A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook
Mitchell has lost a bunch of weight and kept it off for over ten years, apparently by eating food per the recipes she includes in this book – mostly healthy, but definitely with an occasional indulgence. It’s a nice take on a cookbook, part diet book with a dash of reality thrown in.
Mitchell wrote a memoir, It Was Me All Along, which was published in 2015. People magazine said it was “A charming memoir about weight loss and self-discovery.” Kirkus Reviews said, “A candid and inspiring memoir.” And she has a beautiful blog, Andie Mitchell: Recipes & Inspiration for a Feel-Good, Balanced Life, with many of her recipes and weight loss tips. Plus she has a Facebook group, along with Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste.com, where you can cook along with her and find even more inspiration.
But back to the cookbook. Every recipe starts with a brief paragraph about the genesis of the recipe, or something about the ingredients or where it came from, or what to serve with it. These are often charming little vignettes about Mitchell’s family; her mother, her grandmother, and they add a special appeal to the book.
I like knowing what the dish is supposed to look like, and there are lots of pictures. I have a review copy, so my pictures are black and white, but I suspect the pictures are just glorious in color in the finished book.
The book isn’t as divided up as many cookbooks are, so the table of contents is pretty short:
Vegetables and Sides
All Things Sweet
The recipes are realistic for most home cooks. I like things like Lightened-Up Pad Thai in Under 15 Minutes, which uses shredded cabbage instead of rice noodles and is really filling and delicious. I also liked the Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki & Feta, which takes a bit longer as you marinate the chicken for half an hour but still very easy and good. I haven’t tried the Turkey Burgers with Apple, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese yet but I will. Turkey burgers can be super dry unless additional fat is added but Mitchell uses a grated apple and some goat cheese instead. Mitchell insists her Brown Sugar & Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema would do the Barefoot Contessa proud, and I won’t argue with that.
There are some great salads and I especially loved the Bagel & Lox Salad – yes, you read that right. All the flavors including lettuce, red onions, lox and capers plus some pumpernickel crisps, and a dressing based on low fat Greek yogurt. I did add a tomato though. Another good lunch is the Tuna and Orzo Salad with Parmesan and Basil. It’s loaded with protein between the tuna and cannellini beans, and the simple lemon honey dressing pairs perfectly with the salad. Not all the lunches are salads though; I am intrigued with the Loaded Black Bean Burgers and will be giving them a try.
The Sharing chapter includes recipes that probably don’t belong in a healthy cookbook but again, it’s all about balance. The Cuban Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Caramelized Onion and Thyme Mayo sounds fabulous. I’m not seeing the health benefits here but it is a slow cooker, can-make-it-in-the-middle-of-the-week-if-I-want recipe, so I may give it a go. I didn’t bother with the Sweets, I do enough of those but it is nice to have that chapter.
All in all, it is a good, mostly healthy cookbook with some interesting recipes. If you are looking for ways to eat healthier, (and really, who isn’t,) try this cookbook.
3/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
EATING IN THE MIDDLE by Andie Mitchell. Clarkson Potter (March 29, 2016). ISBN 978-0770433277. 240p.