Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Chemist - Stephanie Meyer

If you pick this book up expecting something in the line of The Twilight Saga or a sequel to The Host, you are going to be very disappointed. Nothing paranormal here.

However, if you want a book to keep you on the edge of your seat, then pick up The Chemist.

Alex is on the run and has been for the past three years. On the run from her past employers at a top secret government agency. Hoping to resolve her dilemma she gets involved, quite by accident, with other people and dogs.

I enjoyed the book on one hand. However, I do have a couple of problems with it.  First, it did take me a bit to get into it. It was quite lengthy in describing how she has been protecting herself for the past three years and all the precautions she takes - gas, poison rings and other booby traps. However, part of me feels it is necessary to really understand why she is referred to as The Chemist.

Secondly, I'm not really sure I understand exactly what she was running from or trying to stop from happening and even if was really resolved.

Given my issues with the book, would I recommend it? Absolutely! No sparkling vampires here, but an intense action read, well worth settling in on a cold and snowy winter day with.

By the way, I want a dog like Einstein.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes

Twenty years! Where did the time go?

If there is one book I have given away more copies of it's this book. 

This is the book which is responsible for starting my love affair with travel books, it's Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.

Forget the movie (please, forget the movie) and settle back in a chair, preferably in the sun. I always seem to wind up with a sprig of basil as a bookmark and fix lots of Italian food to eat afterwards.

From the trials of buying property in Italy, to the difficulty of finding people to help restore your new, but falling down, villa, it's a romp through Italy which will have you packing your bags and heading to the airport.

With a new copy of the book in my hands, it's time for a dinner of spaghetti, red wine and fresh bread.


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Amaro - The Spirited Worlds of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs

I really don't know much about bitters. I do know a local distillery has started producing their own bitters.  So when I had a chance to get ahold of Brad Thomas Parsons new book, Amaro, I was pleased to not only get a history of amaro, but also a volume of fantastic sounding drinks and recipes for using bitters.

A beautiful book filled with recipes for various drinks and the stories behind them, I was particularly taken with the section on how to make my own bitters (and the Autumnal Amaro sounds so good), as well as other recipes using amaro.  Right now, despite the cold in Helena, a Campari Float, made with orange soda, ice cream and Campari sounds like a wonderful slice of summer.

This is a keeper for our drink shelf.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Study in Scarlet Women - Sherry Thomas

Charlotte Holmes has invited ruin upon her good name in order to live the life she choses. And she does so under the guise of being Sherlock Holmes.

The names are a certain point. And the interweaving of story lines makes for a great read. Between the deaths which occur (or were they murders?) and the twists and turns of Charlotte's own life, you find yourself flipping pages and reading far past your bedtime.

A great alternate version of the Sherlock Holmes legend and I can't wait to read the next one. 

You can find the book here, on Amazon, just in time for Christmas reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Heartless is Breathtaking!

First off, I love anything to do with Lewis Carroll and the "Alice" stories. Love it, love it, love it. Not so far as to have an entire sleeve being tattooed on my arm, but close enough. (Note to self - go back and read my annotated copy of Alice in Wonderland.)

Actually, I am going to claim ignorance of what the book was about.  I don't always read the fly-leaf on the cover. I just know I have enjoyed Meyer's retelling of fairy tales in The Lunar Chronicles, so I brought it home with me.  And devoured it. Much like the delectable confections Cath prepares in the book. The result - I discovered something special (and cried a bit too).

Catherine is nobility. But all she wants to do is open a bakery, preparing all manner of sweets and tarts. However, the King has his eye on more than her tarts and a new court jester has arrived. Along with the Jabberwoky.

What happens is a romp through Wonderland with all your favorite characters, including a Mad Hatter, who might not be quite as mad...yet.

I don't think I could recommend Heartless by Marissa Meyer any more. In fact, if you hurry over to Amazon, you can get the first four chapters on ebook free.  Since it's suitable for teens on up, this would make an excellent Christmas present for someone. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Story Genius - Lisa Gron

I am a sucker for books on writing.  Almost as much as I am a sucker for anything chocolate.

And interestingly enough, this book came to me right be National Novel Writing Month started.  However, Story Genius is not a quick read, especially in light of some of the other writing books I'm read.

