Rens is amazingly cheerful on each recipe, healthy, practical and yummie. I enjoi the taste of each creation since reading. I was looking for this, such as I like to eat. Great book!!
This is a cookbook that screams "energy" from the squiggly and mixed typefaces to the ingredients to the amount of work required to make some of the recipes. The book is liberally sprinkled with photos of the author, Rens Kroes, smiling and otherwise gazing out to engage the reader to start making her recipes. Her enthusiasm, which comes through in her descriptions of the recipes, is infectious.
But this is not a cookbook for everyone. There are lots and lots of different superfood-type ingredients and spices that the majority of home cooks do not use. Some are used in such small quantities that buying them just to make one or recipes seems extravagant unless you are planning to incorporate superfoods and/or exotic spices into your daily routine. Some of the spices are impossible to find and others are quite expensive, so it would have been nice if the author had given more suggestions for substitutes. A couple of those ingredients are:
Laos powder - I found out that this is what we in the US call galangal, but my local Whole Foods had neither. Ginger can be substituted, but it is not the same.
Lucuma powder - It is very expensive.
Maca powder - more easily available. Kind of expensive.
Also, chlorella powder, coconut blossom sugar, Madame Jeanette chiles, Inca berries, guarana powder and samphire.
If you routinely use those items, you are in luck, but I have found that some of them are very hard to find unless mail-ordered.
So far I've only made a few of the recipes, and they came out well enough to make me want to go further. I've included photos of them:
-- Oven Roasted Peppers - these are essentially mini-peppers stuffed with hummus, and they are delicious. I think her mini-peppers are smaller than the ones I get at Trader Joe's because, in the book's photo, they are overstuffed with hummus. That would be too overwhelming for the size of mini-peppers I can get. Still, this was simple and ingenious and a great, healthy snack.
-- Hazelnut Milk - easy to make, tasty and without all of the fillers and additives that commercial nut milks have. Thin and reminiscent in many ways to Mexican horchata, but with vanilla in place of cinnamon. Hazelnuts are expensive, and there are a lot of ground hazelnuts made in the process (pictured in the sieve). It made me wonder if there wasn't some way Kroes might suggest to use those.
-- Kick-Start - this is billed as "probably the most delicious and healthiest breakfast ever!" It is not more delicious than French Toast, ok? But seriously, for a simple, delicious, healthy breakfast, this works. It is filling and stays with you for hours upon hours. I would describe it as pulverized muesli. Also, I admit to drizzling mine with maple syrup. It is best eaten immediately after it is blended - it gets a bit hard in the fridge.
I was going to make the "Good Noodles," which feature shrimp and soba noodles, but when I read that it took a total of four pots and pans to make what initially seemed like a fairly simple dish, I scrapped it.
I like what I made, but so many of the ingredients are very expensive, too difficult to find or both. I love the energy conveyed in the book and the recipes have been pretty good. There are great recipes for snacks, juice blends and smoothies. And the cupcake recipe looks as though it might be worth the cost of the book.
Unfortunately, I can't give a cookbook about healthy food five stars when there is no nutritional information included. If I am going to go to all of the trouble that many of these recipes require, I'd really like to know precisely what nutritional benefits I'd gain by doing so.