Friday, May 22, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: Crave, Eat, Heal by Annie Oliverio

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Crave, Eat, Heal by Annie Oliverio
2015, 445p, Cookbook
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

After struggling for many years with a raging sweet tooth and emotionally-driven cravings, author Annie Oliverio began the journey back to a healthy, balanced palate. This is a cookbook focused on plant-based foods that protect, nourish, and heal – yet satisfy “cravings” that can easily trip one up when striving to eat healthier foods or when feeling lonely, stressed or in the need of comfort.

I review very few cookbooks because I've been wanting to eat a certain way and haven't found too many that fit my new criteria. I was drawn to this cookbook by the description. Annie starts by sharing her story and what led her to start eating healthier. I felt inspired by her that I can, indeed, make changes now that will help me look and feel better.

Her chapters are divided by cravings, like comfort, crunchy, warm and cool, rather than main dish, desserts, salads, etc. She talks about some of the ingredients she has eliminated from her diet and explains ingredients that can be unfamiliar to someone who's new to plant-based eating. I liked that because there were some ingredients that I've heard of before but wasn't sure what they were exactly. 

There's still more information before we get to the recipes: she shares her view on supplements and tells us a little about her blogging friends who have contributed recipes (their web sites are included to go find out more about them). She also shares what equipment she uses and some of her techniques. When I first learned how to make almond milk, I was amazed at how easy it was, once I had a milk bag. The proper equipment definitely makes this easier to do! I like that she included lots of basic information so that a beginner like me doesn't feel lost and/or overwhelmed right away.

I love that there are lots of photographs of her food (which she has taken) because that gives me a better feel for what the food should look like in the end. I wanted to start easy with ingredients I was familiar with so I tried "Becky's Gingered Coconut-Sweet Potato Soup" which was yummy! I also like her smoothie recipes since I'm always looking for new ones. The "Mango, Pineapple & Cucumber Smoothie" is now one of my favorites! There are plenty of recipes to choose from in this cookbook. I'm excited for summer because I have more time to experiment in the kitchen so I will definitely be trying more. I'm looking forward to eating healthier without feeling like I'm deprived of yummy tasting food!

The author is generously allowing me to share a recipe with you so I decided on the "No-Bake Breakfast Cookies." Because of my schedule, breakfast is the hardest meal for me to eat. I still need to pick up a few ingredients to make this recipe, but these look and sound delicious!

These are great for breakfast on the go, a mid-afternoon treat, or a post-workout snack.

Gluten-free, Oil-free, Quick, Easy

12 cookies

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup natural almond or peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. non-dairy milk or water
1/4 tsp. vanilla-flavored liquid stevia
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. teff
1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, roughly chopped

In a food processor, pulse the oats until broken into small pieces.  Pour the oats into a large bowl and add the teff, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and cherries.

Add the nut butter, applesauce, coconut milk or water, stevia, and cinnamon to the processor bowl.  Process until very smooth and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the oats.  Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Divide the oat mixture between 12 muffin cups and using damp fingers, press the mixture down to create a flat surface.  Refrigerate the cookies until firm.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For a chocolate cookie, omit the cinnamon and add 1 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. cacao nibs.
Try using one ripe banana instead of the applesauce.
Use your favorite dried fruit in place of the cherries.
If you prefer, use maple syrup in place of the vanilla-flavored stevia.  Start with 1 Tbsp. maple syrup plus 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.
If you don’t have or don’t want to use teff, use additional hemp or chia seeds.

About the author, in her own words:

If there is an unnamed, undiagnosed condition where one suffers from planning, thinking about, and anticipating future breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then I have it. And I don’t want to be cured. But I wouldn’t be opposed to having this ailment named after me.

I was fortunate to be raised in a home with two excellent cooks: my mom and dad. Mom covered the basics of breakfasts, lunches in brown paper bags, and a square meal at night. She also covered Thanksgiving and Easter dinners. Dad took over on Christmas Eve or whenever an ingredientbe it a stinky cheese or olives or eggplant or artichokes or polentacaught his fancy. Sauce splatters and piles of pots and pans in the sink were guaranteed. Between mom and dad, my three siblings and I ate eclectically and well.

My own culinary journey got off to a rocky start when I began living on my own post-college. I went for convenience and speed (and sugary, fatty, salty) rather than quality. Slowly, however, I began buying more fresh and whole foods to make my own meals. At the same time, I was learning about what foods are best for our bodies. Long story short, my plodding and indirect journey led me to plant-based eating. I no longer rely on packaged, frozen, or prepared meals, and instead make everything we need right here in our own kitchen.

What about the non-food part of my life? Before escaping the mean city streets for the wild, windy plains of Oklahoma, I was an administrative assistant and office manager at a subscription fulfillment company in Boulder, at a think-tank in Santa Monica, at a university in Cambridge, MA, in the Green Zone in Baghdad, and at a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

I now spend a good deal of time walking the pastures trying to identify different types of grasses and insects, feeding hummingbirds, writing and reading, struggling to solve crossword puzzles (with a pen and a lot of Wite-Out), and blogging at An Unrefined Vegan and Virtual Vegan Potluck. I live in blissful satellite- and cable-free isolation with my husband, Kel, and our only son, Ike (part dachshund, part Labrador).


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