Happily Homemade – A Review

We all know that the best meals are the ones that are prepared with love. In Happily Homemade by Rachel Schultz  gives us 100 unique recipes to help you get past the dreaded feeling of what to make for dinner.  With stunning pictures that make you need to make everything, this book separates the recipes into catagories: Breakfasts with recipes such as Pumpkin and Pecan Baked Oatmeal, Blueberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast, and Herbed Mini Quiches (oh yummmm!); Snacks and Appetizers ( Carrot Bread, Apple Cookies, Loaded Skillet Fries, Almond and Pear Baked Brie, to name a few); Entrees (BLT Pizza, Chicken Lo Mein, Barley Vegetable Bowl, Fajita Grilled Cheese, and Ham and Swiss Hand Pies….. and much much more); and finally Desserts! ( Cherry Cake Bars, Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake, Coconut Macaroons, Nanny’s Rice Pudding, six kinds of frosting for various cakes…… drool some more).  There are spice mix recipes, a gluten free index for the book, and lots of tips and gorgeous recipes. The recipes are normal, extravagant, and just drool worthy in description or pictures.

I love this book, though I should mention that most of it I wouldn’t make for my immediate family due to not being quite as adventureous as I am. However, if I lived on my own, this would probably be something I would want to try out almost everything, though I did find some of the recipes like the rice pudding and the baked oatmeal, made more than I would eat on my own. Plus they are a tad too much to try out a recipe in small amounts. But most everything is a common flavor from good home cooking to Mexican, Asian and more. The variations alone make it fun. If anything, this book is one that is just lovely to look at. I myself actually read cookbooks for pleasure, not just for cooking. Who said you have to cook just because there are recipes? I read Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) cookbooks all the time and have only made about three recipes from her various books.

This book is functional for some and not for others. If you like stunning pictures and recipes that will make you want to hop into your car and get to the nearest market, then this is the book. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, actually 4.5 because it’s such a nice hardback book. Well done.


The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig – A Review

_240_360_Book.1329.coverSend in the pig! The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig by Chris Chamberlain is a marvelous guide on how to prepare pork , restaurant guide and cookbook.  Cook it, roast it, fry it, smoke it, bake with it, sweets with it; there are millions of ways to use pork and he first part of the book covers the history of Oink (i.e. the pig) how it came to be so popular and how it is properly prepared. From smoking, roasting, and frying, there are directions on whole roasted pig down to the spice rubs and marinades.  The second part of the book covers restaurants  in the south that are famous for unique and delicious ways of serving pork. And the third part of the book are recipes from the restaurants showcased in the second part of the book.  The information is quite vast and the recipes look so delightful with marvelous color pictures. Chris Chamberlain is  known for his other book The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South, and while I’ve not read that particular book, I’m betting this new book is a companion to his first book. This book is meant to be tossed in the glove compartment for restaurant suggestions or it can be in the kitchen for all the recipes.

While I probably won’t be able to get to the South anytime soon, I found this book incredibly informative and rather delightful to read.  I love having detailed guides to cooking and the history and methods of cooking pork in this book cover that quite well. The section on restaurants is so much fun to read and makes me want to visit every one of the places.  In fact I’ve asked Boris to visit one of the restaurants next time he is in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The restaurant is Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth, and I hope to be able to make a follow up review of the restaurant via Boris, at some later date.

I would give this book five stars and I have a feeling David Venable of In The Kitchen with David would approve of this book since he’s already a fan of Chris Chamberlain’s first book.  If you like the pig, then I recommend this book.

Signing off


Simply Grilling By Jennifer Chandler : A Review

 Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler relies on the premise of fast recipes for any type of grilling. Covering all types of flavors from mexican to asian inspired meals, the recipes are written in a concise manner. Colored pictures are included with each dish making the book visually appealing. Tips and how-tos are included at the bottom of each recipe and there is an entire section at the beginning to start you off on how to grill; whether indoors or on a charcoal grill; to get you started. Simply grilling is a nice start into the world of grilled foods.

While I found this book enjoyable to look at and tempting with so much variety, my first thought when i saw the title was inexpensive grilling.  Simply means also cheap and easy in my books.  inexpensive is not a word i would use to describe most of the recipes.  With ingredients like skirt steak, sushi-grade tuna loin, duck breasts, and a large selection of unique ingredients most people do not have in their pantry, this is not a book for anyone on a budget.  I actually found the title quite misleading.  One expects expensive dishes from cooks like Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) and Giada De Laurentis and their books reflect that with the glossy pages and pictures for the upscale recipes.  The matte photos and pages in Simply Grilling lead one to think of good home cooking yet the recipes reflect the opposite.

For those looking for a fun book to look at or a gift for someone who grills a lot and wats a different take, this is a nice book.  Otherwise I would pass on it for anyone trying to make a go of it in this economy. 

 I received this book as part of Thomas Nelsons Booksneeze program in return for an honest review.

I finally got around to writing this review and while I could expound on the aspects of the book I didn’t like for pages and pages, I’m still going to hold onto this book possibly for future reference. Sometimes just enjoying looking at a cook book is enough.  While I may never make anything from it, it does have a nice look to it.  Heck, half the cookbooks I own I don’t make anything from. The only ones I have are few and far between. I’ve come to accept that I just like looking at cookbooks sometimes.

Signing off