Tag Archives: Book Review

Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – review

Book Review – Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – recipes for the best pan in your kitchen by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne.

cast iron cookbookAs a chicken owner (even though I don’t eat our chickens) I have always had this nagging feeling that I should be proficient with a cast iron pan. Cooking with such a pan seems … so very right.

Alas, it was my lack of knowledge that has always kept me from trying. How does it work? I’ve heard the pan needs treatment, how do I do this? Can you really put it in a modern oven? Continue reading

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Lesson 827 – Fifty Weeks of Green – a CSA love story

I know, two book reviews in a row. I usually don’t put book reviews up here (I save them for a writer’s blog of which I am a part of) unless the book is of relevance to this audience (usually chicken related.)

In this particular case, the book is CSA related and it’s the romantic (don’t worry the only dirty part is when she gets her hands dirty from the vegetables) story of a young woman whose idea of a good dinner is defrosting a “frozen block of food” and an organic farmer whose goal it is to teach her about healthy living.

It’s a great story, it teaches you about CSAs and vegetables and you learn to cook right along with the main character, Sophia, using the recipes relevant to the story. I’m going to make sure that all my kids read this one and you’d be doing yourself a great and healthy service by checking this one out yourself.


I love me a good parody. So when I found out about Linda Watson’s Fifty Weeks of Green (a turn of phrase from the 50 Shades of Grey) I simply had to check it out (look, the tie on the cover is actually a farmer’s suspenders! – brilliant)

greenLinda Watson writes about food. She’s the founder of Cook for Good (my go-to website for great farmer market and seasonal recipes) and if you don’t have her book: Wildly Affordable Organic – Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet All on  $5 a Day or Less, then you are doing yourself a great disservice. I purchased the book to help me with this review and already I’ve incorporated some of her money and time saving tips into our family’s menus and food buying habits. Continue reading

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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook Review – Sizzling Beef with Scallions and Black Bean Sauce

Last night, based on a friend’s suggestion, we made the Sizzling Beef with Scallions and Black Bean Sauce (page 69, Jamie’s Food Revolution).

When I say we made it, what I really mean is that my husband Marc and my son Logan (13) made it. You see this was a test. Sure I can cook (when you make the decision to have 6 children, you either learn how to cook or you go broke) but Marc is more of the chicken nuggets, spaghetti and jarred sauce kind of cook. Go ahead and ask him about his love affair with canned cheese (you think I’m kidding?)

Part of Jamie’s Food Revolution is teaching people how to cook. With real ingredients. So I put the whole Revolution to the test, if Jamie could get Marc to cook a tasty healthy dinner that actually had flavor then I would give Oliver, the “well done” he deserved.

I went to the grocery store, got the ingredients needed for the recipe, dropped them off at the house and left to do my hour of exercise at the gym. You can do it, I assured my newly anointed cooks. Marc panicked for a few minutes before he and Logan settled down to prepare the pepper, rice, meat, and cilantro. (just as a personal aside, when I die, I want to be buried in a field of cilantro). Continue reading

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Cookbook Review – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – great stuff here

Jamie, you had me at “lovely charred marks.”

I got Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook this weekend to give it a go, as he would say.

In case you live under a rock, Oliver starts a new reality show this Friday called The Food Revolution where he will attempt to change the eating habits of Huntington WV which had been deemed “the unhealthiest city in America.” The first episode was aired this past Sunday and you can watch it by clicking on this link. Jamie Oliver Episode 1

Anyone who is alive and breathing in the U.S should be watching this show and if you have children, it should be required viewing, Continue reading


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Book Review: Motherhood Is Easy… As Long As You Have Nothing To Do For The Next 50 Years

Title: Motherhood Is Easy….As Long As You Have Nothing Else To Do For The Next 50 Years
Author: Rebekah Hunter Scott
Publisher: Clear View Press
Available for pre-order: http://www.clearviewpressinc.com/ Books ship April 2010
Reviewer: Wendy Thomas

With a voice as refreshing and delightful as Sex-on-the-Beach (the real thing not the cocktail) Rebekah Hunter Scott nails what it feels like to have that special love-hate relationship with your kids and husband that only a mommy can have.

I get this kind of humor. I love my 6 kids. I know that I would lay my life on the line for them at any time but I also know that if I had been around them 24 hours a day when they were younger, I would currently be in jail for 6 counts of manslaughter, maybe 7 if you threw my husband into the mix.

When Rebekah writes about embracing your “Inner White Trash” while at Wal-Mart with a kid wearing only a diaper and trying to buy a pair of shorts because she had forgotten to pack them in her diaper bag… I can relate.

When she writes about desperately trying to get her toddler son to take a nap because his nap time is mommy’s “sacred time”… I was so there.

While I have never been able to relate to the moms out there who have matching baby accessories, video cameras focused on their sleeping cherubs, and who know how to effectively remove every stain known to mankind from their children’s clothing. I am able to relate to a funny, sharp witted, intelligent, and honest mom who realizes that while she loves her children, being a mom is a tough, tough job that without humor can crush even the strongest woman.

