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Monday, December 5, 2016

Top Gift Books for Family Cooking/Healthy Food for 2016

--AMERICA'S BEST PIES 2016-2017 (SkyHorse Publishing, 2016, 380 pages, $36.99 CAD hardbound) comes from the American Pie Council which runs the APC National Pie Championship and the Great American Pie Festival. These are 200 recipes that are champion winners from various categories. Most are from 2010 through 2015, although there have been competitions since 1995. The award winners are clearly indicated and there is a colour photo of each pie. Suggested preps to try include lime coconut chess pie, apple rhubarb, and lemon blueberry. Many have cream cheese in their recipes for that extra velvety mouthfeel and calories.
--FIX-IT AND FORGET IT SLOW COOKER CHAMPION RECIPES (Good Books, 2016, 600 pages, $38.99 CAD loose leaf bound) is by Phyllis Good who has sold about 14 million books over the years, all on FIFI – she's been on a mission for all families to use their slow cookers for more than just stews and soups – families can use it for just about everything that needs a heat source. This loose leaf work has 450 recipes for all courses and all manner of food. The preps were contributed from all over North America, and every recipe is a "champion" winner somewhere. She's got multiple indexes, including a quick and easy index. If you have a slow cooker, this tome is for you. If you don't have a slow cooker, maybe this would be a good time to buy one, especially for her revealing FIFI BAKING WITH YOUR SLOW COOKER (Good Books, 2016, 328 pages, $30.99 CAD paperbound) – 150 recipes dealing with breads, pizza, cakes, tarts, crisps, bars, pies, and cupcakes. Everything is baked in the slow cooker; there's no need to heat up a summer house with a stove.
--BEST OF BRIDGE: THE FAMILY SLOW COOKER (Robert Rose, 2016, 342 pages, $29.95 CAD spiralbound) continues the 1975 origins, but this time with Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Sue Duncan, and Julie Van Rosendaal carrying the torch. These are 225 all new recipes for stews and gooey food, arranged by course of apps through desserts, breakfasts and beverages. Tried and true and Canadian,  but no venison or beaver stews: use the beef recipe as an all-purpose meat stew.
--175 BEST AIR FRYER RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2016, 288 pages, $27.95 CAD paperbound) is by the prolific Camilla V. Saulsbury. It is one of a "dedicated cooking implement" series, here: the air fryer. While it produces crispy and tasty results, it uses very little oil. So you get the crisp flavour without the calories. Air fryers can also roast and bake. Thes preps are guaranteed to perform in an air fryer. With superheated hot air, you can re-create beer-battered fried fish, buttermilk fried chicken, cake doughnuts, coconut shrimp, and others.
--175 BEST INSTANT POT RECIPES (Robert Rose, 224 pages, $19.95 CAD paperbound) is by the equally prolific Marilyn Haugen who has done a book on spiralizers and on sandwich makers. Here she tackles the 7-in-1 programmable electric pressure cooker, also known as an "instant pot". It is a cooker with multiple functions such as pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute pan, yogurt maker, and warmer.  So it does a lot of things, and can be applied to all the slow cooker recipes, including lamb shanks, meatballs, cherry and coconut granola, and root veggie ratatouille. Not all at once, mind you.
--FOOD SWAP (Storey Publishing, 2016, 258 pages, $28.95 CAD paperbound with 4 sheets of cardstock labels) is  by Emily Paster, cofounder of the Chicago Food Swap. She's a big believer in shared food. It is a community thing, for bartering, sharing and giving. There are 80 easy enough recipes here to get you started, as well as plenty of details for how to create a food swap. Try salted caramel sauce, lemon curd, green tomato salsa, Indian chutney – anything that can be preserved for later eating – and then trade them around for fund raising or to widen your pantry.
--THE BEST HOMEMADE VEGAN CHEESE & ICE CREAM RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2016, 144 pages, $19.95 CAD paperbound) is by Marie Laforet who gives us an ethical, healthy and tasty kitchen for the family. This one is for the dairy freeks who want a better but tasty lifestyle without dairy fat. Laforet advocates natural and organic ingredients for her 25 vegan sorbets, ice pops, frozen desserts. And the same for the artisanal cheese knockoffs.
--REAL FOOD, REAL GOOD (Penguin, 2016, 270 pages, $26 CAD paperbound) is by Michael Smith, top Canadian TV food host and cookbook writer from PEI. He says you could eat well with over 100 simple recipes plus variations. It's traditionally arranged by breakfast, soups, salads, mains, veggies, breads, and desserts. There is a large section on basics and pantries, emphasizing food lists for comestibles that you should have on hand (maybe a food swap?). He encourages you to make convenience takeout food at home, to save money, with recipes for such as fruit roll-ups, granola, ketchup, hummus, sushi, and chicken wings among others.
--WEIGHTWATCHERS FAMILY MEALS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 416 pages, $41.99 CAD hardbound) has 250 recipes for family and friends; 140 of them are gluten-free. They've got tags for quick/vegetarian/and GF recipes. Typical comfort foods include spicy sweet potato oven fries, miso-glazed salmon, and chocolate gingerbread. As well, there are some menus and weekly plans. Other helps: pantry lists, freezer lists, how to host a party, and some recipes for drinks.
