80 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
I was a tester for this cookbook and have made about 40 recipes from it already. This cookbook is amazing for working people who live alone or in families of 2-3...never before have I seen a cookbook focused solely on a small slow cooker! This is my favorite of Kathy Hester's cookbooks, and that's saying a lot because I LOVE her recipes!
Most of these recipes come together in 7-9 hours, with options for leaving the food in for 10+ hours for those who have a longer work commute. It's dreamy to come home to a ready-made dinner, and have just 1-2 more servings of leftovers. With larger slow cookers, I better enjoy the recipe because it will be my lunch ALL WEEK...this is so much better. There are other recipes that take just 1.5 hours or so, including delicious desserts, hot chocolates, and a wonderful recipe of tofu and green beans in a black bean sauce. How lovely to start dessert in your slow cooker, and have it ready by the time dinner is complete!
As usual, Kathy Hester makes sure the majority of her recipes are gluten-free, oil-free, and soy-free for those with special diets or sensitivities. Many other recipes can be made this way, as well. She regularly uses testers who try her recipes without the above ingredients, so that they are truly allergy-friendly! The cookbook serves to familiarize one with the small slow cooker, and since I test a number of recipes I feel like I've taken a cooking class each time I work through her cookbooks. I feel like an expert at the little slow cooker, and absolutely love it!
Hester includes a chapter on layered meals, full balanced one-dish meals like "Thanksgiving Dinner", a portobello and baked potato dinner, and one of my favorite recipes: tempeh layered with apples, cabbage, onions, and caraway seeds. Yum! Hardly any clean-up, and perfect size for a couple.
Are you a vegan sick of commercially prepared creamers, many of which have oil? Hester includes two delicious coffee creamer recipes, both of which are wonderful. One is Blueberry Coconut, the other Vanilla Hazelnut, and both offer a template from which to branch out and invent your own favorite flavors. Much better than the stuff you get at the store, in my opinion!
Her "basics" chapter includes instructions on cooking beans (cheaper, chemical-free, and tastier,) a delicious "seitan coin" recipe, and some other sausage and crumble substitutes. Her breakfast chapter includes the following recipes I've tried and enjoy: Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa, barley with Pumpkin Caramel sauce, Pumpkin Polenta (a savory breakfast that also makes a great dinner,) Tofu Root Veggie Hash, and an Indian spiced Carrot Oatmeal. Creative, easy, and delish! She also has crockpot french toast and bananas foster options...deluxe brunch! In the appetizer section, I particularly enjoyed the Eggplant Tapenade and Curried Bean Dip. Soups include two yummy options for tomato soup (one creamy, one veggie), an incredible easy Creamy Celery Root Soup for those who wish to try or already enjoy celeriac, Moroccan Lentil veggie soup, White Bean Barley soup, Autumn Harvest veggie soup, and others. The stews chapter was my absolute favorite. I enjoyed the Pear Chickpea Fall Stew, New Orleans Red Beans and Rice, Wacky Cincinnati Chili, Dal, Three Sisters Stew, etc. The Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling, in the sandwich filling section, is perfect for those with soy allergies, as the texture mimics crumbles while being 100% natural whole food. The Caulifredo sauce is oil-free, rich, and delicious. Barley Risotto is unique and tasty. She includes 2 recipes for 45-60 min. cookies, a delicious apple crumble with chai spices, an amazing Apple Chocolate Chip Nut Bread Pudding, a healthy Carrot Cake Rice Pudding, and a super-rich decadent lovely Coconut Hot Chocolate. These are the recipes I've tried, with many more I plan to try in the future. This will be my favorite go-to cookbook, as it makes the perfect amount of food for 1-2 people with enough for a bit of leftovers.
Kathy Hester is an expert at making healthy food delicious, easy, and creative. Healthy vegan made easy and gourmet! I highly, highly recommend this cookbook and would give it 10 stars if I could!!!
67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
First off, there isn't many slow-cooker books that focus on the 1.5 quart slow cooker. So I am usually stuck trying to do the math from a regular slow cooker recipe. These small cookers also cook different, so doing the math and cutting a recipe in half does not always work.
I cook weekly in my slow cooker, sometimes twice a week. I love not having so many leftovers. I eat generous portions and did not run short on any of the recipes I tried from the book.
This cookbook does not have the same old boring type recipes. Some of my favorites - Ethiopian Tempah Veggie Meal (a layered complete meal in the pot), All in one Thanksgiving (again why dirty another pot?), Indian mashed veggies sandwich or Pav Bhaji, and the Potato, Greens and soy curls (or chickpea) curry. I am looking forward to trying more!
A bonus for those watching their weight - Portion, calories, fat, fiber and protein are listed for each recipe. Thank you for that Kathy.
I have a feeling this book will be used a lot as is Kathy's other Vegan crock pot book. So nice to have some comfort food ready when I get home from work, especially in winter.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2014
I really wanted to like this bright, colorful cookbook which is full of healthy-looking recipes and wonderful photographs. After getting fed up with adjusting the proportions one too many times, however, I decided to write this less than favorable review.
