cookbook

Book Review! Satisfying Eats by Melissa Monroe McGehee


Satisfying Eats: Grain Free, Sugar Free & Hunger Free CookbookA couple of weeks ago I saw a post from a fellow cookbook author, Melissa Monroe McGehee, asking if any fellow authors or restauranteurs would have time to help her out by doing a review of her book, “Satisfying Eats : Grain Free, Sugar Free & Hunger Free Cookbook” – this was an offer I took up readily! Any chance to go through a whole bunch of recipes and share my opinions with my fellow health- & food-fanatics is always greatly received.

I had already purchased Melissa’s book last December so I was familiar with the content but hadn’t studied it with the thought that was needed to write a complete review, so I started at the beginning again, and turned page after page, taking in Melissa’s reasoning for gravitating towards a grain-free and sugar-free existence, her inspiration for going down this route and of course the many recipes in the book. So let me share with you what I found in this wonderfully thought out book.

First of all, the full title of Melissa’s book is “Satisfying Eats: Grain Free, Sugar Free & Hunger Free Cookbook”. This pretty much gives away the premise of the book – to provide recipes that are free from all grains and added sugar, that are satisfyingly tasty and do not leave you hungry. Ok, so I like the idea of not going hungry and I certainly want to be satisfied by my food, meaning I will not want or need to snack my way through the rest of the day. Sounds good. But why grain free and sugar free? This is where Melissa’s story and introduction comes in.

Wheat Belly bookMelissa had often struggled with her weight and suffered from long-lasting migraine headaches with her first pregnancy. One day she stumbled upon the book “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. Some of you may be familiar with this book, it explains the concept that wheat and other types of grain bring about terrible inflammation in our digestive system, leaving us bloated, carrying extra fat and less able to absorb nutrients from the other foods that we eat. By eliminating grains from the diet, it is thought that we may more easily stabilise blood sugar levels throughout the day, have better sleep and improved mood, have less bloating and quite importantly have less belly fat. We all want that, right?!

Baby Boy (more…)

December Special!


So how many of you are starting to think what you might give as a gift for your friends and family this year? How many of you have friends or family that love a good cookery book? How many of you wish your loved ones were just that bit healthier in their food choices and had a little more education when it came to this area? Well, I’m here today to offer you my solution to your problems – Easy Tasty Clean – my e-book with an introduction to clean eating, chapters on the basics of nutrition and how our bodies use what we eat, and about the ingredients used in the book, with 60 great CLEAN recipes, perfect for tightening up your diet after the festivities have ended! And the best bit – I’m offering it AT A REDUCED PRICE!

Yes, for the whole of December I will be offering around a 20% discount on the book, so that should give you even more incentive to invest a little in the health of your nearest & dearest. Or even buy yourself a copy if you haven’t already! The discounted prices are available on the website NOW!
Santa Gives Easy Tasty Clean

 

And if that’s not enough, I can even play Santa for you! If you would like a lovely seasonal email sent to your gift-recipient on Christmas Day (or any other day of your choice), then instead of buying the book through the website, just email me via the contact form on the website (www.easytastyclean.com) and I will send you an individual Paypal invoice for the book. Once I have received payment I will then put you down for one of my special Santa emails, which will tell your lucky friend/family member that you have bought them a copy of Easy Tasty Clean, and will contain a link to download the book and it’s companion ‘Just The Recipes’. The email can be personalised with your own message too, if you would like. Full instructions are provided on the website.

I hope that makes sense!

So that’s all from me today, have a think if you know anyone who could do with a bit of a helping hand in the kitchen department with some healthier recipes… let’s make 2013 the year for health!

I’m ready to get the festivities rolling! Are you?

Janice.

Spreading the Word


Easy Tasty Clean is 2 weeks old! Seems a little crazy to celebrate, right?! But it honestly I feel like the idea behind the book is catching on and the word is spreading amongst like-minded people, so that’s nice.

