Friday, October 19, 2012

Cookbook Review: 150 Essential Whole Grain Recipes

If you're familiar with this blog, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Canadian Living Magazine and that I'm a long-time subscriber.  Their recipes are pretty much fool-proof and I use them a lot in my kitchen.  And lo and behold, they have a new cookbook out that focuses on something I could definitely use more of in my life, whole grains.  It's called 150 Essential Whole Grain Recipes, and it comes to us via the vastly experienced staff at the Canadian Living test kitchen.

The book is divided into six chapters: Whole Grain Basics, which covers whole grains are and talks about health benefits and gluten free grains; Wheat, Spelt, and Kamut; Brown Rice and Wild Rice; Buckwheat and Rye; Quinoa, Corn, and Millet; and Barley and Oats.  If you are a person who cannot eat gluten, you'd probably really appreciate this book as it provides a lot of great gluten-free recipes and wheat alternatives.

I personally have made five recipes from this book so far.  First came the Whole Wheat Pecan Waffles on page 16.  Loved them, but then again, who doesn't love waffles?  For a indulgent treat one night, I made the Sweet Chili Popcorn on page 207. Loved it!  Though it could have used a bit more kick; perhaps I'd add some cayenne the next time I make this.  But it was basically like caramel corn with a chili-salt flavour and it was a really great accompaniment to a movie night. I made the Oatmeal Scones on pate 253, only I added fresh cranberries to the mix since it was near Thanksgiving and there were fresh cranberries to be had.  I love a good scone, and I'm happy to say that this recipe is a keeper.  It was also a hit with my roommate, who is also a  lover of a good scone. I made the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies on page 255.  These came out quite dense and a little drier than I prefer my cookies to be, but they were a nice treat and I felt like I was eating something healthier for a chocolate fix.  My eight year old roommate really liked them, too.  Finally, since I am a quinoa fan, I made the Black & White Bean Quinoa Salad on page 181.

I made some substitutions, though, since I don't particularly like navy beans or cucumber.  So I put in a can of chickpeas instead of the navy beans and I diced up a green pepper instead of the cucumber. I also omitted the jalapeno pepper since I don't like those either.  But the dressing for this was very good and the end result was quite delicious!  My roommate liked it, too, and it made enough so that I could have a few meals out of it.  I will go back to this recipe again and again, I think.

Apart from these recipes I made, I have a whole bunch bookmarked in the book for future reference.  There are quite a few bread recipes I want to try and the Chunky Chili Corn Bread Cobbler on page 162 is calling to me!  I just have to wait until I can get a roast of beef at a decent price.  For you vegetarians out there, there are plenty of recipes that would suit a veggie diet and even a vegan diet.

This is a great all-round cookbook with a lot of yummt stuff in it, and as is usual with Canadian Living recipes, they all turned out how they were supposed to without any issues.  I definitely recommend this book and will be keeping it in my already overcrowded cookbook bookcase!


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