500 delicious recipes for healthy living. I have to agree with this tag line! I haven’t tried all 500, but I’ve really liked almost every one I’ve made.
I got sucked into one of the Reader’s Digest books on approval with this one. But it has been well worth the price, even the full price. I don’t remember what I paid, but you can now get a used copy for very little money on eBay or Amazon.
The book begins with a guide to nutrition that is fine. It’s not outstanding, but it’s your basic information. Then there are some suggested daily menus using recipes from the book.
The bulk of the book, 310 of 340 pages is recipes.
The major divisions are:
Fish & Shellfish
Meatless Main Dishes
Pasta, Rice & Grains
Sauces and Accompaniments
Appetizers, Snacks & Beverages
This book offers a good variety of recipes that you haven’t seen somewhere before with one spice changed a little bit. We have a whole lot of family favorites from other sources, so when I buy a new cookbook I’m not looking for recipes to supplant those, but for new ideas. I felt that this book delivered on that hope. As the title suggests, the emphasis is on lots of vegetables and grains, less salt and fat. This is the way I like to eat anyway. But if you are trying to talk yourself into this kind of diet then this book has tasty choices to offer.
Also, the book does not expect you to have too many strange ingredients. I don’t live within a two-hour drive of any store where you can buy really unusual things that usually cost extra money. Cookbooks that have an ingredient list that sends me to the store for more than two per recipe do not make me very happy. This book does a good job of being creative without exotic.
Some of my favorites are:
Herb Spiral Bread- this is a whole wheat yeast loaf with a spiral of herbs baked in the middle. It turns out consistently light... a real winner for me and bread.
Portugese Kale Soup- this requires a fair amount of work to make, but I do a double batch and eat it till it’s gone. This is one of my all-time favorite soups. Whenever there is a bunch of kale on this discount veggie rack I make this.
Calzones with Ricotta and Broccoli- These were nice enough for company!
Rice Gratin with Summer Squash and Red Pepper
Cranberry Apricot Bars- a fruit filled bar cookie that is one of my Christmas favorites
Just now, thumbing through to write this I found a couple more recipes that I want to try THIS WEEK-
Celery Victor- a cold celery dish that packs in the fiber, but is slightly spiced so you aren’t just eating more green stringy tree branches
Mocha Shake- a cold breakfast smoothie. If it’s as hot here tomorrow as it has been, I’m trying this one for breakfast!
The paper is high-gloss, and the cover is shiny, so you have a second of two to grab a towel if you spatter or blob (more my style) on the book. Hardcover.
The biggest problem with the book is its size. It is 8.5 x 10 inches, and opens the long way. This means that it takes up a huge amount of space on the counter, and sticks out over the edge of my cookbook shelf when it’s being stored. And because of the size, orientation, and hard binding, you can’t get it to lie flat when the recipe you want is near one end or the other of the book.
Update On Jul 20, 2008: It is indeed a hot and humid morning and I made the mocha smoothie. Now, I know there are smoothie recipes in lots of books, but nevertheless, it is VERY good.