Tag Archives: food

Book Review: The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown

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From Goodreads:
Everything is calm in Cadillac, Texas until Aunt Agnes declares war on Violet Prescott, the president of the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society, just in time for the annual jubilee. But after the festivities—and the hostilities—are over, it’s four friends who are left standing, proving once again that friendship is forever.

This book drew me in right away with its whimsical cover and southern flair title. The Texas locale was just right for these sassy ladies.

The story centers around Marty and her sister Cathy who are both part of The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society along with a hilarious cast of characters. At first the book was a little overwhelming. We enter the story during a Society meeting and I really had to pay attention to who’s who and what the relationships are, which was more like work than fun. But, once I got the gist of how the characters relate, the story was enjoyable. What really stands out in this novel is not the main characters but the minor ones who add spice and laughter to the story. Aunt Agnes is priceless!

This book is chock full of scrapbooking, good southern food and a huge helping of southern sass. Of course, all is not well in this little Texas town where everybody knows your name and friendship and family ties run deep. Cat fights abound, there’s some spicy sex with exes and all shenanigans are done with the politeness only well-bred southern families can conjure.

A fun book that really takes friendships to heart.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.

View this book on Goodreads.
View this book on Amazon.com.


I’d Rather Read a Book Than ………….. [5]

I’d Rather Read a Book Than …………..

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………….. grocery shopping. I go and spend tons of hard earned $$$ and then come home and wonder how I got so little. Having 3 grown men in the house eating everything that’s not nailed down and the cost of trying to keep up makes me feel bad every week. But, as quite a few books I’ve read lately have reminded me, I’m more than thankful for what I have. It’s amazing how a book about hardships can put things into perspective.


Book Review: Mac & Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin

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Mac & Cheese Please! is book bursting with 50 comforting and fresh macaroni and cheese dishes.

This cookbook does a great job at introducing the novice cook to the basics of cooking pasta and cheese. It includes a run down of all the different kinds of pasta and cheese available and gives hints on the best ways to use each kind.

The book is clear and concise with well prepared directions. The pictures will have your mouth-watering for some cheesy goodness. It includes recipes that use both the oven or stove top methods.

These recipes are main meal fair. They include meat and veggies and are very original and inventive. Usually, my family only considers mac & cheese as being a side or more “picnic” food but this book proves mac & cheese can also be an upscale and gourmet worthy dish.

One caveat, for me, was that the recipes included ingredients that aren’t easily found in a small town grocery store. I can’t just pop over to the local grocery and get truffles or prosciutto. But, there were plenty of recipes that included ingredients I already had on hand.

This is a great cookbook if you really feel like mixing it up and want something totally out of the ordinary.

View this book on Goodreads.
View this book on Amazon.

This book was provided for review by Netgalley.


Book Review: Eat This, Not That! For Kids! By David Zinczenko

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Fun and informative for all ages, Eat This, Not That! For Kids! gives helpful hints to make better choices when choosing what you eat.

I have two ever-growing boys at home, CJ, at 16, is 6’2″ and 220 lbs. and RC, at 13, is 5’10” and 190. Big guys with big appetites, they eat large quantities so the quality of what they eat is more important than ever. So, I picked up this nifty little book on a shopping trip this week.

Like the other Eat This, Not That! books, this version gives you alternative choices to high calorie meals and snacks. This version, however, is geared toward kids and includes alternatives for chain restaurant kid’s meals, cereals and kid friendly snacks.

It includes tips to help us get our kids to eat healthier, try new foods and eat their veggies. I’m very fortunate to have two teenage sons that eat a variety of different foods and love vegetables. At our house drinks are more the issue. Getting them to drink more water and less juice, tea and soda is a constant battle.

The restaurant section contains a nice collection of major chains and gives each one a grade based on nutritional information and, if the restaurant doesn’t provide it, it’s an automatic F. I was disappointed to find that some of our favorites are ones that don’t provide nutritional information. Honestly though, when we go out to eat, we get what we want. It’s a treat. Not something we do a lot due to the expense. If I’m going to spend the money, it’s going to be for something I don’t make at home. There’s a menu decoder section which is nice for local restaurants so you can make better choices there too.

The most helpful are the supermarket and vending machine sections. Teens are bottomless snack pits. I can hardly keep up. I’m not sure why I’m not thin because they eat everything that’s not nailed down! I was surprised to see I was already making some pretty good decisions at the grocery store and I learned some good lunch packing substitutions.

This is a nice guide to helping your kids cut calories without them knowing you’re doing it. If you have really picky eaters, you might have a little more trouble with substitutions, but this book will give you plenty of suggestions to work with.

View this book on Amazon.com:Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block!


Do Books Leave You Craving For More?

I read an article on Lifehacker the other day about how the books we read can make us better cooks. I’m not sure if I’m a better cook because I read, but when I thought about it, I realized that reading books from certain locales or descriptions that conjure up memories, can influence what I eat. For example if wine is mentioned numerous times, I feel like having a glass of wine. If characters are having tea often in a book, I’m more inclined to sit and relax with my own cup. A good example of how food descriptions can affect cravings would be The Night Circus. This wonderfully descriptive book had me craving warm apple cider, caramel corn and chocolate by appealing not only to my sense of taste, but also to my sense of smell.

Have you read something recently that left you craving for a certain food or drink?

Read the Lifehacker article HERE.

Since I read a lot of love stories this month and they appealed to my sweet side, not to mention it’s HOT here in PA, I though I would share a sweet recipe that’s sure to be loved by those who eat it. Enjoy!

No Bake Cheesecake

12 oz. white chocolate chips
2 – 8 oz. pkgs lite cream cheese
1 – 8 oz. carton lite whipped topping, thawed
Topping of your choice (I chose strawberry preserves this time)
1 – graham cracker crust

Melt chips in saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Add cream cheese, stir until smooth. Remove from heat and fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust and add topping of your choice. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Fruit toppings are a great choice. Try caramel sauce and apples, yum!

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Book Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier: Simple, Scrumptious, SatisfyingThe Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying by Ree Drummond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: I am reviewing the iBooks version of this cookbook.

If you want simple recipes with easy to find ingredients in an easy to follow format, than this cookbook is sure to get you rattling those pots and pans!

The design of Ree’s cookbook is country flower perfect. She scatters pictures of her kids and pets (all of which are adorable) throughout the cookbook and she adds some nice touches that really give you a glimpse of her great personality. One of my favorites is her cooking playlist.

The iBooks version flows nicely with the swiping working well for both pages and instructions. I loved the added bonus of video on a few recipes. However, it would have been nice to have a few more. It also seemed like the ones that were chosen were the easier ones. It would have been more helpful for the videos to be of the more difficult ventures. I like the swipes and pictures for each instruction. I do wish they would have included just a list too. After you’ve made the recipe the first time, you don’t really need to swipe through them one by one.

I love that each recipe includes variation ideas. Each time you make it you can come up with a different combination. Each recipe I have tried so far has been easy and delicious. Some of them I modified slightly to suit my family’s taste.

One think I love about iBooks is that I can highlight all the titles of the recipes I want to use for the week. Then I can go to the My Notes section and see the list at anytime. It works great for ingredients too. No flipping through pages. Everything in one place. Love it!

View all my reviews


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