Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend cooking- PT 1: Losing weight, cooking "Naked"

I haven't done a weekend cooking post in a while but I got a cookbook to review, I bought another one thinking I was getting a specific recipe and I grabbed a third one from the library just  because ....(I'll explain later).  At first they may seem to have nothing in common--- I mean come on!?!? Naked Foods Cookbook ( no preservatives, no artificial anything, no empty calories (aka sugar)) and Entemann's Big Book of Baking  in the same review? And Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook alongside anything remotely healthy?????  So I'm splitting this into Part 1 : nutritional eating, and Pt 2: just plain fun and forget the nutrition.

Now, I'm also going to deviate from my normal "no endorsement" policy and tout  this program.  I joined with my sisters, niece, and sisters-in-law (we're all over the country) and we're able to encourage each other even though we never "go to meeting" together.  Everything is online, and I've been losing weight at the rate of about a pound a week since joining in early January. One of the reasons I love it though is that it isn't a diet, and while following MY plan, I get to eat foods that I like--even coffee cakes and Hannah's cookies. Yes, I'm trying to eat more natural "naked" foods, a commitment I made last summer, and since that time when I decided to forget about calories, diets, and forbidden foods, I've actually lost 33 lbs.  I love food, love to cook, and have found - for me at least - that by choosing healthy foods, in respectable portions, life still has room for pure unadulterated fun food with little or no nutritional value. Hence the WeightWatchers Points Plus Program.  I love it.  Here's the first food book I've been combing through for the past couple weeks.

Naked Foods Cookbook:
subtitled Easy, Unprocessed, Gluten-Free, Full-Fat Recipes for Losing Weight and Feeling Great
An E galley from New Harbinger Publications via NetGalley
Publication scheduled May 1, 2012

The publisher's blurb says
Why go out to eat? Cooking at home is easy, healthy, delicious, and affordable—and with the right techniques and ingredients, preparing a home-cooked meal can be quicker than picking up take-out. The Naked Foods Cookbook, the anticipated follow-up cookbook to Margaret Floyd’s Eat Naked (2011),shows readers how they can create whole, organic, and fresh “naked” meals that maximize the natural nutritional value of food. Unlike commercially available prepared foods and restaurant dishes, naked meals contain no harmful additives, preservatives, or empty-calorie fillers. Because cooking naked is well-suited to people who need energy for busy lifestyles, this cookbook is organized around the time it takes for readers to prepare each type of dish: “in a rush” recipes take ten minutes or less, “every day” recipes take twenty minutes or less, and an “impress the neighbors” section offers more time-intensive recipe selections.
I accepted this for review because I was curious and have been trying to eat as "naturally" as possible. I especially like the emphasis on not using artificial ingredients, but must admit, I'm not yet ready for many of the naked food techniques such as culturing and single-minded emphasis on avoiding anything but pure unadulterated food.  That said, there were many recipes I did like and plan to include in my repertoire--particularly as soon as the spring crop of kale and lettuces come in. I love the home-made mayonnaise.  I'm a mayo freak - one of my favorite lunches is a sandwich made of whole grain bread slathered in 2 tablespoons of may, a big juicy sliced tomato, 4 or 5 slices of cucumber, some paper thin slivered red onion, and a huge mountain of various lettuces.  Their recipe for mayo is easy to make in the blender, and uses olive oil - one of nature's great gift to foodies.  It's yummie, healthy, and makes an incredible sammie.  There's a version that uses Whey powder to extend the refrigerator shelf life, but we use it up fast enough not to worry about it.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day - I could eat breakfast 3 times a day. The Florentine omelet, the sweet potato hash (which we make with turkey portuguese sausage) and the curry egg scramble are all outstanding recipes that fit well within my Weight Watchers plan for points. The eggplant basil salad recipe looks so good, I'm just about to run out and buy some imported (no not local not naked) Holland eggplant just so I can try it now instead of waiting for summer.  Although I lived in Japan for five years, and tasted more than a mouthful of various seaweeds, I'm still not going near the Seaweed salad recipe.

There are very helpful tables featuring a week's worth of menus and prep tips both for hurry up cooking and leisurely (I have all day to spend in the kitchen) meal prep.  There are also guides to finding foods that meet the various definitions and terminology used throughout the book.  

In short, this cookbook reinforced my ideas about many of the dishes and techniques I concoct in my own kitchen.  I think it would be very helpful, if one were to use this cookbook, to have read the underlying volume published by the author last year.  And my fondest dream (ALL COOKBOOK Publishers take note): I wish the authors had provided some nutritional analysis of their recipes making it more helpful for those of us who, for whatever reason, want to track various aspects of our eating.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - "Just Plain Fun and forget the nutrition."

Beth Fish Reads sponsors this weekly meme where we foodies can chat about cookbooks, cooking gadgets, recipes, or anything else gustatory. Be sure to stop over there to find other terrific weekend cooking posts.


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