Review: Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking

Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious RecipesMinimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes by Dana Shultz

My rating: ★★★★★

When we visited friends in Scotland in April, they introduced me to a vegan cookbook called Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant-based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes. Because I am me, and have difficulty Calming Down and Just Enjoying Things in Small Amounts, I immediately checked it out from the library and have already made six recipes from the cookbook. (And one from the website.)

Carrot, Potato, & Chickpea Red Curry: The end result was so rich and well-seasoned that it belied how easy it was to make.

Thai Baked Sweet Potatoes: What a unique and tasty combination! The ginger-tahini sauce makes this a standout.

Butternut Squash Garlic Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Three things I love that combine perfectly in this quick-to-prepare recipe! I especially loved how fast the cubed butternut squash roasted up. Make sure you choose a solid gluten-free pasta for this one; unfortunately, the one I tried got a bit gummy when cooked.

Smoky BBQ Veggie Burgers: These are easily my favorite non-meat burgers, beating out even Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger. I used gluten-free breadcrumbs and they worked very well.

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Smoky BBQ Veggie Burgers

Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms: While this is an appetizer recipe, it was a perfect light dinner after a late lunch. The homemade vegan “Parmesan” was especially impressive! Mushroom-averse, be warned: the mushrooms remain very mushroomy.

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Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms

Creamy Golden Milk Smoothie: I subscribed to the Minimalist Baker website in my RSS reader and this recipe popped up. I’m a smoothie fan, and the turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon combination sounded like something FunkyPlaid and I might enjoy. It was! I added carrot juice for sweetness and chia seeds for fun.

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Creamy Golden Milk Smoothie

Cashew Soba Noodle Salad: I used rice noodles since I can’t eat soba noodles, but the deliciousness did not suffer. I’m glad I made a double batch.

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Cashew Soba Noodle Salad (with rice noodles)

While I do not adhere to a vegan diet, this cookbook has changed my mind on how easy it can be to prepare delicious vegan food that is also gluten-free. I will continue to work my way through this cookbook — quickly, before someone else at my library wants to check it out!

My immune system collapsed in the wee hours this morning, when I woke up to a coughing fit and severe sinus pain. I haven’t done much today except sleep, but I did manage to put a meal in the slow-cooker so I will have home-cooked lunches this week. I love this recipe for barbecued chicken and cornbread because the cornbread bakes on top of the barbecued chicken like some sort of food sorcery. This is my first attempt with my new favorite gluten-free store-bought barbecue sauce.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “This Christmas” by Mason Embry Trio from Spotify’s Christmas Peaceful Piano playlist.

This slow-cooker Thai curry recipe turned out great. Now I have lunches for half the week, too. It’s gluten-free but not vegetarian; I think it could be made vegetarian with a bit more eggplant and sweet potato instead of the chicken, plus a proper substitute for fish sauce.

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It’s disappointing not to be able to share the new-recipe victory with FunkyPlaid, but I’ll just have to make it again when he comes home.

I also made a small gif of the autumn leaves swirling about my home in Second Life.

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Back to work in the morning! I hope this cold shoves off soon …

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: freight trains in the distance.

Today I made vegetarian mole chili, cornbread, and raw chocolate chip cookie dough bites. Tonight I am full!

 

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In the wee hours of the morning, Zen heaved herself up the stairs not once but twice because FunkyPlaid and I were too asleep to pay attention to her. Goodness knows how long it took her to climb the stairs, but she did it. After accomplishing that feat, Zen shoved the bedroom door open and yowled at the top of her lungs.

That was a fun way to wake up.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Maria Bamford’s “Ask Me About My New God!”

I’m feeling a bit ill tonight after a run of generally good health days. I sometimes forget how precarious that health can be, so tonight’s photo is of two gluten-free treats that make me happy. The guide was a gift from Courtney, and I’m looking forward to visiting all of the gluten-free restaurants and bakeries listed in it. The cookies are a fairly tasty find from Fred Meyer that are not only gluten-free but vegan too. It’s tough to do both well.

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Writing from: my study. Listening to: my stomach grumble.

Despite this being the least appealing food photograph I’ve ever taken, I was highly impressed by the meal I made from the SunBasket gift we received from my mom. This was a recipe for salmon with mango salsa, and it was easy to prepare and cook, a boon for this exhausted librarian at the end of a long day. I’ve got two more gluten-free meals waiting to be prepared this week, too!

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Writing from: my study. Listening to: BBC News. I did not see that coming.

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Yesterday I ordered a supposedly gluten-free dish from a menu of a local chain of Italian restaurants. We had never been to the restaurant before, so I relied on the menu and the server to be accurate. They weren’t. Today I felt miserable with all of the symptoms of accidental gluten ingestion, like coming down with a very short but intense flu.

Today I also read about how some conservative politician — a Presidential hopeful, natch — promised that he wouldn’t provide gluten-free MREs to the military.

After testing my digestive system with some certified gluten-free oatmeal, I determined that I could make it to a late dinner with friends at a restaurant I’ve eaten at several times before. On an extensive menu, there were still only a few choices for me, but I ordered something I knew would be safe for me to eat. “Safe” means that it will not cause me short-term discomfort or long-term physical damage. I even got to enjoy dessert, pictured above, and suffered no nasty side-effects.

I am lucky to have supportive family and friends who understand the medical necessity of my gluten-free diet, but some people don’t have the same support system. This is my periodic reminder that eating gluten-free is not a choice for many of us. (Considering how expensive gluten-free options can be, it is an expensive non-choice.) If someone tries to tell you that eating gluten-free is about losing weight or being politically correct, they are lying to you. Educate yourself.

Writing from: a no-longer-sick room in Marin. Listening to: my own irritated thoughts about that politician.

Day 362 of Project 365: Fall in Line

Before I went gluten-free, I was too intimidated to try making homemade lasagne. Even though I knew it was basically just layer-cake pasta — how hard can that be? — I avoided making it.

Post G-Day, one of the first recipes I learned how to make was polenta vegetable lasagne. Using pre-cooked polenta and jarred pasta sauce it is one of the easiest recipes I make.

But that’s just a little too easy. Feeling confident some months ago, I decided to purchase gluten-free lasagne noodles from Tesco. And promptly got intimidated again.

Today I’ve been feeling quite sassy. I sent that email and let go of a bunch of stress. Not all of it, but a lot of it. I even indulged in a mid-afternoon nap. So tonight I saw those noodles in the cupboard and decided what the hell.

So easy.

My favourite part, of course, was lining up all the partially-cooked lasagne noodles. I couldn’t trust them to behave at that point, though, so this is a ‘before’ photo. Look at how orderly!

Day 362 of Project 365: Fall in Line

gratitude: finishing the second sleeve of FunkyPlaid’s jumper · crossing off more items on my task list · that nap

Day 300 of Project 365: I Ate a Croissant

My 300th photo is of the first croissant I’ve eaten in four years.

Genius, a wonderful local company, makes gluten-free croissants. I do not know what sorcery they use to make the croissants so good, and I do not care. I only care that I can eat croissants again because the croissant dreams have been increasing in frequency lately. These dreams involve me sitting in a sidewalk café in Paris, eating a croissant for what feels like hours. I can still taste the flaky crumbs on my lips when I wake up. That is how much I have missed croissants. So it was a little crazy here earlier when I warmed one up and tore into it.

Day 300 of Project 365: I Ate a Croissant

Look at that buttery beauty.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. Genius, for making the delicious gluten-free croissant I ate today.
  2. My willpower, for saving the other croissant for tomorrow.
  3. My lack of willpower, for also buying a pack of gluten-free pain au chocolat.

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