I don't know how many of you are vegetarians out there. I, myself, am not a vegetarian, but I am what you would call a flexitarian, someone who eats a mostly meatless diet. So, I was really interested in reading this cookbook, Homestyle Favorites Made Meatless.
If you are a happy meat eater and have no clue why anyone would want to go meatless or even mostly meatless, let me give you a few reasons why I have.
-Good organic meat can be hard to find, and it can certainly be expensive. Without choosing organic meat, you are getting icky antibiotics, hormones and who knows what else in your tasty hamburger or meat product. That makes it quite a bit less appetizing.
-It is also an environmental thing. It takes way more pollution and carbon dioxide to get a plate of meat to your table than a plate of veggies. It is another way to live a little greener.
-Many studies have shown that increasing your meatless meals can also improve your health. Some of the healthiest diets in the world are meatless or nearly meatless. People who follow these low meat or nonmeat diets have lower rates of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and dementia.
I am not trying to make you feel bad about eating meat, but hopefully I have given you a little to think about. Just to give you an idea of how often my family eats meat, we eat organic grass fed meat about once a week or once every two weeks.
Back to this cookbook. The whole point of the cookbook is how to use the vegetarian meat substitutes out there. You know, nuts, eggs, dairy, grains, and soy products - tofu, tempeh, etc. The author, Renee Pottle, explains in the introduction that you can't just replace meat with vegetarian substitutes without boosting other flavors. That is one of the nicest things about this cookbook - she does it for you!! Yay, less work for us!
I really like how this book is divided into super organized sections - Meatless Beef Favorites, Meatless ChickN Favorites, Meatless Pork Favorites and Meatless Seafood Favorites. The recipes are some of the ones you remember from childhood or your grandma's specialties. Some of the ones I looked forward to the most were: Shepherd's Pie, ChickN Pot Pie, and Lasagna.
I personally have not really used meat substitutes before. I usually just use beans, eggs, and nuts as my alternative protein sources. So, this was a little leap for me too. But, in the back of the book, Renee lists brand-name examples of all the meat substitutes used in the book as suggestions for her readers. It is a great starting point as you are shopping for meat substitutes and feel like a complete fish out of water.
Another thing I loved about this cookbook was that Renee added some really helpful cooking tips and interesting food facts throughout the book. She also gave "serve with" suggestions for a nutritiously complete meal. She knows what she is talking about. After all, she is a home economist, health educator, wellness coach, nutrition consultant and the author of several cookbooks.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you will absolutely love this book! If you are a mostly meatless eater, like myself, you will also love this book and learn a lot from it. If you are happy meat eater, you might be very interested to try out some of these recipes, and be able to trick your family into thinking they are eating their favorite meaty meals, when really they are just eating a healthier version. What a fun experiment that would be!
To get your own copy of Homestyle Favorites Made Meatless, you can buy it on either of these websites:
Craft and Cook
Wine Barrel Gourmet
It will also be available on Amazon soon! A big thank you to Renee Pottle for sending me this cookbook to review with my honest opinions.