Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cookbook Review: CLEAN START by Terry Walters

Ahh, how I love Terry Walters. Not just because she's a graduate of the same nutrition training program I'm currently in. And not just because she generously donated recipes to Bites of Health last year. Both would be more than acceptable reasons to fall in love with Terry.

But, the MAIN reason I love love love L.O.V.E. love Terry is that she shares clean, wholesome, yet DELICIOUS recipes with the world, through her cookbooks CLEAN FOOD and CLEAN START.

CLEAN FOOD, Terry's first cookbook, introduced readers to the concept of eating seasonal, minimally-processed foods that were as fun to eat as they were to prepare.

CLEAN START delivers more of the same, but the 100 recipes in this book are even tastier (in my opinion). They're fresh, simple, delicious and easy to prepare. Terry focuses on using fresh and seasonal ingredients, which makes these recipes pop with flavor.

This is my first MMM cookbook review, so here's some info about how I'll structure these going forward. First, I'll cover the things I love about each book ... the things that make me jump up and down and want to share. Next, I'll cover the things I like ... the things I'm not super super excited about, but the things that are still good about the book. Then, I'll cover the things I would change, if I were the author. Last, I'll tell you whether I'd check it out at the library, buy it for my kitchen, or give as a gift. Giving as a gift is a compliment of the highest order. In each review, I'll also give you my thoughts on how to adjust the recipes, in MMM style.

So, back to CLEAN START....

Things I love:
- The simple ingredients lists. I HATE it when I get really jazzed up about a recipe in a cookbook and realize the ingredients list is a mile long. Who has the time or money for those recipes, anyway?
- Terry's focus on minimally-processed, seasonal, organic foods. They're so much healthier for you, your family ... and me and my family.

Things I like:
- The variety of recipes. You'll find muffins, pizza, even chocolate covered peanut butter balls!
- How good the finished products taste. These recipes are GOOD. Don't believe me? Test me. Give them a try!
- The photography is gorgeous.

Things I would change:
- The cover is weird. I know that sounds strange, particularly because the linen-like cover looks really cool. But, I've found that it holds onto food stains. I guess I tend to be a messy chef, because I have spots on my book, but the finished products are well worth it, I'm sure.

Bottom line:
- Give as a gift. Both times, I've been thanked profusely and I've heard back from the gift recipients that they love their books.

MMM recipe adjustments:
- Almost every recipe has an ingredient that you can pull out to prepare for baby - whether it's a carrot in one or a sweet potato in another. Pull out extras and steam them for your baby, then chop a few up for your toddler to enjoy as a finger food while you're cooking.
- Most, if not all of the recipes in CLEAN START are suitable for toddlers. Try each one with your toddler, just to see what happens. Note that the exception to this note is any recipe that calls for nut butter. Make sure you don't try nuts of any kind with babies or toddlers until after the age of 2. Even then, make sure you work with your doctor to decide when it's ok to try introducing nuts.

Ok, I'm off to eat some chocolate peanut butter balls, straight from the pages of CLEAN START.

Bon apetit a mi :)

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