Friends! I cannot wait to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, Debbie Adler! She is a wonderful advocate for those seeking to live a healthy and allergy-friendly lifestyle and a chef extraordinaire to boot.
One of the things that makes Debbie so charming is that she is simply a down-to-earth mom of a child with food allergies. She saw a need and she decided to meet it head on. I think so many parents of children with food allergies can relate to that statement, but Debbie took it to a whole new level. The difference for me is that I don’t have Debbie’s mad cooking and baking skills, so I am doubly thankful she authored Sweet, Savory & Free and Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes.
If you are new to my blog, be sure to check out my previous review of Debbie’s cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes. This cookbook is a treasure for those with a sweet tooth that still want to keep things healthy and allergy-friendly. And if you are close to the Los Angeles area, you can visit Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in person.
But for today, I am reviewing Debbie’s latest cookbook, Sweet, Savory & Free. The book includes dozens of delicious plant-based recipes that are free of wheat/gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, added sugars, and oil. Her recipes include breakfast dishes, soups, muffin tin meals, main dishes, breads, and even a few sweets.
Her new cookbook was born of a desire to share healthy, plant-based recipes after doing some in-depth research about what goes into the food we eat and the effect it has on our quality of life. By simply reading the introduction to the book, the reader can feel her passion for this healthy lifestyle bleed through every word on the page.
For me, the most intimidating part of using a new cookbook is knowing where to start. Luckily, Debbie lays out the basics including some staple items to have on hand the basic equipment the reader will need to get started before she begins sharing her tried and true recipes.
And for any of you who might be skeptical of these recipes being too healthy to possibly be delicious, it is worth noting that she tried out these dishes on unsuspecting dinner guests who happily dug in and green lighted them before they knew what was in them…or rather what food wasn’t in them. Even actor Ray Romano is a devoted fan of Debbie’s healthy recipes and their appeal to the whole family.
In full disclosure, Debbie was kind enough to send me a copy of her book to review so I could share my thoughts with you. That said, I wanted to follow up with a short behind the scenes interview that might give you some extra insight into Debbie and her book.
The Food Allergy Mom (TFAM): “How did you choose the recipes for this book?”
Debbie Adler (DA): “I chose the recipes for my book based on what foods I have always loved. Before going vegan/allergy-free/plant based I loved things like crab, eggplant parmesan and Chinese food. So I thought of ways to make all these dishes adhere to my restrictions without sacrificing any taste whatsoever.”
TFAM: “What is your favorite recipe?”
DA: “Spanikopita Enchiladas. I tend to like fusion.”
TFAM: “What is your son’s favorite dish?”
DA: “The Green Mac & Cheeze!”
TFAM: “What is your thought process for creating a new recipe from start to finish?”
DA: “My thought process for creating a recipe from start to finish is how do I make the substitution of whatever food it is I’m trying to imitate. So, for instance, if I want to recreate crab, I think ‘What is plant based/allergy-free that tastes like seafood? Hearts of palm!'”
TFAM: “For those that are starting on a small budget and have financial constraints, what are some ways they can start small and still have an impact on the meals they are making?”
DA: “Start small by shopping at your local farmer’s market and buying all the vegetables and fruits you can hold. This is the best and most economical way to eat healthfully and still keep within your budget. I don’t suggest buying in bulk at grocery stores since cross-contamination issues will make it not safe.”
TFAM: “What is the number one benefit you see in your own personal life from eating a plant-based diet that is sugar and allergen free?”
DA: “There are so many benefits to eating this way! I feel more energetic. I look younger. I’ve maintained my weight without even trying. I feel healthy every day. I feel better than I did in my 20’s. I highly recommend this lifestyle for EVERYONE!!!”
I really love Debbie’s advice to start small. Sometimes I can be an all or nothing kind of gal and can tend to forget there’s no shame in starting small and working my way through something. So I think the first recipe on my list to try is the Paella. Yum!
A special thanks to Debbie for sharing her brilliance in the kitchen so that it is accessible to all of us!