If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons

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9780312658953: If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons
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Rock star. Activist. Mother of two. How does Sheryl Crow have time to keep so healthy and fit? Sheryl knows how to eat right and deliciously thanks to personal chef Chuck White, affectionately known as “Chef Chuck.” The duo met while Sheryl was battling breast cancer, which for her, was a wake-up call to eat better. Since then, Chuck has taught Sheryl how to do just that by cooking foods that are seasonal, locally grown, and vitamin-rich to keep her on top of her game and always ready to perform. This wholesome approach to every dish has been successfully integrated into all aspects of Sheryl’s busy life—from dinner parties, to touring, to settling in at home near Nashville, TN with her two sons, Wyatt and Levi. Now Sheryl and Chuck want to bring their nutritious, delicious creations from her kitchen into yours.

Rock-and-roll flavored throughout, If It Makes You Healthy will have a full menu of approximately 125 recipes grouped seasonally, which reflects Sheryl’s busy schedule: Summer months offer tomatoes and corn, and summer also puts Sheryl on the road. Fall and winter brings apples and winter squash, when Sheryl is at home and in the studio. From the big entertaining menus that are prepared for her crew while touring (Mojito braised pork) to small home-cooked meals for Sheryl and her children (basil and apple marinated chicken)—all lushly photographed by Victoria Pearson—this book will be filled with easy and flavorful recipes anyone can make. Along the way, Sheryl opens up about touring and home life with stories about her childhood, her early years as a backup singer, and her eventual stardom.

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About the Author:

SHERYL CROW is an accomplished singer-songwriter and musician who has won nine Grammy awards and sold more than 31 million albums. She has performed with the Rolling Stones and has sung duets with Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Sting, and countless others. She and her two sons live outside Nashville, Tennessee.

CHUCK WHITE is a professionally trained chef who has worked in some of the country's most acclaimed restaurants including the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, The Little Nell in Aspen, and Splendido in Beaver Creek. Chuck has cooked for several high-profile clients and has been working exclusively with Sheryl Crow since 2006, both at home and on tour.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

IF IT MAKES YOU HEALTHY (Chapter One)Appetizers and Snacks

Bruschetta with Tofu Spread and Summer Vegetables

Roasted Summer Vegetable Panini with Goat Cheese

Lime-Kissed Stuffed Avocados

Cashew Butter and Fruit “Caviar”

Fried Green Tomato “BLT”

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Roma Tomato Soup Shooters

Zucchini Muffins

Watermelon Margaritas

Bruschetta with Tofu Spread and Summer Vegetables

CHUCK: Classic bruschetta, made by topping garlic-rubbed toast with sliced tomatoes, basil, and onions, can’t be beat in the summer when vegetables and herbs are at their height of ripeness, and this recipe is no exception. The tofu spread bursts with flavors that complement the tomatoes and cukes, while the pickled red onions add their own special hints of sweet and sour. The tofu spread is endlessly versatile, as it can be daubed on other sandwiches or served with crackers as a dip. Serves 8

8 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed, see Try Cooking with Tofu

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ cup light olive oil (or 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons canola oil)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 slices whole-grain bread, lightly toasted

4 to 5 medium-size ripe tomatoes, preferably organic, cored and sliced

16 slices English cucumber

½ cup Pickled Red Onions

¼ cup roughly chopped assorted fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, and chives

Cut the pressed tofu into small chunks and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the lemon juice, parsley, mustard, and garlic powder and pulse 10 to 15 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then pulse for about 15 seconds.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the oil through the feed tube into the tofu mixture, blending until it is the consistency of mayonnaise, 2 to 3 minutes. If necessary, thin the tofu with water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pulse to mix. Set aside until ready to use, or transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Spread about 1 tablespoon of tofu spread on each slice of toast. Top with the tomato and cucumber slices and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top each open-faced sandwich with pickled onions and a generous sprinkling of fresh herbs.

Try Cooking with Tofu

Also called bean curd, tofu is sold according to texture: silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm. It’s ivory colored and mild tasting—and for those who eat it regularly, it’s just about a perfect protein.

