Basics

The Organic Family Cookbook is packed full of family-friendly, healthy recipes. There are chapters covering tasty breakfasts, simple snacks, wholesome lunches, family favorite dinners, savory sides, refreshing desserts and an interesting homespun extras section that looks into homemade jams, sauces, salsa, sweeteners and more. This book offers a little something for everyone – from meat eaters to picky eaters to vegetarians and for people who love cooking with fresh in-season ingredients. Plenty of extras, such as green tips and shopping advice, are packed into this book. The photographs by Alexandra DeFurio are amazing and will draw you in and make you want to cook beautiful healthy meals for your own family.

A Variety of Dishes to Please Everyone

I’m very picky about food and I like simple meals. Brown rice and steamed veggies; fine. Tomato soup and bread; perfect. My son is the same way. We don’t do lots of sauces, extra sweeteners, dips or exotic ingredients. My best friend and her daughter are way more adventuresome than my son and me and will try anything once.  I suspect most  families are somewhere in-between – i.e. they’ll try some new foods but also like the classics. The Organic Family Cookbook manages to please all of the above.

  • If you like simple foods, like me, there are options such as: Blueberry love muffins, simple quinoa, granola bars, Parmesan sesame seed twists, grilled shrimp and brown rice or honey bread.
  • If your family is tempted by new flavor adventures then you could try: Persimmon and pomegranate salad, garlic beet chips, fig jam with garlic cheese tarts, mushroom and onion tart or pepper and sweet potato flatbread.
  • If you’re somewhere in between you’ve still got fun choices like: Garden veggie smoothie, warm berry quinoa, ham and cheese panini with grapes, spicy Parmesan crisps, stone soup or raw vegan apple pie.

Above are just some recipe options. This book is packed with enough meal ideas to please most families, no matter your tastes.

Green Living Tips & More Extras

This book is more than just a basic cookbook. Daulter offers awesome little green tips living throughout, such as how to green your kitchen, how to make homemade cleaners, how to re-purpose old items, how to be more green as a family and much more. None of the green tips are hard or overwhelming and it’s great how they’re integrated seamlessly into the recipe pages. Beyond green tips, this book offers so many cool family extras such as advice about u-pick farms, the best healthy seeds, school gardens, baby food tips, finding the best eggs and even sweet little craft projects, like salt dough charms and veggie dyed eggs.

One of the best things about Daulter’s style is her ability to share her family’s likes and dislikes without preaching or making the entire book about her kids. I’ve seen plenty of cookbooks where there’s more pictures of kids than food, and it’s all, “Look at my cute amazing kids” which is so annoying. Daulter doesn’t do this at all. She offers a look at her family so you can relate to their various food issues, but overall, Daulter strikes the perfect balance between her own family and keeping the focus of the book where it should be, on healthy meals.

Any Cons?

As with Daulter’s other books I felt some of the ingredients for her recipes fall under the “Too expensive for many” category. Cost especially becomes an issue when you consider that some expensive ingredients are used very minimally in a dish, yet you can’t buy the ingredient in small amounts. In many cases recipes in this book call for more than a dozen ingredients, which may be overwhelming if you’re newer to healthy cooking.

Also, while I did find many recipes in this cookbook that my son would eat, a lot of the dishes are full of stuff that many average kids I know won’t eat, for example, blue cheese, cooked onions, Dijon and capers. On one hand, kids should be introduced early on to many foods, so in that respect I like that Daulter doesn’t treat kids as if they can’t be culinary explorers. Still, if you’ve got older kids who have grown up on less healthy fare, this may not be the best overall cookbook for your family. The only other con I can think of is that the book itself is not made with 100% recycled content, although it is made with FSC certified mixed sources, which is way better than totally virgin paper.


Overall

The Organic Family Cookbook had very few cons and so far my family has enjoyed every recipe (minus one) in this book. There’s a good mix of traditional and experimental recipes and many dishes can be made with affordable, local, in-season items. I loved the vegetarian and snack offerings in this book and the pictures are to die for. My son even had a good time flipping through this book, choosing recipes to make, and he’s not one to spend lots of time in the kitchen. The extra tips and advice through the book really pumped up the reading experience as well.

All considered, I’d highly recommend this cookbook for most families I know as it’s both lovely and yummy. I don’t recommend this cookbook if you happen to have seriously picky kids (as in they eat only cereal and mac n’ cheese) and you’re not looking to change their habits or if your family is gluten-free. Flip to the last page to see a sample Organic Family Cookbook recipe.

Sample Recipe – Veggie Sliders

When I first got this cookbook, I was instantly drawn to the veggie slider recipe. We’re vegetarians so I’m always looking for new non-meat burger ideas and this one is awesome:

  • Mash 1/4 cup cooked black beans until chunky.
  • In a large bowl combine the beans, 1/4 cup diced yellow onion, 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper, 1/4 cup diced zucchini, 1 whole diced carrot, 3 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon wheat flour, 1 and 1/2 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon hemp seed powder, 1 teaspoon sesame seed powder, a pinch of cayenne powder and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Knead all ingredients until uniform and easy to mold.
  • Form into small patties.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, and when hot, add your patties. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  • Add a slice of cheese (the recipe says Gouda, but I like cheddar) plus sliced tomato, lettuce and a handful of sprouts.
  • Top off with sauce (ketchup or thousand island dressing if you like) and serve on a small soft bun.

To get another, sweeter taste sample of this cookbook see Homemade Organic Cran-Strawberry Roll-Ups.

+ The Organic Family Cookbook $14.93

+ Anni Daulter