June 29, 2016

The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij

The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I have heard of the Basque region, but knew very little about their cuisine until I got this book. It's a fascinating read, and delicious to eat from! There is a wide range of recipes here, from the simple but sublime, to the more complicated and delectable.

Summer Tomatoes with Sweet Onion is a great example of the simple, yet sublime. Perfect, vine-ripened tomatoes paired with sweet onion and not much else is just summer dancing on your palate.

Classic Spanish Tortilla is a slightly more complicated with multiple flip and turns (which sounds easier than it is!), yet worth the effort. Lentils with Chorizo is just a match made in heaven, and don't even get me started on the desserts!

Let's face it. Most of us will never get the opportunity to explore this amazing region in person, but you can get a little taste of it in your own home with this delightful book.

I received a copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

May 30, 2016

New Website!!

I have a new website!!  I have finally made the plunge and created a traditional .com website.  Please feel free to visit and let me know what you think.  Sandra's Kitchen Nook  My latest review is on the cookbook review page there.

Happy Cooking!!

May 25, 2016

200 Best Sheet Pan Meals by Camilla Saulsbury

200 Best Sheet Pan Meals: Quick and Easy Oven Recipes One Pan, No Fuss!
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


What's better than a one pot meal? As a busy stay-at-home, homeschool mom and blogger, being able to throw everything in one pot occasionally is wonderful. Here is a delightful little cookbook with quick, easy meals in one pan. Most of them have you line the sheet pan with foil, so clean up is a breeze as well!

I made the Italian Sausage and Pepper Supper for my girls last night and it was a huge hit! We love Italian any way, and the simple, but delicious flavors worked well. It was easy to make and very filling. I had a 2 lb package of Italian sausage, so I used half for this dish and will use the other half in the morning to make the Italian Breakfast Bake which is an alternate version of the French Country Breakfast Bake. It's sure to be a crowd pleaser!

Whether you want a New England Clam Bake without the beach, or are in the mood for something different such as Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan-Spiced Chicken and Chickpeas or Peanut Butter Cookie Tart with Raspberries, you're sure to find something to eat here!

I received a copy of this book from Robert Rose, Inc. for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


I made the Italian Breakfast Bake this morning.  I used half Swiss cheese and half Asiago and just salted & peppered the eggs as I normally do instead of actually measuring it.  Otherwise I followed the recipe as printed and it was AMAZING!!  Even my youngest that isn't a big fan of eggs or breakfast casseroles enjoyed it!  We will be making this again!

Home Cooked by Anya Fernald

Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I love, love, LOVE this cookbook! Even the title spoke to me as I am a home cook. I've never had formal training and I don't claim to be even close to a professional. I just love food and cooking to feed my family. However, just because you're a home cook doesn't mean you have to stick to simple meat and veg type meals, and this book showcases that. While it includes great recipes for simple food, many of these recipes have inspiring new twists to them.

To pull you out of your comfort zone, the author includes delightful recipes for such things as Toma Cheese with Green Herbs, and Fresh Ricotta to introduce you to cheese making, or recipes for preserving your own food such as bone broths, canning tomatoes, making your own butter and buttermilk and more. The Fresh Ricotta is easy to follow with amazing results. I've made ricotta off and on for years, and this is a great recipe for it. There are recipes for making your own pasta, sauerkraut, confiting meat and so much more.

This book is high quality inside and out. From the binding to the photographs to the dishes themselves, this is a cookbook to cook from again and again. It has easily won its way onto my favorites shelf. I highly recommend you give this cookbook a try. It will not disappoint!

I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook by Katie Chin

Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother's Kitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I thoroughly enjoy Chinese food, but we don't go out to eat often, and I don't like the large amounts of msg many restaurants add to their food. This book is a delightful alternative! All your classic Chinese dishes are here from General Tso's Chicken, Firecracker Shrimp, Potstickers, multiple dumplings, Crab Wontons, Mu Shu Pork, Egg Drop Soup, Cashew Chicken, Pepper Steak and so many, many more!

My husband and I are working on changing our eating habits, watching calories, fat, etc and generally trying to lose weight and get healthier, so I wanted to treat him with last night. He's a long time fan of Beef and Broccoli, so I whipped up a batch from Katie's book. This was my first time making it myself, and it turned out lovely!! The recipe says it serves 2 for a main course with rice. We actually only ate about 1/3 of the pot apiece and that kept the calories under 500, which I was very happy with! It was nice to feel like you were having a cheat meal, but you weren't even cheating!!

Along with the delicious recipes, there's delightful sections on Katie's mom, understanding Chinese ingredients, cooking techniques, as well as tools and utensils before it gets into the actual recipes. I love that it includes recipes for the different sauces as well so you don't have to always rely on store bought.

The book is filled with photos that are colorful and mouthwatering to go with the well-written recipes that are easy to follow. The index is comprehensive making it easy to find the dish you want by dish or ingredient, which is a definite plus when you don't know exactly what to cook, but want to find something to fit what you have on hand. I had a nice little flank steak that I was looking to cook and was thrilled to find multiple recipes of various sorts that I could use it in.

This is overall an absolutely delightful cookbook that is easy to use and a joy to cook from. Why not skip the Chinese restaurant next time and whip up a batch of your favorite food at home!

