Monday, May 08, 2006

"Party of One"

Before I get started, tonight for dinner: a homemade white bean, oat, and herb burger with Vegenaise for dipping, broccoli stalks and red pepper strips with hummus for dipping, tater tots with ketchup for dipping, and an asian pear with nothing for dipping, because it's perfect just as is. :)

Now, on to the cookbook. I have had several questions about the cookbook I am working on, so I thought I'd post about it and offer you all a few details!

The working title is, "Party of One: Healthy Food for Single People." Essentially, my target audience is single people (young or otherwise) who cook for themselves and who want to eat healthfully but need help getting started and finding some ideas. All of the recipes are vegetarian, most are vegan (or can be veganized easily,) and all emphasize whole foods (fruits, veggies, grains, beans and legumes,) with a short to medium amount of prep/cooking time, lower sodium, and lower sugar. All of the recipes make a manageable amount of servings (one or two, or in the case of baked goods, six muffins or a small loaf of bread) and could be easily doubled for couples/dates/whatever.

Here's a simple breakdown:
Section 1: Why on Earth would a preschool teacher want to write a cookbook?
This is my introduction. It pretty much describes how I arrived where I am diet and nutrition wise, and gives a general overview of the whole cookbook. I'm thinking about overhauling it and focusing mainly on the reader, while keeping bits of my personality/story here and there.

Section 2: Plan of Attack.
This is my chapter on hardware and software, (kitchen needs such as pots, pans, knives, etc., and basic "raw ingredients" to have on hand,) with tips on grocery shopping/list making and meal planning at the end.

Section 3: Daily Breads.
Muffins, quick breads, a scone, biscuits, corn tortillas, a couple of yeast breads (which I'm thinking of omitting,) and pizza crust.

Section 4: The MOST IMPORTANT meal of your day.
Split into two sections: ideas/"recipes" for quick, on-the-go weekday breakfasts, and weekend breakfast ideas: homemade granola, doctored-up hot cereals, pancakes, french toast, a couple of egg recipes, and veggie home fries.

Section 5: Sack it!
Why and how we should pack our lunches. There's a sandwich assembly chart, a salad assembly chart, easy pasta salad, some sandwich fillers (tofu salad, chickpea salad, egg salad,) tabouli, croutons, and vinaigrette recipes.

Section 6: Snack attack.
Why and how to snack smart: ideas, tips, and a few recipes for dips and crunchy things.

Section 7: Mom, what’s for dinner?
Hoppin' John, Sloppy Lentils, Chickpea Pocket Pies, Beans and Rice a million ways, Black Bean Enchiladas, three bean burger recipes, polenta, stir-fry, tofu marinades, pizza, pastas, a marinara sauce, and soups (lentil, miso, chickpea noodle, chili, and a couple "cream of" veggie soups.)

Section 8: Sugar shock.
Cookies, simple cakes, maybe a cupcake or two, a couple bar recipes, and a couple of fruit desserts.

Section 9: Fancy food for fancy days.
This is a section I haven't written yet and am toying with omitting -- I wanted to give a few "fussier" recipes/sample menus for simple entertaining -- dinner parties of 4 to 6 people, etc. But I think a whole book on dinner parties could be more fun!

SO, here's where I'm at. Most of the cookbook is written, (I need to finish the Sugar Shock chapter, rewrite the introduction, and write a conclusion,) and I am working on testing recipes on my end. Once I get recipes the way I like them, I'm going to need helpers! If you'd be interested in helping me test-drive my cookbook, drop me an email (see my profile) and let me know what you'd be interested in testing -- baked goods, only vegan stuff, dinners, whatever. I haven't even thought about the publishing aspect of this yet . . . maybe someone (Dreena!!) out there could give me some tips about what I should do/what I should send publishers?

I appreciate everyone's encouragement for and interest in this! I have never undertaken a project this big or exciting before, and it's lots of fun. :)


Dori said...

Section 9: Fancy food for fancy days.

Save this one for the flying food snob. This will be the time you are traveling the world (from book one royalties) sampling international cuisine for your followers to prepare on fancier days.

Unknown said...

Hiya! I'm happy to test for you. I can do baked goods (vegan please) or vegan meals, although I would double main meal recipes to feed my DH and small child so I'm not sure if that's useful or not!

You can find me at or annadh at gmail dot com.

My only comment would be that almost every single cookbook I have has a list of what I need in my kitchen and what ingredients to have on hand which annoys me as I am paying for recipes rather than that kind of information. It's not just your target audience who will buy your book and most of us don't need tons of that information, I'm a vegan cookbook whore! Hope that doesn't sound negative, it's something I'd say to any cookbook writer! :o)

Catherine Weber said...

Dori, ha, ha! You're right -- fancy food should come later. :) Would you be willing to help test some recipes for me?

Anna, thanks for the offer of help! I'll email you some recipes to try soon. I appreciate your opinion -- I've actually cut that section way down a couple of times already, and plan to trim it a bit further still. There are tons of great vegan/vegetarian cookbooks out there already, and since my cookbook has a pretty small niche, I didn't want to forget this part. (Especially because my focus is what you don't need in a teeny apartment kitchen -- stripping it down to the bare essentials.) My experience has been that many single people I know don't cook because they don't have decent equipment and they don't really know how -- so I thought I'd help them out a bit. I figure it's easy for us pros, too, to skip right past that section and move on to the good stuff!