Lisa Cron takes what most of the books on writing says to do and turns it on it's head.  Using the old '5 W's and How' from journalism, Cron has you crafting your novel using "What If?, The Who, The Why, The Worldview, The When and What Next?".  Creating the inside story is the first half of the book. Then she takes you into 'blueprinting' your story, pulling out cards, and building your story.  

There is a lot to absorb with this book and each chapter ends with an exercise based on that chapter's contents.  This is not a book to breeze through and stick on your shelf, but a deep read and write.  So much so, my initial read through is now a 'go-back-and-reread'.  But after NaNoWriMo.  Otherwise, I would be trashing what I've got and starting all over again (exactly what Cron's warns me about!)

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Alexander Hamilton's Guide to LIfe - Jeff Wilser

Everything is coming up Hamilton these days (except in my wallet, which is bare of Hamilton's)!

This small size book packs a big punch of fun reading.  Covering everything from handling office politics to honor to leisure time, Wilser's book is part history lesson and part practical advice, all from Hamilton's point of view.

Quick, short chapters make this a perfect book for reading just a page or two at a time.  However, once read, you then think about what you just finished for hours (if not days).

Of course, reading it with the sound track from Hamilton playing in the background is recommended.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, October 17, 2016

Photographs From the Edge by Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard

No, this isn't a pictorial account of my nervous breakdown.  Instead it is a drool-worthy book and hits all the right buttons on my account.

In Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World, just the photographs alone are worth a sit-down and flip-through.  But each picture is accompanied by three things - 

  1. A journal-like story about the picture itself - where it was taken, when - a bit of background information.
  2. "The Nature of the Photos" - a brief paragraph about the area the photo was taken in, something about the subject - a quick snippet.
  3. "Photo tip" - a how-to on photography and how it applies to that particular picture.

Art Wolfe, the photographer, along with Rob Sheppard, have put together a book which will take hours to go through.  And then hours running outside to try some of the tips and hints in the book.  A great book to sit down with a cup of tea and slowly go from page to page, savoring the visual impact of each photograph.

This is a must have for any would-be photographer, armchair traveler or a combination of the two.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Natural Color - Sasha Duerr

I have resisted learning how to spin.  Well, actually, I do have 2 drop spindles, but only 2 hands and I think I need a third hand to make it work - for me.  

And it's fall.  Leaves on the ground, wonderful colors everywhere.  And then I received Natural Color by Sasha Duerr.  And I think all my holding back from dyeing fabric and yarns is now out the window!

Subtitled "Vibrant plant dye projects for your home and wardrobe", Duerr has broken the book into seasons, a very sensible way to looking at gathering plant material for dyeing fabric.  She doesn't go into yarn dyeing, but I'm sure her methods could be used on yarn too.  

From rose petals, to hibiscus, to blue spruce being used on napkins, hats and baskets this is one hefty dose of eye candy.  And it's not all just about pretty pictures (although there are tons of them.)

Duerr covers everything from setting up the work area and the tools needed to achieve the results you want.  If you have ever been even remotely interested in dyeing your own fabrics, DO NOT pick up this book or you will be out eyeing all sorts of leaves, flowers and grasses for potential use.

So know I am stockpiling linen, silk and wool and scouring the thrift stores for stainless steel pots.  All I need is an outside burner.  Wonder if my grill would work?

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Monday, August 29, 2016

Engineering Eden - Jordan Fisher Smith

Now living in Montana, issues concerning the wilderness are more on my mind these days.  I can walk four blocks up the street and be in the 'hills'. Yearly, we seem to get the warnings about mountain lions in those same hills. Deer are a constant visitor to the streets of Helena.  As I write this, smoke from wildfires several miles away are evident.  So the whole idea of just how much control we do have over the wilderness and it's occupants are very up close and personal. 

This year alone, we have seen someone who is use to the outdoors and bears, be killed while riding his bike.  It's very sad.

But I would hate to think of the alternative.  

Already, oil and mining companies ogle the wilderness areas for their own gain.  And the animals?  Do we turn our outdoors into one big zoo?  

While the interaction between man and animals sometimes makes man on the losing side, I would hate to think there were no 'wild' predators anymore. 

And the fires?  Loss of house and home are devastating.  I have seen where hillsides are bare of trees from a fire.  And I have seen hillsides where trees and grasses and flowers are growing after a fire, rejuvenated.

Smith presents a compelling argument in the Man Vs. Nature fight all around the plight of Harry Walker and his untimely death. 

