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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Cookbook, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 48
1. Let's Cook French: A Family Cookbook by Claudine Pépin, illustrations by Shorey Wesen & Jacques Pépin, 96 pp, RL: 3

As the daughter of Jacques Pépin, one of the first celebrity chefs on American television, Claudine Pépin has lived a life that makes her the perfect person to write a bilingual family cookbook featuring French cuisine. As she writes in her introduction, she "didn't grow up knowing how to cook," but she was around "tremendously good food." As a child, she spent summers in France with her grandmother, but instead of wearing a beret and riding a bicycle with a baguette under her arm, she was out in the country, peeling potatoes and eating a special goat cheese that was pungent enough that, when she would sweat, she "stank like goat cheese." Claudine cooked with her father on his show, as well as on other people's food shows. Along with her father, mother and twelve-year-old daughter, Pépin's husband, a professional chef and instructor at Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts, helped put together Let's Cook French: A Family Cookbook. As someone who loves cooking (and eating), especially when I know it is being enjoyed by my loved ones, I appreciate the traditions that three generations of a family have to share in this cookbook. I also love what Claudine said about her daughter in an interview with the Washington Post,

Shorey eats just about anything. That said, she doesn't like sweet potatoes. And asparagus makes her shudder - yet I've seen her eat it when we're out somewhere and it's put on her plate. That has to do with respect, for the food and those who made it.

If I can't pass on a love of food, I hope that, like Pépin, I, too have passed on a respect for food and the people who make it.

Pépin divides the book into four parts with headings that I love: To Start, To Continue, On the Side and To Finish. There are well known dishes you might expect, like Vichyssoise, Boeuf Bourguignon, Salade Niçoise, Crème Brûlée, Quiche, and Claudine's special Croque Monsieur, and, of course, Crêpes. There are also traditional recipes that I've heard of but never eaten and plan to make like Gougères, which are cheese puffs with suggestions on how to serve (warm and in a bread basket lined with a cloth napkin, naturellement) and Sablés, a French version of the sugar cookie. 

To get a better idea of the layout and complexity of the recipes in Let's Cook French, you can sample the Whole Roasted Chicken with Herbs of Provence, a classic Sunday dinner in France. As someone who likes to cook, these recipes and ingredients are not intimidating. Although the font is small, the instructions are always contained on one page. Honestly, while I adore the idea of a family cookbook, especially a bilingual one, I really think that this would be a fantastic cookbook to give to an adult chef who is comfortable in the kitchen and interested in exploring French cuisine for the first time. At least, that's how I plan to use this book!

Source: Review Copy

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2. Let's Cook Spanish: A Family Cookbook by Gabriella Llamas, 96 pp, RL: 3

Let's Cook Spanish: A Family Cookbook by Gabriella Llamas is one of three books in a new series from Quarry Books. And, while Llamas's book has all the qualities that I love in this series, from format, trim size and layout to the range and accessibility of the recipes, which appear in English and Spanish, it has something I especially like that Llamas has written an introduction for adults and for children. Llamas reminds parents that, "cooking with children is a communication based in trust, love and respect," that supports, "creativity, independence, responsibility, order, motivation, concentration, patience and courage." In her introduction for children, Llamas details the joys of sharing food with others, talking about the small bites developed by the Spanish as a way of sharing food. From tapas to pinchos (skewered bites) and raciones (a bigger portion to be shared among a few) which are all a Spanish way of eating as they "encourage human relations and friendships." She ends her introduction by reminding readers of two stand out habits that her parents taught her when she was young:

First is to bless the food and the people and give thanks. The second is to wash your hands before eating and arrive at the table clean and tidy. It is a sign of respect and love for ourselves and for others. So, now go wash your hands!

Llamas divides Let's Cook Spanish into four parts, Tapas and Pinchos, Meat and Fish, Vegetables and Salad and May Your Life Be Sweet plus suggested menus and lined pages for notes. There are thirty recipes and they all sounds marvelous, from tapas like Basic Potato Omelet and Stuffed Eggs to first courses like Valencian Paella, Iberian Pork Fillet. I especially liked the range of vegetable dishes, from Potatoes Rojas Style and Vegetable Stew to the Country Potato Salad and the Cheese-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers. You can get a better taste for Llamas's recipes with Two Tapas to Cook with the Whole Family

However, I think that the desserts recipes are the most exciting in Let's Cook Spanish. The Chocolate and Churros, above, sound delicious. But the Santiago Almond Cake, the Baked Apples with Custard, the Meringue Milk Ice Cream and the Orange Confit recipes are all simple enough that kids will love them but elegant enough that you can serve them at a dinner party for adults. And, I was tickled to learn that Torrjas, the final recipe in the book, is a special Easter Lent dessert that is loved all over Europe and, in America is known as - French Toast! Llamas's recipe includes lemon zest and a honey sauce. Let's Cook Spanish: A Family Cookbook is a book that you and your kids will love exploring.

