vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Library Haul 3.19.11 March 20, 2011

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 8:47 pm

Actually, this week half of the above books are gifts from my mom (thanks!) and half are library books.  They are all delightful spring reads.  I firmly believe that spring is the season of the smoothie and I am fully embracing that idea this year.  I’ve been making green smoothies for years and am just now reading the book Green Smoothie Revolution that started the idea for such a tasty and quirky drink.  Yum.  The author has done a lot of research on the value of adding green smoothies to your diet, which is interesting to read through.  It is great to know that, even when you are super busy, you can use this simple method to add greens to your diet.

My mom sent me a beautiful copy of In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite on the recommendation of my Aunt Harriet (thanks!). It is a lovely book, full of sweet anecdotes and enticing recipes.  I tried a simple red lentil soup out of it yesterday and was quite pleased with the result.  It also features some flavorful looking meat dishes, at least one of which I sent on to my sister.

Radically Simple is another gorgeous cookbook full of great recipes.  I am most excited by the soup section of this book, which sounds silly, but Rozanne has included several recipes for summer soups that can be made in your blender or food processor instead of heating up your kitchen with the hot stove.  I am so ready for summer and the excuse to make cold soups for dinner. She also features several simple meat dishes, salads and desserts.

Finally, I found Eat to Live at our library and picked it up on a whim.  I have surprised myself by reading through this little book more than once.  I like the core theory of this book (basically eat more fruits and veggies) and have been thinking of ways to incorporate some of these ideas.

In the past few weeks I’ve been working with my sister to help her find good flavorful and healthy recipes while she experiments with an allergy elimination diet.  It has been an interesting time to work with her on that project while reading these books.  I think that I’m going to be working on increasing the amount of vegan and gluten-free foods in my daily diet.  This change will hopefully be reflected here in the coming weeks.

Finally, please don’t forget that spring has officially arrived.  I love this season, smoothies, daffodils and all!

Library Haul 2.6.2011 February 7, 2011

Filed under: Books,Cookbooks,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 10:39 pm

Oh, these look so good!  I am very excited about all four of my new books.

The first one, How to Pick a Peach was recommended by a good friend.  It is the kind of knowledgeable book that you might just want to keep around for future reference.  It is divided up seasonally and covers just about anything you would want to know about fruits and vegetables.  Focusing on growing seasons, farming techniques and nutrition information, and then finishing up with how to determine ripeness (hence the title), how to store, and how to prepare.  I think it’s a great read for these cold and snowy days.

The next book has been a great tool to have in the house.  Complete Book of Knife Skills is something I should have read a long time ago.  Apparently, it’s a miracle that I still have ten complete fingers at this point!  This book uses some very helpful pictures to teach you how to properly hold a knife, where to put your fingers so as to keep them attached, and in what direction to cut which vegetables.  It is a very, very helpful primer indeed.  A good 3/4 of this book covers meat cutting, and so it makes for a very quick vegetarian read.

Superfoods: the Healthiest Foods on the Planet is a beautiful book, full of gorgeous pictures that might just inspire you to eat a few new things.  Every page lists a new featured food and there are helpful sidebars that list the nutrition information of one serving.  Each page also has a “healthy evidence” citing the most recent study touting that particular food item.  While this book might seem a little faddish at times, it does encourage a healthy varied diet and makes some new foods look particularly appetizing.

The last book on the list is the smallest, and it’s not really a food book at all.  Edible Stories is collection of short stories that interweave relationships and food.  It is written by Mark Kulansky, author of the books Cod and Salt.  I haven’t started this one yet, but it looks perfect for a nice evening read.


Library Haul 12.19.10 December 20, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 3:50 am

I love the library!  And I can’t wait to dive into these five food-related books.  Dan is most excited by the one in the lower right corner.  What can I say, the boy loves coffee cake.

I’ve been on the waiting list for The Cookbook Collector for months and I am glad that it arrived just before Christmas.  It looks like a nice little read.  From what I can tell the plot involves sisters, cookbooks and an antique bookstore.  Which is fun since I just finished The Thirteenth Tale, a quick read that loosely incorporated antique booksellers, twins, and ghosts.  For some reason I’ve been reading many, many books with these leitmotifs this year.  Has anyone else read Shadow of the WindThe Little Stranger or Her Fearful Symmetry?   I find it interesting when the plots of novels seem to interweave within my reading patterns.

Will Write for Food was not exactly what I expected.  I thought it would be a book about how to write about food.  Writing techniques, things to take note of, focus on, how to describe textures or tastes in pithy creative ways.  Instead it seems to focus on how to become a food writer.  I’m sure that many of the tips will be helpful, but I still hope to find a chapter in this book that deals more specifically on how to improve my own writing about food.

