I was sent a review copy of Mireille Guiliano's The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook from Atria Books eons ago, and I am just getting around to reviewing it. It's kind of weird that it's taken me this long to write about it because I really do like the book.
I've never read the French Women Don't Get Fat books, and while I would like to check them out, I don't think it's necessary to have read them to appreciate the cookbook. Giuliano is an informative, lighthearted storyteller. You learn about why she suggests the recipes she does as well as about her own life. While I am not the healthiest eater, I did find myself nodding along as I read and being inspired to try some less calorie-rich dishes. I also found Giuliano to have a fun attitude about food in general. I like best how she describes her own cookbook and cooking:
"In the end, this is a cookbook, after all; this is a recipe book. So, head to the kitchen and cook a few things. It is the best way to understand what you put into your body and is an act filled with pleasures."I did want to try the magical breakfast cream, a recipe which Giuliano devotes three pages to describing and then provides two versions of, before reviewing the book, but I haven't been able to get my hands on some flaxseed oil. (Does anyone know where to find this?) The magical breakfast cream is a family recipe for weight loss, which Giuliano learned from her aunt. I am a little skeptical of the weight-loss benefits of the magical breakfast cream, but it is merely a mixture of yogurt, flaxseed oil, lemon juice, honey, sugar-free cereal, and walnuts, so I could see how eating it every morning for a week could cause someone to drop a few pounds when also eating a sensible lunch and dinner. It seems very low in calories and very high in fiber.
Because I couldn't try the magical breakfast cream, I decided to try another breakfast recipe: quinoa with almonds, hazelnuts, and apricots (except I left out the dried apricots and added some chopped apple instead).
Before making this breakfast, which Giuliano aptly classifies as comfort food, I had only ever had quinoa in savory dishes. But it's not too far-fetched to think of protein-rich quinoa as a good substitute for oatmeal. Usually, we eat oatmeal in the morning to help us stay full until lunch time, and quinoa also has the ability to keep one full for hours.
Quinoa With Almonds, Hazelnuts, And Apple Chunks (adapted from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook)
The recipe makes 4 servings, so I suggest making it and dividing it up to eat throughout the week, adding fresh apple chunks (or any fruit you like) each day.
1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup milk
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon finely chopped hazelnuts
1 to 4 apples, cut in chunks (depending if you're serving 4 or portioning to eat throughout the week)
Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve, drain, and transfer to a medium pot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, and fluff with a fork.
Stir honey, lemon juice, butter, milk, and salt into the cooked quinoa, and place over medium-low heat and cook for another minute.
Divide the quinoa between bowls, and garnish with nuts and apples.
I definitely agree with Giuliano that this is comfort food, and yet, at the same time I felt I was eating something good for me. I really think the honey is the key ingredient here. It sweetens the quinoa just enough, making it the perfect breakfast dish.
Be sure to stop back because I'll be featuring more recipes from the cookbook.
Have you ever had a breakfast quinoa dish? Have you checked out The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook?
"Cooking is respecting the seasons and appreciating the fleeting moment of the short availability of cherries, apricots, asparagus, clementines, and much more." -Mireille Guiliano