Source: Review Copy

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3. Let's Cook Italian: A Family Cookbook by Anna Pradoni, illustrations by Emanuela Ligabue, 96 pp, RK: 3

I love to cook and I love to feed family and friends. My maternal grandparents were Italian and my grandmother had her own catering business and dreams of running her own restaurant. Family gatherings at her house were always a treat and she was always trying something new. Of course this is a love that I wanted to pass on to my three children, but it was very hard to find cookbooks for kids that appealed to my tastes and theirs, had an appealing format and had recipes that kids could actually make. In fact, I only reviewed ONE cookbook that met these standards in the first seven years of this blog - Kitchen for Kids by Jennifer Low. However, last year I discovered Quarto Books, a publisher of non-fiction books that "educate, entertain and enrich" the lives of their readers. Their books for kids are especially excellent, whether the subject is cooking, science, gardening, music, art or doodling. And, while I usually prefer a cookbook with photographs, their three Family Cookbooks are wonderful, especially because they are bilingual!

Let's Cook Italian: A Family Cookbook by Anna Prandoni with illustrations by Emanuela Ligabue has a fantastic format, as do all three books in this series. Imagine a large format paperback book (see the yellow and brown spine in the picture to the left) that has had two thick cardboard covered slapped onto it. Not only does this book look great and promise to hold up well in little (messy) hands as well as in the kitchen, the format allows it to lay flat when opened or stand up by itself!

Let's Cook Italian is divided into six sections: Starters, First Course, Vegetables, Second Course, Desserts and Snacks. The page layout begins with the name of the recipe, followed by a box with the ingredients on the right and four crucial pieces of information: servings, prep time, cooking time and degree of difficulty. On the left hand side of the page are two boxes, one that describes the recipe and another titled, "With the Kids," which shares childhood kitchen memories Pradoni as well as ideas to engage your kids in the kitchen. The recto and the verso pages are identical, with the recto in English and the verso in Italian with one exception - a small box with three words in translation appears on one page or the other for each recipe pair.

Most recipes have six ingredients or less and are varied and traditional. There is Veal in Tuna Sauce, Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, and Stuffed Zuchinni. Second Course dishes include Milk-Braised Veal Roast, Steak Pizzaiola and Cod Marchigiana Style. Desserts feature, of course, Tiramisù, as well as Piedmontese Chocolate Pudding, Stuffed Peaches and Heavenly Cake, a lemon cake made fluffy from whipped egg whites. For a sample recipe, try the Vermicelli

Source: Review Copy

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4. Superlegumes

You need a solidly designed cover to sell legumes, and that’s exactly what Chrissy Freer’s Superlegumes part cookbook, part guide has. With vividly displayed and shot legumes, it’s the kind of cover worthy of more enticing ingredients that would not only inspire you to pluck the book from the shelves but even buy it. For, […]

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5. Jane Green on Self-Publishing, Social Media and Her Kickstarter Campaign

GreenIt’s hard to believe that New York Times bestselling author Jane Green leveraged Kickstarter to fund her new cookbook, Good Taste. Although the campaign ends on July 14, devoted fans and celebrities like Martha Stewart and Jodi Picoult have supported her via social media and she easily surpassed her self-publishing goal of $45,000 within the first five days of her campaign. Drawing on stories from her life and the food that runs through them, the book combines recipes with photos and her witty storytelling.

We caught up with the versatile author to chat about venturing outside her comfort zone, leveraging new media to fund her project, and carving out time and space to write amidst her busy schedule.

GalleyCat: As a bestselling author, why did you decide to self-publish your cookbook?

Jane Green: I have been incredibly lucky with my novels but I had absolutely no idea if anyone would be interested in a cookbook. So I started to think about self-publishing.


I then realized that with Kickstarter, I [would] have to put this book together myself. So I did the test recipes and I found the photographer and an art director. I wanted my fingerprints on every page and they really are. Everything about this book has been chosen by me.

GalleyCat: It sounds like you really enjoyed this process. And as a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, was this a passion project? Were you thinking, “I love cooking so let me try this out?”

Green: Yes, 100 percent. I put recipes in a couple of my novels and they’ve always been well-received and this is a long-held dream of mine. I did sort of get into a conversation with my publisher a couple of times about how much I’d love it and they didn’t bite.

GalleyCat: How does it work exactly – will everyone who donated get a book?

Green: We funded in five days which I did not expect at all. That was kind of extraordinary but what it means is that we can now proceed with the printing. We’ll fulfill the books, we’ll be sending them out in October and so it’s the same as pre-ordering a novel in a bookstore. You can buy my book for $25 and you’ll get it in October.Jane-Green-2

This is a limited edition print run, it’ll be a collector’s edition. Because we’ve funded it, we’ll be able to publish all kinds of lovely things. I would love to do another cookbook, maybe a slightly different version. I may either do it myself or I may look for a publisher next time around.

