Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cookbook Review ~ The Wellness Kitchen by Paulette Lambert

The start of a New Year is always the time when resolutions are made to eat better, exercise more and generally lead a healthier life so it was the perfect time for me to put The Wellness Kitchen: Fresh, Flavorful Recipes for a Healthier You by Paulette Lambert to the test.

The Wellness Kitchen is a cookbook designed to show you how you can transform your body with simple, easy steps and wholesome flavourful foods. Paulette Lambert is a registered dietitian with 32 years of experience that includes appearances on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition and The Dr. Oz Show. It is not a diet book containing specific restrictions, fads or concepts that are “of the moment”. Rather this book is about presenting the reader with “the latest scientific knowledge regarding nutrition and health” and making healthy eating a very easy, accessible way of life that anyone can achieve.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is information about health, how to use the book for you in particular as well as general nutrition guidelines and a handy section on pantry basics and a 21-Day Food Plan for Health and Weight Loss. The third part is Caloric Meal Plans.

Part 2 of the book features the Recipes with chapters dedicated to Breakfast, Appetizers, Quick and Easy Main Dishes and A Little Sweet to name a few. With more than 100 recipes included there is plenty of choice that will tempt your taste buds and help to improve your health. With so many recipes to choose from it was hard to pick but in the end I tested 4 recipes.

Tested Recipes:

Broccoli Salad
Peanut Sesame Noodles
Curried Coconut Carrot Soup
Tofu Curry with Summer Vegetables
For a large family meal I made the Broccoli Salad as the first recipe to be tested. It was simple to make but the dressing was far too runny and the final salad was met with very mixed reviews. While I liked the flavour others found it to be too sharp from the Tabasco and vinegar. One thing that did surprise me was the amount of sugar in the dressing as there was a lot which seemed unnecessary and especially surprising in a book dedicated to healthy eating! Unfortunately the general consensus of this recipe was that it was a fail so I won’t be making it again.

Next up was the Peanut Sesame Noodles which were absolutely delicious and I will definitely make again. The recipe was easy to follow, straightforward and a perfect vegetarian meal. Top marks for that one!

Recipe number 3 was the Curried Coconut Carrot Soup which was easy to make and tasted very good although I personally preferred it without the final addition of fresh lime. Another recipe success and one that I will make again.

The final recipe to be put to the test was the Tofu Curry with Summer Vegetables. This was a really fantastic recipe that felt super healthy as it is literally loaded with bright, vibrant vegetables and tofu. It was absolutely delicious, my only complaint was that by the time I was ready to serve it there wasn’t as much sauce as I would have liked, however I have since made it again and simply doubled the sauce quantities and it was perfect. A big success and a recipe I will continue to make.

As well as the above 4 tested recipes I have also bookmarked many more that I am keen to try, including:

Blueberry Banana Bran Muffins
Crab Cakes
Farmers’ Market Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash*
Chipotle Cilantro Slaw*
Curried Squash and Lentil Soup
Homemade Corn Bread
Grilled Naan with Herbs and Feta
Spicy Beef with Hoisin and Cucumber Relish*
Fresh Ahi and Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Coconut Dressing*
Crispy Fish Sticks with Homemade Bread Crumbs*
Hoisin Salmon Burger with Ginger Aioli
Chicken Parmesan with Basic Tomato Sauce*
Chicken Tinga Mini Tostadas
Pulled Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry BBQ Sauce
Turkey Meatballs Al Forno
Spicy Tofu with Green Harissa
Quinoa Chili Rellenos
Fruit Crisp (many variations)
Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing*

For a book dedicated to helping you become healthier it certainly has a lot of recipes that can be incorporated into anybody’s regular diet without feeling like you are making major sacrifices. The variety of recipes would appeal to the whole family meaning everyone can enjoy the same meal. It delivers on its promise to provide clear and simple recipes with step-by-step instructions. There aren’t photographs for every recipe but they are there for the majority. Accompanying each recipe are “nutrition basics” which provides information on the recipe, the ingredients or sometimes just provides ideas for substitutes.

Specialty Ingredients?
No – all of the recipes contained everyday easy to find ingredients. I was and continue to be surprised by the amount of sugar in some of the recipes. For me it is too much as it’s a lot more than I would ever generally use and taste wise it didn’t need it so I would cut down that quantity in future.

Learn anything new?
No, however I did enjoy the recipes and find having all of the nutritional information very helpful and important.

For a book that is focused on healthy eating I really enjoyed it. The recipes were fabulous (only 1 fail out of 4) and honestly as far as I was concerned they were meals I would make all of the time anyway. It definitely didn’t feel like they were trying hard to cut calories and be super healthy, they were just delicious, sensible meal choices. I really liked Part 3 of the book which featured Caloric Meal Plans with sample Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Dinner Menus for different calories values.

With the combined nutritional information and delicious, varied recipes this book has everything you need to eat a healthy balanced diet and therefore The Wellness Kitchen by Paulette Lambert gets the Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops Stamp of Approval.

The Wellness Kitchen by Paulette Lambert is available to buy now from as well as other online book suppliers and all major book retailers.

*All opinions expressed for the purpose of this review are my own and have not been influenced by any other party.

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