Saturday, October 31, 2015

Real Food Real Kitchens Blog Tour


"Real Food Real Kitchens prides itself on four words: family, food, culture and history."

In Real Food Real Kitchens, Craig Chapman invites us along to explore the kitchens and food culture of the citizens of New York. Within the book, we journey to kitchens in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

The book is divided by these areas of New York and each section features several families from that area. These families open their homes and kitchens to the readers and allow us to learn about their food culture and history while sampling a tradition recipe.

Each feature story contains a sample recipe along with photographs of the family, cooking process, and finished product. The photos are extremely realistic - no food styling here - and make you feel that you are actually standing in someone's home kitchen.

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a review copy of this cookbook; however, the opinion expressed here is my own.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Party Style Blog Book Tour, Plus Giveaway

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Party Style: Kids' Parties from Baby to Sweet 16
by Gemma Touchstone
Cedar Fort Publishers
There are many books that get me excited, but some of my favorites are party styling books. I love to look at the recipes and tablescapes and imagine throwing my own parties. Because I am completely lacking in creativity when it comes to decorating, I surround myself and stock my library with party books for both food and decorating. Party Style by Gemma Touchstone covers both topics and is a welcome addition to my collection.

This book contains detailed information on planning and finding inspiration for your parties, including schedules, themes, invitations, and prep work. Now, as a foodie, I was most interested in the selection of recipes that were included in the book. I'm always searching for new ideas for appetizers and treats to bring to showers and work events. I found plenty of recipes here to satisfy children and adults alike.

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Some of the cute recipes that appealed to me were Circus Cake Batter Cookie Dip, Lemonade Chex Mix, World's Best Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip, Ritz Party Dip, Salad on a Stick, and Pizza in a Jar. All of these recipes seem simple to put together and will add a unique twist to a party spread.

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The last part of the book contained photo spreads of different party themes. As a mother of two boys, I enjoyed seeing the spread for a Mine Craft party. The ideas seem simple enough for even someone like me to pull off. I know my kids would love it! There are plenty of party ideas for both boys and girls. 

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to make a party special for their children. But, you don't have to have children to enjoy this book. You'll find numerous recipes and ideas that can be incorporated into other events that you may have in your life. I enjoyed reading the book and am looking forward to using the ideas featured here at my next gathering.

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More information about Gemma Touchstone's upcoming book tour events:
  • You can get over $2,500.00 worth of exclusive party printables with your Book purchase for download off of the web site 
  • Gemma Touchstone will be teaching pin worthy parties at the pinners conference in Salt Lake City, UT Nov 6th & 7th and you can save 10% on tickets with ticket code partystyle
  • Gemma Touchstone will be speaking at ISSE along with  Colin Cowie and some other amazing speakers and you can save $500.00 on your ticket when you mention PartyStyle Book Tour
  • Find Gemma at the OC DATE NIGHT MARKET March 11th
  • For more dates on her Tour around the USA Please visit the Blog 
  • Gemma's Next HOLIDAY HOSTESS is already in the works and will be out in time for the holiday season in 2016 
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For more information about the book:

For a sneak peek on Gemma's web site:

In celebration of the book's release, Gemma is hosting a giveaway of some great prizes. Enter to win at the widget below.

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Giveaway runs till the Blog Book tour is over from October 1 - November 15th. THE GRAND PRIZE is a kitchen aid mixer, IPAD Air, Honeycomb Decor Pack with multiple sizes and colors, Bakers Bling sanding sugar in several colors, $100.00 gift card to Home Goods, $100.00 Gift card to Michael's Craft Store and an Autographed copy to the book. 3 ft LOVE Balloon Set. These are Gemma's Must haves for the perfect party.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Alana Chernila's The Homemade Kitchen

As a fan of Alana's first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, I have been beside myself waiting on the release of her second book, The Homemade Kitchen. And, while the wait was torturous, it was definitely worth it. Alana Chernila writes the blog, Eating from the Ground Up, which I have followed for several years now. Her writing style is beautiful and she joins two of my other favorites, Ashley English and Amanda Soule, as women I admire as writers and experts in their fields of interest.

The Homemade Kitchen is a dense book that should be read slowly and intently. Yes, it is full of recipes, but it is the essays that come between the recipes that I enjoy the most. These essays give you insight into Alana's home and heart.

There were two moments in the book that I immediately connected to my own life. The first was, "Noodles. So many noodles? Can a person live on noodles and butter?" "Yes, they can." I am in complete agreement with Alana on this one. Yes, since my boys were toddlers, they have lived on noodles with olive oil and a sprinkling of garlic salt. We call it seasoned noodles and they still request it to this day. My 12-year-old tells me that he's going to need me to give him the recipe when he moves out. There is something so special about building memories with food.

In the opening of the chapter, Slow Down, Alana writes, "When I need to create time, I walk out the door and try to find it in the yard." This line really resonated with me because I, too, go out in my yard when I need to reflect on what my future could be. I walk through my back yard and dream of turning it into a homestead overflowing with fruits, vegetables, and possibilities.

