Clean Eating for Busy Families, revised and expanded

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

This is a wonderful cookbook full of recipes that are not only delicious but clean and healthy too! I highly recommend this book!
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Some great looking recipes, but some are a bit complex and use ingredients that I wouldn't necessarily have on-hand. Quite a few of the recipes include over a dozen ingredients or are a bit fiddly like lime cumin vinaigrette. Less common ingredients include arugula, agave nectar, Chinese mustard, Israeli couscous etc. I like the idea of clean eating, but this is a little bit further down the spectrum than I would have thought would be achievable for families. The recipes, for the most part, look like they would taste great but, as a lazy chef, I'd hope someone would cook them for me.
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This is an easy-to-understand book, with clear instructions and pretty. Despite that none of the recipes until now call me enough to make me try my hand on one. I do think that part of the problem is that I didn't have the oportunity to send it to my kindle, and I keep forgeting it.
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I received this arc from Netgalley for an honest review. This cookbook is informative an easy to use. Clean eating can sometimes be difficult with recipes and ingredients that are hard to find and follow, but overall this cookbook was easy to use and I plan to purchase for my own kitchen.
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Michelle Dudash makes getting into clean eating easy with this well-put-together cookbook. The first chapter covers how to get started, including suggested shopping lists, cooking tips and tricks, and ideas for getting picky eaters to try new things. From there, the chapters are pretty straightforward cookbook stuff, salads, soups, main dishes (fish, poultry, beef, and meatless), sides, and sweets. The recipes are clear, easy to follow and prepare, and most are quick, about 30 minutes. Each recipe has nutrition information, and is carefully crafted to be as nutritious as possible (the author is a nutritionist, after all). Throughout the recipes are notes with cooking/prep tips, ingredient substitution ideas, and tips for incorporating produce that's in season. For the most part, the ingredients used are easy to find; there's nothing too crazy in here. The recipes all sound delicious, and I would recommend this book to anyone looking to eat healthier, cleaner food.
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This is one of the best and easy to use book for clean eating.

It does not complicate things or use hard to find (or cook with) ingredients. I literally want to cook ALL the recipes - even the treats, and I do not bake or cook sweet things (because I am not good at it). 

Now I have a lot of recipes to try and all of them are really healthy.
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I liked this cookbook and it is helpful. If you are a busy family interested in clean eating this is a good cookbook option. One element, aside from the great recipes, are the tips included -- very nice and helpful. One of the recipes we really liked and we had been looking for a great recipe for was the Green Tea Fruit Punch -- Yum!!
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It was very helpful to have the calorie and fat counts already figured out for me per dish.  I also like the subsitutions that were offered for some of the recipes.  I liked the pictures and wish there were more.  I like when I can see what the finished product should look like.  
I found the recipes pretty easy to follow and most ingrediants are easy to find.  Overall I would buy this cookbook for friends.
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Of the cooking philosophies, clean eating is the one that makes the most sense to me. Mindfulness and reducing your carbon footprint. Local sourcing. I like that this book is open to the use of canned or frozen foods, suggesting that we at least look at where something is processed. Better to use a vegetable frozen a state away than a fresh one shipped from Costa Rica. It's also practical, especially for working folk.
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I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a lot from this cookbook. I've been trying a lot of vegetarian books lately in an effort to add more variety to our dinners. The kids and I aren't big meat eaters, but nobody seems to like brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes as much as I do. I requested this galley in hopes of some good vegetable recipes and with serious doubts about the 30 minute promise. In fact, I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes.

I was so wrong! Within the first two minutes of reading I had already bookmarked 7 recipes. I had no idea what clean eating was, I assumed it was just another complicated diet plan. Turns out clean eating is simply the way I cook, but really sticking to whole and minimally processed foods. My parents cooked most things from scratch. We didn't even have a working microwave. (It took years for me to stop using the microwave as a breadbox. It drove my husband nuts.) I do try to play close attention to ingredients but I'm not perfect. I have an emergency bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer, Kid 1 loves those crappy individually wrapped cheese slices, and I'm pretty sure Kid 2's beloved granola bars are toxic. Clean Eating for Busy Families is a nice stepping stone to accessible healthy meals. That being said, I didn't invest a lot in new ingredients, I used what I had, bought one or two "special items" and substituted where it made sense.

Also, apologies in advance for the boring food photography. I'm literally plonking the plate on the table to photograph as my husband and kids wait for me to finish so they can sit down.

What I liked

Dudash makes Clean Eating friendly and approachable: I expected this to be hard and require expensive ingredients. It was neither of those things. Dudash has such a friendly and supportive tone that you want to give this healthy thing a chance.

