Monday, April 15, 2019

Gin A Short History by Moses Jenkins

*Disclosure of material conneciton- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-


Uncovering the mysteries of gin manufacture and production, as well as its fascinating history, this book is a complete guide to one of the world's drinks of choice.
Gin is a drink deeply rooted in our culture. From "Dutch Courage" to "Gin Soaked," our language is full of expressions which reflect our gin-drinking heritage. In the early eighteenth century, Britain was gripped by the Gin Craze, when the drink was dubbed "mothers ruin," before becoming more respectable as advances in distilling led to a drink of higher quality and improved flavor. This led to the construction of lavish "gin palaces" in the Victorian and Edwardian era. In recent years a twenty-first century renaissance in gin drinking and craft gin production has led to the drink once again rising high in the national consciousness.

My thoughts-

It isn't often that I partake in consuming alcoholic beverages, but I am a social drinker when with my friends or husband for a rare night out. In recent years, I have found myself reaching for gin based drinks more often than not. There is something so classic and sophisticated about having a French 75 or a Gimlet. I enjoyed reading about the history of gin in this book. To be honest, I didn't even know what gin was made of, only that I like the way it tastes! It was interesting to learn that it has a botanical base. The book also explores the distilling process, as well as the controversy gin has caused in the past. The book mentions brands, and sprinkles gin recipes throughout. Next up on my gin repertoire- Aviation- a beautifully lavender colored drink that utilizes creme de violette. I recommend this book to all gin lovers, or anyone looking for new drink recipes to impress their friends and company. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.
Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.
Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

My thoughts-

I am still rolling this one around in my mind. What an intense debut novel! There was controversy and suspense at every turn. I thought I knew from the very beginning what happened, and then I changed my mind about 30 times between pages. Miracle Creek is a book that shows we are all flawed, but for the most part we can all sympathize with these flaws. I enjoyed that the story was from several different viewpoints, because we did get to see more than one side to each story and then we got to see the side to most of those stories that came out in court and were not necessarily exactly what happened. It is a reminder that the justice system doesn't always work the way it is supposed to. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Literary Fiction. I will warn that there are some triggers in the book, so be cautious if reading about extreme depression might be a trigger for you. Otherwise, it was an excellent novel that I enjoyed and I can't wait to discuss with my book club. 











The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook Revised & Expanded Edition

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book-

For the millions of people who, by doctor's orders or by choice, must exclude or limit gluten in their diets, finding Instant Pot recipes has been a huge challenge. This timely book, now in an expanded edition with 50 new recipes and color photographs, solves the problem. Its recipes focus on dishes that are the most problematic for gluten-sensitive cooks, such as main-course dinners that typically have a grain component, as well as breakfasts and desserts, which also usually have wheat or gluten. In their place, The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook offers up tasty and creative gluten-free alternatives that cook up fast and delectably in the pressure cooker. Everyone in the household will love these dishes, even those who are not eating gluten-free.

From hearty breakfast dishes like Creamy Poblano Frittata or Caribbean Breakfast Burritos, through substantial and warming soups like a Creamy and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup or a Pumpkin Black Bean Chili, and crowd-pleasing dinner dishes like Mom's Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, Gluten-Free Lasagna with Meat Sauce, and Pork Tenderloin Marsala with Wheat-Free Pasta, these are spectacular recipes that cook up lightning-fast in the electric pressure cooker.


My thoughts-

It is rare that I come across a cookbook that has filled the entire book with recipes that everyone in my family will love, that I approve of, and that I don't have to tweak to fit our health requirements. I love that so many popular and tasty recipes are included in this cookbook, including an entire section of Asian food favorites, a very popular choice in our household. I also love that all of these recipes are for the Instant Pot, which is, aside from my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, my favorite Kitchen tool. There is a wide variety of food options from every category, including some fabulous desserts that I can't wait to try! I also love that they include recommendations for brands of pre-packaged foods that are used in the recipes that are gluten free to take out the guess work. I recommend this book to anyone following a gluten free diet. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Art Masterclass with Claude Monet by Katie Cotton

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Learn to make art like the masters with art masterclass! In each book, undertake 12 lessons including drawing, coloring, and sketching activities that are designed to show you how the artist worked. Like Monet, you'll use dabs and strokes to show light, do a painting outside, and use bright colors to show different times of day. Then you can use everything you’ve learnt to create your masterpiece on the pull-out poster at the back using the sticker sheet.

