Here you will find a few favorite ingredients that I cook with along with some short notes about each. I've included different grains, flours, fats & oils, and sweeteners below. This list is by no means complete. I am constantly finding new ingredients and will certainly add more as I discover them.

Amaranth - amaranth is actually the seeds of an herb. The tiny seeds are packed with lysine and protein. Amaranth has a texture that pops in the mouth and has a nutty flavor similar to quinoa.
Barley - barley is a great grain to use for risotto and to add to soups. There are two types of barley: pearled and hulled. Pearled barley has had only part of the outer bran removed. The bigger the grain, the less has been they have been pearled. Hulled barley is considered whole and takes a little longer to cook.
Brown Rice - brown rice has a nutty flavor and is generally more chewy than white rice. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularity heart-healthy manganese. There are different kinds of brown rice, but broadly speaking they fall into two categories: long- and short-grain. Long grain is more fluffy, while short grain tends to be more sticky.
Millet -  millet is tiny in size, round in shape, and can be white, gray, yellow, or red. It is heart-healthy and full of minerals. Like most other grains, millet can be added to a bowl of oatmeal or tossed in with baked goods for an added crunch.
Oats - oats are available in a few different forms. Whole oat berries (also known as oat groats) look much like wheat berries but are sweeter tasting and cook much more quickly. Steel-cut, Scottish, Irish, porridge, or pinhead oats are made by cutting the groat into two or three pieces. Old-fashioned rolled oats are created by steaming whole groats and rolling them into varying thicknesses. Instant oats are simply the thinnest cut and rolled oats.
Quinoa - pronounced KEEN-wah, this small, quick-cooking grain is actually a seed. Quinoa brims with nutritional benefits, including all of the essential amino acids. It is high in fiber and has an impressive complete protein content. It has a slightly grassy taste and grows in various shades of red and brown. I love to use quinoa in salads or to add texture and nuttiness to breads and cookies.
Wheat Berries - If you grind up wheat berries, you get wheat flour. Hard red winter wheat berries grind into high-protein bread flours. Soft wheat berries are ground into lower-protein pastry or cake flours. Because they contain the bran and germ, all wheat berries are whole. If you don't grind up wheat berries, you can cook them on the stove like any other grain. I like soft wheat berries in salads for their pop and chew.
Wild Rice - although wild rice is actually an aquatic grass and not a grue grain, it has a nutritional profile similar to other grains. It is quite versatile and I like to use it in soups or main dishes, often in place of long-grain brown rice.

Buckwheat - buckwheat flour is dark, sometimes almost purple in color. It has a strong, somewhat bitter flavor and a sweet smell. Buckwheat is gluten-free and high in antioxidants.
Oat - because oat flour is gluten-free like buckwheat, it needs to be mixed with other flours, such as all-purpose or whole-wheat, to provide the necessary structure in baked goods. I love oat flour for its mild, sweet taste. It is especially great in quick breads and cookies.
Spelt - spelt grains ground into flour look and act like a milder version of wheat flour. It's slightly sweet and very easy to bake with. You can substitute spelt directly for whole-wheat or all-purpose flour in most recipes.
Whole Wheat Pastry (Soft White Wheat) - this whole-wheat flour most closely resembles all-purpose flour. It is soft and light, and is therefore suited best for pastry, quick breads, muffins, cakes, pancakes, biscuits, etc. Because it has such a low protein content, it does not work well in yeast bread without added all-purpose flour for structure. I go by the rule of thumb that if a recipe calls for baking soda or baking powder, whole-wheat pastry flour usually works very well.
White Whole Wheat (Hard White Wheat) - this flour has a milder flavor than traditional whole-wheat (see below) and because it has a higher protein content, white whole-wheat makes great yeast bread.  It can still be used in cookies, bars, muffins, etc. with fairly good results, though I prefer to reserve this flour and the one below (the hard wheats) for recipes involving yeast.
Traditional Whole Wheat (Hard Red Wheat) - This type of wheat has the highest protein content of the three whole-wheat flours I mention.  It also makes wonderful yeast bread but has a more rich, nutty flavor than white whole-wheat. Be aware that because of it's high protein content, this flour may result in dry, dense, or tough quick breads/pastries.