The Greens Cookbook was Deborah Madison’s very first cookbook.  She and co-author Edward Espe Brown lovingly dedicated the book to their mothers.  I’m not sure exactly what I’ll cook out of it, but I hope to find something wonderful.  I adore her cookbooks for the depth of knowledge that she brings to the table, although I admit that sometimes I’m a little intimidated by the recipes themselves.  This book was published in 1987 and I’m curious to see what her recipes looked like 20 years ago.

I have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on Greens Glorious Greens! it is going to be SO helpful as I cook my way through my CSA share.  This book goes alphabetically through many different types of greens giving multiple recipes for each.  I am delighted to see multiple cabbage recipes (not just slaw!) in this book.  I can’t wait to make a soup from this book and get several other dishes put together and frozen before we leave for the holidays.

Now this last book is the one that Dan keeps eyeing hopefully.  Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More is an unusual guest in my kitchen.  I’m not much of a baker or a sweets maker but I had fun with the cinnamon rolls last week.  They inspired me to check this book out.  I’ll let you know if I find anything that I can’t resist.


Library 11/20/10 November 21, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 11:43 pm

This week I got two beautiful and large books.  The librarians tease that I order in all the biggest books for them to shelve and re-shelve.  It’s not my intent, it’s just how the cookbooks are!

I am very happy to have the chance to read Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.  Elizabeth Andon is an american who has lived and cooked in Japan for the last forty years, and in this cookbook she shares many fabulous looking recipes.  She also includes great explanations about new and interesting ingredients.  Even better, the book centers around the idea of appreciation and has a beautiful tone.  I knew I was pleased with this book when I found 11 different recipes for daikon radishes.  Now, I love daikon radishes but I never know what to do with them besides just eat them up raw.  Further into the index I discovered that she provides 16 different recipes that call for kombu.  Which I am so excited about!  I’ve been trying to add kombu to our diet but so far have only tried adding it to miso soup.  After the holiday excesses this week expect to see some of these simple and pleasant Japanese meals featured here.

The other book I brought home, Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera, will hopefully give me a few tips on photographing food in my kitchen.  I think what I really need is better lighting, but I expect to find some helpful hints in this tome.  It is a huge oversized book that focuses on professional food styling and has several sections on breaking into the industry.  I think the sections on making food look mouth-watering, food propping and helpful tools of the trade might yield a few gems.  If so, you’ll see an improvement of the pictures on this blog soon.

In other news, I am not going to be featuring a set meal plan for this week.  Dan and I are headed home on Wednesday evening and I’m going to work on eating up leftovers from last week until then.  Instead, I hope to feature a few other holiday favorites, like black strap molasses cookies!  Yum.



Library 11/13/10 November 13, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 11:06 pm

I’m still waiting on the photography books, but I did get 3 good-looking books this week.

The Food of a Younger Land is a great little book.  I read little snippets of it aloud to Dan as we drove to Cincinnati today.  It is full of articles written by authors in the 1930’s under the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  There are some names that you will recognize among the authors – including Zora Neale Hurston and Eudora Welty.  The little vignettes are great to read through and it is a wonderful look into American regional cooking in the 30’s.  Dan and I particularly enjoyed reading all of the Kentucky recipes for things like burgoo and mint juleps.  There is even a complete list of Christmas dinner (circa 1940) at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY.  Parts of it remind me of the book Little Heathens which details life on an Iowa farm during the great depression, and was a great hit in my family.  I don’t think that this book will appeal to a very wide audience – but I do think that many of my friends and family would delight in it.  If you love gardens and cultural traditions, or are looking for insight into food history this one will be a winner for you.

The middle book, Cut your Grocery Bill in Half isn’t the kind of book I normally bring home, but I’m kind of excited to see what ideas they have.  Overall, I feel like I am prone to over spending on groceries, and then to make it worse, sometimes we buy things that we don’t need that then go bad, which just feels awful.  I read through this one on the way up and am most interested in their meal planning tips.  The authors talk about thinking through your weeknight schedule, then planning what nights you’ll cook vs. what nights you’ll reheat food  so that you’ll be prepared.  This is a great way to avoid blowing your budget on emergency food or just plain getting fed up with cooking altogether.  They also had a section on cooking & freezing meals, as well as coordinating meal swaps with friends.  Both of those ideas interest me greatly, so expect to see more experimenting with such things here in the future.  The sections on coupons are completely beyond me though, and a few other sections seemed too rigid for me.  Overall this book has a gentle ‘take what  ideas work for you’ tone and isn’t overly preachy.  I think that just about anyone could find a helpful hint or two in this one.

The book that I can’t wait to delve into is Delusions of Gender: how our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference by Cordelia Fine.  I will read parts of this book out loud to Dan on the way home because it looks both incredibly fascinating and heavily foot-noted (nothing is better than good footnotes to counteract his steady barrage of questions!).  From reading just the first chapter, I can tell that she is going to challenge some of my nature vs nurture beliefs, and I think that is a good thing.  I’ve been swayed several different ways on this topic since my days in women’s studies in college and I currently believe that it is a strong mix of both that makes us who we are.  This one has 42 pages of footnotes and a 38 page bibliography.  Call me a library dork, but at this point in life I find both of those things to be terribly exciting.


