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Cookbook Review: "The Healthy Carbs Diabetes Cookbook"

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:50pm
A short while ago I was offered this cookbook and asked to try some recipes and review them. And of course I was only too happy to oblige! After testing four recipes and carefully scrutinizing the book, I am happy to say that my conclusions have been all drawn up regarding this cookbook. And please note that although I did get this copy for free, I have been keeping my viewpoint as objective as possible to give you the most accurate review of it.

The Critique

I'm not diabetic, and no one in my family is either. But that doesn't really matter, because although the recipes offered in this book are for diabetics, they're all geared toward health in general, so anyone can benefit from them. The book itself has a very nice, easy-to-read font in a large enough size that you don't have to strain your neck to read the instructions as you make your meal. There are little cooking and nutrition tips alongside each recipe with useful advice such as adding cayenne pepper to add a bit of spice to one curry dish, and which type of tofu is the best to use in a teriyaki tofu recipe. And my favorite part about the layout is that all of the nutrition information is clearly stated! I love a cookbook that shows the nutrition information.

The whole book is in black and white with only a couple pictures, but it falls open fairly easily to the desired page and its the kind of book that can be in the kitchen right there with you (which is good for a messy someone like me. I wouldn't dream of bringing a Nigella Lawson book into the kitchen while I'm making her food!).

So what about the recipes themselves? Well, to be honest I was incredibly disappointed at first at the sheer number of recipes that require either mayonnaise (unhealthy, processed food) and Splenda (again, unhealthy and artificial). But, Splenda can be replaced with real sugar, and mayonnaise can be homemade, so this problem could be fixed. I went through the book and my family and I chose four dishes to make (all of them using natural, real ingredients:

Marinated Caprese Salad (we ate it with steak, peas, and mushrooms)

Turkey Gyros

Green Italian Tuna Salad

Indian Lamb-stuffed Tomatoes

They were all delicious. Not one of these recipe disappointed, and we were all in agreement that we would definitely want to make them again. The Caprese Salad was really refreshing for a hot summer day, and the Turkey Gyros tasted impressively just like the gyros that I had in Istanbul! The Italian Tuna Salad is delicious with a loaf of French bread, and the Lamb-stuffed Tomatoes were out of this world.

Don't want to just take my word for it? Then here's one of the recipes for you to try out! I've chosen the Lamb-Stuffed Tomatoes to share because its very unique and I'd never had anything quite like it before. It was a bit too greasy and oily for my liking, but we think that if you cook the lamb before adding it to the other ingredients and drain it then it would be a little less greasy. Also you probably don't need to use quite as much oil as it calls for, but that might be my own personal taste. Don't like ground lamb? Try ground beef or turkey instead! I'm sure it would work just as well. We had smaller tomatoes so we ate two each and that was a good amount, but if you can find big enough tomatoes that would probably work out just fine. Also it would probably be nice with some crusty bread on the side (it was only 2 of us eating so we just ate the tomatoes with nothing else for dinner).

*Note about this recipe: it states that the Prep Time is 5 minutes, but thats deceiving, because you need to cook the rice and everything. In all, the whole recipe takes about an hour including baking time. It might have been better if this cookbook calculated total time for making the recipe rather than just the 5 minutes of throwing the ingredients together, and it looks as though the other recipes are set up in similar fashion. So if you do buy this book and try out the recipes, just remember to read through it all first to calculate the time for yourself more accurately!

Indian Lamb-Stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 6; Serving size: 1 tomato.

6 large, firm tomatoes (each 3-3 1/2 inches in diameter)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lbs ground lamb
1/2 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free beef broth
1 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut off top third of tomatoes; chop tops and reserve. Scoop out seeds, juice, and pulp from tomatoes and discard.
2. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add lamb and saute until browned, about 7 minutes. Add chopped tomato tops, broth, curry powder, 2 tbsp parsley, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in cooked rice.
3. Place tomatoes in a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Spoon lamb mixture into the tomatoes. Sprinkle each tomato with Parmesan cheese and remaining parsley.
4. Bake about 25 minutes or until cheese begins to turn golden brown.

Nutrition Info
235 Calories (110 from fat)
12 g fat (3.4 g saturated)
50 mg cholesterol
195 mg sodium
16 g total carbohydrates
3 g dietary fiber
6 g sugar
17 g protein

If you're interested in learning more about this cookbook, check out the reviews that these two wonderful bloggers wrote for it: Fitarella and Nutrition Fitness Life. Enjoy!
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