28 April 2012

Weekend Cooking: Review/Giveaway FoodTrients by Grace O

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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When I was asked if I wanted to review Grace O's FoodTrients cookbook, I was at first hesitant but then became curious enough to take a look at the book. Grace O was born into a culinary family in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States in the late 1980s. Combining her experience as a healthcare professional and as a cook, she identified a number of foods with beneficial elements--which she named FoodTrients--that seemed to help promote youthfulness and health.

The FoodTrients can be grouped into five main categories: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, disease-preventing, immunity-boosting, and mind- and body-enhancing foods. And Grace O explains the benefits of each important food element. She developed the recipes in her book so that each one provides several age-defying nutrients.

If you live in a big city or an area of the country with a large Asian population, you will likely be able to track down the bulk of the FoodTrients needed for the recipes. I, however, would be hard-pressed to find bitter melon, hemp milk, and moringa. In addition, a fair number of the recipes call for a dairy, soy, or peanut product, which means this book might not be the best for people with allergies.

On the other hand, if you can get the ingredients, the recipes look fairly easy to follow and the photographs are beautiful. Some, like the recipe I'm sharing today, are easy as can be; others require more steps, but the instructions are straightforward and most cooks would have no problem re-creating the dishes at home.

One odd thing was that Grace O notes "My recipes are made with whole foods. This means that I have used ingredients that are unprocessed and unrefined to maximize their nutritional benefits" (p. 16). Yet I spotted a recipe that called for canned mushrooms, another that uses canned cream of mushroom soup, and another that uses canned sausages. In addition she prefers Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend, which contains no trans-fats but does contain additives and a mix of oils. I think I'd rather have real butter, just less of it.

Vegetarian/Vegan alert: Vegetarians will have the most luck with the starters, salads, and desserts. Vegans will not find much to fit their diet; most of the vegetarian recipes call for eggs, dairy products, or honey.

The publicists generously provided me with the following recipe and photos. I think the salad sounds good and looks pretty.

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad
Serves 2

Spinach contains iron as well as age-defying antioxidants. Grapefruit is chock-full of vitamin C and potassium. You can use pink or white grapefruit in this salad, though pink grapefruit has the added benefit of lycopene. If you use whole segments of the grapefruit, you’ll also add fiber. The candied walnuts and dried apricots balance the acidity of the grapefruit and increase the antioxidants in this dish.
  • 1 bunch or 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 whole grapefruit, segmented
  • ¼ cup candied walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried apricots
  • Add Tangy Ginger Dressing (see recipe below) to taste.
1. Wash and stem the spinach leaves and place in a bowl.
2. Add the grapefruit, walnuts, and apricots.
3. Toss with Tangy Ginger Dressing to taste.
FoodTrients: Carotenoids, Fiber, Lutein, Lycopene, Omega-3s, Vitamin C

Tangy Ginger Dressing
Yield: about ¼ cup

Ginger gives this dressing its flavor as well as amazing anti-inflammatory benefits and pain-reducing effects. It also relaxes muscles, increases circulation, and aids digestion. Buy the whole gingerroot, then peel or cut off about an inch of the rough skin. Grate only as much ginger as you need, and put the root back into the refrigerator, ready to be peeled and grated for the next dish. Grace uses this dressing with her Green Tea Noodles with Edamame and over her Spinach and Grapefruit Salad. It works well with any mixed green salad.
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (seasoned rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Dash of ground pepper
1. Combine all the ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well blended.
FoodTrients: Gingerol, Isoflavones

Giveaway: Thanks to the publicists I am pleased to offer one copy of Grace O's FoodTrients cookbook plus an apron to one of my readers (US/Canada mailing address only). To enter, fill out the form and I'll pick a winner on Saturday May 5 using a random-number generator. Good luck!



27 comments:

Libby Rodriguez 4/28/12, 6:26 AM  

I think this looks interesting. I actually like a cookbook with a few odd ingredients, as I like the experience of going to ethnic grocery stores and poking around, getting unusual candy for the kids, etc.

Lisa@ButteryBooks 4/28/12, 6:40 AM  

Yes, real butter for me too. The ginger dressing sounds delicious and I actually have all the ingredients on hand, as well as noodles, spinach and edamame. Lunch is done!

caite 4/28/12, 6:52 AM  

oh no, the dreaded rare ingredient recipes! I must say that sadly, that always take my interest down a few notches with a cookbook.

