The Perfect Egg is All It’s Cracked Up to Be {Book Review}

* Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Perfect Egg from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Perfect Egg

 

About The Perfect Egg

A cookbook all about eggs, with 70 diverse recipes for meals, snacks, and desserts, from the team behind the beloved food blog Spoon Fork Bacon.

Eggs are one of the world’s super-star foods: inexpensive, protein-rich, versatile, and easily renewable. Every culture has its own take on eggs—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and The Perfect Egg features a dazzling, delicious variety of globally influenced dishes. From Blackberry Stuffed Croissant French Toast to Hot and Sour Soup, and from Poached Yolk-Stuffed Ravioli to Creamy Lemon Curd Tart, the more than seventy recipes in The Perfect Egg offer a fresh, unique, and modern take on the most humble of foods.

My Review

Confession.  I love eggs.  I love friend eggs. I love scrambled eggs.  I love hard boiled and softboiled eggs.  I love poached eggs…well, you get the picture.  So I was super excited to review The Perfect Egg.

There are so many recipes that I can’t wait to try – I love the take on what I call “nest eggs” in my house (chicken eggs in toast), called “Mini-Toad-in-a Hole Sandwiches” which uses quail eggs.

The first part of this book is all about eggs- you’ll learn about different kinds of eggs, and more importantly, tips to prepare eggs.  So if you don’t know how to make a French omelet, this is the book for you!  The first section is also all about “basic recipes” which include things like mayo, hollandaise, creme anglaise, bernaise, basic egg pasta, etc.  This is a great little “primer” section and I can’t wait to master these recipes.

The rest of the book is arranged into sections of:  Morning, Snacks, Afternoon, Night, and Sweets, and the recipes are amazing.  From typical things you would expect, like creme brulee, to the unexpected spaetzle with Swedish meatballs, this is a book that will have something for every chef.

Buy The Perfect Egg

Buy The Perfect Egg  on Amazon for $15.12 (Hardcover)

Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer + FLASH Giveaway


* Disclaimer:  I received a free sample of the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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I love, love, love pasta.  However, pasta does not love me and definitely does not fit into my diet!  It can be hard to substitute healthy things when you aren’t used to it, but the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer makes it super easy to substitute pasta with healthy spiral veggies.  This helps you meet those daily requirements of veggies while keeping out carbs.

There are lots of spiralizers on the market – many of them are super clunky and big, and I don’t know about you, but my counter space is precious!  There are also lots of smaller spiralizers that are like pencil sharpeners, but these don’t have a lot of cutting options and they waste a lot of your vegetables or won’t even work at all for large vegetables.  They can also be brutal to clean!

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The Brieftons NextGen sprializer solves these problems – the innovative cap design allows for a deeper reach and firmer grab on veggies with 50% less wastage. It also accommodates vegs up to 6.5 CM in diameter, compared to 4 – 4.5 CM in competing products. It also features a longer blade (7 CM). This results in a longer cutting surface & shorter time to spiralize vegs.

The other great thing is that it is easy to store and comes with removable blades so it is easy to clean.  If you are looking to add a spiralizer to your kitchen, I highly recommend the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer!

And, one lucky Mama Games reader has a chance to win a Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in this FLASH GIVEAWAY!

You must enter before 2 pm on 3/5/15, and you MUST respond within 1 hour of notification or a new winner will be chosen!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Instant Read Thermometer Makes Meat Safer


* Disclaimer:  I received a sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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Do you use instant read thermometers when you cook? If you are like many cooks,  you probably don’t.  One study showed that only 46% of people who responded to a survey said that they never use a thermometer for chicken, and 66% never use one when cooking hamburgers.  Using a digital thermometer when cooking is super important.  Food can come to you contaminated with all sorts of icky organisms like salmondella, E. coli, or listeria. And if you don’t properly cook your food to the right temperature, these pathogens can make you and your family sick.

You may wonder what temperature is safe to cook your food – the instant read digital thermometer that I had a chance to try came with a handy chart for reference for all types of meat, which was one of my favorite features.