Today I had my first online review of the book published, courtesy of Linzi Barrow at Lancashire Food Blog. She not only reviewed the book but chose to cook the Stuffed Walnut-Topped Mushrooms from the book, which she said she loved as they were a great snack meal and she served them with steamed homegrown green beans. Click on the LF logo to read the review. And for those overseas who are wondering what ‘Lancashire’ is – it’s the English county I live in! It covers an area of about 50 miles by 30 miles and includes places such as Preston and Lancaster, and is not far from Manchester.

So with that review under my belt I was excited to be asked by a different blogger (a fellow health & fitness addict!) if I would like to be interviewed and the book featured on her blog. The owner of the blog is actually a proper real life reporter, appearing on NBC in America and various other channels, so I expect the sort of questions she might ask to be quite probing and I’m looking forward to seeing how that one turns out! Stay tuned!

Today I want to share something with you that I put up on my Facebook page a few days ago, it’s the big blue sign on the right here.

I created this sign after being asked for some diet advice by someone I know through Facebook. This person sent me a sample of their daily food and asked what could they do to improve things and lose a few pounds. So of course I pointed out the sugar that was included in a couple of things and saw that some carbs might need to be added earlier in the day to avoid the fatigue and cravings later on, but the main thing I noticed was that there was hardly any fat in the foods being consumed. This got me thinking about how I used to view fats. All we hear on television and in magazines is that we need a low fat diet.

Only eat low fat products.

Cut out fat and you’ll lose weight.

Eating fat will make you fat.

And I suddenly realised that although it’s obvious to me now that these statements are far from being wholly true, maybe there’s a whole section of the population that only hear what they’re told and are literally avoiding ALL fat. So this is what I posted onto Facebook, in an attempt to dispel a couple of these myths:

Who is afraid of the ‘F’ word – FAT??? You shouldn’t be! Fat is essential to our bodies to ensure proper function and when taken in the right quantities can provide us with energy, keep our minds in tip-top condition, reduce our blood pressure and keep our skin and hair full of life. But it is the healthy, unsaturated fats such as olive oil or nut & seed oils that we need to consume, rather than the saturated fats such as butter. So yes, if you eat too much fat, even healthy fat, this will contribute to weight problems, but similarly if we don’t eat enough fat then we are not providing our bodies with enough of the essential fatty acids it needs to function properly. As a guide, we should eat around 35% of daily calories from fat. Healthy fat. That’s around 20% of our diet by weight. So don’t be afraid to add a little olive oil to your salads or have a handful or walnuts or almonds as a snack, and make sure you consume two portions of oily fish per week, to keep your motor running smoothly!

I hope reading the above helps even one person here. Hands up if you learnt even one little thing.
Interestingly, one of the replies to this post correctly pointed out that so-called low-fat products in the supermarkets are inevitably full of sugar. But the marketing people conveniently forget to tell us this. It shows how irresponsible the food industry can be and only proper education can help us successfully navigate the supermarket shelves in today’s society. Ok, end of lecture 😉
So the title of the post is ‘Spreading the Word’, and that’s what I’d like you all to do now. If you have purchased the ‘Easy Tasty Clean’ book and have enjoyed it, or if you just like reading this blog, please share. Tell your friends, put it on your Facebook, point them in the right direction and let’s get people eating healthier and living the lives they deserve. I will be adding more educational posts in the near future.
Have a great, healthy week everyone.
Janice.

And The Winner Is…


Ten days ago I asked for volunteers to test recipes from my new book, Easy Tasty Clean. You did not disappoint me and many applied for a recipe. I decided to send one out to everyone who applied in the end, after all, where else was I going to find a better opinion on my recipes than from the general public all across the world? So, 18 recipes went out, and I’m pleased to say I have had almost all of the reviews back so thank you to all for taking the time to cook and write up your experiences! The best part is that EVERYONE loved their recipe, all had excellent things to say about the page layouts, the photography, the nutritional information and the instructions. This is what I call a success!

And so now, I have the task of picking a winner out of the hat, to receive a free copy of the book on the day it is released. But, not having a random email picker, I decided to revert to a slightly lesser known method of letting the cat choose from a set of names printed on bits of paper…

and the one she picked up in her mouth and ran off with was…..

Well done to Jennifer B, you will receive an email on Saturday 1st September with a link to download your eBook!

And yes you all read that right, the book will be on sale from Saturday 1st September!!!