GalleyCat: What are your thoughts on self-publishing? It sounds like you’re really enjoying this process and you’ve gone through the traditional route for so many years.

Green: It’s been a fascinating learning curve. What I’ve come to learn with self-publishing is that if you want to provide readers with something of equal quality, it requires the same amount of time and expense. I could have self-published and thrown something together and turned it up online but I didn’t want to do that; I wanted to create something that looked really beautiful and had lasting value.

GalleyCat: There can be a stigma with self-publishing. You’re an established author, you’re trying this route – has the stigma changed over the years and if so, how?

Green: I think that the stigma is very, very much in place and I think that the entire model of the publishing world has changed and doing what you’ve always done and expecting to get what you’ve always got no longer works.

GalleyCat: Let’s talk about social media because it seems like with the Kickstarter campaign and your Facebook and Twitter feeds, you’re really engaging with the reader. Has social media also changed the face of publishing?


Green: The whole thing now is about connection. Ten years ago, you wrote a book and you never expected to find out anything about the author. Now with social media, everyone wants that connection. I think our readers want to be invited into our lives and brought on the journey and be part of this whole process.

GalleyCat: Do you envision more e-books in the future or different ways of publishing houses getting involved beyond traditional books?

Green: My e-books sales have overtaken everything else, so I think all the marketing has become very much driven by the author now because of social media. The way that I run my Facebook and my Instagram [accounts], I can’t have somebody else doing that for me. It’s got to be my voice.

GalleyCat: What advice do you have for writers hoping to leap outside their comfort zone?

Green: When you stay stuck in the same groove, your creativity can dwindle. I definitely felt that I was on a bit of a treadmill and actually, stepping out of my comfort zone and using my creativity in a completely different way has just brought this incredible passion back into my life, which has spilled into every area. I’m energized in a way that I wasn’t before so if you’re a creative person, and we writers tend to be, the more cases we can express that creativity, the better. Actually, my next novel comes out on Tuesday, June 23 – Summer Secrets.


GalleyCat: How do you manage to carve out time to sit down and actually write when you’re so busy?

Green: Right now I’m busier than ever before and my whole writing routine has had to change because I have so many things going on. In the old days I’d write during the morning and I’d be done by lunchtime and be mom in the afternoon. I can’t do that now. Sometimes I can get away with a week here or there but now I have to go on these self-imposed writing retreats. Twice a year I’ll go off to a little inn in New Hampshire and I’ll just go and for five days I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I wouldn’t look at anyone, I’d just be in a room with my computer and I will write.

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6. Peace & Parsnips

Lee Watson’s Peace & Parsnips: Vegan Cooking for Everyone looked so good from the preview cover art and blurb that I went out of my way to see if I could obtain a review copy of it. I mean, who wouldn’t be sold on the adorable cover with almost-stamped images of pears, broccoli, and what […]

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7. Baking with Kids: Make Breads, Muffins, Cookies, Pies, Pizza Dough and More! by Leah Brooks, photographs by Scott Peterson,

I love to cook and bake as much as I like to read recipes and peruse cookbooks with beautifully photographed delights. Working at a bookstore for almost 20 years, I had plenty of opportunity to peruse (and purchase) cookbooks but it was next to impossible to find a cookbook for kids that I would buy and use with my own kids or recommend to customers. Part of this is because of my particular taste in cookbooks but also because the reality is that there just isn't that much you can really cook with an average kid - or have your average kid cook alone. And, while I am always lookout for good cookbooks for kids as well as cookbooks for adults that might also have kid potential, I have only reviewed a handful of cookbooks here in the last eight years. Because of this, I am thrilled to have found Quarry Books, publisher of fantastic cooking, art, science and gardening books FOR kids! They also have a great line of doodle and drawing books that I hope to review here soon. I reviewed Noodle Kids: Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together by chef and dad, Jonathan Sawyer, last year and am excited to be moving on to Baking with Kids by Leah Brooks, photographs by Scott Peterson, this year!

For me, a good cookbook has great pictures, and this is especially the case for a kid's cookbook. One of the things I love about Quarry Books are the crisp, contemporary, abundant photographs in all of their instructional books, from cooking to art to science. Being a cookbook for kids, Brooks begins with kitchen safety and respecting the kitchen where she provides a breakdown of knife safety and appropriate knives for different ages. Brooks has great instructions for teaching a child how to use a knife as well as other sharp utensils like peelers and graters.She also has a great list of kitchen rules that includes a favorite of my mother's that I try to embrace, CLEAN AS YOU GO!

"Useful Kitchen Tools and Handy Pantry Ingredients," is yet another great chapter that parents and kids should read together and it even includes a kosher to table salt conversion. From there, Brooks breaks her recipes down by Healthy Breakfasts Baked Goods, Breads and Snacks, and Delicious Desserts, ending with a wonderful chapter on How to Throw a Fun Cooking-Themed Party that includes various cookie, pizza and cupcake party ideas.

