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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Chloe Flavor

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Coscarelli, Chloe. Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter/ Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
As the first vegan chef to take the coveted top prize on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, author, chef and entrepreneur Chloe Coscarelli  serves ups delicious, vegan, spicy, saucy and crispy recipes in her newest cookbook, Chloe Flavor. Beginning with an introduction of commonly used vegan ingredients, this stunning cookbook also includes recipes for breakfast, snacks, sides, soups, salads, sandwiches, bowls, drinks, and of course, dessert. Filled with gorgeous photography of each dish, personal testimonies and stories add to this impressive new cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow! Visually beautiful and appetizingly delicious, Chloe Flavor is now one of my very favorite and savored cookbooks. Personally trying to follow the healthy lifestyle more closely, I truly never thought vegan could be so enjoyably tasty! With a few family favorites already from this book, Fiesta Taco Bowl, Cranberry Sauce, and Firehouse Chili with Corn Muffins are some of the most favored. An easy, doable and inviting introduction to healthy vegan menus, I highly recommend this remarkably delicious cookbook.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chloe Flavor from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Sweet Potato Soul

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Claiborne, Jenne. Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul. USA: Harmony books. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Mixing vegan with Southern cuisine in her new cookbook, cooking instructor, blog creator, and vegan chef, Jenne Claiborne, proves taste, soul, health and tradition can truly be combined. Named after her blog and YouTube channel, Sweet Potato Soul shares recipes, knowledge, personal stories and a bit of spiciness. Recipes for breakfast, salads, soups, sides, sauces, mains, desserts and drinks are included in a well organized manner. Coupled with beautiful photography, diners won’t miss the meat at all!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Surprised to find such a tempting cookbook filled with vegan recipes, it was perfectly pleasing both visually and content-wise. Already being mindful of what I eat and heading towards a more vegan lifestyle, I was thrilled to find the recipes easy to prepare, the ingredients easily accessible, the information helpful and the meals nourishing, healthy and delicious. Favorites already, Sweet Potato Hummus and Sweet Corn Succotash are Southern and so delectable- they will be staples in our house from now on. So enjoyably appetizing!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sweet Potato Soul from Blogging For Books 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

POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand

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Ricker, Andy. With Goode, JJ. POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Opening his first restaurant in Portland, POK POK, as well as several others, and a 2011 James Beard winner for Best Chef Northwest, cookbook author Andy Ricker shares drinking food (appetizers worthy of accompanying drinks) in his new book, POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand. With relevant introductions to each recipe, well explained and organized directions and associated photographs, anyone interested in food from Thailand will find plenty of ingredients and variations to satisfy a palate.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I have absolutely no knowledge or experience with Thai food, I still found this book to be acutely organized and quite interesting with the stories and prefaces before each included recipe. Worthy of being presented as a gift to someone appreciative of Thai food, this current cookbook is definitely something to consider for the right receiver. Maybe not ready to venture into making my own Thai food yet, after reading this book, I am surely more open to seeking out a restaurant to try such a menu and am certainly more knowledgeable about the ingredients and culture. Well done!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Nourished

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Huber, Lia. Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith & Enduring Love with Recipes. New York, USA: Convergent Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part personal exploration, Nourished is a memoir of a life surrounded by food. As a food writer. recipe developer, consultant, entrepreneur and blogger, author Lia Huber shares a recount of her journey to faith, food, and community. Written in an easy, more conversational manner, she chronicles portions of her life, ending each section with a related recipe. Finding her purpose through food and faith, Lia eventually made the connection though her adventures are far from over.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Expecting more of a cookbook than a memoir, I actually was not disappointed but found the book, Nourished, to be quite interesting. Liking her style of writing, I found myself immersed in pieces of the book though I only intended to scan it at first. Drawn into her life experiences, I enjoyed the travel aspects as well as the family, food, faith and community elements. Perhaps some of the included recipes are a bit out of my grasp but are appealing non-the-less. A perfect book for a reader compelled by travel and food; this is a book I am actually glad I read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

The Keto Reset Diet

Sisson, Mark With Kearns, Brad. The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism In 21 Days And Burn FAt Forever. New York, USA: Harmony Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sweeping the eating culture in popularity recently, the Keto diet is based on metabolism and the many contributing/ surrounding factors. In his new book, the Keto Reset Diet, author, athlete and health coach Mark Sisson shares his most recent research into eating for a healthy lifestyle. Filled with lots of specific information about the Keto method of eating as well as a 21 day menu for getting your body ready, there are also over 100 recipes which support the Keto diet. Based on the theory of a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb pattern of eating, this cookbook sets the stage for success.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard of the Keto method of nutrients and lifestyle, I was intrigued enough to further research the diet. As an interesting and easy to understand book, The Keto Reset Diet definitely answered several of my questions as well as made a case for this manner of sustenance. Though not quite ready to commit, I will try some of the included recipes while I investigate and read further. With lots of information regarding nutrition, metabolism, health, and ingredients, even if the Keto diet is not strictly followed, there are absolutely some healthy ideas and suggestions to incorporate into a healthier lifestyle. A great book to read while deciding if this diet is right for you.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Keto Reset Diet from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Queso!

Fain, Lisa. Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chili-Cheese Dip. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With over 55 recipes in this chili-cheese collection, Queso! is a spicy cookbook surrounding the deliciousness of cheese dips. Beginning with necessary information on the different chili peppers and cheeses, this convenient sized cookbook then progresses to numerous recipes celebrating queso. Complete with a brief introduction to each recipe, readily available ingredients, simple to follow directions and beautiful photography throughout, author and James Beard Award winner Lisa Fain has created a highly use-able and do-able specialty cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a fan of chili con queso but stuck in a rut preparing it only one way, Queso! has definitely changed that predicament. With seriously mouth-watering recipes (San Antonio Chili con Queso, Brisket Queso, and Macaroni & Cheese with Green Chili Queso Blanco) grouped into 5 different themes, I found so many new queso ideas to try and share. Making the quesos to accompany a family dinner or bringing to a get-together of friends, Queso! is sure to make popular and tasty treats for all…just be sure to be ready to make more! Yum!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Queso! from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

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*

The Sugarsmart Cookbook

Varozza, Georgia. The Sugarsmart Cookbook. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Designing a cookbook around being sugar-smart as a way to eat healthy and lose weight, author Georgia Varozza shares her reduced sugar, simple yet delicious recipes in her new cookbook, The Sugarsmart Cookbook. With recipes for lunches, main dishes, soups, salads, breads and even desserts, this convenient spiral-bound cookbook containing almost 200 recipes includes common ingredients, easy to follow directions and a beneficial recipe index.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always on the lookout for new healthy recipe ideas, I thought The Sugarsmart Cookbook would be a perfect addition to my cookbook collection. With inviting recipes using minimal sugar as an ingredient, though not necessarily new, the creative combination of ingredients will put a different twist on some of our already favorite menus. Only wishing for nutritional information and accompanying pictures to be included, these recipes are easily adaptable to personal preference or dietary concerns and will definitely have a place on my kitchen shelf.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of The Sugarsmart Cookbook from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*