Cookbook review: Half Baked Harvest Every Day

It’s been a while since I reviewed a cookbook. Hope you haven’t been waiting with bated breath.

There’s a higher end boutique that I visit (mostly to browse or look on the sale rack). They carry some cool cookbooks and I always peruse through them and then snap some photos of the covers so I can remember to check them out of the library. Such was the case with Half Baked Harvest Ever Day by Tieghan Gerard.

About the book:

More than 120 all-new, soul-satisfying recipes with a focus on feeling good from the New York Times bestselling author of Half Baked Harvest Super Simple.

Balanced. Bold. Beautiful.

The millions of fans of the Half Baked Harvest blog and bestselling books have fallen in love with Tieghan Gerard’s recipes for their wholesome decadence, non-fussy approach, and smart twists on comforting favorites. Written and photographed in the stunning mountains of Colorado, inspired by her big, unique family, and focused on what you’ll want to eat day-in-day-out, Half Baked Harvest Every Day delivers all-new recipes that will feed your body and soul.

For Tieghan, feel-good-food isn’t about restrictive eating. It’s about enjoying real food with lots of flavor and the satisfaction of sharing it with those you love. Finding balance is about giving your body and your cravings what they need . . . whether that’s a light, vegetable-packed dish, or a big ole’ plate of something comforting.

In this collection, there are plenty of plant-forward dishes like Chipotle Cheddar Corn Chowder and Spinach and Pesto-Stuffed Butternut Squash. Tieghan also shares flavor-packed family favorites like Pizza Pasta with Crispy Pepperoni Breadcrumbs, Crispy Carnitas Taquitos, and Spicy Pretzel Chicken Fingers. And to keep a smile on everyone’s face, you’ll find luscious desserts like Chocolate Olive Oil Cake and a Candied Lemon Tart, made with a focus on wholesome, less refined ingredients.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, snack time, dinner, or dessert . . . this book has tried and true recipes that will make you feel good about sharing them at your table.

What I thought…

While I do have an Instagram account, I never post on it and rarely open the app. I’m on Facebook but that’s basically to keep up with former students and colleagues. I’ve got this blog and that’s about it for my social media empire, influencing and reach. While the cover of the book looked cool, I had never heard of Teighan Gerard.  So, I opened up the book with no pre-conceptions. At. All. I’d never followed her blog. I hadn’t heard of any of the “controversy” surrounding her. I was clueless.

As I read the introduction however, I couldn’t help but think, “Something seems off.”  She’s one of eight children.  She’s 30ish and has a three year old sibling. She still lives right next door to her family. No spouse or significant other is mentioned. And she lives in the mountains of Colorado. I just kept thinking “compound.”

I was a bit taken aback that she was offering definitions for gluten-free, one-pan and vegetarian (no meat). Really? This might have been tongue-in-cheek but I’m really not sure.

The photos of the food are amazing and I think she takes them herself so well-done there.

And, some of the recipes do sound delicious:

  • Maple Apple Butter (roasted in the oven!) (20)
  • Chai Orchard Doughnuts (31)
  • Cheddar Ranch Snack Crackers (58)
  • Lemon Chai Bourbon Smash (73)
  • Pale Ale Cauliflower Soup w/Rosemary Bacon (97)
  • Nutty Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (127)

There’s a whole section on Pasta and Pizza! Bonus!

For some of her recipes, she includes stovetop, pressure cooker, and slow cooker variations (for the same recipe). Bazinga!

But then there would a bit of oddity.  Like her Margherita pizza that has pepperoni on it. (Don’t get me wrong, I would pave the world with pepperoni if I could but some things are sacred.)

I found the Cheesy Beef, Black Bean and Rice Skillet recipe.  I really thought my sister created this dish when she was twelve. It’s a non-remarkable hamburger-helper take.

But to atone there was a recipe for Coq Au Vin Blanc Meatballs (186) that just sounded genius.

The dessert section was kind of unremarkable.  I think I had seen these recipes (or versions) of them before.

I do like that there are lots of vegetarian options. I’m not a vegetarian but I like to pretend I am sometimes. While flipping through the book one weekend (while it was totally overdue back to the library), I landed on the Spiced Lentil Soup with Curried Acorn Squash (86). I had two acorn squashes languishing on the cabinet since I don’t know when… . I had all the other ingredients so I decided to try it.

As stated before, I do like she includes three different cooking techniques when applicable. This recipe included instructions for stovetop, pressure cooker, and slow cooker. I don’t like to post the recipes here because I do feel like you need to buy the book and patronize the author and a good local bookstore  but GOOP posted it here if you’re interested.  

I did want to share a portion of the recipe though because it’s stellar and versatile.

Spiced Roasted Squash

Tieghan Gerard (from her Spiced Lentil Soup recipe) with a few tips added by me.

This smells delicious while roasting.


  • 1 medium acorn squash, seeded and cubed (1¾ to 2 pounds)
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t. honey
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • fine pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. (Use the convection roast setting if you have it.)
  2. Peel the acorn squash. The best way to do that is to half it down the middle and remove the seeds. Then, carefully slice through each scallop into smaller wedges. Peel each section and then cube.
  3. Place the squash cubes in a mixing bowl.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, and spice.  Pour over the squash cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a cooking spray or coat with a bit more oil.
  5. Roast until the squash is tender, 25 to 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

This recipe for just the squash might be worth the price of the book. Toss the squash into some rice for a quick lunch. This coating could be used on other squash like butternut or pumpkin and I also want to try it on sweet potatoes.

As for the soup. I would recommend.

I also tried the Cheddar Ranch Snack Crackers (58). I did a few technical tweaks on that recipe, too, like processing all the dried herbs and spices in a spice grinder before mixing. (Otherwise, there would have been big chunks of chives and parsley that I felt would have been detrimental to rolling out).  Also, don’t spend a lot of time re-rolling dough. Just place all the scrappy bits in a pie pan and bake. Use these bits in soups or on salads.

The taste of the crackers were spot on but I couldn’t get them crisp enough; they were more like tiny savory scones. Not that there was anything wrong with that.

As for the soup. It’s a winner.  There’s some weirdness here in this book but there might also be some greatness.

Do you feel like this is a tennis match you’re watching? Witnessing me tossing the ball back and forth?

Well, this is a wobbly, fence-straddling review.

Will I buy this book. No.

Will I make some recipes out of it. Yes.

Would I recommend it? Maybe.


I’m linking up with Foodies Reads for the final days of February.

3 comments to Cookbook review: Half Baked Harvest Every Day

  • I had to do a search to learn about the controversy. I have never heard of the author, nor read her blog or any of her cookbooks. I’m not sure what to think. She has made impressive accomplishments among the scandals and there are a lot of haters in this world. I like your take on it. Borrow the book, take what you like from it, disregard what you don’t like and try to be supportive of the individuals involved.

  • mae

    I may have seen a few references to this author but never paid any attention. I’d say this is kind of a bottom-feeder scandal, which wikipedia lists as “cultural appropriation, intellectual property, body shaming, privilege and racism.” Combined with your review (which isn’t very flattering and plagiarism is alwys ugly), I’ll totally skip it. But I think you are open-minded to even bother with it. Glad you didn’t waste any money.

    best, mae at