I wanted to try some new things and swap out some of my meat-full dinners for meatless ones, but almost all the recipes call for a lot more labor than the "set it and forget it" type of slow cooking I would have wanted to see in this book. Many of the recipes call for pre-cooking ingredients or adding more ingredients to the slow cooker to cook for 30 minutes to an hour AFTER the standard 7-9 hour cooking time. I don't know about you, but I'm a grad student and am unlikely to have that kind of time. What is worse, some recipes only call for using the slow cooker for an hour or less -- with the desserts, that's feasible, but with other dishes, I might as well just cook the thing on the stove for 10 minutes instead.
I've also found that many of the recipes incorporate pricey (read: astronomically expensive on my budget) ingredients like unusual spices that I know I won't use very frequently. And I don't know if it's something to do with my beloved little slow cooker or what, but the proportion of liquid ingredients in the recipes is frequently much less than you'd need to properly cook a dish. In the beginning, I followed all the recipes to the letter and they came out scorched on the bottom and uncooked on the top. I think the book was probably tested using an oval slow cooker, which I don't have -- I have the tall, round kind. I also don't own a food processor, so you should also be aware that many of the recipes require that piece of equipment as well. For the life of me, I have no idea how this cookbook got so many positive reviews. Save your money and just use the interwebs.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
The shipping was so FAST on this, and my dh brought the mail in, opened, and I caught him 5 different times thumbing thru the book on the first evening. The Cincinnati Chili is what grabbed him the hardest- because we loved it before we became vegan. I have a small crock pot but have used it seldom.. but could not delete it from the kitchen.
Myself- today I sat down and went thru the book. And I am delighted! The Easy DIY Staples- is a true gift. I can make my own bouillon powder and stock with awesome ideas on how to freeze the stock to use- ditto for sautéed onions!! So many recipes have substitutions and just about every recipe has a Variations section- and the hints are great too. Did I mention the photos?? Beautifully illustrated. I have the feeling this book will become well used and much loved.
For me- yes it makes sense to make big batches of some things but this book will give me the flexibility of trying a recipe for the two of us and if we love it then make it bigger- I can now play with "us" size portions to start. Very smart for someone just starting on the no oil no dairy path.
And most important!!! Deserts!!! which my dh has been missing- Oh my little pony- I can make these "just us size"- quickly in about an hour... guaranteed to have him in the "sit up and beg" position after dinner from the joy of just smelling the soon to be desert- but just enough for us to enjoy and NOT have leftovers... again with many variations to try... and tonight it will be Blueberry Lemon Cake!!
Thank you Kathy Hester- I know we are going to love your book!! I am glad I ordered it and didn't just think about it!!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
This cookbook is great in theory but so far the recipes have been a fail for me. I tried the Vanilla Hazelnut creamer and the Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Quinoa. I used a 2qt Crock Pot brand slow cooker, which is one of the more popular brands on the market. The creamer was almost burned in 5 hours on low (following the recipe to a T) instead of cooking it for the recommended hours. After blending it, it was tan in color instead of the white color pictured in the book, and so thick it was unpourable - needed to add lots of extra water. The quinoa also cooked much quicker than the stated time, and I didn't care for the texture at all. Plus half of the quinoa stuck to the side of the crock - I thought the point of a slow cooker was to stir it at the beginning and then leave it alone. This is disappointing so far - I really wanted to like this cookbook. I'm not a novice cook and am really puzzled as to how these could have turned out so poorly.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2013
This is a fantastic cookbook. I have a 2-quart crockpot, and these recipes are perfect for that. So far, I have tried: Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling, Overnight Tofu Root Vegetable Hash, Old-Fashioned Tomato-Vegetable Soup, and Hearty Lasagna Layered with Nut Ricotta. All of these recipes were wonderful. This is my new go-to cookbook while I'm at the grocery store and trying to decide on a couple of meals for the next week. The vegetable soup was amazing, the lasagna was amazingly delicious. I loved it. My non-vegan sister had some also, and she said she couldn't tell it wasn't vegan, not that that is important to me.
I give this book only four stars, because I didn't like the formatting of the Kindle version. One recipe per page or one recipe on a two-page spread works well. These recipes are all over the place, and it just makes them hard to follow on the Kindle ap on my iPad. I also dislike the font and the overall look of it. A cookbook should be especially appearling visually, and I thought this book wasn't. I end up typing out the recipes I want to use into the MealBoard ap or into Evernote to make them easier to follow. I wish I could just use them from the book more easily.
Overall, this is a great cookbook. I can't wait to try more of the recipes, especially: Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito, White Bean Barley Soup, Italian Seitan and Pepper Soup, & Italian Seitan Coins with Mashed Cauliflower and Gravy.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2013
This cookbook is amazing! So far I have made: Potato, Greens, and Soy Curl (or chickpea) Curry, Pear Chickpea Fall Stew, Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling, and Sloppy Black-Eyed Peas. All of them are pretty amazing and use ingredients that I either have on hand or are easy to find. I have a list of things to make, next is the White Bean Quinoa Gumbo! Also, I make sure to adjust recipes according to my tastes, for example, I'm not a huge fan of chili powder in taco filling so instead of using the suggested amount of chili powder I used taco seasoning, which has a small amount of chili powder but isn't overpowering. Happy Cooking!