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Book Review: Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet (W/ Recipes)

I used SparkPeople between having Walker and Alistaire, it really helped me plot out my activity and eating (which now that I am not pregnant I really should consider using it again!) so I jumped at the chance to review a new Kindle book that came out in February: Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet. Written in a laid back extremely non-judgmental style – and missing the heavy-handed ethical speeches about animals that often pop up in vegan cookbooks, the e-book is an easy to read primer on eating vegan and how to convert. The recipes are of the “healthy” genre so may not be for everyone, but if you are watching your weight or cholesterol levels for $2.99 it is a bargain, considering it is nearly 300 pages long. And no fear, you don’t need a Kindle to read it, you can store it on Amazon Cloud or download it onto any computer or ipad or similar for easy reading.

While reading I came across an interesting cooking technique – making brown rice in a slow cooker! And it was very easy…almost too easy I might say. And more so it didn’t heat up my kitchen as does my usual method of baking it. For the warmer months this will be neat way of preparing rice. The method? Spray the crock pot with cooking spray, add 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups boiling water or stock, cover and put on low for about 2 hours. That is it! The rice could be a bit fluffier (baked rice does that) but for ease of prep it won me over.

All the recipes come with nutritional stats as well, helpful for planning diets around and as well include multiple menus at the end for trying out a vegan diet, making it very easy to try.

We also tried the Mini-Rosemary Scones and Not Sausage Gravy for our breakfast:

Mini-Rosemary Scones
Ingredients:
1½ cups oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp dried rosemary, crumbled
6 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine
1 1/2 cups plain almond milk
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 475°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the margarine and use your fingers to mix until well combined. Add the milk and mix with a fork until it forms a shaggy ball of dough, do not over mix.
Split dough into two balls.Spread the balls gently on the prepared sheet, one on each end, about an inch thick each. Use a pastry scraper to cut into wedges.
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot, topped with gravy if desired.

Not Sausage Gravy (adapted version)
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp whole wheat flour
½ package Harmony Valley Vegetarian Sausage Mix, prepared to directions
1 tsp lower-sodium soy sauce
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 cups plain almond milk
1 tsp sriracha sauce
ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium, add the onions and cook for three minutes until they start to soften. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the flour and stir well for two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, whisking well to combine. Let simmer until the gravy reaches your desired consistency.

Note: 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce is spicy so add less if you don’t like heat.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy of the book for potential review.

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