--THE YOUNG CHEF (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 192 pages, $32.50 CAD paperbound) is by Mark Ainsworth of the CIA. It's for  kids 10 – 14, with 100 kid-tested recipes and techniques for those who love to cook, including DIY hummus and Chinese takeout chicken. Procedures and variations are illustrated, and the language is kid-friendly (not condescending). Parents can stand by, but it is all family food anyway.
--IT'S ALL EASY (Grand Central Life & Style, 2016, 270 pages, $42 CAD hardbound) is by Gwyneth Paltrow. These are weekly recipes for the busy home cook, another entry in the quick and easy sweepstakes of cookbook writing, all geared to families. There are plenty of star turns here, and pictures. 130 recipes, most using little or no sugar-dairy-gluten. The range is breakfast to supper, and seems to be fairly broad and complete.
--KATHYRN AT HOME (Gibbs Smith, 2016, 224 pages, $43 CAD hardbound) is by Kathryn M. Ireland; it is a guide to simple entertaining as she does it at a French country farmhouse/guesthouse.  It is now 12 bedrooms after 25 years. She's got a similar one in LA. The tome is a collection of recipes, table top decor, wines, colours, and background music, all arranged by course (breakfast followed by market, lunch, al fresco dining, etc.). There are lots of pix and memoir  material dealing with simple entertaining, great for families on the weekend or special occasions.
--THE DELICIOUSLY KETO COOKBOOK (Alpha Books, 2016, 223 pages, $30.95 CAD paperbound) is by Molly Pearl, who has written many paleo cookbooks, and Kelly Roehl, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, who is a specialist in ketogenic diet therapy. Here are 150 keto-friendly preps for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The ketogenic diet is similar to the paleo diet, and uses fat for energy instead of sugar. On the switchover there may be side effects: these are carefully explained. It seems to be a good cookbook for those who are paleo yet want to lose weight on a regular basis.
--EATING CLEAN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 392 pages, $36  CAD paperbound) is by Amie Valpone. It is a 21-day plan to detox, fight inflammation, and re-set your body. The author says that it is particularly good against Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, and colitis. She has an excellent section on what to do when cravings strike.
--THE BONE BROTH SECRET (Hay House, 2016, 384 pages, $24.99 CAD paperbound) is by Louise Hay and Heather Dane. It has been described as a culinary adventure in health, beauty, and longevity. 100 preps cover broths, elixirs, mains, breads, desserts, cocktails, beauty remedies, along with a dose of memoirs and stories.
--COOK YOURSELF YOUNG (Quadrille, 2016, 160 pages, $32.50 CAD paperbound) is by naturopath Elizabeth Peyton-Jones. She gives 100 preps for slowing down the aging process and rejuvenating your thinking processes. It is a meatless book, with colour codes for vegan, raw, gluten-free, and dairy-free. It is an alkaline approach to counteract acidity in your body. Good advice for better sleep and weight loss.
--THE 2-STEP LOW-FODMAP EATING PLAN (The Experiment, 2016, 280 pages, $29.95 CAD paperbound) is by Sue Shepherd. She tells you how to cut out foods that cause distress, by building a custom diet that relieves symptoms of IBS, lactose intolerance, and gluten sensitivity. She's got 80 preps that avoid FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharide Disaccharide  Monosaccharide and Polyols) which is a group of poorly absorbed food to be avoided. On page 11 she lists them under five main classes.
--HEALTHY GUT COOKBOOK (DK Books, 2016, 224 pages, $24.95 CAD paperbound) is by Gavin Pritchard and Maya Gangadharan who give us 150 recipes to improve digestive health, with advice for leaky gut syndrome. All preps have icons for such as paleo, low-FODMAP, dairy-free, and nut-free. Their book is structured for progressive gut healing with weekly menu planners, food prep advice, and how to maintain a diet without caving to cravings. They have five stages to get to the change of life.
--THE PALEO JOURNEY (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 210 pages, $27.99 CAD hardbound)  is by Simone McGrath. She's got recipes for weight loss and allergies, to lead to superior health the natural way. She begins with what foods to avoid and why, moving on to how to do paleo while outside the home (friends, restaurants, work). About half the tome is on advice such as exploring all the options available and the paleo lifestyle. It comes with the LC subject heading: "Prehistoric cooking – nutrition".
--THE COMPLETE 10-DAY DETOX DIET PLAN & COOKBOOK (Robert Rose, 2016, 352 pages, $24.95 CAD paperbound) is by naturopath Karen Barnes. She's got tons of advice and 150 recipes to turn your life around after a hard season of food and drink. This cleansing and detox diet is easy to follow with its realistic practicality. It's an aid to optimizing weight, improving digestion, skin, joints, energy levels, hormones, immune systems and overall vitality. She's even got data on toxic materials such as pesticides and heavy metals. The preps go from juices to smoothies to breads and dips, to legume and vegetable dishes.
--THE PALEO DIABETES DIET SOLUTION (Robert Rose, 2016, 288 pages, $27.95 CAD paperbound) is by Jill Hillhouse and Lisa Cantkier, both nutritionists. They propose to manage your blood sugar with 125 recipes plus a 30-day meal plan. The paleo diet is fresh, unprocessed meat, fruit, veggies, seeds and nuts which are all nutrient-dense, lo-carb, fibre-rich with vitamins and minerals. The preps here emphasis that density and provide a paleo lifestyle to help manage diabetes. Obviously, not a cure, just sensible (and tasty!) management.

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