Bite This Book! Spilling the Beans (giveaway)

Welcome to Bite This Book!, a new 2012 series on Simple Bites. Each month, I’ll feature a cookbook of my choosing that is hot off the press, host a Q & A with the author, and then give you a chance to win a copy or two. It’s Bite This Book!, good reads on Simple Bites.

This latest cookbook from Canadian food writer Julie Van Rosendaal has a special place in my kitchen. In it she collaborates with long-time friend Sue Duncan to produce a straightforward and thorough book on beans that also manages to be utterly elegant to boot.

My family loves beans, but I admit, I tend to serve them in the same old ways. Julie’s cookbook, Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday showcases these healthy and frugal legumes in scads of new dinner recipes, and also provides an entire section on baking delicious desserts with beans.

I’ve stocked my pantry with canned and dried beans, flagged nearly half of the recipes in Spilling the Beans as ‘must try’, and now am thrilled to introduce you to the cookbook that has me excited to hit the kitchen!

Read on for an interview with Julie and a chance to win one of two copies of Spilling the Beans.

Q & A with Julie Van Rosendaal

1. Tell us a little bit about the two of you and how you came to collaborate on Spilling the Beans.

Sue and I have been best friends since grade 7.  Even in school we loved food – we’d go out for soup or poutine, and as we got older we would come up with post-bar dishes and make fruitcake at Christmas. Over the years we’ve had a mutual enjoyment of food, taking on cooking projects (like making our own lard) whenever we get together.

We went to stay with Sue and her family during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.  As the guys watched skiing, we chatted about food, as usual, and the topic veered toward beans and how great they are for us, and how we both wanted to incorporate more of them into our daily meals.

Beans have been a part of cuisines around the world for centuries and yet in North America, we hardly know what to do with them. And despite our culinary conveniences, most of us have no idea how to soak and cook a dry bean!

We had been wanting to collaborate on a project for a while, and decided that there was a need for such a book. One that incorporates meat, but more as a condiment – most cookbooks with a legume focus are vegetarian or vegan, and we thought it would appeal to cooks like us, who eat meat but are eating less of it for nutritional and environmental reasons.

2. How would you describe this cookbook?

Spilling the Beans is user-friendly, appealing to home cooks who are vegetarian or carnivorous – meat is present but generally not an essential element and often easily omitted. It celebrates cuisines from around the world and while there are plenty of dishes you’d expect – like soups, stews, curries and grainy salads – there is also a baking section full of recipes that incorporate beans into baked goods such as: pureed white beans in pizza dough; cinnamon buns; black bean brownies; oatmeal cookies; and scones made with red lentils (which disguise themselves well as oats).

3. Spilling the Beans is already in its third printing and winning awards, although it was only just released last fall. Did you anticipate beans would be a hot topic? A best-seller?

Of course we always hoped it would be well received – and to be honest, a best-seller is only 5,000 copies in Canada, so we did anticipate that part! But we hoped people would take to it, learning more about such a vital Canadian crop – one that’s so good for the soil and the environment as well as for us.

Everyone seems to be looking for high-fibre, low-fat, high-protein foods, as well as whole ingredients – those our grandmothers used – and this falls into all categories. We thought it might be a challenge to overcome the “musical fruit” reputation beans have, but are pleased that people are eating more of them!

Thanks so much, Julie, and Sue too!


**This giveaway is now closed. Head here to see the winners!

Thanks to the Whitecap publishers, you can win one of two copies of Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday.

To enter:

Simple and straightforward, to enter this giveaway just leave a comment on this post and answer the question:

“Would you like to include more beans in your diet?”

That’s it!

Giveaway ends Saturday, February 11, at 11:30PM. Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I would like to add more beans in our lunch menus, as we have young children, who grow weary of soups and hummus-style sprads if served too often.
    Thank you!

  2. I would love to be entered in the giveaway. Beans are already a staple in our home but getting some new ideas and recipes would most certainly be fun.

  3. “Would you like to include more beans in your diet?” – YES! I have had my eye on this book for quite some time and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win a copy!

  4. I would LOVE to include more beans in our meals, I think this would open huge doors of change into our meals that we are getting bored with.


  5. ABSOLUTELY!! And I’d love to have a few more great recipes up my sleeve to do it!

  6. I have always been interested in figuring out new ways to cook with beans. This seems to be a great book.

  7. Absolutely I’d love to include more beans in my diet! The problem is I’m often at a loss about what to do with them besides chilli this or chilli that I need a little more inspiration. This cookbook sounds awesome!

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway 🙂

  8. Yes! I find beans are filling and help with healthy weight loss. I just need to branch out beyond chili. 🙂

  9. Mmmm- I love beans- I’d love more recipes of how to include them in my diet!

  10. I would absolutely love to include more beans in my diet- More protein + more fibre + good carbs = lean muscle (when combined with frequent exercise)!

  11. We’ve been eating a lot more beans lately. I’d love to have a dedicated cookbook.

  12. This book looks divine. I want to try baking with beans – what fun! I’ve recently started incorporating more beans and veggies into my diet, so this is very timely.

  13. Would like to include beans in our diet since they are a good source of protein.

  14. I just made my first bag of pinto beans last weekend. This cookbook would truly help me learn how to incorporate more beans in our diet.

  15. One food that my kids will consistently eat is BEANS! So I’d love some new ideas for how to fix them. I’d love to win. Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. I would love to include more beans into our diets.

  17. YES!

  18. Sarah Pelletier says

    I would love to eat more beans. I really like them, but I don’t always cook them well.

  19. Yes, I want to eat more beans but my family doesn’t so I have to figure out how to make it more palatable for them.

  20. I would! We eat beans twice a week. We are a semi-vegetarian family. There are 6 of us — one vegetarian, one fish eater, one who hates meat, two who like meat and one who loves meat. I would love more ways to include beans in our diet — there something everyone likes.

  21. Jodi Glassford says

    Yes please. With two young children, beans are an easy to chew option!

  22. I would definitely like to include more beans in my diet! New recipes and ideas would be wonderful….

  23. Yes! I love beans but need new recipes to inspire us. Thanks for sharing. Will cross my fingers for good luck.