Another aspect of Baking with Kids that I love is the variety and complexity flavors in the recipes that Brooks presents. There is a recipe for blueberry and lemon poppy seed muffins as well as roasted strawberry muffins and there are recipes for sweet and savory scones. The chapter on Bread and Snacks includes recipes for soda bread and French baguettes as well as pretzels, cheddar crackers, olive oil crackers and "Good For You Graham Crackers." I especially love the chapter on desserts, featuring hand pies as well as a flourless chocolate cake and "Easy-Peasy Mini Cheese Cakes." Having spent a lot of time in the kitchen and even more time working with my kids and niece and nephew, it is challenging to find recipes where you can step back and let the little people do the work and feel ownership. Baking with Kids truly achieves this with an added plus that I think is especially great: in every recipes, when applicable, Brooks includes a step called, "For Smaller Hands," that give the tinier chefs the opportunity to get in on the fun. Baking with Kids is a must have if you, the adult have little ones who want to bake. Even better, it is a magnificent, uniquely special gift that will make any junior masterchef smile!

Source: Review Copy

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8. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Feasts of Fury by Eric Colossal, 128 pp, RL 3

 Last year I read and loved, as I do any book that makes food and cooking a central plot thread, Rutabaga the Adventure Chef #1 by Eric Colossal. Rutabaga, his pop-up kitchen and Pot, his trusty cauldron/pet, are back for more food, fun and adventure in Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Feasts of Fury. And, as before, Rutabaga is a little bit goofy, a little bit gullible and a very passionate about cooking and feeding his friends, and even his enemies, from time to time.

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Feasts of Fury finds Rutabaga and Pot in the land of the dreaded gubblins where he meets, and cooks for, an old timer who shares memories of a soup he ate more than 30 years ago, prepared - with a special, secret ingredient - by his uncle. But, as he leads Rutabaga to the spot where he thought his uncle found the secret ingredient, a big, fanged surprise is waiting for him.

 From there, Rutabaga meets a troupe of actors and inspires a new play with an old favorite from his cooking school days, Poisoned Pot Pie. The pie isn't really poisoned, but there is a bean hidden in one of the individual pies and the person who gets it has to wash up. Rutabaga meets a mysterious thief/princess/liar named Minus and a very cool ingredient is part of a fantastic recipe that involves lock picking. When those dreaded gubblins do finally materialize, I think you can guess how Rutabaga gets himself, Pot and Minus out of a very dire predicament. And, quite happily, as with book 1, Colossal shares a handful of Rutabaga's special recipes - that kids can really make - at the end of the book. There are Popping Chocolate Spiders, Gubblin Snot, No-Bake "Poisoned" Cookies!

Source: Review Copy

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9. Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science: A Family Guide to Fun Experiments in the Kitchen by Andrew Schloss, 160 pp, RL: 4

As a cook, I read Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science, and thought, this is a cookbook! Yum! However, having studied, researched and taught myself the hows and whys of cooking over the decades, I definitely understand that it IS a science. This is exactly why Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science by Andrew Schloss is such a fantastic book - it can hook people like me, who love food and cooking but not necessarily science, and teach me a thing or two. And have delicious, educational fun at the same time. Andrew Schloss is an industry expert, chef, consultant, author and the co-author of The Science of Good Food, a book that brings restaurant level chemistry and physics home with explanations of the physical and chemical transformations which govern all food preparation and cooking, making him perfectly poised to write this superb book for kids.

As I flipped through Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science, I came across many recipe experiments for things have long wanted to make. As the introduction says, "Each experiment is written directly to kids.  Almost all can be completed with simple household ingredients. Most take less than an hour (some can be done in as little as 10 minutes), and each provides a snack or meal after you're finished experimenting." I can't think of a better way to spend time in the kitchen with your kids! Besides being filled with exciting experiments, the layout and presentation in Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science is MAGNIFICENT! Yes, it deserves that superlative in all caps. As you can see on the page below, each experiment has a rainbow-color-ranking on the right hand side of the page. Each color informs you as to the wow factor, the degree of edibleness, difficulty level, materials called for, time, cost and safety, making it SO EASY to flip through this book and choose something to do right then and there, or plan for another time.

The table of contents is divided into six chapters: Wiggly, Jiggly Experiments, Sweet Crystal Experiments, Cookies, Cakes, and Other Baked Experiments, Fruitastic, Vegedacious Experiments, Eggcellent Eggsperiments, Sodalicious Experiments. You can make edible slime and glow-in-the-dark gelatin, cream-less ice cream and candy-cane origami. Or, you can make 40-second sponge cake, English muffins or molten chocolate cupcakes. As seen above, you can make glowy, bouncy eggs or solid soup. Then, top it off with little edible water bottles and milk rocks.

