Review: Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind (Vanessa Barajas)

Book: “Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind”
Title: Vanessa Barajas
Author Website: Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind


I want to share some of my favorite cookbooks that have been getting a LOT of rotation lately! I know a lot of hardcore paleo enthusiasts do not believe in paleo desserts, buuuut hello – I do! While I do believe that God gave us food not only for nourishment, He also gave it for enjoyment (minus gluttony and other food abuses, of course). With that being said, first up is…

cewadm“Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind” by Vanessa Barajas. This cookbook, while published in September of 2015, is a new one for me. She calls herself a ‘dessertavore’. I can dig it! I stalked this book on Amazon for several days waiting for the price to drop (I have a hard time paying almost $30 for ANYTHING! lol) and finally found a used version offered through Half Price Books through the Amazon marketplace. While I was checking out, I noticed that it was going to be shipped from a location in my city, so I called HPB, had them put it on hold, and picked it up myself, cutting out the shipping fee and time! When I flipped through the book, I was both impressed and excited. To know that I could enjoy some of my favorite desserts again made me so happy! And not only can I enjoy them, but I can share them with my husband as well.

Some of the recipes that I have tried so far have been the better than box brownies, chocolate fudge cookies, and the molten chocolate lava cakes. Everything has been delicious, albeit a little too sweet. The brownies called for an entire cup of coconut sugar which I’ll definitely reduce when I make it in the future, potentially by a at least ½ a cup. The cookies were delicious and soooo chocolatey – no complaints there. The chocolate molten lava cakes were SO easy to make and so delicious! Oh. My. Gosh. I served them with fresh raspberries and a homemade raspberry sauce. We had guests over recently, one who also avoids gluten, and I thought it would be the perfect dessert to make for them. Later that evening, after company had left, I had a conversation with my husband that went like this:

Me – What are your favorite desserts? (I was flipping through the cookbook planning next weekend’s treat)
Him – This one!

That made me so happy! My hubby listed a paleo, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free dessert as one of his favorites! Pow pow! We liked them so much that I halved the recipe to make 1 each just for the 2 of us and we had them again 2 nights later.

The following weekend, I made the no bake strawberry cheesecake jars. That required me to purchase some 8 ounce wide mouth mason jars. Man. They were SO good. Cashews for a cheesecake? I admit – I was super skeptical. But, super delicious! I probably needed to add a bit more lemon juice, but overall, loved it and would definitely make it again. My husband, not paleo in the least, actually liked them as well! Another win? I’d say so! I loved the addition of zucchini as well.

There are various sections full of  recipes as well:

  • Meal Ticket
  • Bake My Day
  • Confections of a Dirty Mind
  • Easy as Pie
  • Let Them Eat Cake
  • That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles
  • What’s The Scoop?
  • Whisky Business

The thing to note about this cookbook is that a lot of the recipes, like the book states on the front, are paleo inspired, meaning you’ll see a lot of dairy ingredients, i.e. butter, heavy cream, etc. She does list subs for these in most of the recipes. For someone like me, one that is actually allergic to dairy (including ghee which made me so so sad!), I am thankful for products like Nutiva’s buttery organic coconut oil. This has been great to use in all of my various recipes as it provides the buttery flavor without the dairy component.

Many on Amazon pointed out the dairy ingredient fact, but there are so many subs and workarounds that I feel it is not a real problem, but is definitely something to be aware of when considering this cookbook. There are some recipes that do NOT have non-dairy workarounds, but those are few and far between and easy to avoid.

In the back of the cookbook, there is a recipe index which is extremely helpful, making it easy to locate recipes as well as a section on which recipes are egg free, dairy free, and nut free. However, in the nut free section, there are recipes listed with almond butter. Almonds are not considered true nuts, and are actually drupes, but they are still avoided by many that have nut allergies.

I like the conversion chart included in the back as well that demonstrates the conversion of teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and more. Super helpful. You can also find it on her website here – Conversion Guide. She also details what you need to get your kitchen set up for baking these treats as well as types of cake tips to buy for your decorating adventures.

