January 31, 2013

"Pati's Mexican Table" by Pati Jinich

Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home CookingMy rating: 4 of 5 spoons

My mouth is watering and I'm craving some Mexican food now! Well written with lots of information, scrumptious recipes and glorious full-color photos. Recipe after recipe cries out to be made and enjoyed around the table with the family. Pati Jinich does a great job of giving great background on the recipes and ingredients without turning it into a boring lecture like some cookbooks I've read. It feels like your sitting in her kitchen chatting and can almost smell all the wonderful aromas of food cooking. Very well done!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 spoons due to some of the ingredients being hard to find.

I was given a digital copy of this book by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers through NetGalley.com to read and give an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 18, 2013

"The Yankee Chef" by Jim Bailey

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

This is a gem of a cookbook! We spent some time in New England a couple of years ago (and fell in love with it, by the way!), so I couldn't wait to dig in to this cookbook. This book is chock full of yummy recipes from the region with a healthy sprinkling of foreign recipes in honor of New England's diverse heritage. Boston Baked Beans, New England Boiled Dinner, Clam Bake, Fried Clams, Seafood Stuffing, Codfish Cakes, Maine Blueberry Pie, Red Flannel Hash and, of course, Whoopie Pies! I only had one issue with this book. In multiple recipes he states that the authentic recipe is more involved, so he's giving you a shortcut by using something else instead. I wish he would have included the instructions for those of us who would like to go the extra mile to make it authentic. Otherwise, this is a great cookbook that I would LOVE to have on in my collection!

January 15, 2013

"Put 'Em Up! Fruit" by Sherri Brooks Vinton--Amended Review

My rating: 5 of 5 spoons

As someone looking forward to getting into canning and preserving more this summer, this cookbook was right up my alley! It is chock full of information and yummy recipes. I love that it doesn't just tell you what to do--it explains WHY and how to use different variations. I can't wait for the summer fruits to start coming into season so I can put these to work!  The initial copy I reviewed did not include amounts which cost it one "spoon", but I was contacted by Storey Publishing and given the final draft which DOES include amounts for the recipes.  Now that issue is fixed, I unhesitatingly give this a 5 spoon review! :-)

I was sent a digital copy of this cookbook to review by Storey Publishing through NetGalley.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 14, 2013

"Madhouse Cookbook" by Jo Pratt

My rating: 2 of 5 spoons

I was really looking forward to this cookbook. I love British cooking, I'm a mother of four so I understand the whole "madhouse" concept, but it fell really flat to me. I realize this is Britain and they do things differently, but I had a real problem with cooking for the kids and adults separately--make this for the kids, get them in bed, then cook for the two of you alone. That's half the problem with families these days. People don't sit down and eat together as a family. It's also based on the mom working, kids in school, etc. As a homeschooling mother, that doesn't really fit our family.

I realize the importance of children eating their vegetables, but it was insane the number of recipes she was sticking in either corn or peas. Some of them just sounded nasty! Here's a novel thought--why not just teach your children to obey you and eat their vegetables?! Worked great for us. I don't mind some recipes that use fruits/vegetables to replace unhealthier alternatives (unsweetened applesauce for oil, thin slices of squash for lasagne noodles, etc). Some people consider this "hiding" healthy foods for their kids to eat without knowing it. I think it's just healthier cooking. I don't hide from my kids what I've done. Sorry, that's just a personal opinion.

This may seem small, but to fit the "Madhouse" title, some of the recipe names are a weird mix of uppercase and lowercase letters that, to me, were just annoying. However, this is a digital edition--it could be different in the print edition when it comes out.

I received this book from Watkins Publishing, Ltd through NetGalley.com for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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"Salad for Dinner" by Tasha DeSerio

Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads that Make a MealMy rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I was very excited to get a digital edition of this cookbook to review. My family & I are trying to eat healthier. I love salads as a way to accomplish that, but sometimes it seems like you're making the same basic salad over and over with just minor variations. This book changes all of that! Page after page of yummy recipes for healthy salads that won't bore you. I like that some of them include different kinds of meats, and there's plenty of bean salads which give you lots of protein and keeps away that hunger an hour after eating feeling. Now, on the digital copy I recieved, the index was a mess. Mostly just "A" and a little "B" repeated over and over.  Hopefully this was fixed in the print edition.  Also, the recipe for "Frisee with Seared Scallops and Blood Oranges" (which looks/sounds incredibly yummy!!) was accompanied by a picture clearly showing normal oranges. Blood oranges are deep red while these were bright orange. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would love to add it to my shelf.

I received this book from The Taunton Press via NetGalley.com for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 11, 2013

"The Naked Foods Cookbook" by Margaret Floyd

The Naked Foods Cookbook: Easy, Unprocessed, Gluten-Free, Full-Fat Recipes for Losing Weight and Feeling GreatMy rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I want this book!!! I received a digital copy from New Harbinger Publications, Inc. through NetGalley.com to read and review. I love it!! I have to admit, I ended up giving it 4 stars instead of 5 due to the high intensity of some of the prep work, but I'm intrigued all the same. My family and I have been wanting to move to healthier eating, and I found a LOT in this book that we can easily do to improve our diet and overall health. The recipes are fascinating, and I can't wait to try some of the techniques shown to enhance the nutritional value of our food. The only problem I found was when they were explaining knife skills, they stated a small dice was 4 inches, medium 2 inches and large 3/4 inches. I assume they mean 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4". This typo should be fixed for people new to cooking. All-in-all, and great book that I hope to add to my cookbook shelf soon!

January 10, 2013

"Dishing Up Virginia" by Patrick Evans-Hylton, Edwin Remsberg

Dishing Up® VirginiaMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons

What a lovely book! Part history, part cookbook, this book is arranged by regions and includes menus, background and history on foods special to Virginia and most of the recipes themselves. Gorgeous color photos throughout is a feast for the eyes as well. The recipes, well lets just say I'm ready to hit the kitchen!! Some wonderful old favorites as well as new recipes I'm dying to try such as Williamsburg Lodge Fried Green Tomato Salad, Virgina Sea Scallops with Shallots and Walnuts, Chesapeake Cioppino, Crab Salad Lettuce Wraps, Southern Fried Caprese Salad (have I died and gone to heaven?!? I adore Caprese salad--can't wait to try it fried!!), Traditional Country Applesauce, Monticello Apple Cake, Black Walnut Balls......Yum!! This a beautifully put together cookbook with incredible recipes. I definitely recommend this one!

I received an ebook version of this book from Storey Publishing through NetGalley.com for my honest review.

January 4, 2013

"You Be Sweet" by Patsy Caldwell

You Be Sweet: Sharing Your Heart One Down-Home Dessert at a TimeMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons

Oh my, my, MY!! I am in love with this cookbook!! I'll be honest, I bought this cookbook on the strength of my sister's review on her blog, http://cabinfeverreading.blogspot.com.... What an absolutely fantabulous cookbook!! Lots of old friends in here! I've seen numerous recipes for various versions of "Chess Pie" in other cookbooks, but none were as good as the one I grew up on, which has become a family favorite to my kids now. This one has it!! She's has put a spin on our old fried dried apple pies ("Cherry-Apple Fried Pies"), but the basics are all there. Glazed doughnuts, chocolate gravy, grape pie, banana nut bread, buckeyes, jam cake, sweet potato pie...ya'll come eat, now!!

"The Perfect Afternoon Tea Recipe Book" by Antony Wild and Carol Pastor

The Perfect Afternoon Tea Recipe BookMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I have long been a fan of teatime. Before marriage, kids, homeschooling, etc sped up the pace of my life, afternoon tea was a time I enjoyed often. I still sometimes take a tea tray off to have a little time alone, and I love doing tea parties for my girls. In fact, for her eleventh birthday, my daughter requested a tea party. We made it a "High Tea" so Daddy could join in. We had a great time cooking together to get ready for it, and that's where this book comes in. We didn't make every dish out of the book, but we did make several. This book is wonderful!! Everything we tried came out wonderfully, and we have many things on our "to make" list.

This is an absolutely gorgeous book, full of fantastic photos, recipes and information. The first 47 pages are filled with tea knowledge and history, etiquette, essential ingredients, basic equipment, methods, problem solving, etc. The recipes then commence. Wow! They start with recipes to make your own jam. I have not made these yet, but they are on my "to do" list for this summer when the fruits come back in season.

The main recipe portion is divided into:

Savoury Treats
Teabreads and Bakes
Fruity Treats
Biscuits and Bars
Tea-Time Treats
Classic Cakes
Mini Celebrations
Sumptious Gateaux

This is a really great collection of classic British teatime treats. You're sure to find wonderful recipes here.

Happy Cooking!!

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January 1, 2013

"The Amish Cook's Baking Book" by Lovina Eicher & Kevin Williams

The Amish Cook's Baking BookMy rating: 5 of 5 spoons  (who needs stars?!? lol)

Yum!! I love this cookbook!! I've made several of the recipes so far and I love it!! You HAVE to try the butterscotch pie!! I grew up around butterscotch pie as it was my dad's favorite (outside of banana pudding). I think this one even tops the wonderful pies my mom used to make. Incredible flavor. If you don't want to make your own pie crust, use regular frozen crust and you'll get two pies out of 1 recipe of filling mixture. The chocolate nut pie was--what do the kids say?--a party in my mouth! This book will be pulled out and used again and again in my kitchen!


Welcome to my new blog!  I wanted to share my love of cooking with you through cookbook reviews.  I have a long, passionate relationship with cookbooks.  I have collected them over the years, thinning them out with each move.  I still have too many!!  I have recently started a book review blog (http://sandrasbooknook.blogspot.com/), and thought I'd expand it here for cookbooks.  I hope you enjoy yourself and come back often!

Happy Cooking!!