Book Review: Food 52 Ice cream and Friends

•May 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Book Review: “Dinner: Changing the Game” By Melissa Clark

•March 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

The one meal that I try to have with my family  daily is dinner.  It’s not always possible since I sometimes work late and don’t always feel  like cooking an elaborate meal. Nor do I  want to resort eating takeout or fast food all the time.

I recently received a copy of “Dinner: Changing the Game” by Melissa Clark to review. Melissa Clark, a well known New York Times food columnist and cookbook author has written a book dedicated to recipes just for dinner.  The book is organized by the main ingredients used in the preparation of the dinner dish. There’s a chapter for each featured main ingredient : chicken, meat, fish and seafood, eggs, pasta and noodles, tofu, vegetable dinners, grains, pizza, soups, and salads. Most of the recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos of the finalized dish  that will entice you to try it.

The recipes varies from simple yet tasty fares such as stovetop mac and cheese,  or the white bean toast,  scalloped potato skillet gratin,  to the more flavorful and exotic fares such as  chile and ginger-fried tofu salad, coconut rice noodles , kimchi grain bowl,  vietnamese caramel salmon or turkish lamb chops. Each of the dinner recipes can serve as a main dish accompanied by a salad or soup.  Included are recipes for old-fashioned fares that have been modernized and updated to suit the millennial’s tastebuds such as the butternut stash pizza, polenta with broccoli rabe and fried eggs, quinona egg bowl with steamed greens, sugar snap peas and pecorino.or fish tacos with red cabbage, jalapeños, and lime slaw.  There’s something for everyone’s taste.

I’d like to have at least two of her recipes for dinner because I like to have dinner family style where we sit and eat a few dishes. For an Asian theme dinner, I would recommend the Korean-style stir fried beef (Bulgogi) , kimchi pork chops,  japanese omelets with edamame rice, accomplished by a  fish or seafood  dish such as the vietnamese caramel salmon or thai-style mussels and a dish of stir fried  bok choy.

For meat dishes, I’d love za’atar chicken with lemon yogurt  or harissa chicken with leeks, potatoes and yogurt. Braised turkey legs wtih cranberries, soy sauce, star anise and sweet potatoes. The possibilities are limitless .  Most dishes can be prepared within a hour or less and it makes it easier for those work nights. For those dishes that take longer, I’d save those for the weekend or set a timer on the slow cooker.

Overall, it’s a great cookbook filled with 200 recipes that will help you plan out your main meal. The instructions are clear and detailed. It has a nice assortment of recipes to choose from and the end results are delicious.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from “Blogging with Books” to help facilitate my review. No additional compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

 

Book Review: “The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook” by Helen You with Max Falkowitz

•February 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

As a foodie, I love to try new food ingredients, techniques and recipes. Living in New York, there are so many food trends and restaurants popping up all the time. Signs of how great the food is should not be just limited to the food critics’ reviews nor the long lines to get in. The ultimate sign of how great the food is- and the key to the longevity and success of any restaurant -should be is how many repeat customers you have after the initial opening day. Galaxy Dumpling Restaurant located in Flushing, New York is said to be one of best “shuijiao” or water dumpling restaurants in that area.  It’s success is due to its freshly made dumplings that are not just limited to the traditional pork and chives filling but the creative fillings that comes from the owner’s- Helen You- imagination.

Ms. You, the owner of Galaxy Dumpling, provides the reader detailed instructions on how to make the perfect “jiaozi” or “shuijiao” dumpling wrappers and 60 of her recipes for various fillings and other dim sums in her debut book “The Galaxy Dumpling Cookbook”.  Written with Max Falakowitz, “The Galaxy Dumpling Cookbook” is sorted by chapters featuring recipes for classic dumplings, green dumplings that contain mainly vegetable filling, dumplings with exotic ingredients or flavor combination , dessert dumplings, and a chapter for dumpling sauces and sides.

galaxy

The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook by Helen You with Max Falkowtiz

For her restaurant “Galaxy Dumpling”, Ms. You created dumplings made with unique ingredients that are not found in your typical Chinese takeout restaurant such as the thousand year old egg, pu er tea or dried squid. She developed dumplings with unique flavor combinations such as beef with tomatoes or pork with bitter melon just to name a few.  She generously provides these recipes in her cookbook.