Next time I’ll tell you where you can get your hands on a copy and anything else you need to know! So ask away, what else DO you want to know??

Janice.

Loving It!


Last night I came to a realisation… I have just made myself a cookbook that I absolutely LOVE! And I don’t mean that in the way it sounds – I’m not bragging about its beauty, its design or the sheer number of pages, recipes and photographs inside, I mean I love it because I now have a cookbook that I love ALL the recipes in, and it is already becoming my go-to place when deciding what to make for dinner.

Take last night, now that I have ALMOST finished cooking for the book, I got to do something rare – make whatever I wanted and NOT photograph it, and best of all NOT eat it luke warm! So I was like a child in a toyshop, flicking through all the great recipes, seeing which one took my fancy, and it turned out that Thai Style Prawns was my dish of choice! It’s quite a while since I cooked it for the book and back even then I remember running around the house declaring how amazing the taste was, so it was nice to be able to make it for myself again, and sit down and enjoy it HOT! And it didn’t disappoint. In fact I shall be having the same thing again tonight it was so good.

So you see, getting together this collection of clean-eating recipes has been not only something for others to enjoy, but for me to enjoy too! Love it.

Caribbean Style ChickenAnyway, on to what should have been the main topic today (sorry about the distraction above!), my testers have been testing my recipes out and have started to come back to me with reviews…  and the good news is… everyone has loved what they have made up to now! Here are some of my lovely testers’ thoughts on their selected recipes:

  • Tania M made my Caribbean Style Chicken and said, “just made your meal and OMG…..so amazingly delicious!!!!! I am not a very good cook at all but this turned out so good and looked like it was straight from a gourmet resteraunt!! This is definitely going in my binder of recipes to have again!!”
  • Nancy B tried the Vegetarian Curry and said, “it was quite delicious! I am a decent cook but get stuck in a rut and don’t try new recipes or use a lot of spice – probably why I have gotten a little bored with my clean eating :0) I LOVED all the flavor in the recipe!”
  • Nikki T sampled the Apple Spiced Breakfast Bake and said, “This was really easy to make and smelt and tasted great. I loved the look of the recipe, everything was set out well and easy on the eye. I will definitely be making this recipe again. I was really impressed with the layout, I work for a book publishers so was impressed with how professional it looked, many ebooks such as these can look quite basic. The photographs looked great, the food looked very appetising and immediately made you want to make it. It smelt gorgeous when I got it out of the oven, I loved the texture – it was just like bread pudding.”
  • Shannon M cooked the Frittata with Cottage Cheese and reported, “I loved it. It was absolutely delicious. It was so easy to make and I loved that it has such a high protein content because as a vegetarian those dishes are hard to find without consuming a ton of carbs along with it. It’s a very versatile dish as well, the fact that it can be whipped up in short order for any meal of the day means it’s going to become a staple for sure. The photographs are gorgeous and the food looks so yummy. I love the colors that you’ve chosen, the layout and the style. It looks fantastic. I love that I can see the actual dish while I am prepping my own, that’s great. Nutritional information was awesome, I could see what I was going to be consuming and there was no guilt whatsoever! The finished dish didn’t taste at all like “health-food” as you know some healthy recipes can be terribly bland. I also love that this dish can be breakfast, lunch or dinner!”
  • Sarah Z made the Vanilla Protein Pancakes and said, “I have to say this was one of ‘THE’ best protein pancakes I have tasted and I have tried a few. I find with some recipes they leave you with this rubbery, plastic tasting pancake but was quite surprised that these tasted so good and that the portion was quite big so it was a good breakfast that certainly didn’t leave me hungry. I found the instructions were clear and precise, I also liked for the nutritional breakdown. The other good thing I liked about the recipe is the nutritional content is very balanced and included a good fat with the coconut oil. The pie chart is an added bonus for the those people who like a pictorial sample of the nutritional breakdown, and also the added bonus of a picture of the final product. All in all I found this recipe easy to follow, very tasty and I will certainly be making it again.”

I have a few more reviews in but I don’t want to bombard you with them all right now, let’s just say I’m a very happy girl with what I’m hearing back from people. I’ve got lots of confidence that anyone buying the book will find plenty things they like that will hopefully become some of their favourite go-to clean-eating dishes. That’s all I wanted when I started this.

