Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees {Review}

Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees is a gorgeous cookbook by Kian Lam Kho, which covers essential techniques of authentic Chinese cooking. The first few chapters of the book discuss necessary kitchen materials as well as pantry necessities and basic ingredient preparations and Chinese stocks. The rest of the chapters are divided by cooking techniques.

Like I said this is a gorgeous cookbook filled with many beautiful composed picture of mouth watering Chinese dishes. Many of the ingredients (carp, goose, conch) and techniques needed cook many of these recipes look way out of my league. For an beginner to average cook, this book seems to be more than most would care to try. However, I tempted to keep this book on my shelf because its an eye-catching book and does have a few recipes that don’t seem to hard that would like to try. Three Cup Chicken on p. 206 as well as the West Lake Beef Soup p. 276 are two recipes from this book I’d like to try.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Kitchen Matrix {Review}

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix: More Than 700 Simple Recipes and Techniques to Mix and Match for Endless Possibilities is a cookbook that has me so excited to get back in the kitchen! Truthfully, I have been burnt out when it comes to cooking, but when I started to read and look over this amazing cookbook, I’m anxious to try many of Mark’s mix and match recipes. Each chapter is broken down by items; like in Appetizers and Entertaining you’ll see Cocktails +12 Ways, Party Dips +3 Ways, etc. He covers 12 different easy recipes for Cocktails and then 3 ways to make Party Dips. At the end of the chapter he combines all the different recipes into a matrix, where you can have different palate themes (Mediterranean, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America).

After reviewing this book, I have a renewed spirit to get back in the kitchen and try many of these recipes. These recipes seem to range from easy to more advanced and the ingredients range from things you see everyday to others that may not be on your everyday menu (lamb, paella, squid). I’m anxious to try the Watermelon +12 ways next summer, the Bell peppers +16 ways, as well as the Vegetable Soup +12 ways. I recommend this to any cook, who is feeling blah when it comes to cooking. This will give you tons of new ideas and maybe get you motivated like it has me.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Happy Cooking {Review}

I’ve always been a fan of Giada De Laurentiis, so when I saw she a new cookbook coming out that I could review, I was ecstatic! Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count … Without Stressing Out is music to my ears! I love to cook, but when you’re a busy mom who works full time and wants to have home cooked meals on the table most nights, I was curious to see what tips, tricks, and recipes Giada shared. She breaks the book into 10 chapters, starting with Breakfast and ending with Treats & Sweets. In the Breakfast chapter, she shares recipes for everything from smoothies to crepes. She labeled the recipes that Gluten-Free (GF), Vegeterian (V), and Vegan (v). I love that there’s lost of gorgeous pictures throughout the book as well.

Happy Cooking is a book I’m going to hold on to, because the recipes look simple enough to use on busy nights. I’m anxious to try to the Smoky Candied Carrots on p. 207 as well as the Pasta Pizza on p. 132. The Orange Cream Butter Cookies (p. 278) are on my list for Christmas cookies to make this year. You definitely need to check out this cookbook, which is Giada’s 8th cookbook. I venture to say it’s probably her best!

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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THM Cookbook {Review}

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison is a piggy back to their first book called Trim Healthy Mama Plan. While I haven’t read the first book, I’ve heard and read a lot about the plan, so I was quite anxious to see what they had in store with this cookbook. There over 350 healthy recipes in the glossy paged, paperback book including lots of beautiful pictures. I appreciate that the authors have a lengthy introduction with plenty of great tips and information, I feel like to really understand the THM plan you must read the first book.

I’m anxious to see what many of these recipes are like. Potsticker Patties on p. 175 as well as the Chicken Jalapeno Popper Soup on p. 90 both totally have me wanting to go cook, like now! The sweet stuff is where I get a little leary because of the artificial sweeteners. I recommend this book to someone willing to give this plan a try and isn’t afraid of ingredients like Pure Strevia Extract and Xanthum Gum.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Tacos {Review}

Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman challenges you to see Mexican food in a whole new way. With a non-glossy hardcover and semi-glossy pages, this cookbook has a host of beautifully composed pictures by photographer Evan Sung. The book starts off with an introduction, a section on “The Mexican Pantry” which I found to be quite interesting, as well as a section called “The Chiles in This Book.” Stupak and Rothman then dive into the recipes with a section on Tortillas, Salsas, and Tacos.

