Appetite For Reduction – Review & Giveaway

When I first heard about Appetite For Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest cookbook, I knew it would be right up my alley.  The recipes are similar to how I usually cook – whole foods, high flavor, low fat and calories.  I bought the book a few weeks before Christmas and having been cooking from it since.  Most of the recipes I’ve chosen so far have been based on what has been in my CSA deliveries, and there are a lot more recipes I look forward to trying.

Broiled Blackened Tofu.  You just coat the tofu with the spice mix and broil it.  Simple and tasty!

Butternut Coconut Rice.  Mixing in mashed butternut squash is a smart way to make rice yummy and coconutty without adding a lot of fat.  The only thing I would change with this recipe is to dice the shallot instead of slicing it, because the long slices were  kind of weird compared to the texture of the rest of the dish.

Pineapple Collards.  This maybe doesn’t look too appealing because my ginger was stringy, but the flavor is great.  I just wish I had used more collards, because the pineapple/garlic/ginger combo was a little overpowering.  Plus, I wanted to eat more of it.

All packed up to take for lunch.

Curried Cabbage & Peas, served with quinoa.  The texture on these veggies was great – they were cooked enough to be tender, but still have a bite to them.  The curry flavor isn’t incredibly complex, but the dish comes together really quickly, so I’m not complaining!

Not from AFR – I ate this Romanesco Carrot Salad with the curried cabbage.  The recipe was in my CSA’s newsletter, and it was a nice way to use the romanesco.

Irish Stew with Potatoes & Seitan.  This was a bust for me, but not due to the recipe.  I used the steamed white seitan from Viva Vegan, and even after being sauteed the seitan was squishy like raw dough, and really unpleasant to eat.  I’ve heard about other people having trouble with the seitan recipe, and also others who have had success, so perhaps it was just me.  I picked all the seitan out, and the stew was pretty good.

Tempeh Helper.  This is one I was really excited about.  The recipe is posted here, on The PPK blog.  This is super good!  It tastes like junk food from a box, but isn’t junky at all.  I was skeptical about the technique – you cook the pasta and other ingredients in a pan with a smaller amount of water than normal – but it worked out well.  The pasta came out al dente, and the water cooked off without the dish getting dry.  Next time I want to crumble the tempeh more finely so it’s spread throughout the dish.

The Gravy Bowl, slightly modified.  I know how to put together a “bowl” on my own, but the suggestions in the three-page bowl section are good when you’re looking for something easy to throw together.  Brown rice, baked tofu, steamed kale and collards and silky chickpea gravy.  The gravy is not as flavor-intensive as some gravies, but for a gravy made with 1 teaspoon of oil it’s darned good.

Sushi Roll Edamame Salad.  I’m no stranger to the sushi salad.  I had tried this salad previously at a potluck, so I knew how good it was, which is why I was surprised that mine didn’t taste as good.  I think I put too much green onion in the dressing (maybe my onions were particularly strong), and then added more as garnish, and the onion overpowered the whole thing.  Less green onion next time, and it will be great.

Orange-Scented Broccoli, which I served alongside the sushi salad.  This one was not my favorite; it tasted like ginger, garlic, broccoli and orange separately, as opposed to coming together as one big flavor.  It was more cohesive as leftovers the next day, after the flavors had a chance to meld.  Still, next time I would probably just steam the broccoli.

Morrocan Chickpeas & Zucchini served with Caulipots.  I used some early-season, tender zucchini in this dish.  The flavor in this soup is fantastic.  It’s really easy to make, and turns out with a really wonderful spiciness throughout.  The caulipots (mashed potatoes made partly with cauliflower) were a nice, creamy counterpart.  I looked forward to eating these leftovers each day.

Butternut-Apple Soup and Fresh Corn & Scallion Cornbread.  Sadly, this soup was another dud for me.  It’s not a bad recipe by any means, just a matter of taste.  I think I’m learning that I just don’t like apples in soup.  The cornbread was nice dipped in the soup, and the whole corn kernels made for good texture.

Lastly for today, Yam & Black Bean Soup with Orange & Cilantro.  I wasn’t expecting anything amazing from this recipe, so I was pleasantly surprised that it tastes amazing!  The simple ingredients combine to make one wonderfully tasty soup.  The two serrano peppers really turn up the heat, and the orange juice keeps it fresh.  I baked some corn tortilla chips for dipping.