As a cookbook and a science in the home book, Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science hits all the right marks for me. As a book lover, the aesthetics of Schloss's book is deeply pleasing, from the easy to read, colorful experiments to the fantastic photographs to the matte paper. This is a gorgeous, great book!

Source: Review Copy

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10. Gluten-Free Pasta from Scratch

Gluten Free Pasta

We were going to go to the pool, but it was thundery. So we pulled out our pasta crank and got going on our first try at gluten-free homemade pasta.

Hubs got me Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking as a gift not long ago, and though I’d looked at its lovely pages many times, I’d never tried anything from it. Now that we’ve got two gluten-avoiders in the house, though, I’m more inclined to try gluten-free baking and such. The book has a special gluten-free flour blend recipe. You make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge for all sorts of recipes.

I’ve made regular pasta with the crank a few times. The gluten-free version was definitely more challenging, and the results, while yummy, aren’t quiiiite the same. Everyone ate it enthusiastically, though, and fought over who got the last bits. I’m sure it will be easier and better the next time. The kids did a great job, but my patience was definitely wearing thin by the last few cranks.

Click here for a similar recipe by the cookbook authors. Hubs and I ate the pasta with basil and walnut puree (same ingredients as in the last post, just adding walnuts. Yum! The kids are begging to try the cinnamon rolls (from the book) next.

For more of my food posts, click here. Have a great weekend!

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11. Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

My kids saw these cinnamon rolls in Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and begged for days and days to make them. I usually save my cooking energy for meal-making, but the kids were determined, so we gathered ingredients and gave them a whirl.

Here’s the recipe on the Bronskis’ blog, No Gluten, No Problem.

As these things go, they were not all that hard to make. As usual with GF baking, the dough is a bit trickier to handle, but rolling it out between sheets of plastic wrap, as instructed, helped a lot.

When you roll the dough into a long tube, you can kind of pull the plastic out from under the dough, and it rolls together quite nicely.

We cut the sugar by about 1/3 cup and didn’t miss it because of the sugar glaze. They didn’t rise much (at all?), and the texture was a bit more like shortbread than a traditional cinnamon roll. As a friend pointed it, that’s probably because of all the butter! That said, they were a big hit with everyone, gluten-free or not, including my parents.

Two thumbs up for these. I’m sure we’ll make them again when we have the time. For more of my cooking posts, click here. For those of you who aren’t gluten-free, don’t worry, I’ll still be posting all kinds of meals, not just GF baking.

Coming up: some craft and sewing posts. Oh, and we just saw two movies worth watching. One, for grown-ups: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The other, for kids: Dolphin Tale, inspired by the true story of a dolphin who got a prosthetic tail after losing hers to amputation. Our kids love animal movies and are extremely sensitive to anything scary. After a little coaxing past the beginning injury scene (not very graphic), it went over very well.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll

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12. Favorite Gluten-Free Pizza

Gluten Free Pizza

Y’all, I’ve tried a LOT of gluten-free pizza. Some baked goods are easy to make GF, but pizza isn’t one of them. It usually tastes kind of card-boardy. The best store-bought kind I’ve found was of a ball of frozen dough from Earth Fare (sorry, I don’t know the brand). But it was crazy, crazy expensive.

This recipe is by far the best I’ve had. Favorito. Really nice texture, not sandy or weird like some others. Even our six-year-old (who is newly gluten-free) loved it. It’s also incredibly easy if you’ve already made your stash of gluten-free flour mix.

And the best part is, the dough only has to rise 10 minutes, so, unlike traditional homemade pizza dough, you don’t have to plan so far in advance. It doesn’t require kneading, either, just mixing.

This recipe is a TOTAL keeper! Like my recent GF recipe trials, it’s also from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski. The recipe for a similar version of it is here.

The book includes a recipe for a bulk batch of GF flour mix, and then you’re all set to use it in many of the recipes. It’s completely worth the effort, and, although not inexpensive, is a better deal than buying pre-mixed GF flour.

Gluten Free Pizza

One note on the recipe. My hubs grilled it, which went really well, but he had to pay close attention to the cooking time. I like it nice and crispy, but there are also directions for deep dish pizza in the book.

Yes, I hear you, you’re not gluten-free, and you wonder when my regularly scheduled cooking program is coming back. No worries, this is not going to become a blog solely about GF baking. It’s just what I’m excited about right now.

In other news, I’m waiting to get editorial notes on my young adult novel, and I’m currently researching for a nonfiction book project that had been on the back burner for quite awhile (since we were living in Germany over a year ago). Now that I’m researching in the U.S., with access to an American library, it’s way more fun! I’m still struggling with the shape of the project, but I’m happy to find that I’m just as interested in the subject matter. Hopefully I can share more about it when it’s a bit further along.

Meanwhile, I’ve been sewing a lot. Close to finishing a couple of projects that I hope to show you soon.

For more posts on cooking, click here.

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13. Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful

Eat Yourself BeautifulNecessity is, as they say, the mother of invention. Or rather, the reason we begin to investigate things.

