Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The I Quit Sugar Cookbook by Sarah Wilson (Cookbook Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books 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-

Easy. Inventive. Delicious.
When Sarah Wilson gave up sugar for good, she developed a new repertoire of creative, go-to dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With 306 satisfying recipes for one-pan wonders, grain-free breakfasts, leftover makeovers, smoothie bowls, and more, this comprehensive cookbook makes living sugar-free simple and sustainable. 

Start quitting now, with recipes that include: 
Bacon ’N’ Egg Quinoa Oatmeal
Gift-Wrapped Miso Cod
Caramelized Leek, Apple, and Rosemary Socca
Green Spaghetti and Meatballs
Two-Minute Desk Noodles
Broc Bites and Cauli Popcorn
Carrot "Bacon"
Red Velvet Crunch Bowl
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crackles
Strawberry Cheesecake Mug Cake

My thoughts-

I was so excited to find Sarah Wilson's book I Quit Sugar last year. It was a great book, but didn't contain as many recipes as I would like so I was hoping she would come out with a cookbook and I am ecstatic that she did! Once again this book is full of beautiful, vibrant pictures which I find important in a cookbook. The beginning pages tell you what the author recommends as far as cookware and what you need to stock your pantry. It also offers tips for buying in bulk and how to store food. Then we get to the good part, the recipes! Split up into several categories, you will find a wide variety of healthy but tasty food. I like that the book even has a section full of decadent desserts that utilize natural sweeteners instead of table sugar and as someone who loves to go all out for holidays and other get-togethers, I was happy to see a section on celebrations at the end. There was also a couple of pages for lunch ideas, which for me is a big plus, I am always looking for new recipes for my kids' and husbands lunches I send with them to school and work. I honestly wish that there was a whole section devoted to just lunches! Perhaps a future book for Ms. Wilson? I would recommend The I Quit Sugar Cookbook to anyone who enjoys delicious food, but who also love eating well or looking to begin eating in a healthier way.

About the author-

Sarah Wilson is a journalist, television host, and blogger, and a qualifiedHealth Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

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Wildflower (Movie Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the dvd 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 movie-

Creatively gifted, college student Chloe Moray (Nathalia Ramos, House of Anubis) finds solace from a difficult childhood in her extraordinary art. But when an alarming dream begins to recur nightly, Chloe starts to believe that it might be a suppressed memory and that she may have witnessed a terrible crime as a little girl. Her search for peace takes her on a journey that forces Chloe to confront her past traumas and leads her to cross paths with Josh (Cody Longo, Not today), a young man dealing with his own painful loss. Together they find in each other someone they can trust as they seek to unlock a cold-case mystery from years before. But with the authorities blocking the way, Chloe's new-found hope is challenged in this riveting story of faith, triumph, and healing.

My thoughts- 

I don't think I have ever seen a faith-based movie quite like Wildflower. There are definitely movies out there about struggling with your faith, but I liked the added suspense and drama in this one. I was constantly trying to figure out what was happening with Chloe's dreams/visions and about who her friend Rebecca was. I was drawn to Chloe's story just like Josh was and I was rooting for her to come to terms with her past. I love when a movie has a good plot line and a great message and Wildflower definitely had both!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

NOBLE (DVD Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the dvd 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 movie-

They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream.NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fealess Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam. NOBLE is the winner of six U.S. film festival awards/ NOBLE also stars Deirdre O'Kane (Moone Bay, Paths to Freedom), Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) Sarah Greene (The Guard, The Cripple of Inishmaan) and Liam Cunningham (Clash of the Titans).

My thoughts-

I always love to hear stories about strong and resilient woman. Many times these women have went through many trials and heartache to get to where they are. Christina Noble went through so much heartache but every trial she faced seemed to ultimately pave the path to where she was meant to be- in Vietnam taking care of orphaned children. I loved watching this movie and seeing much of what she went through. That even though she struggled and maybe even got angry at her situation she always held on to her faith. That faith led her to an entirely new country! Not everyone would be willing to trust God and faith that everything would turn out okay going to a strange country and having no idea why or where exactly you were headed. If only we all cared so deeply about the children in the world who are without family. This woman has done so much for so many children! NOBLE was an encouragement to me. It shows us that even when bad things have happened in your life, you can take those experiences and turn them into something positive, that it is always important to look after others, and that chasing your dreams can really make a difference in so many lives!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

When Calls the Heart: It Begins with Heart

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the dvd from Edify Media 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 show-

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy), Lori Loughlin (Full House, 90210), and Jack Wagner (Melrose Place) star in When Calls The Heart: It Begins With The Heart, an especially romantic film originally broadcast under the title, A New Year's Kiss.

In the days before the big New Year's Eve celebration, Hope Valley sees some unpredictable resolutions. For instance, Abigail sets out to catch whoever has been stealing from her kitchen- and finds herself in charge of two orphans in the process. Elizabeth resolves to take charge of Jack's dog, Rip, in an attempt to remedy Rip's apparent jealousy of their relationship. Rosemary is determined to win a San Francisco Herald essay contest about a "real frontier family"...a and has to pose as Lee's wife when a reporter from the paper shows up. And Bill Avery tries his best to convince Jack that he's not the one who should be behind bars for counterfeiting. Meanwhile, two visitors in town ponder sticking around and causing trouble for both Jack and Pastor Frank!

My thoughts-

It always seems like such a long wait between seasons of When Calls the Heart, but we are always treated when it comes back with a movie length premiere episode. I absolutely love that they do that at the beginning of every season! Waiting for season three was especially killer because it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger and I really wanted to know what happened! Thank goodness that was most resolved early on in the episode and then all of fun new drama ensued. There are already so many great plotlines for the different characters, but my favorite for this new season so far is the two orphans that show up at Abigail's. The episode ends on New Year's Eve and a pretty romantic scene. I love, as I have said often, that When Calls the Heart can show such a beautiful romantic relationship that I am comfortable with my 8 year old daughter watching. It is great to have something so pure and lovely on tv!

You can watch When Calls The Heart on the Hallmark Channel or you can purchase a copy of When Calls the Heart: It Begins With Heart on

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Prime by Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D. (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging For Books 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-


Integrative neurologist Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary discovered a beautiful side effect to the eating and lifestyle tools she gave her brain patients--spontaneously shedding excess pounds. In this, her first book, she shows us how to sharpen the brain, and smarten and heal the gut. Weight gain is not about the food, but about the body’s environment. Excess weight is a result of the body being in a toxic, inflammatory state. If your body is not prepared or ‘primed’ for weight loss, you will fight an uphill biochemical battle.  Her program is not about what you can't have or do, it's about adding simple teas and herbs, and succeeding without giving up any foods you love. With The Prime, Dr. Chaudhary has reverse engineered our way of eating, so we can stop dieting backward and start losing weight instead. You'll learn:

--The importance of neuroadaptation, food addiction, and the brain (or, why your brain and gut have made it so hard to lose weight in the past!)
--Why it’s not about what you eat, but what you digest
--How to determine if you have a Leaky Brain—and what The Prime can do about it (hint: everything)
--How to easily crush cravings (no willpower required), ignite energy and fat, and biohack your lifestyle habits.

Lastly, you’ll learn how to live fully Primed, the secrets of the Super-Primed, and when you’re ready to explore new foods, how to eat according to your unique constitution.


My thoughts-

I was drawn to this book because I think there is a lot of food addiction going on in our country and I think I am one of many people who struggles with this problem. I have a really hard time with sugar specifically. I think the book is on to the right outlook for this problem and offers interesting advice for how to tackle it. A good majority of the book is not in layman's terms, which may make it more difficult for some people to understand what is being said. There are also a lot of supplements and things that would need to be bought in order to follow this plan, which makes it unattainable to many. I think it is worth a read for the advice, but I feel like the amount of supplements needed is overwhelming. I do think The Prime is a good introduction into Ayurvedic medicine.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben (Book Review)

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

#1 New York Times bestseller Harlan Coben delivers his next impossible-to-put-down thriller.

In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben's page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya's husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself. 

My thoughts-

Harlan Coben is one of a handful of authors that leave  me waiting in deep anticipation while they are writing. I will always read whatever he writes as soon as it becomes available to me to be read! I am never disappointed! Fool Me Once was typical Coben fare, a murder that needs to be solved. I liked that this particular novel utilized subjects that are current including the main character' Maya's battle with post traumatic stress disorder. Many of our soldiers come back from war zones dealing with similar problems. Harlan Coben is great at keeping you interested in the progression of the stories he writes, this is one of those "just one more chapter" books. I also find Coben to be the master of the curveball, that is there is always something that takes me by surprise in the climax of his novel and that was definitely the case here! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense novels full of twists and turns.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lolli and Pop Find Kindness by Carolyn Snelling (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- 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-

Finding God's "Fruits of the Spirit" has never been more fun! Early readers will follow the adventures of little Lolli Cake and her beagle named Pop. In this first book of nine, the duo discover kindness which can sometimes be difficult to find especially when it may mean giving up something you love.

My thoughts-

I absolutely love the idea of a book series teaching fruit of the spirit lessons to children. I think one of the most important things we can teach our kids is kindness. Lolli learns many lessons in kindness thanks to a puppy her father brings home. She learns that we shouldn't be happy about other people's misfortunes and that we should be empathetic to others. Another opportunity to be kind presents itself when Lolli and her family find someone's missing item. I loved the lessons that are in the book and that the illustrations are bright and cute to help hold children's very short attention spans. The book is short and sweet, but gets the point across. It also presents a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids to make a point to purposely be kind. A fun way to do that is to have a blank calendar for the month or for a holiday week like Valentine's Day or Thanksgiving and fill it out with the things you have done to be purposefully kind. This would be a fun family project that everyone in the house can contribute to. Lolli and Pop Find Kindness is the first book available in the "Fruits of the Spirit" series. I look forward to seeing what lessons the next eight bring to us!