Alisa Fleming ~ From the look of it, the layout of this jam-packed cookbook took as much time to create as the recipes themselves. Color coding, seasonal subchapters within chapters, icons, how-to’s, and “blissful suggestions” on nearly every recipe page. Reading through Blissful Bites is educational and almost a touch exhausting as the author, Christy Morgan, strives to offer every morsel of information on her style of healthy eating, cooking, and recipes.
Blissful Bites is completely vegan, but it’s worth noting that this cookbook leans heavily toward the macrobiotic diet, too. Unless you are one of those “jump in with both feet” types of people, ready to overhaul your pantry with some harder to find ingredients, then I wouldn’t consider this a true beginner cookbook. If you consider yourself to be somewhat experienced in vegan cuisine, the macrobiotic diet, and/or healthy vegetarian recipes, then I think you will find a great deal of joy in this collection.
As mentioned, this is a very colorful cookbook that does contain a good selection of photographs, including several recipe photos (perhaps 25 or 30% of the recipes have an accompanying picture). But don’t let the fancy design distract you, there are over 175 recipes packed into this heavy little book.
For some reason, the salad dressings sucked me in first. I immediately marked the Open Sesame Dressing, Ginger-Miso Dressing, and Blissed Caesar Dressing. I did a throw together of the Blissed Caesar Dressing, using what I had on hand, and it was quite delicious. Not exactly like Caesar, but a savory delight nonetheless. I then merged the concepts of the Open Sesame Dressing and the Ginger-Miso Dressing recipes to make this Creamy Sesame-Ginger Salad Dressing …
At first, I didn’t see much else that caught my eye, but as I settled into the ideas in this book, my options broadened. To give you a good sampling of the types of recipes within, these are a few that I’ve bookmarked the following ones to trial:
- Wasabi Sweet Potato Salad (my friend Ricki made it, loved it, and blogged about it here)
- Macro Mac ‘n Cheeze (using butternut squash – I’ve been wanting to do this!)
- Veggie-Stuffed Pasta Shells (pictured above)
- Gluten-Free Savory Biscuits (but this is by no means a gluten-free book!)
- Cashew-Garlic Aioli (though I was surprised by this recipe since the author lambasts garlic and other alliums in the beginning of the book)
- Sage Infused Polenta Fries (to go with that aioli)
- Ginger Rice Pudding (made with brown rice)
Again, expect unique ingredients and recipes in Blissful Bites. Various types of seaweeds, flours, sweeteners, and produce are used. There are many raw food recipes, but many cooked or baked as well. There are gluten-free baked goods, but then ones made with wheat, barley, or plain old all-purpose flour, too. The focus is whole foods, yet she uses store-bought items like vegan mayo and cheese alternative in some of the recipes. There is a whole lot of variety here, yet it all comes together well as you start to get comfortable with the Christy Morgan’s style.
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, and a recipe creator for the natural food industry, with an emphasis on special diets.