Book Report: The Pretty Zen Collection: Nourish & Glow and Fresh & Pure + Bonus Recipe for Banana Bread (GF & RSF) + Book Giveaway!

Are you guys on Instagram? I joined about a year and half ago (@lisasprojectvegan) and it has been a really interesting experience. I have “met” some really great people – people who cook and post their meals, microbloggers who post recipes right on IG, bloggers who have blogs like me, and vegan cookbook authors. Recently an author named Jules Aron reached out and offered to send me her newest books and today my blog is the next stop on The Pretty Zen book tour!

These two little books are so pretty. The colors, the design, the feeling of the books in my hands. They are like “real” books, you know the kind you find in an old library. Nourish & Glow: Naturally Beautifying Foods & Elixirs, is right up my alley. More on this in a second. Fresh & Pure: Organcially Crafted Beauty Balms & Cleansers is all about homemade beauty products using fruit, flowers, herbs, and minerals. I am not ready for this! It’s enough that I cook almost every meal that we eat. Now I have to make my own beauty products? That might be a project for this summer.

Today I am going to talk about Nourish & Glow. The book focuses on high quality, fresh ingredients that yield delicious, nourishing, flavorful food. The recipes are well thought out and ask for very clean, unprocessed ingredients. The core of Jules’ philosophy is deeply rooted in integrative nutrition with an overall holistic approach to well being. She writes about enzymes, raw foods, minerals, alkalinity, amino acids, healthy fats, pre- and probiotics, and adaptogens. Quite educational for me! She reviews food combining and mindful eating, reminding us to savor our meals, eat with the seasons (so I have to save a few of the recipes for the summer), and do so consciously. She also discusses beauty boosting foods and the value of eating the colors of the rainbow.

The food in this book is super clean and healthy and while there are basic provisions that you can find in other vegan cookbooks like plant milks, yogurts, cheeses and seasonings, the rest of the book offers not-your-typical vegan fare made with not-your-typical ingredients (at least for me) like rosewater, hibiscus tea, spirulina, and mushroom powder.

The book is broken down into morning meals, snacks, drinks, salads and slaws, entrees, and sweets including recipes for banana bread, granola, latkes, vegetable chips, carrot bacon, mushrooms chowder, green gazpacho, super creative salads like celeriac, jicama and apple slaw plus eggplant lasagna, wild mushrooms and spinach tarts, and an amazing crepe cake with salted caramel cream.

I made the banana bread because it is gluten-free (GF) and refined sugar free (RSF) – only oat and almond flour and maple syrup and I have been trying to make a gluten-free banana bread with just almond flour. This is a keeper and Jules let me post the recipe. See below!

I made the vegetable chips using what I had on hand: parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets. Out of this world. Especially the beets; they are sweet as can be! I can’t believe I haven’t been making these all along.

I also made the mushroom chowder. Leeks, garlic, potatoes and creamy plant milk. I topped mine with extra shiitake bacon that I made quickly on the stovetop while the chowder was cooking and some toasted breadcrumbs for something extra. (Both my idea, not in the book.)

You can learn more about Jules at her site where she is having a giveaway for a personally curated Beauty Box! It includes specially selected tried and true products from brands she loves and trusts. To enter, click here! The giveaway closes on March 27th. If you win, will you share some of the goodies with me? Kidding, not really…

And over here, I am giving away one copy of each of the books!

To enter, email me at:
lisasprojectvegan at gmail dot com
by end of day Thursday, March 22nd,
and tell me why you should be the owner of this new  book.
US residents only, please!


Banana Bread (GF & RSF)

A vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free version of banana bread that everyone is sure to love.

Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 1 loaf, 10-12 slices


  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (plus more for pan)
  • 4 bananas
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups certified gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside. 

  2. Combine the bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a blender and blend. 

  3. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together and pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. 

  4. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

  5. Allow to cool before enjoying.


  1. I dropped in a piece of parchment paper to act as a shield between the pan and the banana bread and didn't have to deal with greasing the pan which is not my favorite thing to do!

  2. I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour.

  3. I didn't use my blender to make this. I just simply mashed the bananas right in the mixing bowl.

  4. I decorated the top of my bread with a sliced banana and sprinkled coconut sugar on top for an extra something. That something is a) the prettiness factor and b) the extra sweetness factor.

  5. I baked my bread for 65 minutes in an electric oven.


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