Hey guys! A couple weeks ago I was in Barnes and Noble browsing aimlessly with my boyfriend. You would think my boyfriend had also been a lit major since he shares my unnatural love for books and we both cling to that Luddite desire to touch and own our books, rather than read them through an electronic device. Clearly, as we’re planning to move in together in August, our first concern is: how will we fit all of our books?
Anyway, this is all to say I ended up in the cooking book section; snapped a few photos of books I felt represented some of the ills of society to share with you guys (remember that bread is a demon book? yea…) and I came upon this:
I also have an unnatural love for Trader Joe’s, so I grabbed the book quickly as if a beacon of light had been shining from it and speedily flipped through the pages. I remember saying out loud, “this is the book I’d like to write! Except I’d make it vegan!” Then it became clear – this book WAS vegan, it just never specifically said so…anywhere!
After reading through it more carefully, I realized that the author is the blogger and dietitian behind Bitchin’ Dietitian, someone I really admire and had “met” through the Blogosphere about a year ago! Serendipity was definitely at play here.
I couldn’t wait to try the recipes…
These cookies were unbelievably good – like little balls of pumpkin cake. They do not have the crispy or crunchy texture of cookies; instead, they are dense and fudgy, which I loved. They did not last long; my boyfriend loved them, I loved them, and they worked great as a hostess gift when I visited my fellow lost friend with the recognizable gait (just as an aside: said friend made me this soup, veganized (subbed meat broth with veggie broth), and it was amazeballs!!!).
I loved this chicken salad, too! See recipe and notes below.
While this book, and the other books in the “Cook TJ” series are not sponsored or affiliated with Trader Joe’s, they only use ingredients that can be found at Trader Joe’s. The great thing about the series is that they have many of the recipes available online at Cooktj.com, including the Squash Drop Cookies!
Since the recipe for the chicken salad is not up on the CookTj site, I’ve requested permission from Jennifer to share it with you here:
Chicken Salad via Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook, Skinny Dish!
*Makes eight 1/2-cup servings*
- 1 (8-oz) pkg Organic 3 Grain Tempeh, broken into chunks and boiled for 8 minutes
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced (preferably organic)
- 2 medium carrots, shredded or finely diced
- 2 Tbsp dill pickle relish *Cranky’s note: I could not find this at Trader Joe’s, so I used sweet relish, which they do sell
- 2 scallions (green onions), chopped, or 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup Tofu Mayo (page 237) or other vegan mayonnaise *Cranky’s note: The “reduced fat” mayo at TJ’s is vegan!
- 3 Tbsp Deli Style Spicy Brown Mustard, or other spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- While tempeh boils, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl
- Once tempeh has boiled for 8 minutes, drain cooking water using a strainer, and then rinse with cold water
- Crumble tempeh into the bowl with other ingredients and stir to mix all ingredients through
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days
Per 1/2 cup serving: 94 calories, 4.5g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 7g carbs, 3g fiber, 1g sugar, 6.5g protein
Here are my overall thoughts about this book:
- The recipes are preceded with sound nutrition advice, which is holistic and focused on treating oneself well (inc. getting enough sleep since this affects hunger and cortisol production) & eating “plant-heavy” (which is code for “vegan” in this book)
- This book is PERFECT for beginners (both beginners to plant-based coking/eating and those who are kitchen/cooking novices); every recipe is incredibly simple and requires very little prep time; no fancy ingredients or tools needed
- This is a great introduction to healthful cooking and is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to know how to cook quick, easy, healthful meals for themselves and their families
- All recipes include their nutrition break-down per serving
- An entire section is devoted to meals that take 8 minutes or less
- All recipes include indicators on whether they are gluten-free and/or how they can be made gluten-free
- There’s not one recipe in here I wouldn’t recommend to someone trying to eat more healthfully
- This book approaches veganism from a very friendly angle; and, since it actually never used the word “vegan,” it captures a broader audience, including those just flirting with the idea of going plant-strong (so…if ya want to convert anyone, here you go! hehe).
- The book is aesthetically beautiful with large pictures of EACH recipe
- References to “Skinny.” The book is, after all, subtitled “Skinny Dish.” If you skip the beginning and the back cover of the book and just go straight for the recipes, you’ll avoid all that nonsense.
- This isn’t really a con, but if you’re more of an advanced cooker and looking for challenging recipes, this cookbook may be a bit too rudimentary for you since a lot of the recipes call for TJ’s canned beans, pre-cooked lentils, etc. (I could easily flip this into a “pro” though!)
The Cranky One