Meal Planner

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Shull, Shay. Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner: Your Weekly Guide To Getting Dinner On The Table. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

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SUMMARY:
In a beautifully photographed new cookbook by author and blogger Shay Shull, Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner is chock full of delicious recipes, efficient shopping lists, streamlined directions and personal tidbits. In a convenient size with thicker covers, glossy pages, and an attached elastic bookmark, this cookbook is arranged by seasons and makes getting dinner on the table a breeze.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Honestly not believing I would like this book as much as I did, I was so much more than pleasantly surprised. Organized by days of the week, with enough weeks to cover a month of meals, the included pantry essentials section and detailed yet manageable shopping lists saves tons of time. Filled with simple, delicious, creative, doable, and family friendly recipes, the corresponding photographs of each recipe takes this book over the top. With meals that are sure to please many different palates, the ingredients are also easy to switch if necessary.  Pumpkin Rigatoni, French Onion Joes, Grilled Shrimp Tacos and Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are only a few of the favorites so far. Definitely a cookbook I will use a lot and recommend often, I am thrilled I gave this new cookbook a chance.  Love it!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

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From The Farm House Kitchen

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Stoltzfus, Dawn. And Falb, Carol. From The Farm House Kitchen. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
With over 150 recipes featuring farm-to-table recipes, the included dishes are organized into seasonal fare (spring, summer, fall, winter) as well as categorized into different meal options (main dishes, sauces, sides, salads, snacks and desserts). Bonus “natural living” recipes are included along with helpful hints, room for notes, and simple, wholesome, natural messages scattered throughout. Presented in a spiral-bound, thicker-covered book format, this new cookbook, Farm House Kitchen, definitely serves the purpose in any home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Cozy, comforting, and delicious meals are included in this farmhouse genre cookbook, originating from a Mennonite kitchen. With most recipes using many natural ingredients as well as pantry-ready items, though simple, the resulting menus are hearty and nutritious. Not using all of the recipes due to my eating lifestyle, I certainly did find enough to keep it amongst my cookbooks in my kitchen. Loving the ease with which this book can be used, it opens flat on my counter and is quite sturdy without being heavy. Overall, a very nice book!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of From The Farm House Kitchen from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Pupcakes

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Noblin, Annie England. Pupcakes: A Christmas Novel. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Brydie Benson needs to start over but life just seems to keep throwing her curveballs. Having recently lost her own bakery along with her marriage, Brydie now finds herself working in the bakery at the local ShopCo. Asked to dog-sit for an adorable Pug named Teddy Roosevelt while his owner moves to an assistant living complex, at least she has a place to live. When Brydie meets Dr. Nathan and his large Irish Wolfhound, Sasha, things begin to get interesting, if not a bit crazy…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Caught by the charming cover and title, I was in the mood for a fun, light, Christmas novel and that is exactly what I got. Full of lovable dog antics, a blooming romance and a personal mystery, Pupcakes even comes complete with delicious doggy recipes, including a recipe for Pupcakes. Though a few curse words were included and a very brief adult situation, it was overall an enjoyable read and would make a delightful Hallmark Channel movie. Finding a new author I am fond of, I have already ordered her previous book, Sit! Stay! Speak!, of course, full of more amusing pups.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

Sweet Potatoes

Heck, Mary-Frances. Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, And Made Into Pie. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As one of the more nutritious items on the menu, there is no limit to the many ways sweet potatoes can be prepared. Organized into a nice sized cookbook, Sweet Potatoes is filled with delicious and creative ideas for sharing sweet potatoes. From the perfect sweet potato french fries to soups, side dishes, main courses, breads and even desserts, there are plenty of recipes sure to please any sweet potato connoisseur. Complete with a sweet potato primer (filled with lots of information about the basic sweet potato including types, sizes, complementary seasonings, and preparation), as well as a personal introduction to each recipe, easy to follow directions, and accompanying photographs of most recipes, Sweet Potatoes is a wonderful addition to any cookbook collection.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a huge sweet potato fan, I was thrilled to find a book which contained several new ways to prepare and serve a favorite dish. Sweet potato burgers, Cobb salad, Braised sausage with sweet potatoes and Twice-baked sweet potatoes are just a few of the many new recipes I found within this cookbook. Finding an easy and successful way to make crispy and tasty sweet potato fries was priceless!  Definitely a great gift for anyone who loves sweet potatoes, the new cookbook by food writer, recipe developer and chef, Mary-Frances Heck, will get lots of use in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sweet Potatoes from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Holiday Cookies

der Nederlanden, Elisabet. Scott, Erin (photographer). Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Professional recipe developer and food stylist, Elisabet der Nederlanden, shares fifty new and updated recipes for holiday cookies. Complete with beautiful photographs of each recipe as well as decorating tips and packaging ideas, Holiday Cookies showcases such favorites as Triple-Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies along with Cinnamon-Sugar Palmiers and Espresso Thins. With personal introductions, lists of needed ingredients, and easy to follow directions for every recipe, the decorating section only enhances this special seasonal cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though marketed as a holiday cookie book, I believe this fun cookie cookbook could actually be used year-round to make delicious cookies. Finding recipes to use any time of the year, I did appreciate the section on recipes for cookie exchanges. Perfect as the baking season approaches, I always delight in new cookie recipes for Christmas get-togethers, while my family enjoys the new creations for dessert. Coupled with attractive photographs, this is definitely a book which I will use this coming season and beyond.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Holiday Cookies from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins: Plain and Simple Recipes to Warm Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with delicious recipes originating with the Amish, 99 Favorite Amish Bread, Rolls, & Muffins shares biscuits, scones, breads, muffins, rolls and bun ideas to be enjoyed by all. Though not difficult in preparation, the outcome is definitely appetizing. Paired with a dinner menu or sampled alone as a snack, these Amish favorites are sure to inspire as well as be devoured. Popovers, Soda Bread, Orange Cream Scones and Peach Muffins are just a few of the included aroma-filled, tummy-pleasing recipes in this useful, spiral-bound cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already owning and using several cookbooks from this series, I was more than happy to add yet another to my collection. Easy to follow directions with pantry-ready ingredients, it is perfect for that needed side-dish, hoped-for breakfast item, or anticipated dessert. Though I missed the photographs which could have accompanied each recipe, I did appreciate the spiral-bound cookbook which can remain open while cooking. Easy to substitute ingredients if needed and/ or desired, this compact cookbook should be a staple in every kitchen.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

