Cookbook Review: The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook by Del Sroufe

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PROS: The meals in the book are healthy.

CONS: Be forewarned, this cookbook has nothing to do with Chinese food – who’d have thought! Though you think I would have been tipped off by the falafels and tacos on the cover, but alas, I received this book for free to review and had not paid a whole of attention to the cover until it was time to cook.

I have not been posting as much as I should have been. I also have not posted a cookbook review in forever, since November 2014!

Well, as I learned, the China Study has nothing to do with Chinese cooking. This book has to do with multi-purposing recipes (for instance, making meatloaf mixture and using half to make meatloaf and the other half to make meatballs.) More than anything, this cookbook is about helping you multi-purpose the food in your house and be healthy while doing it.

I’m still not sure why it’s called the China study. And for some reason, I can’t find easily in the book why it’s called the China Study.

Anyway – the book starts with sample menu plans, plans to help you make healthy plant-based meals while not buying a lot of ingredients that you’ll only use once. The menu plans are followed by a pantry list of things you should just always have: baking soda, canned fruits, herbs, coconut milk, and thai red curry paste to name a few.

When I did this review I did not pick a menu and follow it through. Instead I chose four random recipes out of the book to make. Despite having the menu plans, the book is broken up into different chapters: Breakfast Dishes, Sauces, Snacks, Salads, Sandwiches, Pasta & Baked Dishes, Soups, Entrees, and Desserts.

IMG_0017.JPG Zucchini, Corn, and Bell Pepper Pancakes p. 191

The text along with these pancakes suggests that the pancakes be served with “your favorite plant-based sour cream” (whatever that is) and with a salad or brown rice. Well, I served it with white rice (shoot me and my not knowing what plant-based sour cream is.) Some of the pancakes stayed together, some of them didn’t want to quite as much (ahem.) The flavor in these was good, the recipe was easy, but perhaps the consistency of my chopping wasn’t great which led to the destruction of some of the cakes. I don’t know if I would consider this dish an “entree” either.

IMG_0029Potato Salad with Pine Nuts, Olives, and Dill p. 99

This was my favorite dish that I made for this review. It’s suggested to serve this over a bed of spinach, but I did not do that – I used it as a side dish for something less-than-healthy as compared to this cookbook. This potato salad was very flavorful and very different than other potato salad recipes.

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No-Queso Mac and Cheese p. 152

Though this recipe called for elbow macaroni, I didn’t have that on hand. I used spaghetti noodles instead. There is nothing similar to “cheese” about this dish. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life, but the no-queso sauce (cauliflower, bell pepper, and chipotle in adobo) is not anything near “cheesy” enough to pretend you’re having mac and cheese. I wouldn’t make this again.

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Oatmeal-Raising Breakfast Bars p. 37

The last recipe I made were these oatmeal breakfast bars. I actually was expecting something more like a granola bar than a piece of cake bread, but that wasn’t really a huge deal. What I really didn’t like is that the bar tastes very floury. I don’t know if that’s my fault for not stirring it enough or if it’s the recipe itself.

Overall: While I like the concept of the book, I was not intrigued by very many of the recipes. Of the four I made, I really only liked one of them. I wish there was more talk of what the China study is in the book and I wish I hadn’t been deceived by the title.

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