Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / August 23, 2019

Many of my friends and family have heard me complain about how hard it is to feed two teenage boys without going broke. Recently I found a couple of good sources for inexpensive recipes. I have been regularly using budget meal plans from the Budget Meal Planner. You can sign up for a free weekly email plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas for $5 per person per day. I especially love this because it plans out the meals for the week and provides a grocery list. The recipes are pretty simple and usually quite good. In addition, I tried out Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day. This cookbook by Leanne Brown includes lots of inexpensive recipes with estimated costs for serving. For example, you could make Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato, which my son made and was quite yummy, for $2.50 per serving or Broccoli, Egg, and Cheddar Empanadas for $.60 per serving. Brown says the she picked $4 a day because that is about how much money you would have per person, per day if you were on SNAP, also know as food stamps. I really admire her work on creating these recipes because it…

Buddha Bowls: 100 Nourishing One-Bowl Meals

I don’t know when we started to eat food (that’s not soup) out of bowls. Did this all start with Chipotle? No matter how it started, I am a big fan. Currently, I have been making my lunches by combining rice and a couple of store bought items (right now I’m liking Panera Black Bean Soup and ready-made guacamole). It’s not super difficult to come up with bowl ideas, but if you want some inspiration you should check out The Lazy Genius. She has a blog post and a podcast with lots of info on this topic. When I saw Buddha Bowls: 100 Nourishing One-Bowl Meals at the library, I immediately picked it up to get some more bowl ideas. As I read through this book, I saw so many recipes I wanted to try, especially all the great sauce recipes. Sauces are very important for making tasty bowls! Some of the recipes seem a little complicated since a big part of the appeal of a meal in a bowl is that it will be easy to make. But I did try out one of the simple breakfast recipes, and I will share it on the blog later this week.

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen

Ok, stay with me on this one, because this cookbook is a lot of fun! If you are a huge Martha Stewart fan, like me, then you know all about Snoop Dogg’s domestic skills. Snoop Dogg, a rapper and television personality, was a guest on The Martha Stewart Show (oh, how I miss that show!) a couple of times. I guess they really hit it off in real life, and later they did a show together for VH1, called Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner. That show is hilarious, and while watching it, I even learned a new technique for making bacon from Snoop. Who knew? So when I saw that Snoop Dogg had a cookbook out, I knew that Martha Stewart was probably a big influence. And sure enough, she wrote the forward to the book. From Crook to Cook is a lot of fun just to read, but it’s not exactly PG. There are quite a few references to marijuana, but it’s all said in a joking manner. It’s a pretty basic cookbook, with some soul food influence. So if you’re a food snob, this will not be the cookbook for you. I had a lot of fun with…

Damn Delicious Meal Prep: 115 Easy Recipes for Low-Calorie, High-Energy Living

I am super excited about Damn Delicious Meal Prep! I am always trying to eat healthier and trying to plan ahead. This cookbook helps with both goals. I already reviewed Chungah Ree’s first cookbook, Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes. In case you missed that one, Damn Delicious is a blog written by Chungah Rhee. Her recipes are simple but flavorful and include a nice mix of traditional American with Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. Just the type of food my family loves! So when I saw that she was putting out a meal prep cookbook, I was psyched! If you don’t know what meal prep is, it just means prepping meals ahead of time. Some people have elaborate meal prep systems which involve picking one day a week (usually Sunday) to cook and prep as much food as possible for the week to come. I actually did a meal prep system (where I paid for recipes and prep instructions) for awhile, and there were a lot of things I liked about it. I did enjoy spending most of Sunday cooking; that’s relaxing for me. And I loved not having a lot to do when I got home…

So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

I picked up So Good: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours at the library and knew that the guy on the cover looked familiar. Then I read the first page and found out the book is written by Richard Blais, a contestant on Top Chef. I haven’t watched it in years, but I used to love Top Chef; and I had a vague memory of this really arrogant Richard guy. Anyway, I started to look through this cookbook, and I would say that my first impression of a pretty arrogant chef was correct. Blais introduces this cookbook by saying that these are the types of things he cooks for his family, and the recipes don’t include all the experimental techniques that he showcased on Top Chef or in his restaurants. But as I was looking through the recipes, I was not finding a lot that didn’t have unusual ingredients or techniques. My son picked up the book and asked for me make the fried chicken recipe. I have never fried a chicken in my life, but I thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately, this is a pretty time-consuming recipe, and I just haven’t had a chance to try it…

