Cookbook Reviews

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Buttercream Dreams by Jeff Martin

Book: Buttercream Dreams

Author: Jeff Martin

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Jeff Martin presents the how to of creating unique cupcakes for any occasion.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: I must say that Andrews McNeel is my favorite in cookbook publishers. I have yet to review one from this publisher that isn't unique, yet simple enough for even the novice of novice bakers.

Jeff Martin's Buttercream Dreams is no exception. Mr. Martin's cakes are simple, elegant and sometimes fun, but easy to prepare treats for any occasion. The recipes are laid out with very simple instructions and then partnered with outstanding photos.  This book will create dessert ideas outside of the run of the mill cakes.

Source: Netgalley review for publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly and Vegetarian Meals for Meat Lover, Vegetarians and Vegans by Ann Gentry

Book: Real Food for Everyone: Vegan-Friendly and Vegetarian Meals for Meat Lover, Vegetarians and Vegans

Author: Ann Gentry

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ms. Gentry offers more than 100 recipes to satisfy all eaters whether one is vegetarian or non vegetarian.

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: As a newbie, who is slowly working towards more of  a vegetarian lifestyle, I loved this cookbook. Even as a non-vegetarian, I found there were recipes that would apply to me or that I would make. I couldn't get enough of the soup and salads sections and found myself hanging out there most in all the book.

As one who is learning this lifestyle, I found her explanations and descriptions on the use of ingredients to be incredibly helpful. On that note, I would have liked to have seen more photos used especially because this book includes a target audience who might not be familiar with how some ingredients are prepared.

Unfortunately, and I apologize for this, I was unable to grab some of the recipe titles prior to my copy expiring.

I agree with another Goodreads' reviewer who stated that the author took more of an educational approach to teaching about vegetarianism versus a judgmental approach to those who eat meat. I felt it really opened me up to what she was saying.

Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Yes. Plus, I will be purchasing this cookbook.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand Alone

Linguine with Chicken, Spinach and Feta Cheese

Going from cooking for three, plus needing leftovers for lunches, to cooking for one has been a difficult journey for me. I really enjoyed cooking for my guys and have to admit miss it immensely. When I first moved to Corpus Christi, I knew that I didn't want to become one of those women who ate standing over the kitchen sink or gained weight due to eating out for every meal. However, I found myself doing exactly that my first two months down here and knew that it needed to stop. At first, I did the making a meal that served four to six and stashing leftovers in my freezer. That didn't last long. I live in an apartment and the freezer space is limited.

My way to do this accomplish this was to return to what I did best in Illinois. I returned to meal planning. I took it a step further and started researching cookbooks for two and converting some of my favorite Allrecipes recipes into two servings and developing a recipe binder specifically for one to two serving dishes. I already have six binders on all kinds of recipes, so what was one more binder!  Allrecipes also has a nice selection of Cooking for One or Two recipes that became part of my recipe box on the site.

Next, I did an Amazon search for cookbooks specifically for smaller servings. I was amazed at what I found after ordering a couple of them, I saw the cookbook One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two by Carla Snyder. The book was $1.99 for the ebook, so I grabbed it. It was less than a latte that I get, so what the hell? Plus, I could return it if it stunk really bad. I have to say that it was the best $1.99 I have spent. I had only wished I had purchased the paperback copy because I don't take my tablet into my kitchen.

This was one of the recipes from the book. If I had changed anything about the recipe, I would have added more spinach. Now, I am a spinach fiend and just thought this didn't have enough. I also thought that I would have liked it if I would have thrown in some zucchini, I think this recipe could have pulled it off. As I am trying to cut down significantly my meat intake, I only used one chicken breast and thought it was fine. One of my regrets is that I also decreased the amount of lemon and wish I would have used the full amount called for in the recipe.

Let me throw in that I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day and double yum! The flavors melded together beautifully. This will definitely be a repeater!

So, here we go!:


10 oz FRESH linguine
2 T. Olive Oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chunked
Coarse ground pepper
5 oz bag baby spinach
1 cup Feta cheese
1/3 cup FRESH SQUEEZED lemon juice (none of that concentration garbage)
Red Pepper flakes (optional, I didn't use them)


1) In a 12 inch pot that can double as a frying pan, add water, salt (as indicated on package) and olive oil. Add linguine when water is boiling. Cook as directed on package. Prior to draining it, grab 1/2 cup of the boiling water and set aside. Drain and do a quick rinse with cool...not cold water. This is to stop the cooking process, but not cool off the pasta.

2) In the pan, heat the olive oil to shimmering and add the onion. Cook for about 2 minutes or until almost cooked. Add the chicken and 1/2 t. of salt and a dash of the pepper. Sauté the chicken until almost cooked through about 2 minutes. Add some of the reserved water to scrap up the bits. Add the spinach to the pan by handfuls and cook until wilted.

3) Return the pasta to the pan and add the feta cheese and lemon juice. Toss until well blended. If desired, add the red pepper for some heat. Divide onto plates and serve with garlic bread and salad.

This is a really simple, quick to throw together recipe that most people have the ingredients already in their freezer.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

Dinner Solved! 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You!

Be sure to watch The Pub and Grub Forum closer to the publication date for tested recipes from this cookbook.

Book: Dinner Solved: 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You!

Author: Katie Workman

Release date (if applicable): August 11, 2015

Synopsis: Ms. Workman presents a collection of recipes that are based on a standard, basic recipe with a variety of additional ingredients to give a nice twist from the same old, same old.

Recipes include:
  • Fish and Shrimp Tacos
  • Hummus
  • Oven Fried (Spicy and Non Spicy) Chicken
  • Pasta Selections
  • Breakfast Wraps
  • Vegetarian

My rating: 5 stars

My opinion: I loved this ingenious cookbook. I will admit that I was skeptical when I signed up to review it, but found the book to be awesome. There was a nice variety of recipes from very light to heavier dinner ideas. While she had several recipes that were just basic recipes, the majority of recipes in the book offered different twists/combinations.

Bright, colorful photos accompanied the recipes giving cooks an idea of what the end product should look like. Even the most novice of cooks and kidlets could pick this book up and prepare the recipes they were that simple.

Even though my focus lately has been cooking for two, I pre-ordered this cookbook. The recipes were enticing and looked as though they would halve easily.

 Source: Netgalley for Publisher

Would I recommend? : Very much so. In fact, just recommended to a number of my friends.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone

Be sure to watch The Pub and Grub Forum closer to the publication date for tested recipes from this cookbook.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I'm Back!

I can't believe how long I have been gone...over 6 months. I had to shake my head when I saw that was the last time I posted.

I can't believe how much a life can change in 6 months. How much it can be upended, turned on its side and then put back down while shaking my head trying to figure out what just happened.

Since my last post, I have changed jobs, changed cities and had serious health problems in my family. What a trifecta! On top of all of that, I have become an empty nester. I remember when it was going on I thought I would breeze through it. I am a strong woman. It will be easy, right?? WRONG! I wanted to give myself the peace of mind to take care of myself as to not go into health issues of my own.

So, I am back with more recipes, both food and drink. Some tested. Some my own concoctions that have woken me up in the middle of the night dying to be tried. I will even have a new section for cooking for two as that is my new lifestyle. I can't forget the cookbook review section. I have seen some great ones while I have been gone and can't wait to share them.

It feels good to be back.