This week I’ve gone the full hippie: vegan, gluten-free. I accidentally-on-purpose impulse bought this cookbook.
At the time of purchase, however, I didn’t realize this. Alexa and I were enjoying a pre-Christmas girls’ day of shopping downtown and I had just completed a long-winded lecture about Christmas shopping being for other people. While I waited for her to choose a present for her brother, I flipped through the pages of this book. I saw beautiful photography and lots of vegetables. So, I bought it for myself. In hopes of enticing the kids with the pictures and adding some new and healthy dinner standards to the rotation.
Then I got it home and actually read it. Plant-based sounded great. But vegan, gluten-free? Apparently not all impulse purchases pan out.
But the book got me with the pictures. And some innocuous-sounding recipes. Apple Pie Overnight Oats? I can get behind that.
You’ll need to get the book to get the actual recipe, but the blog has a Vegan Overnight Oats recipe that is pretty close. This was a wading-in of sorts for me. Since we are neither vegan, nor gluten-free, I used our regular oats and full dairy milk, but everything else followed the recipe. And it was good! The kids loved it. I decided to go a little deeper.
One of my favorite things about this book is the simplicity. Yes, you’ll need to get some new ingredients. You might find yourself in an unfamiliar aisle at the grocery store. Those weird Bob’s Red Mill products you usually blow right past? You’ll need some of those.
But the recipes come together quickly and easily. Next up, I tried the Chocolate-Almond Espresso Cookies. You pretty much just dump the ingredients together and stir. No special equipment or technique required.
The verdict? Pillowy, chewy, chocolatey goodness. The kids didn’t miss the gluten or eggs. But that was child’s play. Anyone can throw together chocolate, sugar and almond butter and make it taste good. What about dinner?
Vegan nachos would really test the limits of these crazy recipes. The foundation of this dish is the All-Purpose Cheese Sauce recipe from the book. It gets layered with a bean and vegetable based chili, then topped with tortilla chips. A close cousin to the cheese sauce recipe from the book can be found on the blog here (scroll down the link to find the cheese sauce recipe).
Though Alexa complained that there wasn’t enough meat in the dish (apparently I’m not the only one not understanding the whole vegan thing), she went back for seconds and Colin took the leftovers to school for lunch.
Shepherd’s Pie prompted the same lamentation over the lack of meat, but the kids ate it all the same. And these seven-ingredient Endurance Crackers have steadily disappeared throughout the week.
This book is really great and the recipes could not be easier. And, more importantly, they’re actually pretty good. Believe me, no one is more surprised by this than I am. Though I wouldn’t consciously choose to go vegan, gluten-free, I wholeheartedly suggest trying this cookbook.
As a result of this week of recipe testing, Mike even suggested a meat-free month of February. That, however, is taking things too far. We’re having steak tonight. Because, you know, balance.