Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Martha Stewart's Appetizers

We couldn't be happier to get Martha Stewart's Appetizers.  It's the perfect book for entertaining.  With over 200 recipes for dips, spreads, small plates, hors d'oreuvres, and cocktail, it's a game changer for all your party planning.  I made the salty-sweet party mix and that was really good.  No more buying party mix from the store.  I like the green goddess dip from the summer crudites recipe and uses that as my salad dressing.  For the drinks, the mint pineapple daiquiri and and sour cherry mojitos are new flavor combinations that are delicious and refreshing.  This book will remained in the kitchen and loved like the rest of our Martha Steward books.

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The New Sugar and Spice

I couldn’t be more excited to bake from The New Sugar and Spice cookbook by Samatha Seneviratne.  With seven chapters on how to use peppercorn, chile, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, vanilla, ginger, savory herb, and spices, you’ll learn how to bring your desserts to a whole new level.  The first recipe that I tried actually wasn’t a baked good item but the mango lime sorbet.  It was so refreshing, just like the mango chile lime drink that we often get from the farmers market.  The plum galette and blackberry peach hand pie were simple to make but so delicious.  You can substitute any seasonal fruits and both recipes would work well.  I would love to try the more complicated ones like smores pie, maple sticky buns, jaggery flan, and crepe cake with pistachio cream.  This is my favorite baking book featuring spices! 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of our favorite Southern foods so we couldn't be more excited to cook from Fried Chicken by Rebecca Lang.  We tried the Southern fried buttermilk chicken and it was delicious.  It was nice to see so many fried chicken recipes such as Saigon Street Wings, Chinese Lollipop Wings, Mexican-Lime Fried Chicken Tacos, and Korean Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce. Besides the awesome recipes, Lang also gave many helpful tips for choosing what type of oil and flour to use, and how to make your own flours.  This book is perfect for anyone who loves fried chicken.
*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Blender Girl Smoothies

The Blender Girl Smoothies is hands down my favorite smoothie book.  We make smoothies 3-4 days a week so this book brought our smoothie game to a whole new level.  Some of our favorites are the basil melon mania, mystical mango, crimson karma, pomegranate power, and summer stoner.  With 100 recipes to choose from, it’s hard not to find what you’re looking for.  My only criticism is the use of sweeteners in some of the recipes where honey or maple syrup could have done the job.  Overall, this is a great book for those who love making smoothies at home. 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Infuse Oil, Spirit, Water

Infuse is such a fun book that covers extensive information on  infusing oils, spirits, and water.  I was happy to find that most of the tools (muddler, funnel, strainer, peeler, cheesecloth, and mason jars) needed to start infusing are already in my kitchen.  The infusing oil chapter is my favorite section.  I can’t wait to use some of the infused oils on my salad.  Overall, this is a beautiful book with clear instructions and many wonderful recipes.    

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Positive Discipline: The First Three Years

Positive Discipline offers so much information about disciplining your child through the first three years of life but you have to pick what works for your family.  The title might be misleading but the authors stated upfront that they do not advocate punishment at all but believe in a different approach to discipline that teaches young children in a kind, respectful, and gentle manner. My favorite part of the book is the emphasis on nurturing the connection with people that your child wants to develop which is more important for brain development and discipline than any flash cards or electronic screens.  I also like the concept of redirecting behaviors based on how far along your child is on the developmental road.  A child’s brain goes through constant remodeling and the prefrontal cortex (area responsible for good judgment, emotional regulation, impulse control, and other good “adult” qualities) is not fully mature until after the age of twenty.  With that in mind, parents should understand that their children are highly impulsive little people that rarely misbehave purposely.  

I have mixed feelings about the authors’ philosophy of not resorting to punitive discipline ever.  The authors asked parents not to resort to “screaming, yelling, or lecturing,” which I find impossible to do.  I believe children might not completely understand why their parents are upset, but they can sense a change in tone which indicates that they’re doing something wrong.  I have raised my voice and told my toddler firmly to “stop hitting because it hurts papa” and he got it.  Another thing that was discussed in the book is not using time-outs in children under four because they are not old enough to link cause and effect. I haven’t made a stance on this matter but our pediatrician encouraged it when dealing with a tantrum and it seemed to work for other parents.  In an ideal world, you can follow the authors' advice and tips but all families are different with children of varied temperament so one size does not fit all.

Overall, this book has a lot of good information on bedtime routine, toilet training, special diet, childcare, and many other subjects.  Positive Discipline is definitely a good book to read about using positive discipline but do what works for your family.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Friday, May 8, 2015

Seven Spoons

This book is a wonderful collection of the author’s favorite recipes that she cooks for her and her family.  They are delicious and easy to follow recipes with major global influence ranging from Indian, Irish, Middle Eastern, to Asian, and so much more.  So far the bee-stung fried chicken, braised beef, and chocolate chip cookies have been a hit at our house.  We would like to try other recipes but need to make a trip to a specialty grocery store to get some of the Indian and Middle Eastern spices that are not available at the major grocery stores.  The pictures look gorgeous but I wish there was more to showcase the dishes.  We like the recipes from Seven Spoons and how homey and delicious they feel. 

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher