Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Blatherings & Weekend Cooking

With the start of a new term, comes that ever-needed brief reprieve from the grading that haunts me.  Honestly, I have to say thank goodness for that, because I have been so burned out that it has frightened me a little.  I'm talking epic burnout that I usually don't experience until about April.  Thankfully, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so I'm looking forward to those five days off to check out for awhile. 

Nothing new is really going on in my world.  I've just been relaxing this weekend, doing a little cooking and cleaning, and reading more than I have in quite awhile.  Although I'm having a bit of downtime this weekend, I did review a couple of cookbooks that I received from Netgalley, The Sweet Life and I Love Meatballs!  Digital cookbooks are really great once you get used to using a device like the iPad when you're cooking.  In a lot of ways, it has completely changed the way I cook and gather recipes!

The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries is a great cookbook by Top Chef runner up Sam Talbot (although I kind of thought he should have won).  As with many health oriented cookbooks, Sam's cookbook encourages healthy eating that doesn't require you to give up flavor, taste, and enjoyment.  Many of his recipes center on foods that are high on energy and low on refined products, all in an effort to keep blood sugar levels steady and energy high.  Many of his recipes feature low-fat proteins like eggs and fish, but also utilize nuts, legumes, and beans; all of which will keep your body fueled and running properly all day long.  One of the recipes I'm dying to try out is his "Soft-Cooked Eggs with Yellow Squash and Broccoli Rabe Pesto."  Because I'm not very imaginative on how to include more vegetables in my day, and especially not in breakfast, this recipe sounds really interesting and delicious!  Although the recipes are aimed at demonstrating how to eat well with diabetes, he does still have foods that we might consider quick sugar burners, such as fruits and breads.  These foods though are used in small portions and are mixed with other foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index.

Much of the recipes in The Sweet Life draw on flavor profiles from around the globe, which we know add great flavor without the fat and sugar.  He has everything from Asian flavors like Ponzu and lemongrass, to south of the border tacos and grilling.  (The "Lemon Chicken with Lemongrass and Love"--love being this amazing marinade of basil, parsley, garlic, ginger, and rice vinegar--sounds amazing!)  Regardless of whether you have diabetes or not, I found his recipes to be so smart and unlike anything I'd seen before, that I know I'll be trying them out in an ongoing effort to eat healthy, eat fresher, and eat at home.

I Love Meatballs by Rich Rodgers is a nice look at all the ways that meatballs can be incorporated into various meals, and at all their varieties.  Obviously, meatballs can be eaten with pasta, but they can also serve as a nice protein to add to soups, as a nice appetizer, as a base in a sandwich, or as the main protein to a meal with sides.  The thing I most liked about this cookbook, to be honest, were the guidelines and suggestions at the beginning of the book.  I've cooked a lot of different types of meatballs, to freeze for quick meals and such, but have run into issues with meatballs that fell apart, dried out, or didn't cook all the way through.  The introduction really gives some great tips on binders, cooking, and preserving that will help me the next time I cook up a batch of meatballs.

Although I've cooked a lot of different types of  meatballs, I really want to try out some of the Asian meatball recipes in his cookbook, such as the "Braised Vietnamese Meatballs in Caramel Sauce."  The caramel bit freaked me out a bit, but once you read the recipe it all makes sense.  They are these great pork, ginger, garlic, and rice masterpieces, dipped in a sweet and sour type sauce of sugar, broth, shallots, lemongrass, ginger, chilies, and cilantro that sounds really good.  Who knows, I might have to try this one out of my family one night over Thanksgiving break. (Speaking of which, this cookbook even has a recipe for "Turkey Meatball Subs with Cranberry-Chipotle Mayonnaise" that is very Thanksgiving-ish.)

There are lots of different versions to the meatball that I find interesting and really enjoy in this cookbook.  You can eat a nice Greek-style meatball with a yogurt sauce, a Spanish tapas version with sherry sauce, a nice Asian-infused meatball with a sweet & sour sauce, or a simple escarole and meatball soup.  Whether you only like meatballs with your spaghetti or have fully embraced the meatball as a protein that can stand on its own, you really should check out the amazing variety of recipes this cookbook has to offer.  I can't wait to try some of these out!

Well, that's all for my great weekend.  I'm off to read the afternoon away before I have to hop online for my classes I teach there.  Hopefully you're eating well, reading well, and resting well!  Have a great weekend! 

For more weekend cooking, go to Beth Fish Reads.  You'll find all sorts of great food-related posts and recipes!


  1. I need to go get The Sweet Life. That is exactly what my diet is and it can get pretty boring, let me tell you! So any new ideas with unprocessed, low glycemic foods sounds good to me.

  2. I like the sound of The Sweet Life, even though I don't have diabetes. I have a copy of the meatballs book and can't wait to get to it.

  3. I love meatballs! Those caramel ones sound divine--and like a lot of work.

  4. For some reason I never thought of and iRecipe Book. I have an iPad and have often used it when recipes have appeared in digital magazines and newspapers I subscribe to. You’ve just given me an idea, and I like the sound of that first book. I’m off to hunt it down.

  5. Ooh, wow, those Asian meatballs sound very tasty!

  6. Both of those cookbooks look great! I haven't downloaded any cookbooks to my ipad, but I do view a few cooking magazines on there and I have to agree with you--it's great for following a recipe in the kitchen and the photos look so sharp and glossy, too. It's a "feast" for the eyes! ; )