Galveston cookbook author Lisa Lewis had a clear vision for her new cookbook, “Happy Healthy Cooking.” She focused on easy, family friendly, nutritious meals. “I wanted the recipes to be easy, without crazy ingredients you have to hunt down at Whole Foods or special tools you have to get at Williams-Sonoma,” she declared. “In this cookbook, I think you will find that getting take out is not any quicker than cooking at home. It’s definitely not healthier. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming or even difficult.”

Lewis will be signing copies of the cookbook at a book-signing event at Galveston Bookshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 10. The book contains more than 100 recipes developed by Lewis and tested by her family. “My three kids all cook now,” Lewis said. “It’s so important to find some part of the meal that the kids can do, even if it’s just menu planning.”

Planning is a big part of getting dinner on the table, according to “Healthy Happy Cooking,” which includes a section on how to stock the pantry, spice rack and freezer for easy meal planning. “I’ve done a webinar on “How to Stock a Healthy Pantry.” My pantry has a chalkboard where I plan out dinners from Monday to Friday,” Lewis said. “It takes a little of the stress out of cooking to know exactly what’s planned and what it takes. I’m not opposed to freezer foods, especially fruits and vegetables.”

Lewis, who lives in Sea Isle, is CEO of First Place 4 Health, and has edited other publications for the group. “First Place for 4 Health is similar to Weight Watchers, but with a spiritual component,” she explained. “I’ve worked with them for 27 years, in various capacities, including 14 different publications, but this is the first cookbook where I came up with all the recipes.”

Collecting, adapting and streamlining recipes was one of Lewis’s favorite parts of the process. “I’m a recipe fiend. I save them, I adapt them and I love discovering new ones,” she said.

In addition to ensuring that each recipe can be replicated easily by home cooks, Lewis calculated the nutritional information for all of them. “I use a program called Master Cook, which has a big database of ingredients, and can also be customized.”

Besides cooking for family and friends, Lewis cooks for bigger groups, and is the chef for Wellness Week at Round Top several times each year. She also travels the country speaking, in inspirational and practical terms, on preparing family meals. “I’m talking about how to get your family back to the table,” she said. “It’s basically just trying to slow down, enjoy your food, and enjoy your time at the table.”

Lewis will also be presenting a cooking demonstration at the Galveston Farmer’s Market on June 8 at Menard Park. “I’ll be demonstrating one-pot pastas and stir fries,” she said. “We’ll also talk about knives, and getting the right ones for the jobs they do.”

In her talks and writing, Lewis encourages even the wariest to give cooking a try. “It can be easy. It can be fun,” she writes in the foreword to “Healthy Happy Cooking.” “It can be healthy. It can be delicious. It can also be a time with friends and family that truly makes us happier.”

(1) comment

Ron Shelby

How come the picture shows a bone-less, skin-less chicken breast, while the recipe calls for a bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh? Sure wish cookbook authors would take pictures of the real food that you'd be making.

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