This cookbook is not for those that don’t love a challenge. However, I while I haven’t had a chance to try any of the recipes, I cannot wait to, because I think it will have you wanting to challenge yourself more and more. Now, I’ll admit I’m a Mexican food lover and some people call me a Mexican food snob, because I grew up in Texas where Mexican food is not just Tex-Mex. So if there’s a book to make my Mexican food better, it’s this one! I’m anxious to try the 3 Salsa Verdes, because lately I can’t seem to get enough of that stuff. The Cheeseburger Tacos as well as the Carnitas Tacos are on the top of my recipe list. I highly recommend this book to Mexican food snobs like me who are looking to up their game when it comes to cooking their own Mexican food.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Treat {Review}

Treat: 50 Recipes for No-Bake Marshmallow Treats by Stephanie Banyas is cute little book chop full of no-bake marshmallow treats. In the introduction, Banyas gives tips about the best tips for melting marshmallows as well as chocolate. From there, she shares the classics with a few with twists. I love the next section that updates the classics.

My favorite chapter in the book is the “Candy Store Favorites.” Chocolate Caramel, and Peanut Treats on p. 44 and the Treats Bark with nuts and dried fruit on p. 53 are 2 recipes that are on my must try dessert list! The Berry Cobbler Treats on p. 62 and the Blackout Treats on p. 74 look interesting as well. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Rice Crispy Treats!

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The New Sugar & Spice {Review}

The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking by Samantha Seneviratne is subtitled A Recipe for Bolder Baking. This book starts with Baking Tips, Equipment, and Ingredients, which I always find interesting to get different takes on what types of ingredients and equipment are important. The photographs in this non-glossy paged book by Erin Kunkel are eye catching and well composed. I found it interesting that the 1st Chapter was entitled “Peppercorn & Chile.” The Crunchy Peanutpepper Cookies on p. 23 sounds totally off the wall, but really has me interested.

The author shares some interesting stories about her life in relation to some of the recipes. I read a cookbook like a novel, so I always enjoy the personal parts of cookbooks. The Orange-Clove Pull-Apart Bread on p. 120 looks divine. This cookbook has many of the fancier type desserts as well as some not so fancy standbys that the author embellishes with variations of ingredients. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone wanting to broaden their baking horizons.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Fried Chicken {Review}

Fried Chicken: Recipes for the Crispy, Crunchy, Comfort-Food Classic by Rebecca Lang is small cookbook with gorgeous pictures for nearly every single recipe. When I knew I was going to have the opportunity to review a book called “Fried Chicken”, it couldn’t get here quick enough! I mean really, who doesn’t love fried chicken? And who knew there were so many ways to fry a chicken. After the introduction, Lang jumps right into Fried Chicken 101, with great information selecting a chicken, how to cut a chicken, ways to cook it, and so much more.

The 3 core chapters of this book are Skillet Fried, Deep Fried, and Combination Fried. The Creole Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles on p. 32 and the Coco-Cola Slathered Wings on p. 84 have my mouth watering. The Saigon Street Wings on p. 88 and the Filipino Adobo Chicken Thighs on p. 82 are 2 recipes that are not my normal type of chicken I would cook, but they have me intrigued. I think this is a great cookbook for those who love fried chicken and want to expand their skill set when it comes to ways to make fried chicken.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets {Review}

A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets: Recipes from a New York Baking Legend for Strudel, Stollen, Danishes, Puff Pastry, and More is a book about that was started by George Greenstein, who actually passed away in 2012, before the book was even finished or published. His daughters, Elaine and Julia, gathered up all of the draft material and recipes that he had been writing and were able to finish out the book. The book starts off with the essential equipment, tools, and ingredients that are important in Jewish baking. Then moving on to the techniques and recipes.

