I have a nook in my heart for celebrity cookbooks. I can’t get enough of them! There’s something so intimate about a famous person curating a book of recipes. In my collection, I have Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good, Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, Kris Jenner’s cookbook which has Nicole Brown Simpson’s “cult favorite” recipe for chicken nachos, The Tucci Cookbook by my husband Stanley Tucci, and I even have Elizabeth Takes Off, which is more about Elizabeth Taylor’s relationship with her body than recipes, but she DOES have some excellently questionable food tips, like steamed cucumber and “tomato dip,” which is basically just ketchup and sour cream. Anyway. I love me a celebrity cookbook!
Which brings me to my latest addition, Tia Mowry’s new culinary publication Whole New You, which came out March 3rd. Yes THE Tia Mowry from Sister, Sister! Mowry has her own Cooking Channel show, Tia Mowry at Home, so a published book of recipes was to be expected. The cookbook is rooted in health, wellness and using food as a vehicle to change the composition of your life. After explaining what made her change her unhealthy diet (ovarian cysts, endometriosis, migraines), Mowry offers a slew of tips and tricks to revamp your life and your kitchen. And the recipes included are all processed ingredient and dairy-free, but still call for meat and seasoning — so it’s kind of like a low-key Goop.
But you never know until you try, so I gave a few recipes a go: Watermelon Soup, Coconut Curry Noodle Soup, and “Buttermilk” Fried Chicken. The arrival of her cookbook came at the perfect time: I’d been extra groggy lately because I admittedly had been eating more junk food than ever, and heating up chicken nuggets for dinner on nights I was too lazy to cook myself a real meal. Tia Mowry to the rescue, though!
Here’s how that went and how it all tasted! (Apologies in advance for making you stare at my iPhone photos — the bad lighting in my apartment doesn’t help either, but love me anyway!)
One thing you MAY not know about me is that I love a cold soup! I never really make it or order it, but I have an appreciation for a chilled meal, and after a weekend of eating out and ordering in Thai food, I decide to make Mowry’s light watermelon soup, which calls for watermelon, strawberries, mint, and a hint of cayenne. You literally just throw everything into the blender and watch the chunks of fruit turn into a pink puree. The only ingredient I didn’t have was apple concentrate, because I’m pretty sure grocery stores haven’t sold concentrated juices since the ’90s, so I made do with some apple cider. I was so hungry, I ate it before it chilled, which Mowry instructs. It tasted great, but wasn’t incredibly filling, so I ate half a French baguette later.
Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
It’s a soup kind of week, alright? I make an honest living and then I come home and make soup because it’s easy and it allows me to spend more time online shopping in bed. Okay, so this soup is surprisingly easy to make, and doesn’t require any exotic ingredients you have to specially order online and wait a month for. You pretty much just throw coconut oil, ginger, mushrooms, coconut milk, broth, noodles, and red curry paste into a pot and watch an episode of Girls while it cooks. I did add some chicken breasts to the broth (which tacked on 25 or so minutes) because coconut milk and mushrooms didn’t seem very filling. The soup is VERY flavorful and perfectly spicy — but if you’re a spice snob, go ahead and add some sriracha.
“Buttermilk” Fried Chicken
The catch with this “Buttermilk” Fried Chicken is that there’s no buttermilk at all! Surprise! Mowry swaps it with cashew milk, which is a little different, because it’s, well, not milk. No matter, I follow the instructions, which aren’t the easiest (Mowry suggests making the chicken in small batches, which is frustrating because you’ll be frying a couple thighs and a leg, and the breast is already cooling on a plate). Directions aside, the fried chicken was delicious — slightly sweet, but perfectly crispy and seasoned. I made these with some sautéed spinach.
These meals felt so much healthier than what I normally stuff into my body (sorry, body), and I swear I a difference. Besides the French baguette supplement on Watermelon Soup night, the recipes were lighter but filling, and pretty indulgent all things considered. Ditching the dairy (and gluten, for the most part), even if it was for a few days, gave me more energy the night of and even the next morning.