December 27, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

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After all those holiday meals packed full of calories, you may be in need of some low-fat recipes to shed away those extra winter pounds. Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes is filled with delicious and interesting recipes you would never think were vegan or low-fat from their taste. From Mango BBQ Beans to Silky Chickpea Gravy, this is one mouthwatering cookbook!

In Appetite for Reduction, bestselling author and vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz has created 125 delectable, nutritionally-balanced recipes for the foods you crave--lasagna, tacos, barbecue, curries, stews, and much more--and it's all:

  • Only 200 to 400 calories per serving

  • Plant-based and packed with nutrients

  • Low in saturated fat and sugar; high in fiber

  • Drop-dead delicious

You don't need to be on a diet to enjoy these meals and impress your friends with your vegan cooking abilities!


Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 24, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood

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In my family, we love quinoa! This kid-friendly grain is quick and easy to prepare, but we rarely include it in a recipe. We just make quinoa for quinoa's sake.

Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood is an amazing cookbook that takes quinoa to the next level. Packed with beautiful photographs and recipes, this book has inspired me!

One of the world's healthiest foods, quinoa contains a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of protein, making it an increasingly popular food choice for those looking to incorporate "superfoods" into their everyday diets. Gluten-free, wheat-free, and nutrient-packed, quinoa is ideal for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, and/or physically active, as well as for those with gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, and other digestive disorders. But that's not all: You can eat quinoa guiltlessly knowing it's free of cholesterol and trans fats. In Quinoa 365 sisters Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming show you how to use this miraculous superfood in all your favourite dishes.

From pomegranate, almond, and feta salad to cucumber, gouda, sprout sandwich, there is nothing you can't do with quinoa! The desserts look especially good and healthy, and I have added quinoa flower to my shopping list.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 23, 2010

Vegetarian Cookbooks: Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea

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When I think of vegetarian food, I don't think of cruises; however, Sea cruises offers a Holistic Holiday. Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea: Fabulous Vegetarian Cuisine from the Holistic Holiday at Sea Cruises is a collection of the most popular vegetarian dishes from these cruises.

Even if they don't have their sea legs, fans of vegetarian cooking will want to give this volume a look. Innovative takes on familiar themes dominate this compilation of more than 100 popular dishes served on Costa Cruise Lines' Taste of Health cruises, like the Seitan Paella and the playful Sushi Salad, in which shiitake mushrooms and tofu get tossed with seasoned brown rice and nori. Natural foods expert Pukel and chef Hanna offer clear instructions for preparation, but offer little background on their choice of ingredients; instead, it's assumed that the reader is familiar with arame, shoyu, kombu and lotus root.

I don't find this cookbook as aesthetically pleasing as others. There are no beautiful photographs of the dishes, and the nautical theme is a little strange for a vegetarian cookbook (I had to keep reminding myself this was not a seafood cookbook); however, from vegetable fritters with cilantro dipping sauce to winter root vegetable stew, there are plenty of recipes to make your mouth water whether on land or sea!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 8, 2010

ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals From the World's Zoos and Aquariums


Who doesn't love a baby? Children especially are fascinated by baby animals. ZooBorns is a cute book of photography featuring animal babies of species found throughout the world.  In fact, these are the newest, cutest animals from the world's zoos and aquariums

ZooBorns showcases the newest and cutest animal babies from accredited zoos and aquariums around the world. With interesting animal facts and background stories on the featured babies, ZooBorns illustrates the connections between zoo births and conservation initiatives in the wild.

From clouded leopards to fennec foxes, this book is sure to educate and delight.

I like how this book not only features the baby animals, but it informs readers about endangerment issues. My only critique is that I don't see any information that the book is printed on recycled, forest-friendly paper. If this is true, it is a bit hypocritical to talk about conservation efforts when logging for paper production is responsible for habitat lost for some of these species.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 2, 2010

Really Natural Books: 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living by Victoria Klein

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48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living (Good Things to Know) by Victoria Klein is a great resource presented in a straight forward format.