This book has a beautiful, mouth watering picture on the cover of the book. The pages inside the book are non-glossy and there is not a single picture of any of the recipes. However, looking at the recipes, I’m still just as anxious to try many of them. the Almond Sticks on p. 164-165 in the Charlotte Dough chapter, as well as the Bear Claw on p. 168-169. The Streusel Cake from the Bundt Chapter (p. 48-49) sounds delightful. I’ve never cooked Babka before, but since there is an entire chapter dedicated to those, I’m going to have to try one of them out for sure.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Twinkies Cookbook {a Review}

When I received The Twinkies Cookbook I was a little surprised at how small it was (7.5? x 7.5? book with 114 including the index). Glancing through the pages many of the recipes are what I expected to see, while others have me curious to read further. This Twinkies 85th Anniversary Edition cookbook is divided into 7 chapters (Cake, Pie, Fruit, Chocolate, Cream, Meat, and Novelty).

There’s a decent amount of pictures, which had my mouth watering. My tongue could just taste that moist, spongy cake with the cream hidden inside. The Twinkie Toast Pie on p. 32-33, as well as the Frozen Yogurt Twinkie Pop on p. 84 sound interesting. The Chicken-Raspberry Twinkie Salad (p. 88-89) just doesn’t sound appetizing in the least, but I may just have to try it anyway. Deep_Fried Bacon_Wrapped Chocolate-Covered Twinkies (p. 96-97) sounds like a heart attack on a plate, but still has me curious. While the Twinkie Tunnel Bundt Cake (p. 20-21) looks super easy and quite tasty.

This cookbook that has mixed reviews, but I think it’s always interesting to see recipes that include ready-made items. I’m anxious to give some of these recipes a try and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Straight Up Tasty {a Review}

Straight Up Tasty: Meals, Memories, and Mouthfuls from My Travels by Adam Richman is cookbook chalk-full of recipes inspired by his travels around the country. The book is divided in to chapter according to the meal as wells as Sides & Salads, Sauces & Condiments, as well as Sweets.

Nutty Chocolate Crunch Bites on p. 211 in the Sweets chapter has my mouth watering. The Easy Carbonara on p. 148 in the Dinner chapter looks simple and delicious. While the Tortellini, Pine Nut, Swiss, and Olive Salad on p. 106 in the Snacks & Small Plates chapter has me intrigued. This cookbook is well organized with simple photographs. I was disappointed that there weren’t more stories and photos from Adam’s travels that related to the recipes. I think most folks would find these recipes easy enough for the most part.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Broad Fork {a review}

“What the hell do I do with Kohlrabi?” is the first thing you see when you open the front cover of The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson. This definitely caught my attention promptimg me to read the introduction of the book. This book is not about becoming a vegetarian, but rather a book about how to make vegetables an integral part of every meal. It’s broken down by seasons, similar to Salad Love. Acheson features seasonal fruits and vegetables in each section by sharing 4 recipes (3 quick and 1 more advanced) for each ingredient. He includes well-known fruits and veggies like apples, cucumbers, and tomatoes; as well as those not as common, like kohlrabi, persimmons, and salsify.

When glancing through this fruit and veggie cookbook, I find the non-glossy pages well organized with interesting photos. The Corn Spoonbread (p. 275) and the Slow Cooker Apple Butter (p. 19) sound like recipes that I will add to my recipe list that I make often. While he Broccoli Soup with Roasted Chicken (p. 104) and Vidalia Onion Marmalade (p. 89) have me excited to try something new and different. I appreciate the tidbits of information Acheson shares about the ingredients, as well as helpful tips to make the process easier. This cookbook is a keeper as it is one that will broaden my horizons when it comes to “rabbit food,” and we could all use a little more of that in our lives.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Yogurt {a Review}

Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Janet Fletcher shares many healthy and delicious recipes that use yogurt. These days yogurt is all the craze. Many of us enjoy yogurt as a quick snack, as well as a healthier substitute for not so healthy ingredients like sour cream or mayonnaise. Making Yogurt at Home is the first chapter of the book, where Janet gives tips and recipes on how to make different types of yogurt including Greek yogurt. The other chapters are broken down by recipes for breakfast, appetizers & salads, soups, mostly meat, vegetables & grains, desserts, and beverages.

