Cookbook Review and Books You Like, Kombucha Is Ready, Favorite Drinks


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Hi Everyone!  I hope your 4th of July weekend is off to a great start!  Mine is has been flying by.  Today I went on a power walk with Scott and Skylar through Balboa Park, went to the gym and lifted, and as soon as I hit publish I am getting together with Amber for a Happy Hour out and possible shenanigans in store!  Scott and Skylar will keep each other entertained while Amber and I head out for who know’s what!  I don’t think it’s going to be too crazy because we are doing an early happy hour, and then she has places to go and people to see since she is mostly single and fabulous.  Whereas I will be walking home to my napping child.

Recently, in the mail I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Essentials from Perseus Book Groups.  This is Ani’s newest, and in my opinion, most amazing book to date!

Ani's Raw Food Essentials book

Photo in cookbook of Brazil-Nut Banana Pancakes stacked
Title of recipe of Brazil Nut-Banana Pancakes
Brazil Nut-Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup and Sliced Bananas
Cookbook photo of Mediterranean Wrap with Red Pepper Hummus
Mediterranean Wrap with Red Pepper Hummus (Bean-Free)
Photo of cookbook author in book
One day I would love to meet Ani!  I know Gina and Michelle have met her as part of their Raw Culinary experience at 105 Degrees.  Quite envious.
In just thumbing through this book, I fell in love.  It’s full of easy, straightforward, not overly complicated recipes, and not filled with recipes with tons of exotic or pricey ingredients that have too many steps so you don’t want to make them anyway.

The book is full of everything from how Ani became raw to fermented recipes (like kombucha and kefir) to raw pizzas, wraps, and burgers, to eco-friendly cleaning product recommendations.  It’s not only a cookbook, but also what I’d call an eco-conscious, holistically-minded lifestyle book.  That also happens to have fabulous recipes!  Ani is very non-dogmatic and urges us all to do what we can, do what works for you, and don’t stress.  That alone makes me love her even more!

I cannot wait to join my fellow bloggers like Lori, Christine, and Danielle who have already started diving into This Book

Cover of Ani's Raw Food Essentials Book

I have reviewed many other cookbooks…

See This Post for a Massive Cookbook Review
Shelf full of cookbooks
 Truth be told, Ani has always been my Go-To!  And her new book looks even better, if that’s possible!

Moving On….
My Kombucha’s Ready!

Day 7.  Time to take out the Baby Scoby that has formed that’s floating on the top.  The Mother is at the Bottom.
Day 7 of Kombucha Making in jar
Nice Progress!  The Baby got thicker and grew from Zero to 1/4 inch in 7 days which is ideal from what I’ve read.
Baby on top of kombucha 1/4" thick

Here was the Previous Progress
Day 3: This Little “Skin” formed on the top layer of the tea water which is the New Baby that is growing from the Mother Scoby

Thin skin formed on Kombucha
The Bubbles mean the Bacteria are Cultures are Alive and At Work!  Fermentation is fun!
Bubbles on top of Kombucha
 Probably not as exciting as My Fitness Show Progress pics, but hey, I try.
Day 4: There was a little thickening of the new skin, i.e. new baby that’s forming
Thickening of skin on top of kombucha in jar
Close up of thickening skin on kombucha

Day 5

Day 5 of Kombucha with thicker skin on top

Day 7: Done!

Finished Kombucha in jar showing skin on top

I took out the Mother and Baby Scoby’s and had more Sweetened, Room-Temp fresh Tea waitingin new jars.

The Mother and Baby
Mother and Baby Scoby in jar
I promise it’s not raw chicken breasts
Jars of kombucha and strainers

I filtered the brew and it sat in a sealed jar on my countertop for another day.  This is called the Second Fermentation and by sealing it off and bottling it, the goal is to create Fizz!  It created some fizz but not tons.

Strained Kombucha in jar

And then it was time to start two new batches…
The Mother went into the 2 Gallon Jar  and the Baby I grew went into the 3/4 Gallon Jar

Mother Scoby in large jar and baby scoby in small jar

Everything is covered, my next round of kombucha making and fermentation is underway, and now I just wait a week.

Three Jars of Kombucha fermenting
Note:  The middle-sized covered jar bit the dust.  That’s the second scoby I scored from a different woman.  Not a huge thing that I had to dump out, just 1.5 Gallons of Sweetened Tea and Time.  That’s all I wasted.  When In Doubt, Throw it Out!  is the motto in all fermentation processes.  From wine and beer to kefir or kombucha making!  It looked sketchy and even as a newbie, I knew it was off so I pitched it.

