My go-to Cookbooks

I say you can never have too many cookbooks. My fascination with cookbooks began many years ago when I discovered Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I have to credit Ina  for helping me pretty much learn how to cook. It all started with her very first cookbook,   The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. From that point on, I was hooked. I continued to collect her cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa at home, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot Contessa Parties. She has many more books, but these are my favorites. Even as a whole food, plant based cook, I am still able to reference many of her recipes and “veganize” them with my own modifications. And Ina, if you’re reading this, I’d love to collaborate so we can say “The Barefoot Contessa goes Plant Based.”  How easy is that?


As my plant based journey evolved, I knew that I had to expand my cookbook collection to include books that reflected what I eat on a daily basis. There are hundreds of cookbooks that I could fill my shelves with, but I have narrowed down my all time faves to just 5 books. I think that’s a pretty fair number. I’m listing these in order of acqusition.


  1. The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. This was my very first book years before I ever went plant based. Silverstone is a strong advocate for a vegan lifestyle and this book has lovely photos and recipes for all levels of cooks.
  2. Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon. A fantastic started vegan cookbook. Liddon began as a food blogger and I have used this book again and again. You will not be disappointed with her recipes!
  3. The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook, by Rip Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn. Rip is the founder of the Engine 2 Diet. He’s a former firefighter and endurance athlete who has made Plant Based his mission. This book is essential for anyone who is embarking on a whole foods, plants based lifestyle.
  4. How Not To Die Cookbook, by Dr. Michael Greger. Dr. Greger maintains the popular website, He is the energizer bunny of plant based living. This cookbook is a companion to his popular book, How Not To Die. He is the real deal, with profits from his books supporting his website which receives no funding from any advertising. He runs everything on donations and profit from book sales.
  5. The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, by Jane and Ann Esselstyn. Fantastic resource with easy to follow recipes from this amazing mother-daughter duo. You’ll love their easy to follow recipes that are low fat, oil free and completely plant based.

Of course, there are so many more great books out there, but if you’re just starting out, these are the ones I would choose.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll clue you in on how I get my kitchen set up with my favorite gadgets. Having the right equipment sets you up for success and can make all the difference when you are changing the way you eat.

Let me know what your favorite cookbooks are. I’ve always got space on my shelf foor one more!

See you in the kitchen soon,



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Today the kitchen was my happy place

I always thought #myhappyplace sounded like such a trite phrase, but today it seems appropriate as I spent most of my day there. Tonight is Kol Nidre, or the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday. This year, we are spending the High Holiday season in our new home and celebrating with both old and new friends alike.

Circa 1960s–my parents, grandparents and uncle

To me, pretty much every Jewish holiday is all about the food. My mom’s chicken soup and matzoh balls are legendary. And it was really hard this year to be so far away and not have them. She also passed down an amazing Apple Cookie Cake recipe that is spectacular.  (Neither of which are anywhere near vegan!). But…I probably would’ve caved… instead of apple cookie cake this year, we will have Detoxinista Macaroons. Find that fabulous recipe here.Blonde Macaroons

Here’s the fresh from the oven Challah!

And here’s the mess….

I’ve been researching all the vegan recipe websites and Pinterest in search of traditional Jewish holiday foods transformed into vegan versions.  Last week, I spent hours comparing challah recipes and sweet noodle kugel preparations. I narrowed it down to one of each that seemed doable for me.

I found a really great website  for the kugel. Vegan Noodle Kugel

And for the Vegan Challah,  you’ll never guess the “secret” ingredient…. this recipe uses Aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) to replace the egg! Who knew??

So…after about 4 1/2 hours in the kitchen today…we will have delicious vegan challah! And tomorrow we will be enjoying a sweet and vegan noodle kugel!

Wishing everyone an easy fast and a Healthy Happy New Year!