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…

Cravings: Hungry for More
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 14, 2019

I was super excited to get a hold of Chrissy Teigen’s newest cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. Just to make sure everyone is up to speed, Teigen is married to the R&B singer John Legend. She was a model and still does some TV appearances I think, but she is now best known for her social media presence and her cookbooks. Her writing is very informal (yes, that means there’s some salty language), very funny, and very honest. I had read her first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, but had never gotten around to actually cooking anything from it. But I had heard from lots of people that her recipes are actually really good. I was skeptical that a former model and wife of a celebrity was also an expert in the kitchen. Well, you should never judge someone by first appearances, because I have already made two recipes from this cookbook that were quite good. I also have put post-it notes on a bunch of other recipes. Right now I’m snowed in and flipping through the book to see if there any recipes I can make with what we already have in the house….

The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures

Happy New Year everyone! I enjoyed a nice, long break from work and the blog, but now I’m refreshed and ready to start cooking. I plan on changing up the format a little this year, and I hope to publish more regularly. There are so many cookbooks I am looking forward to trying out, so let’s get started! As part of my new format, I am going to introduce and review the cookbook in the same post. On Wednesdays (and sometimes Thursdays), I will share a recipe. Friday will be a bit of a grab bag, where I will share other things I’ve been cooking, reading, or watching, and some of my favorite kitchen things. The Year of Cozy by blogger Adrianna Adarme is a book that I’ve had quite awhile, but haven’t ever cooked from. As the subtitle says, this book has more than recipes. It also includes some craft projects (I haven’t done any of those either. 🙂 ), and just some ideas about having a cozy life. The book is arranged by seasons, so I tried out a couple of the winter recipes that I will share with you this week. Here’s my verdict: To Read: Yes….

My Verdict: Magnolia Table
Cookbook Reviews / October 12, 2018

Here’s my verdict on Magnolia Table : A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines. To Read: Yes, especially if you are a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines. At first, I found the stories of how she’s constantly cooking homemade meals for her family a little annoying, but I did enjoy when she shared more about her heritage and the genesis of some of the more unusual recipes in the book. To Look At: Yes, even though the photos are on the hipsterish side (which is not my favorite trend in cookbooks, as I mentioned in my review of A New Turn in the South), they were beautiful and inspiring. There aren’t photos of every recipe, and I would prefer more photos of food than photos of their family farm. But that’s just me. To Cook From: Maybe. So far, I’ve made two of the recipes and neither of them worked quite right if you strictly follow the directions. I plan on sharing the Party Queso recipe at some point, which was good, but I tweaked the recipe a little to make it work. I feel like the recipes might not be as exact as some of the…

My Verdict: The Barefoot Contessa
Cookbook Reviews / October 2, 2018

Here’s my verdict on The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. To Read: Yes. It’s well-written with some stories about Garten’s personal life and great cooking tips. There is also a foreward by Martha Stewart that you won’t want to skip over. To Look At: Yes. There are beautiful photos of each recipe, which I think is standard for all of Ina Garten’s cookbooks. To Cook From: Yes. I haven’t made a lot of recipes from this cookbook, but I have made plenty of Barefoot Contessa recipes. They are always easy to understand and come out well. Ina Garten has written a lot of Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I have looked through a few others, and I’m not sure The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is the one I would pick if I had to choose just one. I’m not sure why, but there weren’t that many recipes I was super excited about (although it might be worth it just for the brownies!). I have heard that Barefoot Contessa Foolproof is one of her best. Her Make It Ahead cookbook also has a lot of recipes I want to try, including a recipe for dog treats! Let me know if you have a…

My Verdict: The Stocked Kitchen
Cookbook Reviews / September 14, 2018

Here’s my verdict on The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List . . . Endless Recipes by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins. To Read: Yes. You have to read this cookbook because it’s more about the plan of cooking from one grocery list than it is about the recipes. The beginning section explains the concept and how to get started. There are also sections on menu planning and detailed information about the items on the grocery list. To Look At: No. This book does not have high-production value. There are some photos of recipes, but they are grouped together in a couple of sections (like you often find in biographies). To Cook From: Yes. I think there are a lot of well-constructed, simple recipes that are family friendly. That being said, these are not gourmet recipes. When you are dealing with a limited pantry, there is only so much you can cook. Besides the Crab Rangoon, I have made the Pasta Carbonara, Chicken Potpie, and several other recipes. I like this idea and think it’s probably a good way to think about cooking for a family, especially if you work outside the home too. Where I get caught up is in…

My Verdict: Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Cookbook Reviews / August 31, 2018

Here’s my verdict for Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and Share. To Read: Sure. There’s not a lot to read, just short descriptions of each cookie. After the recipes, there is a tips section that has pretty helpful information. And since this is Martha Stewart, there are even some craft projects that will help you with packaging and sharing your cookies. To Look At: Yes. Each recipe is accompanied by a photo. The tips section also has great photos to clearly demonstrate the steps for making each type of a cookie. Even if you aren’t crafty, the packaging section has some nice photos that can give you ideas of how to present your cookies. To Cook From: I think so. The Mini Black-and-White Cookies were not a success, but the Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies were. Also, I have made the Gingerbread-White Chocolate Blondies at Christmas for years, and they are a family favorite. With 175 recipes in this book, I doubt everyone is going to be a winner, but there were many more recipes that looked worth trying. I did like the way this cookbook was set up better than Dorie’s Cookies, which had some…

My Verdict: Eat a Little Better
Cookbook Reviews / August 25, 2018

Here’s my verdict for Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World by Sam Kass. To Read: Yes. Do you want to read stories about the author hanging out in the kitchen with the Obama girls or cooking for the president on Air Force One? Then you should read this book. Kass also writes about nutrition and food policy, but he doesn’t really hit you over the head with his opinions. To Look At: Sure. The photos are fine, but this book definitely has that hipster vibe, where the photos are toned down and are more about ingredients than the recipes. There aren’t photos for every recipe, and there is only one photo of Michelle Obama. Oh well. To Cook From: Yes. The recipes are quite simple. Kass believes in taking fresh ingredients and using spices and cooking techniques that will best highlight the ingredients. One section of the book that I found really interesting was called “Eat More Grains and Beans.” Kass takes a variety of beans and grains and provides four seasonal recipes highlighting each ingredient. Just like with vegetables I often get stuck in a rut with rice, quinoa, beans, etc., so I plan on trying…

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