This book couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been feeling quite sluggish lately and while I’m sure it’s due in part to waking up at 5:30am every morning (sometimes earlier) to a crying child, I KNOW it’s because of my diet, or lack there of. My “diet” consists of pretty much whatever I decide I want.

I can control myself, but when you’re at Denny’s for breakfast (on the 4th of July – it’s a celebration!) and your husband gives you a that look that says, “Are you getting your usual banana split to go?” and you look back like “I was thinking about it” and he says “I’m surprised you didn’t order it already,” well then yes, I guess I’ll take it home (against my better judgment).

As a result, I ended up with a bad headache, which I rarely get, and heartburn all night long (which I never get). Enter lactose intolerance that is not diagnosed, but I’m pretty sure that the 3 scoops of ice cream and whipped cream were the culprits. Therefore, I decided to go back to Paleo. No, I’m not going to delve into Paleo and this isn’t a post about eating Paleo, but it was the best I ever felt AND looked.

I was drawn to Pure Delicious, by Heather Christo, because there were so many food allergies and/or sensitivities she had to work around when it came to feeding her family, but mainly her daughters, and surely she had to come up with good recipes, as we all know kids are unforgiving in their opinions, especially about food. Sometimes they’d rather starve than eat something they dislike.

In the Introduction, she explains how she arrived at cooking for food sensitivities and allergies and how serious these issues can be (and how they aren’t always taken as such). She mentions allergy testing and also includes an elimination diet for those looking to start over or who may just have sensitivities. I love her lists of most-used alternative ingredients and kitchen tools. There is also a short chapter about transitioning children – it includes helpful tips on school lunches, tracking foods, and helping kids eat foods they aren’t used to.

On to the recipes. She puts quick reference icons at the top of each recipe: vegan, kid friendly, make ahead (great for busy parents), great for freezer (makes planning ahead easy), etc.

Her chapter on soups looks incredible. Soups are such an easy way to fill your family up and include lots of good-for-you ingredients. I’ve found they are really easy to tailor to your nutritional needs. I’m especially excited about the curried pumpkin, chicken, and rice soup, the creamy mushroom bisque, and the spicy thai curry noodle soup.

Salads are a great way to get your vegetables in and if you love vinaigrettes, you’ll love these. The Banh Mi Salad with Sriracha Vinaigrette and Nicoise Salad with Sesame-Crusted Tuna take them to a whole new level. As my husband is always leery of my “new” eating ideas, I can’t wait to make him one of these because he’ll love it and it’ll get him back on track too.

The Baked Goods section will be fun to try. I find that these are always the most sought-after recipes, yet also the most disappointing. Especially when you can’t eat traditional baked goods, you still want that taste that you remember. The biscuits and flatbread look good, but these recipes do require some odd ingredients that most people probably won’t have in their pantries at home so they’d require some preparation beforehand. Her pizza crust recipe is the same. If you are able to acquire everything to make it and it turns out decent, then your options for pizza at home are endless.

Luckily, in today’s world, gluten-free pasta is easily found. There’s also the nifty spiralizer tool that can turn veggies into “pasta.” There aren’t too many surprises in the pasta section, but if you’re not used to cooking it without “normal” pasta, it should offer some guidance and direction, at least until you get your footing.

The Mains look enticing, especially the slow-braised pork ragu, beer braised brisket, and spicy tuna sushi bowls.

And finally, as always, my favorite section – Dessert. Just because you can’t have dairy or gluten or a number of no-no ingredients doesn’t mean you stop craving a sweet treat at the end of a meal. I’ve made a lot of allergy-friendly cookies so I’m not surprised to see a few recipes in the book, but the chocolate fudge brownies, chocolate zucchini bundt cake, and the salted caramel corn look divine, and I’m not even a chocolate lover.

The Breakfast chapter at the end seems out of place and slightly thrown in. It probably would have been better before the baked goods section, but still, it has some great ideas including a sweet potato granola, quinoa breakfast bowl, lots of muffins, and different types of breakfast breads.

Overall, Pure Delicious could be a game-changer in a lot of households these days. When you’re told you can’t eat certain things, I’m sure people find themselves in a rut or in a haze of confusion as to what they CAN eat. Pure Delicious provides either a great starting point for newbies or lots of different combinations for those looking for something new. I can’t wait to use this tomorrow night for dinner. My husband probably won’t even realize his meal will be food-allergy friendly.

Pure Delicious at Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.