From Soups to Salads: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

By Natalie, Contributing Writer

Picking a Cookbook for Picky Families

I love trying new recipes, but one of the big bones I have to pick with a lot of cookbooks is that they require exotic ingredients, and, frankly, exotic taste buds. Since my husband and children were born with your average, run-of-the-mill taste buds, I have to be careful not to waste a lot of time and money on expensive dishes that will end up in the garbage disposal.

Always on the look out for “go-to” cookbooks that I will use multiple times in a week, I spied a button on the sidebar of someone’s blog advertising a new cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons by Kimberly Harris of the Nourishing Gourmet blog.

The picture and title drew me in. Ladled? I could almost hear the delicious sound of hot, savory soup trickling from a ladle into a big bowl. Anyone clever enough to come up with that title deserved some attention.

Next stop: Amazon – to read reviews, because if this book was full of soups made with seaweed and clams, I wasn’t interested. I won’t lie. There are some bizarre recipes in this book. (Allow me to demonstrate my ignorance.) Poor Man’s Bouillabaisse. (Wha???) Muscles in Tomato Garlic Broth. The broth sounds yummy, but where did the muscles come from? The Poor Man? And yes, she even has one with clams.

Yeah. So like I said, I wanted to find out what other normal people thought. Turns out this book is a real hit with a lot of folks, so I decided to buy it with an Amazon gift certificate I had. While I was checking out, Amazon, of course, recommended another book by Kimberly: Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons. What the heck. I love salad. I bought both books.

I love both books.

We Try. We Like.

I’ve used them multiple times since they came in the mail a couple of weeks ago. We’ve eaten Fresh Taco Salad, Steak and Arugula Salad (She teaches you how to make the perfect, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth steak.  This was such a hit with my teen boys and my husband that we’ve done it twice so far.), Holiday Salad: Candied Nuts, Pears and Blue Cheese (we used feta), Thai Salad with Noodles, Retro Berry Gelatin (to die for), Family’s Favorite Beef Stew, Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup, Chicken and Dumplings, Spiced Moroccan Millet Porridge with Milk, and Chilled Honeydew and Cucumber Soup with Coconut Milk.

My ultra picky family enjoyed everything I made – minus the millet porridge – my bad because I used a different spice than the recipe called for, and it was quite strong. BUT I will be able to incorporate everything else into my menu planning, and the Lord knows we needed to breathe new life into our musty routine.

Putting the Special in Soups and Salads

There are so many things to love about these cookbooks. Here are a few:

Terrific Tips and Tricks

I don’t know where I’ve been for the past twenty years of cooking, but some great tips have apparently gone over my head because I learned some good ones in these books. The “how to make a great steak” was just the tip of the iceberg.

In Ladled you will get the skinny on soaking/sprouting, how to get more “umami” (deliciousness) into your broths, a guide to fats and oils, how-to’s on basics like sautéing, chopping, and dicing various types of vegetables, necessary kitchen tools, and so forth. I would have benefited from a book like this when I first got married. I had to learn how to chop an onion the hard way instead of the right way.

In Fresh you’ll find out how to properly (and easily) wash, cut, and store lettuce, how to emulsify your own dressings, and what ingredients you’ll want on hand to be able to make some staple salads and dressings at the drop of a hat.

Variety

Ladled has you covered with every kind of broth recipe you could dream up—from your traditional beef, chicken and vegetable stocks to a concentrated meat glaze, nutritious stinging nettle broth, and fish stocks.

You get over 100 soup recipes (with gorgeous thumbnail pictures in the index) that include: Simple Soups with Eggs, Family Favorite Soups and Stews, Soups with Noodles, Creamy Vegetable Soups, Soups Centered on Legumes and Grains, Hearty Soups and Stews, Grain Porridges and Rice Congees, Chilled Soups, and Soups Inspired by Our Favorite Restaurants.

Not only that, but you also get several garnish recipes for things like Pan-Fried Croutons, Herbed Dumplings, Crème Fraiche, and Simple Homemade Bacon—just for starters.

Fresh gives you over 50 salad recipes including Classic Salads, Mains and Sides, Grain, Potato, and Legume Salads, Vegetable Side Salads, Lettuce Wraps, and Fruit Salads.

A few staple salad dressing recipes are included along with recipes for “Other Good Stuff” you might enjoy on your salad, like Juicy Grass-fed Steak, Cinnamon and Vanilla Candied Nuts, Homemade Mayonnaise, and Roasted Chicken, among others.

Healthy

In Ladled Kimberly shares her journey into healthy eating in “Why I Am A Traditional Cook.” She introduces the reader to Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Gonzalez to further explain her food philosophy. Both of her books utilize a variety of real, whole foods, and her recipes are designed to nourish your body while also offering a pleasurable eating experience, which, in my book, is the way God meant it to be.

Economical

On a budget? She is sensitive to the fact that many of us are raising families on a single income and need to get as much nutritional bang for our buck as possible. These recipes deliver.

Normal

While she does offer a few more exciting (scary?) recipes, for the most part, she sticks with normal foods and flavors. BUT— if you are an adventuresome type, there is a rush here and there.

