with even more tips and techniques.

The book includes more than 150 recipes for dehydrating herbs and seasonings, fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, and more than 250 delicious recipes that actually use the dehydrated foods as ingredients so you can put home-preserved food to work for you in your home, RV, boat or campsite.

The easy-to-follow drying instructions and time guidelines will make even a novice cook feel like a seasoned professional in no time. So plant a few extra rows of tomatoes or beans, pick a heap of strawberries at their peak or buy that big basket of freshly harvested carrots. Then load up your dehydrator. You’ll be thrilled to be cooking with your own dried foods the whole year through!

Dehydrate your own foods and make this simple twist on trail mix. From scratch! 
There are recipes for every time of day, home or away.

GORP with a Twist

“Good Old Raisins and Peanuts” has come a long way since we were kids. Combine as many dried fruits and nuts as you like to get your favorite combination, and pack several bags to satisfy munchies on the go.

Makes about 31⁄2 cups (875 mL)

1⁄2 cup    dried cranberries    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    raisins    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped dried apricots    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped dried pineapple    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    salted peanuts    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    salted cashews or almonds    125 mL
1⁄4 cup    dried sweet or sour cherries    50 mL
1⁄4 cup    dried strawberry slices    50 mL
1⁄4 cup    toasted pumpkin seeds    50 mL

1.    In a sealable plastic bag or bags, combine cranberries, raisins, apricots, pineapple, peanuts, cashews, cherries, strawberries and pumpkin seeds. Seal and store at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Be sure to drink plenty of water when snacking on dried fruits. You need to replace the liquid you’d normally get from fresh fruit.

Courtesy of The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, Don Mercer 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.