Blogger Book Tour & Giveaway: Happy Herbivore Abroad
Posted Dec 28 2012 5:00am
Regular readers of my blog already know that of Lindsay Nixon, the “Happy Herbivore”. Her first two cookbooks are my staples for simple, healthy weeknight meals, and I was lucky enough to participate in the Blogger Book Tour for her second book, Everyday Happy Herbivore , when it was released last year – including an interview with Lindsay .
When I learned earlier this year that she had a Third(!) cookbook coming out, I immediately pre-ordered myself a copy – nearly 6 months before the release date. Yes, I totally geek-out when it comes to healthy-food! Similarly, when I read on the Happy Herbivore blog that another Blogger Book Tour was coming up, I leaped at the opportunity… so here we are with another Book Review, Interview, & Giveaway!
What make’s Lindsay’s cookbooks stand out is both the simplicity and healthfulness of her recipes. Her recipes are completely plant-based and oil-free and, in addition to a fully-stocked Spice cabinet, most of her recipes call for just a handful of inexpensive ingredients, simply prepared. While keeping true to the Happy Herbivore approach, Happy Herbivore Abroad has an international focus – tying in photos and stories from Lindsay’s own travel experiences with recipes from around the world.
As someone who loves to travel , I especially enjoyed the travel element of this book, including a recipe Lindsay got from a Spanish Grandmother that she met on a train, plus so many photographs and stories of travel that you’ll be itching to buy your next plane ticket (I know I certainly am!). I also loved the great variety of International recipes with plenty of facts peppered in from which I certainly learned quite a bit – Did you know that Pizza actually originated in Greece? Toast with Tomato is the most popular breakfast in Spain? or that Meatballs are a traditional dish in more than 20 countries?
To try out as many recipes as possible before traveling home for Christmas, I decided to cook exclusively from Happy Herbivore Abroad for three straight weeks. I didn’t stick exactly to my plan (I didn’t get a chance to make the Barley Tea, Cassoulet or Swedish Meatballs before leaving town for the Holidays) but I did get to try out 19 recipes so far! I’m happy to report that despite plenty of holiday events & indulgences, my clothes actually fit a little bit better after a few weeks of eating mostly Herbie-style, plus I have a few new favorite recipes in my repertoire!
While I enjoyed all of the recipes that I tried, here are my favorites so far from Happy Herbivore Abroad:
Thai Pineapple Curry p. 94 -If you noticed this wasn’t on my chart above, you’re right! I actually tried this recipe this summer when Lindsay gave out a ‘teaser’ recipe in her Newsletter . I loved the bright, sunny flavors in this dish – perfect for a hot summer day, or for adding some cheer in the middle of winter. As the recipe suggests, I added in some Tofu and served over Brown Rice.
Ninny’s Fruit Spring Rolls with Chocolate Dipping Sauce p. 276 - These were not only delicious, they were also very fun to make. I loved working with the Rice Paper, which is stiff & dry until soaked in water for a few seconds. This was actually listed as a Dessert recipe, though I decided to make it for breakfast, including the decadent Chocolate sauce, which I made extra thick with some added Corn Starch. I also subbed out apples for pineapples in the rolls just for fun. When I took my breakfast To-Go to work, I got lots of oohs and aahs from my coworkers plus a request to make some for the group!
Hot Chocolate, p. 214 & Morir Soñando, p. 219 - The drink chapter was actually one of my favorite parts of this book. It was full of simple, interesting ideas that I’d never heard of before but found myself very intrigued by. Have you ever poured Orange Soda into your Red Wine before? It’s a popular drink in Spain and I can’t wait to try it this summer. In the meantime, I loved these two more comforty drinks: The Hot Chocolate was delicious plus perfectly foamy & frothy from blending it. And the Morir Soñando, a Creamsicle-like drink from the Dominican Republic & Carribean, was such a treat! It’s name translates to “to die dreaming”, and yes, this drink is ‘to die for’.
Lasagna p. 177 with Tofu Ricotta p. 204- This lasagna was very easy to prepare and tasted so much like my Mom’s spinach lasagna. Best of all, Mike and I both loved the Tofu Ricotta and found it to be a very convincing replacement for dairy Ricotta. I kicked my Ricotta up a notch by doubling all the seasonings besides the Nutritional Yeast, of which I used the recommended amount. I’m not a huge mushroom fan though, so even though they cooked up just fine, next time I might sautée them before adding them to the lasagna.
