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.