Anonymous said...

your book sound very interesting, hope we can see it soon, i will like to test for you too.although I would double main meal recipes to feed my husband and little girl so I'm not sure if that's useful or not! too, let me know, it

Emily said...

I'd be interested in testing just about anything, but I'm always up for anything involving chickpeas (I love them!).

I'd rather not post my address, but you get it when you get notified of this post, right?

Anonymous said...

I would love to help test your recipes.... especially the Sack it! section. I bring my lunch/dinner to work everyday and I usually get stuck in a rut, when I get sick of the rut, I end up eating out too much. It is not a good cycle.

Eat Peace Please said...

I am MORE than happy to test for you. This book sounds great and I will certainly purchase it but I'll just double some recipes! I like how the chapters are titled and I enjoy reading your blog so I know I'll enjoy the cookbook.

Start sending the recipes, I'll send my email in another comment to not-publish.

I'm excited for you...

Eat Peace Please said...
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Melissa said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine,
Congratulations! You've really done a lot of work! And all before considering what to do about publishers. Do you know if you are considering self publication or going with a company? I know there are two schools of thought...although, I don't know much about either. I'd be curious what Dreena or other people with experience have to say. I'm one of those...someday I might want to write a cookbook people, but I haven't done a thing about it yet.

I'd be happy to test vegan recipes for you.

Tips for your book - I really like it when cookbooks give you suggested variations on the dish. That way you can make it when you have most but not exactly all of the ingredients. And, it gives you a lot of diversity in the same recipe (ie- double the value). I also like it when cookbooks devote at a minimum page per recipe. I don't know why...maybe I like the extra white space so I can write notes/comments. Oh..and pretty pictures always catch my eye!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...


I am a fellow Minneapolis dweller, and I only recently found your blog--I love it! I would love to help you test vegan recipes! I am not sure how to give you my e-mail address without it being posted, though...does anyone know how to do this?


Catherine Weber said...

Thanks for all of your offers of help, everyone!

First off, comment moderation stinks, so I'm turning it back off. However, I will put a link to my email address somewhere on here (my profile page?) so if you want to help test recipes, shoot me an email. (I was able to scrounge up Anna, Dori, Leslie, and Melissa's email addresses. Everyone else, I'll need your address still.

Leslie, you were the only one that requested I not publish your email address, and I deleted that comment. Anyone else, feel free to delete your comment if you want to remove your email address from here! I'm really sorry this got so screwed up -- comment moderation just doesn't like me. Sheesh.

okay . . .

Emily: I have a chickpea pocket pie recipe I'm working on, and once I get the pastry dough just right, would you like to test it out?

Michelle: there isn't much in the Sack It! section, but you're my gal. I'll pass some off to you on Friday night, even! (Attack of the TV Sound -- look out Current and Mark Wheat, here we come!!!!!)

Leslie: I'll send you stovetop-only recipes :)

Melissa: I'll send something your way!

Megan: I think I'd ultimately like to go with a publishing company, just because I know there is no way I can afford to self-publish this. Ideally, I'd like to choose a local publishing company if one is interested, but then again, the big ones will get the book out there that much faster. I should pop over to Dreena's blog and let her know I'm looking for her advice! I plan on each recipe having its own page, with wide margins for note-taking. I'd love to include a photo of every recipe . . . but that would significantly drive up the cost of the book. I don't want to price myself out of my niche market! I'm torn.

Thanks again, everyone!

Eat Peace Please said...

Thanks for your comment about stove-top only. Oh, and for not showing the entire world (who's visiting your blog) my email. I look forward to raw and or stovetop recipes. Plus, it'll be waaaay too hot here soon to use the oven anyway!

Catherine Weber said...

Hey Courtney,
Welcome! If you click on "view my complete profile," there should be a link to MY email address in there -- go ahead and drop me a line. Do you have a blog? (Or are you planning on starting one?)

Leslie, believe it or not, it gets hot enough here to avoid the oven during the summer, too! I eat a lot of salad, smoothies, yogurt, toast, cereal, pasta salad, bean burgers, and other simple foods. :)

Julie said...
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Julie said...

Wow! Looks like it will be an awesome book!

*Great concept
*Love the sack lunch section
*Love that it is based around whole foods

Tell me when the cookbook is ready, so I can but a copy!


Dreena said...

Hi Catherine! Well, very exciting... good for you! :) I have posted a response to you back on my blog - it's a bit long, but hopefully some of the info will help you. Good luck!

Fiber said...

Sound absolutely awesome, and Ilove the idea. I wish you the very best!

Flo @ Yielded Heart said...

Catherine, I just sent you an email. Sorry for coming here late.

I had no idea you're up to something and as I was reading I was thinking- oh, that wouldn't be me- I feed a family! But hey, I would really like to pitch in, besides this would be a cool homeschool project- testing for a future cooking diva/author. Whoa! And if you think about it, you have 5 testers in one here, ranging from ages 1 to 36!

A vegetarian cookbook author from Mpls--how awesome is that?

Catherine Weber said...

Kai, thanks for the help! I haven't checked my email yet, but will write down your email address and send you something fun soon. Do your girls like to bake? I could send you some cookie or muffin recipes or something!