I received a copy of this book from Tuttle Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

May 24, 2016

Sweet Mornings by Patty Pinner

Sweet Mornings: Breakfast and Brunch Desserts That Make Meals SpecialSweet Mornings: Breakfast and Brunch Desserts That Make Meals Special by Patty Pinner
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I'll be honest, I can't really handle sweets in the morning, but my 14 year old daughter absolutely adores sweet breakfasts! She doesn't get them often, so you can imagine her excitement when she found out I received this book to review! She latched on it and I practically had to pry it out of her hands to read it myself! She was over the moon when I allowed her to make the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes by herself. They didn't turn out perfectly, but the pancake batter is so nice that with the addition of a touch of sugar (the original recipe doesn't have sugar in the actual pancake batter as there is the swirl AND an icing for them), it's become my girls' go-to recipe for making pancakes from scratch themselves, and they turn out very nicely.

If you love sweets, this is perfect for you. You'll find everything from muffins, to cobblers, fruit breads, tea breads, granolas, French Toast Casserole, cinnamon rolls and so much more.

If you don't love sweets in the morning, there are some savory recipes as well including Mrs. Ruby's Table-Talk White Bread. My oldest daughter and I made this, and it turned out wonderfully. There is also a Bacon Quiche, Biscuits and more in the savory section.

This is a lovely cookbook. It's a quality cookbook that I'm giving to my daughter to keep as she grows up and moves away. I know it's something she can use for years and years to come. I'm very happy to highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Agate Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sorry I've been MIA!

I know I've been missing in action lately, but I've been dealing with a lovely abscessed tooth.  It's hard to cook and review cookbooks when you're unable to eat!! lol  I'm doing so much better and ready to dive back into the cookbooks to share with you.  Enjoy!

May 11, 2016

Anatolia by David Dale

My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


"Beautiful" is the first word that comes to mind when viewing this book. From the gorgeous, padded cloth cover, to the high quality binding (with two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks) to the lovely photographs and delectable recipes, this book is beautiful inside and out!

I've always loved Baklava, so it was a treat to try a new variation of it (I'm used to the Greek style with walnuts and heavily scented/flavored syrup). The Traditional Pistachio Baklava is fiddly to make, but worth it! Each crunchy morsel is a delight sure to impress and delight!

Looking for something new to cool you off on those hot days of summer coming up? Try the Basil Lemonade for a new twist on an old favorite. Need a new dish for breakfast? Spicy Sausage With Eggs is a treat! Buy sucuk sausage if you can find it, or make your own version with the included recipe.

You can find a little bit of everything is this book from a light Watermelon and Feta Salad to the ...interesting Sheep's Head Soup. Bring home a taste of Turkey to your house tonight with some delightful dishes from the beautiful cookbook Anatolia.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

May 10, 2016

Pimentos and Piri Piri by Carla Azevedo

Pimentos and Piri Piri: Portuguese Comfort Cooking
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Portuguese is a cuisine I have not had experience with, but this book is perfect to introduce someone to it. The recipes range from very easy to much more complex, and bits of history and information on culture and cooking techniques are included. The photos are gorgeous, though do not expect a photo for every recipe.

Make your own Quejio Fresco, a creamy fresh cheese traditionally spread on cornbread and served as a midday snack, or marinate your own olives. Try a lovely Fresh Tomato and Bread Soup, or the more complex Seafood Stew.

Portuguese Pulled Pork would make a lovely addition to your summer menu as would the Barbecue Chicken and Beef Skewers. Roasted Seasoned Potatoes will make a nice side dish as would Grilled Pineapple and Vegetables with Fresh Mint.

Pimentos & Piri Piri is a beautiful book filled with delightful recipes that will whisk you away to Portugal. Take a trip from the comfort of your own home with a mouthwatering menu from the beautiful country of Portugal.

I received a copy of this book from Whitecap Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

April 1, 2016

Eating Appalachia by Darrin Nordahl

Eating Appalachia: Rediscovering Regional American Flavors
My rating: 3 of 5 spoons


Eating Appalachia is not really a cookbook, but more a collection of writings with a few simple recipes scattered throughout. It begins with an introduction on American Ingredients and cuisine before moving on to chapters covering key places in Appalachia:

• Albany, Ohio
• Richwood, West Virginia
• Prestonsburg, Kentucky
• Cairo, West Virginia
• Cherokee, North Carolina
• Colfax, North Carolina

The book ends with an epilogue, Toward a New American Cuisine. Each chapter includes information about the area and the produce found there. For instance, the chapter on Albany, Ohio includes information, history and recipes about the pawpaw, while the chapter on Colfax, NC is all about the persimmon.

If you’re interested in Appalachia and the food there, you should enjoy this book. If you’re looking for a cookbook packed with Appalachian recipes, this is probably not for you. There is only about 23 total recipes in this book, and most are fairly simple. Overall, however, I enjoyed the book and recommend it provisionally to others.

I received a copy of this book from Chicago Review Press through the Lisa Ekus Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Royal Heritage Cookbook by The Hon. Sarah Macpherson

The Royal Heritage Cookbook: Recipes from High Society and the Royal Court
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love cooking, but I love history as well, so this cookbook is a great match for me. I'll be honest, I was expecting a lot larger cookbook with more recipes, but the more I read this cookbook the more I liked it. The book includes conversion tables, menus options, recipes and history. I love that many of the recipes show a photo of the original recipe along with it re-typed out and updated for today's cooks.

