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Monday, July 11, 2016

Seagan Eating Resource and Cookbook Review + Maple Almond Butter Caramel Corn Recipe

Maple Almond (or Peanut) Butter Caramel Corn
Seagan = A Seafood + Vegan Diet

One thing that I've toyed with over the years is following a pescetarian diet (basically a vegetarian who eats fish and seafood). I could probably be loyal to it if it weren't for my love of bacon. I'd miss steak and carnitas, too. But I think I could swing it if I tried. But a seagan diet takes it one step further by eliminating all animal food sources except fish and seafood. Bacon is one thing, but take away my cheese and you'll be inviting fisticuffs.

That being said, I do think it's a sensible diet option and am happy to introduce a new release called Seagan Eating in case it interests you. This is a small, soft cover book that measures about 4 1/2 x 8 inches and has those soft "news print" style pages that are easy to write on (which I do, with pencil in books I use regularly). When I first flipped through and didn't see any photos I was disappointed. However, once I actually sat down to read it, I found that I didn't mind the lack of photos since it leans more towards resource book than cookbook, with recipes only comprising about 1/3 of the pages. That said, there are some sporadic, but beautifully drawn illustrations.

"This wasn't an easy choice. Not all seafood is good for you (mercury!). Not all seafood is sustainable (overfishing!). And, of course, ethical vegans will find our infidelity unforgivable. But we believe there's a right way to go seagan, and we do our darndest to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about which fish to eat (or not)."

The book kicks off with the authors telling us why they "cheated on plants", what they actually eat, and lists of what you'll find in their seagan pantries, cupboards, and fridge—which basically looks just like any normal pantry (well, mine at least...minus the nutritional yeast).
Seagan Eating Resource and Cookbook review
They go on to talk about the health benefits of the diet, followed by a seafood buyers' guide, five fast and easy "general" fish preparations, and a guide to the best and worst fish for health and sustainability. The next two chapters leading up to the recipes are recipe hacks (which I think is an incredibly useful chapter, no matter your diet) and 21 days of seagan menus. After that are just under 100 pages of recipes including rich comfort foods, sides, snacks, and dessert follows.

The book rounds out by sharing a bunch of recommendations and ideas such as a restaurant survival guide (including a sushi primer), tips, tricks, and secrets to dissecting food labels, and healthier vegan food replacement ideas. There final 5 chapters (yeah, there are a LOT of chapters) are devoted to: nuts and seeds, spices (including health benefits of each), organic foods and whether they're worth the price, GMOs, and Superfoods.

Does it feel "preachy"? Occasionally, yes. But not enough that it turned me off since it was usually followed up by useful, practical advice. Is it worth purchasing, even if you don't currently know if you want to follow a seagan diet? I think so. Don't let its size fool you, this book is a powerhouse of information. Am I going seagan after reading it? Not until I stop loving cheese. Maybe I could start the seachegan diet...

Seagan Eating

Seagan Eating: The Ultimate Seafood + Vegan Resource and Cookbook

authors: Any Cramer and Lisa McComsey
publisher: TarcherPerigree
photos: no
soft cover: 258 pages

chapters/sections: Seduced by Seafood | Why We Cheated on Plants | What the Fluke Do Seagans Eat? | Seagan Staples Shopping List | The Health Benefits of Seafood | Seafood Buyers' Guide | Fish in a Flash - Five Easy Preparations | Best (and Worst) Fish for Health and Sustainability | Recipe Hacks - Prep Now, Use Later | Cook's Toolkit - Kitchen Essentials | Twenty-One Days of Swoon-Worthy Seagan Menus | Decadent Seagan and Vegan Recipes: Rich Seafood Dishes, Simply Perfect Fish in Foil - Eight Variations, Creamy Soups of the Sea, Homestyle Classics and Comfort Food, Sumptuous Sides and Snacks, To-Die-For Dips and Dressings, Wake-Up Call - Best Breakfasts, Indulgent Desserts | Restaurant Survival Guide and Sushi Primer | Dissecting Food Labels - The Tips, Tricks, and Dirty Little Secrets | Twenty-Three Vegan Foods You Should Ditch (and their Healthy Replacements) | Nuts and Seeds - TinyNutritional Powerhouses | Herbs and Spices - The Spicy Seventeen | Organic Foods - Worth the Price? | GMOs - Safe to Eat? | Superfoods - Super Hype? Or Superheroes?

(a few of the) recipes destined for my kitchen: Maple-Cashew Ice Cream by Hand (No Machine) | Brazilian Fish Stew, White Wine-Tarragon Catfish in Foil, Crab-and-Spinach-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms, Vegetable Pot Pie, Potato-Chip Pie in a Bag, Smoked Sardine Dip

about the authors: Amy Cramer is a vegan/seagan chef, coach, and creator of Vegan Eats, a line of prepared oil-fee vegan foods sold in supermarkets. Lisa McComsey is an award-winning copywriter and speaker, a marketing consultant, and a plant-powered marathon runner. They are the authors of The Vegan Cheat Sheet.

connect with the authors: website | facebook | twitter

recipe(s) I have already tried:  Caramel Corn (recipe written in my own words follows). Warning: it's ridiculously good. It only takes a few minutes to make...and eat.

Maple Almond (or Peanut) Butter Caramel Corn
This shortcut caramel corn uses maple syrup and almond butter to create a simple, irresistible vegan snack.
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Maple Almond (or Peanut) Butter Caramel Corn
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 minutes
Keywords: snack soy-free vegan American

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels (or 8 cups air-popped popcorn)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup natural almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Place the popcorn kernels in a large brown paper lunch sack; fold the bag over twice.

Cook in a microwave oven until popping slows down, about 3 to 4 minutes. Open bag carefully and pour popcorn into a large bowl (or start with your 8 cups of air-popped popcorn here).

Put the maple syrup in a saucepan and set over medium-high heat until it boils up the sides of the pan by one inch. Remove from heat and whisk in the almond (or peanut) butter and salt until smooth.

Immediately pour over the popcorn and use a large spoon to toss quickly. It's okay if you still have some uncovered popcorn, it will all mingle together as you eat it. Enjoy it, because it won't last long.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.