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Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Long Overdue Book Review, My Life in Hell and a Kick Ass Video! Pt. I


I decided to break this post up in two parts.. was rather long all schlumped together. :)

I need to start this off by apologizing to both our lovely Hannah, the very talented author of her new cookbook of vegan desserts called My Sweet Vegan and her popular blog, Bittersweet as well as her publisher Alisa Fleming of Fleming Ink and Go Dairy Free. I did not intend to wait so long in getting this post up.. life just was not as cooperative as I would have preferred. I hope you gals didn't think I was forgetting about Hannah's book!! I'm so sorry!

So without further ado, let's get on with it, yes? :)

My Sweet Vegan - yes. Vegan. I am not Vegan. So what the heck am I doing reviewing this book? How can I give a worthy opinion on how some of these recipes taste if I've never tasted things like soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu before? Well, I'm not exactly sure.. I really don't know if my opinions on Hannah's gorgeous book will be very valuable to the people out there that this book was meant for. But I was asked by Hannah to give it a go, so that's all that matters to me.

Hannah's (very) Black Bottomed Brownies
Hannah's Black Bottomed Brownies.. VERY black bottomed - as I read the recipe wrong and ended up with a thick chocolate base brownie. *blush* I credit this mishap to my inner chocolate addict. :P

I will not lie and say that the recipes I tried tasted exactly like dessert recipes using butter and cow's milk, cream or yogurt. For those of us who are not vegan, vegetarian, or lactose intolerant, you will be able to tell the difference right off the bat.

So, did I run shrieking from my kitchen with an uncontrollable urge to suck on a stick of butter? No. Not at all. Both recipes I tried were delicious, just different. Would I recommend this book to my vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant and gluten-free friends? In a heartbeat. For what this book is about, it's outstanding. I can also honestly say that I've often felt sorry for a couple of my friends who have developed digestive problems and have become lactose intolerant. They've had to give up so many foods they've loved all their lives and it's just pitiful to see the look on one gal's face when she's up visiting and sees I've baked or cooked something sweet that contains milk or cream. Now though, NOW I can bake things for her that she'll love and be able to eat without problems. For that I am a happy camper!

Hannah's Peanut Butter Scones Hannah's Peanut Butter Scones
Hannah's Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Scones.. hey we all know this is me.. I hadda change up something, right? (no, not because I read this recipe wrong too. :P) Instead of the chocolate glaze, I had a bag of chocolate and peanut butter chips that needed to be used so I gilded the lily a bit here and threw a couple handfuls in. :D

Now let's talk about the book itself. Simply gorgeous. Hannah, your photographs are amazing and the layout of the book is a recipe looker-upper's dream. :) Starting out with an ingredient guide section where Hannah explains the different ingredients called for in her recipes. From vanilla extract to chocolate sandwich cookies to Ricemellow Creme and Textured Vegetable Protein. She's got them all listed and she explains what the are in very easy to understand terms as well as tips on where to find some of the less common items.

The recipes that follow are catagorized as:


  • Sweet Starts - From strawberry, cranberry and banana muffins, to peanut butter and graham fig scones.. there's sweet focaccia, granola and even donuts!


  • Cookies and Bars - Just about any flavor and type of cookie or bar you could want! There are biscotti, blondies, brownies, peanut butter cookies, maple pistachio cremes, shortbread and whoopie pies! (and that's just the tip of the iceberg, kids. ;)


  • Cakes and Cupcakes - Sinfully decadent or light and fluffy, she's got them all in this section. Bananas Foster cake, anyone? How about the Mocha Devastation cake? Exotic cupcakes such as Lychee Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting and Pomegranate Ginger Cupcakes!


  • Pies and Tarts - Here is where you'll find Cashew Creme Pear Tart and Pumpkin Pecan Pie (just to name a couple) to start drooling over.


  • Miscellaneous Morsels and Desserts - Holy cow.. Sesame Chews, Hazelnut Ravioli, and a Five Minute Coconut Fudge among many, many more recipes for deliciousness. :)


Did I mention Hannah's photographs? Every single recipe features it's own beautiful photograph so you'll always have an idea of what your finished product should look like. Sweet!

The recipes themselves are very well written. The instructions are to the point but not text book sounding, if you know what I mean. Hannah's personality shines through in each paragraph.

And the bestest part for me.. there are two indexes. One is an index of the recipes categorized into which food allergy/lifestyle they relate to. And the other is an ingredient index. Oh how I wish every cookbook had an ingredient index.

So I say to you, Hannah, you've done a beautiful job and I can only imagine how fabulous your future books will be! And to all of you "alternative bakers" and those of you who have people with special dietary needs in your life, this is a terrific book to keep on your bookshelf closest to your kitchen. :)

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Comments on "A Long Overdue Book Review, My Life in Hell and a Kick Ass Video! Pt. I"

 

Blogger Ben said ... (3/09/2008 4:00 PM) : 

Hmm yummy! I can't wait for the second part. And am I the first one commenting? Yay!

 

Blogger Cheryl said ... (3/10/2008 9:51 AM) : 

That looks like a fantastic book. Would make a good gift for some friends I have.

 

Blogger PheMom said ... (3/11/2008 7:22 PM) : 

The book looks fantastic. My sister-in-law is vegan and always struggles with new ways to keep her kids interested. This would be perfect for her.

 

Anonymous Hannah said ... (3/12/2008 7:23 PM) : 

Thank you so much for the positive review, I'm just thrilled to hear that you liked it!

 

Blogger Elle said ... (3/12/2008 10:52 PM) : 

Aw, now I need to go buy another cookbook :) This one sounds delicious, vegan or not. I have vegan friends, too, so it would be a treat to bake for them. Great review kiddo.

 

Anonymous jengkie said ... (3/14/2008 4:35 AM) : 

Great review! can't wait for the second part!

 

Anonymous gretchen... said ... (3/24/2008 8:29 PM) : 

i had to go look at miss hannah's blog after reading your review.. the pictures pushed me over the edge, too ... so i'm reading along, thinking what a nice find this blog is and that my daughter, who has much the same eating habits ( at times) would enjoy it, also when i come across the photo of someone taking pics of food... i thought at first it was the woman's daughter??? ah? no... this is one amazingly talented 19 year old cook, crafter and author. good for her and good for all of us that get to share her talent.

 

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