While the debate over our changing environment rages on, one thing remains clear: being green is a hot topic - socially, politically, and economically. Whether you've "been green" from birth or don't even know what the three "Rs" stand for, 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living can help you make small, affordable (or free!) changes that will have a major impact on the environment and simplify your everyday life. Chock-full of tips and useful Web sites, 48 Things will show you how to easily become planet-friendly by:

  • Discovering eco-friendly substitutions for everything from food and clothing to appliances, cleaning products, office supplies, and transportation.
  • Reducing waste and electricity, saving you time and money.
  • Taking advantage of both modern green technology and renewable natural resources.
Victoria is a former colleague of mine from Important Media, and it is with pleasure that I review her book. I know from personal experience that she is an excellent writer who knows her stuff!

 

From healthier hanky-panky to a truly green law, there is something for everyone in 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living (Good Things to Know).  For example, I had no idea some condoms are not vegan.

My only criticism of this book is that I do not see any information or indication that it is printed on recycled paper. If this is true, it is a bit hypocritical to preach sustainability without practicing it in publication (although I know Victoria practices it in life).


Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 24, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Vicki's Vegan Kitchen

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Vicki's Vegan Kitchen: Eating With Sanity, Compassion & Taste is full of delicious recipes and instructions. These nutritionally balanced meals sometimes try to imitate meat dishes, like "Vegan 'Chopped Liver'", whereas others simply stand alone in taste and uniqueness, like "Cucumber-Wakame Salad".

Veteran cookbook author Chelf (Cooking with the Right Side of the Brain) expands the vegan culinary universe in this collection of 375 meat-, egg- and dairy-free dishes for those with dietary restrictions. Yes, there are smoothies, Tabouli, and Hummus, but Chelf helps readers expand their diets with vegan versions of pizza, lasagna, and even Cheez Whiz in this accessible and imaginative guide. Chelf's creative concoctions enable vegans to enjoy French Toast, b├ęchamel sauce, pie, and a mock beef stew that finds its umami in seitan, tahini, and liquid aminos. A guide to vegan-friendly sources for key ingredients, and foods to avoid or seek out ensures larders will be stocked with healthy staples. Helpful step-by-step instructions for baking bread and making noodles, and tips on sprucing up soups and smoothies inspire confidence and enable cooks to expand their culinary repertoire. Though special ingredients are often required for many of her dishes, Chelf does an admirable job of keeping things as simple as possible. This is a terrific guide for vegans tired of settling for a salad.

There are plenty of recipes in this cookbook that would be a wonderful addition to any holiday meal.  Whether your holiday meals are 100% vegan or you have a vegan guest, everyone will love these dishes. 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 10, 2010

The No-Nonsense Guild to Popular Wines Ranks Vintages by Good, Better, Best

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Good, Better, Best Wines: A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines is an easy reference tool for wine drinkers. Ranking commonly found vintages by from good to best, this handy little book makes buying wine easy.

The first buying guide to focus exclusively on the best-selling wines in North America that you can find anywhere!

When it comes to wine, your "wants" are pretty simple: a good wine, at a price you can afford, that's stocked at your local wine shop or supermarket. Good Better Best Wines gives you just that. It reveals in plain English, the good, better, and best wines available for the dollars you're willing to spend--up to $15--along with photos of clearly labeled bottles to make wine shopping easier.

And because Good Better Best Wines is the first book to rank the best-selling wines in North America--think names like Beringer, Kendall-Jackson, and Woodbridge--you bet they'll be stocked at your local store


Each variety is explained before ranking the popular wineries that make them. Since I only drink locally-grown wine from organic grapes, none of my regular brands are featured.  I can't really comment on whether or not I agree with the author's findings, but I do think a locavore wine diet is best.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 15, 2010

Really Natural Books: Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary

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Stewart Brand is well-known for the Whole Earth Catalog, a book that was very influential in my own efforts to live a greener life. Now Brand has written another book: Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary that has recently been released in paperback.

