July 10, 2014

Book Review: the Chopped Cookbook

The Chopped Cookbook: Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great

by Food Network Kitchens

Let me start by saying I am not a fan of the show Chopped.  My housemate and husband enjoy it so I thought I would give  the book a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It is not about creating dishes from weird ingredients like I was afraid it would be. In fact it begins with a pantry list of everyday ingredients people would have on hand. The emphasis is on using what you enjoy and have on hand in a creative way.

There are chapters dedicated to different main ingredients such as pasta, chicken, veggies and deserts.  Many of the recipes have beautiful photos of the dish.  But the best part are the tips.  There are so many of them.  If you don't have this ingredient try one of these. If you prefer spicy or mild or crunchy add or substitute this.  It is the perfect cookbook if you are bored or have a picky eater at home.  As I looked through the pages I found a lot of recipes I want to try and found ideas to change up some of our family favorites.

In addition to the recipes there are guides for making and using different dressings, sauces and grains.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow which I appreciate.  I am sure this cookbook is going to become a family favorite.

I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

June 11, 2014

Book Review - Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves by Karen Solomon

Asian Pickles:  Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves by Karen Solomon

This is a beautiful book with many gorgeous photos.  The recipes are divided into different geographic areas including Japan, Korea. China, India and Southeast Asia.  There is also a glossary, resources and an index as well as a bit about the author.  Each section begins with basic information about the recipes.

The recipes are written for non-Asian cooks and seem easy to follow.  The ingredients are fairly simple and most can be found at our grocery store or local Asian market.  The author also gives some URLs for purchasing items online.  There is a lot of information about how to serve each one and what to serve it with.  Anyone, no matter how much or how little pickling experience they have, should find this book easy to follow.  I have watched whole leaf Kimchi being made and now I look forward to trying it myself.

I received this book for free from the publisher’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

December 8, 2013

Book Review: For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

This is the third book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series. I thought the story ended with this volume but there is a 4th book due out in April of 2014. Some of the King family, Rhoda Byler and Landon Olsen have moved to Maine to establish an orchard and a new Amish community. There is a love triangle between King brothers Samuel and Jacob with Rhoda. Much of this book deals with people not talking things over and trying to do what they believe is right. Part of doing what is right deals with Jacob going to lawyers to clean up the mess from his life working construction. Rhoda must deal with the special gift she has and a past secret she sees about her neighbors. In this book Leah King and Landon Olsen are dealing with their relationship. Leah will have to leave the Amish to continue this relationship. However her family and Rhoda are depending on her to stay with them and help with the orchard. A new character, Iva, comes from Indiana to work at the orchard. She helps Jacob’s friend and her daughter. She does not want to return to Indiana but the King family are not sure about being able to hire anyone at this time. In addition to personal struggles there is still a lot to do to get the orchard established. They need to build a canning kitchen for Rhoda’s products and deal with the weather. I have really enjoyed some of Cindy Woodsmall’s books but this series has not been my favorite. There just seems to be too much going on. Major problems are resolved with a rushed conclusion and the tension between Rhoda and the two brothers drags. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

October 14, 2013

Book Review - The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky is a Christian period romance set in 1911. It is listed as the first in a series of Edwardian Brides. Romance is not my favorite genre but I enjoyed this book. There were enough stories about the different characters that it kept me interested. Julia, the governess, has moved back to England after working for 12 years as a missionary in India with her parents. Her father is ill and she must work to help the family. They plan to return to India when her father is well. Through the story Julia relies on her faith to help her through everything. Sir William Ramsey, a widower, hired Julia as a governess to his two children and their two older cousins. Each has their own story that is a challenge to Julia. Sir William has a disabled sister who is too shy to step up and take over as mistress of Highland Hall. He is facing loosing the estate if he can not pay the death duty taxes by March. He is being pressured by family to marry a wealthy bride but will he follow his heart and marry for love? I enjoyed this book a lot but feel that the ending was rushed. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

May 30, 2013

Book Review - The Winnowing Season

I was excited to read The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall after reading the first book in the series. The previous book ended with the Byler and King families buying an abandoned orchard in Maine and preparing to move there. They intend to revive the orchard and establish an Amish community. From the beginning things don’t go as planned. Jacob takes off to care for a woman from his past. In the meantime Samuel realises he has feelings for Rhoda. Those two stories along with the work involved to get the orchard and settlement going should have been enough but the author decided to add in a story about Rhoda being framed for a crime. I did not enjoy this part of the story. It consisted of a lot of worrying and not so smart actions by various characters. Then all of a sudden it is solved and the book ends without finishing some other points that we have been reading about for a longer period of time. Sorry this sounds vague but any further description would spoil everything. By the end of this book I wanted to slap some sense into Rhoda and I didn’t like Jacob very much any more. I ended up liking Leah, Landon and Samuel more. Even though this was not my favorite Cindy Woodsmall book I am looking forward to the final book in the series to see how everything turns out. In general I have always enjoyed her books. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

February 16, 2013

Forest Finish

I got all excited to post a picture yesterday but then realized I had not stitched the French knot eyes and noses.  I fixed that this morning and now it is officially finished.

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February 10, 2013

Blizzard Stitching

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Finally a bear.

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