I found this cookbook to be intriguing and enjoyed that the book starts with a little history and science about yogurt. There are many colorful pictures throughout the book with pages that are non-glossy. the Alsatian Pizza with Onions & Pancetta on p. 91 has me drooling as well as the Yogurt Parfait with Cinnamon-Apples Compote & Granola on p. 111. If I’m honest about whether or not I would use this cookbook regularly, I think I would have to say it would not be a go-to book for me. Many of the ingredients are not ones I use a regular basis (for example; dukka p. 85, lamb p. 74). I would recommend this cookbook to those folks who are interested in trying new ingredients and know there way around the kitchen.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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XX Dinners {a Review}

Twenty Dinners is a book written by Chris Taylor and Ithai Schori with photography by Nicole Franzen. I didn’t really know anything about this book when it arrived, but as soon as I started reading the introduction I was sucked in. I love the approach of the Chris and Ithai, whose cooking approach is to not cook for friends, but with friends. Professional chefs, they are not, but they are two guys that love to come together with friends, open a bottle of wine while creating amazing meals. Don’t we all enjoy doing that from time to time? I know Rob and I love doing that when we make his Great Gramma’s homemade pasta recipe. The authors share recipes and techniques that make many cooking skills that sound complicated easy.

This book is divided into 4 main chapters; Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer with 2 more sections that include techniques, terms, advice, tools, and ingredients. There are many pictures throughout the book. The pages of the book are non-glossy which I think goes perfectly with the style of photos and the feel of the book. Lillie’s Sticky Toffee Pudding on p. 137 is going to the top of my dessert list. The Peach Porch Punch on p. 162 sounds delicious along with Tal’s Potato Salad on p. 203. I love that the authors are down to earth, real people who just enjoy cooking. However, I found that many of the recipes would be beyond something you’d make everyday. For example; Duck Confit p. 105, Lavender-Infused Olive Oil-Poached Cod. Some of the ingredients are not ones I use often, so I’m not sure how practical this cookbook would be for many.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Big Gay Ice Cream

Since we’re in the heat of the summer, when I saw this book; Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream by Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint, it could not get here fast enough! I’ve been really wanting to try homemade ice cream and I thought this book would be able to help me out with that. I cannot get over how much I love this book. It’s laid out in the format of a high school yearbook, complete with famous chefs and others celebrities autographs inside the front cover. The Chapters are:
Freshman Year – Ice Cream 101 – everything you need to know about the must have ingredients
Sophomore Year – Dress up your ice cream with homemade toppings and sauce – The Whisky Walnuts on p. 49 sound amazing, as well as the Blueberry-Balsamic sauce on p. 67.
Junior Year – Some assembly required-Sundays, floats, and shakes – My favorite chapter! Nuclear Winter Sunday on p. 97 and the Choinkwich on p. 120-121 are killing me right about now!
Senior Year – Let’s go all the way! Sorbets and ice creams – P. 142-143 features Cranberry & White Chocolate Sorbet that I know would have my family screaming it looks so refreshing. This is the chapter that I was hoping for when I found this book. I just need to get an ice cream makers first!

This book is no doubt one of the THE best ‘cookbooks’ I’ve ever laid my eyes on. It really makes me what to jump up and down and SCREAM for ICE CREAM!! Highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a cool book and loves ice cream.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Grill It, Braise It, Broil It {a review}

Grill It, Braise It, Broil It by the American Heart Association is paperback cookbook jammed packed with healthy recipes that cover 12 techniques. Slow cooking, microwaving, blending, grilling, stir-frying, braising, stewing, steaming, poaching, broiling, roasting, and baking are the cooking methods that are used for the recipes. With this being a cookbook that promotes good health, I really appreciate that they include the nutritional data. This book is completely black and white except for 3-4 page section with a few pictures. That doesn’t hinder my desire to cook from this book though, because the recipes sound easy and delicious!

I think this will become one of my go-to cookbooks, because the majority of the ingredients are ones that are not hard to find and I’m that familiar with. That is always an important aspect of a cookbook to me as well as the ‘cookability.’ These techniques can all be accomplished by beginner to intermediate level cooks. I’m adding the Southwestern Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooking chapter on p. 28, the Orange-Apricot Smoothies in the Blending chapter on p. 65, and the Green Beans in Spicy Sauce in the Stir-Frying section on p. 113 to my menu very soon! I think my husband will be anxious for me to try the Thai-Style Chicken Potstickers from the Steaming chapter on p. 163-164.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon {Review}

The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon by Sara Forte is a book that celebrates “the bowl.” Yes, in this 225 page cookbook Sara shares recipes that all can be eaten in a bowl from Morning Bowls to Sweet Bowls there is a wide range of delicious recipes! There are lots of gorgeous pictures throughout the book that are really pleasing to the eye. The food pictures will have your mouth watering and your stomach growling!