Frankly, after seeing the stupidity of tourists in Yellowstone who think warning signs about the geysers and animals are there for decoration, I hope the animals and wilderness wins this fight.

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Pop Manga Coloring Book - Camilla d'Errico

Being the nerdy family we are, this was a no-brainer to acquire.  However, there is one major flaw with the book...

It's too pretty to color in!

d'Errico's drawing are beautiful within themselves.  And while they are a joy to color, you really don't want to.

On quality paper, these are great to use almost any medium on.  But only if you can stop staring at the drawings and discovering all the little things hidden within them.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More on Jefferson

Since I am related to Jefferson by marriage, he has always intrigued me.  Living in Montana now, Lewis and Clark are everywhere.  So I wanted to know more about the men involved in such an important, but often untold in history class, story.  

Opening with the tension between England and Spain and Jefferson's tension at being Secretary of State, Fenster takes us on a journey covering years and miles of territory.  So much of what we have today as the United States could definitely be called Jefferson's America.

Lewis and Clark weren't the only men Jefferson sent into the unknown west of the Louisiana Purchase.  Others, less well known, embarked on journeys of discovery to give Jefferson a toehold against Spain.  

Julie M. Fenster tells a great history lesson in an easy to read way.  Definitely worth the time to make it through all 422 pages.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Not A Book, But a Game - Punderdome!

Our family LOVES puns!  As in, we have spent too many hours on car trips keeping the puns going, usually on one subject.  So when this came around, we had to grab it.

A well-crafted set of cards, pads to write on and it's game on.  

You pick two cards, one from each pile and create a pun connecting the prompts.  While it's not always easy, reading the puns on the back of the cards is worth the time and laughter.  

Definitely not for younger kids, although they would probably enjoy trying to play along, this nifty little box will go in the glove box in the car for trips.  It's better than wondering if a bear eats a zombie...

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Southern Spirits by Robert F. Moss

I'm a good Southern gal.  Born in Tennessee, raised in Texas, lived in North Carolina for 25 years.  Almost all of my 58 years of living has been in the South.  My first exposure to alcohol was my daddy's bottle of Jack Daniel's.  Every Christmas we gave my grandparents the annual Wild Turkey decanter.  So this book was right up my alley.

Interspersed with recipes for drinks, Moss leads us on a comprehensive review of everything liquor in the South.  From Revolutionary War days to the current trend in craft breweries, we learn everything about what is poured and sipped.

An interesting read, Southern Spirits should be read on the porch with a drink in hand.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Friday, June 24, 2016

Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

Like most people, I rely on boxes and cans of stock from the grocery store.  I usually think about making my own when I need some and the cupboard is empty.  But Jennifer McGruber in her new book, Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, makes me want to fill the stove with pots of simmering liquid.

From using the left over bones from a meal and scraps of veggies to 'trotters' and chicken feet, McGruber makes a case for making and storing your own broth.  The bonus is she gives recipes for then using the broth and stocks as a base for some simply delicious soups.

I can see a lot of soup bowls in my future!

Note:  I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair review.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Draw on Cats - A. R. Coffeit

I was puzzling over the concept of the book when Lady K saw the picture and demanded I get this book.  And when it arrived, I had about 5 minutes with it before it walked away in the hands of a three year old.  Only to be 'rescued' by her aunt and taken upstairs.

I Draw on Cats by A. R. Coffeit is an accordion book with picture after picture of cats and connect the dots.  The premise is to see what the cats are really up to.  Cute pictures of cats in their 'natural' habitat of our homes up to all kinds of mischief in reality.

Cute and a fun book for a cat lover (we have three by the way).

Note: "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Alice in Wonderland - Amily Shen

Our household loves all things Alice in Wonderland, so I was excited to see this coloring book by Amily Shen offered on Blogging for Books.

According to the synopsis on Blogging for Books...

Follow the White Rabbit into this imaginative adult coloring book inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, featuring intricate pen-and-ink drawings by acclaimed artist Amily Shen.

The book is like many of the nicer coloring books offered these days and on good quality paper, holding up well to about any medium used to color.  The illustrations are delightful and whimsical.  

The only downside - family members got to the book shortly after it arrived and I haven't seen it since!

Note:  "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

52 Cups of Coffee - Megan Gebhart

I am sorry, but I forgot where I saw this book recommended.  But I am glad I had an interlibrary loan made to get ahold of a copy of 52 Cups of Coffee.

