Saturday, June 30, 2012

Recipe Book Review: The New Whole Grains Cookbook

Awhile ago, I decided I wanted to start posting reviews of recipe books. Why? Well, who doesn't have a pile of cookbooks on their shelves? We certainly do. Some are better than others. I do find I have a preference for ones with good pictures. Pictures of foods are definitely required and they cannot be drawings. Books that don't stuff as many recipes on one page is also preferable.

Unfortunately, sitting down to write a book review on a cookbook never made it to the top of the priority list. Until today. So, today I thought I'd start with a cookbook that started a huge change in the way I eat: The New Whole Grains Cookbook by Robin Asbell.

I first tried eating a more whole grains based diet after listening to The Nutrition Diva push it over and over again in her podcast. I picked up two cookbooks to learn how to cook with more whole grains than I have in the past. This being my preferred one.

The book is filled with lots of beautiful photos of the food in the recipes. This is a big selling point, so that one can look and decide if the recipe looks like something you want to make.

I went through and made nearly every recipe in the book. We tried lots of whole grains. The book is subdivided by food-type - that is, breakfast, breads, warm whole sides, cold whole sides, soups and dumplings, whole entrees, and desserts. Each section has between 8 and 15 recipes.

There is an introductory section describing a variety of grains, their history, and how to cook them. This is a nice overview and not terribly in depth. If you want a more in-depth explanation, look elsewhere.

As I mentioned, I made most of the recipes in this book over the course of several months. I gained quite a few keeper recipes, and there were quite a few things I made and we just did not care for it. And that's okay.

Overall, this is a 4 out of 5 star book. I will go back to it for several recipes and highly recommend it to anybody who is looking to expand their whole grain palette.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dessert: Chocolate Cupcakes

I made the chocolate cupcakes with a frosting in mind, but the cupcake itself was so good, I decided to put it in the codex. The whole package (frosting and all) did not make the codex, just the cupcake.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water

2 cups sugar


  1. Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
  4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don't worry, this is right).
  5. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
  6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
  7. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Other Details: