I was a tester for this cookbook and have made about 40 recipes from it already. This cookbook is amazing for working people who live alone or in families of 2-3...never before have I seen a cookbook focused solely on a small slow cooker! This is my favorite of Kathy Hester's cookbooks, and that's saying a lot because I LOVE her recipes!
Most of these recipes come together in 7-9 hours, with options for leaving the food in for 10+ hours for those who have a longer work commute. It's dreamy to come home to a ready-made dinner, and have just 1-2 more servings of leftovers. With larger slow cookers, I better enjoy the recipe because it will be my lunch ALL WEEK...this is so much better. There are other recipes that take just 1.5 hours or so, including delicious desserts, hot chocolates, and a wonderful recipe of tofu and green beans in a black bean sauce. How lovely to start dessert in your slow cooker, and have it ready by the time dinner is complete!
As usual, Kathy Hester makes sure the majority of her recipes are gluten-free, oil-free, and soy-free for those with special diets or sensitivities. Many other recipes can be made this way, as well. She regularly uses testers who try her recipes without the above ingredients, so that they are truly allergy-friendly! The cookbook serves to familiarize one with the small slow cooker, and since I test a number of recipes I feel like I've taken a cooking class each time I work through her cookbooks. I feel like an expert at the little slow cooker, and absolutely love it!
Hester includes a chapter on layered meals, full balanced one-dish meals like "Thanksgiving Dinner", a portobello and baked potato dinner, and one of my favorite recipes: tempeh layered with apples, cabbage, onions, and caraway seeds. Yum! Hardly any clean-up, and perfect size for a couple.
Are you a vegan sick of commercially prepared creamers, many of which have oil? Hester includes two delicious coffee creamer recipes, both of which are wonderful. One is Blueberry Coconut, the other Vanilla Hazelnut, and both offer a template from which to branch out and invent your own favorite flavors. Much better than the stuff you get at the store, in my opinion!
Her "basics" chapter includes instructions on cooking beans (cheaper, chemical-free, and tastier,) a delicious "seitan coin" recipe, and some other sausage and crumble substitutes. Her breakfast chapter includes the following recipes I've tried and enjoy: Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa, barley with Pumpkin Caramel sauce, Pumpkin Polenta (a savory breakfast that also makes a great dinner,) Tofu Root Veggie Hash, and an Indian spiced Carrot Oatmeal. Creative, easy, and delish! She also has crockpot french toast and bananas foster options...deluxe brunch! In the appetizer section, I particularly enjoyed the Eggplant Tapenade and Curried Bean Dip. Soups include two yummy options for tomato soup (one creamy, one veggie), an incredible easy Creamy Celery Root Soup for those who wish to try or already enjoy celeriac, Moroccan Lentil veggie soup, White Bean Barley soup, Autumn Harvest veggie soup, and others. The stews chapter was my absolute favorite. I enjoyed the Pear Chickpea Fall Stew, New Orleans Red Beans and Rice, Wacky Cincinnati Chili, Dal, Three Sisters Stew, etc. The Lentil Quinoa Taco Filling, in the sandwich filling section, is perfect for those with soy allergies, as the texture mimics crumbles while being 100% natural whole food. The Caulifredo sauce is oil-free, rich, and delicious. Barley Risotto is unique and tasty. She includes 2 recipes for 45-60 min. cookies, a delicious apple crumble with chai spices, an amazing Apple Chocolate Chip Nut Bread Pudding, a healthy Carrot Cake Rice Pudding, and a super-rich decadent lovely Coconut Hot Chocolate. These are the recipes I've tried, with many more I plan to try in the future. This will be my favorite go-to cookbook, as it makes the perfect amount of food for 1-2 people with enough for a bit of leftovers.
Kathy Hester is an expert at making healthy food delicious, easy, and creative. Healthy vegan made easy and gourmet! I highly, highly recommend this cookbook and would give it 10 stars if I could!!!