Monday, December 05, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway: But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!

 This excellent cartoon by the brilliant Ms. Roz Chast, from The New Yorker, is a family favorite, because it almost literally sums up our family. My mom keeps a copy of it in her kitchen. Cooking for our family is half hilarious, and mostly just impossible. I used to try, but I gave up a long time ago. These days we tend toward more of a pot luck approach, or at least a "several dishes" approach, so everyone will find something they will eat. We've got super picky, vegan, no-oil and no-salt vegan, standard American diet, gluten-free, soy-free, generally skeptical, and at least one person who is happy to eat anything tasty (Hi Mom!). 

For all of these reasons, I absolutely love the title of my friend Kristy Turner's new book: "But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!" Ha ha, obviously, this is the book for me! If you enjoy cooking for loved ones, but experience vegan-resistance, picky kiddos, varying tastes, difficulty planning holiday menus, this might be the book for you, too! Kristy blogs at Keepin' It Kind and has written another cookbook called "But I Could Never Go Vegan." 

a book the whole family can enjoy! 

This new book is chock full of recipes for all different occasions with a huge variety of recipes, and each recipe is clearly marked with icons to indicate things like "gluten-free" "gluten-free option" "soy free" "nut free" "plan ahead" and so on. The vast majority of the book is gluten-free, and that should be inviting and welcome for those of you who are GF or who cook for GFers. 

minestrone rules the world

There aren't many foods that I love as much as I love minestrone soup. I have my own recipe, which I am quite pleased with, but I am also always interested in other people's minestrone recipes. Kristy's recipe for Tempeh Sausage Minestrone has all sorts of excellent veggies that I don't usually include in my minestrone: broccoli florets, mushrooms, fennel, and peas! We especially loved the broccoli and mushrooms. I might have to add those to my own recipe next time. I also loved the chewy Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and the flavor, texture, and protein that they contributed to the soup. The seasoning was also quite different from my recipe - this recipe includes paprika! Paprika certainly isn't very Italian, but the end result of the soup was still delicious. Because of the paprika, Mr. VE&T nicknamed this soup "Hungarian Minestrone" - he loves Hungarian flavors, so this is definitely a compliment in his eyes. 

The recipe is from the chapter titled: 
"But this recipe has been passed down for generations! 
Classic Family Recipes (Veganized) That Even Grandma Will Approve Of! "

Hummus night for dinner!

I can be a bit of a hummus traditionalist (no red pepper hummus for me, thank you very much!), but something about this Artichoke Kale Hummus caught my eye and I had to make it. It's full of artichoke hearts and 3 cups of kale! The end result was really good - sort of a hybrid between spinach artichoke dip and hummus. It was different enough and familiar enough to be delicious and interesting! This recipe also make a metric tonne of hummus, so unless I'm making it for a party, next time I'll probably make a half-batch. One night we had a big hummus + pita bread + veggies platter. Another night we had pita pockets with this hummus mixed with some tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley, and cooked quinoa. It was great! 

This recipe is from the chapter called: 
"There's no way vegan food can make everyone happy at once:
Adaptable Meals That Even The Pickiest Eaters Can Enjoy With The Rest Of You"

a great way to kick off the morning! 

I always wake up with a ready-to-eat appetite, and I especially love mornings where I have my breakfast plan all figured out ahead of time, so that I can get straight to work eating. As soon as I saw the recipe for the Savory Breakfast Casserole, my eyes lit up! This recipe is packed full with protein and flavor: tofu, chickpea flour, tempeh crumbles, excellent seasoning, bell pepper - and even hash browns! So yummy and unlike anything I've ever made before! 

As you can see, it really made a lot. I cut it into 10 pieces and had it for breakfast for 10 days. It was rad! It also reheated really well in the microwave. Mine turned out a little bit drier than I would have liked, so I had it with salsa, which was great.  I think this happened because I used my special super absorbent chickpea flour, but next time I will probably use either softer tofu or a little more milk, just to be sure.  Either way, I'll probably still enjoy it with salsa though, because that was a good combo.

This recipe is from the chapter called:
"My family demands bacon and eggs for breakfast:
Vegan Dishes to Get Everyone's Day Off To A Good Start"

Quick Bacon Crumbles
(also Quick Sausage Crumbles, by altering the seasoning)

Both the minestrone and the savory breakfast casserole called for these Quick Bacon Crumbles (in the minestrone, the seasoning is changed, and they become Quick Sausage Crumbles). This recipe really is quick, as promised, and in both cases these tempeh crumbles added a lot to the final dish. 