A must read chapter covering various tips and techniques on dumpling basics like how to form and shape the classic jiaozi dumpling skin should be read first before attempting to make the dumplings from scratch. It’s important since it is the jiaozi skin that will be used for almost of all her dumpling recipes. She also includes tips on the three cooking methods used for jiaozi including boiling, steaming, and panfrying.

With sixty (60) mouthwatering recipes for classic and new modern style dumplings and dim sum-like side dishes to choose from, her cookbook can provide hours of fun experimenting and eating for the whole family. Dumpling making is often a family or group activity since it is usually quite labor intensive with all the chopping, rolling, and filling activities involved.

Her clearly written recipes provide the reader an opportunity to recreate the tasty morsels that are sold in her restaurant at home. I enjoyed her recipes for Lamb and Green Squash with Sichuan pepper; Spicy Shrimp and Celery; and the classic pork dumplings with chives. Although making the dumpling skin is labor intensive (and challenging at times), the end results are definitely worth it. Her filling recipes are delicious and can be used with pre-made dumpling or wonton wrappers to save time. She encourages the reader to use her recipes as base and expand on it to create their own recipes.

I enjoyed trying out the recipes in the book. The book contains detailed recipes for the dumpling styles (jiaozi)that are sold in her restaurant and the ones I tried were quite good. There were a few recipes that I skipped since I felt it would be too labor intensive such as the Shanghai Soup dumplings. I would love to see recipes for other types of dumpling skins such as the crystal skin or wheat starch wrapper be included. Overall, this book rates a 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from “Blogging with Books” to help facilitate my review. No additional compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Inspiralize Everything: An Apples-to-Zucchini Encyclopedia of Spiralizing by by Ali Maffucci

•November 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

I have always admired the appearance of vegetables such as carrots, zucchini and potatoes that were cut into long spirals.  Spiralizing vegetables and fruits can instantly increase the appeal of  vegetables to children.  Afterall, who doesn’t want curly fries or curls of carrots on their salad?

Ali Maffucci, the author of the book “INSPIRALIZED: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals” and the blog ” The Vegetable Spiralizer”, has written a new book called:  “INSPIRALIZE EVERYTHING: An Apples-to-Zucchini Encyclopedia of Spiralizing”.   It’s filled with  recipes and nutritional information of various fruits and vegetables including carrots, zucchini, chayote, jicama, and kohlrabi that you can spiralize and incorporate into delicious and healthy meals including snacks, desserts and entrees.  The book is organized by chapters dedicated to each fruit or vegetable to make it easier to locate recipes. She includes pictures of the various vegetables and fruits that are covered in each chapter, pictures of the finished dishes, and tips on which spiralizer tips or blades to use.   There are over one hundred recipes in this book that are not included in her blog or in her first book.

spiral

For those who are on a low-carb diet  or want to live a healthier lifestyle,“Inspiralize Everything: An Apples-to-Zucchini Encyclopedia of Spiralizing” provides  some great and simple recipes to help incorporate more vegetables into your diet like the Cheeseless French Onion Soup, Winter Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Chicken Sausage, General Tso’s Cauliflower with kohlarabi rice, Zucchini Noodle Bread with Coconut Cream Frosting, and Blackened Tilapia over Chayote-Mango Pasta Salad.  Ms. Maffucci also provides recipes to help detox  like the Watermelon Radish Nourish Salad with Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette.