Even though she’s been investigating many more things than most of us for a long time, certified holistic health coach, yoga teacher, wholefoods chef, and author Lee Holmes is no exception to this rule.

Holmes started researching and experimenting with nutritious recipes—many of which were free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar—to eat herself well after she was in 2006 diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

That’s an auto-immune disease Wikipedia tells me is characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and excruciating response to pressure. Its other symptoms can include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint stiffness, difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Suffice to say, it’s a serious-enough illness to make you rethink—and rejig—your life.

But instead of opting for the generally prescribed medicine to treat the illness, Holmes figured there had to be another way to treat (if not cure) Fibromyalgia. Cue the creation of Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, a beautifully presented book containing over 100 nutritious recipes designed to counter auto-immune illnesses such as Fibromyalgia by eating yourself well. It follows on from her Supercharged Food and Supercharged Food for Kids cookbooks.

The recipes—many of them free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar—focus on simple, nutrition-packed, anti-inflammatory ‘super foods’, and are designed to produce inner and outer health and beauty.

I’ll not deny I was—and am—dubious about the book’s title. Surely healthy is more important than being beautiful? But I will concede that the word ‘beautiful’ is likely to aim to imply healthfulness-related and radiated beauty than that of the narrowly defined notions of beauty we find in film, television, and glossy magazines. So, I’m approaching it more along the lines of the adages ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘beauty isn’t skin deep’—that is, what’s inside matters just as much and affects what’s outside.

Supercharged Food‘It’s not about wanting to be Peter Pan,’ Holmes says in the press release. Rather, it’s about continued good health and aging gracefully, changing your lifestyle instead of see-sawing between fad diets.

Title quibbles aside, the book is gorgeously presented (Murdoch Books does incredible cookbooks—all three of Holmes’ books are through them). The Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful images are salivation-inducing scrumptious and the communication design is clear and useful. For example, colour-coded symbols and initialisms denote at a glance whether a recipe is wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and so on.

The recipes too are delicious. Adhering to the food-as-medicine principle, the meals are full anti-oxidant, immune-boosting foods. I roadtested three at a recent dinner party: broccolini with garlic and chilli; carrot, lemon and fresh mint soup; and turmeric, cauliflower and almond.

I’ve haven’t images of the recipes’ images both because my interpretations weren’t nearly as pretty as the book’s and because they were consumed so quickly and so heartily I didn’t have time to take a pic before they were gone. I recommend instead checking out the ones in the book—if they don’t inspire you to crack out your cooking utensils, nothing will.

It goes without saying then that Supercharged Food and its recipes warrant a thumbs-up review. So too does the complementary website, which boasts a host a supporting material, including meal plans, information, and resources—it’s easy to see why Holmes has been awarded as both a writer and a blogger.

It’s relevant to those of us aiming to conquer some auto-immune illnesses, but it’s a healthful choice for those of us who aren’t. Maybe one day we’ll have no need of the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention adage because we’ll have thwarted it by living the prevention-is-better-than-cure one instead.

Thanks to Murdoch Books for the opportunity to review Supercharged Food and apologies the review has taken so long to post—post-person confusion saw the book wrongly delivered to my neighbour’s, but it’s found its home now and I won’t be relinquishing it anytime soon.

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14. Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman, 159 pp, RL ALL AGES

I am always on the lookout for a special cookbook with recipes that will appeal to kids and can be made (with adult supervision and/or help) by kids. Of course deserts are an easy option, but the range of popular possibilities isn't very interesting. Cupcakes and cake pops are so last year and macarons just don't seem kid friendly, despite the vivid colors and amazing flavors like lavender

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15. New Cookbook from Donna Hay

135+ clever solutions and f lavour-packed recipes for weeknights and weekends This book is all about new ways to make cooking easier and captures how most of us, including Donna Hay, like to cook. It offers solutions to the age-old dilemma of cooks everywhere – what can I put on the table through the week […]

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16. Easy Weekends

It’s fitting to review a cookbook entitled Easy Weekends* while indulging in a rare, phone-less, relatively easy weekend myself. This recent-ish cookbook by award-winning and celebrity chef Neil Perry** arrived on my doorstep with perfect timing: it was late in the work week and I was yearning for a quiet couple of days in. With […]

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17. Easy Vegan

Winner, winner chicken dinner is not perhaps the most appropriate response for a vegan to make to anything. And especially not in response to reviewing a vegan cookbook. But that’s the phrase that sprang to mind when I cracked open Sue Quinn’s Easy Vegan, which arrived as a review copy from Murdoch Books. My other […]

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18. John Tesar & Josh Ozersky to Collaborate On a Cookbook

Chef John TesarChef John Tesar and food writer Josh Ozersky will work together on a cookbook entitled Knife: Modern Steak and All American Meats.

