In my new series, “Sound Recipes,” I will review a cookbook from my collection and share the top, most “sound” recipes from the book that have become staples in my kitchen. You can expect to see a post in this series between 1-3 times a year.
I love cookbooks. There’s something about flipping through pages of a beautiful cookbook that makes the prospect of cooking satisfying food every day more viable. Especially ones with glossy pages that aren’t too cumbersome to hold and have LOTS of photos.
Despite the fact that I love cookbooks, I’m careful not to purchase too many. Because I like to suck the life out of each one (make as many of the recipes as possible), if I get too many, it makes me feel like the possibility of making everything I want much less attainable.
I often start a cookbook, use it for a month or two then get bored and stop for several months. A year later, I return to it, remake some of the recipes I liked the first time (to confirm I still like them), then finish making everything else that appeals to me.
I always make notes directly on the pages of the cookbook including when I made it, how much I liked the recipe, if I would do it again, and any points to note for the next time.
This book, although not my favorite, just happened to be the one I came back to this summer because it’s healthy food. I always feel a little more inspired to eat healthy in the summer.
Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets contains six sections and 120 recipes:
- Breakfast (14 recipes)
- Juices & Smoothies (11 recipes)
- Lunch (34 recipes)
- Snacks (14 recipes)
- Dinner (31 recipes)
- Dessert (16 recipes)
What I like about this book
- I find inspiration and rejuvenation in reading about what others do to stay healthy. There are several pages throughout the book where Giada shares little tips and tricks she incorporates into her daily life and mindset that helps her live a little “healthier.” Several of her tips have become staples including a homemade face scrub using a mixture of brown rice flour and olive oil.
- The recipes all contain nutrition information as well as labels for recipes that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- I love that there are several snack recipes. Healthy snacks are often overlooked, and yet in our day-to-day lives, they’re often the hardest to keep healthy!
- The layout is very clean, simple, and the photos are lovely.
What I don’t like about this book
- There are a few recipes that make me go “seriously, can you call this a recipe?” For example, the buckwheat pancake recipe calls for an egg, buckwheat pancake mix(!), oil, and maple syrup. Hmm, isn’t that pretty much the recipe you get on the back of the pancake mix save the maple syrup? The same goes for Oatmeal with Olive Oil and Oatmeal with Cinnamon Sugar. Besides the suggestion to use almond milk, I wouldn’t call these recipes.
- There are a few ingredients that I can’t easily obtain such as bulgur wheat, wheat berries, whole-wheat pearl couscous, and halibut. However, considering the scope of the book, it’s not extreme.
- There is a lot of redundancy of ingredients which can be boring.
- 23 of the 31 dinner recipes are seafood or vegetarian. For me, this is negative just because I’m not a huge seafood lover nor is seafood readily available where I live. It’s not that I hate seafood, it’s just not my first choice. I’m not opposed to vegetarian food on occasion, but protein is important for us to have on our dinner table. You’ll see below I didn’t find many main dishes in this book because of it.
- There is a 30-day meal plan at the front of the book but I personally never find use in these types of plans.
Now the best part!
Here are my top 15 recipe choices that will become staples in my recipe toolbox.
: Orange-Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins. These. Muffins. Are. Awesome. I’ve already made them several times.
: Almond Butter Strawberry Toast. So simple and yet so tasty. That’s the best kind of food. I love to slice the strawberries quite thin and fan them out on the toast.
Juices & Smoothies
I’m not a juicer nor am I overly crazy about drinking a daily smoothie, so I didn’t get much out of this section. I tried a couple of the smoothies such as the Banana, Walnut, and Date Smoothie and did not like them at all.
: Detox Broth. This is like chicken stock, but with cloves and cinnamon added, gives the broth just enough sweetness that makes it much more lovely to drink than traditional chicken broth. It’s perfect to keep in the freezer for the day after you’ve eaten lots of heavy food or when feeling under the weather.
: Farfalle with Chicken, Cremini Mushrooms, and Swiss Chard. My husband wasn’t crazy about the farfalle pasta simply because it can be tricky to eat. They’re slippery! Fork or spoon? Otherwise, this had great flavor. I’m always looking for tasty recipes with swiss chard or other greens, and this is a great one. *Note: The recipe listed on Food Network says to use 1 lb dried porcini mushrooms but the recipe in the books says 1 pound cremini mushrooms (which are lucikly cheaper than dried porcini!)
: Turkey, Kale, and Brown Rice Soup. Yum. Just Yum. A staple soup for sure. *Again, note that the recipe listed on Food Network says to use 4 cups chicken stock, but the recipe in the book says 5 cups. This will not affect flavor, just overall volume! 🙂
: Wheat Berries with Strawberries. This was different. It was the first time I had eaten wheat berries. Mixed with strawberries and goat cheese, it had a sweet/zingy flavor. Serve alongside grilled chicken breast.
: Soba Noodle Salad. Love, love, love this – so tasty.
: Roasted Red Pepper Hummus in Cucumber Cups. Good, easy, healthy finger-food.
: Crispy Chickpeas. This is one of those “seriously, is this really-a-recipe”-recipe? But it makes the perfect simple, crunchy and healthy snack.
: California Turkey Chili. This had a little different flavor than the traditional chili we are used to, but I would make it again.
: Pork Tenderloin with Honey-Mustard Sauce. Good. I made a note that I should consider pureeing the sauce.
: Chocolate Fig Bites. My husband loved these, as did I. It calls for vegan chocolate chips but since those aren’t easy for me to find (nor do I care to use vegan chocolate chips), I just used regular dark chocolate. They are the perfect small sweet treat.
: Spiced Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies. I love baking cookies. I get it from my mom. These are really tasty, and I especially love the raw sugar.
: Blueberry Banana Muffins. Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast foods to make on Saturday mornings. These use brown rice flour and are sweetened with maple syrup. There’s no sugar or flour!
: Chocolate Blueberry Brownies. I made these for a get-together at a friends house, and they were quite the hit. While it was obvious they weren’t traditional brownies, they passed the taste test for a healthy substitute. I ended up using a lot of bowls in the process of making this recipe though so read the recipe completely and think through the steps and how many bowls needed prior! LOL. Unfortunately, I could not find the recipe online so if you want to check it out, you will have to purchase the book!
As I was searching for the last recipe online, I came across another review of this book. I was pleased to see they had similar thoughts and opinions! You may check out this review as well before purchasing.
Otherwise, you may want to purchase this book if:
- You’re looking to clean up your eating.
- You have a juicer and love juicing and having smoothies for breakfast.
- You eat vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or dairy free.
Does anyone already have this book? If so, what’s your favorite recipe?
If not, which recipe above intrigues you the most and makes you want to run to the store for ingredients now?!