Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book review: Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

I have a friend who lost quite a bit of weight using the Trim Healthy Mama plan. And I have not lost the baby weight after baby four... So when I saw the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook as an option for a book to review, I snatched it up!  It has not disappointed either!

  This copy is a paper back, but it has such a quality feeling to it! The cover is sturdy with a matte feel and the binding has blue strips with a different texture on it that just feel great when you hold it.  This is not some scrawny cookbook either! It is over an inch thick, with 511 pages! Flipping through, you notice that the pictures are beautiful.  Not every recipe has one, but they are quite liberally scattered through out the book, both full page photos and inset ones. If I had to guess, I'd say that well over three quarters of the recipes have a photo with them. If you had handed me this book without showing me the cover, I'd never have guessed it is a cookbook for weight loss!

The book is nicely broken up into one-pot meals, hearty mains and sides,  sunrise eats, sweet treats, beverages, and all things smooth and crunchy. It includes crockpot meals, skillet meals, soups, salads. Each main category has several subcategories and many include both family size meals and single portions. The crockpot section has instructions to prep "from freezer to crock" which I LOVE. This is my favorite way to freezer cook. I think my first to try out of this section will be the Cilantro Lime-burst Chicken Thighs. Cilantro and lime are my absolute favorites! Scattered through with explanations of why they are healthy, or chats about the recipe's origin or a little story about the author's family.  There are so many recipes I want to try immediately. How about cashew chicken or Blackened Chicken With Mango and Black Beans? Chicken Alfredo or Chicken Jalapeno Popper Soup? I feel like I'm gaining weight just looking at this book! Pancakes, waffles, french toast?! Donuts?! I feel like this may be an easy plan to give a go...

The authors also include a section of Sweet Treats! Volcano Mud Slide Muffin, anyone? Again they include single serving sweets as well as family sized ones. Now these desserts look amazing, and I have to keep asking myself... "in a diet book?" When you look closely at the ingredients however, you'll  notice that they aren't your typical ingredients.  Things like coconut milk and coconut flour, flax, and sweetner help make these desserts a bit healthier. 120 pages of sweetness people.  Cheesecake! Ice cream, creamsicles, ice cream sandwiches.  This book is LOADED. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?  Found my favorite section...which may just be why I've not lost the baby weight...

Another favorite section is the Beverages!  It has options for healthy all day sippers, like Good Girl Moonshine (it gets its kick from apple cider vinegar!), a Singing Canary (tumeric!), Pumpkin or Apple Pie Sip. A whole section on shakes and smoothies... sigh. Key lime. Strawberry cheesecake. How am I supposed to lose the weight again? Frappacinnos! And then there's the hot drinks... Ginger Cream Trimmy...Chai Trimmy...Salted Caramel Creamy Oolong. There are cold drinks as well, like Iced Tea, Iced Coffee and Root Beer Float.

The last section is snacks like Swiss Crackers, Crunch Puffs, and Apple Dip. There are also quite a few dressings, as well as jelly, chocolate syrup, pancake syrup and ketchup.

Wow.  I feel I talk way too much about cookbooks, but man, I wanted to list tons more recipes! As a cookbook, I'd say this is a must if you are already trying out the Trim Healthy Mama plan. Even if you have no interest in losing weight and just want to have a great cookbook filled with some really amazing recipes filled with healthy, nourishing ingredients, it would be great for you!

Now, with regards to the plan. This book does not give you a whole lot of information about the plan, but suggests that one read the companion book. They do say that there are no "Spartan diet foods" because "Food Freedom is our mantra!"  They say that many of the sweets work great for breakfast (yay!). And most of the recipes are quick and easy (Yay, yay!). They share that you will learn to "tune in to your own hunger and full signals". And as I said, they do very much recommend their companion book Trim Healthy Mama Plan for the complete explanation behind the plan to help you be successfull. There is a very short explanation in the back of the different types of meals and suggested foods, but I still think it would be difficult to follow the plan only based on this information. I have to tell you, after seeing the recipes in this book, I'm off to find a copy of the THM plan! 

There is also a very nice section in the front that goes over the items that are helpful to have in your kitchen, and some of the newer, different ingredients in the book. What I love about these authors is that they don't set out to make you revamp your kitchen or spend a lot of money at the kitchen store on new appliances.  They will tell you what is helpful, but they will also tell you if it is necessary and whether its a big deal to go for the fancy expensive model or the yard sale special!  Similarly with the ingredients, they detail the ingredient, the healthy benefits and where you can find them (some items are found in their Trim Healthy Mama store, but most are available and most local stores as well), but they'll also tell you what you can substitute. I appreciated that this wasn't a cookbook written to sell their products or tools. The authors seem to genuinely want you the reader to be successful in this plan, regardless of your access to the specialized ingredients.

So in summary, if you love the Trim Healthy Mama plan already, then I'd definitely tell you to pick this book up.  But even if you've never heard of it, or you don't need to lose weight but just want to be healthy, full of energy and choose better ingredients, then it's for you too!

Update 3/11/2016: I have been using this cookbook pretty hard for 2 months now and have lost about 20 pounds! I am loving the recipes; I use the shake section almost every day and usually have a Good Girl Moonshine every day as well! The Skinny chocolate takes some getting used to (the Treeces -Faux Reeces- are great though!)but I used cheap cocoa so i'm looking forward to trying again with some Ghiardelli. So far I'm mostly using it for the sweets section, but will try some of the other recipes too!  My only complaint is that a few of my index pages have come out so its not as sturdy or well bound as I had hoped.  Maybe a coil bound book would have been a better option for the cookbook. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: Ragamuffin Gospel

"Many of us believe in grace, yet we live as if we still have to earn God's love."

I've heard about this book since college and never got a hole of a copy until now.  This book is a must read for all. Brennan Manning reminds us that we all come to God as ragamuffins.  There's no scale, some aren't better than others. We are all ragamuffins , yet He loves us and shows us His love.

In full disclosure, I am only about half way through. I sit down to try to buzz through it for review purposes, and find myself unable to. There is so much good Godly truth in each page, I want to savor and enjoy and let it marinate.  Growing up in the church, its hard not to try to do it on my own. This book is a beautiful reminder that what I do doesn't matter at all.  I can't ever be good enough. Praise God that He accepts me as I am, and loves me.

Definitely recommend this book to all who want to know more about the freedom of God's grace.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.