In the Breakfast Bowl chapter, on p. 17 the Popeye Protein Bowl looks unlike your typical breakfast meal, but I’m curious to try it. On p. 98, Sara gives a template for how to make a bowl (grain, well-seasoned protein, greens, veggies, toppings, and sauce). I loved that she said you don’t have to have a recipe to have a good bowl! The Smoky Tortilla Soup on p. 149 looks delicious and would make a great lunch or dinner. In the Dessert Chapter, the Peach Derby Ice Cream on p. 182 looks scrumptious, for sure! While this cookbook has nice pics and a few of the recipes look delicious, I’m afraid that most of these recipes that just aren’t my cup of tea. Many of the recipes call for food items that I might have a hard time finding (i.e. persimmon, Asian pears, Cotija cheese.)

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Salsas and Moles {a review}

Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider is a small 150 page book about these Mexican Salsas. This was such an insightful book that covered the myths of salsa to 10 essential chilies. The chapters are:
– Classic Table Salsas
– Hot Salsas
– Mole and Enchilada Sauces
– Salsas for Tacos
– Chunky Salsa and Botanas
The Chipotle-Garlic Salsa sounds right up my alley, while the Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa sounds intriguing enough to try.

This such a cute cookbook. The cover is so inviting and it has several pictures throughout the book that are beautiful and eye-catching. I love that many of the Hot Salsa recipes have a Heat rating. The Volcano Salsa is one that I hope to try soon. It has a heat rating of 6 on a scale of 1-10.

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Sweetapolita {a Review}

The Sweetapolita Bakebook by Rosie Alyea is a beautiful cookbook with 75 fancy-dancy cakes and cookies. It’s also fill with tips on how to make and decorate them. At the beginning of the book there’s a whole section on how to make homemade sprinkles. How cool is that!

I adore this creative collection of cakes and cookies. On p. 19, Rosie shares a recipe that is calling my name and perfect for valentines day; Pink Cherry Party Cupcakes. They are so cute! I’m anxious to get in the kitchen and make the Sprinkle-Me-Silly Pizza on p. 22-23. Recipes that will take me out of my comfort zone would be The Coney Island Cheesecake on p. 32-33, the Birthday Cake Milkshakes on p. 44-45, and the Pop Rock Robots on p. 47. Practically speaking though, I, personally, do not have the time or patience to make such amazing creations. However, I know there are people out there who eat this book up! Literally.

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Milk Bar Life {review}

Christina Tosi recently published her 2nd cookbook Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories. Her first one was called Momofuku Milk Bar, which I have not read. After reading this book, I’m definitely going to have to get my hands on that one for sure! I love that the first chapter of this books is called “Hand-Me_Downs,” which are recipes from that have been passed down through her family, which covers a wide variety of recipes from Hanky-Pankies to Buckeyes. The next chapter is called A Cookie A Day and if this is any indication of what her first book was like, I’m going to love it! Mixed Nut Turtles on p. 51 and Citrus Cookies on p. 61 are two recipes that are calling my name. This cookbook is really like no other I’ve seen, at least no recently. Christina really shows her personality throughout this book with pictures of sitting on grocery cart at the beginning of her Supermarket chapter to her dressed like R. Kelly at the beginning of the Freakin’ Weekend Chapter.

I found this cookbook to be a refreshing change to the normalacy of the every day cookbook. From the aforementioned pictures and the cute chapter names, Christina really brings fun to this cookbook. I’m anxious to try several of her recipes, like the Overnight Chicken Soup on p. 152, the Banana Hammock Pizza on p. 235, and the Desperation Nachos on p. 132. Anyone looking for a fresh and fun cookbook should definitely check this on out!

I am thankful for Blogging for Books who sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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