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/28/12, 7:31 AM  

This does look like a refreshing and tasty salad.

bermudaonion 4/28/12, 8:01 AM  

I could probably find a lot of those ingredients, but would have to trek all over town to do so. I'm surprised she used canned ingredients in some of the recipes. That salad looks delicious, but I can't eat grapefruit.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 4/28/12, 9:18 AM  

Kind of funny that she goes for the canned goods when fresh is readily available for the most part. That wouldn't bother me because I'd just sub anyway. The salad looks delicious! I don't mind a hard to find ingredient but I've never heard of those. But I'm always open to new ingredients.

Peaceful Reader 4/28/12, 9:38 AM  

The spinach and grapefruit salad looks delicious and filled with nutrients. Thanks for offering a giveaway.

Trish 4/28/12, 10:12 AM  

It's interesting what "whole foods" means to different people. I definitely think my own definition has changed a bit since Scott and I did our Eat it Real challenge. This book sounds interesting but overall I think it might be too tough with the fruit/veggie allergies. The ginger dressing looks delicious, though!

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews 4/28/12, 11:09 AM  

Going to try that dressing recipe for sure! Looks like an interesting cookbook!

Stacy 4/28/12, 11:21 AM  

I am not sure you can get more processed than a can of cream of mushroom soup... hmmm. I also have issues finding rare foods. They are out there but I have to drive a good distance.

Heather @girlichef.com 4/28/12, 11:34 AM  

I really enjoyed this book...I didn't notice the canned sausage (!?)...weird. I made a version of this salad, as well - and enjoyed it! =)

Peggy Ann 4/28/12, 12:13 PM  

Good salad! I love Grapefruit.

Joy Weese Moll 4/28/12, 1:04 PM  

That does look like a good salad -- especially for winter when the citrus is so delicious.

Tasha B. 4/28/12, 2:00 PM  

I thought it was strange she recommended Smart Balance with her focus on "whole foods," too (I am a butter snob, I'll admit that). It was also odd that the table in the back listing foods with their benefits didn't include any of the ingredients she mentioned in the getting started section, and included a good number of ingredients that aren't featured in prominently in the recipes.

Uniflame 4/28/12, 3:57 PM  

I could really use a book on immune boosting ingredients! But this probably won't be it.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 4/28/12, 4:03 PM  

I am looking forward to this one, I am suppose to be getting it and curious about it.

It is unfortunate that the ingredients are hard to find.. that will be a turn off for me as I hate searching for things that I may only use once or twice.

Linda 4/28/12, 4:17 PM  

I'd like to take a look at it. It sounds interesting.

Carole 4/28/12, 4:24 PM  

Great as always, Beth.

Peggy Ann 4/28/12, 5:15 PM  

Beth, No. 15 for my link didn't work I had to link again. Sorry! You can remove it if you want.

Beth S. 4/28/12, 8:57 PM  

Hmmm... I like the concept of this book but yeah, not liking the fact that she doesn't use the whole foods she claims to.

Lu @ Regular Rumination 4/28/12, 9:52 PM  

Huh. The Smart Balance comment puts me off, I'll admit. I'd much rather use real butter than something fake, that might have less calories, but has more chemicals.

Anglers Rest 4/29/12, 2:57 AM  

My post was up yesterday, but I forgot to link!

Looks an interesting book - I don't like Spinach, but could be tempted to try Spinach and Grapefruit Salad.

Beth 4/29/12, 7:42 AM  

Yum--that salad looks delicious! I'm a bit late putting up my own WE Cooking post, but better late than never, right?

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours 4/29/12, 8:00 PM  

I would never have thought to put grapefruit in a salad, but I'm really wanting to try it after seeing that recipe!

Thanks for being part of the tour!

Zibilee 4/30/12, 10:10 AM  

Since I don't have too many dietary restrictions, this might be something that would interest me, but I am concerned about where I would find some of the ingredients. We have a lot of ethnic markets here in the city, so perhaps it might not be that tough. Great review today. I loved the balance.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog 4/30/12, 12:01 PM  

i'm really intrigued by this one! sounds like i could learn a lot. thank you for the contest!

Christine 5/5/12, 11:00 AM  

I missed Weekend Cooking last week but scrolled down to see what you posted anyway. It's a great premise for a cookbook, but it sounds like there are contradictions in the delivery. Smart Balance as a whole food? Really?And dairy products actually cause inflammation in our bodies.. even in those of us who aren't allergic.

I've had bitter melon several times before .. ICK. >_<

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