Do you already own either of these books? Tell us what you think! If you WANT them, tell us why!

 

About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. I have both books and also love them! I especially like that we tend to have most of the ingredients already on hand, especially with the soups. I use Fresh, the salad cookbook, a LOT in the summer and have served several of the salads to guests. They are always a hit! Check out Kimberley’s blog as well, she has been posting great information about traditional diets and nutrition lately Enjoy!

  2. My brother gave me “Ladled” for Christmas! Every recipe we’ve tried is a winner. There is a color photo of every single recipe, as well as a thumbnail table-of-contents at the beginning of the book. Some ingredients will send you to your local ethnic store, but it’s fun to add new, frugal staples to your pantry. This cookbook is entirely worth the purchase! It’s awesome.

  3. These sound amazing! You had me at “how to make a great steak,” because I have no idea. :)

  4. I do not have these books but I love a good soup and salad. Your reviews of the tips and tricks, nourishing ingredients, and variety make me really want these books!

  5. Joyce M. says:

    I love soup, but have never really found any recipes that have made super yummy soups. My hubby LOVES salads, and had turned me on to them when we first started dating. I’m so glad because he loves coming up with yummy salads and our girls love them.

  6. I think I am going to bookmark these for possible purchase in the future. If I could find more delicious soups, and any salad that my husband would accept as a main meal (maybe a steak salad), life would be even better.

  7. I don’t have either. I would love them! I love step-by-step and reference guides :) seems like something I could keep referring back to. Is there a promo code for these? That would be a nice incentive… :)

  8. I would love to have these books. It will help me soooo much. I am extremely ‘culinarily challenged’ and need all the help I can get.

  9. I LOVE soup! it’s my favorite way to eat from about October through March. And THEN…i LOVE salads when it’s too hot to cook soup! i’d LOVE either of these books, but i’m most curious about how to make salads that my always hungry, growing boys could eat that would satiate them for awhile. i’d also love info on how to make some of my favorite dressings, but without so many of the evils that make their way into my Newman’s Own bottles!

  10. I have looked at the book “Ladled” for awhile now, but haven’t been willing to shell out the money for it. Maybe you have convinced me! I love, love, love soup. I like to make big batches and freeze it for quick meals at another time.

  11. Either would be amazing – who doesn’t love to learn new techniques? With eating more and more whole foods and moving into summer and salad season new recipes are ALWAYS welcomed ;)

  12. Both look great but I think I would get more use out of the soup book. I also like to make big batches of soups and freeze in smaller bags. Perfect to grab for a quick healthy lunch at work.

  13. Shiree Martin says:

    I would love either. But probably especially the soups cookbook. I love to make big batches of soup and then freeze them. Then I get almost instant dinner on a night when I am tired.

  14. Nicki Dawkins says:

    These sound like wonderful books to add to my collection! I am definitely going to check them out and put them on my amazon wish list.
    I recently discovered Dr. Weston Price and I’m trying to remineralize my 20 month old’s cavities before his drill and fill scheduled in July. Problem? He’s a picky eater to the max. Can’t even get him to eat raw cheese. Like he knows I’m giving him something healthy!! These recipes may be my saving grace.

  15. Vee Girl says:

    Due to multiple food allergies that vary from person to person in my household, I am home cooking three meals plus snacks daily. Winning either book would allow me to infuse some new variety into our meals. I would glean a lot of joy from either book!

  16. I like the idea of eating seasonally, which the titles suggest she covers. And I’m fortunate in that my kids all like both salads and soups. They make great “make-ahead” suppers, so that I’m not still cooking right up till the last minute before dinner is supposed to be served. I love that. So we do a lot of salads and soups around here. I will have to look into both of these cookbooks.

  17. cindredm says:

    I’d love either (or both) of these books. They look great. I am a huge soup lover of all sorts, my husband not much and my kids love a good chunky soup (I need to bring them over to the creamy side, too). And I really enjoy salad but need some inspiration- I love all the offerings at a potluck (seems my friends are pretty creative) but I need some ideas to intrigue my family. I must check both of these books out.

  18. Jorgee Johnson says:

    This post comes at a perfect time for me. My body is forcing me to eat healthy. Because of my reflux I am only able to eat soft foods right now. I would love to have new ideas and give myself and my family some variety in our meals.

  19. I recently discovered I have a health condition which is improved by limiting my carbohydrate intake. Soups and salads are usually much lower in carb content, and I am looking for ideas to add to my meal plan. Thanks!

  20. Both of these look great! I love different salads and soups too. I’d love to win them and find some fresh recipes!

  21. Mary Mom says:

    I cook our supper meal everyday for my husband, son, DIL, and their children. We eat healthy and fresh but on a budget. I would love to add the recipes from these books to my weekly menu planner. Don’t we all feel like we are in a rut serving the same items over and over? I make soup frequently and grow a lot of the veggies for salads in my garden. New ideas would be a breath of fresh air in my kitchen.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] me over at Keeper of the Home today where I review two marvelous little cookbooks that will not only give you loads of amazing [...]