The introduction to the book starts with the quote, "Who you are in five years depends on the people you meet and the books you read." (Twyla Tharp)

Megan Gebhart was a college senior and embarked on a personal project, to have coffee, once a week for a year, with people she normally wouldn't come in contact with and to write about each encounter on her blog,

This project was brave on her part in my opinion.  I couldn't image sitting down with complete strangers and having an intimate conversation for 30 minutes or an hour.  But she did and the results are fantastic.

Each chapter is only three or four pages long and you would think it would be a quick read.  But it isn't.  Because you want to savor each one.  There is a lot of insight packed into each chapter.

The format for the book is the same, chapter to chapter.  The person being interviewed and the place and coffee (or beverage) consumed during the interview.  And a takeaway thought from the chapter, such as, from Lou Anna K. Simon, Michigan State President, of "Hard work is the currency that buys good fortune."

While reading the book I found myself taking notes on each chapter.  At first, I thought it would be sporadic.  However, looking at my notes, I had something to write about almost every chapter.

This book is now on my 'to-get' list so I can go back and underline and write in it (they tend to frown on that with library books).  And stock up on coffee.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

When you live in Helena, Montana and "Sleeping Giant" comes up, you naturally grab the book.  And Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is well worth grabbing.

Eleven year old Rose literally falls into a giant hand while riding her bicycle near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota.  Now, 17 years later, she is the head scientist studying the same hand.

Written as a series of debriefings between an unnamed government official and the various scientists and military personnel putting this puzzle together, it's an interesting read from this perspective.  As events unfold and more of the giant is discovered, more questions and unexplained events occur.

Book 1 in the Themis Files series, this is a good summer read.  It will also make you look at our own Sleeping Giant a little bit differently.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Somethingtofoodabout by Questlove

Being that I can sit in front of the TV and watch food show after food show, this book is a feast for my senses.  Somethingtofoodabout by Questlove is a collection of interviews with innovative chefs from around the country, interspersed with artful photographs.

The tagline of the book is what really captured by attention initially - "exploring creativity with innovative chefs".   Also the Arcimboldo-like picture, who I really love, was a second reason I wanted to take a look at this book.

This is a book to sit down with a plate of good bread and cheese, a glass of wine, prop your feet up and spend the evening with.  Much like you would do if you were enjoying a great meal.  It is one to savor in bites and not gulp down in a single serving.

Besides, anything with an introduction by Anthony Bourdain has to be good, right!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

4 X 4 Diet by Erin Oprea

So, when Lady K is sitting on my bed and tells me 'exercise, exercise', I guess I had better pay attention.  However, my capacity for exercise has the attention span of Lady K, about 5 minutes max. Which is one reason 4 X 4 Diet by Erin Oprea sparked my interest.

Erin Oprea's approach is like the diet and exercise, simple and clean.  One thing which really caught my attention (and I personally like) is she doesn't say "NO" sugar.  She just says 'cut back' on sugar.  Her recipes included in the book show simple substitutes for my favorite ingredient - sugar.

Sometimes when you get a diet book there are all kinds of hoops and tricks you have to do, but this one is fairly straight forward.  And the exercises are simple too.  High intensity, rest, repeat, but only 4 minutes worth.  However, Oprea does encourage getting up and walking more, setting the bar at 10,000 steps, which is what my daily goal is already.

I liked the book and will probably incorporate many of her suggestions, recipes and ideas into my daily life - like drinking more water, for one.   I'll have to work up to the 4 minute workouts though.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

June - by Miranda Beverly-Whittlemore

Cassie Danver’s life is in need of as much repair as the crumbling family mansion, Two Oaks. And rural St. Jude, Ohio is just the place to hide, and not only mourn the grandmother, June, who raised her, but to try and figure out where she wants to go from here. 

But the house, and life, have other plans for Cassie, such as a surprise inheritance from legendary movie idol, Jack Montgomery, someone who Cassie only knew from old movies. When his two daughters arrive to challenge the will, Cassie’s peace is turned upside down. What transpires is a sixty year old secret full of murder, Hollywood and intrigue. 

Alternating between June, 2015 and June, 1955, Beverly-Whittlemore skillfully weaves a tale of a young June and the woman Cassie thought she knew as her grandmother. The house itself seems to come alive during this investigation into what really happened in St. Jude, Ohio during the filming of a movie in June, 1955. Was there a romance between the star, Jack Montgomery, and 19 year old June? Is Cassie really his granddaughter? 