There is such a variety of recipes in here from the classic Chicken, Cream & Leek Pie which was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and known to be made as far back as 1580 (and is still delicious today!) to Thirlestane Castle Curries from the mid 1800's and Rich Fruit Cake possibly created for the wedding of King George III in 1761.

If you're looking for slick, perfect, modern cookbook, this is not for you. If you love history, are an Anglophile or just love cookbooks in general, this is a great choice for you. It's a great cookbook that I'm happy to recommend.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Savor by Ilona Oppenheim

Savor: Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


To begin with, this is just a beautiful book! From the front cover photography, to the quality hardcover, sewn binding, to the luscious interior photos (most of them taken by the author!) and lovely recipes, this is definitely a book to delight all the senses. To make it even better, this is not a trained chef doing spectacular things outside of the skill set of most everyday cooks, but a mother who loves to fish, forage and cook for her family and just wants to share this with others. Don’t feel you can’t use this book if you don’t have a place to forage from. Most ingredients can be sourced in stores as well.

There is so much to choose from, it was hard to make the decision of what to cook first. I finally decided on the 24 Hour Onion Soup. How nice to be able to make a full-bodied, lovely onion soup that takes so much time, but does most of the work on its own in the slow cooker! Served with the crusty bread with toasted Gruyere…what could be lovelier?

The Roasted Chicken recipe is packed full of flavor. Serve the chicken with Crispy Roasted Potatoes with a side salad for a meal sure to delight your family. The Ricotta recipe makes it so easy to make your own ricotta cheese at home. Use it to make the Ricotta and Roasted Fig Bruschetta.

I was in the mood for a dessert, so I made the Pine Nut Cookies next. I love that these cookies are not overly sweet and have a light, delicate flavor. The down side is that they’re very addicting! I have a feeling that most of the desserts in this book will be the same. Emphasis is placed on flavor instead of just loading it with sugar, and the results speak for themselves.

This is a great cookbook for anyone interested in flavorful, healthy food. If you’re interested in foraging or sourcing from the wild, that just makes it more appealing, but I think anyone could use and thoroughly enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book from Artisan Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 30, 2016

Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog

Courtyard Kitchen: Recipes and Growing Tips for Herbs and Potted Fruits
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


When I first receive a cookbook to review, I flip through it marking dishes that initially catch my eye and make me want to make them. Some have 2 or 3 markers from that first time through and more are added as I go back through the cookbook for a more in-depth look. This beautiful book looked like a porcupine from the first time through it had so many markers!

Some of the recipes I’ve marked I won’t be making until later in the season when I actually start harvesting from my garden, but others I dove into immediately. Thyme and Lemon Cookies immediately grabbed my eye as I love both of these flavors, separately or combined. The dough did not turn out as the recipe described, but I put it through a cookie press instead, and they still turned out lovely. They have a light, delicate flavor that are quite addicting!

For supper tonight, I made the Pork San Choy Bau. I’ve been wanting to make this, so I was excited to see the recipe here. Very simple to make with lovely flavors. This is a great lunch or dinner you can make quickly and easily and be satisfied that you’re serving a fairly healthy meal as well!

The book is divided into chapters according to herb with the last three chapters being Chilli, Lemon and Strawberry, which makes it nice to find recipes for whatever herb you have on hand to cook with. There are so many wonderful recipes in this book. The Flourless Orange and Rosemary Cake is next up on my 'to cook' list, and I'll be making the Couscous with Herbs and Almonds soon. I'm sure to be cooking out of it for a long time to come! Pick up a copy and see for yourself. It's a great cookbook you can use over and over again.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tasting Rome by Katie Parla

Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Ahhhh! Food from my favorite country! Although I’ve never spent time in Rome itself apart from the airport (another story in itself!), I love the flavors of Italy and I waited with great anticipation for this book. It does not disappoint!

Tasting Rome is not just a cookbook. Filled with history, tidbits of information and photos that draw you in and make you long to be there, Tasting Rome is an experience. After the introduction, a section on Rome: Then and Now and a section entitled About This Book (none of which should be skipped over!), the book is divided into sections entitled Snacks, Starters and Street Food, Classic and Variations, Cucina Ebraica (food from the Jewish Quarter), Quinto Quarto (The Fifth Quarter, or offal based recipes), Verdure (Vegetables), Bread and Pizza, Sweets, and Drinks.

One of the things I love about Italian food is the simplicity of so many of its dishes. For instance, Insalata di Misticanza (Micro Green Salad with Hazelnuts and Pecorino), there’s only six ingredients, but those six ingredients combine for a salad that is both simple and delightful. Gnocchi di patate di Arcangelo Dandini (Arcangelo Dandini’s Potato Gnocchi) have 4 ingredients plus the sauce of your choice. Now, I have had gnocchi one other time in my life. They were premade and vacuum sealed and they were terrible! Heavy and chewy, they were not pleasant to eat, so I assumed I just didn’t like gnocchi until I learned years later that they are supposed to be light and fluffy. I just never got around to making them myself…until now. I’ve heard getting the texture right on gnocchi can be difficult and I believe it. I was still happy with how these turned out. There were a little denser and chewier than I think they really should have been, but were still very good. I’ll definitely try these again!

I’m currently searching for ‘nduja, a spreadable spicy sausage from Calabria so I can try the ‘Nduja in Carrozza, a take on Mozzarella in Carrozza where instead of mozzarella sandwiched between bread and fried, this recipe puts the ‘nduja between two slices of mozzarella and bread it before deep frying. It looks and sounds amazing!!

