I’ve followed Cristina Curp, aka The Castaway Kitchen, on Instagram for several months now. I was excited when I had the opportunity to review her latest cookbook, “Made Whole Made Simple” For those who don’t know her work, she’s a nutritional therapy practitioner. Her recipes in this book are “free of grain, gluten, soy, and nightshades. Minimal amounts of dairy and nuts are used, and many of the recipes are coconut-free, egg-free, and AIP compliant.” Personally, I’m neither paleo nor following an AIP diet, but I appreciate how approachable this book seems to be. Nearly every recipe is weeknight friendly.
The book has the following chapters:
- The House Won’t Fall If the Bones Are Good
- Where We Get Our Fuel
- Eating for Healing
- Habits for a Healthy Life
- Kitchen Handbook
- Meal Makers (this is basically the condiments and DIY section)
Here are some recipes that appeal to me:
- Cauliflower Sour Cream
- Stir-In Coffee Creamer
- Sweet Onion Breakfast Bowls
- Pumpkin Pancakes
- Balsamic Braised Meatballs and Kale
- Coconut Lime Spiked Meatballs
- Tasty Mojo Pork
- Crispy Ranch Wings
- Salmon Noodle Soup
- Tahini Cookie Cream Bites
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
The first recipe I made from the book was Breakfast Sausage Soup. It ‘s easy. You brown up some breakfast sausage, set aside, saute some cabbage/celery/onions, add spinach, then finish up by adding back the sausage and adding some broth.
At the time of preparing for this recipe, St. Patrick’s Day and COVID-19 self-quarantine were right around the corner. This meant that I had to break my cookbook review rule of staying honest to the recipe. I ended up using green cabbage instead of the original red cabbage, and “made” my own breakfast sausage with some ground meat and spices.
Overall, I liked the soup but you’ll have to keep in mind that most of the flavor is coming from the sausage. So make sure you’re using one you like. I didn’t care for the spice blend I ended up using for my DIY sausage, but that’s my error. On the bright side, I found that my sausage soup tasted better the next day. So thankfully nothing was wasted.
I love the methodology of this soup. You’ve got your protein and your veggies in one bowl that did not require anything crazy. I think my only real critique of the recipe is that, as written, 2 pounds of meat is for 4 servings. That’s more meat than I typically eat in one sitting. So just be mindful that your mileage may vary.
The second recipe I made was the Charred Kale Soup. Again, there aren’t a lot of ingredients in this soup. The flavor mostly comes mostly from the broth, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and lemon zest. Minor adjustments were made because of self-quarantine. I didn’t have bone broth, so I used some vegetable bouillon. I didn’t have lemon zest, so I tried using some True Lemon (which is a lemon crystal product). Like the breakfast sausage soup, the ingredients are so few that the quality/flavor of your ingredients is going to give the biggest impact. The bouillon I used was too strongly flavored, so that’s me and not the soup. I still enjoyed the outcome.
I loved the way the kale was prepped in this recipe. You brown the kale in a pot undisturbed for 5 minutes, stir, and then leave undisturbed for another 5 minutes. Cooked this way, the kale reminded me a lot of making kale chips. It smelled so good when I stirred halfway. This method is definitely one I will reuse.
I was slightly amused that the Breakfast Sausage Soup seemed to make a lot for 4 servings, but the Charred Kale Soup seemed to make so little for 4 servings. It’s definitely a side dish.
Overall thoughts? This is a great book for someone who wants fairly easy recipes with a healthy ingredient list. I like that some of the recipes are inspired by Curp’s Cuban heritage. The style and format feels very similar to other paleo/whole 30 publications I’ve seen. There’s one recipe per page, regardless of length, and one large accompanying photo on the adjacent page. The photos are more function than form, if you will. (Does this matter? Absolutely not. It’s just hard for me to not notice when I compare it to the next book I am reviewing.) All in all, I’ll cook from this book again. (Especially the flourless chocolate cake. It sounds so good.)
Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Victory Belt Publishing for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.
With COVID-19 self-quarantine, the recipes I tested for this review had to be modified based on what I had access to.