Library 11/13/10 November 7, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 11:41 pm

This week I picked up two cookbooks, one entrepreneur book and one money book.  I think I’m most excited by Simple Suppers, a Moosewood cookbook that focuses on quick and easy dinners.

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea is a charming cookbook with recipes for things that I’ve never even thought of making.  It’s full of  southern recipes for three bean salad, homemade mayonnaise and congealed salads.  The desserts look divine and I want to compare her macaroni and cheese recipe against mine sometime soon.

I must admit that I’ve read Simple Suppers before and even cooked out of it. I have very fond memories of the rarebit risotto recipe.  It was a delicious cheesy supper that was seasoned with a nice dark beer.  I’m looking forward to reading this one again and thinking that it might be a cookbook that I need to actually purchase.  The recipe for Sesame Tofu with Spinach might be featured here next week.

Rework looks interesting, though maybe a little slick for my tastes.  It’s about how to start up a small business and run it successfully.  I plan to read a few chapters this week and decide if it’s worth a full read or not.

I wish I had read Your Money the Missing Manual a couple of years ago, it has lots of good thoughts on achieving financial independence.  The sections on saving money, paying down debt and creating goals for yourself look strong.  It was written by J.D. Roth whose blog Getting Rich Slowly is worth checking out.

It was a good week at the library – but I must admit I’m eagerly awaiting a few books that are due in next week!  There are a few photography books on the way and I can’t wait to get my hands on them.


Library 10/30/10 October 31, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 10:06 pm

Novels and Mollie Katzen (Yay!)

Yesterday was a great library pick up day!  I got three novels and one cookbook this trip.  The novels look great.  Both “The Long Song” and “Parrot and Olivier in America” were on the Man Booker Prize short list for 2010.  I’ve read the first chapter of each and can’t wait to read more.

“The Long Song” hooked me in very quickly (I’m already on Chapter 22!).  It’s about a young woman in Jamaica around the time of the end of slavery there.  It is a gripping novel written in the memoir style.  Grandma Bea would enjoy it thoroughly.

“Parrot and Olivier” is by Peter Carey, who has won the Booker Prize twice before.  It is the tale of two young men discovering America in the time after the French Revolution.  Carey’s writing can be a little bit too masculine for me at times and I didn’t much like his earlier work, “The True History of the Kelly Gang”.   However, this book looks to have a lighter touch and I hope that it is a pleasant read.

The cookbook looks like a great, great find for a new cook.  It is by the always fabulous Mollie Katzen and appears to lay out some simple cooking guidelines and rules of thumb, as well as some tasty looking recipes.  The very last recipe in the book is for a Cherry Clafoutis, basically a large cherry-filled oven-baked pancake.  I will definitely be attempting this concoction sometime this week or next!  Overall, I think it would make a perfect gift for the beginning cook.

“The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay” is a beautiful sparse novel, told in little snatches of time throughout two sisters lives.  It is reminding me of the novel “Fall on Your Knees” by author Ann-Marie MacDonald, which is definitely worth reading.


Library 10/23/10 October 23, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 8:49 pm

A great catch at the library today!  The books I picked up cover a wide variety of subjects.  I was most excited to bring home Apartment Therapy’s “Big Book of Small, Cool Places” and the new

Books due back 11/13/10

photography book.

Though I will say that an initial quick scan of “The Art of Choosing” has me intrigued.  I think that it might be a fascinating read about how we make choices in our lives.  You can read more about it here:

I’m somewhat less excited by the “Be Thrifty” book.  Not that I don’t want to find bargains, but it looks more like a manual that you’d keep around for things like changing the oil in your car and such.  There is a section on keeping grocery costs down that I’m curious to read more about.

I’m hoping the “Book of Small Cool Spaces” will help inspire me to keep decluttering the house and to finally fix a few of the issues that we keep trying to ignore in our apartment…  I’ll let you know if that takes root and any changes are made to the actual apartment.

The photography book looks like a great read about how to start your own photography business.  I’m obviously still a long way from starting any sort of small business, but it should be an interesting peek in to the industry.  In other news, I’m hoping to be able to buy my new camera in November!

Ironically, it’s the cookbook that I’m least excited by.  I really liked the concept, “Doubletake” is for vegetarians and omnivores who live and eat together, it’s a way to prepare one meal (with a slight variation or two) that can satisfy both types of diets.  Since we only cook vegetarian in the house, my initial scanning of the book didn’t pull me in.  I think I’ll probably loan it to Rachel and Jacob or return it on Monday.

I’ve got to be good and get these back to the library on time – I owed them money in late fees this trip!