Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway: The Abundance Diet


The first recipe I ever made from Somer of Vedged Out was her glorious Cheeseball, and I think you all know how that ended (hint: true love forever). So, after the amazing cheeseball incident, I would say that I immediately had 100% faith in Somer's food sensibilities. Anyone who can make a vegan cheeseball recipe like that is a friend of mine.

The Abundance Diet really offers up some seriously satisfying abundance!
(That's me on a giant mountain of copies of The Abundance Diet, in case you can't tell) 

So, I was super stoked when Somer invited me to receive a review copy and participate in her book's blog tour. The Abundance Diet is a really great book that takes all of Somer's amazing food prowess, and directs it toward healthy eating. The book is actually set up to be a complete dietary plan that you could follow for 4 weeks -- there are meal plans provided, and shopping lists that are even different for 1 person, 2 people. or 4 people. I've been thinking about following her program for a whole week to try it out, from what I can tell so far, the meals would taste fantastic and I would feel great about the way I was eating.

So far though, I've mostly explored the dinners in the book - to immense satisfaction and delight! All the recipes in The Abundance Diet are vegan (obvs!) and gluten-free and refined-sugar-free, and many of them are also oil-free, if that's something you're interested in. However, they are absolutely not flavor-free! The recipes I've tried have been creative, delicious, satisfying to eat and pretty to look at, and as popular with Mr VE&T as they were with me.

Here's what I've made so far:



Chipotle Corn Chowder
I am a big fan of corn soup, and every summer I make sure to make a few of my old favorite recipes before corn season is over. Well, it looks like I have another new favorite to add to my annual corn chowder list! This soup is oil-free, but does have fat from soaked and pureed cashews. The soup is also thickened with a bit of tapioca starch, which gives it a lovely creamy thickness without any odd flavors. The end result is a super creamy and surprisingly sweet (from the corn!) chowder with a perfect kick of heat (from the chipotle powder) and the perfect amount of chunky veggies throughout. Wholeheartedly recommended without reservation!



Homestyle Mexican Casserole
Um. We ate this entire casserole in two days. Supposedly it's 8 servings, but I guess we were hungry... and enthusiastic. This oil-free casserole comes together quickly, with a quick sautee of beans, veggies and spices, and then a rich cashew & nutritional yeast-based cheese sauce is mixed in, and the whole thing pops in the oven. Absolutely delicious: great combo of crunchy veggies and creamy sauce, perfectly spiced, and satisfying to eat.



Chile Rellenos Casserole

OH YES. I made a double batch of this casserole for a small family dinner party. There were 7 of us there, 4 of us were vegans (one of whom prefers to eat gluten-free), and then the other half "omnis." This dish was a universal HIT and the entire casserole dish was wiped clean of every remaining crumb. When I was a little girl, my grandma had a casserole dish that she used to make for all sorts of occasions called "Chicken Ole." I had forgotten all about the legendary Chicken Ole, but half way through dinner, my cousin Lisa said "This tastes like Grandmommy's Chicken Ole!" -- and it really did!

This dish was just wonderful and not like anything I have eaten in my last 15 years of veganism. I'm really grateful for that. This casserole took a little while to assemble and cook, but the end result was so special that I will absolutely make it again and again. Inside the casserole are green chiles (from a can) stuffed with Somer's Fresh Vegan Mauxerella. I had to add a little extra tapioca starch to the mauxerella, and cook it a little longer than suggested... but it eventually came together. Then, there is a thick, eggy batter with chickpea flour poured over all the chiles and baked. I baked it a bit longer than the recipe suggested, just for a slightly firmer and less eggy consistency. I totally missed the point that you were supposed to pour the enchilada sauce on it and put it back in the oven (read the recipe, dummy!), but it was great with the sauce poured over it too. Hands down, a new family favorite.



Blueberry Peach Tart
   (~ and Somer's All-Purpose GF Flour Blend)

Woo Hoo! I also made this dessert for our family dinner and I just used whatever summer fruit I had on hand: some white nectarines, some plums, and some blueberries. At the book's suggestion, I made a double recipe in an 8-inch springform pan for a larger group, and the result was perfect. This recipe is sweetened with dates and dried apricots (no added sugar) and is also gluten-free. I added about 1 cup extra oats to made the crust/topping mixture a bit more hefty, and we all loved it. This dish also came home from the party completely cleaned out. Not bad for two un-charted recipes brought to a dinner party, huh?



Creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing with Kittee's Buffalo Cauliflower
My sweet pal Kittee (who is actually the one who e-introduced me to Somer) recently posted an appealing recipe for baked Buffalo Cauliflower. A bunch of folks made it and raved about it, and I wanted to join the party. No regrets, folks! These are tasty and easy and perfectly spicy and fun. I'm already eager to make them again. I didn't really grow up eating Buffalo wings -- buffalo this and buffalo that is really only something I've learned about in the last couple of years. But I know that you are supposed to have some cooling ranch dressing to go with your spicy yums -- so I blended up a half batch of Somer's Ranch Dressing. Big hit! Mine turned out super green, because I only had fresh herbs and not dried herbs.




Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna
This lasagna is one of our new favorite dishes of all time. Like any lasagna, it took a little while to make this -- but like any lasagna, it also fed us for several days. The recipe calls for jarred pasta sauce, which is a nice time saver -- of course you can make your own if you are feeling industrious. It also called for lentils and quinoa to stir into the pasta sauce, but somehow I was all out of quinoa (vegan faux pas!). So, I used half red lentils, and half green lentils -- and we loved it so much that I might just make it that way from now on. The lasagna uses grilled eggplant and zucchini and red onion slices instead of noodles and in the end it sort of tastes like a ratatouille flavored lasagna that is absolutely great. As you can see on top, this recipe also calls for the Fresh Mauxerella cheese to be dabbed around the top.


Mmm. Mr. VE&T is totally in love with this lasagna, and has requested that this be the only dish that we ever eat for the rest of time.



Lightened Up Laksa
This soup was really wonderful -- the broth was warming and flavorful and peanutty+coconutty, without feeling heavy. The little tofu cubes are baked while you make the soup, so they really have a great toothsome texture. The recipe called for some rice noodles, but I just happened to have this odd little bag of black bean noodles that I never knew what to do with -- and this was a perfect use for them. I'll probably just make this same soup recipe 10 more times until I've used up all those weird little noodles! I absolutely loved all the different flavors and colors and textures in this soup - and I also loved the broth on its own. I actually liked this so much that I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day. 


Apple and Chai Spice Muesli
Yum! I really liked this recipe a lot. It's a simple, make-ahead oatmeal that made four generous servings. I don't have "chai spice," so I used Somer's suggestion to stew a few tea bags in my almond milk first, and that worked great. There was a pleasant, but not overbearing chai flavor to the oats, which also have shredded apples and walnuts mixed in. This was really easy to mix up the night before, and then I had breakfast all squared away for four days. I heated mine up in the microwave before eating it, and that was especially yummy.



Vegetable Pudla
Here's another quick and satisfying breakfast. Somer's Pudla recipe is provided alongside an homage to Kittee, the Pudla queen. I followed the recipe pretty well, except that I can never control myself and added way more greens than suggested. I also used collards instead of spinach, cuz that's what I had. The batter makes enough for 4 seriously satisfying veggie pancakes, so I just kept the batter in the fridge, and made myself one each day for four days. I like having a savory, hearty breakfast - especially if I can have a little piece of fruit or something to balance it out. I'll definitely be making this again and again. 


We have a new family member! 

Here's the truth. I have a number of other cookbooks to review and I had to forcibly stop myself from making everything in this whole book! If, like me, you are a great fan of Appetite for Reduction and you've already made every recipe in AfR 100 times, then I think you will also really love Somer's wonderful new book. The recipes are low-cal, satisfying, unique, and delicious enough to serve to company. There's a huge smoothie section, a breakfast chapter, salads & dressings, soups & stews, dips & snacks, main dinners, desserts, and even a bonus chapter on juicing.

I am really nuts about this new book! 

GIVEAWAY! 
Happily! Somer & her publisher have offered to let me host a giveaway so that one lucky U.S. reader can win a copy! You can't have my copy, because I have already bonded with it and written inside it and dripped on it. So, you'll just have to win your own copy! Or win one and also buy copies for all your friends!

To enter the Giveaway - please just leave a comment on this blog post (and make sure I can contact you from your comment - or I will pick a different winner). I'll choose a winner in one week. Good luck!

47 comments:

  1. I am so glad you posted about that casserole! I love omni friendly potluck items and it looks like a real hit, but also something I might not have tried to make without your review. Count me in for the giveaway!!! :)

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    1. Maeve, I love all the casseroles in this book! They're really delicious, really nutritious, and the serving sizes are appropriately generous!

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  2. Exclude me from the giveaway because I received a review copy too! But I haven't made anything from it yet. Like you, I AM LOVE WITH SOMER'S CHEESEBALL. So I know I'm gonna love this book. And your post has convinced me that I need to get my butt in the kitchen and make some stuff from this book!!

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    1. high fives, cheeseball fan! Yes, this book is SO GOOD - get cookin'!

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  3. I love that cheeseball too! I also love having pudlas for breakfast. It looks like an amazing cookbook!

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    1. I had a pudla again today. They're so easy to whip up, and so huge and so good. Perfect!