Considering how much I’ve enjoyed the recipes I’ve made so far, this might be the first cookbook that I end up making almost every recipe from.

Luckily for you guys, my mom is an excellent present-buyer.  She also knew that I would love AFR, and bought me a copy for Christmas, which I am now passing on to one of you!  And, I got the book signed when I had the pleasure of attending a cooking demo that Isa did a few weeks ago.  She made the Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry and Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, both of which I now want to make myself.

To enter to win this copy of Appetite For Reduction, leave a comment on this post with a healthy cooking tip.  It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just any tip for cooking healthy vegan food.  The contest will be open until midnight PST this Wednesday, March 9, and I’ll pick a comment at random.  Please be sure to include your e-mail address (unless I’m able to find it by following a link to your blog).  I’ll be back on Thursday to announce the winner and show you a few more recipes I’ve made from AFR.  Good luck!

PS – I should mention that this is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  Sorry, everyone else!  If shipping was less costly, I would love to send it around the world!

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55 Comments »

  1. Erica Rose said

    Gosh, cooking vegan is healthy enough, eh? It’s not so much a tip, but a tool I guess. I have a Vita-Mix, and it has greatly reduced my need to buy pre-packaged food. I can “cook” soup in the blender, make my own nut/rice/soy milks, my own smoothies and juices… I know it’s pricey, but we use it almost every day, and it has made cooking at home easy and fun.

  2. icy said

    all the food looks wonderful!

    i think the healthy tips that have always stood by me are to eat something green at nearly every meal that’s only been gently cooked (still bright green), saute with water (instead of oil), but don’t be afraid of “good fats”.

    one i am trying to add is to not worry too much about it. worrying always seems to make things worse!

    • Right on. I feel weird if there’s not at least one green thing on my plate!

  3. Vanessa H said

    I add cauliflower to recipes calling for potatoes. Cauliflower is lower calorie, hearty, and fills you up.

    • Good idea. I’ve used blended steamed cauliflower to make a base for creamy soups too, it works out pretty well.

  4. kdub said

    the easiest, quickest thing i do is subbing applesauce for oil when baking. i can never even taste the difference!

  5. The more I hear about this book, the more I want it! So generous of you to host this giveaway. :)

    My healthy cooking tip is: To reduce oil, sautee with just one teaspoon of it, and then supplement the rest with water or vegetable stock. This is the way we cook at the restaurant, too.

  6. i have been DYING for this cookbook! i think my biggest healthy vegan eating tip is watch your portions. we all know vegan food is so yummy we could eat it all up!!

    • Good point. Just cause a dish is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat the whole pan-full!

  7. Dana V said

    i want this cookbook BAD!!! vegan food is so delicious, you just have to watch your portions. we all want to go back for that 2nd helping of tofu scramble, but sometimes you just don’t. that’s my healthy tip!

  8. Autumn Tao said

    My tip is buy in bulk. I eat almost all organic grains, and I display them in big half gallon Ball jars in glass cuppards.

    PS- I can’t see any of your pictures?! In googlereader or on your site…

    • The pictures seem to be working fine on my end, sorry you can’t see ‘em!

  9. Amanda said

    i guess my best healthy cooking tip is to underestimate how much salt i need in a dish until i add my other seasonings. i find that if i make a dish spicier, i don’t need as much salt. my blood pressure reaps the rewards! also, i double the veggies in any soup or stir fry i make to really up the fiber and vitamins and minerals. also, tastiness.

    • This is a good idea. Lately I’ll add just a pinch of salt at the beginning of a recipe, then taste for it at the end and add more only if needed. I also add a ton of black pepper to everything!

  10. Nadine/ppk said

    Hey, nice giveaway! Hmmm, healthy cooking tip, I guess I would say to just ADD MORE GREENS to everything. If you are looking for a few different examples of this, smoothies is a great one, throw some kale in there with the fruit and blend the heck out of it. Another way is too just add them to your “regular” routine….eat whole wheat toast for breakfast? Wilt some swiss chard or collards really quickly and toss ‘em on top of that buttered toast! Just eat more of them! Hope that is helpful! :)

    • Fantastic suggestions! I love greens so much that I certainly try to eat them with everything.

  11. Buying and cooking in bulk is a big thing. Rice, beans and other foods that are similar can be frozen and stored for longer periods of time than any animal product.