As I make more from Vanessa’s book, I will be sure to share my thoughts. Until then, check out her blog that shares the title of her book – Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind.

 

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My Latest: Fabric, Books, Feet, & More!

Fabric from Austin Creative Reuse
I learned about ACR on Instagram, following a user with the name kmakesthings. She posted how she’d donated some fabric there, and of course, I visited as soon as I could! Fabric is often just $1 per yard and you can find SO many types of fabric. I have purchased cottons, knits, denims, chambrays, crepes, rayons, and so much more. I have also purchased notions & tools such as bias tape, rings & sliders, buttons, a 45m Fiskars rotary cutter, bobbins, rotary blade replacements, and more. It has been so economical for me to get some of the things I need as well as some beautiful fabric! While Hobby Lobby & Joann’s have their place, the price point is a bit much for me currently (I love to budget!) and it makes it easier for me financially as a beginning garment sewist.

Bias Tape Maker Set
biastapesetIn one of my books I purchased recently, these were recommended. I’d seen information on them on several blogs (such as Make It, Love it) along with instructions, but seeing that I had never used bias tape, I didn’t see the need for it at the time. Now, as I am making various garments, I am seeing the need for it! Sometimes it is difficult to find that perfect color, so why not make your own? It is easy and fast and saves you so much money in the long run. And per the previous post, I am all about saving some money!

32 Piece Presser Foot Set
presserfeetI saw this on another blog (So, Sew Easy) and I must admit – I wasn’t buying the hype at 1st. It seemed too good to be true, especially since one foot can start around $10 and go up from there. I posed a question about it in a Facebook sewing community that I am part of and several ladies attested to these! I was surprised. The only downside is that many of the sets have the feet names in Chinese from what I understand. Mine hasn’t arrived yet (should arrive today! YAY!), but I will be sure to share my findings when my set comes. Also, if you order them and need a legend, there’s a YouTube video for that: Which Foot Does What? Some of the feet included: 6mm round rolled hem foot, edge stitch foot, gathering foot, adjustable bias binder foot, and so many more! Now, it is important to know that the feet are for a low shank machine. If you are not sure what this means, check out this link: Will This Presser Foot Fit My Sewing Machine?

The Magic Pattern Book  (Amy Barickman)
I found this book at Half Price Books while looking for something else. This book, in one word, is amazing. There is an overview of methods, tools, and notions. Seam finishing, pattern marking transferring, and so much more are included in the beginning. I think it is pretty thorough especially for a beginner as you prepare to create from the patterns included (or whatever patterns you may own!). It’s also a great wardrobe starter including patterns for skirts, dresses, coats, tanks, jackets, sweaters, and other pieces. It comes with a CD that you use to print off the patterns and the URL for pattern printing is also in the book. My only drawback is having to print out each of these patterns. Some of the patterns I viewed on the CD have 92 pages. NINETY. TWO. That is a lot of ink and a lot of paper! I do wish the patterns were delivered in another way. I likely will be taking my time working through the patterns in this book specifically because of that reason.

Clotilde’s Sew Smart (Clotilde Lampe)
Another Half Price Books find! She details how to make your home sewing look more professional. Needle type selection, hem & seam finishes, and more. There are SO many invaluable tips & tricks in this book! I recommend it for any beginning sewist / seamstress. It will become your go-to as I can definitely see it becoming mine.

Dressmaking Step by Step (Alison Smith)
I bought this one from Half Price Books the same day that I bought The Magic Pattern Book. Patterns are included in this one as well, but they are traceable and must be blown up. Another additional cost on top of things like notions & fabric, so like the MPB, my usage of the patterns will be a slow process. However, the book is very thorough, also discussing how to mark patterns, darts, stitching, etc.

All in all, I am extremely pleased with my latest purchases and am looking forward to seeing how they help me grow in my sewing. Hopefully this list is helpful for you! Have you had any experience with any of these items? I’d love to hear about it!