With 2012 just a few days away, many of us are spending some time reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the New Year, including how to diet, how to be healthy, and how to lose weight. Although we often start out the New Year with great expectations, by the end of year with all the holiday craziness and fanfare, we are ready to hit the reset button…yet again.
But what if we didn’t focus on what the best diet foods were, what the best diet plan was, how many pounds we wanted to lose, or the number of calories we needed to limit ourselves to on a daily basis. What if you just focused on eating a well balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods for good health?
…which is what The Whole Food Revelation by France Morissette is all about.
France from Beyond The Peel sent me a digital copy of her new cookbook and a set of supplementary DVD’s for The Whole Food Revelation a while back and I am embarrassed that it took me so long to write this review, but I wanted to be sure to spend enough time reading through her meal plans and recipes, and watching her DVD’s (where France cooks every recipe in the book in real time). After all, France and her husband, Joshua, spent a lot of time videotaping all the cooking segments and carefully developing a four-week meal plan, along with shopping lists, step-by-step advance preparation directions, and day-by-day cooking instructions for cooking whole, unprocessed meals.
When I first came across Beyond the Peel, I knew France and I were on the same page. Beyond The Peel’s motto is “Healthy Food, Uncompromising Flavor,” which is something I try to live by in my own kitchen. I’m a foodie, so I like good food, but I also want to eat healthy whole foods, so I know if I can cook healthy foods for my family and friends that also taste really good, they will be more likely to maintain healthy eating habits longer-term, and feel good about eating unprocessed foods without missing out on flavor.
The Whole Food Revolution exemplifies the life that France and Joshua live on a daily basis, cooking and eating whole, unprocessed foods. This cookbook is perfect for anyone looking for a structured healthy eating plan, and especially fitting for the New Year if you’re trying to get back on track. It is laid out as a four week program, with complete printable grocery lists, and meal planning for twenty delicious whole food meals without the fuss. By doing some advance preparation like cooking grains and beans, or making a few simple sauces over the weekend, preparing meals throughout the week becomes so much easier – it is more like assembling a meal. France also includes vegetarian options and ideas on how to use up any leftovers at the end of each week.
I actually made the Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili from The Whole Food Revolution a little while back, but Joanne from Eat Well With Others beat me to the punch with her jaw dropping photos, so I decided to try another recipe from France’s Whole Food Revolution meal plan.
There were so many recipes I wanted to try, like France’s Potato and Chickpea Curry, Warm Cumin Spiced Lentil Chickpea Salad with Turmeric Scented Shrimp, or her Quinoa Salad with North African Spiced Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Mint Sauce. Even if you don’t follow France’s meal plan verbatim, her cookbook will inspire you to think out of the box and switch things up. Her Wild Rice Quinoa Cakes inspired me to make Millet Parmesan Cakes one night which I served with the Romesca Sauce I am sharing in this post.
I ended up making Chicken in Romesco Sauce (the original recipe actually calls for tilapia fillets, but I only had chicken on hand) with Black Bean and Quinoa Salad. I’ve been wanting to try making Romesco Sauce for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity. Made with roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, and nuts, this luscious, vibrant, but light sauce was good not only on the chicken, but on the Black Bean and Quinoa Salad too (this salad alone with the sauce would make a nice meatless entree – sorry you will have to buy France’s book to get this recipe…I can’t give away all her secrets ;)). I will be adding this Romesca Sauce to my repertoire of sauce recipes.
Please visit The Whole Food Revolution for more information on France’s new cookbook (e-book or printed version) and/or DVD’s. You can also preview this cookbook. Beyond The Peel is also offing a free mini-cookbook.
Chicken with Romesco Sauce
- 2 to matoes
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons chili oil
- 1/3 cup almonds blanched and toasted
- 1/8 cup hazelnuts toasted
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt to taste
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 boneless chicken breast cutlets pounded to 1/4" thickness
- 1 chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half and place cut side down on lightly oiled baking dish. Place red bell peppers alongside the tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes (the peppers may need a few more minutes if the skin is not yet charred). Cover the peppers with a cloth to allow them to sweat and facilitate the peeling process.
Remove skin and seeds from the roasted red peppers and remove the skin fro the roasted tomatoes.
Put tomatoes and peppers in a mini food processor or blender with garlic cloves, chili oil, almonds, hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and blend until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining vinegar if needed. Some texture should remain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mince garlic and mix with olive oil to make a garlic oil. Using a 9" x 13" baking pan, brush the bottom of the baking dish with garlic oil. Take chicken cutlets and lay them in baking dish. Brush chicken with garlic oil and sprinkle with paprika. Top with cilantro and green onions and bake for 15-20 minutes until done. Serve with Romesco Sauce.
The Whole Foods Revelation Cookbook suggests roasting the tomatoes and red bell peppers ahead of time so you can use the sauce throughout the week. You could also make the Romesco Sauce ahead of time, which will cut the cooking time down to 15-20 minutes.
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
This looks fabulous!! great review too
Joshua @ Beyond The Peel says
Hi Jeanette, thank you for the lovely review! Your photos look amazing. That sauce is so addicting for me so I’m glad you like it. Next time we make it I think we’ll try it with chicken. Have a great day!
You’re welcome Joshua – you and France did a fabulous job on the videos and cookbook.
Lovely review – I do like that sauce and have never made it with the two different nuts – so that is fun! Last year, I started a healthy eating plan – I did veer and I did gain some weight back with recent travels – but because of the changes I made it is easier to get back on track. Onward and upwards in 2012! May the New Year bring you joy.
I had never made Romesca Sauce before – it’s a nice light and vibrant sauce that I will be adding to my sauce repertoire. I agree, it’s easier to get back on track if you’re generally eating healthy to begin with. Happy New Year!
Aww I’m sorry for beating you to the chili! I found it SO hard to choose what to make from the cookbook because everythign sounded delicious! I love romesco sauce and these photos are STUNNING. The whole foods approach is definitely the best way to not only lose weight but just get healthier in general!
Loved your Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili variation on France’s recipe and I agree, it was really hard to choose a recipe as everything looked so good. I think you and I share France’s whole foods approach as a way to cook more healthy.
Looks like a great dish and book. And love the color of the sauce!
Thanks Sommer – I love it when the natural beauty of produce shows through in sauces like this Romesca Sauce.
Jersey Girl Cooks says
I love healthy meals and I am going to need quite a few after my holiday eating binge. Happy New year!
This chicken looks fantastic – and the prep time is right up my alley! Never tried this sauce, but it just made my to-do list for the coming weekend! Can’t WAIT!