I am still waiting on a few reviews to come back, so anyone who hasn’t sent their review in, please try to get it to my by the end of Wednesday, as I will make the draw for the free book on Thursday out of all those who sent their reviews in. I will contact the winner by email before announcing the result on here next weekend. Get cooking!!!

Next time I also hope to nail down a release date for the book, I’m just waiting on a few important things happening (including me finishing the book, ha ha!) and then I can set that date!

Janice.

When to Stop / Book Up For Grabs


Good day everyone, the start of another working week for most, and life without the Olympics – what will we do now that’s over? I guess we must move on and find something else to keep our interest going!

I haven’t watched too much of the games but I’ve caught all the important moments, many of them involving Team GB winning gold medals, which is amazing. So well done them. Shame Usain Bolt didn’t break the 100m or 200m world records but we all know he could if he tried 😉 It was fun to watch anyway.

So the finish line has passed for the Olympians, mine is still somewhere in the distance in terms of getting my Easy Tasty Clean book out there for general consumption. The question is… when to stop? Without counting, I’m guessing I have about 50 recipes in the book now, breakfasts, main meals, savoury snacks & sweet snacks, they’re all there in glorious technicolour. Originally I was aiming for 40 recipes, and when I discovered I’d already got to 45 I thought, well, 50 sounds like a good number. When I’m flicking through the pages I find myself thinking, wow, how on earth have I got to this point, it’s a LOT of stuff! So I feel proud of what I’ve achieved in a relatively short space of time, but how do I know when to stop?

I think that now my targetted release date is getting closer I’m starting to think more about what you people who will (hopefully!) download it will think of it. Are there enough recipes? Is there enough variety? What if people don’t like the taste? Have I catered for Vegetarians enough? As you can see, in my head the panic has slightly set in! I know I can’t please absolutely everyone all of the time but public opinion does matter to me, after all it’s your comments that will either spur other people on to get the book for themselves, or you could totally put people off from one bad comment. That’s not to say I want false praise, that’s almost as bad, but I just want it to be well received and liked by many. I have these little moments of panic every now and again but I know it will pass. Once I go over the pages of the book again I will feel more secure in the knowledge that I have cooked, photographed, tasted and written every single recipe in the book, and nothing is photoshopped to make it look better than it will when you make it, it’s all real.

BUT in the spirit of wanting things to be perfect, I am looking for 8-10 volunteers to try out some recipes for me, so if you’re up for it send an email to janice@easytastyclean.com and let me know whether you’d like to try a breakfast, savoury snack, sweet snack or main meal out for me. The first 6 will get their pick of dish to make and I will expect you to make it and send me back a little review within 7 days (no pressure!). I’m not looking for literary genius, just an honest opinion. Tell me if there’s any ingredients you can’t have. Obviously the information I send is completely confidential so I don’t expect it to be shared around freely thank you very much!! Oh, and one of the lucky ‘reviewers’, randomly picked out of a virtual hat, will get a free copy of the book the day it’s released. Sound good? Email me!

Speaking of sharing around… after speaking with another friend who is releasing her eBook very soon, I realise I need to get mine copyrighted, to prevent the contents being ‘borrowed’ by others, so this will be done the moment the final word is added to the book. It won’t affect the release date though.

In other news, I have taken on (yet another) challenge – starting September 1st I will be following Nancy Reinhardt’s month-long Challenge! I have taken my ‘before’ pictures so there’s no going back now, hee hee. The challenge involves a free weights program with some cardio and will hopefully get me back into better shape. After doing this book pretty much full time for the past couple of months I’ve let my exercise program slip, so I need to get back into it. Does anyone want to join me in the challenge? You only have 2 more days to sign up and the program will be sent out to you on September 1st. ‘After’ pictures have to be submitted by October 3rd. Of course, seeing as I look after Nancy’s website I can’t really win it, that wouldn’t be ethical, but I’m still very much up for committing to the challenge. See Nancy’s download page for more details.

So, who wants to be a guinea pig tester for me?

Janice.