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Develop a new relationship with the humble oat. This grain is good for all sorts of digestive issues and is heart-healthy...but who knew it was versatile? I was a recipe tester in the creation process of this cookbook, and tested over 50 recipes inside. It's been fabulous!!!
Chapters are divided by subject. In breakfast-land, we find chapters for warm and cool recipes. The cool recipes include a few delicious smoothies (including a lovely carrot cake smoothie), but most interesting are a plethora of fabulous "overnight oats"--oats you mix with quality ingredients and refrigerate overnight. The selection is so lovely that one needn't purchase instant anything anymore (although she does have a recipe for DIY instant oatmeal!) In the overnight oats realm, there are recipes for candy bar oats, peanut butter cup, coconut cream, cinnamon roll, banana pudding, blueberry earl grey, blackberry mojito, strawberries and cream, and chocolate cherry. There are options including nondairy yogurt and some without. All the overnight oat recipes are simple, too. Almost no fuss and whole foods! Her warm breakfast options include pancakes and waffles, a vegan Dutch baby baked pancake, two very delicious baked oatmeal recipes, and a Pumpkin Oat breakfast cake that was a winner among my friends. Her warm oatmeal recipes include "Elvis", raspberry "cheesecake", kheer, caramel delight, hummingbird cake, a gourmet recipe for a multi-step deluxe oatmeal, and peanut butter pie oats. I've made almost all the warm and cold oatmeal recipes, and have enjoyed every one without exception.
Chapter Four focuses on granolas and bars, and Hester's creativity shows. She includes three savory granolas: curry cashew, pepita sunflower seed, and sun-dried tomato/kalamata olive. These are lovely for snacking or for salad toppers: I brought the pepita sunflower granola on salad to a thanksgiving dinner, and it was loved by many guests. Her chocolate hazelnut granola is a Nutella-lover's dream, and she includes a fat-free pumpkin raisin granola as well as a bourbon-pecan granola. Her granola bar recipes are simple and delicious, and I greatly enjoyed the peanut butter banana granola bars and the pepita oatmeal raisin cookie bars.
Her first chapter is dedicated to staples, and I enjoyed learning a couple recipes for oat milk. She teaches the reader how to make yogurt, cream cheeze, and sausage/pepperoni crumbles with simple oats. Vegans, take note: she has made a delightful recipe for "Cheez" powder so that vegan mac n cheez is simple! No longer do you have to buy boxed mixes. Even better, the cheez powder is delicious on fresh-popped popcorn. Her sauces, biscuits, and gravy mix are lovely too.
Who knew that oats were delicious in soups and stews? Chapter Five offers many options. I enjoyed testing and eating Chickpea Veggie Soup, Creamy Butternut Squash Oat Soup, Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup, and a Mushroom Ginger Congee that is worth the price of the cookbook itself. Her next chapter includes savory recipes as well: I enjoyed making Oats-bury Steaks, veggie burgers, Apple-Thyme Savory Steel-Cut Oats with Seared Vegan Sausage, Sunflower Seed and Bean Oat Loaf, and a Mushroom Sun-dried Tomato Steel Cut Oat Risotto that was a big hit at a potluck. Who knew oats would make a fabulous risotto?!
The final three chapters are focused on desserts, drinks, and uses for oats "beyond the dining room." The dessert chapter is filled with yummy options both conventional and creative, from cookies to mini raspberry cakes and a chai-spiced oatmeal tart. The drink chapter is one of my favorites, with flavored oat milk recipes, an horchata recipe with an oat base, chocolate mint and coconut vanilla nut oat coffee creamers, a powdered hot chocolate mix, and a London Fog (earl grey vanilla) latte. Soooo tasty! Finally, the last chapter includes pet treats, a bath soak, and a skin scrub. These items would also make lovely jarred holiday gifts.
This cookbook is extremely gluten-free and soy-free friendly, for those with allergies. Gluten-free/soy-free options are tested by the recipe testers, too.
I'm a huge fan of Kathy Hester's work, not just because I'm a recipe tester. This is my favorite of her cookbooks thus far. Develop a new relationship with fabulous oats!!!
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Was ist das?
