Book Review: “The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside” by Marte Marie Forsberg

•October 17, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

The words “countryside cooking” brings up the images of simple, hearty but tasty fare made with pure, home grown ingredients found in the country or rural farm areas.  No artificial ingredients or coloring, no preservatives, no fusion or trendy ingredients, nothing but pure and wholesome ingredients.

These are the type of  recipes that are found in “The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside” by Marie Marie Forsberg. Ms.  Forsberg, a professional food and lifestyle photographer, was originally from Norway and travelled through Europe before settling in England’s countryside.  She’s the author and photographer  of the blog “My Cottage Kitchen”.  “The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside”  presents a wonderful assortment of  Norwegian and English recipes in a beautifully photographed book that are intertwined with  her memories of and insight into  English county lifestyle.

Sorted by seasons, the recipes are  categorized into  starter and sides, mains, desserts, and drink and jams , easily enabling the reader to utilize  the  available fruits and vegetables at their peak flavor for each dish.

There are heartier fare for the fall and winter season such as Warming Lamb and Cabbage Stew, Creamy Fish Soup with Clams, or “Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon”; not to mention an assortment of baked goods and drinks for the holidays such as Mulled Cider.

Spring and Summer dishes include are often lighter fare such as the   Jansons’ Potato Casserole with Quail Eggs or Limoncello Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit; or  recipes to utilize the garden’s bounty such as “Elderflower Fritters” or  “Campian Citrus Marmalade”.

Some of the more  intriguing recipes include:  “Norwegian Yellow Pea Soup with Thyme”,  “Black Pudding with Scallops and Caviar”;  “Truffled Vegetable Toad-in-the-Hole”; “Foie Gras and Kidney Bruschetta with Parsley”;   and many others.

Overall, it’s a great addition  to the bookshelves.  I could see myself cooking some of these recipes.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

 

Advertisements

Book Review: “The Grand Central Market Cookbook: Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles” by Adele Yellin and Kevin West

•October 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

Traveling is a great way to discover new and exciting trends in foods.   Large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are a foodie’s version of paradise.  There are places that you must visit when you go to Los Angeles such as the restaurants, shops, and vendors at Koreantown, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood,  Chinatown,  Beverly Hills,  and the iconic Grand Central Market.

I was excited to see that “The Grand Central Market Cookbook:  Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles” by Adele Yellin and Kevin West was available for review.  The Grand Central Market, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles,  is a hub filled with a great mixture of  different types of food and grocery items that are sold or available for purchase at the various restaurants, shops and vendors inside.

market
“Grand Central Market: Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles” by Adele Yellin and Kevin West

The book captures the multi-cultural flavor and essence of the Grand Central Market through the use of interviews from and photographs of people who frequent or work at the shops and restaurants located at the market place. Recipes of the shops’ and restaurants’ top selling or best known dishes are presented alongside with a photograph of the finished product.

The book is sorted by chapters on breakfast, tacos, carbs, happy hour, meat and fish, vegetables and sweets. The recipes range from the subtle yet tasty to hip and slighty exotic fare: yeasted waffles, chicken chop suey, pad kee mao (drunken noodles), coconut-cream doughnuts, lengu (tongue), banh mi lamb burgers, tortillas,  savory carnitas, and cold, smoky ramen just to name a few.

 

Overall, the cookbook is a great addition to the bookshelf. For those who have been to the Grand Central Marketplace, you would have fun trying to recreate your favorite dish. For those who never been there, it’s a great book to have on hand for the many wonderful culturally diverse and delicious recipes inside.

 Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging with Books to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

 

 

Book Review: “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook” by Coco Morante

•September 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

Kitchen gadgets that help save time and effort like a food processor, blender, electric rice cooker, and slow cookers are great tools to have.  The latest gadgets that one should have in the kitchen are the vegetable  spiralizers,  magic bullets, or the instant pot.  What is an instant pot? An instant pot is the modern day take of a pressure cooker but one that is electronic and programmable.

I have an instant pot and haven’t really used as much as I would like because I am trying to find ways to adapt the cooking methods or recipes  for my favorite dishes.  I like books that help take the guesswork out such as the “Instant Pot Cookbook” by Coco Morante. Ms. Morante is a recipe developer and food blogger who runs the popular Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page and authors the blog LeftySpoon.com.

The book is organized into chapters that include tips on hot to use the various instant pot settings, recipes for breakfast, beans and grains,  poultry, soups and chilis, beef and pork, vegetables and side dishes and desserts.  There are some tried and true recipes that can be used in a slow cooker such as the  chilis or slow pulled pork but the instant pot version will save you significant amount of cooking time. She  provides a nice blend of recipes from simple recipes such as the Salisbury Steak to slight more hipper and exotic recipes with an international flair such as the Korean style short ribs or the Jamaican Jerk Spice Oxtails.

There are other recipes that I would never have thought of trying  to use the Instant Pot for such as cooking a cheesecake.  It  sounds interesting to say the least. The only thing that is deterring me is from using my Instant Pot to bake a cheesecake is having to purchase a smaller springform pan to fit into the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Cookbook  By Coco Morante.

 

Overall, the cookbook is a great tool to have for the novice Instant Pot user or even those who are experienced Instant Pot users who are looking for new recipes to add.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging with Books to facilitate my review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Product Review: Harvest Snaps from Calbee: A healthy snack alternative

•September 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

As most parents, I am constantly looking for  a healthier alternative to the mainstream snack products that are sold.  Children are children, and just like adult, they want snacks that are tasty and full of sugar or salt.

