Cookbook Review: The Whole30 Cookbook

61RD8GSg1aL._SY355_.jpg

My husband will be turning 40 this year and for the past 4 years he has been suffering from a variety of skin disorders that have literally popped up over night and taken over his life. He has been steadily healthy and rarely ever has a sniffle but his skin on the other hand has just been wreaking havoc on his day-to-day activities. He can barely walk without feeling a degree of discomfort. Simple daily tasks are becoming more and more difficult for him especially if it involves his hands being in water or changing a diaper on our 9-month-old baby.

Almost every day there seems to be a discussion between us about his skin and what might be causing these never ending-issues. The topic of our discussions: Food. The relationship between what he eats daily and the reaction his skin has to the various foods he eats.

I love the idea behind the Whole 30. (A big thank you to Penguin Random House for sending over a copy) “ For a full 30 days, you completely eliminate the foods that scientific literature and my clinical experience have deemed the most commonly problematic in one of four areas- your cravings, metabolism, digestion and immune system. During the elimination period, you’ll be completely eliminating these foods for a set period of time, experiencing what life is like without these commonly problematic triggers while paying careful attention to improvements in energy, sleep, digestions, mood, attention span, self-confidence, cravings, chronic pain or fatigue, athletic performance and recovery, and any number of other symptoms or medical conditions.” (Hartwig, 2016) Once the 30-day period is over, you slowly reintroduce the foods you have been missing and carefully pay attention to your body, the changes that occur and how you feel.

The Whole 30 diet involves eating meat, seafood, and eggs, lots of fruit and veggies and healthy fats. There are rules that you need to follow during the 30 day elimination- no added sugar of any kind, alcohol, grains, legumes, baked goods, dairy, etc. (Refer to the book for the rest-she goes in detail). I’ll be honest- I have never been able to stick to any kind of diet ever. I have tried to eliminate sugar in the past and it just doesn’t work for me. I also don’t have any major health issues that would make me want to diet in the first place anyways. That being said, I am always motivated to just eat and be healthier in general. My thoughts: If you can stick to the rules and you are motivated to change your life in some shape or form. This, in my opinion is the best way to do it. I love the idea and it just all makes perfect sense.

For those who are further interested in Whole 30, author Melissa Hartwig’s book The Whole30 talks all about it. This particular book “The Whole30 Cookbook” includes a bunch of recipes to get you started on your Whole 30 journey.

The Recipes

Recipes are easy to follow and most don’t have a lengthy ingredient list. There are a few exceptions of course. Recipes with longer ingredients however are ones with more spices (which only makes a dish tastier right!) Each recipe is accompanied with a description about the particular dish as well as a picture. Also included: Prep time, cook time, total time and serving amount. Some recipes have additional tips at the bottom for the particular recipe. The end of the book takes us to a Basics Section where she includes chicken broth, bone broth, basic mayonnaise, egg-free mayonnaise, Whole30 Ketchup and more. Also included is a list of Whole30 approved companies, cooking conversions and of course an index.

I managed to recreate 3 recipes in the book. You will have to pardon my not so perfect pictures. All were made in the evening when my kids were sound asleep so the lighting and presentation were not the greatest! Also not pictured below: Beef and Sweet Potato Chili. This was my favourite one of them all. I have already made it 3 times! I love this recipe because it has all the flavours of a normal chill minus the beans. I can’t for the life of me come to like beans!

IMG_4090.JPG
Smoky Barbecue-Spiced Kale Chips

 

IMG_4404.JPG
Pesto-Pepper Frittata with Squash

I have to be honest… I have not completed this 30-day challenge but trust me I can definitely use it and of course my husband would really benefit from it too. Once I can convince him to stick to an elimination diet to find his triggers, I will most definitely update this post and let you all know what the results were! Stay tuned!

A big thank you to Penguin Random House Toronto for sending over a copy of The Whole 30 Cookbook in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own. 

Chickpea Pasta!

US_Chickapea_6Pack_Penne_grande.jpg
photo taken from choosechickapea.com

I have recently fallen in love with this pasta and just had to let the world know my latest obsession so here is my quickie review!

This pasta is made of only 2 ingredients: Organic chickpea flour and Organic red lentil flour. Each 227g box contains a significant amount of folate (Hello pregnant mamas..so good for you!) Iron, zinc, vitamin B5, and magnesium are a few others that make it big. No artificial flavours, colours or added sugar…literally just 2 ingredients.

