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Living Crazy Healthy: Plant-Based Recipes from the Neurotic Mommy by Jennifer Rossano, Gibbs Smith, US $24.99, Pp 208, July 2018, ISBN 978-1423648710

Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou, Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers, US $60.00, Pp 530, May 2018, ISBN 978-0062363039

The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook by Tiffany Dahle, Page Street Publishing, US $21.99, Pp 210, August 2018, ISBN 978-1624145834

Most of us live crazy busy lives with little time for ourselves. We also want to eat healthy food while we are running around but, unfortunately, good and healthy food is the first casualty of our busy urban lives as we need to save time for others things. In Living Crazy Healthy, Jennifer Rossano says that eating healthy shouldn’t be about restriction or deprivation for you or your family. It is not about getting rid of all the foods you love. It’s about finding a balance that works for you and your family. You can eat real food without having to compromise taste, texture, or tradition. It’s about knowing that your food is actually nourishing you, and providing you with the ample and sufficient energy you need throughout the day. This is exactly what Jennifer Rossano is trying to do in Living Crazy Healthy. She says that her goal is not only to inspire you, but also to show you that cooking and eating healthy doesn’t mean doing away tradition, but perhaps creating new ones. It doesn’t mean cooking all day night in the kitchen, and it doesn’t mean less fun and less taste. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s about family time, learning and involving your kids in the process. It is about making nutritious recipes that your kids also love. There is an array of breakfast recipes that range from ‘Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast Bake’ to ‘Super Chocolatey Easy Brownie Breakfast Bake.’ There are many mouth-watering recipes for kids as well such as ‘Hulk Shake’ and ‘Blueberry Shake.’ You can choose from a wide range of lunch recipes such as ‘Veggie and Bean Rice Bowls’ and ‘Chickpea Salad Sandwich.’ You can enjoy the same recipes at dinner or choose from specific dinner recipes like ‘One-Skillet Cheesy Pasta’ and ‘Corn, Bean, and Cheese Taquitos.’ You will surely enjoy snacks like ‘Roasted Chickpeas’ and ‘Roasted Veggie Platter. Who wouldn’t love desserts like ‘Icebox Cake’ and ‘Vegan Pesto?’ The ingredients are common and you can find them either in your kitchen or in the local grocery store. It is clearly a great source of scrumptious and healthy recipes for the entire family particularly kids. In addition to being a health coach and a loving mom, Jennifer Rossano is also a creative chef with an array of inventive plant-based recipes and dazzling photographs. Living Crazy Healthy will surely change hearts and minds one meal at a time.

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Today, the Muslim world comprises more than fifty Muslim-majority countries with roughly one-fourth of humanity. The Muslim world whose recipes are included in Feast includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt in North Africa, finishing in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India in South Asia, and Xinjiang province and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. In between are Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, and Iran in the Levant, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. On the fringes are countries with diffused influences, such as Zanzibar, Somalia, Senegal, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The Arabs have been great traders. One of the commodities they traded was spices even before the birth of Islam. Some of the parts of the world the Muslim conquered and established the empires like the Ummayads, Abbasids, Ottomans, and Mughals were known for producing the best spices that spread to different parts of the world and influenced cuisines around the world. Traders took these spices and recipes from one place to another, mostly along the Silk Roads network. Later, European powers colonized many of these countries and enriched their cuisines with spices and food ingredients from the colonized lands. Many of the food items in the West we use on daily basis actually came from what is known as the Muslim world such as Pita bread, Nan, Kebab. The first part of Feast provides a number of bread recipes from different parts of the Muslim world that range from ‘Turkish Flatbread’ to ‘North African Multilayered Breads’ to Pakistani/Indian ‘Paratha’ to ‘Zanzibari Sesame Bread.’ Kebabs are a popular dish in the many Muslim countries. They all taste different. There are a number of recipes for kebabs ranging from ‘Saudi Camel Meatballs’ to ‘Afghani Sikh Kebabs’ to ‘Iranian Stuffed Whole Lamb.’ There are so many rice dishes ranging from ‘Hyderabadi Biryani’ to ‘Qatari Festive Rice and Chicken’ to ‘Indonesian Friend Rice.’ In many Muslim countries, couscous is one of the main dishes. There are several recipes for couscous such as ‘Tunisian Fish Couscous’ to ‘Lebanese Couscous with Chicken.’ South Asia is a land of vegetarian cuisine. There are many vegan recipes like ‘Indian Fried Eggplant’ and ‘Vegetable Curry.’ The desserts range from ‘Date Halva’ to ‘Turkish Flour Halva’ to ‘Date Ice Cream’ and ‘Rice Pudding.’ Feast is a unique cookbook that gathers the largest variety of dishes from the Muslim world in one place. If you like to eat international food, Feast should be your next stop. It is veritably a bible of Muslim cuisines.

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Parents know that kids are picky eaters. Their taste buds change more frequently than those of their parents. Feeding the kids is never easy but, at times, it can be a nightmarish experience. Tiffany Dahle’s recipes are simplified versions of classic recipes that she has streamlined for busy families — many of them ideal for weeknights. Tiffany Dahle is the founder of www.PeanutBlossom.com– the blog that helps moms makes life enjoyable. There is also an array of relaxed slower dishes for weekends and holidays. In these recipes, she uses regular and simple ingredients you can buy from your local grocery store. They are simple and can be cooked in a single pot. Additionally, you can easily swap one ingredient with another. But, most importantly, all these dishes are kid-friendly and have been tested and approved on her kids. Every kid has a different preference for flavors, but Tiffany Dahle does not use any ingredients most children find offensive. She says that when you learn to have empathy for your children’s picky palates, you can put yourself on their team and make the dreary chore of cooking your nightly dinner an exciting experience. It’s a subtle shift that can have an amazing effect on your kid’s attitudes toward food.” Her advice to parents is: “Remove your children’s fears by encouraging adventure and placing control over the recipes in their hands. Let them dictate what goes into the dish as it gets prepared. Have a conversation about what you like and don’t like. Let them see your own picky preferences. Talk about how you overcome an aversion. What was it that made you eventually come to like that food?” Her logic is simple. When your children can recognize that even Mom and Dad went through taste changes, they become more open-minded that could happen to them too. Her delicious breakfast recipes range from ‘Easy cherry Almond Scones’ to ‘Vanilla Spice French Toast.’ Then there are scrumptious snacks and soups like ‘Country Captain Chicken Soup’ and ‘Shredded Hot Italian Beef Sandwiches.’ The main meals range from mouth-watering dishes like ‘Sweet-and-Spicy Pork with Roasted Carrots’ to ‘Big Batch Pork Picadillo’ to ‘Sausage Tortellini with Peas’ to ‘Chicken Finger Dunkers.’ The recipes are easy-to-make and cooked with regular and simple ingredients. If you want to teach your children how to cook food, they can learn cooking by cooking these recipes. Although these recipes are for children, adults will enjoy them equally. Tiffany Dahle’s The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook may not solve all your problems but it will surely help you partly overcome your kids’ food problems.

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