This is the year I am really going to work on trying new recipes, while winding my way through all the South African Cook Books that I have on my review pile. This cook book landed in my inbox and went straight to the top of the stack: The Mandala Kitchen, 100 recipes to heal and restore your gut, by Marlien Wright and published by Jacana Media.
A little while back I reviewed her cookbook, The Yoga Kitchen… and that continues to be one of my all time favourite cookbooks… ever. Ever. Not because I can actually yoga, I am the least stretchy, bendy person on earth… but because her recipes are beautiful creations, healthy food, that even the fussiest eaters won’t mind munching on. Healthy food that the entire family can feast on, packed with vegetables… but the recipes are just so pretty that even those anti-vegi eaters will want to try them.
About the Book
Let’s just begin by saying that we could all probably do with eating more healthfully, we love the idea of that… but often just can’t think where to start. There are so many fads and fashions when it comes to healthy eating, and so many things that are “working” for some folk and definitely aren’t for others. Turns out that there is one aspect of our health that we can change, no matter how old we are, no matter how tired we are or no matter how we have taken care of our bodies in the past. If we just consider our gut health and the food that we consume with respect to that, we can make a huge difference to our health going forward, with just a few tweaks and tips. The gut is often referred to as our second brain and this book will certainly help you to understand why.
I love how this book introduces us to things that we can change, without either breaking the bank, or without creating a whole heap of work for the regular mother-in-the-kitchen person, who would rather be anywhere else at the end of the day. Honestly, I don’t want to have to do a science degree to put dinner on the table, all I need is a collection of healthy recipes that I can use again and again… with easily accessible ingredients, it helps if the recipes are easy and fun for my kids to prepare… and food that they really want to eat. This book it turns out is packed with recipes just like that. Recipes that are healthy, and easy enough for kids to prepare, without too much drama.
Just the table of contents will tell you that this is a good book to set you off on a journey to health… after the introduction there is a very practical chapter on Remove, Replace, Restore… followed by a chapter on how to get started in a realistic way.
Ten Recipes That We Tried Together…
- School Lunchbox Ideas & Frittata Recipe:
- Roasted Vegetable Salad:
- Kale and Pumpkin Seed Pesto:
- Winter Retreat Chilli:
- New Age-y Lasagne:
- Sweetcorn Fritters:
- Sweet Potato Fries:
- Sesame Miso Broccoli:
- The Good Gut’s Microbe-Friendly Oatmeal Cookies:
- Nachos Grande
This book is absolutely packed with breakfast recipes, but we hopped straight into the lunchbox ideas, because we are always looking for quick and easy lunches to make. These mini frittatas were a winner. Very easy to make: bacon bits, chopped onions, sharp cheddar cheese and beaten eggs. Easy, peasy and also everybody loves them. The sort of thing that I can make quickly in the morning and toss in a lunch bag and take on a hike. Perfect.
This salad was a fair amount of work, nothing difficult, but quite a few steps… it was totally, totally worth it. This was absolutely delicious and I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. It was in fact, even better the day after… ask me I had it for breakfast. Layers of roasted veg… beginning with aubergine, then peppers and broccoli…
Topped with tons of greens, lemon juice, greek yogurt and Pumpkin Seed and Kale Pesto…
We have a nut allergy in our home, and so we generally avoid pesto, because it is one of those places where nuts can easily be “hidden.” And here in South Africa, where labelling isn’t great, I would never buy pesto… but why on earth haven’t I thought of making our own pesto with greens and sunflower seeds before. Absolutely stunning, and we have been eating it with everything just lately.
My kids will eat anything with corn in it, and if you add beans and chilli, well that means they will wolf it down in seconds… this recipe proved to be exactly one of those… the greek yogurt, spring onions and avocado chunks took it to the next level. Hearty wintry food that my kids could eat for lunch every single day.
Ever since our visit to the Karoo last year, when a friend made us a pan of vegetarian Lasagne, my kids have been begging for more of the same. The gang are already sold on the idea and will quite happily eat this for dinner and not even notice that it is a meatless meal. The layer of roast butternut in this recipe had it redefined as instant comfort food… and I should have taken a photograph of the rainbow layers… but it was literally gone.
So sweetcorn fritters are literally childhood on a plate for me and because of that, for my kids. The point is, I would never have imagined that you wold find sweetcorn fritters in a healthy living cookbook… but there they are…
Our nine year old was thrilled to make these, it is a super easy recipe. Chopped veggie’s hidden in there and loaded with corn… winning all the way.
One of my kids loves, loves, loves sweet potatoes and could make sweet potato fries every single day…
And we could eat this for ever and ever and ever… possibly my favourite vegetable dish!!! I could eat broccoli forever…
And I am always looking for oat based cookies, I have this idea that breakfast in your hand is somewhat of a treat, compared to breakfast in a bowl. And these are obviously a treat… and not breakfast, really… but sometimes we have a late start and tea and cookies with a pile of books is the best way to start the day. These are super easy to bake… and not a million ingredients that often happen when you are trying to make “healthy” cookies. We did replace the macadamia oil with coconut oil and they turned out perfectly. We will definitely be making these again.
And, saving the very best for last, choosing something healthy and delicious from the chapter for “Fussy Offspring” was a lot harder than we expected. We chose Nachos Grande, and we have made this meal again and again and again, and this is our definite take away from this book… So easy, so delicious and an entire meal on a baking tray. Complete and utter winner… heated under the grill, melted mozzarella, minced beef, corn chips… and all sorts of healthy treats hidden in there. My kids and their friends loved this.
You can meet the author, Marlien Wright and discover more of her fabulous recipes at her website, The Yoga Kitchen.
The Mandala Kitchen is available on Amazon, if you click on the image above. This is an affiliate link, which means that we may receive a small commission when you click on an amazon link and make a purchase. However, this does not impact our reviews or your purchasing price.
Thank you so much to Jacana Media who gave us this book for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are as usual, our own.