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Safe temperatures vary by what meat you are eating – for example, chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees, and hamburgers should be cooked until at least 160 degrees.  The instant digital thermometer that I tried out was super easy to use – it goes into the thickest cuts of meats and provides an extremely quick read.  I used it to test some chicken sausages that I was cooking for my girls’ lunch.

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As you can see, the numbers are really easy to read.  One thing I really love about this instant read thermometer is that the buttons don’t have cracks around them – so food can’t creep into the crevices.  It is so hard to clean when this happens.  Speaking of cleaning, this thermometer is super easy to wipe down and sanitize, which is a huge plus.

So if you’re looking to add an instant read food thermometer to your kitchen supplies, I highly recommend the one that I tried out!

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer on Amazon for only $19.99

Soul Food Love brings Healthy to Soul Food {Book Review}

* Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of Soul Food Love from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Soul Food Love

A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

In May 2012, bestselling author Alice Randall penned an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Black Women and Fat,” chronicling her quest to be “the last fat black woman” in her family. She turned to her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams, for help. Together they overhauled the way they cook and eat, translating recipes and traditions handed down by generations of black women into easy, affordable, and healthful—yet still indulgent—dishes, such as Peanut Chicken Stew, Red Bean and Brown Rice Creole Salad, Fiery Green Beans, and Sinless Sweet Potato Pie. Soul Food Love relates the authors’ fascinating family history (which mirrors that of much of black America in the twentieth century), explores the often fraught relationship African-American women have had with food, and forges a powerful new way forward that honors their cultural and culinary heritage. This is what the strong black kitchen looks like in the twenty-first century.

My Review

This cookbook is really a two-for-one.  It is a peek into a wonderful African-American family, told in the context of the kitchen.  It tracks five generations, all the way back to the 1800s.  This is a book you will want to read from cover to cover.  This is like getting a peek into the personal cookbook of this wonderful family and the legacy that food and cooking has with it.  The writing is fantastic, and as I am not an African American woman, I love to see both similarities and differences between my experiences with food.

In terms of food, the book is divided into fairy typical sections (Sips and Bites, Soups, Main Dishes, Desserts, etc.).  The recipes are fairly beginner friendly and some of the recipes are going to be staples (hello, African Chickpea Soup).  The recipes are packed with flavor (Spicy Pepper Chicken is going to be a new fave) but they are healthy takes on soul food – this baked version will spice up your kitchen just like a great spicy fried chicken!

 

Buy Soul Food Love

Buy Soul Food Love on Amazon  for only $12.79 in Hardcover!

Lighten Up, Y’all Brings Southern Food with a Healthy Kick {Book Review}

* Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of Lighten Up, Y’all from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Lighten Up, Y’all

A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes–including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and strawberry shortcake–made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious.

The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.

My Review

So, I have been living in New York for coming up on a decade now, but my roots are Southern.  If there is one part of me that hasn’t been fully converted to life in the Northeast, it’s my taste buds.  I would still rather have a chicken fried chicken sandwich than beef on weck any day.  The only issue with classic Southern food is that it isn’t exactly the picture of health.  Lighten Up, Y’all is the perfect cookbook for displaced Southerners (or anyone else) who is looking to enjoy classic Southern flavors while lightening up on the fat content.

This is a really nice cookbook – there isn’t a whole lot of “extra” writing here – some tips on lightening up your diet in general, and then it dives right into the food, which I think is a good thing!  Lighten Up Y’all is divided into 10 sections, with my avorites being “Grains, Grits, and other Starchy Goodness,” “From the Garden,” and “Sweet Indulgences”.  This has some amazing Southern favorites – Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy, Buttermilk Biscuits with Turkey Sausage Gravy, and other tasty treats, as well recipes with a more contemporary feel, like Summer Squash “Lasagna”.  The great thing about these recipes is that they use easy-to-find ingredients, and are truly light – most rely on healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil, and there are certainly no “deep fried” anythings.  But the recipes all sound amazingly tasty!

If you enjoy Southern food, but are trying to keep your diet healthy, you should definitely give Lighten Up, Ya’ll a second look!

 

Get a Taste of Grandma’s with In Her Kitchen

* Disclaimer: I received the In Her Kitchen cookbook from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

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About In Her Kitchen

In a gorgeous keepsake volume based on the slideshow that captured the world’s attention, Gabriele Galimberti’s beautiful portraits of grandmothers from all over the world with their signature dishes stunningly illustrates the international language of food and family.

On the eve of a photography trip around the world, Gabriele Galimberti sat down to dinner with his grandmother Marisa. As she had done so many times before, she prepared his favorite ravioli—a gesture of love and an expression of the traditions by which he had come to know her as a child. The care with which she prepared this meal, and the evident pride she took in her dish, led Gabriele to seek out grandmothers and their signature dishes in the sixty countries he visited. The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman’s table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories. These vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her Roasted Spiced Chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. Taken together or bite by bite, In Her Kitchen taps into our collective affection for these cherished family members and the ways they return that affection.

In Her Kitchen is an evocative, loving portrait of the power of food and family, no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner.

My Review

In Her Kitchen is an AMAZING book.  Without even looking at the recipes, I love this book!  Each recipe starts with a picture of a grandmother from around the world, pictured with the ingredients used to make the recipe, and a picture of their recipe.  The first thing I did when I opened up the book was flip through the book and look at all the grandmas.  I loved this!  I miss my own grandma, and it was very cool to read about each grandma’s story.  This would be a great book without the recipes!

Now – onto the food.  There are some seriously AMAZING recipes in this book.  The recipe that I can’t WAIT to try is Valagerdur Olafsdottir’s (from Iceland!) recipe for Kjoysupa, which is a yummy-sounding recipe for Lamb and Vegetable soup.  There are also some…unusual recipes.  For example, Susann Sorenson, of Alaska, cooks up a yummy looking moose steak!  And then it gets even more exotic: Regina Lifumbo from Malawi, who cooks up Finkubala, which is Caterpillars in Tomato Sauce.  Not something I would give my kids for dinner, but I thought that these recipes give a wonderful glimpse into the culinary lives of women around the world in a wonderfully relevant and relatable way.  The beauty of this book is that it helps make connections through something that we can all relate to:  food and family!

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves to cook (especially with family) – it will be a treasured addition to your cookbook collection!

 

 

Supermarket Healthy: Great for Your Body and Your Budget {Book Review}

* Disclaimer: I received the Supermarket Healthy cookbook from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

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About Supermarket Healthy

Food Network star and New York Times bestselling author Melissa d’Arabian proves that healthy eating at home is easy, achievable, and affordable.

Everyone wants to feel good about what they are eating, serving guests, and feeding their families, but most of us don’t do our weekly shopping at pricey specialty stores– we do it at the local supermarket and we don’t want it to break the bank. In her second book, Melissa demystifies the task of preparing nutritious and delicious food by showing exactly how you can make your grocery store work for you. She offers helpful strategies for shopping, cooking, and entertaining, as well as meal blueprints and nutritional information throughout. This book will make you confident about the food you’re buying, preparing, and eating. Delicious recipes like Almond Waffles with Raspberry-Basil SauceKale and White Bean Caesar Salad in a JarSlow-Roasted Tomato SpaghettiniFlatiron Steaks with Quick Cauliflower Kimchi, and Flourless Fudgy Dream Cookies have something for every type of eater at every meal of the day. No matter your favorite flavors or dietary needs, cooking on a budget is empowering– and now you can learn how to make every bite count. If cooking at home is the key to healthy living, Supermarket Healthy is the only tool you’ll need.

My Review

There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending an afternoon in the kitchen, surrounded by unusual ingredients, making a fabulous new dish for my husband and kids.  However, this often isn’t practical, especially in the week, since our work and school schedules are often bananas.  And while my foodie children would love to have seared scallops or roasted duck breast at every meal, the bottom line on our budget just won’t allow that.  Add in a desire to buy exclusively organic, non-GMO food for my family and you have quite the conundrum.  Planning affordable, healthy meals isn’t always easy, especially since there isn’t a gourmet or high-end grocery store (I pray for Whole Foods) anywhere near me.

