Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{Book Review} The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making


By Alana Chernila
Clarkson Potter Publishers
ISBN 978-0-307-88726-9


I love this book! The recipes are pretty simple foods yet wonderful, delicious, and things that most people eat in their everyday lives. The recipes range from pantry basics to foods that I never would have thought about making homemade (such as cream filled snack cakes, marshmallows, or peanut butter cups). And after making many of the recipes, my family has determined that they like the Homemade Pantry version better. And not a single recipe has failed me; everyone has turned out wonderful and delicious.  This book is great for beginners due to the easy to follow instructions and tips but also good for people that are experienced at cooking like me. I already make most of my family’s food from scratch, but this book added more grocery store alternative products to our kitchen.

{Book Review} Quinoa Cuisine

By Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser
ISBN: 978-1-61243-020-1
Published by: Ulysses Press

Quinoa Cuisine: 150 Creative Recipes for Super Nutritious, Amazingly Delicious Dishes

Before I got this book, all I knew about quinoa is that it is healthy. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word ‘quinoa’. This book has now become a staple at our house. I love that there is a great introduction explaining what quinoa is (it is actually not a grain, but a member of the goosefoot family), the health benefits (it is one of the few plant foods that contain all eight essential amino acids), the various types of quinoa and quinoa products, the best places to purchase it, how to sprout it, and cooking tips.

I like that the recipes are very easy to follow and understand. Each recipe starts out with a brief paragraph either explaining what the recipe is, or where to find certain ingredients (or how to make them), sometimes explaining what some not well known ingredients are, and sometimes giving substitutions for ingredients that may be difficult to find. Although most of the ingredients used are things that I either already have on hand or use frequently or are readily available at our local grocer.

Each recipe has an icon that explains if it is quick and easy (defined as taking 30 minutes or less), if it freezes well, if it is gluten free, works well as a special occasion meal, if it is healthy (meaning low in fat or full of nutrients such as fiber, fruits, vegetables, or whole grains), if it is kid friendly, vegan, or vegetarian. This makes finding the perfect recipe really easy and it also makes it so when starting a new recipe you have a heads up what to expect.

The recipes are really good. Our family loves the quinoa pilaf because it can be made so many different ways, tri-berry smoothies, vegetarian empanadas, Thai summer rolls, green mango salad, two bean quinoa chili, stuffed artichokes with garlic lemon aioli, pea lemon and mint quinoa, rich chocolate zucchini bread, and many more.

The recipe chapters are broken down into the following categories: essential recipes, breakfasts, starters, salads, soups and stews, side dishes and pilafs, meat and fish, vegetarian, desserts, picnics packed lunches and other portable goodies, parties potlucks and presents.

In the appendix shows a few sample special occasion menus, and quinoa manufacturers and resources. I love that this book shows the manufacturers as this has helped me find places to purchase quinoa from.

The only thing that I feel could have been better in this book is pictures. The book contains no pictures other than on the front and back cover. This is not a big deal, but sometimes I do like to look at the pictures in recipe books.

My family is learning to love quinoa; it is tasty, healthy, and very versatile. I recommend Quinoa Cuisine for anyone trying to eat healthier; this book will help you learn to love this awesome food.

I received this book for  free for review purposes. However, this did not in any way influence my opinions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

{Book Review} Top 100 Baby Purees




Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Baby
By Annabel Karmel
ISBN: 978-0-7432-8957-3
First of all I want to say that I love the preface of this book! It reminds everybody why parents decide to make their own baby food – It is healthier and it tastes better! I remember the first time I decided to make my own baby food, my baby was about 3 months old and we went to a friend’s (their babies are four months older than Baby E) and they had me smell a jar of chicken puree; it smelled worse than dog food – there was no way I was ever going to feed that to my baby. Here is a book that helps me make my baby’s food better.

{Book Review} The Healthy Baby Meal Planner


 The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: 200 Quick, Easy, and Healthy Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler


This book has made a great addition to our “baby” cookbooks. The author, Annabel Karmel, shows parents how to make healthy, unprocessed, tasty foods for babies and toddlers. I equally love that many of the recipes for older babies and infants can easily be made for the whole family; this makes dinner time much easier. I like the details of the recipes. Annabel tells exactly how to prepare the ingredients and how to cook/prepare them.