The Suppli Classici and Suppli Cacio e Pepe are Roman variations of the Arancini I so love from Sicily. The first is a mixture of rice, chicken livers and pork sausage in a tomato-based sauce inside, while the second is a simpler one with lots of black pepper throughout and mozzarella in the center.

There is so much to learn and love in this cookbook. Take a visit to Rome without ever leaving your home! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 28, 2016

The Best of Jane Grigson by Jane Grigson

Best of Jane Grigson
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Jane Grigson is well known for her classic cookbooks on British and European cookery, and now you can get a lovely collection of her most well-known recipes from around the world in one book. The book is divided into the following sections:
• At Home in England
• At Home in France
• Charcuterie
• The Mediterranean
• The Europeans
• The Americas
• India and the Far East
• Treats and Celebrations
Each section is then subdivided into various sub-sections. Some chapters have more subdivisions than others, but all are well done. The index is thorough, making it easy to find a recipe either by title or by main ingredient.

There is such a lovely variety of dishes from a classic Shepherd’s Pie (a favorite of mine) or Yorkshire Pudding (equally well loved in this family!) to Boeuf a la Bourguignonnne, Spanakopitta, Paella, Scandinavian Pickled Salmon, Chilli Con Carne, Stir-Fried Chicken with Mushrooms, and so much more. You’re sure to find not just something to cook, but a whole array of tempting dishes to make at home.

I received a copy of this book from Grub Street Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Seasons to Taste by Jonathan Bardzik

Seasons To Taste: Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Seasons to Taste is subtitled “Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen & Table”, and that’s exactly what it delivers—delectable recipes showcasing beautiful, farm (or garden) fresh produce—and proteins--that are a joy to cook. Recipes are divided by season beginning with winter and an array of gorgeous stocks to make from scratch. From a hearty beef broth, to a rich mushroom or White Chicken Stock, you’ll find all the stocks you need except a fish or seafood stock, but as there are only a couple of fish recipes, you may not miss it.

Ground Lamb with Mushrooms & Spinach showcases all three main ingredients in a delicious dish sure to impress. The Wild Mushroom and Gruyere Frittata is just amazing. (In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I love mushrooms!) Pasta Primavera is a classic spring dish highlighting the beautiful new spring produce, while Zucchini Pappardelle Pasta showcases the beautiful new summer squashes.

Fresh Herbed Tomato Salad is a summer delight, and can easily be tweaked by substituting fresh mozzarella occasionally for a different twist. Tacos de Pescado is on my list to make this summer with instructions for making each ingredient from the marinade, to the cabbage, avocado lime crema and fish. Love minestrone soup, but hate waiting for colder months? Try the Minestrone Pasta!

If you are a pumpkin lover, you’ll love the Fall section of this book with everything from Cinderella Pumpkin Dumplings to Pumpkin Lamb Sausage Pizza, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal and more. If you’re like me and not that into pumpkin, there’s still much to choose from such as Chive Goat Cheese Mashed Cauliflower, Sausage Apple Mushroom Stuffing (Yum!) and more.

Seasons to Taste is a feast for the senses! From the gorgeous photos to the tantalizing flavors, you’re sure to enjoy this delightful book.

I received a copy of this book from Story Farm through the Lisa Ekus Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On Toast by Kristan Raines

On Toast: Tartines, Crostini, and Open-Faced Sandwiches
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I am a bread addict. I love bread in about any shape or form, so what better than a cookbook devoted to great new ways to top good bread?! “On Toast” is brimming with delectable ideas for tartines, crostini and open-faced sandwiches.

The book opens with an introduction, Types of Bread, Pantry and Toasting Techniques before moving into the recipes which are divided into season beginning with Winter.

Now I had never heard of cookie butter until I read this cookbook. It includes a recipe for Apples and Cookie Butter. It sounds delightful, but I definitely don’t need new ways to add calories to my diet!

Fresh Ricotta and Olive Oil is so good. The recipe calls for spelt sourdough bread, but don’t let that limit you! Spicy Chorizo and Scrambled Egg on sourdough or wheat bread makes a nice change for breakfast. Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese—oh my!! That is a lovely morsel just bursting with flavor!

It’s not all savory, though. There are many treats for the sweet tooth, such as Strawberry and Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (utter bliss!) or Whipped Lemon Curd and Summer Berries or Raspberries and Chocolate.

This is a beautiful cookbook filled with delightful recipes and gorgeous photos. Brighten up your day with something “On Toast”!

I received a copy of this book from Quarry Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Cabin Cooking by Kate Fiduccia

Cabin Cooking: Delicious Easy-to-Fix Recipes for Camp, Cabin, or Trail
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I’m not a big camper, but I love cooking with cast iron. “Cabin Cooking” is perfect in that regard, as it has recipes for cooking outdoors or indoors with many recipes giving you the variations of how to cook it either indoors or out.

There is a lovely variety of recipes with everything from fish, to wild game and even desserts! I started with the simple Gobbler Omelet. It’s an easy recipe to use up some of that leftover turkey (or you could use chicken as well) for a quick, delicious breakfast.