I didn’t want to constantly send my daughter  to school with muffins, peaches, or granola bars, or cookies. If I did send cookies, I’d limit it to maybe four  cookies with an healthier  fruit snack like  an apple, grapes or strawberries,   and even a bag of mixed nuts.  I rarely send in a bag of chips because it was hard to find a snack size bag of baked chips that she liked.

When I found out that her after school program was selling small bags of chips, I was a wee upset to say the least. I don’t mind a bag of chips once in a while but can the ones they sell at the after school at least be baked?

I was recently given a sample of Harvest Snaps to try with my MomsMeet group.  We were delighted to find a healthier alternative to fried chips for our children.  Harvest Snaps is a delicious snack that made with mashed peas that are shaped to look like fries.  It’s healthier because it’s baked instead of fried – thus reducing the fat content and calories that your child is exposed to. Harvest Snaps has a pleasant crisp and crunchy texture. It’s a delicious and fun way to sneak in a serving of veggies in. There are many different flavors to choose from -caesar, black pepper, onion thyme, tomato basil, wasabi ranch, mango chili lime, and many more including plain with sea salt for the my little ones.

Harvest Snaps are available in most large retailers , supermarkets,  and health food stores.

For more information on Harvest Snaps: please visit https://www.harvestsnaps.com/products/

Disclaimer: I was given a sample of the product to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and no monetary gains were made.

No more paper resumes – Welcome to the electronic age

•September 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

Looking for a job? Back a few years ago, people would apply for a job by looking at the New York Times and sending in resumes. These days, almost everything is done electronically.

Call me old fashion, but I still like paper resumes rather than electronic copies. These days, you can apply for most jobs on-line by submitting your resume and cover letter. You  are essentially saving  money because you don’t have to buy as much fancy stationary, envelopes and\or  stamps. You don’t even have to buy any newspapers like the New York Times or wait in line at the Post Office.

The New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (www.nyc.gov/dcas)  has electronic applications for all their civil service exams. To apply, you can download and print the applications out or just apply on-line. The New York City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services even has testing centers that you can file and take the exams at.  These days, some of the civil service exams are computerized and can be taken at the Testing Centers.  Upon completion, you can obtain your score and know if you pass the written part.

There are some excellent and well known job sites that you can use like monster.com, indeed.com, linked.com, etc.  The New York Times is still a great newspaper and job-hunting resource.  These days, there are electronic or digital  versions of almost anything – books, applications, greeting cards, etc.

So for all you job seekers out there, here are some great websites:

If you are looking for a government job in New York City:

http://www1.nyc.gov/jobs/index.page – this will enable you to find a job in almost any agency in New York City.

Great websites or job hunting tools

www.indeed.com

http://www.simplyhired.com

http://www.careerbuilder.com

https://www.monster.com

There are so many more websites but you have to find one that will fit your needs. Depending on the economy and the person’s educational level and skillsets, it can take anywhere from three to four months to obtain your ideal job.

Good luck and happy job hunting.

 

 

 

Book Review: “Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life” by Alyona Nickelsen

•August 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Mamaeve's Blog

Dear Readers:
One of my favorite pastimes is drawing. I love to draw faces. I mainly use regular drawing pencils and had always wanted to experiment with coloring my drawings but was always afraid that it wouldn’t come out looking right.

I have a friend who only uses colored pencils to draw with and I have been always been amazed at how beautiful colored pencils drawings can be. My friend’s pencils drawings look like it’s a painting. I always wanted to learn her techniques but she only drop a hint or two of the materials that she used.

I found all the information I would need in “Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life” by Alyona Nickelsen. Ms. Nickelsen is an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in many major art magazines including American Artist, American Artist Drawing, The Artist’s Magazine, International…

View original post 208 more words

Book Review: “Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life” by Alyona Nickelsen

•August 25, 2017 • 1 Comment

Dear Readers:
One of my favorite pastimes is drawing. I love to draw faces. I mainly use regular drawing pencils and had always wanted to experiment with coloring my drawings but was always afraid that it wouldn’t come out looking right.

I have a friend who only uses colored pencils to draw with and I have been always been amazed at how beautiful colored pencils drawings can be. My friend’s pencils drawings look like it’s a painting. I always wanted to learn her techniques but she only drop a hint or two of the materials that she used.

I found all the information I would need in “Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life” by Alyona Nickelsen. Ms. Nickelsen is an award-winning artist whose work has been featured in many major art magazines including American Artist, American Artist Drawing, The Artist’s Magazine, International Artist, American Art Collector, and Art Business News not to mention the numerous national and international exhibitions.

coloredpen

“Colored Pencil Painting Portraits: Master a Revolutionary Method for Rendering Depth and Imitating Life” by Alyona Nickelsen. 

 

 

The book shows the step by step process of how she creates the most realistic and life life colored pencil portraits by using a combination of techniques and art tools that are widely available. She explains the different media to use with colored pencils and provides comparisons of various colored pencils that are available.

Throughout the book, she demonstrates step by step how to mix and blend colors to add tone and depth to your drawings. The book includes her dazzling art portfolio of colored pencil portraits that are so beautifully crafted and rich with details that leaves one awestruck when you realized that it’s not a painting or a picture.

While I feel that this book is for the more experienced artist, I think that the concepts and techniques are applicable to everyone who wishes to improve their skill.

I would definitely recommend this book to have as a reference.

Disclaimer: I received this book at no charge from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.