The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Book Review: Joy Bauer’s Slim & Scrumptious

Joy Bauer’s Slim & Scrumptious Cookbook/Nutrition Guide:

The Today Show is part of my morning ritual along with a cup or two of coffee. The show plays in the background while I perform morning tasks. I’ve often put a pause on my ritual to listen to Joy Bauer’s advice. I’ve come to trust her as a nutritionist with her honest, conventional ideas and realistic notions. She is also a health expert and contributing editor at Parade and Woman’s Day magazine so she must be on to something.

When I was asked to review a copy of Food Cures from a rep for Joy Bauer, I was honored. Her book Food Cures arrived at my door and to my surprise, her cookbook Slim & Scrumptious was nestled below. I knew going in that Joy and I have a similar outlook on life and overall nutrition so I quickly went through it.

My first impression was that unlike some “healthy” cookbooks, hers has attractive photos and is filled with recipes I actually want to make. I’ve been through many “healthy” cookbooks with unappetizing recipes…meals that instantly induce gagging and the thought “no one could really enjoy this dish…you’ve got to be kidding me” or “where’s the flavor?”

My second impression was the confirmation that we think alike when it comes to eating healthier/more nutritious meals- utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients-something I regularly talk about and share on this site. She insists that eating well is affordable. One strategy in the book is to be a savvy shopper by stocking up on ingredients that are on sale that you often use. I do that. You might too. Don’t buy pre-cut produce for convenience when it’s cheaper to prep them yourself. If you have space, grow your own food. I do these things too and recommend it to every home cook. Joy is a big proponent of condiments that are “flavor enhancers” like herbs, hot sauce, vinegars and soy sauce (her family is a big fan of Sriracha too). Her ‘must-have” cooking tools pair well with what I believe to be handy in the kitchen-a blender or food processor, various cutting boards, an immersion blender, various measuring utensils and her point about having only a few great sharp knives in place of a huge set is right on with me. Think about it, you probably only use a few of your knives for most dishes so why spend a lot of money on a huge set when you could simply purchase quality everyday-useable knives. This book is a great fit for my lifestyle and style of cooking (again not being paid or given special treatment by saying this).

A few of the recipes I think sound especially wonderful are the Italian Sunday Brunch Bake, Asian Noodle Soup, Quinoa Salad, Buffalo Chicken Chili, Summery Pesto Pasta, Spaghetti with Shrimp and Fennel, Chipotle Chicken, Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak, Pork Tacos with Sassy Slaw, Salmon Cakes, and Chocolate-Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. Practically every other page is something I would consider making and sharing with you readers.

I dove further into the review by preparing a couple of the recipes: Brazilian Seafood Stew and Baked Tilapia with Spicy Tomato-Pineapple Relish. Both were delicious, low calorie, and nutrient rich with the use of fresh ingredients easily found in most stores. I did notice a few of the recipes calling for fruits/vegetables known to “water down” a dish if not prepped in a way that rids of excess liquid. This issue wasn’t addressed (that I can recall) and were only apparent in a few recipes.

A shocker for me was the inclusion and recognition that people drink alcohol within a healthy cookbook. Nearly every other book says avoid alcohol and quickly moves on from that subject but not Joy, she provided a recipe for Tropical Sangria. Loved sipping this sangria (a wine, liqueur and punch combo with fruit) with Greg a few weekends ago.

For anyone having trouble conveying to and including their kids in the preparation of mindful, nutritious eating, this is a wonderful source. Joy is a mom with a family that sounds like the average U.S home. She gives age appropriate tips that I will keep in mind when I become a mom.

By the way, I am not providing any of the recipes I made out of respect (and possible legal issues). If you’re in the market for a worthwhile lifestyle change in terms of diet/nutrition, this holds great recipes from a trusted source.

Food Cures: (a New York Times Bestseller)

For the book I intended to review, the further I went in, the more I realized that I’m not in a position to do such a task. I am not a nutritionist or health professional or even a person who struggles with the diseases/concerns that she covers beyond weight loss. However, I am a person who knows what works for me and what has not when it comes to losing weight/living a healthier lifestyle so I have a few points to make.

First off, this book states that it is to be used as a reference and not a medical manual nor a substitute for treatment prescribed by a doctor. Seek medical help if you have a medical problem. But if you have the clearance, I think this book breaks down the “get healthy/lose weight” process very well and is worth your time if you are serious about changing your lifestyle. Joy has fit the weight loss section into a 4 step program. Her methods make sense and are in line with my own experiences. In the end, whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain more energy, add years to your life, or gain knowledge towards building a healthier lifestyle, Joy seems to have the answers, advice and guidance in an easy-to-understand writing voice.

Would I buy this book if I were seeking this information? Yes. Do I wish this book existed when I was making my way towards a fitter self? Absolutely. If you have interest in weight loss, treating health concerns through your diet (diabetes, arthritis, migraines, heart disease, etc), gaining energy, healthy hair, teeth, skin and smile, check out her website.