Butter - butter = cream = not bad. I used to be afraid of butter, like much of America, but have come to realize that it is actually not a bad thing. Butter is a whole food - straight from the animal. Butter lends an indisputable richness and nutty flavor to anything and everything. It is wonderful in baked goods or generously spread on a warm muffin. Brown butter is made by gently cooking regular butter over a medium-low heat until the milk solids separate and turn a beautiful hazelnut color. The butter smells toasty and sweet. It is amazing drizzled over oatmeal or pasta and imparts a rich taste to baked goods. I consider brown butter heaven-sent.
Coconut Oil - coconut oil is a naturally saturated fat that's solid at room temperature. The smell of pure, unrefined coconut oil is tropical and rich. Many people stay away from coconut oil for being high in saturated fat, but fragrant, unrefined, natural, virgin coconut oil has amazing health benefits. It is high in lauric acid, which facilitates brain function and boosts the immune system. Coconut oil can often be used in place of butter, just be aware that it's strong coconut scent will likely show through in the final product. (This can be a very good thing, or sometimes less-desirable, depending on what you are making.) If substituting for butter, start by using 25 percent less coconut oil, as it is more concentrated than butter because of its lower water content.
Olive Oil - olive oil is rich in omega-9 fatty acids, therefore supplying our bodies with essential nutrients. Look for cold-pressed, extra-virgin oil, as this kind experiences the least amount of processing. I use olive oil constantly. It is wonderful for using to saute over medium heat (just don't get it too hot or it will smoke and burn), in salad dressings, and even for baking with.
Truffle Oil - truffles are known for their rarity, high value, and unique flavor. Because I love the flavor of truffles but not their prices, I use a teaspoon or two of truffle oil often in pastas, quiche, and mashed potatoes.

Blackstrap Molasses - blackstrap molasses is black (surprise?), thick, and robust in flavor. It is the by-product from the last boiling of sugar cane and contains trace amounts of vitamins and is a very good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Evaporated Cane Juice (Natural Cane Sugar) - this sweetener is made from extracting, evaporating, and crystallizing cane juice. It retains a little bit of its molasses content from this process and is therefore a light blond color. Evaporated cane sugar is can be used as a one-for-one replacement for refined white sugar.
Honey - honey comes in literally endless varieties - each differing from the other depending on the flowers of the region in which it was produced. Honey can range from dark to light, thick to thin. You can assume that the darker the honey, the more antioxidants it contains. Look for raw, unfiltered, unprocessed honey.
Maple Sugar - maple sugar is made by evaporating the water out of maple syrup. It has a wonderful maple flavor and is best used where it can be showcased - sprinkled in a crepe, over yogurt, or atop a warm scone. It is a bit pricy, so I use it for only special treats.
Maple Syrup - Pure maple syrup comes from boiling down the sap of maple trees. It is rich in minerals such as maganese and zinc. It can also be used in some baked goods to lend a subtle maple flavor.
Sucanat - its name coming from the words SUgar CANe NAtural, sucanat is one of the very least processed forms of cane sugar. Sucanat is a dusty brown color and has a molasses-y flavor because it has retained much of its nutritious molasses content. I like to use sucanat as a replacement for brown sugar in a lot of my baked goods. But because sucanat is granular as opposed to crystallized, it is drier than typical brown sugar and does not dissolve as readily, so be aware when substituting for brown sugar.
Turbinado Sugar - turbinado is another form of evaporated cane sugar, but is even less processed than simple evaporated cane juice. It has a light toffee flavor, golden-colored crystals, and is "turbinated" from steaming evaporated cane juice. Like evaporated cane sugar, turbinado can be used as a one-to-one replacement for refined white sugar.

sources: Super Natural Every Day, Whole Grain Baking, Whole Grains Every Day Every Way, Good to the Grain,,
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