SparkPeople CookbookTitle: The SparkPeople Cookbook
Author: Meg Galvin
Publisher: Hay House, Inc
Release Date: 10/04/2011

I have a weird fascination with reading and collecting cookbooks. I love to pour through them, make lists of recipes to try, even make shopping lists of ingredients to buy. Why is that weird? Because I can’t actually cook. I’m horrible at it, and honestly, I don’t really enjoy it at all. It’s kind of like my fascination with home decorating magazines and organizing tips. I don’t have the discretionary income to follow through with the decorating tips and while I love the idea of organizing, I never actually get around to it.

But back to cooking, I love collecting cookbooks and reading them, but the chances of me actually using the recipes is slim to none. However, I may make an exception for the SparkPeople Cookbook by Meg Galvin, award-winning chef and SparkPeople food editor.

The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, Meg talks about making healthy changes that don’t equal icky food, how to stock your kitchen with all the essentials you’ll need for more healthy meals, and how to create a more satisfying and less stressful eating experience. The essentials that she lists are logical things that you can find in any store, like a good knife, a cutting board, a blender, and so on. Nothing too crazy, like the things you can only find in gourmet kitchen stores (I’m so NOT a cook, I can’t even think of a fancy apparatus. To me, the food processor is fancy!).  While I found the first part useful, I skimmed a lot. Too many personal stories about how this person didn’t like vegetables, tried a few tips, and found that she liked them, or that person didn’t have time to cook every night, followed the advice on big-batch cooking, and voila, had great meals every night. I’m not criticizing, I know a lot of people like that sort of thing because it helps them feel like this is real-world advice, but I’ve never really cared to read long personal stories when I’m just looking for straightforward tips.

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The second part of the book, the recipes, is the part I enjoyed the most, and not just because I like to read recipes, but because they were actually very accessible for someone like me. The breakfast section has some recipes that take less than ten minutes to make, including a large section on smoothies. I do love smoothies, as even I can’t goof them up too bad! Recipes are broken up into sections like Breakfast, Sandwiches and Salads, Soups and Stews, and so on. Each section contains plenty of recipes as well as tips on making them healthier.The best part is, they’re not super fancy. Sure, there are a few elegant dishes in there, but there is also a recipe for healthier chicken tenders. My personal favorite section is the Snacks and Desserts, because that is always my downfall. I personally love the Sweet and Spicy Pecans recipe because it’s super easy and the pecans taste just like those expensive ones you get at carnivals. Galvin even found a way to help me get my chocolate fix without packing on the calories. Anyone who can make chocolate healthier is pretty okay in my book.

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Note- I received a free copy of the SparkPeople Cookbook through NetGalley. However, my opinions are my own.