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  4. My god everything looks so yummy! That is pretty rare with "dieting" cookbooks!

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  5. I need that Abundance of colors and flavors in my life!

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  6. Everything looks SO GOOD! seriously, you do such a great and thorough job reviewing books. I bought Miyoko's book after your review and will probably do the same here! I am very interested in that casserole and the lasagna (and that pie and the corn chowder and the Mexican casserole...)

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    1. Michelle, thank you so much for this comment! I put so much work into my reviews. I always make at least 5 dishes, and I only do a review if I really love most of what I made. I think it's so much more informative this way. Have you made anything from Miyoko's book yet?

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  7. I don't think you could ever have an abundance of cook books. There are always remove for more!

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  8. This cookbook sounds so great! I, too, am a huge fan of AfR and have wished many times there were more books like it. I'll definitely have to get a copy. And I also have to say that your cookbook reviews are so awesome! I am out of the new cookbook loop and your reviews are always so thorough and informative. Thank you!

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  9. Your review made me even more eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. Chiles Relleno casserole? Yes please! Why am I not eating that right now. I love how thoughtful all of your cookbook reviews are, I know that you've put time and thought in to everything you post. Thank you for that. :)

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  10. This books sounds very interesting. I am intrigued to know what makes the lasagna THAT good.

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  11. i collect books! I'd love to win

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  12. I can always use another healthy, yummy, vegan cookbook. Count me in!

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  13. I collect cookbooks and this would be a welcome addition!

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  14. I am SO hungry reading this (note to self, don't read Amey's blog at dinner time). These recipes look great. Pick me, pick me!

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  15. Allison7:16 PM

    Made her cauliflower potato bake for dinner yesterday, so good! Happily ate the leftovers today :)

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  16. Yum! Wow now I can't wait to make all those things from my copy! I have been mostly just making the smoothies, but I'll have to make more stuff!! Also I think you need to come to my house and cook for me. Because all your food looks so amazing and food tastes better when someone cooks it for you!! haha! Anyway, I hope to hang with you when you visit NYC!

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  17. I love Appetite For Reduction. What a great review of this cookbook. I know I'd love it too!

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  18. I'm not entering the giveaway because I live over the seas and also I already have a copy, just wanted to say yum yum yum and your photos are so pretty! I have been LOVING this book, and the week I spent eating only from it (I didn't do the five recipes a day, but everything was from there) left me feeling really great! After MoFo, when I predict I shall put on some MoFo weight, I will definitely give myself another week of this!

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  19. Wow all of this looks amazing! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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  20. wowwww! I'm dying to try everything! sounds so good!!! kimberley . jolly @ gmail . com

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  21. Great review. I think it sold me on this book!

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  22. Oh, I am drooling over the Laksa and the Chile Rellenos casserole. It is a cold dreary day here today, and they sound so perfect and comforting!

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  23. Great review, would love to give the book a try. Sounds fun!

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  24. Ok, you've sold me! Everything looks amazing. I don't know how to ensure that you can contact me from this comment, but I'll cross my fingers!

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  25. Wow! You've made quite a bit already from this cookbook and it all looks amazing. I'd love to add this to my bookshelf to try out myself! My first to make would probably be the Mexican casserole - it sounds great!

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  26. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. I can't wait to get a copy!

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  27. All of the recipes sound amazing!

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  28. What an awesome cookbook! I've gotta try the chile relleno casserole!

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  29. i need to eat all of this.

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  30. i need to eat all of this.

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  31. I have been dying to buy her book. I would love to win this! And what an amazing post. The corn chowder looks amazing!!

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  32. vegan eat and treat me up! this book seems like a treasure ...put me in the draw to win this amazeballs book!

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  33. wow! this book looks fantastic!

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  34. These recipes look tasty. I would love to try Kittee's Buffalo Cauliflower.

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  35. I keep looking at this book (the Kindle edition is a great deal right now), but I have so many cookbooks that I've been hesitating to buy it. This post has changed my mind!

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  36. WOW! I don't see anything in this blog post that doesn't look absolutely delicious!

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  37. I wasn't sure whether I needed this book (I have so many cookbooks!), but your review convinced me that I do. :) Appetite for Reduction is one of my favorites -- and that lasagna looks delicious!

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  38. As a newly minted vegan a new cookbook sounds great, especially if it doesn't involve too many fake meat recipes. Aww who am I kidding I am sucker for a giveaway. You can reach me via courtlykimatyahoodotcom

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  39. I love Somer's cheeseball too! But everything in this blogpost looked so yummy! One more cookbook to add to my list....

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  40. I moved to a new city almost 6 months ago and have been living in temporary housing. This cookbook would be a nice house warming present to me when I move into my new place next month!

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  41. We'd love to have this book for our vegan cookbook shelf!

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