While I was a bit irritated with Cassie early in the book for not immediately starting repairs on Two Oaks (that’s the type A in me), I quickly became immersed in the back and forth of Junes, sixty years apart. While the young June had to deal with Hollywood movie stars, Cassie has to deal with the equally famous daughters of movie stars, who may, or may not, be her aunts. Definitely a good summer read.

Find your copy of June at the Lewis and Clark Library or here.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Kitchen Year - Ruth Reichl

I came to Ruth Reichl and her books a bit backwards.  I first read her recent work of fiction, Delicious, which I reviewed here.  And I have it on my to-read-list to go back and read her other books. However, My Kitchen Year came across recently when checking in books and I dragged it home.  

This book hits many of my 'buttons' - in a good way.

First of, it's a 'year in the life of' book, which I really enjoy.  Secondly, it's filled with recipes and the stories behind them, another favorite of mine.  Third, it's written and photographed like you are peeking into her life and/or journal, getting the real story of Ruth Reichl.

Reichl starts her story just as her 10 years as editor of Gourmet magazine was abruptly ended.  Overnight she went from being the head of a well-known magazine to being unemployed.  This was the fall of 2009.

She writes 'seasonally' and includes recipes which mean a lot to her past and how they 'saved' her during the year when she was adjusting to no longer having a job.  Filled with snatches of handwriting, like it is pulled from her journal and pictures of both food and scenes from every day life, this is a book to savor.  So much so, I keep renewing it so I don't have to rush through it.

By the way, I just flipped the book open to her banana bread recipe and I have some ripe bananas begging to be used.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

Synposis:  An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

It seems I have been on a Francophile journey the past few weeks.  And right now I need my passport updated so I can head to Paris and then saunter down to Provence.  And The Paris Key did not disappoint (or help with that longing).  A quick read (I devoured in two days) and one which makes you want to dress better and find the best baguette in town.

It seems the antique key Genevieve wears around her neck, given to her by her mother,  is the 'key' to both the past and the present.  With shifting points of view, you explore how Genevieve, her mother and aunt all had, and kept, secrets, some of which impact the future.

Does Genevieve give up on getting the proper paperwork and head back to her life in the United States, or does she unlock the door to a different future with her new friends in Paris?

Another "Problem" I Have...

Yep.  Books!

This is my latest group of books I dragged home from the library from our donation cart.  The Natalie Goldberg and the Gretchen Rubin I have read and want my own copy.  The others are 'goodies' for my library.

Of course, they have to go on a huge existing stack of books which are in my library I haven't read yet. 

AND the shelf of books I have checked out from the library...

AND the audio book I am listening to.  AND the Patrick Rothfuss I have on reserve because he will be a guest at Miscon 30 and I haven't read any of his books.

AND the books on my e-reader.

Of this stack, I have actually finished one which will be a forthcoming review.  Incarnation I received as part of a blog hop review in May.  I will be posting my review on May 19, so stay tuned.

So yes, I have a book problem.

And I love it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lucky Rice by Danielle Chang

There aren't many any decent Asian restaurants in Helena. So I was interested in this book as an alternate to going without my Chinese food fix.

I really like the categories the recipes are divided 
into - Street Eats, Funky Foods, Asian Mash-ups (one recipe includes spam!), and Lucky Feasts, to name a few.  Coupled with short stories about the recipe, and including 'notes' on some of them, the recipes are clean and easy to follow.  The ingredients, for the most part, are fairly easy to find, even here in Helena, Montana.  Squid and octopus might be an issue, however. 

One dish I am really excited about trying is the Hawaiian Tuna Poke, using fresh tuna steaks.  This might get my non-fish-eating daughters to try some.  

If you are looking for yet another cookbook on how to make sweet-and-sour chicken, this is not the book for you.  If you are looking for one with 'street food' and other fun Asian-styled recipes, then you need to take a look through this one.  But not if you are hungry.

Note: "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

It's that time of the year when my desires turn to starting a garden.  This year is exciting because I have a yard to work in where we will be for some time to come.  And I am having to design space, in a tiny yard, for dogs, children and plants.  So receiving The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn was a bonus.