Tofu nearly always is sold packed in water and before it’s cooked, it should be drained, rinsed, and drained again. It usually comes in one-pound blocks and for some recipes should be weighted (pressed) for about an hour. To do so, put the drained tofu on top of several layers of paper towels on a plate, top it with another plate, and set a can or heavy pan that weighs about a pound on top of the plate. Let this construction stand for about an hour, during which time excess moisture will be released.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Panini with Goat Cheese

CHUCK: A roasted vegetable panini is a welcome light lunch, afternoon snack, or quick preconcert meal. I make them with just about any and all vegetables—Sheryl never complains!—but this mixture of peppers, squash, and mushrooms is one of our favorites. The balsamic vinegar gives the veggies deep-throated sweetness, while the goat cheese provides delicious creaminess and eliminates the need for any sort of mayonnaise or other dressing. Serves 4

2 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, and julienned

1 large yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on the panini

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 whole-grain or whole-wheat French baguettes, about 12 inches long

4 to 6 ounces soft goat cheese

1½ cups fresh spinach

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly oil it with olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms, bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini together. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil and vinegar and toss to coat evenly. Add the thyme and garlic powder and season to taste with salt and pepper, tossing to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender and their colors have perked up. There is no need to stir the vegetables as they roast.

Meanwhile, slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Spread the goat cheese on the top half of each.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Arrange the roasted vegetables on the bottom half of each baguette and top with spinach. Press the tops of the baguettes on the spinach and cut each sandwich in half for 4 sandwiches.

Line the baking sheet with a fresh sheet of foil and put the halved baguettes on the center of the baking sheet. Brush the top of the sandwiches with olive oil and then top with a sheet of foil.

Put a second baking sheet over the top of the sandwiches and press down on the sheet to compress the sandwiches. (You can also top the sandwiches with a heavy saucepan or sauté pan to weight them.) Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and bake the panini for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread is golden and crusty and the goat cheese is oozing from the sides of the sandwiches.

Carefully remove the panini from between the baking sheets and put on a cutting board. Cut the halves in half again.

Lime-Kissed Stuffed Avocados

CHUCK: I make these stuffed avocados pretty regularly when we’re on the road. Everyone loves them because just about everyone likes avocados and they are filling without being heavy—the perfect snack or light meal. Serves 4

4 ripe avocados

4 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons fresh store-bought salsa, preferably organic

Blue corn or flax seed tortillas, preferably organic

Cut the avocados into halves and remove pits. Carefully scoop the flesh from each avocado, leaving the skins intact so that you can refill them. Transfer the avocado flesh to a glass mixing bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and pepper and mash with a fork or potato masher. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon the avocado back into the scooped-out skins. Garnish the top of each with a tablespoon of fresh salsa.

Serve with organic blue corn or flax seed tortillas.

Avocados, Avocados, Avocados

I repeat the word three times because Sheryl and I just can’t get enough. Luckily, they are easy to come by just about anywhere, with the large winter crops coming into the stores in January and February. To tell if an avocado is ripe, hold it in your hand and exert gentle pressure. It should give nicely, but not feel mushy (similar to determining the ripeness of a peach).

You can buy hard avocados and let them ripen on the counter, but that can take up to a week. To speed up the ripening process, place the avocados in a paper bag with an apple or banana, and they should ripen in a day or so. Avocados are packed with good stuff for your body: They may contain more fat than other fruits, but the fat is a “good” one—about 30 percent of each fruit consists of healthful monounsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol. Its rich folate content helps prevent strokes. Avocados are also high in oleic acid (as is olive oil), which guards against breast cancer. What else? Evidently certain nutrients are absorbed more effectively when avocados are part of a meal, and the fruit is a great source of vitamin E. It’s no small wonder both Sheryl and I like these glorious little powerhouses of great flavor and good health.

Cashew Butter and Fruit “Caviar”

CHUCK: What I love about this appetizer is how unexpected it is. The slightly tart fruit caviar—so called because the texture of the fruit-flavored tapioca resembles caviar—is served with homemade cashew butter. The result? Something like a very grownup peanut butter and jelly treat. Serves 15 to 20

Cashew Butter

2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

Fruit “Caviar”

3 cups sugar-free fruit juice, such as grape or apricot, preferably organic

½ cup uncooked tapioca pearls

30 to 40 melba toasts, crostini, or other small crackers

To make the cashew butter: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, and salt 2 to 3 times until the nuts are crumbled and starting to form a paste.

With the processor running, drizzle the oil into the nut mixture until it comes together into a smooth butter. This won’t be as smooth as creamy peanut butter but will have a little texture. If the butter is very thick, add a little water through the feed tube with the motor running, 1 teaspoon at a time. You should have about 2 cups of nut butter.

To make the caviar: In a small saucepan, bring the juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the juice until the amount red...

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