This book is FULL of new ways to eat oatmeal. I honestly would never have thought of a lot of these things - I hesitated on getting this, because I was afraid it would just be variations on the same basic flavor combos that people always put in oatmeal, and while there are a lot of spins on the traditional flavors, there are a lot of new ideas. It's a little odd though, because the cookbook is meant for vegans, so a lot of the recipes call for things like ground flaxseed mixed with water instead of an equivalent amount of eggs, and a lot of recipes are gluten-free (presuming of course that your oats are gluten-free, which most commercial oats are not). So it kinda gives off an aura of being super-healthy. But on the other hand, some of the sweet recipes are VERY sweet, and some of the portions are quite large, so keep that in mind if healthy eating is you goal - you may want to adjust the sweetener or the portion sizes.
I've made the Banana Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, the Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oats, and the Creamy Butternut Squash Oat Soup. The Banana Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes were a big hit with my normally fairly picky children. They were sweet without being too sweet and had a better texture than regular pancakes. The portions were large - it said 24 silver dollar size pancakes, I got 24 four inch pancakes, which is considerably larger than silver dollar size to me. Mine were also a thin pancake though, so it may just depend on what kind of milk you use & how much it thins out the batter. We liked it a lot, it's just the first time I'm ever had to freeze half the batch of pancakes for another day! :-)
The Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oats I made for myself. I liked the idea of making a cold oatmeal by soaking oats overnight, as I'm a big fan of muesli anyway. However, these turned out very very sweet & even though it says 'Petite Portion' I couldn't finish it because it was so sweet. I am NOT a fan of super-sweet, especially first thing in the morning, so if you like sweet breakfasts it may work fine for you. Also, it was about a cup of oatmeal, and I wouldn't consider that a petite portion, that's a normal portion.
Finally, I made the Creamy Butternut Squash Oat Soup. I did change it a little - the base recipe makes a plain butternut squash soup, and we like a curried one, so I added some spices, but I think it would have been good either way. The oats do a good job of thickening the soup without adding dairy or fat, and I really liked the texture - butternut soup can be a little thin anyway, this is definitely a trick i will keep in my repertoire, especially since she talks about how you can use this trick to make other creamy soups.
The book itself is gorgeous - lots of pretty pictures, nutritional information included. The font is a little small, I wish they had used a larger font. There's a lot of white space in the cookbook, so they could have made the font larger easily, which would really improve readability when you are trying to check the next step when the book is across the counter. Still, it is very pretty, and a cookbook holder helps keep the book within reading distance.
List of the chapters -
- 'homemade staples', a bunch of make your own convenience foods, many especially for vegans like the cheese sauce powder substitute or the oat 'sausage' crumbles, but also make your own instant oatmeal! :-)
- Warming oats - this is the traditional chapter, hot oats for breakfast with various flavors and various cooking techniques - the pancakes came from this chapter, but there is also Meyer Lemon Steel-Cut Oats and Hummingbird Cake Oatmeal (with yogurt 'icing' even!)
- Cooling oats - this is the cold overnight muesli and smoothie chapter. Again the flavors branch out from the traditional - Blackberry Mojito? Pomegranate Rose? You can definitely have fun with this :-)
- Granolas and Bars - exactly what it says :-) Again a mix of old and new flavors - Pumpkin Raisin Granola, but also Tomato and Kalamata Granola!
- Soups and Stews - this is an all savory chapter. Sometimes a smaller amount of oats is used as a thickener (the butternut soup from above), sometimes oats are used as a sort of meat substitute (Steel-Cut Oat Bean Chili), sometimes the oats are the basis of the soup (Mushroom Ginger Congee).
- Savory Oats for Lunch and Dinner - another all savory chapter - I honestly did not think there were this many savory oat recipes in the WORLD :-) A lot of these are 'oats as meat substitute' recipes, but some are oats as a grain and some are oat pizza crusts.
- Desserts - cookies, crumbles, cakes, truffles, even ice cream!
- Drinks - oat milk drinks for the vegans
- Beyond the Dining Room - this was an interesting chapter - bath soaks and dog biscuits, if you have a pet this could be fun!
All in all, if you like oats and are looking for some new ways to try them, you will find new recipes here. If you are gluten-free or vegan, bonus - all the recipes are vegan and I think they all have at least a gluten-free option. Give it a try if you like oats!