Welcome to the Cookbook Edit! These are the cookbooks that my family is loving right now, and for good reason: the recipes are as flavorful and they are healthy! Well, most of them … I always leave a little room for some delightful treats that feed the soul more so than the body, and you should too, in moderation of course!
I chose these eight books because each Sunday when I sit down to plan our weekly meals, these are the cookbooks I always come back to. They contain comfort food classics as well as healthy, fresh flavors that leave you feeling energized and inspired. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!
Why I Love It: When you need a reset, this is the book you reach for … it’s chockful of healthy, nutrient-dense recipes that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian. This is truly a plant-based, low-inflammation cookbook. When you’re low on energy and nutrients, this book pulls you out of your rut and sets you back on the right path!
Our Favorite Recipe: 10 Ingredient Reset Salad, p. 183. This salad contains a variety of vegetables, healthy fats, and vibrant flavors. It will leave you feeling refreshed and give you a nice healthy glow.
Why I Love It: If you’re a fan of Joanna Gaines, you’ll love both of her Magnolia Table Cookbooks. I own both, but I must admit, the sequel is even better (rare, I know). This is classic comfort food, with a focus on fresh, natural ingredients. Check your diet at the door though … this is food for the soul.
Our Favorite Recipe: French Toast with Vanilla Maple Syrup, p. 87. I’ve tried a lot of French toast in my life, and this is hands down one of the best. Which shouldn’t be surprising really, almost everything Mrs. Gaines touches seems to turn to gold.
Why I Love It: If you’re like me and you truly believe that the way you look on the outside is a reflection of what’s going on on the inside (both physically and emotionally), this book is for you. The recipes are organized according to the four seasons, so if you enjoy using seasonal ingredients, you’ll appreciate the author’s approach. She also provides a phenomenal guide to some of the most nutrient-dense foods, explaining how each one provides you with vital nutrients key to your physiological health. And the photography is simply stunning (a nice touch if you enjoy surrounding yourself with all forms of beauty!).
Our Favorite Recipe: Quinoa with Pesto Chicken, p. 68. This is one of my favorite healthy comfort foods. The pesto and fresh mozzarella make it incredibly satisfying, but it is also packed with nutrients. It’s also customizable. I’ve used this recipe as a launching pad for many healthy “bowl” meals in our home. Not feeling the quinoa? No problem, switch it out for rice. Substitute the chicken for salmon. Have a hodge-podge of vegetables that need to be used up? Toss them in!
Why I Love It: The reason is threefold: This book is (1) visually stunning, (2) brimming with nutrient-dense recipes focused on reducing inflammation and eliminating toxins from the body, and (3) it contains a host of “extras”: lists of pantry staples and must-have tools, guidance from a variety of experts on physical fitness, personal massage, yoga, and meditation.
Our Favorite Recipes: Modern Salade Nicoise, pg 77 and Mustard Vinaigrette, p. 228. This classic French salad is always a crowd pleaser. I generally forgo the Curry Aioli Dressing and instead opt for the Mustard Vinagrette. We much prefer vinaigrettes to creamy dressings in our home, but it’s all up to you! I also really enjoy substituting the tuna for salmon when serving this dish for dinner. Fun fact: Jacob and I have been married for nearly 14 years, and I never knew he likes radishes until I made this salad for dinner about 2 months ago. I love it that we still learn new things about one another after over a decade of marriage!
Why I Love It: This was the first book I purchased when I decided to reduce the amount of gluten in my diet, so it has a special significance to me. When I eat less gluten, I just feel better. I have more energy, I feel less weighed-down. There’s a pep in my step! I’m by no means a purist, I still eat bread on occasion (though I generally stick to sourdough) and every now and then I’ll indulge in a big bowl of oatmeal, but I probably eat gluten-free 80% of the time. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, this is a great book to help you get started.
Our Favorite Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Broccoli, p. 143. One of the chief complaints I hear from people considering a gluten-free diet is the need to eliminate pasta. I know, it’s a tough ask. There’s just something comforting and gratifying about sitting down to a big, steaming bowl of spaghetti, isn’t there? Well, there are alternatives! I’m not going to lie, sometimes only the real thing will scratch the itch, but often, a healthier option is sufficient to kill the craving. This one does it! This is healthy, gluten-free, comfort in a bowl. It’s familiar, it’s classic, and it’s just plain good for you.
Why I Love It: I love French food. And this book gives you the goods. While I admit I probably will never make as aspic, there are still numerous recipes to enjoy in this (French) piece of Americana. Just know that Julia Child was no fan of quick meals … she took her time in the kitchen, so you should expect that these recipes will take some time to prepare.
Our Favorite Recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms), p. 315. This recipe is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, but my favorite way to eat it is with a warm piece of sourdough baguette so you can use the bread to soak up every last drop of the tasty broth. This dish is truly one of my favorites.
And finally, we have some of my favorite kid-friendy cookbooks!
Why I Love It: Like I said above, I like French food! And I want my kids to develop an appreciation for it as well. This book is fun, and the recipes are delicious and approachable. French cooking has a reputation for being difficult and time-consuming, but Mardi gives you some wonderful, kid-friendly classics that are easy to prepare and appropriate for all ages. Although children can certainly help prepare these recipes, I’ve served some of them for company at my home (yes, adult company!). Also, Mardi is incredibly sweet! I did a blog post last spring sharing one of the recipes. I tagged her on Instagram to share my kiddos handiwork, and she messaged me within an hour to share some additional information about the recipe!
Our Favorite Recipe: Petits Pots de Yaourt a la Creme (Creamy Yogurt Pots), p. 35. This recipe is so delightful! It’s a blast for kids to assemble — they get to layer the mascarpone and jam in pots or jars. I recommend small mason jars, as this gives children a chance to see their work! The richness of the mascarpone coupled with the tartness of the jam is wonderful. My little girls just love it!
Why I Love It: It gets my kids to each vegetables! Yes, really! The recipes are colorful, full of vital nutrients, and they taste fantastic. Most parents I know struggle to get their kids to eat vegetables. But most parents throw some broccoli on a plate, or peas in a bowl and then wonder why their kids don’t enjoy them, or at least just eat them! Somehow the author has managed to make a boring zucchini look like an ice-cream sundae. If your kids aren’t into vegetables, snap this one up!
Our Favorite Recipe: Peanut-Butter Avocado Shake, p. 27. Avocados are a super-food. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. But do you think my kiddos willingly just eat avocado slices? Uh, no. Put it in a smoothie that takes like a creamy peanut butter shake, and all of a sudden, they’re not so bad!