Tesar (pictured, viasat for an interview with D Magazine and revealed that he “started coming up with 100 recipes…I want this book to register on three levels: first it has to have coffee table appeal, second, I want my peers to respect it, and third, I want it to be textbook-esque for culinary students to pick up and learn from.”

Artist Kevin Marple will shoot the photographs for this project. Flatiron Books, a Macmillan imprint, has set the publication date for Spring 2017.

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19. Lollipop Love: Sweet Indulgence with Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar by Anita Chu, photographs by Antonis Achilleos, 95 pp

Lollipop Love: Sweet Indulgence with Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar by Anita Chu  with yummy photographs by Antonis Achilleos is exactly the kind of cookbook I love. Even though it's made for adults, it is sweet, simple and sure to grab the attention of young culinary artists and curious kids alike. Also, like the amazing Meringue Girls: Incredible Sweets Everybody Can Make cookbook I reviewed

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20. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef #1 by Eric Colossal, 128 pp, RL 3

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal began life as an online and is now available in book form and in full color (although I couldn't find any color images to share here...)! I absolutely love the character of Rutabaga and the world that Colossal has created for him to wander in. When we first meet him, he is trekking through the wilds with a huge pack on his back (it turns out to

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21. Noodle Kids: Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together by Jonathan Sawyer

As someone who is a part Italian, carb-loving home chef who has made more than a few pounds of pasta with my kids, there is almost no way I would not love a cookbook titled Noodle Kids. And, with every page turn I found more and more to love, admire and appreciate about this brilliant cookbook by chef, father and restauranteur Jonathan Sawyer. Sawyer has a long culinary history, but it is

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22. Celebrating National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich

Re-posted with permission from Desiree Glaze of WeeShare:

I love bread.  In fact, my entire family enjoys eating bread.  Did you know that this is National Bread Month?  I am pretty sure this calls for a celebration– let’s all go eat some bread!

The great thing about bread is that it and other grain foods actually provide many essential nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and help fight diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and birth defects.  I try to choose breads and even cereals that use whole grains, as whole grains are a great source of complex carbs and fiber and they are naturally low in fat.  Enriched grains are a great option as well because not only do they contain complex carbs, but they are also one of the major sources for iron and folic acid in our diets.

The key to maximizing your health and your energy is to take a look at everything that is on your plate.  Balance is essential.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating six one ounce servings of grain foods each day.  This can come in the form of buns, sandwich bread, tortillas, bagels, crackers, and a variety of other grain foods.

One really easy way to incorporate grains into your diet is with a sandwich.  You can add some meat, fresh veggies, and cheese, and suddenly you’ve got an entree that is packed with ingredients from many of the food groups!
2012 actually marks the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich! America’s love affair with the sandwich dates back to England in 1762 when Sir John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, didn’t want to put his cards down in the midst of a marathon game of poker, so requested his meat be served to him between two slices of bread. A fabulous new “food form” was born – and our passion for sandwiches continues to this day. With Americans consuming over a billion sandwiches a year – for breakfast, lunch and dinner – sandwiches may in fact be our most popular national dish.

Why does it seems that we love sandwiches so much?  Well…

  • Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most versatile and convenient ways to make a healthy meal for individuals or families.
  • Bread is the most important ingredient in making a healthy and delicious sandwich; it is the foundation of a great meal any time of day.
  • The complex carbohydrates in bread and other grain-based foods provide lasting energy the human body needs on a daily basis.

Sandwiches are definitely a part of my family’s life.  Growing up, I remember frequently taking peanut butter sandwiches in my lunch to school.  Now, I highly prefer a BLT.  I know that some people like mayo on their BLT’s, but I stick with lightly toasted bread, crispy bacon, tomato {preferably with a touch of salt}, and some iceberg lettuce.  My little vegetarian daughter prefers her sandwiches with bread and a slice of Muenster cheese.  My husband likes to pile his up with a variety of meats and cheeses as well as tomato, lettuce, and a variety of other toppings.
We eat sandwiches whenever we’re spending the day outdoors hiking, kayaking, or at the park.  Nothing beats a family picnic in the beautiful sunshine.  We’ve also been known to enjoy sandwiches at home for lunch or even as a light dinner.  Sandwiches truly are versatile.

Since it’s National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich, the Grain Foods Foundation has teamed up with celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio to share four exclusive sandwich recipes.

Chef Voltaggio has been around food virtually his entire life.  He grew up in an agricultural community where he tended the garden and baled hay right alongside his family.  After attending the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Voltaggio worked alongside many other famous chefs both here and abroad.  Now, he is getting ready to open his third restaurant, which will be located in Washington DC.
You can view all four recipes that Chef Voltaggio created for the Grain Foods Foundation by visiting their website.  However, I wanted to highlight one of them– the Avocado CLT.  Just looking at this sandwich makes my mouth water.  Perhaps that’s what I get for viewing recipes when I’m hungry!  This sandwich features whole grain bread as well as tasty ingredients like avocado, cucumber and tomato.  There are also directions to whip up a goat cheese mousse and spread to use on the sandwich.