A little while ago, I finally bought a cast iron tortilla press. I’ve made my own flour tortillas before, rolling them out by hand, but I wanted to try corn tortillas and had been warned that I really needed a press to do that. This book gave me a great opportunity to make them. The corn tortilla recipe is extremely simple to make, and they turned out perfectly!! How nice to be able to make my own corn tortillas now!

There is so much more in this book. Pan Turkey and Stuffing, Garlic Salmon, Bread on a Stick, Deer Camp Stew, Baked Apples and so much more fill the pages of this delightful cookbook. Pull out your cast iron—or give in a finally invest in some cast iron!—and give these recipes a try!

I received a copy of this book from Storey Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 15, 2016

The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill

The Scots Kitchen: Its Traditions and Recipes
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I struggled with reviewing this cookbook. On the one hand, I love, love, LOVE the history and charm of the book and its recipes. On the other hand, it's not the easiest book to cook out of. There are many recipes that use measurements such as "a breakfastcupful", "a crumb of a pennyloaf", "a teacupful" and more. If you are a fly by the seat of your pants kind of cook or love to throw a little of this and a little of that in a pot, you'll love this cookbook. If you need clearly defined amounts and instructions, you'll struggle here.

That said, this book is delightful!! There is so much history, tradition and lore, bits of poetry and prose and more scattered throughout. This is the kind of book to curl up in your comfy chair and just lose yourself in the pages. When you come to yourself, head to the kitchen and give it a shot! There is so much to choose from. You'll find everything from a traditional Scotch Broth to Tweed Kettle (Salmon Hash which is much better than it sounds!), Haggis, Colcannon, Floating Island, more scones, bannock and oatcakes than you can shake a stick at and so much more.

Take a trip to the Highlands from the comfort of your own home. This book is sure to delight many!

I received a copy of this book through Independent Publishers Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest Recipes by Maggie Beer

Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest Recipes
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Another delightful book from Maggie Beer's Harvest series, Maggie Beer's Spring Harvest has held up the tradition of good, honest, seasonal food. As I've said before, not everything is available where I live, but there's still plenty to cook! The Roast Waxy Potatoes with Pancetta, Capers and Preserved Lemon was delightful even without the lemon! I'm waiting for good, Meyer lemons to come in season so I can preserve my own as I've not had luck finding them around here. In the meantime, the recipe was still a winner. I made them with a beautiful roasted turkey and the family was thrilled. Next up in the potato section is the Gnocchi with Crisp Sage Leaves when my sage gets big enough!

The strawberries are starting to show up in the stores from further south, so Moist Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries will be on my menu shortly. Veal pan-fried with Rosemary and Lemon melts in your mouth, and her Golden Chicken Stock recipe works great for so many things.

Recipe after recipe makes my mouth water and gets me heading for the kitchen. Give it a try and delight your family with a delicious meal tonight!

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Lantern Press through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 11, 2016

The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto

The Art of Traditional Italian
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


As anyone who knows much at all about me knows, I LOVE Italian food! Needless to say, this book was high on my list of books I wanted to review. It did not disappoint!

The book itself is gorgeous and well made. The colors pop, and the recipes are a delight. Scattered through the book is original artwork by some of Australia's finest artists. I like the fact that they are a wide variety of styles so that while some may not necessarily be something I enjoy, there are still many, many others that are lovely.

As far as the food goes....let's just say "party in my mouth" comes to mind! The recipes are easy to follow and many have a full color, full page photo to go with them. The Spaghetti alla Siciliana is simple but amazing. Orecchiette al Funghi e Salsiccia was an instant family favorite, even for those who normally don't like mushrooms! Saltimbocca alla Romano is, well, perfection on a plate!!

There are so many recipes I want to try still, and some I want to make a second time...and a third.....you get the picture. I'm sure I will be cooking out of this book for years to come. Give it a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Lantern through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Paris Market Cookbook by Emily Dilling

My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Ooo la la! My Paris Market Cookbook is a cookbook sure to delight! Divided by season with information on markets and specialty shops scattered throughout, this book is filled with lovely recipes sure to tantalize your taste buds!

The first dish I cooked was a take on the authors Spring Chicken with Asparagus. We're not big on asparagus around here, so I left it out and added a few more mushrooms and magic was made. From first bite all you heard was "Mmmmmm!" as my family fell in love with this dish. Nearly everyone told me at least once "You HAVE to make this again...SOON!!".

Next I made the Lemon Zest Madeleines. The only one who didn't enjoy it was my one daughter who doesn't care for lemon desserts, and this was very lemony! I could have sat down and ate the entire pan, personally. Yum!

Breakfast brought about Baked Eggs with Fresh Chives. So simple, yet so delicious. I love them because they taste great, and you can adjust the amounts so easily. The ingredients are given for each ramekin used, with one ramekin per person. Lovely!

Next up is the Forest Foraged Walnut Cake, but I didn't want to hold up my review any longer. This is a beautiful, delightful cookbook that I highly recommend!!

I received a copy of this book from Storey Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Rugby Pantry by Daisy Dagg & Amber Vito

The Rugby Pantry: Healthy Measures & Guilty Pleasures
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


The wives of two rugby players from New Zealand's All Blacks teamed to create a lovely cookbook of delightful food that is (mostly) healthy as well. By the time I finished my first flip through the book, it looked like a porcupine with all the papers marking recipes I wanted to try sticking out. I cooked my first recipe that very night, the Caramelized Banana Bread. Oh, my!! Moist and luscious, this is all you could want in a banana bread!

