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It’s been several months since I’ve blogged, but what better way to get back to it than with a reveiw of Angela Liddon’s latest cookbook “Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-Based Recipes.”

Because I have long been a fan of Angela’s successful Oh She Glows blog, I took it upon myself to review her first cookbook simply hoping to spread the word about her amazing recipes that prove how eating a vegan diet can be delicious, nutritious, and abundant! I had no idea my review would lead to another review opportunity. Imagine my surprise and delight when Ms. Liddon asked me to review her newest cookbook?! I felt elated and humbled. After all, I’m not a famous blogger; I never have aspired to be. My blog is a passion project that I hope may turn someone’s head towards a vegan diet in order to save animals. I’m not a cook or photographer or writer or any of the others amazing titles Angela can claim. But I feel comfortable saying we do have this in common: we love vegan food and want more people to try vegan food. That having been said, I can’t wait to share my review and delve into this amazing new cookbook!

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This second cookbook from Angela Liddon is truly a triumph. Every recipe has a photograph–love that!! And the photography is stunning (as is always the case with Oh She Glows photography). The ingredients are simple and the recipe instructions are clear and uncomplicated. There are plenty of substitutions for folks with allergies, and every recipe has notations about food allergies or sensitivities such as gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, oil-free, etc. Her approach with the recipes in this cookbook truly emphasizes the “quick and simply” descriptions in the title. These “every day” recipes truly offer plant-based options for people from all (food) walks of life.

One of the best things about this cookbook for me personally, as a longtime fan and devoted reader of the Oh She Glows blog, is that Angela’s maturity as a human being is evident. Not only has she continued to grow as a recipe creator, photography expert, and authentic-voiced food blogger, but since the early days of Oh She Glows and her first cookbook she has become a mother. It is apparent to me that this new chapter in her life has truly made her blossom 🙂 The family photos that sprinkle the pages of this second cookbook display an even “glowier” Angela, and I know becoming a mother (in addition to her roles of wife and professional blogger) have absolutely brought her the inspiration to produce the simple yet satisfying meals throughout the pages of Oh She Glows Every Day. This was one of those cookbooks that I not only enjoyed thumbing through to check out the recipes, but I genuinely enjoyed reading Angela’s various asides throughout the book and reading her own words at the beginning of each chapter.

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Besides the author, the photography, and the amazing recipes, here are a few other tidbits about this book that I think you might like to know:

  • The first chapter is all about smoothies and smoothie bowls–woot woot!
  • I’m not a big “soup & salad” girl, but I gotta say, the soups and salads in this particular cookbook are all amazing. Leave it to Angela to make me a convert 😉
  • If you know anything about me, I have a sweet tooth with a particular focus on chocolate; if it’s not chocolate, I’m not likely to eat it. I perused every.single.recipe for every cookie, bar, and dessert in this cookbook…and I want to make (and eat) them ALL! Yes, even the non-chocolate recipes are appealing to me!!
  • There’s a fantastic section on homemade staples such as vegan mayo, vegan parmesan, dressings, barbecue sauce, caramel sauce, spice mixes, flours and meals, and more–these homemade versions versus the prepared ones at grocery and health foods stores are sure to be more wholesome and more economical in many cases.
  • The “Oh She Glows Pantry” section in this cookbook is a fantastic resource for keeping a plant-based pantry so you can whip up a nutritious meal at any time.

I can’t tell you how many recipes I look forward to making from this cookbook. Please buy it and add it to your vegan cookbook collection. I promise you will get much use out of it and compliments from whomever you cook for. But for purposes of this blog post, I chose to make the Sun-Dried Tomato and Garclic Super-Seed Crackers and the Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup, the latter of which I am delighted Angela has allowed me to share with you! (P.S. One close acquaintance described this soup as the best soup he has ever had!)

