Title: Deliciously Holistic: Inspired Favorites
Author: Valerie Penz
This cookbook explores how to make enticing, interesting meals that are packed with nutrients without being complicated, expensive, or filled with dairy, gluten, corn, or refined sugars. With over 5 dozen recipes, the author offers a variety to choose from, with every recipe including a short snippet from the author about the recipe’s history, practicality, or purpose.
The author’s tone is gentle, welcoming, and very personal, as she shares stories about the recipes that touch on how she grew up and came to her holistic eating philosophy. There is no pressure to follow any particular diet, though the idea of holistic eating is presented throughout the book and additional resources are offered at the end as a place to start studying more.
Instead, the focus is on taking a step, even a small step, toward improved nutrition and eating the things that will help one’s body get the nutrients it needs.The author indicates that such a step can be possible without sacrificing taste or giving up the things one enjoys, and she uses her experience from her holistic cooking classes and the cookbook itself to back up her argument.
The recipes themselves are surprisingly traditional, with classic offerings like banana bread, biscuits, tacos, lasagna, pot roast, artichoke dip, and even brownies given a holistic twist. The instructions are direct and straightforward, and every recipe has a full page image to go with it, showing in great detail just what a person can expect after putting in the extra effort to eat well.
Some of the ingredient combinations may seem a little unusual, but the fact that the author’s recipes have received acclaim in her community and even won a baking award further bolster the enticing nature of the images, tempting us to step outside typical cooking-and-eating confines and try something new.
The book could use a little more editorial polish, as there are spots when the wrong word is used or extra words are left in, but these primarily affect the vignettes at the beginning of the recipes or at the bottom of the pages rather than the recipes themselves. The ingredient list is separate, making shopping easy, and standard baking measurements are used, eliminating the need for a baking scale or any unusual equipment.
The cookbook includes both a recipe index and an index by ingredient, offering organization simplicity when it comes to finding a dish to make. Some cooks might prefer the recipe instructions to be broken into more paragraphs, though, as the paragraphs tend to include more than one instruction, which could make it harder to find one’s place again when returning to the recipe in the middle of making something.
Encouraging in tone and outlook and beautifully laid out, this cookbook will inspire readers who enjoy cooking and eating, offering something for everyone, no matter their diet. With a wide range of offerings and simple, clear instructions, the author provides a tool that is a joy to read as well as a valuable nutritional and cooking resource.
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