The Zucchini Fries are an absolute treat that you don't have to feel guilty eating!! Spatchcocked Spiced Chicken with Jewelled Couscous & Raita was amazing!! I didn't actually make the Raita as I just found out that I can't eat cucumbers, but the chicken and couscous was utterly delightful! I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the dates and oranges in the couscous, but they lifted the dish and were lovely.

The Fritto Misto was fun to do with my kids as was the Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Unfortunately, the Spring Rolls were less than enjoyable as we discovered that we do not like the rice paper rolls. The filling was delicious, and the dipping sauce is absolutely divine!!

This book has easily jumped to my favorites shelf and there are still many, many recipes that I'm dying to make--I just didn't want to wait to get my review out and let people know how wonderful this cookbook really is! I am happy to give it my highest recommendation.

I received a copy of this book from Upstart Press through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 10, 2016

Bal's Spice Kitchen by Bal Arneson

Bal's Spice Kitchen
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


Indian food. I love it, but I don't get it often and I'm far from an expert at making it. It doesn't help that all the specialty ingredients aren't the easiest to find around here, but I was looking forward to cooking from this book.

Many of the recipes were beyond me as I simply couldn't find the ingredients around here (I'm still finding all the specialty shops in this area), but I was over the moon to find a recipe for Gulab Jamun. About 20 years ago I attended a Festival of India in Texas. Among the dishes I tried was these delectable, syrup-soaked Indian donuts. I fell in love, but every Indian cookbook I tried didn't have the recipe. I couldn't wait to get make them myself. Warning!! These are highly addictive!! They were relatively easy to make (once I sourced the ingredients. I had no idea how hard it would be to find green cardamom, and I never did find ground anise seeds. I finally had to grind my own.), and just as delicious as I remembered. The syrup recipe makes way more than you need for the donuts, but it is awesome on pancakes!

I haven't made a huge amount out of this book so far, but the book is filled with so many delightful recipes. To be honest, it is worth it just for the Gulab Jamun! Give it a try tonight. You won't be sorry!

I received a copy of this book from Whitecap Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 3, 2016

Let's Cook Italian by Anna Prandoni

Let's Cook Italian, A Family Cookbook: Cuciniamo italiano, Un ricettario di famiglia
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


We love Italian food around our house, and my kids are learning Italian, so what could be better than a cookbook in both English AND Italian?! Each recipe is on two facing pages--the left side is in English, and the right side is Italian. This is great for supplementing their Italian learning, and is just downright fun!

I love that there is a variety of recipes that range from very easy and simple to more complex and challenging. This allows your children to grow in the kitchen without overwhelming them at the start. They can start with an easy Vermicelli in Tomato Sauce or Peas with Italian Ham and as they learn and get better in the kitchen can graduate to more difficult dishes such as Beef Rolls (Involtini di Manzo) or Piedmontese Chocolate Pudding (which is more difficult to make than it sounds with multiple steps).

Kids today are losing that valuable art of cookery what with all the convenience foods and restaurants everywhere. Bring the family together, teach your kids some valuable skills and try something Italian for dinner tonight!

I received a copy of this book from Quarry Books for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Whole Enchilada by Angelina Larue

My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


I love enchiladas, so I couldn't wait to cook from this book. I was somewhat surprised to find it only had 3 recipes for enchiladas (4 if you count the soup). Considering the name, I was expecting more, but forged ahead anyway. It was a nice, cold day so I decided on the Slow-Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup, and I'm so glad I did! This soup is absolutely delightful! Lightly spicy and rich, it was the perfect dish for a cold day...but that won't stop me from making it during the summer, too!

Next I decided to make a nice, hot breakfast for my family so I pulled this book back out and made the Breakfast Tacos. I had to tweak it just a touch. I didn't have Serrano ham so I actually used sausage, and I left out the crushed red pepper flakes so my youngest could eat them as well. They were delicious and reminded me of the breakfast burritos we used to get from a tiny place in Texas years ago.

Don't be deceived by the title, this is so much more than just a book of enchilada recipes. From brisket to empanadas, or tamales to handmade tortillas, you can find a bit of everything from the Southwest.

I received an F&G fro Pelican Publishing Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In a While, Crocodile by Patrice Kononchek

In a While, Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes
My rating: 2 of 5 spoons


New Orleans food in a slow cooker? What's not to like?! Unfortunately, several things. I wanted to love this cookbook and to use it a lot, but there were many issues. I made the Crabby Chicken to do the Crabby Chicken Salad and, while the chicken itself was fine, the chicken salad was another matter all together. The photo showed a beautifully dressed salad with cubed chicken while the recipe called for you to shred the chicken and there was no dressing to be found. I realize you can just cube the chicken if you want, but it is a pet peeve of mine for cookbooks to show you one thing while giving instructions for something different, and I would want the authentic dressing, not have to just figure something out on my own. Anyway, it was not a hit with my family.

Unfortunately, anything I tried from this cookbook pretty much had the same results. No one in my family really cared for anything from this cookbook, and we spent some time in Louisiana and lower Mississippi and they loved the food there.

If you really know what you're doing with New Orleans cuisine, you can probably tweak these recipes to get them to come out better. If you're completely new to New Orleans food, you might want to try a different book.

