One thing I can say about lockdown life for my gang, is that to keep them enthused and positive, they really need to know what the next meal is. The first question at every breakfast has been, “What’s for lunch?” and similarly at lunchtime, “What’s for supper?” I have really had to up my game and after the first week or two I realised that my kids had to up their game as well… same old, same old… was never going to fly. We needed to try new things and often. I have a pile of wonderful cookbooks to review on my desk and we have tried loads of new recipes. I thought for the next couple of days I would bring you a cookbook review or two a day.

Veggie Lean in 15 by The Body Coach, Joe Wicks

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In the season of lockdown with everyone flying around trying to stay active without leaving their homes Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, has become somewhat of a phenomenon with his morning workouts, P.E. with Joe on Youtube and Instagram. If you are looking for some fun with your kids, any time of the day… especially if things are going a little cra-a-azy… dash over to his YouTube, find a workout and get started… your kids will quickly join you or run away and hide… either way you get a workout and will feel better equipped to deal with your day further!!!

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Joe Wicks has brought out several books, and he came to our attention a few years ago with his “Lean in 15” meals on instagram… honestly fabulous feasts brought together lickity split, what’s not to love… my kids adore him. In the spirit of eating the rainbow, we were very keen to take a look at his Veggie book. The chapters are all about fast and fabulous food, and you can safely toss the idea that pure veg meals are boring and not at all fun for the family.
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This book is a great book to gift to a teen/tween (or the family chef of one) who wants to be eating vegetarian food, in a not so vegetarian family (don’t ask me how I know this!!!). His recipes, like his workouts, are short and uncomplicated… if you put your heart into it, you can easily produce beautiful and extremely nutritious and lovely meals night after night AND quickly. Just the names of his recipes sound like fun, who wouldn’t want try out carrot cake overnight oats, for breakfast or a Bombay Omelette. You can take a look at his website for many more of his fabulous, vegi-packed recipes.
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The first chapter is an introductory chapter full of solid advice: Eat well, stay hydrated and find the balance of exercise and diet that works for you. Followed by several chapters packed with recipes: Breakfasts, Fast Food, Hot and Cold Salads, Soups and Stews, Pasta, Rice and Grains, and Bakes and Roasts, not to mention a whole chapter on Sweets and Treats.
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And the final chapter includes a chapter of four workouts that you can easily do at home: a body weight HIIT workout, a kettle ball HIIT workout, a dumbbell workout and an abs circuit. Each workout takes 24 minutes, short and sweet and honestly, during lockdown we have discovered that cans of tomatoes are perfect for dumbbells… so minimal equipment and minimal time, sounds like plan.

Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

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I love and adore this book… I love and adore Sarah Wilson’s writing full stop. So, Simplicious Flow, while it is not technically a cookbook, it is absolutely packed with recipes, loads and loads of recipes. And if you are thinking that her name is familiar, Sarah Wilson is the gal that wrote I Quit Sugar a couple of years back. Her blog is the bomb, packed with information and loads of posts that will give you pause for thought. This book, Simplicious Flow, came into being in a “bid to get rid of all the WASTE in our kitchens” (see what I did there). This is not just about the food we waste, but about the waste that we waste. Excellent, excellent reading and dozens of AHA moments.

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As a family with hoards of hungry teenagers, we do not waste any food… nothing at all in fact. Leftovers are unheard of, there are never recalcitrant bits and pieces hiding in the back of the fridge… we are on the special “we bought, you eat it” kind of a diet. Buying in bulk is a way of life and I have never had the curious problem of what to do with an entire tray of peaches. That being said… we do create waste, obviously we shop as waste free as we can and got rid of as much plastic in our home as we could. But we still compost a lot, and this book inspired me to think about how we could push our produce even further, before we compost it. What to do with your apple cores, what can you do with your banana peels, and more…

Se7en Things I Adore About Simplicious Flow


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  1. The book begins with a year of completely doable Waste Challenges, hidden within the covers…
  2. The book reads like a magazine, Sarah Wilson did work for a magazine company for years… and so think: short sassy, eye catching snippets. Pages packed with vivid how to’s and loads of just why didn’t I think of that already.
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  4. I love that she doesn’t suggest you toss out everything you own and start new… start where you are and just keep going. Add new little tweaks, but don’t bother to reinvent the whole system, and really don’t bother to buy any special gear.
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  6. The first section is on how to shop… I know you already know, but if your system was working then you wouldn’t want to read this book, so read on with an open mind. Not just how to shop, but what to shop for, how to take advantage of seasonal specials and what to do when you get home with your shopping… how to store things, in the fridge or out; how to get your produce ready for quick dinners in the week; how to prepare your veg and supplies so that they will last for longer.
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  8. Once you have covered the basics, the book splits into seasons, so whatever season you are in right now there is loads of information available for you. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall… she has tips for what to buy in which season, how to prepare them and store them so that they will be ready to use in other seasons. For example… did you know that there is a good season to buy garlic… so buy loads of it, and make garlic paste and you have a supply of garlic paste the rest of the year round. I love how she makes perpetual vanilla extract, and other perpetual goodies… grab a jar and just go. Right now I have a back of beetroots on my kitchen counter… cider glazed beets, here we come. Not to mention things I have never thought of making… Apple scraps vinegar, hello banana peel cake.
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  10. In every single season she has several easy versions of dishes I have always wanted to know how to make… mango lassi popsicles, wanna cotta for miles, how to max out a bag of lemons, how to use up a stash of asparagus…
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  12. I adore her fancy dinner parties… pages of recipes, all put together to create a whole series of the most wonderful meals: Fancy-Sounding Dinner Party for Six; Ham and Pea Roast; Winter Salad bowls…

Basically I adore this book and I have spent days and weeks and months pouring over its pages again and again… at first I thought it was a great book to dip into, then I read it from cover to cover, I never pick it up without thinking…”Oooh, I should try that.” If I had to reduce my cookbook shelf down to the barest minimum… this is one book that would stay… it is a font of information presented in a very practical and useful way.

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Other Books We Have Reviewed for PanMacmillan South Africa Lately.

We would really like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for the copies of these books that we received for review purposes. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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