    For me though, it’s just as much about eating healthy as it is eating compassionately. Animals deserve much more than a mass consumption/ killing lifestyle. Veganism, Vegetarianism to me is one of the most important decisions one could make for themselves, and the planet.

    • Good point – I really need to cook in bulk more. Especially beans, which I tend to just buy in the can even though I have them dry at home.

  12. Monica said

    The simplest healthy cooking tip I can think of is probably to use high-quality, whole food items…whole foods make you cook whole meals that you can really appreciate.

  13. sophia said

    thanks for doing a giveaway, erin! i’m going to echo the commenter above — i think once i’ve set myself up with a pretty damn healthy lifestyle, the healthiest thing for me personally to do is stop worrying about it.

  14. Natalie said

    My tip is to avoid vegan junk food. It is not for eating everyday!

  15. Christina said

    I try to eat as close to nature as possible. When a recipe calls for sauteeing I usually add a bit of water or broth in a pan and let my veggies “saute” in that rather than oil. When the liquid starts to evaporate I simply add a bit more. If I want a bit of the flavor of oil I’ll add very little but it’s really not necessary if you flavor your veggies well with herbs and spices. It’s a great way to make calorie free food!

    • Great tip!

    • Biev said

      I do that too, and often drizzle olive oil on my veggies at the end of the cooking process. This is the only way to preserve this its amazing health-boosting properties : )

  16. Kim said

    I think that my favorite healthy cooking tip is just to start with ingredients that are as close to the original form of the food as possible (like making stuff from scratch). Thanks for the awesome contest!

  17. Babette said

    Thanks for this review. I got the book for Christmas (and therefore do not want to win a copy now) and I tried maybe 6 or 7 recipes, but none of them blew me away. They were just ok. I was disappointed, because Veganomicon is probably the best vegan cookbook I have, and I expected the same from Appetite for Reduction.

    I think I’ll be trying the tempeh helper soon.

    • Sorry to hear you haven’t enjoyed the book as much as I have! Like I said, a few of the recipes were duds for me, and I’ve been honest about it in my review. For the most part though, I’ve really liked what I’ve tried. I’ll probably come back to the recipes I like again and again, which isn’t something I normally do. Hope you like the tempeh helper!

  18. Tara said

    All of that looks so good! The only real healthy cooking tip I can think of is to watch your portions and don’t eat pre-packaged items-eat WHOLE foods whenever you can.

    • Haha, it’s like you know me! I eat dinner at Whole Foods once a week due to my schedule, and it’s really hard to make myself get a salad instead of sushi, guacamole and vegan donuts!

  19. Nick said

    Looks wonderful! Especially the tempeh helper, yum! Reminds me of when I didn’t know how to cook anything that didn’t come out of a box or the microwave.

    My healthy cooking tip: cook your own beans! The canned stuff usually has a lot of added sodium, so no bueno. Also, you can save lotsa $ in this way.

    • Nick said

      Oh, and nicklovin(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. Saveur said

    Wow – you’ve tried a lot of recipes. It sounds like a gem of a cookbook. :) I’ve made the Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes and just made the 40 clove chickpeas and broccoli today. Both were good and I look forward to trying other recipes.

    My tip for healthy eating is all about portion sizes and eating smaller meals throughout the day. I typically eat 4-5 times day, smaller meals and only when I am hungry. If you keep yourself busy it is easier not to get hungry (eating out of boredom or procrastination, anyone?). :)

  21. Chris said

    Thanks so much for sharing your reviews and photos; I think the photos are great. Healthy tip…hmmm, I think I’d have to say try to plan ahead and have something healthy ready, and preferably with you, for when hunger, and temptation arise. Eating a little something more frequently helps me, so that I’m not waiting and ravenous for the next “meal”, or next less-than-healthy treat I see. I’m trying to cook extra grains, beans, tofu, or seitan to have things ready to take or when I get home. Also started drinking green smoothies in January and it makes it so easy to consume lots of collard, kale, chard, or other greens every day–mixed with pineapple & coconut extract is one of my favorites. (I’ve made the OMG Baked Onion Rings and they were really great!)