I received a F&G of this book from Pelican Publishing Company for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

March 2, 2016

Brodo by Marco Canora

Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I have just recently been introduced to bone broth and had made one batch of beef bone broth. I couldn't wait to dive into this book! Brodo is filled to the brim with information, tips and recipes to make amazing bone broth at home. I decided to go with the Golden Chicken Broth, and I was not disappointed. Such a rich, healthy, lovely broth!

I love the fact that you can do almost anything with these broths. My second daughter had her birthday today and requested Chicken Enchiladas. I used my Golden Chicken Broth to poach the chicken breasts as well as in the sauce itself. I love that I get some added health benefits even when I'm not just drinking the broth.

There are so many broths to choose from. You can start with a simple chicken broth or go with something else such as veal, lamb, duck, fish, clam, vegetable and many, many more. There are lovely recipes at the back of the book to use your new bone broth in to make delightful dishes for your family.

Join the bone broth movement! Add to your health while making delicious bone broths to drink or to cook with. It's worth it!!

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House LLC through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

February 16, 2016

Bone Deep Broth by Lya Mojica

Bone Deep Broth: Healing Recipes with Bone Broth
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


I've been fighting some health issues for some time, and in studying and researching natural ways to help I discovered bone broth. I wanted to give it a try and this book came along at the perfect time. I sourced some lovely beef bones and got started.

When I first started looking at the book I was taken aback at the amount of bones called for. I was afraid I would have trouble getting that amount together easily, but I was able to source all the bones I needed quickly. I left out the ginger as it and I do not get along, and added some carrots and celery along with the other ingredients and started cooking. Twenty hours later (Yes, you read that right. It simmered on low over night.) I had a lovely bone broth. After it cooled down it went in the fridge for a couple of hours. That solidified the fat so that it was easily removed (You can save the fat and make tallow for candles/soap, as that is covered later in the book.) and I was left with a beautiful bone broth. I felt it was under salted, but that's easily corrected.

There are recipes included in the book to use your bone broth. I've found that it works great to make a simple couscous with just some herbs added. I made an amazing beef stew the other night, and used my bone broth instead of a store bought stock. Yum! Next I'm on to chicken!

I received a copy of this book from Sterling Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Illness delays, but I'm back!

I'm sorry my blog has been a little quiet lately.  We've had several rounds of sickness through the family and it has put me a bit behind.  The reviews are starting to come out now, so stay tuned for some great cookbooks!!

Maggie's Christmas by Maggie Beer

Maggie's Christmas
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


This is my second cookbook by Maggie Beer, and I've fallen in love with her books. They can be interesting to cook from as she's in Australia and I'm in the US. There are ingredients that can be quite hard to find or flat out impossible where I live. There's also the seasonal issue--I'm reviewing her Christmas book in the winter, but over there it's high summer. That makes some of the recipes a little trickier as well if you're looking for fresh, seasonal ingredients, but I still love her books. I love the fact that the recipes typically serve more people--anywhere from 6-12. There are six people in my family and it gets old when I have to constantly double or even triple recipes just to make enough to feed my family.

The book is divided up into sections that vary from Crabbing at Port Parham (I'm jealous!), chapters covering various Christmas meals or events, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and Food for the Beach House. I drooled over all the lovely fish dishes, but most are either fish we can't get where I live, or are definitely not in season right now. That's okay. I'm hanging on to this book for more cooking later.

I love all the fresh dishes in here. Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean it has to be all heavy foods. I made the Fattoush for my family and they loved it even without having garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I'll have to make it again when my garden starts producing.

I definitely will be cooking more from this book as the years moves more to our summer time, but I didn't want to wait to get this review out let others know about this delightful book. From delectable recipes, fun menus and photos that make you want to reach in and sample the food shown, it will be a great addition to anyone's collection.

I received a copy of this book from Trafalgar Square Publishing through Independent Publishing Group for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 20, 2016

The Tea Book by Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby

The Tea Book: All Things Tea
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


Today is the perfect day for a good book and a hot cup of tea. "The Tea Book" gives you everything you need to know about tea from how tea is enjoyed around the world to The History of Tea, Plant to Pot, Drinking Tea and recipes for teas and mixed drinks as well as dishes either to go with your tea or made using tea. This is an informative, fun book that is as great to read as it is to cook from.

The recipes are varied and range from Tea-Infused Beef on a Green Papaya Salad to Matcha and Chocolate Shortbread and Tea Smoked Duck Breasts with Spiced Pears. My favorite recipe is the Earl Grey Hearts, a delicate shortbread-type cookie with the subtle flavor of Earl Grey tea. They are easy to make and an absolute delight to eat!

Whether your interest is in history, the correct etiquette of tea drinking around the world, or just a good cup of tea, this book has you covered. Hmmm. I think I'll go brew another pot.

I received a copy of this book from Sterling Publishers for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Country Cookbook by Belinda Jeffrey

Country Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from My Kitchen
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


It's a cold and snowy day today. Just the kind of day to curl up with a fire in the fireplace, and soft throw and a good book. That's the beauty of this cookbook as it's not just a cookbook, but a sort of journal as well--just the thing for a day like today. The author has a way with words that draws you in and lets you "see" what she's writing about. For instance, and Feb 27th she writes, "Wonder of wonders, a dry wind, which is like a balm after the humidity of the past few months, is blowing its way up the valley, whipping up a frenzy in the treetops and causing the palms to rattle their spikes like sabres." or July 12th where she writes, "A friend has dropped in a big bunch of cavolo nero, which I love. Do you know it? The name translates from the Italian as 'black cabbage', although its leaves are more a lovely dark green with just a tinge of blue. They're narrow and crinkly, and when you wash them they almost seem to be waterproof, as the drops slip off them, leaving silvery trails. We'll have it for dinner tonight with some grilled polenta. Perfect." which is then followed by the recipe for the dish.

