Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Vegan Slow Cooker: Review and Blogger Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I contacted cookbook author Kathy Hester and asked her for a review copy of her new book The Vegan Slow Cooker. I was very intrigued at the concept of this book and even purchased it as a birthday present for a Vegan friend a few months ago. I mean, who doesn't want delicious meals that magically appear at the end of a long day?

Kathy also has a very active blog, Healthy Slow Cooking, with loads of slow cooker recipes. She graciously agreed to do a blogger giveaway of The Vegan Slow Cooker, so make sure you enter by leaving a comment on this post. Thank you Kathy!

Little did I know that Kathy uses the slow cooker for far more than soups and stews. Oatmeal, seitan, bread, sandwich fillings, sauces, and on and on. Kathy is one very creative slow cooking chef!

Once receiving the book, I quickly set out to test a few recipes. Her Soy Chorizo Black Bean Stew was absolutely delicious, with my addition of a head of Swiss chard at the end to get some greens in. And her Chick'n Mushroom Casserole was the thing that finally got me to make homemade seitan. Although I opted for a quicker method than the one she outlines in the book, I used my seitan in Kathy's casserole recipe and the results were outstanding. Total comfort food.

Kathy even got me back to eating oatmeal in the morning. Just hearing that you could make oatmeal in a crock pot was intriguing to me, and I followed Debby's, The Healthy Librarian's, recipe for "Heart-saving" Chocolate Oatmeal. Next on my list? A modified version of Kathy's Carrot Cake and Zucchini Bread Oatmeal.

But a word of caution about this cookbook. I'm not sure anyone would be able to lose weight eating these recipes (look, the book doesn't say anything about being low calorie, it just promises deliciousness and it does deliver). They are, as Chef Aj likes to say, rather "plant indulgent." Do you need to make a meal that is going to wow the Vegan skeptics in your life? This is the book to turn to. Fun, creative, delicious slow cooked Vegan fare is Kathy's specialty. But as a daily source of low calorie, high volume food? Not so much. To be totally fair, the book never promises to be low calorie/high volume. That's just our schtick!

But that's no different than the vast majority of Vegan cookbooks on bookstore shelves right now. So I hope you are becoming good at modifying recipes to make them far more Nutritarian. I think I have become a master at this, so The Vegan Slow Cooker will have a prominent spot on my bookshelf for years to come. It serves as wonderful inspiration for some really Plant-strong food I hope to slow cook up this winter.

Thanks again Kathy!

Would you like to win a copy of The Vegan Slow Cooker? Just leave a comment here answering the following questions:

(1) What's your slow cooker story? Do you own one, does it sit on your shelf or do you use it frequently? Do you want to use it more?

(2) How comfortable are you at modifying recipes to make a non-Nutritarian Vegan recipe into a keeper? Do you automatically eliminate the oil and up the vegetable content? Or are you less confident in your abilities as a Plant-strong cook and stick to already perfected Nutritarian recipes?

Have fun! Contest closes at midnight on Friday night, January 27, 2012. Winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, January 30th.
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