This recipe is from the chapter titled:
"Vegan Pantry Staples That Your Family Will Be Willing To Use" 

morning delights.

Here's my morning slice of breakfast casserole, with mandatory seasonal Fuyu persimmon, and the beauty of low, winter light and long shadows. Not pictured: morning coffee, crossword puzzle, bowl of salsa. I'm going to have to make another batch of this, because I miss having this delicious and satisfying breakfast waiting for me every morning!

enjoying my breakfast casserole very much,
complete with my sidekick Yummers

totally delicious and perfect

My fella, Mr. VE&T, has a deep and abiding love for tomato soup. I think he would be happy if I made tomato soup every night for dinner. So, whenever I find a new tomato soup recipe, I'll give it a go. Kristy's recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic-Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons especially caught my attention because I love garlic, and the idea of grilled cheese croutons pretty much made my head explode! 

This soup uses 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes (I LOVE a recipe that actually calls for fresh tomatoes!!!!), and a whole head of roasted garlic. Mmm. This recipe results in a rich, simple, classic tomato soup that leaves nothing to be desired. I appreciate all the creative spins on tomato soup over the years, but I also appreciate a solid, reliable recipe, and this is just that. For the grilled cheese croutons, there is a recipe for homemade cashew cheese, but I had some Field Roast Chao Cheese open in the fridge, so I used that in the interest of weeknight laziness. I loved this dinner, and I loved the joy of grilled cheese croutons as much as I thought I would. Seriously, who thinks of that? What a good idea.

This recipe is from a chapter called:
"There's no way vegan food can make everyone happy at once:
Adaptable Meals That Even The Pickiest Eaters Can Enjoy With The Rest Of You"

spicy balls of yum

I don't mean to be a complainer, but these days it seems like a lot of vegan cookbooks include a lot of very similar recipes. It's always fun to find recipes for flavors or combinations that look new or like something I don't eat very often. These Jalepeño Popper Bites (with leftover tomato soup in the background!) were just like that - definitely felt like something new and interesting to make and to eat! Instead of these jalepeno peppers having filling stuffed into a jalepeno pepper, Kristy's recipe calls for all the ingredients to be mixed together into a hush-puppy-like popper! They've got quinoa, corn flour, minced jalepeno, spices, vegan cream cheese... all mixed up and baked or fried in little balls. I chose to bake mine, which was easy and the results were great. The recipe calls for 3-4 jalepenos, and I went the conservative route... but next time I will go big and use 4 for extra jalepeno flavor and heat! They were especially good served with a generous dollop of salsa! She says they are best the day they're made, but I enjoyed mine leftover the next day just fine! 

This recipe is from a chapter titled:
 "What can I serve at the big game day party that won't get pushed to the side? 
Decadent Snackage That Nobody Will Guess is Vegan"

sparkly holiday cookies 

 Did you really think that I was going to review this book and not cook something from the desserts chapter? Not a chance! I made the Gingerbread Cookies for our recent Friendsgiving gathering. They are so good: great flavor and great chewy texture. You can't tell from this picture, but they are also rolled in a little bowl of cinnamon sugar before getting pressed and baked. It's such a nice touch! 
They're made with oat flour, almond flour, molasses, coconut oil, great spices, fresh and dried ginger, and coconut sugar. I have a wonderful gingerbread cookie recipe that I love to make, which isn't GF, and I've been wanting a GF recipe to make alongside it - I've finally found my recipe! 

This recipe is from the chapter titled:
 "It's just not the holidays without Aunt Betty's pumpkin pie: 
Vegan Dishes That Will Start New Holiday Traditions" 

golden bars of yumtown

I also made the Salted Vanilla Maple Blondies! I made these for my good friend who came over and spent the day with our pets so that Mr VE&T and I could go up to San Francisco for the evening. These treats are gluten-free, moist but not dense, have a lovely fluffy crumb without being crumbly, and have a great light vanilla flavor! Such a delicious treat and yet another great GF treat to have up my sleeve. I also really appreciate the relatively healthy approach of these cookies: sweetened with less-processed coconut sugar and maple syrup, the fat comes almost entirely from cashew butter (and she tells you how to turn your cashews into cashew butter!), and the flours are oat flour and sweet white rice flour. So delicious and not heavy or post-sweetie-crash-inducing either! 

