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Review of 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook From a Beginner Cook

40daysreviewAs my first cookbook review I’ve done for FBE, I was nervous on what to expect. I love to cook but I usually limit myself to recipes my mom makes. The subtitle made me a little more confident as it says “your easy-to-use guide to delicious, healthful meals.” Okay, so that doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll give the 40 Days to Better Living Cookbook a whirl!
This cookbook starts out with a welcome page that breaks down the basics to healthy nutrition (i.e. water, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins and minerals), and each section has a short paragraph on what these things do for your body and why they are needed. After that, there are some pretty cool sections starting with a calorie chart that includes men, women and ages (although it would have been more helpful if it had included different weights because I am pretty sure not all women ages 19 to 50 require 1,800- 2,000 calories). Then the book basically goes over what to eat for the different meals of the day, along with more detail on how much you should eat. Afterwards? Let the cooking commence!
The recipe portion of the book starts with breakfast, (confession: I didn’t make any as I have always had oatmeal with blueberries, dried cranberries, walnuts, strawberries and more recently almond milk instead of skim milk) then lunch, then dinner and ends with snack recipes (I’m not a big snacker, so I skimmed this section, too). So I went straight into the big sections to try: lunch and dinner.
Like I mentioned before, I am basically a novice cook so I knew I was stretching my limbs to make the Broccoli Quiche. For two years I have worked at Mimi’s Café, which just recently got taken over by a new company and revamped the menu. In the change, they cut out my favorite — broccoli cheddar quiche (although I have since learned to love the quiche Florentine). So, I decided to challenge myself (and my kitchen) to a little bit of a stretch to fulfill an old craving.
Although this recipe is waaay healthier than Mimi’s quiches, the servings are so much smaller that I am pretty sure they equal out. The actual prep time was listed as 20 minutes in the book but took me 33 minutes to do — and the cook time was not so bad at 45 minutes.
You start off by layering the pre-made dough and warm canola oil in a pan where you add onion, garlic and jalapeños for five minutes or until soft. Afterward, you add corn and peppers, oregano, basil, cumin, black pepper, ground red pepper and broccoli florets. After removing the veggies from the heat, you add milk, egg substitute (I even up adding real egg whites whipped) and salt and you whisk. Then you sprinkle the cheese over the dough and spoon broccoli followed by the veggie mixture on top and bake for 45 minutes.
The hardest part for me was definitely unrolling the strips of dough and layering them perfectly without tearing. My quiche creation definitely had many areas where I simply pinched the dough back together (not really as pretty as the picture). But, nonetheless it was a little piece of scrum-diddly-umptious eating. This was an absolutely delicious recipe that I will definitely be making again.
After my somewhat complicated romp with a difficult lunch recipe, I decided to take it easy for dinner and make Corn Bread Casserole. Easy peasy, right? Or not.
After browning and draining the ground turkey and breaking it up with a spoon until  it crumbles (which grosses me out, but I get grossed out really easily), the rest of the recipe was easy to make and contained no ick factor. You simply combine the ingredients listed and then layer them in a pan and cover with the cornbread batter you mix together. After 35 minutes you have a yummy meal. My one piece of advice? Do not cut and eat right away even though it smells delicious! Although it mentioned to let cool before cutting, I kind of skipped that step and ended up with mush (but yummy mush at that).
Would I recommend this cookbook? For sure! There are still a ton of recipes I can’t wait to try and am looking forward to hearing whether you gals enjoyed any of these healthy eats as well.
What makes or breaks a cookbook for you? Any newbie cookbooks I should check out next? ––Maria

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