After reading this, you may say that this should be a review of a cookbook not of my life. But, that's the beauty of this book. I was able to connect certain pieces of the book to my life which made me appreciate the recipes even more. I have only scratched the surface of this book as it is deep and rich and requires a long-term commitment to be fully appreciated.

More about The Homemade Kitchen: Excerpt below from the publisher's web site.

This book is a map for how, day in and day out, food shapes my life for the better, in the kitchen and beyond it.
—from the Introduction
Start where you are. Feed yourself. Do your best, and then let go. Be helpful.  Slow down. Don’t be afraid of food.
Alana Chernila has these phrases taped to her fridge, and they are guiding principles helping her to stay present in her kitchen. They also provide the framework for her second book. In The Homemade Kitchen she exalts the beautiful imperfections of food made at home and extends the lessons of cooking through both the quotidian and extraordinary moments of the day. Alana sees cooking as an opportunity to live consciously, not just as a means to an end.

Written as much for the reader as the cook, The Homemade Kitchen covers a globe’s worth of flavors and includes new staples (what Alana is known for) such as chèvre, tofu, kefir, kimchi, preserved lemons, along with recipes and ideas for using them. Here, too, are dishes you’ll be inspired to try and that you will make again and again until they become your own family recipes, such as Broccoli Raab with Cheddar Polenta, a flavor-forward lunch for one; Roasted Red Pepper Corn Chowder, “late summer in a bowl”; Stuffed Winter Squash, rich with leeks, chorizo, apples, and grains; Braised Lamb Shanks that are tucked into the oven in the late afternoon and not touched again until dinner; Corn and Nectarine Salad showered with torn basil; perfect share-fare Sesame Noodles; Asparagus Carbonara, the easiest weeknight dinner ever; and sweet and savory treats such as Popovers, Cinnamon Swirl Bread, Summer Trifle made with homemade pound cake and whatever berries are ripest, and Rhubarb Snacking Cake.

In this follow-up to Alana’s wildly successful debut, The Homemade Pantry, she once again proves herself to be the truest and least judgmental friend a home cook could want.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blog Tour: "Festive Feasts" by Jeni Potter Scott

When I read that there was going to be a blog tour for this cookbook, I jumped at the chance to participate. This book had been on my wish list for quite a while since I love cookbooks that focus on holiday menus. I'm happy to say that this book really lived up to my expectations.

The book contains recipes that cover the entire holiday season: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each holiday is divided into several sections:
  • Halloween: Haunting Treats, Festive Party Starters, and Bewitching Main Dishes
  • Thanksgiving: Bountiful Starters, Entrees Fit for the Pilgrims, Rapturous Sides & Salads, Sweet Endings, and Thanksgiving Leftovers
  • Christmas: Blitzen Breakfast and Brunch, Angelic Starters, Divine Entrees, Festive Sides, and Gifts from the Kitchen
The Halloween section contained many recipes that will delight children from the Chocolate Spider Cake, Witch's Finger Sugar Cookies to the Super Easy Owl Cupcakes and Mummy Dogs, among many others. I was particularly impressed with the pumpkin cheese ball that used a broccoli stalk as the pumpkin stem. Cool idea!

The Thanksgiving section covers classic recipes along with many new recipes that you can add to your current traditional dishes. I especially loved the recipe for the Festive Pumpkin-Shaped Rolls. I'm going to start practicing now so that I'll have these perfected before the big day. This section also contained my favorite dessert in the whole book, Disney's Caramel Apple Pie (Copycat). Any pie that starts with a sugar cookie dough crust that is filled with apples, caramel, and a crumb topping is going to rank high in my book.

It was refreshing to find the brunch recipes in the Christmas section of the book. Every year, I have this romantic idea that I'm going to prepare an elaborate brunch for Christmas morning. As of now, that dream has not become a reality; however, with recipes such as Overnight Blueberry French Toast and Lemon Blueberry Bread, the dream lives on again this year. We'll see.

If you're a holiday cookbook fanatic like me, you'll absolutely love having this cookbook in your collection. I suggest that you go ahead and buy it now so that you can start using these recipes just in time for Halloween.

Festive-Feasts-blog-tour-bannerDisclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cookbook Review: Treat

Treat by Stephanie Banyas

Treat is not only the name of the new cookbook by Stephanie Banyas, it's also the word I use to describe this sweet little book. This cookbook offers modern updates on that childhood classic, the rice cereal and marshmallow treat. 

If you're feeling ambitious, you can make your own marshmallows. The first chapter of the book has recipes for homemade vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and cream cheese marshmallows. While the treat recipes do incorporate the homemade marshmallows, there is the option of substituting store-bought marshmallows or marshmallow fluff. 

The treat recipes are highly creative and spread out among five chapters: updated classics, candy-store favorites, fruity sweets, chocolate delights, and holiday & celebration treats. As I turned the pages, I was tempted by the likes of Toasted Coconut Treats, Toasted Marshmallow Treats, Salted Caramel Treats, Berry Cobbler Treats, and Orange Cream Treats. I'm really excited to get started in the kitchen. 

This cookbook is the perfect addition to my dessert collection. I'm a huge fan of the classic treat and know that I'll enjoy trying these recipes?

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.