I first discovered this pasta at my local Longos and knew I just had to try it! I have tried all kinds of pasta and my family currently eats spelt, whole wheat and Catelli Greens. Being of Italian decent I just can’t get pasta out of my diet. I have tried on numerous occasions to eliminate it, eat less of it, and pretend I don’t like it anymore and I have to face reality that it’s just not going to happen.

At $5.99 a box for 227g I would not recommend using it at your next dinner party but in my opinion it is a small price for huge nutritional rewards for you and your family. All it really means is you can stop buying a bunch of .99 cent pasta bags and splurge a bit on a quality box of Chickpea Pasta once in a while. I have to confess that I bought a couple boxes and have almost entirely replaced my pasta stash.

How does it taste?

Hmm…good question. It definitely doesn’t taste like normal pasta. It tastes like a mix of bean, whole wheat and spelt. I have made it with my homemade tomato sauce and it is perfection! (see pic below)

FullSizeRender-23.jpg
Chickapea Pasta Spirals with my homemade tomato sauce

The best part of this product? Created by a Canadian Mama. I love supporting Canadian anything.

The pasta comes in 3 varieties: spirals, penne, and shells. You can purchase it online or check out their website to find your local grocery store that carries it.  If you sign up for their newsletter you will receive 15% off your first order. You better believe I am taking advantage of that!

All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are 100% my own. I purchased Chickapea Pasta from my local Longos at $5.99/box. I have never seen it on sale, but just deal with it and buy it already! 😉

Book Review: “Oh Crap! Potty Training” By Jamie Glowacki

This book couldn’t have arrived at my doorstep at a more perfect time in my life! I have a 2 year old daughter who is at the perfect age to be potty trained. It has been on my mind for a while now and I am SO ready to ditch the diapers.

In, “Oh Crap! Potty Training”, Jamie Glowacki speaks of every possible potty situation you can imagine and prepares you step by step to train your child to potty train. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jamie or her blog, listen up…she is THE potty training guru! She knows everything about everything and gives you the confidence and the push you need to JUST DO IT! Jamie does this for a living- potty training consulting and if you check out her website, you will see that she is so booked up you cannot even get an appointment with her. Yes, I trust this lady! Link to her blog/website: http://www.jamieglowacki.com

Jamie stresses the importance of progression not perfection and it is an ongoing theme throughout the book. Bringing your child’s awareness from clueless to I peed to I’m peeing to I have to go, each segment taking approximately a day. She speaks of how the media has led us to think that there’s a cookie-cutter version of potty training that will work for every kid. I can’t tell you how many countless pieces of random and often contradicting advice I get from the media and other moms who claim to know THE BEST way just because it worked like a charm with their child. I am SO GLAD she addressed this because I feel like this is a very common issue in this generation.

Jamie’s recommended age to potty train? Between twenty and thirty months. You have a child older than 30 months or you want to train your child before twenty months? She’s got you covered with what to do from start to finish. A couple other important topics she covers throughout the book: Nighttime potty training, day cares and other caregivers, elimination communication, behavior vs. potty training, prior attempts at potty training, special circumstances, a section for common concerns/questions related to potty training and SO much more.

I absolutely ate this book up and if you are pondering whether or not your child is “ready” to potty train, please just read this book. While I found she was repetitive throughout the book (something that normally annoys me) I actually didn’t mind it. It just reminded me of important things to remember and reiterated it in my brain and did I mention she is hilarious? While sitting down to write up this review, I started flipping through the book trying to go back to all the things I highlighted and realized I highlighted pretty much the whole thing. HA! This to me says you just need to read it for yourself. Just amazing.

**All opinions and thoughts in this post are 100% my own. I received a copy of this book from the generous Simon & Schuster Canada to give an honest review. You can purchase this book from chapters.indigo.ca for $18.85 CAN or wherever books are sold. Price is subject to change.

Jamie Glowacki- Social Media

Simon & Schuster- Social Media

 

“3 Times a Day” Cookbook Review

25225504

“3 times a day” is written by Marilou and Alexandre Champagne, a husband and wife team who are also the creators of a blog called “Trois Fois Par Jour”. Marilou created this blog after overcoming a recent battle with anorexia in which she named her blog after eating 3 meals a day. Alexandre has a passion for photography and as Marliou begun her blog, he started taking beautiful pictures of her creations. If you have not had a chance to check out this blog, I would suggest you do so now. It is just lovely! http://www.troisfoisparjour.com/en/accueil There are plenty of easy to follow recipes, videos, and more all in a clean layout.