This recipe is from the chapter called:
"My sister things vegan baking is something only hippies do: 
Vegan Baked Goods That You Don't Have To Be A Hippie To Love"

This book also has some of the best chapter titles ever. They are accurate, fun, and funny. In addition to the ones I've already shared, here are a few more good ones - just to give you a sense of how many things Kristy has taken into account with this book:
* "My teenagers just want to 'fit in' with their friends when it comes to what they eat: 
Vegan Food Cool Enough for Sports Games, Sleepovers, and Just Hanging Out." 
* "What will I bring to potlucks and summer barbecues? 
Vegan Recipes Big Enough to Feed A Crowd"
* "The In-Laws will just add this to their list of my faults:
Impressive Meals That Will Leave Them With Only Good Things To Say About You"

In addition to the great things I've already made, 
here are a handful of other recipes that caught my eye: 
Cauliflower Parmigiana
Cabbage Casserole 
Lasagna Soup
Pumpkin Chai Scones
Grandma's Famous Date Nut Bread
Mushroom and Lentil Soup Mix
(from the Homemade Edible Gifts chapter -!! )

Kristy and her publishers at The Experiment (have you noticed that they publish such great and beautiful vegan cookbooks?!) are letting me offer a copy of BMFWNEV to one lucky reader (US & Canada only). To enter, leave a comment on this post and tell me about your best success feeding vegan food to your family, or your biggest disaster! ha ha. Please make sure to include your email or an easy way for me to contact you, or I will just pick a different winner. Good luck! 


** GoMacro Thrive Bar Giveaway Winner! **
Congratulations to Karen Hardin (randomly chosen, comment #3) 
for winning a case of assorted Thrive bars by GoMacro!
Karen, send me your mailing info and I will arrange to have the bars sent to you!
ameyfm at yahoo dot com 


  1. One year my family let me host a (small) vegan Thanksgiving! Made butternut squash lasagna, roasted veg, and pumpkin pie (among other things).

  2. My best success...feeding them foods they don't know are vegan, like cookies and cake (especially those made with chocolate). And getting them to try known vegan foods, like TJ's cherry-chip soy ice cream, and like them!

    Rachel -

    And Amey - I'm a lurker, but always enjoy your blog (and your A-Z yoga posts on Instagram)

  3. Oooh, I would love this book!! Everything you made looks fantastic, but that breakfast casserole would certainly be my fave. I'm a big breakfast eater too! As for feeding the family, mine pretty much likes all the vegan stuff I make. But one year, I made vegan mac (using a nooch sauce) for Thanksgiving, and my me-maw said it was disgusting. Hahaha. Everyone else said it was just okay. Apparently, a taste for nooch must be an acquired thing.

  4. I made one of my favorite recipes zucchini "catfish" - thick cut zucchini with sea vegetables in the coating. My mom wouldn't even try it. I should have just called it breaded zucchini.

  5. my family always gobbles up the vegan waffles on christmas morning! major success!

  6. Your review makes it clear that this book is a must-have! I can always use fresh inspiration for great recipes (both for myself, and for vegan delights that my extended family will be happy to eat), and it sounds like this one is packed full of inspiring new ideas along with the veganized versions of traditionnal fare.

    One occasion I count as a big success was the time I brought a vegan quiche to our Christmas dinner on mom's side of the family. One of my uncles is vegetarian and, as such, he tends to rely heavily on eggs and dairy for his proteins. Well, he loved my quiche and said he never would have guessed it was not the "real" thing had he not known I was the one who had made it. From someone who certainly qualifies as a traditionnal, non-vegan quiche connoisseur, I thought that was high praise!

  7. This book looks great! I am especially intrigued by that breakfast casserole, although I would probably eat it for lunch or dinner. I haven't cooked for my family for quite awhile, but I have made some vegan cookies that were a major hit. I've always thought having good recipes is the key to success, which sounds right in line with this cookbook! Thank you for the chance to win!

  8. I like to do a lot of apps and finger foods for people. Also, any stew with dumplings on top goes over well.

    This book looks amazing!

  9. We made a no bake vegan cheesecake for Thanksgiving and it was the most popular dessert this year!

  10. This books looks like a must-have! My biggest vegan success is probably lasagna with cashew cream and tofu ricotta. The non-vegans at the family dinner gobble it up as fast as anyone! I think the secret in my family is not to tell people it is vegan!

  11. I was responsible for baking a dessert for my extended family's reunion and I was so pleased about how much everyone enjoyed the cake I made (without even realizing it was vegan). It made me very happy!