If this sounds like you, you have to check out Supermarket Healthy, a new cookbook by Food Network star Melissa D’Arabian.  First of all, I feel like Melissa, who has four children, understands planning family meals on a budget, with economical but still healthy ingredients.  One of the things that I love most about this cookbook is that it has ingredients that I can find at the grocery store.  Without hunting or ordering anything on the internet.  This is real food, that is tasty, and quick and simply to prepare.

I actually put Supermarket Healthy to the test the first night I received it.  My husband was supposed to put a recipe into the crock pot before leaving for work, but forgot.  So I was stuck with some chicken breasts and no dinner for myself and the girls.  I turned to the chicken section and looked for a recipe – I quickly found a recipe for Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken – I had EVERY ingredient in my pantry, except for whole wheat breadcrumbs, which I don’t usually have because many breadcrumbs have dairy (my daughter has a dairy allergy). However, I did have panko and many of the recipes are designed as a “blueprint” meaning that you can easily sub ingredients.  This recipe claimed to be a healthier version of fried chicken – and WAS IT EVER.  The chicken breasts were tender and moist, and the sauce doubled as a dipping sauce.  The panko made it super crunch and yummy, and frankly, we loved it even MORE than fried chicken.  That’s saying a lot, but without a doubt Supermarket Healthy delivered on its first try!

So if you are a working mom and need quick, healthy recipes that taste amazing and have real-life easy to find ingredients, Supermarket Healthy is for you!

Take a Culinary Trip with A Kitchen in France Cookbook {Book Review}

Disclaimer:  I received A Kitchen in France from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

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About A Kitchen in France

 

With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports readers to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.
 
When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

My Review

I was absolutely thrilled to get to review this new release (out on October 28, 2014) cookbook and even more thrilled when it arrived.  A Kitchen in France is simply beautiful.  It is part travel book, part cookbook, as it really does transport you to France.  The photography is simply gorgeous.  This book should be at the top of your holiday list for anyone who is in love with France, French food, or cooking.

The cookbook is laid out seasonally, and it really takes you on a journey through French food.  The “Autumn” section is probably my favorite, filled with seasonal yumminess like Pumpkin Soup and Slow Cooked Lamb with Croquant Ratatouille.

That being said, there may be some challenges for some folks with these recipes.  For example, one of the Autumn recipes is Quail grilled over grapevines…which calls for, obviously, grapevines.  Being from Western NY, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult for me to rustle up some grapevines after harvest, but procuring four quail will likely be a challenge for me.  However, these recipes are really the exception rather than the rule and I feel like I could round up the ingredients for most of these recipes with a little effort.

In terms of cooking skills required, I’m going to say that if I had to judge the book overall it would not be for beginners (although I think EVERYONE will enjoy the culinary journey it takes you on).  There are some recipes that I feel like many beginning to intermediate home cooks could execute successfully, and then I think there are a few that could require some serious cooking chops, like the recipe for Seared Foie Gras with Grapes and Figs that has you lighting Cognac over the foie gras that you have (hopefully) not overcooked at this point.  Other recipes give you a real cooking lesson, like Pork Cheek Ravioli, which has step by step instructions and beautiful pictures teaching you to make your own pasta.

Overall, A Kitchen in France is a gorgeous book that would find a happy place under any chef’s Christmas tree!

I received A Kitchen in France from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

Simple Thai Food Brings New Flavor to Your Kitchen {Book Review}

*Disclaimer:  I received Simple Thai Food from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Simple Thai Food

Thai takeout meets authentic, regional flavors in this collection of 100 recipes for easy, economical, and accessible Thai classics–from the rising star behind the blog She Simmers.

Who can say no to a delicious plate of Pad Thai with Shrimp; a fresh, tangy Green Papaya Salad; golden Fried Spring Rolls; or a rich, savory Pork Toast with Cucumber Relish? Thai food is not only one of the most vibrant, wonderfully varied cuisines in the world, it also happens to be one of the tastiest, and a favorite among American eaters.

The good news is, with the right ingredients and a few basic tools and techniques, authentic Thai food is easily within reach of home cooks. Take it from Leela Punyaratabandhu, a Bangkok native and author of the popular Thai cooking blog She Simmers. In her much-anticipated debut cookbook, Leela shares her favorite recipes for classic Thai fare, including beloved family recipes, popular street food specialties, and iconic dishes from Thai restaurant menus around the world.