While these recipes were designed with the usage of spiralized vegetables and fruits in mind, most of these recipes can be prepared without them.  You can simply thinly slice, julienne, use a mandolin or whatever tools you have on hand to prepare the fruits and vegetables.   While it may not be as attractive as if it was spiralized, it will still taste just as delicious.

Overall, it’s a great cookbook to use with your spiralizer tools and for those who wish to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into their diets.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from “Blogging with Books” to help facilitate my review.  No additional compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Book Review: “Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes” by Gina Homolka

•November 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Dear  Readers:

As a working mother, I like to be able to have a home cooked meal everyday with my family. It’s not always easy but it’s worth the time and effort to know that your loved ones are eating something healthy and low calorie.  During the workweek, I like to have a simple but tasty dinner that can be prepared in less than an hour.

skinny

Skinnytaste:Fast & Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes

Gina Homolka, the author of the Skinnytaste cookbook series and blog,  has released a new  book  “Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes”.  Filled with low fat and healthy recipes that can enable you to get tasty food on the dinner table that the your family will enjoy.  Some of the recipes require the use of a slow-cooker and the rest are do-able in a half an hour or less with some advanced prep work.

Her new book has over hundred of recipes including  dishes that are vegetarian, gluten-free, and freezer-friendly.  Each recipe includes nutritional information—from registered dietitian Heather K. Jones—to enable the reader to keep track of the calories and help them reach their weight and health goals.

Some of the recipes or variations of it that appear in the book are  also on the website but there are  a few new recipes that are included which I think are quite good. The book is broken into categories that have an entire chapter devoted to it: breakfast recipes are covered in the healthy morning chapter;  recipes for chilis, soups,and stews fill another chapter;  a whole chapter is devoted to tacos;  pastas or zucchini noodles in another; and a chapter each on meat, poultry, fish and seafood, salads or vegetable dishes, sweets, side dishes, and one bowl meals.

She includes recipes that are quite trendy such as the avocado toast, korean inspired chicken lettuce wrap, various types of tacos, quinoa and oatmeal bowls.  There are so many different recipes to choose from and you can also refer to website for the weight watchers point information for each dish.

Overall, the book would be a great tool for those who looking to enhance their health,  are already Skinnytaste fans, or those who wish to expand their menu for a quick and healthy meal that is low fat.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from Blogging for Books to facilitate my review. No monetary exchanges were made.

Book Review: French Country Cooking: MEALS AND MOMENTS FROM A VILLAGE IN THE VINEYARDS by Mimi Thorisson

•October 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Dear Readers:

One of the countries that everyone wants to visit is France.  France is known for fashion, food, and romance.  French food is full of flavor and emphasizes using fresh ingredients  for flavor.   Mimi Thorisson, a blogger, moved to France and wrote her debut cookbook “A Kitchen in France” which was well received.   She is the host of the French cooking shows Le Table de Mimi and Les Desserts de Mimi.  She also maintains a blog “Manger” where she writes about her experiences living  in France  with her family and provides recipes on it.

In  her latest release “French Country Cooking” she write about her experience when the family moves to an abandoned old château in Médoc, a quaint French village.  She meets the farmers and artisans who populate the village .   “In French Country Cooking”,  she provides  recipes inspired by her experience. Meals are made with fresh ingredients that are locally grown or in season to ensure the best taste.  Some of the more interesting recipes  include  Wine Harvest Pot au Feu, Endives with Ham, and Salted Butter Chocolate Cake.  There were so many to choose from and all sound so good.  I would recommend the Wine Harvest pot au Feu since it was so tasty.

Beautiful photographs taken by Mimi’s husband, Oddur Thorisson are interlaced through the book.  Like her blog and previous books, this book is well researched and will be a top seller.  Her recipes are well written and detailed enough to follow.  The book is a great introduction to french country cooking and a great addition to your cookbook collection.

frenchbook

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books to facilitate my review.

#MomMeets -Product Review: Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste

•October 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 Dear Readers:

As a mother, I am always trying to find healthier and natural alternative products to given my child. I like mainstream brands but they often contain additives or chemicals that I don’t want near my child or family.