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

I love everything that Ruth Reichl writes, and her cookbook My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life is no exception. I was introduced to Reichel by reading her wonderful memoirs about growing up with a mother who had no interest in food. Reichel went on to become the New York Times restaurant critic and then the editor of Gourmet magazine. This cookbook was written right after Gourmet was shut down, and she found herself suddenly out of a job. It’s a unique cookbook. I have read novels and memoirs (including Reichl’s) that include some recipes. I have also read cookbooks that have well-written introductions to each recipe. But this really is a combination memoir and cookbook. It’s written as a journal of the year immediately after the demise of Gourmet, where she had worked for ten years. Arranged by seasons, the diary and the recipes are basically interwoven, and many of the recipes are stories in their own right. The recipes are also written up in a totally unique way. She lists the ingredients as either “pantry staples,” which she defines in the introduction of the book or “special ingredients.” And the recipes are written more in a…

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F***
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / February 26, 2019

OK, this is an interesting cookbook! I am always looking for good “healthy” cookbooks. I have problems with this category, because my idea of healthy is pretty broad. I just eat a lot of different things, including fruits and veggies, and I make most of what I eat, so not a ton of processed or restaurant food. But I do eat all the “bad” things, like meat, carbs, dairy, sugar, etc. Thug Kitchen, like the Whole Foods cookbook I reviewed recently, is vegan, but it’s completely different in attitude. It’s totally irreverent and fun, and it was much easier for me to get excited about the recipes in this book. So, let’s get at it! To Read: Yes, but only if you don’t mind a lot of cussing. There are bad words in every part of this book, so some of you might find this off putting. I live with two teenage boys and hear a lot of rap music, so I’m sort of past being scandalized by bad language. 🙂 To Look At: Sure, there are some photographs of recipes and then some random photos that I guess are supposed to add to the L.A. vibe of the cookbook….

Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / February 12, 2019

Things have been crazy around here! The weather is terrible every other day, which means lot of missed school and work. My oldest son just turned 16 and got his license, which is very exciting, but also very stressful. And I just haven’t had the time to try out new recipes. But if you are a chocolate lover, you might like Martha Stewart’s Salted-Caramel Chocolate Cake. My son asks for it for his birthday every year. It’s a pretty serious cake, but I make it a little easier, by just making it a three-layer cake instead of the six layers that are in the recipe. Now back to the cookbooks, I was finally able to peruse Ina Garten’s lastest cookbook Cook Like a Pro. Like most cooks on the planet, I love the Barefoot Contessa. I already reviewed The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook last year. The premise of her latest cookbook is that she is sharing some tips of the pros with home cooks. So what did I think? To Read: Yes. She does share a lot of tips in this cookbook. Since I read so many cookbooks there was not a lot that was new, but there were a few tips…

Tasting Hygge: Joyful Recipes for Cozy Days and Nights
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 28, 2019

I picked up this little cookbook because it’s the time of year when I become obsessed with hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that basically means coziness, but seems to be describing a mindset or way of life that is enjoyed in Scandinavia. At this time of year, when it’s so cold and the weather is often terrible, all I want to do is stay wrapped in a blanket, drink some tea, and read a good book or watch some Netflix. But I still have to eat, and sometimes even see other people! So Tasting Hygge by Leela Cyd is full of recipes for that state of mind. Here’s my verdict: To Read: Yes. Just reading about these recipes made me feel cozy, even if I knew I wasn’t going to make most of them. The author describes the idea of hygge and has personal stories to go along with the recipes. She organizes the chapters into warm, spiced, smooth, calm, and bright. I don’t know if those categories make complete sense when describing recipes, but I think it gives you the sense that these are all important hygge concepts. To Look At: Yes. It’s a very pretty book, lots of…

The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious & Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 23, 2019

If I had tried, I couldn’t have picked two such completely different cookbooks to review for this week and last. In case you missed it, last week I reviewed Chrissy Tiegen’s Cravings: Hungry for More. That book is irreverent, with recipes that are full of flavor, but not guided by dogmatic nutritional rules. The Whole Foods Cookbook is all about nutritional rules. The ingredients that are not used in this cookbook include all meat, eggs, dairy and any type of sweetener (except fruit pastes, which I have questions about). Since this is the time of year when a lot of people (including me) are trying to up their game when it comes to healthy eating, I thought this cookbook by the founder of Whole Foods Market would be a good one to review. But TBH, this was not the easiest book for me to find recipes that I wanted to try. I have a few criteria for recipes. They need to be something that my family might want to eat (that they will at least try), and the ingredients, for the most part, should be things I would normally buy. Luckily, as I was flipping through the book, my oldest…

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