So, this month as we all celebrate National Bread Month and the 250th Anniversary of the Sandwich, I’d love to know… what’s YOUR favorite sandwich to eat?

Disclosure:  I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

image from Carla’s Sandwich – written by Debbie Herman, illustrated by Sheila Bailey




Flashlight Press responds: Carla would make these recipes and eat the results. They’re all favorites!

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23. Warm-Up: The Deer Can Bake Cookies!

My warm-up drawing for the day turned into a cookbook cover. I consider it a rough, mock-up. I could tweak, change and alter this thing forever, if I let myself.

…And now I think I need my own cookie fix… : )


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24. Gift Book Giveaway: Instant Happy and Salty Snacks

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the opportunity to splurge on gift books. Finding the perfect one for a friend is like striking gold. There’s nothing more personal and rewarding than the gift of words in a pretty package to show how well you know someone and how much you care.

We have two wonderful books to give away that will brighten your day and satisfy your salt cravings! And if you’re anything like me—and I think you are—you will absolutely love them.

First up is Instant HAPPY: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers by Karen Salmansohn. This gorgeous little hardcover contains humorous and uplifting insights that will make you smile or say, “So true!” Each page is loaded with full-color graphics and a clever saying to brighten your day. The book uses a psychological tool called “pattern interrupts” to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. Each inspirational flashcard will give you a reality check and help put things into perspective.

Writers will find inspiration for every emotional step of the writing process—you know the ones I’m talking about . . . self-doubt, confidence, courage, rejection, and more! For example: “You Know You’re Making Progress When You’re Making Mistakes.” or “When one door closes, try a window. Then try a new door. Then try a new window. The world is full of doors and windows. Eventually you’ll find one that stays open.”

Here are a couple of flashcards from the book:

Feel a little better already? 

The author, Karen Salmansohn, is a motivational speaker, designer, and best-selling author of more than twenty-five books, including How to Be Happy, Dammit; Enough, Dammit; and The Bounce Back Book. She’s also an online columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine; Psychology Today; The Huffington Post; Positively Positive; and AOL, and she has worked as a creative strategist for the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon, L’Oreal, and Avon. Find out more about Karen by visiting her website: www.notsalmon.com. With Karen’s help and contagious optimism, you will be ready to take on the world!

Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers
by Karen Salmansohn
128 pages, 6" x 7"
ISBN: 978-1-60774-368-2
Ten Speed Press (October 2012)


While not exactly a gift book and more of a cookbook, Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims is gorgeous, fun-sized, and a great gift for those who love savory snacks. We often have the snack discussion here at WOW! When asked what types of snacks writers most like to munch while writing, it’s a near draw between sweet and salty. Me? I’ve always had a love affair with salt. Give me a bag of chips over a doughnut any day. And if you’re like me, your mouth will start watering from flipping through the pages of this book.

This collection of 75 easy-to-follow recipes for puffs, chips, breads, nuts, veggies, and meats puts a fresh, crunchy spin on homemade snacks. From the crispy to the doughy to the gluten-free, some seriously mouthwatering offerings fill each chapter with a wide array of choices that are instant crowd-pleasers for cocktail parties, food gifts, at arm’s length while writing, curling up with a good book, or whenever you want a delicious treat.

With all the excess sodium and hidden preservatives in prepackaged foods, it’s smart to make your own savory bites from scratch. The book contains recipes like Kale Chips with Lemon and Ginger, Sichuan Pepper Apple Crisps, Cumin Lentil Crackers, Blue Cheese Straws, and Parmesan Thumbprint Cookies with Tomato-Tart Cherry Jam. Meat lovers will also appreciate an assortment of recipes, such as Crisp Beef with Lemongrass, Smoked Salmon Rillettes, and Five Spice Duck Skin.

The author, Cynthia Nims, studied cooking at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine and has authored and co-authored 12 cookbooks, including Gourmet Game Night. President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), she has been the editor of Simply Seafood magazine and food editor for Seattle Magazine. Cynthia contributes to Cooking Light, Coastal Living, and Sunset. Visit her blog, Mon Appétit: www.monappetit.com. Yum!

Salty Snacks: Make Your Own Chips, Crisps, Crackers, Pretzels, Dips and Other Savory Bites
by Cynthia Nims
168 pages, 7" x 8"
ISBN: 978-1-60774-181-7
Ten Speed Press (September 2012)


Enter to win Instant HAPPY: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers by Karen Salmansohn and Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. One lucky winner will be chosen at random.

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25. Best Lunch Box Ever : Ideas and Recipes for School Lunches Kids Will Love by Katie Morford, photographs by Jennifer Martiné, RL : ALL AGES

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - BEST LUNCH BOX EVER -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> This is really going to be more of a confession than a review because packing my kids' lunches is a secret source of frustration and occasionally shame for

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