If there were ever a season for a cookbook like Ellie Krieger's So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week, this is it. The busy holiday season just screams out for a cookbook that offers fast, nutritional recipes that she said will be delicious, too.

That is truly a recipe for success, but then Krieger already brings a track record of success to her last publication. Her wealth of fans follow her weekly Food Network show, Healthy Appetite, and many are well familiar with her previous cookbooks Small Changes Big Results and The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life.

Many of her fans took the opportunity to meet the popular nutritionist, cookbook author and television personality last Sunday at Borders Fairfield, where Krieger stopped to promote the book. Her fans ranged from two 11-year-old girls from Avon who love to cook, to an 85-year-old Norwalk resident who wants to continue to eat healthy. These fans may be separated by an entire generation but they share a love for good healthy food, whether it's eating it or cooking it.

While Fairfield was her 12th book tour stop in 20 days, Krieger exhibited her personal enthusiasm for eating healthy and for people as she talked about the concept of the book and signed autographs for many fans who bought the book for Christmas gifts.

Krieger summed up the recipes in So Easy this way: "It's absolutely delicious food and it's good for the body." This combination reflects the author's own qualifications as a cookbook author. She is a nutritionist by education and a born food lover, she said.

In addition to the cookbook's value for its nutritional and tasty recipes, there's an added benefit. The meals can be accomplished in no more than 30 minutes, with an average time of 15 minutes. There's no longer the excuse that families don't have time to prepare healthy, tasty food.

So Easy is designed to be easy to read, with 150 recipes Krieger said are easy-to-prepare. The recipes, she said, tackle every possible mealtime situation. There are recipes for grab-and-go breakfasts or breakfast at leisure; lunches to go that have actually been road-tested in a cooler pack or made for leisurely enjoyment at home; dinners at rush hour or dinner when one feels like kickin' back. Then, to top off a meal there are those decadent desserts, made in a flash or with that extra special effort.

Krieger presents the recipes within the context of a complete meal. Then, at the back of the book, the author offers a recipe's nutritional data index indicating nutritional value for the recipes in the cookbook.

"Sometimes, we know what to do, but we don't do it," said Krieger to her very attentive audience, emphasizing the balance among flavor, texture and nutrition in her recipes. "You can be confident in making the recipes," she said.

The lunch recipes are offered in two categories: "Lunch on-the-Go" and "Lunch at Home." In the book she wrote: "One sure way to have a fantastic meal, whenever and wherever you need it, bring it with you." Krieger asked her audience how many people pack their lunch. Many raised their hands. She said, "One of the ways to eat well is to be in control of what you're consuming."

Krieger said, "What for me is the essence between the two lunches is melted cheese," which obviously, is a luxury of having lunch at home. Also, she noted that tomatoes are better served at home, along with her crab and avocado salad.

In discussing her dinner options, she drew attention to the book's cover photo of her garlic-basil shrimp dish. In her book, she writes: "This recipe wins hands down in the easy, fast and delicious category. It takes just six minutes to cook. You hardly have to chop a thing and you get a plateful of garlicky shrimp and warm plump tomatoes in a lovely light sauce."

In discussing her dessert recipes, Krieger cited a few favorites for the holiday season; Apple Brown Betty, and Pumpkin Rice Pudding -- the latter she serves in a cocktail glass.

Krieger is a registered dietitian who has a master's degree in nutrition from Columbia University. She completed her undergraduate work at Cornell University and taught at New York University in the department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. She speaks regularly at events around the country and has appeared as a guest expert on many programs including The Today Show, CNN and CBS.

Krieger was a keynote speaker at a conference on fundamental foods and dietary supplements in Las Vegas. Local resident Zoe Grosser heard the author speak there about the 10 foods in her pantry to make healthy foods. Grosser was very impressed with Krieger and then became disappointed when conference organizers decided that Krieger would not be signing books. Grosser was glad to see the author in her town where she was finally able to get her to sign her cookbook.

Madeleine and Ed Eckert and Madeleine's mother Martha Roney, all of Norwalk, are big fans of Krieger's Food Network show. When Madeleine Eckert heard the author would be at Borders she made sure she came because she wanted to suggest a recipe to Krieger. Declining to discuss the recipe, Eckert said the point is that in writing future nutritional recipes, the author should consider more liquid drinks for people who, when they get on in years, become reluctant to eat solids.

Eckert said the family never misses watching Krieger. "You know you can trust everything she's preparing."

"She's a treasure," Roney said.

Kim Carrington of Woodbury, who said she's made "every single thing" in Krieger's The Food You Crave, bought six So Easy cookbook to give family and friends for Christmas.

Eleven-year-old friends Julia Callahan and May Foisie of Avon came to the book-signing with Julia's parents, Tim and Maureen Callahan. The Callahans said Krieger is a favorite of theirs, and they watch her Food Network program every Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Julia said that meeting Krieger has inspired her to keep cooking.

Local resident Debbie Montelli, the mother of two daughters, a 3-and-a-half and 1-year-old, sought a little advice from Krieger, the mother of a 7-year-old daughter, about how to get children to eat healthy.

"If that's what they are going to eat, then they are going to eat healthy," said Krieger also suggesting that a parent let a child become a little hungry. The author said that parents today rush to feed their children so that they never feel hungry. "We worry a little too much about our kids being a little hungry," she said.

After the book signing, Krieger took a few moments with this reporter to explain how she goes about creating a cookbook. She said that she works with a couple of recipe developers in brainstorming the concept, and in coming up with the recipes they may start with asking each other what they are going to have for dinner and then lead into the kinds of flavors they may want to present with individual recipes. They write out the recipes before going into the test kitchen to make sure the recipes meet prescribed healthy standards.

After writing the recipes and testing them, the next step is fine-tuning the taste.

With the plethora of cookbooks on the market, Krieger remains undaunted. "If you start thinking about the marketing thing, then some how the soul is missing. What I do think I am doing is unique. It's healthy and delicious."

Krieger announced that her cookbook, So Easy is now on The New York Times best-seller list. Autographed copies of her book are available at Borders Fairfield.