Woo Hoo!! My FIRST official cookbook!! And by “official”, I am referring to the good ole’ HARD COVER cookbook. Do not laugh, lol. I know, I know, I realize I am forty years old, and just NOW owning my own hardcover cookbook. You have to remember though, this girl just started cooking a couple of years ago, after beginning my plant-based lifestyle. Growing up, the only cookbooks I remember my mother using were the hard cover cookbooks that lasted FOREVER. I am thrilled to know that this book will last forever in my kitchen (with the exception of smudge marks of food splattered on the pages while cooking, lol).
I am one lucky PBJ right here!! Laura’s Publisher, BenBellaBooks, sent me my very own copy to review, so I could share my thoughts on the book with you. In addition, I get to share one of my favorite recipes from the book, and feature a Q&A with Laura herself. The best part? One lucky PBJ reader has the chance to win their very own copy of this HARD COVER Cookbook.
For those of you that do not know Laura Theodore, she is the Jazzy Vegetarian as seen on Public Television. Here is a quote from Laura’s newest cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites.
“What does the word vegan mean to me? Well, here is the way I see it: A Vegan is someone who does not consume any meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs. A Vegan strives to eat a purely plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, and grains. That’s what my recipes are all about: plant-based, easy-to-prepare, and delicious!”
So do not let the “Jazzy Vegetarian” fool ya, Laura is indeed a Vegan who delivers delicious, healthy, plant-based Vegan meals to our kitchen, through her cookbooks, and TV show. What I love most about her recipes, is she provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to use a variety of substitutes for “veganizing” main dishes, desserts, soups, salads, and MANY more tasty dishes. Her recipes are not just for vegetarians, vegan, or PBJ’s. She has shared with us almost 200 plant-based, simple, crowd-pleasing recipes. For more info about Laura and her book, CLICK HERE*.
I snapped pics of some of the recipes I made:
I am not the best with my phone camera, so I apologize if I am not displaying the true deliciousness of these recipes. I have to say I truly enjoyed all of the recipes. With the exception of the Kale with Walnut Cream Sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely make the cream sauce again, I just did not enjoy it over Kale. I would enjoy the sauce instead over vegetables or pasta next time.
Speaking of recipes, I am bursting to share one of my favorite recipes thus far from this amazing cookbook. I cannot wait any longer. Ready…Set…Devour…
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
CLICK HERE for recipe
See what I mean? You guys are going to love this family favorite cookbook.
Oh, before I forget! I will be honest, Frank and I rarely watch TV; we do not have cable. However, we just had a different TV service installed today (because Frank is a sucker for FREE money, lol). Ironically, guess what was on TV when he started flipping through the channels?
That’s right. The Jazzy Vegetarian herself! We caught the end of her show. She was making some sort of coconut crusted tofu, almond pudding (made with only three ingredients: tofu, almond butter, and maple syrup), and a green bean and carrot side dish. I briefly saw some sort of black quinoa and mushroom dish, but I missed that part. Anyway, I just wanted to add to this post that I FINALLY witnessed Laura at work. She is just absolutely delightful. The recipes shared sounded amazing, and what I enjoyed the most…they were EASY to make.
Ok…back to the book. After I finished reading Laura’s book, I was able to send over a few questions for her.
PBJ: Laura, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for the PBJ Family. I noticed that Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND wrote the Foreword for your book, and she mentioned at the end, “Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine,” and Laura Theodore makes the medicine taste oh-so-good!”. She is SOOOOO RIGHT!! I am in absolute awe over all of the delicious, and healthy recipes in your new book. I love that this book invites, and inspires everyone to explore your “jazzylicious”, and healthy food. What inspired you to write this book?
Laura Theodore: “What inspired the writing of this book is my passion for making classic American dishes vegan friendly. This book features an additional jazzy twist – many of these traditional recipes are not only vegan but can be made without oil and some are even gluten-free. My goal is to share compassionate and quick recipes that are easy for anyone to prepare, and they are designed to satiate omnivores too. I wanted this book to be for anyone looking to embrace plant-based eating – whether you are a dedicated vegan, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, or just want to fit more ‘plant-based’ meals into your weekly menu plan.”