The blurb on the front states "Design an abundant, flower-filled yard that nurtures bees and supports biodiversity."  And this is what I am striving for.  However, I was a bit concerned it might not address my desire for a vegetable garden.

But that fear was short-lived, as there is a whole section on plants for edible gardens which will attract and support a strong bee population.  What I particularly liked about this chapter was the interplanting of flowers and vegetables, something I personally like to do.

The first chapter talks about the different kinds of bees and their habitats and needs and then it gets down to the nitty-gritty of having a garden which welcomes and supports bees.

At only about 200 pages and tons of pictures, on one hand it's a quick read.  On the other, there is a wealth of information and requires going back and rereading sections.  One of my particular favorites is at the end of the book where Frey and LeBuhn list recommendations of plants based on regions of the country.  Still learning Zone 4 after a life-long immersion in Zone 7, this is really helpful.  Each list is also divided into annuals, perennials, tree and shrubs.  While the lists are not lengthy, they do give an excellent starting point for your garden.

This is one book which will be review many times over the coming years I am sure.

Note:  I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Need a Juicer!!

Savvy and I have talked several times about getting a juicer.  Actually, what we have really talked about was how to steal the one at the Real Foods Market in town.  But receiving the book, Green Smoothies by Fern Green (a little suspicious of the name), has definitely reinforced the need for a juicer.

Subtitled "Recipes for Smoothies, Juices, Nut Milk and Tonics to Detox, Lose Weight, and Promote Whole-Body Health", this book packs a lot of information in a small package.

While it contains almost as many juice recipes as it does smoothies, it reinforces my need for a juicer.    There is a brief intro on the difference between blenders and juicers which leads to a picture and paragraph section on the different 'greens' and their benefits.  Followed by a brief description of tips for a juice detox, it leads into a two day spread on the plan and what juices and smoothies you would be drinking that day.

Then the book gets into the 'meat' of the subject, so to speak.  Each recipe takes up two pages.  The left hand side shows the ingredients required laid out very nicely.  The opposite page shows a picture of a bottle of the juice or smoothie and lists it's benefits and uses.  One thing I really like is each recipe title also has under it whether it is a sweet juice/smoothie or a savory one.  I like the heads-up as what to expect before I drink it. Each recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings or a full day of nothing but that specific juice or smoothie. 

What did surprise me in reading through the recipes for the smoothies were there is no yogurt or milk added to them.  They are all strictly the fruit or vegetable with an occasional nut or seed added, along with a bit of water perhaps.

This little book is so appealing, even Texter, with her aversion to veggies and smoothies, is interested in some, along with the juices.  And they would be good for her to take to school to drink during the day.

So while awaiting the arrival of the Juicer Fairy, we will be making some of the smoothies. In the meantime, I will prepare myself a Banana Tonic which is suppose to give my body a sense of calm.  All I need is some mint, a banana and some romaine lettuce.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

Reviewing a cookbook while alternately putting on and taking off a sweater or blankets due to chills or dashes to the bathroom might not be the best of times.  But the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook showed up on my doorstep right at a time when Texter and I were reading the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book and were thinking new year and all the usual goals and plans for better eating and weight loss.

First, let me say this is a substantial book.  512 pages filled with recipes and pictures.  Something you can use to at least keep the door open on a windy day.

Secondly, both Pearl and Serene (they encourage informality) have disclaimers in the opening pages you don't need to purchase their products to be successful on their plan, including the initial book, but as they say, it helps.  Balancing your "S" and "E" is necessary to the plan and you need some grounding in that area.

Third, integral collagen, 'gluccie', dronks, gelatin and pristine whey protein!  What!  Most of the recipes contain some, if not, all of the above.  And while you can fix the recipes without them, I got tired of having to tick off things I wasn't going to buy and leave out of recipes.  

There are some recipes which don't have what I refer to as the 'extras'.  The Cajun Cream Chicken is simple to prepare and looks really good, even using less fat cream cheese.  Cilantro Lime-Burst Chicken and Bangin' Ranch Drums I have also pulled out to make at some future date.  And they do have a whole section on crockpot meals and one-skillet dinners.

While this might not become a go-to cookbook and I find Weight Watchers easier to use because they don't have any special ingredients, per se, in their cookbooks, this isn't without merit.  However, I find planning menus hard enough without trying to balance my "S" and "E" meals.

But right now, chicken noodle soup out of a red and white can is all that sounds good to me.

NOTE: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.