This cookbook is simply beautiful. The introduction is touching and the food photography is stunning. As you read it, you can feel the passion and the love that has gone into every recipe and every word on each page.

One of my favourite parts of this wonderful cookbook is the introduction, which speaks of Marlilou’s struggles and passions in life. She went from being a popular pop sensation in Quebec to food blogger and author. I think that a lot of us can relate to her words, which I absolutely love. How many of us want to change careers and are too afraid to do so?! How many of us don’t listen to what we want and listen to what other people want for us? Marilou speaks about finally following her heart rather than other people and what others wanted her to do and thus begun her journey and passion for cooking.

In the beginning of this cookbook you will find a page dedicated to tips and tricks for cooking, as well as recipe categories. Each recipe has a couple categories listed underneath so that you can easily identify and anticipate what type of recipe it is or what it can be used for. Categories include: economical, entertaining, gift, gluten free, indulgent, lactose free, quick and easy, raw and vegetarian.

This cookbook is beautifully laid out with pictures for every recipe. I absolutely love this! I know some people argue that pictures are deceiving and “it doesn’t always turn out like the pictures!” But for me it is what lures me into recreating the meal and I don’t care what it looks like in the end when I make it, as long as it tastes good.

Contents of the book are divided into the following:

  • Breakfast & brunch,
  • Snacks & small bites,
  • Lunch & salads
  • Soup & stews
  • Fish & seafood
  • Meat
  • Pasta, rice & pizza
  • Desserts

I can’t lie, my favourite recipes in this book all fall under the “indulgent” categories, mainly the pasta, rice & pizza section (which is probably the Italian in me). Everything just looks so succulent I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen! The recipes in this cookbook are simple enough for a beginner and only require tools that you likely already have in your kitchen. One of the dessert recipes even uses mason jar lids as a mini tart pan with a removable bottom. Genius! (This particular recipe is actually the pie you see on the front cover of the book but in mini form.)

I managed to recreate the ricotta gnocchi (which were out of this world!) and the Oatmeal, espresso and dark chocolate cookies. I have made Martha Stewart’s ricotta gnocchi before but they definitely did not taste like these! I am of Italian decent so please trust me on this one…they were phenomenal. My 2 year old and my husband devoured them. The recipe says prep time is 25 min but they took me 10 minutes and I’m generally a slow cook. They were super simple and this recipe will definitely be a staple in my house. Since the gnocchi were my favourite of the two, I have provided the recipe below.

RICOTTA GNOCCHI

Quantity: 30-35 gnocchi

Prep time: 25 min

Categories: economical, vegetarian

Ingredients:

1 cup ricotta

1 egg

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg *I used the dry spice as that is what I had in the pantry.

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients until the flour is fully incorporated and a smooth dough forms.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Sprinkle a baking sheet with flour. Set aside.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half.
  5. On a floured surface, roll one portion of the dough into a rope, about 1 inch diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Cut the ropes into ½-inch pieces and place them on the floured baking sheet. Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the centre of each gnocchi.
  7. Freeze the gnocchi for later, or cook them immediately in a pot of boiling salted water just until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Serve with the sauce of your choice. *I served with my homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil and it was perfection.
IMG_3878
Ricotta gnocchi dough (step.1)
Step.6 , Cutting the ropes into 1/2-inch pieces.
Step.6 Cutting the ropes into 1/2-inch pieces.
Ricotta gnocchi in tomato basil sauce.
Ricotta gnocchi in tomato basil sauce.
Oatmeal, espresso, & dark chocolate cookies dipped in 70% Lindt chocolate.
Oatmeal, espresso, & dark chocolate cookies dipped in 70% Lindt chocolate.
Oatmeal, espresso, dark (Lindt) chocolate cookies... perfect with a cup of coffee!
Oatmeal, espresso, dark (Lindt) chocolate cookies… perfect with a cup of coffee!

I made 2 batches of these since my tub of ricotta was 500 grams. (and thank God I did because the family devoured them) I accidentally used Pecorino Romano cheese for one of the batches. Initially I panicked but they ended up being just as tasty!

If you purchase this book, please take the time to read the acknowledgements. I know most of you probably bypass this section but it really was so beautifully written. Marilou and Alexandre’s note of thanksgiving to each other was so sweet and endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it really just validates how much heart and soul they put into the making of this cookbook.

**I received this book from the generous House of Anansi to give an honest review. All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are 100% my own. You can purchase it from chapters.indigo.ca or amazon.ca for $25.

**Stay tuned to my social media accounts as I recreate more of the recipes in this book. Pictures will be posted!