Cookbook: 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
Overall Impression: A well-researched book with a lot of information on eating healthy food with a focus on kid-friendly recipes.
All of us always want to eat better food and live healthier lifestyles. However, when life gets maniacally busy — with school, work, and life — it is almost too easy to turn to convenience food, even though we all know that healthy, home-cooked food is best. This book is a comprehensive look into how one family managed to change their lifestyle by making sure to eat only real food and the lessons that they learned about eating well.
Recipes I Tried
- Grilled cheese with bacon (for me) and apples
- Quite a few of the lunch box ideas
- Hummus sandwiches
- Veggie pancakes
- Quinoa veggie burgers
Cooking from 100 Days of Real Food
The book is laid out well with a ton of information and ideas for making healthy changes in your and your family's lifestyle. The first part of the book is all about Leake's conversion from what she called the "Standard American Diet" — her realization that the food she was feeding her family was processed, and her journey to make the change to real food. If you have been following Lisa's blog, you have probably read all about this, but it's a good place to start for people who haven't heard her story before.
The second section covers Leake's take on "real" food and demystifies common labeling on food items. It also includes a handy section on nutritional values. Leake shares good techniques on how to shop for unprocessed food. I found this part interesting, and would recommend it to families looking to make the switch. She also talks about making the actual change, including converting family members, if necessary, and shopping and cooking with kids.
The third section contains the actual recipes — if you start at the beginning, you'll need to wade through a lot of information before getting to the recipes. This is not a bad thing, however, as I found Lisa's voice engaging and her struggles relatable, and I know that a lot of families will find these sections very helpful.
The recipes themselves are very simple, and should feel approachable for even the most beginner cooks. A lot of them are also very easy and quick. I enjoyed the lunch box ideas in particular, as I struggle with making sure my daughter has a balanced lunch. The veggie pancakes were a hit in the house, and the apple grilled cheese (sans bacon for my vegetarian daughter) was excellent.
I tested a variety of recipes across the sections, and they were all well written and easy to understand. I recommend reading through the entire recipe first as the directions can occasionally be confusing, but once you've done that, the recipes are foolproof. The photography is lovely, with a mix of family and food shots, and it gives us a peek into Lisa's life.
What Could Be Better
There is a lot of information to take in this book, and it can make you feel like you don't have enough time to process and read through everything. One way to get over this is probably to break down the reading bit by bit, and focus just on the areas of your lifestyle that you want to change or improve. Most of the recipes were excellent and satisfying to food lovers, but this book is definitely targeted at families who want to make changes in their lifestyles and eating habits, rather than more experienced cooks.
The recipes themselves mostly weigh in on the simpler end of the spectrum, and if you're already comfortable in the kitchen, you may find them too easy for you and without much variety. I also popped by Lisa's blog, and I found that a lot of recipes in the book were from the actual blog, or only had small variations. However, if you are like me and enjoy looking through actual cookbooks, then the book does a good job of collecting all Lisa's recipes in one place.
This is a good book to have if you want to change the way you live and eat. I would recommend this book if you are stuck in a rut and want to make changes to your lifestyle without being too overwhelmed. I see the book almost as a companion to the blog, more than a standalone cookbook on its own (though it certainly does that too). I recommend this book if you are just beginning to try to eat healthier, less processed food. If you are an experienced cook, however, this book might be a little too easy for you, and it also has a strong child-friendly element to it, which might not be part of everyone's life.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love by Lisa Leake
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.