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Before you get wrapped up in the recipe below, be sure to check out other bloggers’ reviews of the cookbook–there are even more great recipes that are being shared (although it’s not as if you needed any more enticement to go out and get this cookbook 😉 )

Thank you, again, to Angela and her publishers for allowing me to occupy a small, teeny nook of the Oh She Glows world. I wish OSG much success and I will definitely keep reading 😉

Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup
VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE OPTION, GRAIN-FREE, FREEZER-FRIENDLY

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image: Oh She Glows Every Day/Photographs copyright © 2016 by Ashley McLaughlin

MAKES 8 CUPS (2 L) (4 SERVINGS)
PREP: 25 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 20 TO 26 MINUTES
This is my favorite blended soup, and we’ve been making it once a week during the fall and winter seasons. It’s “in the vault,” as we like to say! The soup shows off the flavor of red curry paste, an authentic Thai ingredient. It’s warm and spicy, but not overpowering, and it’s usually enhanced with notes of lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and chiles. It works wonders in this soup, creating rich and full-blown flavor in an instant! The soup also boasts a rich, thick texture, which makes it very comforting as the weather turns cooler. If you don’t have any almond butter, feel free to use peanut butter instead. It’s also fantastic served with a scoop of cooked rice on the bottom of the bowl to make it heartier.

Ingredients:
FOR THE SOUP
1 tablespoon (15 mL) virgin coconut oil
2 cups (500 mL) diced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste
4 cups (1 L) low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if needed
1/4 cup (60 mL) raw almond butter
3 cups (750 mL) diced peeled carrots (1/2-inch/1 cm dice)
3 cups (750 mL) diced peeled sweet potatoes (1/2-inch/1 cm dice)
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS
Minced fresh cilantro
Roasted Tamari Almonds (page 263)
Fresh lime juice

Directions:
1. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
3. Stir in the curry paste.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together some of the broth with the almond butter until smooth. Add the mixture to the pot, along with the remaining broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, salt, and cayenne (if using). Stir until combined.
5. Bring the soup to a low boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender.
6. Ladle the soup carefully into a blender. You will likely have to do this in a couple of batches, depending on the size of your blender. With the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape, blend on low and slowly increase the speed until the soup is completely smooth. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and blend the soup directly in the pot.)
7. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper. If desired, you can thin the soup out with a bit more broth if it’s too thick for your preference. Reheat if necessary.
8. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with minced cilantro, almonds, and a squeeze of lime juice, if desired. This soup will keep in the fridge for up to a week, and freezes well for 1 to 2 months.

Make it soy-free Prepare the Roasted Tamari Almonds with coconut aminos instead of tamari.

Roasted Tamari Almonds
VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE OPTION, OIL-FREE, GRAIN-FREE

MAKES 1/2 CUP (125 ML)
PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 9 TO 12 MINUTES

This salty, crunchy, nutty topping is downright addictive! Finely chopped almonds are seasoned with low-sodium tamari and then roasted until they’re golden and fragrant. After they cool, the almonds transform any soup, stew, or salad into something extra special. I love them on top of my Creamy Thai Carrot Sweet Potato Soup (page 141), Every Day Glow salad (page 115), or Thai Crunch Salad (page 101)—but I’ve been known to enjoy them by the handful, too! They are also the perfect topping for any vegan bowl or salad recipe. A note for those of you with soy allergies: Low-sodium tamari is the most flavorful seasoning option, but if you’re allergic to soy, you can use coconut aminos instead. Add a pinch of salt if the almonds taste a bit flat.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (125 mL) raw almonds, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 mL) low-sodium tamari or coconut aminos

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the almonds with the tamari until the almond pieces are fully coated. Spread the almonds over the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
3. Roast the almonds for 9 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. The tamari will have dried up.
4. Let cool completely on the pan. The almonds will harden up as they cool. Using a spoon, scrape the almonds off the parchment paper and enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks.

Make it soy-free Use coconut aminos instead of tamari.

Reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Glo Bakery Corporation. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Ashley McLaughlin.

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