Saturday, July 25, 2009

blue heron ranch cookbook

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this lovely book last weekend. Having an author seek me out to send me a copy of her book is a blogging first for me, and I was quite excited by it (more on that in a minute). I've been enjoying reading this and making some of the recipes all week. The whole book is full of the charming illustrations (done by the author's daughter) like you see on the cover. The author runs a zen retreat center with her husband in Southern California and the book is broken up by little stories of their life there--such as "living off the grid," "homeschooling," "fire" and "our teepee"--all of which I found fascinating. I think I've mentioned on the blog before that I favor cookbooks with "heart" and this one definitely has that. The recipes are for healthy foods with simple preparations--just my sort of thing.
On Thursday I decided to make a few of the recipes and have a little "Blue Heron Ranch" dinner. This gazpacho was delicious. I loved taking tomatoes straight from our garden and whirring them up in the blender--how simple is that? This soup also has avocado, cucumber, onions, cilantro . . . so so yummy. And what a great way to add some raw foods into your diet.
Cucumber salad (also with our home grown produce). Yummy too, and I am happy to say that Rainer ate quite a bit of this.
Black bean enchiladas (I was tempted to make the green enchildada sauce from scratch, but whimped out and used canned). I enjoyed these very much.
These chocolate chip cookies were great and very healthy. They use raw sugar, which (since I've been researching this) I know is not any more nutritious than white sugar, but the thing about these cookies is that they are full of good ingredients (lots of oats and whole wheat, lemon zest and dark chocolate) and are minimally sweet. I felt good about giving these to the boys. I like the fact that there are a variety of baked goods in the book and some are super healthy (the banana bread is all whole wheat and sweetened only with honey and bananas) and more standard recipes (such as some of the cakes) that have white flour and sugar. I like this balanced approach very much and it reflects what I'm trying to do in our lives.

So, receiving a book like this marked sort of a "blog milestone" for me and sparked an interesting discussion for Ken and me about the ethics and appropriateness of me discussing the book here and how sometimes things like this can be a slippery slope. I feel 100% good about sharing this with you because it is such my kind of thing. But I don't want to head the blog in a direction of promoting products or advertising things. I love sharing what I'm reading with you but certainly won't be opening an Amazon book shop or placing advertising on the blog or anything like that. I think there is something lost when blogs go that direction, although I certainly understand why someone would do that. Just wanted to let you know . . .

12 comments:

annie said...

I so don't have an decent excuse to buy another cookbook, but I've been tempted by this one more than once. Everyone that I know who has it has only positive things to say and it looks amazing.

Carrie said...

How fun! I was looking at that at the health food store when I was there!

LILIANA said...

Adoro come hai deciso di educare la tua famiglia!Ti seguo sempre nel tuo blog e spero che ci siano sempre cose nuove.Sei un'ottima mamma e ti faccio i miei complimenti per ciĆ² che fai.Baci dall'Italia Mary Beth,a te e alla tua bella famiglia,CIAO =^_^=

Jessica said...

That cookbook looks like it would be the perfect addition to my collection and one that I really would use often.

Gift of Green said...

Hi Mary Beth,
It makes me a little bit sad that I do not enjoy cooking as much as you do - providing wonderful fresh foods for your family. Do you think one either enjoys cooking or doesn't? Can this old dog be taught new tricks? :)

Mary Beth said...

Hi Amy! (Gift of Green)! Um, I'm not sure. I totally get that the whole cooking/cleaning up/evening chaos thing is a major pain in the behind--at least it is for me, which is why we supplement eating in with the occasional "Subway picnic" and so forth . . . but I'm really motivated to set healthy habits for our boys and create good memories for them, and since I've been trying to keep things simpler and simpler at dinner time it has been helping. Sometimes taking pretty photos of everything helps too.

Samantha S said...

I really love the look and feel of this book. I really want to improve the eating habits of my family but sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all, and they feel disheartened when they refuse to eat what I make. Maybe this book will go a little way to help pull me in the right direction. Although I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more books for awhile... but you know I can be easily persuaded, that's my problem.

gardenmama said...

This looks like a sweet cook book, happy to hear the yummy recipes that are in it!

Angie said...

I might just have to go get myself a copy of that book. I ordered The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook after reading your review.
I agree with your thoughts on the advertising. I think when someone is paid to promote an item, they might say it's good even if it's not.
I love reading others' thoughts on tried and true books and products.
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I really like the texture that raw sugar adds to baked goods. Thanks for sharing.
Meghan

Its_Lily said...

I'm glad you shared the book with us, but I understand and appreciate your apprehension to do so. I'll go research the book and perhaps I'll have to add it to my kitchen counter collection. I love that you're making raw food dinners from it.

Mountain Mama (Wesley Jeanne) said...

I appreciate the disclaimer. I really don't like it when blogs I enjoy go in that direction either. Some, but only a few, maintain integrity while doing so, but it's just so much more enjoyable to read without it.
So, thanks for that.

The book sounds interesting and although I so don't need yet another cookbook, I too like those with heart, so maybe I'll check this one out.