Taste Verdict?
Omg it rocks.  I am not just saying that.  It is very lightly sweet because I didn’t over-ferment.  The longer duration you ferment, the more sour it gets.  I don’t want to drink vinegar and it does not taste like vinegar at all.  I would describe it as a Hard Ciderif you’ve ever had that.

Lidded jar of Homemade Kombucha
At any rate, I am loving my homemade kombucha and I didn’t add any juice to it.  It didn’t need it.  For anyone who has tried kombucha and thinks it tastes like vinegar, you better come to San Diego and try mine.  It does not and I plan to continue making ‘booch for a long time to come!

Green Food:  Edamame Salad with Stevia leaves from the Stevia PlantI bought last week

Edamame salad with stevia plant in background
Close up of Edamame Salad with stevia leaves
For my Thoughts on Stevia Plants and What the Leaves Taste Like, Click Here
Dressed With Homemade Vegan Slaw Dressing using Reduced Fat Veganaise
Vegan Slaw Dressing with ingredients in background
Salad dressed with Vegan Slaw Dressing
 I’ve been eating an Edamame Salad per day, lately.  I remind myself it’s a Groove, not a rut.

For those of you who need to bring something to any parties this weekend, and don’t have anything in mind yet or are stumped about what to bring, I provided dozens of links to what I think would make for good 4th of July or Summer Party Food.

If you need ideas for easy Dips & Spreads, Crackers & Chips, Entrees, Wraps, Desserts…Click Here to See my Suggestions for easy crowd-pleasing recipes.

Vegan GF Crackers, i.e. Homemade Mary’s Crackers
Vegan GF Crackers stacked close up
Raw Pasta & Marinara
Close up of Spring Rolls in clear container
Two Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

From Yesterday…
I also reminded you about Raw Vegan Cheesecake with Strawberries and/or Chocolate Sauce

Close up of Raw Vegan Cheesecake
Close up of Strawberries in container
Raw Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate Sauce in bowl with spoon

Thanks to everyone who said you thought the Peanut Butter “Sandwiches” I made out of Raw Squash look good.  I do it with Cucumbers, Zucchinis, anything I can cut flat because it’s far better than eating gluten-containing breadfor us.

Three Peanut Butter "Sandwiches"
Who needs Gluten-containing bread?
Hand holding one Peanut Butter "Sandwich"

I loved everyone’s Non-Holistic habits and practices that you know you should give up….but don’t or won’t.

And I loved all your 5 Random Fun Facts!   Those were really fun to read!  Thanks for playing along, gang!  Everything from needing 5 rolls of toilet paper in each bathroom at all times to not being able to sleep without noise/music to hating where you live to loving skydiving.  I love learning about you all that way!

Dessert Today is the Vegan Vanilla SoftserveI just made

Four bowls of Vegan Vanilla Softserve
Close up of Vegan Vanilla Softserve


1. What’s your favorite cookbook and why?
Me = I love Ani’s books/recipes because as I said they are straightforward, not a lot of dehydrating or fussy, complex steps.  Just plant-based ingredients, well-combined, to turn out great dishes and recipes.  Truth be told, I don’t make tons of recipes from cookbooks, but I read cookbooks like most people read novels, to get ideas and jumping off places for my creations.

2. Do you have any cookbooks that others seem to love and you don’t?
There’s a certain Vegan cookbook with a green cover that I want to love but don’t.  Too much soy, spelt flour (contains gluten), too many cooked items, and too much garlic.  Every time I see other bloggers make the recipes, they look fabulous!  I race to my book, crack it open, and read the ingredients. Not my thing.   Gina, Danielle, Gabriela (who’s also giving a copy of it away) but I can’t make the recipes work for me.  I want to love the book as much as everyone else does, but those recipes are not true to my dietary path or my taste and palate preferences.  Just like not every pair of shoes or color of paint on the walls is for every person, I guess not every cookbook is not for every person.

3. Any cookbooks you really want?
One notable vegan cookbook I don’t have is Veganomicon and I think I would like to check it out.  Then again, I have more books and recipes than time to read or make, so maybe I should just get busy with what I have!


About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. Hi there:
    I’m not able to access the tofu recipes. I click on them to get to the page but I don’t ever get to the recipe. Thanks.