A few weeks ago, looking for healthy recipes, I stumbled upon Melissa Joulwan’s site: theclothesmakethegirl.com. I checked out some of her recipes and was pretty much taken in by how tasty they all looked. I was so taken that I dashed to the local bookstore and bought both of her cookbooks. The family and I stopped for lunch and I picked out a few recipes I wanted to try.
Best. Impulse. Buy. Ever. For real!
I spent Super Bowl Sunday prepping her chocolate chili. Now, let me tell you, chili is a sacred food for me. I take it very, very seriously. Chocolate? No beans? So close to Scoville Blasphemy. Then I tasted it. My go-to chili recipe of nearly 20 years has been tucked away in the cookbook. This is the new standard in the Gowden household. THIS is what the guys will be eating on nerd days and beer tastings. This is was will be stanking up the office. This is pot full of delicious.
I also made a few of her spice blends, sauces and prepped stuff for the week. I took her Moroccan dipping sauce with a veggie tray to the neighbors. Every single vegetable was GONE before the chip bowl was refilled!
Her books have completely changed my kitchen! We’re trying new flavors, new foods (Jicama! Spaghetti squash!) and loads upon loads of vegetables. Here’s what I really love; she’s not afraid to flavor her veggies. So often recipes for vegetables are one of two preparation methods. You have cheese/butter/high calorie sauces that negate a lot of the benefits of eating the vegetables. Then you get the ultra-diet ‘don’t let oil anywhere near your veggies and learn to like their natural flavors.” The books give you plenty of reasonable options for increasing your flavorful vegetable intake without adding a ton of calories.
I really respect that. I bought this looking for ways to help us lose some of our winterweight. Any doctor or dietician will tell you that if you want to lose weight, eat more veggies (as long as they’re not dipped in cheese or butter.) I’m loving broccoli, asparagus and squash now. Spice mixes (Ras Al Hanout…which I keep calling Ra’s al Ghul in my head) and light dressings make all the difference in the world.
Am I convert to the Paleo lifestyle? No. I love my coffee with cream in the morning, and with 2 little kids, pasta has to be on the menu at times. I can tell you with no uncertainty that when we stick to the book’s recipes for 2, 3, 4 days at a time, we feel AMAZING. Then the weekend comes, glass or 2 of wine, pizza, wings, pancakes….and the sluggishness is back in full force. For the first time while trying to change my eating habits, I’m actually seeing a direct relationship between the fuel going into my body and my performance. Same number of calories, just difference foods, and a marked improvement.
Listen, if you’re just looking for awesome vegetable options, go to her site now. If you’re thinking about trying out the Paleo Diet, check it out. If you’re a fan of chili….just go there now. Believe me.