My thoughts- 

What a gorgeous book! This is exactly the type of book I would want to get for my kids. Impressionism is definitely my favorite form of art, and Claude Monet has long held a piece of my heart. I even have a canvas of Water Lilies hanging in my kitchen! My kids love art, in fact that come from a family of artists, so this book is right up there alley as well. I love that the book has beautiful pictures of Monet's work, and has an activity on each page relating to different aspects of Monet's style of art. I like that this book allows for creativity, but also teachers art techniques while introducing kids to one of the greatest artists of all time. I definitely recommend this book to anyone with kids who are interested in art or who enjoy arts and crafts. 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.


My thoughts-

I have devoured every Taylor Jenkins Reid novel I have read, and Daisy Jones & The Six was no exception. I absolutely loved this book. It is written as a series of interviews with the band members in the present day and I loved the set up of how we get everyone's point of view. It was full of all the juicy details of what happened to this fictitious band in the 70's during the height of their career. There were relationships, both good and bad (love and hate and both sometimes), and the way the book was written just flowed so well. I love the way it ended. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thinner in an Instant Cookbook

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Team up with your Instant Pot (or any other brand of electric pressure cooker) to control or lose weight with the quick, delicious, and waist-conscious recipes of Thinner in an Instant, now expanded to include 50 new recipes and color photos.

There are loads of Instant Pot cookbooks. However, almost all are filled with rich recipes that taste decent but deliver a nasty caloric punch right to your waistline.

Here's a tasty and good-for-you alternative. In Thinner in an Instant, Nancy S. Hughes, one of the most-respected and best-selling cookbook authors in the US on health-related topics, offers up the first and only book that will help you watch or lose weight by cooking with an electric pressure cooker.

Each recipe maxes out at 350 calories per serving and comes with a complete nutritional analysis, including calories, fats, cholesterol, salt, and other information that is important to you if you are a health-savvy or weight-conscious cook—or if someone you cook for needs help losing a few pounds.
 
These are soul-satisfying dinners that won’t leave you hungry: Beef Burgundy on Sweet Potato Mash, Seafood Gumbo, and Greek Lemon Chicken with Asparagus, to name just a few. Plus, there are delectable, yet lo-cal, desserts, like Upside Down Chocolate Crusted Cheesecake and Lemon-Berry Bread Pudding, to round out the meal.

At last, weight-watching and calorie-conscious cooks and eaters can enjoy the speed, convenience, and ease-of-use of the Instant Pot and its cousins.


My thoughts-

I am always up for a new Instant Pot cookbook, especially with healthier options, as we are always trying to maximize how we eat at our house. I know that the health marker for this book is being under 350 calories, but I tend to look at carbohydrate count as my main marker and most of this recipes fail to meet my definition of healthy. However, they can definitely be tweaked for the most part to be lower carb and there were a few floating around in there that will be fantastically healthy as is (I can't wait to try Provencal Garlic Chicken). I do love that the nutrition facts are listed at the bottom of every recipe, which I always appreciate and think is an essential element of any good cookbook. I think this book is a great choice for people who count calories as opposed to carbs, all of the recipes sound fairly tasty.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Famous Dishes from Around the World by Stephanie Maze

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not require to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

English/Spanish. With well-known ethnic recipes that are both tasty and healthy, this book seeks to pay homage to immigrants through their culinary contributions to the United States. Compiled by lovers of good ethnic food who have lived all around the world, it features 30 well-known dishes that are identified with specific countries worldwide, such as Colombian Sancocho, French Ratatouille, Indian Vegetable Korma, Mexican Fajitas, Moroccan Tagine with Chicken, Greek Moussaka (with Turkey), Polish Lentil Stew, Indonesian Satay with Peanut Sauce, and Spanish Paella. The book includes background information about each dish, calorie and nutrition breakdowns of each recipe, and sections called “Cooking Tips and Tricks” and "Healthy Hints for the Home Cook." Famous Dishes is timely given our country’s current political state of affairs, and that it provides an engaging blend of both good food, ethnicity and health.

My thoughts-

It might be evident from the sheer fact that I review a plethora of cookbooks on this blog that I absolutely love food and cooking. Something that I also really enjoy is trying foods from all over the world. The recipes included here are some of the more popular recipes from many different places including Greece, France, Spain, India, and many other places. Some of my favorite recipes that are included in the book are Fajitas, Vegetable Korma, Moussaka, Irish Stew, and Huevos Rancheros. Famous Dishes from Around the World is a great addition to any kitchen. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes trying new things or who is interested in food from different places.