Meals really can be cooked within 30-45 minutes: This was very important to me. During the school week the kids aren't allowed any devices until I start cooking dinner (because I really need them out from under foot). This means I put of cooking as long as possible, and even then there's no guarantee that the iPad is going to keep them busy. Occasionally they need help with something, sometimes they declare war, maybe they want to "help" me cook (which I love but is so time consuming), or there is a dance party in the kitchen. (I play music until dinner and I've been told that the kitchen "is best for spinning".) Making a grilled cheese sandwich can take 5 years under these conditions, let alone a proper dinner. These recipes really did cook within their suggested times and it was great. They were fairly easy to put together, didn't require loads of equipment, and dinner was ready generally 45 minutes later. 

Easy recipes: While the recipes didn't always work out for us, they were always easy and efficient. There was nothing complicated, nothing required expensive items, excessive tools, or complicated techniques. Absolutely fantastic, exactly what I look for in weeknight meals. 

Informative: Dudash has added a lot of useful information without turning her cookbook into a textbook. Tips on starting a clean food diet, how to work with picky eaters, shopping suggestions, and cooking tips are all in any easily digestible introduction. There are recommendations for selecting packaged items that fit the clean eating profile and ease your cooking time. Sprinkled throughout the book are ways to turn a recipe into a freer meal, make it vegetarian, make the dish attractive, how to shop for items year round, or useful substitutions. Each recipe comes with nutritional information as well.

It's not just 500 ways to cook a sweet potato: My family's problem with vegetarian cookbooks is that there are lots and lots of sweet potato recipes. I don't see what's wrong with that, but I try to be a benevolent kitchen despot. Clean Eating for Busy Families has a nice variety of ingredients and recipes without feeling like you're reading 100 different ways to trick your family into eating chickpeas or brussels sprouts.
Substitution recommendations: This is just so nice and helpful. Don't have fresh ginger?  This is how much proud ginger to use. Don't have Chinese 5 Spice? Make your own. And if you don't why to buy this ingredient, you can substitute it with another. This really helps when you can't always find what you need at a store (we average 3 grocery stores to find what we need) or don't want to invest in an item you might use for one recipe.

You don't have to buy loads of expensive ingredients: I don't like buying ingredients that will only be used for one recipe, or maybe never again. There are some items you can't get around, like wheat flour or chickpea flour. Dudash's recipes use easy to find ingredients  nothing terribly expensive, and the afore mentioned substitution suggestions are a big help.

Hallelujah! A recipe that calls for the entire can of pumpkins puree, not just 1/4 cup: Totally random, I know, but so nice. Normally when I make a pumpkin baked good or whatever, I only need a little bit of the canned pumpkin. I end up having to make multiple pumpkin items so I don't waste food. (Seriously, I have a "Leftover pumpkin" category on my Paprika app with recipes that will help me finish off a can.)
What I'm on the fence about

I wish there were more pictures: I've been totally spoiled by food blogs, I'm accustomed to seeing step-by-step photos to help me figure out if I'm doing things correctly. That's not very practical for a print book, but I really like it when there's a picture of the finished product to go with the recipe, again, to make sure I'm doing things right. This isn't a bad thing, many of my tried and true cookbooks have no pictures. But they do make me feel safer when I'm trying something new.
What didn't work for me

Most recipes were bland: This was a pretty hit or miss cookbook for us. Some things were good, but many others were meh. One of the notes from my initial read through of Clean Eating for Busy Families was, "I'm suspicious of the lack of seasoning." Most of these recipes would need to be doctored up if I was going to cook them regularly. I had been excited about the Oven Roasted Carrots and Parsnips because it included nutmeg and I wanted to try it out. After eating it I wrote, "Fine, easy, not really sure what the nutmeg does, couldn't taste it." I Made the Black Bean Veggie Burgers and the only spice used was sprinkled on the patties just before cooking. They ended up being vaguely flavorful and mushy. It probably would have been better to have the spice mix throughout the patty. Not sure I could have done any more to limit the mush factor. However, the Rosemary Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Spicy Aioli were freakin' delightful. What a great combination, but I wouldn't call the aioli spicy, I'd say "spiced aioli". Slight change, but more accurate. And I'm gonna put that stuff on everything.

Apparently I really like processed flour and sugar: Eating something baked with whole wheat flour feels like your chewing sand. Not every bite, but enough to be jarring. It was the culinary equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. And I couldn't find whole wheat flour in a package smaller than 5 lbs. What am I going to do with all of this left over flour, because I'm not cooking with it again. The Whole Grain Pumpkin Snack Cake called for a cup of honey! I almost had a heart attack. Honey can get pricey up here and normally a jar lasts us several weeks. I put honey in breakfast smoothies, marinades, yogurt, etc. That cup of honey wiped out a brand new jar. Then the cake wasn't that sweet, very moist, but not quite sweet enough.

