Cookbook Review and Giveaway!

Cookbook Review and Giveaway!

 Nourished…The Art of Eating and Living Well

Maybe it is the heart shaped hands on the front of this cookbook or the title, Nourished, but the first time I saw it, I could sense the love infused in this cookbook. The author, Luna Paige Smith, did a beautiful job developing it. The photography is captivating and the recipes are unique, interesting and, well, “nourishing.” After eating gluten and dairy-free for over six years now, I am in dire need of recipe inspiration. Luna did a creative and loving job with her creations. I chose four recipes to try. Wild Arugula with Orange, Pecans and Shaved Fennel, page 72, Butternut Squash Tostada, page 108, Forbidden Black Rice, page 95, and for dessert, Mexican Chocolate Cherry Cookies (grain-free), page 142. She gave me permission to reprint the Forbidden Black Rice recipe which you will see at the end of this post.

Wild Arugula with Oranges, Pecans and Shaved Fennel

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A beautiful salad.

I love a creative salad. They have been my easy, “go to” lunch preference for a long time now. Luna creatively infuses these interesting textures, colors and flavors…wild arugula, oranges, pomegranate seeds, pecans, fennel and goat cheese. The salad is light, refreshing and packed with nutrients.

While reviewing some of the ingredients and techniques in this meal preparation, I will showcase some of the convenience food products and useful kitchen gadgets I used while assembling this delicious salad.

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Ready to use pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe’s

Pomegranate is one of our favorite fruits. When I was young, my mother referred them as “Indian apples.” I’m not sure of the history of this reference but I always loved them and they are one of the fruits that Sammy is allowed to have on the Feingold diet. While I do still love them, I am no longer fond of de-seeding pomegranates (although I enjoyed it as a child) so I buy these ready to use seeds from Trader Joe’s. Costco also carries these on occasion.

IMG_1084While I prefer to use food as close to its natural form as possible, there are some cooking tasks such as peeling and chopping shallots or garlic that I would rather defer to a convenience product. While I did use a regular shallot for this recipe, I would not feel bad using a jar version below. It can save a ton of time.

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IMG_1080For the salad dressing, I used my favorite olive oil, Stonehouse California Olive Oil (House Blend). I buy it at either the Ferry Building in San Francisco or at the Danville Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. I prefer an olive oil that is buttery with a mild fruity taste rather than a peppery, spicy flavor. The flavor of your olive oil will drastically affect the flavor of your dressing so choose carefully. I also suggest using an organic cold pressed oil and be sure to not use it for cooking. Olive oil has a low smoking point and should be used for non-cooked foods such as salads. Good cooking oil choices are tea seed, rice bran, red palm and coconut.

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Love my citrus squeezer!

Here’s another one of my favorite kitchen gadgets…my citrus juicers (I have both the orange and lemon version). They are super simple to use, clean up and they do a great job squeezing the last bit of juice from the fruit. I purchased mine at Sur la Table.

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Fennel Bulb

I’ve always been intrigued by fennel since I love the taste and smell of licorice. I was happy to see the arugula recipe includes fennel. It gave me the chance to work with fennel. It is a good source of niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and a very good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese.

I was a little nervous about handling fennel for the first time but it turned out easy to prepare. I quartered the bulbs and then sliced it paper thin on my small mandolin. I like this little tool by Pampered Chef. Of course, I love my full size mandolin too but this smaller version is super easy to assemble, use and clean up. I use it often. Please note that I recommend slicing the fennel as thin as you can get it.

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Cutting paper-thin fennel slices with my Pampered Chef slicer

IMG_1105The assembled salad…beautiful and delicious.

 Butternut Squash Tostada

IMG_1154This recipe looked intriguing to me. It’s a vegan tostada. The topping is made with seasoned butternut squash using cumin and chili powder and topped with goat cheese, chives and pumpkin seeds.

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The butternut squash simmering with the spices.

For this recipe I used prepared butternut squash sold pre-cubed in a package…super easy. I have to comment that the aroma this dish produced was intoxicating.

