Who knew that whole foods could be so delicious, and more importantly, so much fun? I have been looking forward to Meghan Telpner’s The UnDiet Cookbook for a long time; having experienced her recipes and teaching first hand, I knew I was in for a treat. After spending the past couple of weeks trying out the recipes, I can attest to the fact that this book is a gem!
I had the privilege to recipe test the TLT Deluxe Sandwich, back when the cookbook was in its initial stages, and it was a huge hit with everyone in my family. What I love most about Meghan’s approach (in addition to the sheer deliciousness of her recipes) is that there is no bottled sauce this and prepackaged that nonsense. Meghan includes lots of mouth watering sauces and condiments with her recipes, and each and every one in turn has it’s own recipe for DIY goodness. I love that this ensures that I know exactly what is going into everything I make, and engaging my kids in the recipe (and condiment) making process makes them that much more inclined to engage with and try the meals we prepare. I also love that Meghan provides multiple suggested uses for each of the sauce recipes; I have spent far too much time crafting sauces specific to one recipe, only to have them slowly shuffle to the back of the fridge due to lack of use.
I love how family friendly this book is. The recipes are simple and straightforward enough to enlist the help of younger family members, and yet they are chock full of flavours that would please the most discerning chef. The photography is stunning, I had so much fun leafing through the book, watching my kids get excited about kale salad and a variety of breakfast delights.
I have to say, breakfast is one of my biggest challenges as a parent, as I am not one for a lot of sweetness first thing in the morning. I love that Meghan has provided so many delicious, savoury options for starting the day off right. Even the Chocolate Chocolate, Say It Twice pancakes, which definitely classify as sweet, contain hearty ingredients like tahini, coconut oil, and buckwheat and chickpea flour, which help to round out the overall glycemic load. I have tried quite a few parfait recipes, but Meghan’s nutrient dense, uber healthy and yet uber tasty Breakfast Parfection takes the cake. It is easy to see that a lot of careful consideration and an informed nutritional perspective went into the creation of these recipes.
I love the breakdown of the book. It starts with an informative and highly entertaining overview of Meghan’s food philosophy, followed by a helpful summary of foods to include and foods to avoid. Next up is a delicious selection of Decadent Drinks, including a few of my favourites: the Iced Mocha Maca Magic and the Stress Away Tea, perfect for a mid afternoon pick me up, or wind down as the case may be. I dug into the breakfast section next, closely followed by Dips, Crackers and Snacks. I know I am not alone in saying that healthy snack options are a huge challenge as a parent! I love that there are so many quick and easy options here – my kids loved the Roasted Reds Dip and my husband (and now everyone he works with) can’t get enough of the Sunflower Power Spread.
I dove right into the soup section; the squash soups were a real highlight (might have something to do with the current season!) as well as the Immune Power Broth. I suspect it will be very helpful in navigating the often nasty cold and flu season we are embarking on. Salads and Main events hosted a gorgeous array of recipes, some of our family favourites were the I ❤ My Kale Salad, Golden Girl Citrus-Spiced Tempeh, Dressed to the Nines Sweet Potato and the Feet on the Earth Indian Stew. Delicious! Several of the stellar desert recipes figured prominently in various candy free Halloween festivities, and I can honestly say none of the kids in attendance missed out as the selection of treats we provided was so thoroughly enjoyable.
I found myself reading The Undiet Cookbook from cover to cover, as it doubles as a reference resource on health and nutrition. Meghan provides valuable health promoting tips in addition to the anecdotes that personalize each recipe. I enjoyed reading these aloud to my husband and kids. It helped them get even more excited about the food we were preparing, as they could understand the reasons and benefits behind our ingredient choices. One of the questions I get most as a parent is “why.” I love being able to provide answers, with Meghan’s well researched tips and tricks to back me up.
I learned to fully appreciate Meghan’s practice of promising a lot and delivering even more when I completed her Culinary Nutrition Expert Program two years ago. This book is no exception; in addition to the beautiful photography and mouth watering recipes, Meghan also provides wonderful lifestyle tips and personal care recipes that help integrate healthy practices into all aspects of your life. From toothpaste and tooth whitener, to body scrubs and deodorant, pretty much everything you might need for a healthy lifestyle is at your fingertips. The final section of the book includes helpful meal planning ideas for a variety of different occasions, including tips for navigating situations with friends and family where everyone may not be on the same page with diet and lifestyle practices.
I love that Meghan presents all of this information with her signature joy and enthusiasm. What you see is what you get, her exuberance and dedication bounces off the page as you soak up all of her knowledge and wisdom. I appreciate that she shares this information from a place of confidence and ownership, rounded out with a good dose of humour. In a culture where we can often try to justify or apologize ourselves out of existence, it is refreshing to see someone who knows who she is, what she is about and has no hesitation in expressing it. We need more health crusaders like Meghan, who make following a healthy lifestyle both highly accessible and thoroughly enjoyable.
Meghan’s Chocolate, Chocolate Say It Twice pancakes are a decadent and delicious way to start the morning. They inspired my husband to do a happy dance, because in addition to being mighty tasty they are also the first pancakes he has made that have not stuck mercilessly to the pan. Well done, on both counts! Without further ado, here is the Chocolate, Chocolate Say It Twice Recipe. I almost typed “Make It Twice” as there is no way you’ll be able to resist returning to this deliciousness.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Say It Twice Pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes (or 5–8 minutes per set of pancakes)
Makes 8–10 pancakes
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup arrowroot starch
½ cup buckwheat flour
¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg or 1 serving Chia Paste (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook)
1½ cups water
⅓ cup organic unsweetened organic applesauce or Simple Applesauce (page 204 in The UnDiet Cookbook)
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil or organic ghee, softened
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
Make It Like So
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. The sifting is a bit tedious, but it does help with the pancake fluff factor. (You can skip it if you want, though.)
- In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. If your coconut oil is solid, you may wish to warm it over the stove to liquefy it. (Sometimes I’ll totally cheat and throw all the wet ingredients into the blender.)
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix, and then stir in the chocolate chips. If you like your pancakes on the thinner side, add a little more water to the batter. It doesn’t take much to thin the mix, so be careful. You don’t want your pancakes to become a runny mess.
- Heat your skillet to medium heat and dollop on some coconut oil or ghee. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the hot skillet. Once you see bubbles start to form, it’s time to flip these babies over. The trick with pancakes is to keep the heat high enough to cook them through, but not so high that it burns the outside while the inside is left raw. Once you find the right spot on your stove, take note! Let the pancakes sit for 5 minutes before serving. This helps them firm up in the middle.
- Serve with your favorite toppings. I love shredded unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut, ground flax, ground goji berries, and a drizzle of Special Syrup (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook).