Cookbook Review Peas and Thank You

Although I got my sweaty lil hands on this cookbook earlier this week, I decided to wait until I had completely read it to post up a review. That’s the way reviews usually work anyway, right? Usually I just love to announce that I’m reading something and say, so far, so good! But that’s hardly appropriate for book reviews. So I’m changing up my method. I finished two books this week so I am going to review them for you all. You’re welcome. ;)

Let me preface by telling you how eager and excited I was to get my hands on this first book. I’ve been a follower of the Peas and Thank You blog since I first started blogging. Sarah Matheny, also known as Mama Pea, is a huge inspiration to me and a lot of fellow bloggers. Her writing style is funky and unique, full of good old sarcastic and witty humor, and her recipes are to die for. She can reinvent just about anything into a healthy vegan meal, and she incorporates lots of fun photos and anecdotes about her family and two lil girls. Her blog is one of my favorites. So when I found out she had a cookbook coming out? Squeeeeel! I ordered 2 copies on amazon the day the book was released. (One for myself and one for my mama… I planned to wait until Christmas to give it to her, but alas, that fell through!) But then I left for my Minnesota vacation before the books arrived! What’s a girl to do!? How about beg and plead her mother dearest to drive 30 minutes to her house, and pick up the package on her doorstep? Then she can open it and have her Christmas present early, but only if she ships the other one up to me in Minnesota. I’m a lucky girl, because Mama dearest agreed! :)

So Peas and Thank You arrived in my Minnesota mailbox earlier this week. Finally, I got my hands on it! I read it front to cover in two days. Every page, every recipe, every quirky story… it really is one of those kind of books. It’s hands-down one of the best cookbooks I’ve read in awhile, and there are loads of recipes I can’t wait to try. I highly recommend snagging your own copy of Peas and Thank You. This isn’t your standard vegan or vegetarian cookbook. In fact, it’s a perfect cookbook for anyone that is trying to incorporate healthier foods into their diet. The desserts are made with whole grains and minimal fats, and the appetizers are creative and easy. But my favorite section, the entrees, are vegetarian twists on classic favorites and I can’t wait to impress some family and friends with Mama Pea’s Sweet Potato Indian Shepherd’s Pie, Green and Red Lentil Enchiladas, and Veggie Pad Thai, to name a few.

Each recipe has a creative twist and quirky story. For example, Mama Pea’s Margarita Smoothie. Mama Pea writes, “I concocted this smoothie on a recent Cinco de Mayo, when Pea Daddy was working late, the girls had a little too much pep in their step and I’d felt like I’d been blindfolded, spun around three times and beaten with a stick…”

Oh me oh my, a margarita smoothie and looks and tastes like my favorite Mexican night beverage but includes healthy ingredients like cilantro, spinach and pineapple chunks? She’s a genius I swear.
I’m really excited to make some roasted chic peas. There are a couple of different recipes in the book. One sweet, and one savory. Mmmm delish!

If you are active in the blogging community, I’m sure you’ve heard about this cookbook, but if you haven’t snagged one yet, you better get on it! And grab two while you’re at it, because it makes the perfect gift for a family or friend.

I also finished reading In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. Why I waited so long to read this one is a mystery to me. But I’m so glad I finally got the motivation to pick it up (I was on vacation and needed new reading material!) And I am definitely going to pick up a copy for my mom and dad to read as well. The message is powerful and quite clear.

This book discusses just about every single thing I believe in when it comes to diet and eating, but it’s presented in a fresh and inspiring way, with a bold directness that we all need to hear. The message is clear: Quit eating crap. Most food items presented to us in our modern culture aren’t even real food. They are overly processed and packaged junk, with mile-long lists of ingredients. Even your standard loaf of bread isn’t really bread anymore, at least nowhere close to what our great-grandparents would call bread. The food industry banks off of the millions of food products that are available to us, while our health declines. We are paying a price for indulging in the processed junk foods, non-organic produce laden with chemicals and pesticides, and meat and dairy full of antibiotics and hormones–and that price is our health. The statistics for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are staggeringly high, and our eating habits are chiefly to blame.

Even though I follow a healthy whole foods plant-based diet, I still indulge on treats on occasion. (mental picture: mounds of chips and salsa, crackers and dip, margaritas, etc. that I’ve been noshing on while on vacation. Oyyyy!) But reading the ingredients on the back of packaged foods, and taking the time to make a homemade and healthy version of some of our favorite treats (think Mama Pea’s margaritas instead!) is so worth the time and effort when it comes to our bodies and our health. Michael Pollan is an excellent writer and this book is a powerful eye-opener. He’s also the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is my next Nook download for the plane ride home :)

Hope everybody is have a fabulous summer weekend! This is my last vacation weekend until I head back to sunny Florida, so I’m soaking up every glorious minute. 

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