All of Leela’s recipes have been tested and tweaked to ensure that even the busiest cook can prepare them at home. With chapters on key ingredients and tools, base recipes, one-plate meals, classic rice accompaniments, and even Thai sweets, Simple Thai Food is a complete primer for anyone who wants to give Thai cooking a try. By the end of the book, you’ll be whipping up tom yam soup and duck red curry that will put your local takeout joint to shame. But perhaps more importantly, you’ll discover an exciting new world of Thai flavors and dishes—including Stir-Fried Chicken with Chile Jam, Leaf-Wrapped Salad Bites, and Crispy Wings with Three-Flavored Sauce—that will open your eyes to all the wonderful possibilities that real Thai cooking has to offer.

My Review

I love Thai food – especially pad thai and curries with coconut and citrus flavors intertwined.  So I was super excited to review Simple Thai Food, because I don’t have a lot of experience cooking Thai Food.

The thing to know about this cookbook is that “Simple” is not in reference to the cooking techniques or ingredient procurement.  This is not going to be a cookbook where you can grab the book, flip to a page, and pull the ingredients out of your pantry.  For me, living in a rural area, this is going to be a cookbook where I would have to seriously PLAN to meal and would require traveling in to a specialty grocery store.

That being said, the recipes are authentic, the instructions are clear and easy to understand, and the photography is really gorgeous.  There is also a great introduction to most recipes that gives you some history, culture, and background for the recipe.  All in all, I would recommend this for the serious home chef who is interested in learning Thai cuisine!

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

 

 

 

Treat Yourself – Classic Treats at Home {Book Review}

*Disclaimer:  I received Treat Yourself from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

About Treat Yourself

If you grew up on corner-store treats, memory lane is paved with Ho Hos, Yodels, Oreos, and Ring Dings. And while your taste buds may have grown up a bit, chances are you still crave these classic flavors. Now you can re-create the lunch-box delights that made you the envy of other kids, with all-natural homemade versions.

After much obsessing and experimentation, Jennifer Steinhauer has cracked the code for 70 iconic treats to re-create in your own kitchen. There are cookies with a perfect crunchy base for cream filling, snack cakes with frosting so thick you can peel it off all at once, candies dipped in chocolate and dusted with sugar, and ice cream pops so juicy that they drip down your arm. A self-taught baker, Jennifer had no interest in complicated techniques or chemical gunk, just easy hacks that break down and remaster these throwback snacks.

So go ahead—treat yourself to your own homemade version of these favorites:
• Samoas, Pecan Sandies, Chips Ahoy!, and other classic cookies
• Nutter Butters, Mint Milanos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, and other sweet sandwich cookies
• Twinkies, Drake’s Coffee Cakes, Devil Dogs, and other snack cakes
• Fig Newtons, Lemon Mini-Pies, Strawberry Pop-Tarts, and other fruity, filled treats
• Soft Pretzels, Pizza Pockets, Funyuns, and other salty, savory snacks
• Cracker Jacks, Goo Goo Clusters, Candy Dots, and other candy favorites
• Orange Creamsicles, Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Pops, Nutty Buddies, and other frozen treats

My Review

So, as I have confessed on many occasions, I am a competent cook but not a great baker.  I needs lots and lots of practice, and this super fun book will give me lots of it! When I got this book, I thought it would be mainly baked goods, but there are tons of fun treats, including frozen treats, snacks (pizza pockets!) and candy!  The pictures are super engaging and Jennifer has really created treats that look like your classic favorites.

I have a recipe for cupcakes that are similar to the Drake’s Coffee Cakes recipe, so I thought I would give those a try.  The directions were super easy to follow and there was no technique that I really struggled with.  The end result cakes were good, although they were much heavier than I expected them to be – they almost had a shortbread consistency to them rather than an actual coffee cake, but they were certainly tasty!  I’m not sure if the consistency was correct, or if I messed up somehow, but either way they were YUMMY!

I highly recommend this book for the snack lover and baker in your life!  They will enjoy making so many classic treats at home!

Buy Treat Yourself

Buy on Amazon for $12.64!

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