Lentil Loaf p.257 - Mike and I both loved this Lentil Loaf. He cooked this one and tried to take credit for it’s deliciousness, but I think the recipe deserves most of the credit. It had such a delicious, savory flavor that reminded me of Thanksgiving. I must have asked Mike at least 3 times whether this had Sage or Thyme in it, which nope, it doesn’t. But it sure tastes like it!
German Lentil Soup p.14 - The Soup chapter was another stand-out for me. I especially can’t wait to try the Bavarian Onion Soup, which Lindsay describes as the cousin to French Onion Soup, except with beer and without cheese or bread in it. So far I’ve just made the German Lentil Soup, but I loved it. This was such a healthy, hearty meal (22g Fiber & 18g Protein per bowl!) that I think I’ll be making this often.
I’m also very eager to try so many more of the recipes in this book including the Quick Chili Mole, Spicy Mustard Chickpeas, Tofu Feta, Agua Fresca, Sunshine (Pineapple) Muffins and so many more!
As part of the book tour, Lindsay was kind enough to answer a few more questions for me. If you’d like to read more from Lindsay, you can check out my previous interview here .
Q: For me, healthy eating has been a constantly evolving journey as I’ve continued learning and discovered new tips and tricks. While you’ve been plant-based and oil-free for years, what ‘evolutions’ or new discoveries have you had this year?
A: My husband and I totally gave up salt. We weren’t really using much of it to begin with, just a pinch here and there on food, but I had wanted to eliminate all added salt from our diet (except for the occasional use of soy sauce and miso for flavoring), so when we moved into a new place, I didn’t take salt with us. We also weren’t eating out really, mostly because the place we were living didn’t have restaurants with vegan options. Anyway, a few months later we went to NYC to visit some friends, who took us to our absolute favorite restaurant, where we ordered our most beloved (and surely missed) dishes. Both of us sent our meals back, insisting they were too salty. When the new dishes came out, they were still too salty — unpalatable even. That’s when our friends took a bite and said “you know, I think it could use some salt — are you sure you think it’s salty?” — that was such an aha! moment for me. Ever since then I’ve had a hard time in restaurants — food tastes so salty to me. I’ve even lost my taste for olives and pickles — which I used to LOVE and eat by the jar, but now it’s too much salt. What a few months without salt will do!
Q: I still have many friends, family, and coworkers that are skeptical about Veganism and can’t imagine cooking without eggs or dairy. What recipes in HH Abroad would most impress a non-vegan?
A: Any of them. One thing I found surprising was how many traditional dishes were “accidentally” vegan. It makes sense, though. Many culturally significant/popular dishes came from peasant origins and peasants would have been primarily plant-based by default — animal products were too expensive to have day-to-day, every meal. The result is that many dishes with long histories in other cultures are vegan.
Q: I love how globally inspired your recipes are – both from your travels and from living abroad. If you had to choose just one culture’s foods to eat for a year, which would you pick and why? (i.e. Indian, Thai, Italian, Morroccan, Mexican, etc.)
A: Probably American because so much of “American” fare is borrowed from or inspired by other cuisines and cultures so it wouldn’t feel very limited.
Q: As a travel-lover myself, I’ve found that large cities almost anywhere have great options for Vegans, but I’ve had trouble finding balanced vegan meals in more remote locations. What are some of the most remote places you’ve traveled, and how did you ensure you ate well? Any go-to snacks to pack?
A: I lived on a small island in the Caribbean for a year and wrote a cookbook there I think after I did that, I decided I could manage anywhere — and I have. I’ve been to Africa, remote villages in Ireland, small towns off the beaten path in Italy and Spain. It’s easier in bigger cities, but not impossible in smaller towns. You just have to have a bit more patience and creativity — but the same is true with travel in the United States. One of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had was in a small Irish town — the chef made something special, just for me.
Q: One of the best things about your recipes is their simplicity. You also have great advice for simple living in the Minimalist Monday posts on your blog. How did your journey into Minimalism start and what are some of the biggest changes you’ve made?
A: Getting rid of most of our belongings was a big change for me — and getting over the consumer mentality. It feels so good to live with less, though. I’m not sure how I found my way to minimalism. I think it was something that started a long time ago, before I recognized it or knew it was what I was doing. I just started to look around at my life and realize I wasn’t as happy as I could be. My situation wasn’t working. Things needs to change. I started making changes and it was a snowball effect
Best of all, as part of the Blogger Book Tour’s 31 Days of Giveaways, the publisher, BenBella Books, is providing a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad to one lucky VeggieNextDoor reader in the US or Canada!