Obviously this is personal preference, and I could get accustomed to the less sugary taste and extra textured baked goods. But I don't choose to.

Rating: 3

Y'all, if the results had been more flavorful, I'd give Clean Eating for Busy Families: Revised & Expanded five stars. This was an informative book that had practical recipes that worked on a busy night. I would, however, highly recommend picking this up from the library if you are interested in a cleaner diet. The recipes might not have worked for me, but I learned a lot about clean eating and there were loads of tips and suggestions that I've started to integrate into my cooking and shopping.
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If you follow my reviews, you know that I love to read cookbooks. You also know that I love my recipes simples, and my cookbooks full of pictures. The recipes in this book are simple amd include simple ingredients. You could totally do many of them on weeknights. However, there are not enough pictures! I love to know what my meal is supposed to look like... Even if it doesn't end up looking like the picture most of the time😅

Thanks to Quarto Publishing for my early e-copy of this book through NetGalley.
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As a vegan I always try to minimise my consumption of processed foods - and this book has some good recipe ideas, I did enjoy it simply for that reason.  thanks to the publisher and net galley for the advance review copy.
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Was accepted but it then would not let me download. It just disappeared from the Start Reading tab. Disappointing!
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I'm always looking for quick and healthy recipe ideas, so this book seemed right up my alley! 

The book is broken down into the following chapters for quick reference...

CHAPTER 1 Clean Kitchen Know-How: Getting Started, Shopping Lists & Tips 
CHAPTER 2 - Satisfying Salads, Soups & Appetizers 
CHAPTER 3 - Speedy, Sustainable Seafood 
CHAPTER 4 - Protein-Packed Poultry & Meat Mains 
CHAPTER 5 - Hearty Meatless Meals 
CHAPTER 6 - Quick & Tasty Side Dishes  
CHAPTER 7 - Wholesome Sweet Treats 

It is visually pleasing to the eye with bright colors, interesting fonts, and yummy looking photos ( although it would have been nice to have seen more photos of the finished recipes). All the recipes offer easy to follow instructions. With most having extra "Tips" "Recipe Notes" "Go Green" and "Nutritional Information". 

Here are just a few of the delish recipes you will find within...

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This was a good cookbook focusing on clean eating and whole foods for anyone but particularly focused on families with children. It offered a variety of recipes including main dishes side dishes and even desserts. It includes foods such as chicken, seafood, beef, and vegetarian dishes – – so nothing was off-limits. The recipes looked fairly easy to do and delicious and pretty filling. I would recommend this book to fans of cookbooks, healthy eating, whole foods, and eating healthy with children.

Special thanks to net galley for my complementary copy and return for my honest review.
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Easy to follow recipes that actually turn out as good as they look.  I found myself utilizing this book more than once when planning menus for the week.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! Finally a cookbook focused on whole natural ingredients that has recipes my picky six year old might consider eating. Many of the recipes are super simple, which I appreciate as jumping off points for my own favorite ingredients. I can’t wait to make the cucumber and quinoa with feta salad, the tilapia tacos, and the fish and chicken foil packet recipes.
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I loved the recipes in this book: they were easy to follow and full of details.
As I have to follow a diet due to health issue this book is a great help in finding new dishes.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Quarto Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book, all opinions are mine.
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There were some nice meal ideas in here but I would have liked a lot more meals that can be made under 15 minutes for example as some of these dishes take an hour or so to prep and I don’t have that long to make meals which is often why I will reach for a ready meal even though I know it’s not good for me.
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This cookbook is exactly what it promises to be : a relatively fuss-free, child-friendly cookbook for busy mums.
I have to admit it took me ages to get to this, because I simply couldn’t quite make it work without a kindle! But once u got over the hurdle, I was eager to check out this gem. 
The author is a mother and a registered dietitian and chef, so she knows what she’s talking about. She has some great practical advice about how to get started, what are the basic principles of clean eating and how to best get your family on board with it. 
The layout is easy to follow, although I personally would have preferred more photos, the recipes seem easy to read and follow and some do include photos of the end result. (Which seem to be weirdly coloured, but that could be the fact that it’s not a printed edition?) 

The chapters include :
1. Getting started and shopping lists (this section is extremely helpful if you’re new to this whole concept!)
2. Salads, soups and appetisers 
3. Seafood
4. Poultry/ Meat Mains
5. Meatless dishes 
6. Treats 

While all the dishes seem very well put together nutritionally, I think some of them might seem a little too gourmet for little ones and therefore might not be so well received by little children at first, as some of the ingredients might take some time to get used to. (At least I know that would be the case at our house, and my 7 year old is not a particularly fussy eater!) 
I do like this book though and I’m sure we will try many recipes from it, as my little one seemed very eager to bookmark some dishes! 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for my free advanced reading copy!
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