  12. I made some amazing Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving in my pressure cooker, my family was pretty blow away. My mother in-law who hates Brussels sprouts said they were delicious :)
    As for a fail, I made a soup one time with sauerkraut...need I say

  13. Biggest fail? Meat analogs. They always knew (and hated) it! karengdelaney (at) yahoo com

  14. Gabrielle Pope7:23 AM

    OMG I didn't know I wanted this book until seeing your review!

    Every family meal fail I do is using too much garlic or peppers. Sadly, my parents cannot handle garlic and heat like I can.

    Successes? I made the white bean broccoli quiche from superfuntimes on a recent visit to see my parents and they LOVED it! <3

    (I think you have my email but if not I will FB message you) :)

  15. One year for Christmas I made vegan chocolate chip cookies and regular (carnivore) chocolate chip cookies and I didn't tell them which was which. They all loved the vegan cookies better.

  16. One of my sensational flops was making a dish using my new spirializer without trying it out ahead of time. I spirilized sweet potatoes, added dandelion greens, sun dried tomatoes, and a garlic and herb cashew cheese but the sweet potatoes got over cooked and turned into an unappetizing mush.

  17. I had great success with my meat and potatoes brother with a rich potato soup thickened with cauliflower. I was so happy!

  18. This book would be perfect for my family, which has two kids (one super picky) and my husband, who is game to try things but never really enjoys them the way i do so i get plenty of leftovers. except desserts! my kids don't even know the difference between "regular" and vegan cookies, since all i made are vegan cookies. we have no problems with them gobbling them up.

  19. Biggest success was bringing dinner to our friends. I made Trader Joe's meatless meatballs. They both commented that if they didn't know me and the way I eat they would never have guessed they weren't made from ground beef. They even started buying them. :)
    Thanks for the chance!

  20. I made a enchilada taco soup which sounds great but it was a no go in my house...too spicy!
    My family favorite is potato salad w homemade mayo. Can't wait to try this book


  22. My husband is a vegetarian, but when we were dating I made him enchiladas (he loves spicy mexican food) that I topped with Daiya cheese. He was a good sport and ate a (small!) serving, not telling me that he hates vegan cheese til later in our dating relationship :)

  23. My family was skeptical of everything I made so one year for thanksgiving I made green bean casserole and no one but my mom knew it was vegan. They loved it so much more than the canned soup version and were shocked when they learned it was vegan. Everyone is much more willing to try something these days, especially baked goods.

  24. When eating out I take friends and family to Veggie Grill and everyone has loved it. I haven't cooked for a lot of friends recently.

    1. Oh yeah, lydia dot greenfield at gmail dot com.

  25. Terri Cole12:14 PM

    My first year as a vegan, I tried to veganize my grandma's pumpkin pie recipe. It was inedible! Thank goodness for Isa's voluptuous pumpkin pie!

    gaia at cinci dot rr dot com

  26. my biggest vegan family-related success was last christmas. my first ever vegan christmas and i made such vast quantities of gravy and stuffing that they all decided just to have mine rather than making their own, non-vegan versions. and they were both a hit! another exciting thing that happened that year was the first time i made royal icing for my very own vegan christmas cake with aquafaba. and nobody ever guessed their delicious, traditional icing was made with weird bean juice!

  27. vegan tacos worked awesome! not the same with vegan cheese...

  28. Jacky8:01 AM

    My in-laws are really weirded out by fake meat and cheese, so I try to focus on real ingredients instead, which is a great strategy!
    jackydlt at gmail

  29. This cookbook sounds great! I think our biggest vegan food success has been several years' worth of totally vegan Thanksgiving dinners. So many delicious dishes! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  30. One year I made a shredded Brussels sprouts salad, and one of my family members eating it said it was so good! However, just moments before he had declared his life-long hatred of Brussels - not realizing that was what he was scarfing down! He was blown away once I finally told him :)

  31. I success story is Dreena Burton's Sunflower Artichoke Burgers. Even my 12 recovering picky eater likes these.

  32. My success story is actually related to Kristy's first book. I go to law school and was visiting my family for the holidays last christmas and I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Kristy's book "But I Could Never Go Vegan." I am the only vegan in my entire family and the cookies were a HUGE hit. My dad basically won't try anything that I say is vegan so instead of telling him about the cookies I just placed them on the table and watched them disappear. Ever since, every single time I go home I am asked to make these cookies!

  33. Preston11:58 AM

    I replaced the ground beef in my chili with Boca grounds and it went over great!



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