Bringing the Spa Home: Canyon Ranch

It’s late winter, gray, and dreary outside. At least in Minnesota, we’re entering a tough time of year. Spring is most definitely NOT around the corner and anyone who can scrape together the resources, time, and organizational skill to head south to warmer terrain has either done so already or is currently in pre-vacation anticipation bliss. As for the Peterson clan, we’re here for the haul so I thought I’d transport myself to Canyon Ranch for the week. In recipe form, at least. Maybe a few pictures of the Arizona desert will improve my attitude.

This is another dusty book from my William-Sonoma days. My store hosted a cooking class featuring some Canyon Ranch recipes and I was given an apron (too small; I must have had spa-brain that day) as a parting gift. I felt obligated to buy the cookbook for a matching set. This book has gotten little to no use in the past 14 years but has been part of at least 5 moves. (That I can remember counting) We’ll see if it’s been worth the weight and effort for hauling this book around.

The Recipes
Chicken Cacciatore
Jet Fuel Salad Dressing
Fish with Mango Salsa (more of an “inspired by” recipe as I made significant changes)

The Good
There are some really beautiful pictures in the book. The first chapter has some great overall information on healthy tips, food suggestions, and overall strategies for healthful eating. Jet Fuel dressing isn’t terrible – a good fat free option as there is no oil in the dressing. It’s tastier after a few days in the fridge and keeps nicely in a mason jar.

The Bad
Chicken Cacciatore – should have been drunken chicken. The sauce was so boozy I worried that it would catch fire in the oven. Terrible. Don’t worry, I didn’t feed it to the kids. In fact, they didn’t like anything I served this week.

The Ugly
I read the cacciatore recipe three times to make sure I was interpreting it correctly – I knew it would be an epic failure. But I kept going and made extra vegetables for everyone. At least we’d get our greens in. That’s about the only thing we got in with this cookbook. With epic failures early on, I lost my motivation. I didn’t even follow through with my requirement for a minimum of 5 recipes to test – I was done. And bringing the spa home? Laughable. Spas are serene places that inspire exploration of self. My house is chaos that inspire a daily glass of wine.

Canyon Ranch Cooking: Bringing the Spa Home. Jeanne Jones
1 out of 5 stars
I have to be honest – I’m not going to use this cookbook again. It just wasn’t very good. Redeeming factors are beautiful photography and a very interesting collection of recipes. The problem – I didn’t want to eat any of them. I even had a distinct lack of motivation when I was working on my weekly plan. Not a good week. So it’s time for me to refresh. I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a few new cookbooks – and will start with Bon Appetit’s The Food Lover’s Cleanse this week. With poor inspiration I’ve fallen off my healthful wagon, but feel at least partially inspired enough to hop back on. Let’s see how it goes.



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