One Pan & Done

Gilbert, Molly. One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals From The Oven To Your Table. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

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SUMMARY:
Food blogger, former private chef and cooking instructor, and author of Sheet Pan Suppers and now her new book, One Pan & Done, Molly Gilbert helps keep it efficient, uncomplicated and delicious. With the goal of assembling (most) dishes right in the pan or pot, many recipes come complete with easy to follow directions, photographs and a personal story. Using items commonly found in a home pantry and either a baking sheet, a cast iron skillet, a dutch oven, a baking dish or a muffin/ cake tin, the prep is easy and the outcome delectable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Arriving just in time for dinner, I chose a recipe from the book and had dinner made in no time (Quick Chicken Pot Pie). Though I tweaked a few ingredients due to my family’s taste and health preference, not only was supper savory and satisfying but quick to put together and resulting in very few dishes (yeah). Perhaps not full of elegant fare but definitely hearty and fulfilling meals, I may just find myself hooked on this new trend of cooking. With a new baking sheet on order and a grocery list ready, this is one book that will be used often in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Pan & Done from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Reinhart, Peter. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread- 15th Anniversary Edition. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Warm, crusty, delicious bread just became even easier and tastier with this updated book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Chock full of information, instructions, recipes and photographs, it is perfect for beginners and advanced break bakers alike. Including several different types of bread, bagels, pretzels, muffins and sticky buns, Peter Reinhart’s 15th Anniversary version explains flour, different processes (fermentation, proofing), dough temperatures, and shaping techniques, as well as common missteps. A beautiful book begging to be used…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving the many types of bread, especially as the season changes to fall and soups are plenty, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice arrived perfectly timed. Familiar with many of the bread types, I was able to follow the directions fairly easily as they were laid out in ordered steps. Learning lots just as I paged through the book, I believe I will find the sticky buns (cinnamon) and the pizza dough advice the most useful as I make those quite often.   Only drawback I found was perhaps the length of time required for some of the recipes.  Maybe not a book to be used on busy weekdays, it is definitely for those cold, snowy weekends when time is not an issue, and the smell and taste of freshly baked bread can truly be relished.  Written by a baker with many years experience along with several awards for previous books, Peter Reinhart shares this refreshed edition with bread enthusiasts everywhere. Certainly a book which will be used often in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Pure Delicious

Christo, Heather. Pure Delicious: More than 150 Delectable Allergen-Free Recipes. New York, NY: Pam Krauss Books. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Living with allergies affecting members of her family, Heather Christo, chef, caterer and creator of Heathermade, a line of allergen-free baked goods, shares her expertise and knowledge in her newest book, Pure Delicious. Paying close attention to ingredients yet not neglecting taste in the least, this perfectly organized, user-friendly, photograph-filled cookbook makes eating healthy, allergen-free, and tasty enjoyable and easy. With soups and salads, various sides, pizza and burgers, main dishes and delectable desserts, this book is sure to please most any palate, even those with dietary restrictions.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though my family does not have any food allergies, this cookbook was adorned with healthy recipes for everyone, beautiful pictures of most creations, cooking tips, and personal messages from the author. Easy to adapt to my family’s preferences, the ingredients are mostly well known and easily found in the market and/ or grocery store. With clear directions and tempting photos, perhaps the only thing missing is the nutritional value of each recipe. Pasta Verde, Sweet Potato Granola, Applesauce Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts and Veggie Summer Rolls with Spicy Sunflower Butter Dipping Sauce were my favorites.  Dinner is served!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Pure Delicious from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen

Bryson, Francine. With Volkwein, Ann. Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen. New York: USA. Clarkson Potter /Publisher. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Cookbook author, local and national baking champion, TV star and book award finalist, baker Francine Bryson now shares her love of Southern cooking in her newest book, Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen. With recipes fit for a party, gathering, picnic, potluck or family meal, hearty and happy attendees are guaranteed. Burgers, BBQ, sides, bread and desserts are all included. With colorful photographs and personal anecdotes, the recipes are as fun as they are tasty…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though most of the recipes appealed to me, the section on Breads and Rolls was my favorite. Blackberry Pecan Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Peanut Butter Muffins, and Lemonade Rolls make the perfect accompaniment to main dish meals. Though some of the ingredients were not our usual fare, they were easily switchable. The one thing I missed was a few more photographs as the ones included were well done (and I absolutely love pictures in a cookbook). A perfect cookbook for the summer months as well as the winter months, it is definitely crowd-pleasing. For dessert tonight…Sweet Potato Spice Cake…yum!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen from Blogging For Books for my honest review*