The Best Grain-Free Family Meals on the Planetby Laura Fuentes could not have come at a better time. I had just posted to a group of Facebook moms about my frustration with cooking, seeking recipes to suit my husband’s low carb diet. (Grain-free doesn’t necessarily mean low carb, but it’s a huge step in that direction generally speaking.) On top of that, I recently did the Whole 30 and then resumed eating normally. Much to my sorrow, I found that either grains or dairy does indeed bother me. My digestion is unhappy and my body just hurts and feels puffy. My allergies have gotten worse, something that Fuentes mentions in the introduction as a symptom that her family suffered before giving up dairy and grains. Note that although the big selling point is being grain-free, many of the recipes are also nut and dairy free or offer suggestions to make them nut/dairy free. In other words…this cookbook looks to be just what I need to cook food that will make my family healthy and happy!
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The Best Grain-Free Family Meals On the Planet: Cookbook Review
Grain-Free Breakfast of Champions
I can’t tell you how happy this section makes me. There are recipes for pancakes, cereal (hot and cold), breads, and muffins. These are all things that I really missed on the Whole 30 (even grain free adaptations aren’t allowed on that diet.) In fact, I’ve been missing them ever since my husband started this horrible low carb thing years ago. I say I love to cook, but what I really love is baking. I especially love to make a nice breakfast for my family in the morning. I can’t wait to make the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this fall, and the chocolate puffs recipe is the sort of thing I have been looking for, since we do enjoy cereal for an occasional treat.
Grain-Free Lunchbox Favorites
Fuentes already told us how to make grain free breads in the breakfast chapter, so that solves a lot of my lunchbox and picnic woes. This is my least favorite chapter, partly because I feel like I could come up with most of these things on my own–salads and salsas–and also because they just aren’t the kind of thing I like to pack for my kid’s lunches–not neat and self-contained enough for me, personally. I am excited to try the mini quiches, though; the seven layer Greek cups look yummy, and I think I might like veggie falafel so better than the original variety. Also, when I read about the author in the back, I discovered that Fuentes has written two other cookbooks, The Best Homemade Kid’s Lunches on the Planet and The Best Homemade Kid’s Snacks on the Planet. Those books, unfortunately, are not specifically grain-free, though.
Grain-Free Family Meals
This is where I really need inspiration; we can have eggs for breakfast and salads for lunch, but what do I do for supper? Cooking hunks of meat is not my forte. Raspberry Glazed Baby Back Ribs are on my list to try; Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Boats look like a fun variation on a staple meal that I’ve grown a little tired of. I’m trying to get more fish and seafood in our diet, so Salmon Baked in Foil and Clams and Chorizo are exciting. (I’ve lived in Maine virtually all my life, so it’s just embarrassing how scared I am of seafood.). There are many fun variations on take-out foods (Chinese, Thai, Korean), as well as skillet and slow-cooker meals. I was a little sad about the All-Meat and Veggies Chili, since I’ve already invented one, but they’re quite different so I’m happy again. I have avoided the ubiquitous cauliflower rice for a long time; other times that I’ve used cauliflower instead of carbs, the end result ended up being a lot of work for something that just tasted like cauliflower to me (sorry, No-Tatoes.) However, the Cilantro-Avocado-Lime Rice recipe might just push me over the brink. The broccoli and sweet potato tots are fun make-ahead options, and Smoky Cauliflower is another recipe that might make me venture to purchase the pallid vegetable.
Grain-Free Snacks and Treats
Ah, the section we’ve all been waiting for. Warning: it’s small. As should be the amount of your diet devoted to treats. Zucchini Hummus sounds like a good substitute for the carby version. Homemade Hazelnut Spread replaces one of my absolute favorite treats! Plantain and Beet Chips are a good option for get-togethers or a movie night snack. Many of the actual sweet treats don’t look that appealing to me, which may not be a bad thing! But I also may be able to swap ingredients I don’t care for, like raisins and honey, for ones I like, like figs and maple syrup. I like the cake and ice cream options because of the novelty factor; I don’t really crave those items even in their traditional form, and I don’t know if we ever will be hardcore enough to not have regular cake on birthdays. They’re not low carb for my husband, although they may be lower carb. Still, I might make them just for the fun of it. The Berry Macaroons do look yummy, I think because they don’t have to be greatly altered from the original. Cookies are my downfall, so the Almond-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are on my must make list for sure!
In addition to all of these amazing recipes, the book feels good, with it’s smooth, thick pages, and it’s bright, playful art looks good, too. I’m big on these superficials. An ideal cookbook review would discuss recipes I have already tried; there are a couple of reasons I couldn’t do that. Many of the recipes require a blender, a food processor, muffin pans, or other normal kitchen tools that I just don’t have access to while on the road as I am now. There are still some recipes I could make here, of course, but I had just ordered groceries and I was too excited to share this book with you! So…apologies for my impatience. I’ll try to leave some comments when I have started cooking.