I love the variety of recipes in this book. From her take on classics such as Roast Chicken With Oodles of Herbs, Crunchy Rosemary Potatoes (which I LOVE), or Golden Tomato, Yellow Capsicum (Australian for Bell Pepper) and Fresh Mozzarella Salad which is a lovely variation of the classic Caprese Salad, to interesting dishes such as Middle Eastern Double Lentil Soup, Roast Sweet Potato with Smoked Parika, Parsley & Macadamia Pesto or Coiled Mushroom, Hazelnut & Dill Strudel, there is a little bit of everything is this book.

We had a laid-back day yesterday, and so I decided to make the Saffron, Basil & Ricotta Tart for lunch. It had mixed reviews, but that was purely due to individual tastes. My youngest strongly disliked it, but she has an issue with certain textures in food that this dish definitely had a texture she never enjoys. My husband wasn't a huge fan, but "frou-frou" dishes such as quiches and tarts aren't really his thing. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fruit prices are definitely on the high side around here lately, so I was thrilled to find some blueberries on sale. I thought of treating my family to blueberry muffins, but then I found the recipe for Blueberry Pikelets (Aussie pancakes) and decided to try them. They were a HUGE hit. The batter makes a delicious pikelet/pancake on its own, and the blueberries just make it even more special. We will be making this dish often!

This is just an all-around, delightful cookbook. I have enjoyed reading it, cooking from it and eating the results. It is a great addition to my favorite cookbooks, and one that I am very happy to highly recommend.

I received a copy of this cookbook from Penguin Lantern Press through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 19, 2016

An Old-Fashioned Christmas by Ellen Stimson

An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons


What a charming book!! From the sweet stories and traditions to the delightful recipes, it is a treat to both read and cook from. It made our Christmas even more of a treat.

Maple Pecan Cookies are delicious little morsels that keep you coming back for more. The Decadent Mac 'N Cheese has become a family favorite, and is truly decadent with gruyere and parmesan cheeses. Dishes such as Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Cheddar Chive Biscuits will liven up any family dinner, and treats such as Coffee Cream Puffs and Spicy Pecans will be a welcome addition to any party--holiday or otherwise. Your pets are not forgotten, either, with Peanut Butter Dog Treats, Minty Fresh Dog Treats and more for your furry friends.

From Cabin Food to Party Foods, Christmas Eve Brunch, Christmas All Day Long, The Next Day and more, your holiday season is covered here. This is a book sure to delight the Christmas lover in you.

I received a copy of this book from The Countryman Press for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 18, 2016

Gelato, Ice Cream & Sorbets by Linda Tubby

Gelato, Ice Creams & Sorbets
My rating: 5 of 5 spoons


The first time I visited Sicily, I couldn't wait to try the gelato. I decided on pistachio the first time, and never moved beyond it that first trip...it was just that good. My next trip I branched out and tried the Bacio, which is a dark chocolate and hazelnut blend. Heaven in a dish! It immediately became my favorite and though I would try bites of others' choices--and even thoroughly enjoy them--pistachio and bacio became my favorite, go-to choices. Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted to find recipes for both in this darling cookbook. I started with the Bacio. Now this recipe is called Bacio con Bianchini e Nocciole meaning "Rich Chocolate Gelato with Meringues and Hazelnut". I have a confession to make...I ditched the meringues! I'm somewhat of a purist at times, and it just wasn't something I was interested in it cluttering up my Bacio gelato. Oh, my! It's absolutely amazing! Feel free to add the meringues, but I can attest to the amazing flavor of this gelato without them.

Of course, now it was time for the Pistachio. Most pistachio ice cream or gelato that I've had in the States tastes like ice cream with pistachios in it. I remember my first bite in Agrigento, Sicily and how amazed I was at the deep flavor. It wasn't just a pistachio flavor, but was like you were eating pistachios themselves only it was ice cream. I had high hopes for this recipe and let me just say I was NOT disappointed!! With the first bite I was transported back to that little street in Agrigento having my first taste of Sicilian gelato. I kid you not, it was that good!! The punch of pistachio is just amazing. I will admit, that I added more pistachios that called for as I added some whole, toasted pistachios while it was churning, but you still would have that amazing flavor without them.

I have only made the two recipes so far, but they have definitely sold me on this book! So many gelato recipes, so little time! My kids love different flavors, so they will keep me trying more and I still want to dive into the sorbets. This little book has definitely earned its way onto my favorites shelf! I am very happy to highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book from Pavilion through IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes
My rating: 2 of 5 spoons


As a homeschool mom who needs to get a little healthier and lose some weight while I'm at it, I was so excited to review this cookbook. I was much more disappointed once I got into it. While there are great looking recipes, so very many call for their specialty ingredients. While there is a section in the front of substitutions, some clearly state that you're not going to get as good a result without using their special blend/ingredient. I can't afford pricey specialty items for everyday dishes, and there were so MANY of them, so this cookbook turned into a great disappointment for me.

I received a copy of this book through the Blogging for Books program for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.