PBJ: I love the layout, and ease of your book. From the Jazzy Basics, Glossary of Ingredients, Herbs and Spices, to the Helpful Tip for Low-Fat Cooking, along with the Tips for Improvisation (I needed that section), and always useful Table of Equivalent Measures, I was excited and surprised to see Chapter 2: Menus Made Easy. What?? For real?? I am in LOVE!! Ten full menus laid out for us, to share with our family and friends. Not only did you shower us with these easy meal planning menus, you threw in a Jazzy Music Pick for us to dine, cook, or relax to, for each menu. BRILLIANT…thank you!! For those PBJ readers out there that are not familiar with the Jazzy Vegetarian, would you mind sharing a bit about yourself, and how you enjoy spending your free time?
Laura Theodore: “Thank you! I am so very happy you like the menus. Even for me, the trickiest part of planning a plant-based meal is planning the MENU! So I shared some really terrific menu plans in this book.
I do not have much free time. I love what I do: creating and sharing vegan recipes, writing books, producing and starring in the Jazzy Vegetarian television show on PBS (the third season now airs 4 times a week on the Create Channel), writing, producing and hosting a weekly radio podcast (now in our 6th year!), recording, and writing a new musical. Free time? Dinner out with my hubby. A drive in the country. In the summer, I like to swim and kayak. And… believe it or not… cooking relaxes me – I develop new recipes almost daily.”
PBJ: What has been your most rewarding benefit from living this lifestyle?
Laura Theodore: “Knowing that I am helping to save the lives of many farm animals.”
PBJ: What has been your biggest kitchen mishap/blooper?
Laura Theodore: “I was creating a new recipe for corn muffins and decided I would use polenta instead of fine corn meal. NOT! It was one of the few times we had to throw away my culinary creation! There were big chunks of uncooked polenta in the muffins – it tasted like pebbles and sand. (Definitely not the taste I was going for)! Jazzy Tip – Do not use polenta to make corn muffins.”
PBJ: Your mission: “Making the world a better place, one recipe at a time.” After reading your journey thus far, it is apparent that you are truly an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Who inspires you, and what words of wisdom could you share with the PBJ family that would encourage, and inspire them to give this plant-based lifestyle a try, and/or stick with it?
Laura Theodore: “I am inspired by my love for the animals. That is what keeps me going. For anyone looking to adopt a plant-based lifestyle, I say: Find your inspiration for going vegan then remind yourself daily why you have gone vegan. Is it for health reasons? Do you want to lower your carbon footprint to help the environment? Is it compassion for animals? Find your reason – and ponder it often. Then purchase a few key vegan recipe books to help you prepare recipes that you and your family are going to like to eat. Delicious vegan food makes the journey to plant-based eating both fun and fabulous!”
Laura, thank you again for taking time to chat with the PBJ Family. I am looking forward to making more of your jazzylicious meals, and sharing them with all my favorite peeps.
Laura’s book is full of colorful pictures, and delicious healthy recipes. I enjoyed her “story” and her kitchen tips. The ten menus she lays out for us are truly easy to make, and are full of recipes that all taste buds will enjoy. She then adds eleven more chapters of recipes:
- Sauces, Dressings, and Accompaniments
- Nibbles, Noshes, and Thirst Quenchers
- Breakfast Favorites
- Marvelous Muffins
- Soups, Bisques, and Stews
- Standout Salads
- Pastas and Pizzas with Pizzazz
- Jazzylicious Main Dishes
- Symphony of Sides
- Cookies, Cakes, and Confections
- Puddings, Pies, and Frozen Desserts
For my “no oil” PBJ Family, I know what you are wondering. There are some recipes with oil (not many), but they can easily be omitted or subbed out. I have been hooked on the same dressing over two years now, and I am proud to say I ventured out, and tried some new dressings in this cookbook, and I will definitely make them again. The Caesar dressing is the BOMB-BABY!!
Update: Giveaway has ended
CLICK HERE* to grab your very own Hardcover copy.
CLICK HERE* for the Kindle Version. You do not necessarily need a kindle to read the kindle version of this book. Download the free Amazon Kindle App, and you can view the book from your smartphone, pad, computer, etc…
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Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of the book to review. This post contains affiliate links, indicated by a *.