The title alone is enough to grab your attention and immediately form opinions about the content. I just dig in my heels when I read about anyone advocating for nuclear power; however, Brand shows us how many of the areas of the Green Movement typically viewed with "distaste and distrust" may actually be green. Take for example urbanization: cities are green as they use "resources more efficiently".  

Many of Brand's tenets are a hard pill to swallow for environmentalists. Take for example this excerpt on nuclear power:

The more I thought about the standard environmentalist stance on nuclear waste, which I had espoused for years, the nuttier it seemed to me. The customary rant goes: "You have to guarantee that all the radioactivity in the waste will be totally contained for ten thousand years (no, a hundred thousand years; no, a million years), and if you can't guarantee that, you can't have nuclear power." Why? "Because any amount of radioactivity hurts humans and other life forms. It might get in the ground water."

What humans? The assumption seems to be that future humans will be exactly as we are today, with our present concerns and present technology. How about, say two hundred years from now? If we and our technology prosper, humanity by then will be unimaginably capable compared to now, with far more interesting things to worry about than some easily detected and treated stray radioactivity somewhere in the landscape. If we crash back to the stone age, odd doses of radioactivity will be the least of our problems. Extrapolate to two thousand years, ten thousand years. The problem doesn't get worse over time, it vanishes over time.


Sorry Brand, but I don't buy your logic. This is much of the same attitude that began in the Industrial Revolution, and rather than the problems going away, we are now faced with climate change, high cancer rates, etc.

Despite my reservations, I do recommend this book. It is well researched and thought-provoking, and I do agree with some of Brand's ideas.  It is good to read and contemplate ideas to help solidify your own. 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.


Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 22, 2010

Really Natural Books: Yoga in Bed: Awaken Body, Mind & Spirit in Fifteen Minutes

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The only time I have for yoga during the busy work week is first thing in the morning. I groggily get up and do my practice before coffee, and then I feel so much more refreshed and ready for my day.

Yoga in Bed: Awaken Body, Mind & Spirit in Fifteen Minutes is a new book that illustrates how simple it is to include a little bit of yoga in everyone's day before they even leave their bed.

An introduction to breathing exercises and simple postures, this guidebook helps yogis awaken and focus the body and mind each morning. As demonstrated in both the user-friendly book and accompanying DVD, doing yoga in bed for only 15 minutes a day is fun, playful, and brings clarity, a lightness of being, a sense of humor, and a new openness to exploration and self-understanding. Beautiful photography and a tasteful design combine with clear, precise instructions to help the reader feel greater peace as they engage with these poses. With no yoga class to drive to, no teacher to find, and no special clothing needed, this unique way to practice is a perfect fit for today's high-energy, fast-paced life.

Many of these simple stretches are perfect for the bed, but I do think that a mattress may not provide the support I need for doing poses such as cat. Also, in all of the photos the bed is very simple with just a sheet. My bed is a rumple of covers when I wake up, and I don't think stripping it or making it before beginning would really bring any ease into my morning. Many of the stretches though are perfect for simply waking and moving without the need for a harder surface or a neat and tidy bed.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 10, 2010

Not So Really Natural Cookbooks: Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes

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Fix-it and Forget-it Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good is filled with recipes that are quick to prepare but cook for many, many hours. Slow cookers are a great way to feed your family healthy meals made with whole foods, but unfortunately, you need to read the recipes in this book carefully. Some of the ingredients are less than all natural and they are heavy on the meat, but you can just omit these items from your cooking.

"You absolutely can make holiday meals with ease and with pleasure," says slow-cooker champion Phyllis Pellman Good. Her latest collection, Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 500 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes, will fill your head with menu ideas, give you gentle guidance with each recipe, and deliver dishes that your friends and family will love.

"Stop your fretting. Put an end to the nightmares. Get out your slow cookers!" Good urges. "Whether you're making late suppers, family brunches, or amazing holiday meals, these 500 recipes from home cooks across the country will allow you to feast with your loved ones without being exhausted and frazzled."


I'm also confused as to why some versions of this book say 600 recipes and some say 500. They copy I got says 600 on the cover, but I did not count them :)

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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