The past few months I've carried this small collection of books from my nightstand to kitchen counter and back. While I've clung to warm bowls of oatmeal or soup as a winter routine, I found some quiet evenings when the boys were sound asleep and I was in the kitchen alone to sample recipes from The Southern Vegetarian, Honey & Oats, Isa Does It, Gluten-Free & Vegan Pie, and One Simple Change. They've since found a spot on my overcrowded bookshelf which is testament to how much I like each one. 1. The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table by Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence Burks and Lawrence are the same duo behind the charming and prolific recipe blog, The Chubby Vegetarian where they turn out classic southern fare into vegetable laden dishes from their Tennessee kitchen. After spending a handful of months cooking from The Southern Vegetarian, I'm hooked. Bold flavor and creative flair define the recipes which hold technique and simplicity hand in hand. I haven't been this smitten with a cookbook since Ottolenghi's last hit Plenty splayed across storefront windows. I started with these five recipes and am still cooking from the book: Easy Horchata, Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie, Smoked Coconut Bacon, Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Eggplant, Vegetarian Chicken and Waffles. The seasonal food is joyful and downright good. Keep a copy near the stove, mark your favorites, try a new one, then repeat. Final note, many of the recipes can easily be modified to fit a vegan diet and shouldn't be shied away from by any means. 2. Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked With Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners by Jennifer Katzinger The author, who started Seattle's Flying Apron Bakery with her father in 2002, set a place for organic baked goods made without refined flours and sweeteners. The bakery grew in size and popularity, from a small take-out window in the University District to a large cafe in the city's Fremont neighborhood, and is a tribute to Katzinger's talent for turning out healthy treats. She sold the still thriving bakery in 2010 to pen cookbooks and we should all celebrate this move since home bakers across the country are now able to sample her goods. Honey & Oats, Katzinger's fifth book (see #4 on this for another one of her titles), includes 74 recipes for elegant and wholesome timeless sweets made with whole grains and natural sweeteners. Oats, teff, kamut, spelt, buckwheat, einkorn, and barley flour stand in place of white flour while honey, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and Sucanet replace refined sugar. One might think nutritious baked treats lack flavor and texture, not in this author's hands. Maple syrup sweetened carrot cake with einkorn flour and vanilla maple frosting is a worthy afternoon treat and the Barley Walnut Boule is a sandwich staple. A few other recipe to try include Granola Bars (gluten-free or vegan variation), Animal Cookies (vegan), and Strawberry and Macadamia Nut Crisp. The photographs and recipes are equally lovely and approachable, for kids (especially my five year-old) and adults alike. 3. Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz In her latest vegan tome, bestselling author Isa Chandra Moskowitz shares 150 plus recipes for the busy home cook to make in a snap. If you're familiar with vegan cooking, you likely read her blog Post Punk Kitchen or have cooked from one of her books including Veganomicon (co-authored with Terry Hope Romero), Vegan Brunch, or Vegan with a Vengeance, among others. Isa Does It, highlights ways to transform daily cooking into easy routine. Moskowitz delves into cooking savvy with quick ways to char vegan proteins, incorporate umami ingredients, build flavor depth, and use enough healthy fats to get the most flavor bang for their buck. The author's Recommended pantry ingredients and cooking techniques offer simple and satisfying meals. Written in her signature style and wit the book is an entertaining read alongside the stunningly beautiful images from Vanessa Rees. Each recipe gives total and active cooking times making it a cinch to fit those 3o minute dinners into a hectic schedule with two young kids, a mister, and cat for example. Starred favorites include: Bistro Beet Burgers, Quinoa Caesar Salad, Roasty Soba Bowl, New England Glam Chowder, and Nacho Night. 4. Gluten-Free & Vegan Pie: More than 50 Sweet and Savory Pies to Make at Home by Jennifer Katzinger In Gluten-Free & Vegan Pie, Jennifer Katzinger proves how to fit both in a traditional-style pie with delightful results. Introductory chapters detail necessary equipment and ingredients as well as pastry dough tips and techniques to make your pie making dreams come true. Featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, the recipes are arranged by season, from spring to winter. With more than 12 crust recipes to swap fillings with and ways to handle and dress each one, creative possibilities abound. Once again Katzinger shows us that baked goods without the use of dairy, eggs, gluten, or animal products is not only possible but also simple and delectable. Pies to bake first: Apricot and Cherry Crostata, Fig Frangipane Tart, Chaussons aux Pommes, Banana Cream Pie, Savory Provencal Tart. 5. One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life by Winnie Abramson As a regular reader and fan of Winnie's blog Healthy Green Kitchen, I was excited for the publication of her new book. Smart and practical, One Simple Change is a new kind of wellness guide that favors age-old culinary wisdom, green living tips, modern nutrition tips, and 15 recipes to help you feel their best. Each one of the 50 tips has a dedicated chapter that can be worked through week by for a year long practice or anytime that's good for you. As expected, Winnie's engaging prose along with her nutrition and lifestyle tips are not to be missed. Five must-try tips and recipes: Pay Attention To Protein/Coconut Tempeh and Vegetable Stew; Ramp Up Raw Foods/Blended Raw Tomato-Basil Soup; Load Up On Leafy Greens/Mixed Green Salad with Apple, Goat Cheese, and Soft-Boiled Eggs; Get Some Culture/Spicy Lacto-Fermented Pickles; Drink Healthy/Walnut Milk.