Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well is Terry Walters’ follow up to her first cookbook, Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You.
Even though I’m not a vegan, having to avoid milk and wheat products has caused me to seek out vegan and gluten free blogs and cookbooks like Terry’s latest. Working around food sensitivities and allergies is all about cooking with clean ingredients and making dishes from scratch. Clean Start fits this need by sticking to straightforward recipes and using local, seasonal ingredients. She does use some exotic ingredients like tahini and tempeh, but those should be familiar to vegans and anyone who shops at a well stocked health food store.
How to Eat Clean
Her cookbook starts with an explanation of eating clean, such as eating the rainbow and skipping packaged foods. She then addresses the benefits of a clean start and how to set up. Then she goes over the basics like her favorite ingredients such as almond meal, arrowroot, rice milk, tofu and vegetable stock. Then there’s a primer on basic grains, legumes and greens. Finally, she gives you tips on making a clean start work for you.
Then she goes into more than 230 recipes, each one fitting on a single page (love that!) The recipes are organized into spring, summer, fall and winter chapters. There’s typical vegan fare like seitan bourguignon, scrambled tofu, and curry and avocado dips. Still, there are many recipes that will appeal to all, vegan or not, like Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Apricot and Sage stuffing or Warm Beet Salad with Red Onion, Mint and Pistachio.
My only complaint with the cookbook is that there weren’t more gorgeous photographs by Andrea Gentl and Marty Hyers!
Terry says the inspiration for this recipe came from her friend, Vicki, “…who is hands-down the best baker I know. Her super-moist apple cake is just the right combination of light and sweet. And, while I’ve still not been able to convince her to share her recipe, this gluten-free pear version satisfied my craving with ease. I would like to think that someday Vicki might actually ask me for this recipe, but I guess that’s unnecessary now!”
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup potato starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup finely grated peeled D’Anjou pear (or pear sauce)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated peeled D’Anjou pears
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 D’Anjou pears
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients until blended.
- In separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients until blended.
- Peel pears for topping and cut into halves. Scoop out cores and slice halves into thin slices and set aside.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix as briefly as possible to combine.
- Pour into prepared pan. Arrange pear slices as desired on top of cake and bake 45 minutes or until cake is lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven
- and cool on rack before removing pan.
- Makes one 9-inch round cake
Tip: This recipe will require 5 or 6 whole pears, depending on the size of your pears – 2 for finely grating, 2 for coarsely grating and 1 to 2 for decorating the top of your cake.
Serving suggestion: For an extra-special presentation, melt dark chocolate with a small amount of virgin coconut oil and drizzle back and forth across each serving.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well.
I’m entering unchartered territory as the girls get older…the obligatory birthday cupcakes. I made a batch of two dozen strawberry cupcakes with vanilla icing last week for Caitlin’s class in honor of her 4th birthday. A mixing bowl was unearthed from its dusty confines. Cupcake bling* in cheery pastel colors was purchased. And although they weren’t from scratch, it did require some egg cracking and actual mixing with my electric mixer, which has been used as about as infrequently as Jessica Simpson’s brain cells. I’ve set the bar low all these years and headed straight to the baked goods aisle at the grocery. I mean why bake when you can buy?
With the beginning of the school year, parents of young school aged children will soon have a need to supply a classroom full of hungry kids with cupcakes. Here are some great websites for the cupcake and cake decorating challenged:
- Wilton – The ultimate website for cake decoraters. Check out their Recipes & Projects section for great holiday ideas including these Greetings Earthlings cupcakes.
- Nick, Jr – Got a Blues Clues or Dora fan? The best place for how-tos on character cakes and cupcakes.
- Family Fun magazine – More birthday cake and cupcake ideas.
- Baking at About.com – cupcake hints and tips, frosting and icing recipes, and cake recipes and tips
- And for some great ideas for *cupcake bling (ha!) go to a Daily Dose of Denise for her ideas on cupcake toppers
And how do I feel about cake mixes and store bought icing? I love them. Baking an high elevation is very challenging for me, and Duncan Hines Deviled Food Mix always turns out well. While I make my own frosting based on Wilton’s buttercream recipe, Duncan Hine’s frosting is terrific, too. After all the bottom line is doing something special for (and hopefully with) your child, without killing yourself.
Not only will I share links to Vashti’s and Martha’s recipes, but give you a few recipes from the 1969 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Ground Meat Cook Book as well.
Dear friend Michelle D. emailed me with a common problem in Colorado. Baking at high altitude is a bitch. I used to bake bread all the time. But once I started living at a mile high plus I gave up on it after too many deflated, rubbery loaves. I also love to decorate cakes but leave the recipe up to Duncan Hines and follow their high altitude tips.
You are a high altitude cake bakin’ mama, so I have a question for you. How do you convert a cake recipe from let’s say a Bon Appetit magazine into a high altitude recipe? Is there a recommended amount of flour or sugar or something?
Thanks for all the advice!
Per High Altitude Baking: 200 Delicious Recipes & Tips for Great Cookies, Cakes, Breads & More : For People Living Between 3,500 & 10,000 Feet do the following for 3,500-6,500 feet:
Baking power – decrease each teaspoon used by 1/8 tsp.
Sugar – decrease each cup used by by 0-1 Tbsp.
Liquid – increase each cup used by 1-2 Tbsp.
If you are making an angel food or sponge cake, do not beat too much air into the eggs used in these cakes. Beat egg whites only until they form peaks that fall over, not until they are stiff and dry. Using less sugar, more flour and a higher baking temperature also helps strengthen the cell structures of these cakes.
Other tips – decrease the amount of leavening or increasing the baking temperature by 15-25 degrees F will help "set" the batter before the cells formed by leaving gasses expand too much.
Rich cakes may need less shortening, oil, butter or margarine (1-2 Tbsp. per cup used). On the other hand, the addition of an egg may help prevent a "too rich" cake from falling.
Hope this helps.