I was delighted to be selected by Moms Meets to review Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste.  Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste is one of the many organic and natural products from Himalaya Botanique.  Himalaya Boutique is a well established family owned company that has been in business for over eighty years. They offer a wide range of natural health care products including vitamin supplements, skincare, wellness and other health care products including toothpaste.

Unlike the mainstream toothpaste brands, Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpastes are fluoride free, SLS free, carrageenan free and gluten free.  Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpastes are made with natural plant based ingredients that have been long used in Ayurveda  including:  neem leaf which has been proven to be an effective germ killer and cleanser, pomegranate which is an astringent fruit extract to help support healthy looking gums by tightening the tissues, Triphala – a traditional detox formula in ancient Ayurveda composed of the three myrobalan fruits for clean teeth and a radiant smile, and  Xylitol which is a sugar free and tooth-friendly sweetener derived from beech tree that has also been clinically-studied to support good oral hygiene. This combination of ingredients work together to keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh.

Unlike mainstream whitening toothpaste brands that utilize harsh chemicals, Himalaya Botanique Whitening Complete Care Toothpaste contains gentle fruit enzymes from the papaya and pineapple (Papain and Bromelain) to help remove surface stains.

In my blogging kit from Moms Meet, I received an attractive reusable  bag, a travel pouch, a coupon, a wooden toothbrush  with natural bristles, and a tube of each of the following flavors of Himalaya Botanique toothpaste:  Whitening Complete Care Simply Peppermint, Whitening Complete Care Simply Mint, Complete Care Simply Peppermint, Simply Mint, Simply Cinnamon, Simply Spearmint and the Original Neem and Pomegranate toothpaste.

I decided to try each tube of toothpaste for two days each to see if I like the flavor and to see how it compares to my regular mainstream brand.  Overall , the results are promising. I found the toothpastes quite pleasant in taste and were just as effective in removing  plaque as the mainstream brands. There’s no medicine aftertaste from the neem. The Himalaya Botanique Toothpastes leaves you with a refreshing feeling. There’s no sugary or weird aftertaste.

him

The Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpastes  are gentle and effective  made with organic and natural ingredients.

Unlike a certain mainstream brand of whitening toothpaste, Himalaya Botanique Whitening Complete Care Simply Peppermint toothpaste did not burn or irritate my gums.  I found it refreshing and minty.  Since I’ve only tested them for a total of two days each, I can’t exactly  tell how  effective the  whitening toothpastes are yet.  I do feel it’s less harsh and not as irritating on on my gums as the other chemical filled mainstream whitening toothpaste.

Simply Cinnamon has a light beige hue from the cinnamon yet leaves your mouth feels cool and fresh from menthol, germ fighting  ingredients like thymol (thyme leaf oil) and neem. It has a pleasant minty  taste and my breath felt fresher.  It doesn’t have a sugary cinnamon taste like a certain mainstream brand.

It’s rare to find a toothpaste made from organic and natural ingredients that taste good and works effectively.  The choice of flavors are appealing and for parents with young children, you shouldn’t have to worry about accidental swallowing since all the ingredients are organic and botanical based.

Some quick facts:

  • Himalaya Botanique Complete Care Toothpaste retails for $5.99.
  • Full line of flavors include: Whitening Complete Care Simply Peppermint, Whitening Complete Care Simply Mint, Complete Care Simply Peppermint, Simply Mint, Simply Cinnamon, Simply Spearmint and the Original Neem and Pomegranate toothpaste.

You can purchase Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste products online or through retailers including Sprouts, Whole Foods, Pharmaca, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, The Vitamin Shoppe, Select Independent Retailers, Amazon.com, and Himalayausa.com.

To learn more about these products and more please visit their website
http://himalayausa.com. Connect with Himalaya online to see their latest products and get exclusive access to discounts and special offers!

DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.