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My Zyliss cheese grater…another one of my favorite gadgets.

I also really like this cheese grater by Zyliss. I bought a good quality goat cheddar cheese for this recipe and am glad I did. It was awesome. Be sure to top the tostada with a good quantity of cheese. It really made this recipe.

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Chopping the chives

Another indispensable kitchen tool is a good quality knife. It makes a huge difference and speeds chopping tremendously. I have an expensive knife by Zwillling J.A. Henckels and then a reasonably priced chef’s knife by Victorinox. Be sure to keep them sharpened. It makes a HUGE difference in the performance.

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Steaming hot out of the oven…very tasty and unique!

This dish was very interesting and different. I sprinkled the goat cheese lightly not using the full amount Luna indicated. Next time I will use the full amount as it offered a deep complexity to the dish that I enjoyed.

It’s coincidental that this cookbook features a recipe using black forbidden rice. I recently bought a bag of the Lotus brand black rice at a local grocer but wasn’t sure how to make it look palatable. Luna did a great job with this. She used bright color vegetables such as red peppers (I also added yellow bell peppers), green onions and sweet potato cubes in this dish as a beautiful color contrast against the black rice. This dish is fabulous and resembles a piece of artwork. It was served at a recent retreat that I attended with Melinda Dennis in Santa Barbara called Delete the Wheat. Everyone remarked about the dish and how fabulous it tasted.

Mexican Chocolate Cherry Cookies (grain-free)

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In the words of the author, “Scrumdiddleyumptuous!”

This is one of the best grain-free cookies I’ve had. Please be sure you try this recipe. You will not be disappointed.

IMG_1164Only almond flour is used in this grain-free cookie. Be sure to use a brand that is reliably gluten-free such as Bob’s Red Mill and store it in the refrigerator or freezer as nuts go rancid quickly.

My favorite raw cocao powder (pronounced, "ka-cow")

My favorite raw cocao powder (pronounced, “ka-cow”)

Another fabulous ingredient used in this recipe, raw cacao powder.

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My favorite coconut oil by Omega Nutrition. It’s aroma free.

This recipe calls for coconut oil. I buy this coconut oil by the gallon bucket (seriously). We love it. It’s aroma-free which is nice if you don’t want the smell or taste of coconut in a particular recipe. You can order it online.

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When choosing maple syrup for the recipe, be sure to use organic, grade B for optimum nutritional value.

IMG_1179I used Enjoy Life mega chunks in this recipe but you can use regular chocolate chips by Enjoy Life. Enjoy Life brand chips are gluten, dairy, nut and soy-free.

cherries

For the dried cherries, I used organic and chopped them pretty small. I prefer smaller pieces of cherry in my cookie.

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Cooling on the rack…but not for long. These cookies are yummy!

Recipe is being revised – coming soon!

 

I give this cookbook and the recipes I tried a thumbs up review!

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Luna is offering a cookbook giveaway for my blog followers. To enter, “like” both of us on Facebook and sign up to follow our blogs. Once you’ve done this, email me at kim@thrivinggf.com and I will enter you in the drawing. I will draw for the winner on May 10, 2013. Good luck!

Luna’s Blog        Luna’s Facebook        My Facebook      My Blog

 

Disclaimer: It is required that I indicate to my readers when a product has been offered for review at no charge. I will always do this. Please be assured that whether the product is bought by me or given to me, I will always give you my honest and unbiased opinion of the product. In this instance, I bought this cookbook from Amazon.com. The author is offering a book, at no charge, to be given away to one lucky winner. It will ship from her address. Thank you for being a loyal follower of my blog, thrivinggf.com.

One Comment

  1. Hi Kim.

    I am interested in the drawing. This cookbook and Luna’s website both seem to embody a world of health, beauty, nature and wholesomeness which is so appealing to me. I’ve already signed up for your blog, but didn’t see a way to sign up for Luna’s on her website. I’m also not on Facebook (gasp) and can’t like the book there. Not sure if I can still be in the drawing or not, but I would love to be included.

    Thanks,
    Julie B.

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