  22. Karen said

    When making soup, saute your aromatic vegetables in water instead of oil :)

  23. chow vegan said

    Yum! Looks like you’ve been very busy cooking outta AFR, and all recipes I have yet to try. My healthy tip is try baking instead of frying, it’s not quite the same but usually close enough. :-)

  24. Caitlin said

    So many good tips have already been said. My most common healthy ideas are to use spices instead of fat and salt, and to add extra veggies to everything. I don’t feel like I’ve eaten well unless there has been a rainbow of veggies at some point in the day.

  25. robin said

    I have always followed the thinking that in order to get a well rounded/ balanced meal, there should be as many colored vegetables as possible on the plate.

  26. Lori said

    My tip for healthy eating is prepare ahead whenever possible. I use my Vidalia Onion Chopper to dice cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, and celery. I store them in green boxes in my fridge. I also cook garbanzo beans and black beans in my pressure cooker and then freeze them on jelly roll pan for 45 minutes before transferring them to a ziplock freezer bag. I can pull together a salad in a minute to take to work for lunch. I throw in the beans in their frozen state, and they are thawed by lunchtime. I use the beans in soups, stews, salads, and even in homemade dog food. My dogs love to eat garbanzo beans as a snack. I use a micro-plane lemon, lime, and orange rinds and freeze them in old spice bottles or prescription bottles. I always have zest on hand for recipes. I freeze portions of meals so that I can have “fast food” out of my freezer on nights/days I don’t feel like cooking. Eating healthy has inspired me to find easier ways to cook from scratch. I think that’s the biggest adjustment part to eating healthier … I have to cook so much more.

  27. jenni said

    awesome! i have been coveting this cookbook! all of those dishes look excellent

    my healthy cooking tip: sometimes (not always… i do love olive oil) i kind of “steam” diced onions in a pan with a little water when i’m cooking them for a dish, instead of sauteing them in a bunch of oil. then i probably negate that by eating double guacamole or whatever, but whatever. :)

  28. Squeak said

    What a great, thorough review, and what a clever contest! I’m with the people who saute in broth, and use applesauce for up to half the fat in baked goods, but my biggest thing is just to make sure I drink lots of water. So frequently, my body mistakes thirst for hunger, and then I end up eating a bunch of things that aren’t really giving my body what it wants. Same thing can happen when I’m tired – I need sleep, not food! :-)

  29. Jillian said

    My healthy cooking tip is this:
    When buying ripe bananas, buy a couple more than you would normally eat before they go bad. Peel them, cut into quarters and freeze.
    Whenever you want a quick breakfast smoothie or your tummy isn’t up to food,
    put a few pieces of frozen banana, the “milk” of your choice, some frozen berries and a shot of vanilla into a blender and mix!!! Instant yumminess!
    (When I get migraines, I love that I always have the ingredients to have something sweet and cool to temper the pain.)

  30. kspar66 said

    Thanks for offering this giveaway! ohmygosh and its signed!? so cool..Something I have been doing recently is to toast like 1/2 C. of wheat germ and use it as a replacement for 1/2 C. of flour when I am making bread, pizza dough, etc. Yumlishous Vitamin E, folate, & fiber!

  31. […] still time to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Appetite For Reduction by going to this post and leaving a comment with a healthy cooking tip.  The contest closes at midnight PST Wednesday […]

  32. KT said

    Use a spritzer to spray oil onto your skillet instead of pouring it!!

    I would love to get in on all the AFR hype!! :)

  33. Joelle said

    My tip for healthful cooking is to sweeten things with dates or applenjuice concentrate. I can make tasty fruit toppings for pancakes or waffles, for example, simply by bringing a can of apple juice concentrate, fruit, and a couple of tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in a little water to a boil. See, no refined sugars added! :)

  34. jenn said

    Hey! I recognize that predator (I mean behind Isa!) – I was there, but was standing over on the side… I couldn’t believe how many people were there!

  35. […] Appetite For Reduction – Review & Giveaway […]

  36. Sharon said

    Can I still enter?
    My healthy cooking tip is to use spices! They bring a ton of flavor to the mix! :)

  37. […] back in February when I went to see Isa’s demo at the Ferry Building farmers market, I made a point to stop by Rancho Gordo’s booth.  […]

  38. […] that I’ve been cooking from recently.  First up is Appetite For Reduction.  I’ve posted about this cookbook before and have already professed my love for it; the style of cooking is how I […]

  39. […] up, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I posted a review here and more photos here, and this continues to be my go-to for flavorful and balanced meals that […]

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