Parents Need to Eat Too by Debbie Koenig – Book Review

Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents by Debbie Koenig
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks

The time after a new baby enters the house is a tricky one for parents who want to eat something not originally from the freezer section of the grocery store. There’s so much to do with an infant in the house and so much uncertainty about how and when to do it. It seems that things should get easier as the baby gets a bit older, but it isn’t only infants who want to be held, to be able to see and touch whichever parent is attempting to prepare a meal. My son is 2.5, and it is really only recently that cooking has gotten fairly easy again, he’s happy to sit and play with something in the next room while I prepare food, until then it could only happen easily if someone else was home to distract him. As I contemplate adding two more little ones to our household this summer, the idea of what on earth we’re going to eat is in the forefront of my mind. I’m hoping to freeze a lot of things ahead of time, but that also requires us to get moved into a new house sooner rather than later and to get a large freezer that can hold all of these things. Plus, there are times when you just don’t want one of the same old dishes you made a giant batch of and have had on rotation for weeks.

Enter Debbie Koenig’s new cookbook: Parents Need to Eat Too.

Parents Need to Eat Too is a cookbook specifically designed for the parents of young children. There are extremely simple recipes, recipes already divided up for you for nap time prep, slow cooker recipes, meals you can easily eat with one hand, and recipes that promote lactation for mothers who are breastfeeding. Perhaps the most helpful aspects of the book, though, are Koenig’s list of essential ingredients in the beginning (someone may get sent to the store with the book right before the twins arrive) and the tips on turning each and every recipe into baby food. Yes, you read that right, every recipe can be used as baby/toddler food. This, to me, was almost revelatory. We made most of Daniel’s babyfood, but it was usually an all-day Saturday sort of thing, cooking and pureeing vegetable after vegetable and freezing them all. You know what is easier than that? FEEDING YOUR KID WHAT YOU ARE EATING. Not only does it simply involve a little extra prep time instead of getting something completely different, if you know you won’t finish your leftovers, guess what? You can turn them into baby food and freeze them for later.

Another thing I appreciated about Koenig’s book is the gustatory diversity. This is by no means a cookbook of casseroles. There are a number of Asian and Indian-inspired meals, such as the Chana Masala. Koenig freely admits that many of these recipes aren’t particularly authentic, particularly since she is aiming for things that are fast and easy to make, but they are delicious. I made her fried rice last weekend, and I must say that it simply knocked the socks off my own version (it seems the delicious secret is sesame oil, yum!).

I think Parents Need to Eat Too (and maybe some of the dry ingredients from Koenig’s list) would make a wonderful gift for a new parent, or really anyone with young children. Highly recommended.

If you need more convincing, here’s Koenig herself talking about the book:

I also have one copy for a lucky reader with a US mailing address. This copy will be sent out by HarperCollins. Please enter on the form below by noon Eastern on Tuesday, February 28.

FORM

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Source: Publisher.
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The Sparkpeople Cookbook by Meg Galvin – Book Review

The Sparkpeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight by Meg Galvin
Published by Hay House

Sparkpeople.com is a diet website. It provides its 11 million plus members with weight loss resources, including community support. As befits as responsible diet website and plan, much of Sparkpeople focuses on exercise and healthy eating. It is this second important component of dieting that The Sparkpeople Cookbook focuses on.8

The Sparkpeople Cookbook is not, however, what one would commonly consider to be a diet cookbook. Instead, the focus is on cooking for a healthy eating lifestyle, making smart choices as far as ingredients and portion sizes. The book even includes the basics of a number of healthy cooking techniques, including roasting, grilling, sweating, steaming, and more.

As is important in a cookbook, The Sparkpeople Cookbook is, overall, very well organized. After the introductory sections, which include the aforementioned healthy cooking techniques, the book is divided into the following sections:

  • Breakfast
  • Salads & Sandwiches
  • Soups & Stews
  • Main Dishes with Poultry, Meat & Fish
  • Meatless Mains, Pasta & Pizza
  • Whole Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Snacks & Desserts
  • Herbs, Spices & Seasonings

This is followed by a number of appendices, including a sample weekly meal plans, choosing a cooking oil, and keeping fruits and vegetables fresh. The only real oddity is the inclusion of Lemon Chicken with Spinach Pasta under the Meatless Mains section. It seems to just have been misplaced in the incorrect section, but it is an unfortunate error, because it looks like an incredible recipe, and I would hate for people looking specifically chicken dishes to miss it. Despite the one strange placement, the layout of the individual recipes is quite good. There are facts about the food used, suggestions to make the dish into a meal, and possible additions.

The recipes all look amazing, and are straightforward without being overly simplistic. I made the Herbed Bulgur and Lentil Salad and it was delicious, I will definitely be making it again. I can’t wait to keep making things, like the Broccoli and Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Pepper, the Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken, and the Lemon Chicken with Spinach Pasta.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Planned TV Arts.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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