With great insight and giving us lessons learned, Hunter shares with us her battle stories of mommy-hood from deep in the trenches, poopy diapers, dried lady bug carcasses and all. She will make you laugh, she’ll make you cry, she’ll make you realize that you’re not alone when at the end of the day, after giving the kids their food; you decide that alcohol is enough of a food pyramid for you.


I received a copy of this book  from the author for review.  I received no other compensation for this post.  My words and my opinions are my own.

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Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian Book Review

Title: Secrets of Eden

Author: Chris Bohjalian
Pages: 400
Cost: $25
Reviewed by: Wendy Thomas

Chris Bohjalian, the same bestselling author who captivated the town of Nashua with his presentation in October on his book Skeletons at the Feast – the selection for the seventh annual Nashua Reads: One City, One Book program. – has done it again in his newest book Secrets of Eden.

Never one to shy away from controversial issues, Secrets of Eden emerged in response to readers’ responses to one of his previous works, The Double Bind. Women wanted to know how he had heard and so accurately portrayed their stories even though they had never met. They had identified with the violent attack on the novel’s character Laurel Estabrook and it felt like what had happened to them when they had been attacked. Continue reading

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Book Review – Husbands May Come and Go but friends are Forever – Judith Marshall

Title: Husbands May Come and Go but friends are Forever
Author: Judith Marshall
Publisher: Kelso Books
ISBN: 978-0-9825046-0-4

In an updated and timely story reminiscent of The Big Chill, this touching and poignant narration of mature women, friends since high school, who come together over the death of one of their group will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

6 young very different girls met in High School and at one birthday party decided to form a pact of “no secrets” between them. They remained friends throughout adulthood weathering the storms of divorces, abuse, financial instability, and ultimate success always with brutal honesty and love toward each other. Continue reading

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Book Review – The Power of Slow – 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, Christine Hohlbaum

Title: The Power of Slow- 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World

Author: Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 978-0-312-57048-4


The Power of Slow – 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World is like a breath of fresh air reminding us that it is sometimes okay to just sit back and relax.

Backed with insightful exercises, Hohlbaum first leads you to the realization that time and being busy may not be what you do but may have become what you are. Statements like “I don’t have time , I’m out of time, No time today, I’m sooo busy, and We’re going to be late” are examined to see the role of being busy takes in our lives and if we are truly happy by being constantly consumed by time.

Written as a series of 11 chapters that build on each other, concepts covered include: Ten Ways to Improve Your Relationship to Time, Ten Ways to Move Forward When Your Just Don’t Want To, and Ten Ways to Do What You Do Best So Others Can, Too. This handy book not only gives you exercises to recognize your adverse relationship with time but also gives you strategies on ways to cut back, slow down, and just say no.

The Power of Slow goes beyond simple time management and tries instead to get to the root of behavior and in some cases, addiction to the rush of being under a time crunch. In the section of learning the importance of saying no, you are prompted to ask yourself the following questions before you agree to yet another obligation:

  1. Does the idea of saying yes to the project leave you breathless?
  2. Does the project make your heart sing or sink?
  3. If you are uncomfortable taking it on, locate the reasons for your discomfort. Are you fearful of tackling something new? Do you feel overwhelmed by the scope of the project?


The Power of Slow not only discusses slowing down and prioritizing your expenditure of energy, it also covers taking care of yourself so that you have the energy to expend. Under the topic of Protect the American Dream – Take a Nap, Hohlbaum states:

To quote Nancy Gibbs, “With too little sleep there are too few dreams.” How can you pursue the American Dream if you aren’t getting enough shut-eye to let that dream unfold? Sleep and fulfilled dreams go hand in hand.

With simple and precise logic Hohlbaum leads us through a series of self-analysis exercises and questions that ultimately help us clearly see our relationship to time and identify what might be getting in the way of our getting things done.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is a public relations professional, freelance writer, and the author of S.A.H.M. I Am and Diary of a Mother. She lives near Munich Germany, with her husband and two children.

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Book Review: Black and White Strike Gold – sisterly business advice from lessons learned

Black and White Strike Gold
Authors: Sandi Webster and Peggy McHale
Publisher: C2G Publishing
ISBN 13: 978-0-9842786-0-2

Black and White Strike Gold is like having a mentoring older sister in the business who willingly takes you by the hand to guide you through the oftentimes difficult business owners’ waters.

Sandi Webster and Peggy McHale, both laid off from American Express as an aftereffect of the events of September 11th combined their formidable corporate experience to create a new business: Consultants 2 Go in 2002.

It didn’t take long for both of them to realize that life as a business owner was a little more difficult than they had imagined. Each time they came across and solved a problem, they would jokingly say to each other “here’s another one for our book”. Black and White Strike Gold is the collection of all of those valuable lessons.

Written in a conversational tone, the lessons in this book detail many of the pitfalls they encountered during the first few years of their business. Topics covered include: There are No Friends in Business, Beware the Naysayers, and Networking 101: Ten nuggets for Entrepreneurs and Job Hunters.

What sets this book apart from many of the other business advice books is the way in which the authors work so well together. Each chapter is primarily authored by one writer while the second writer adds her thoughts at the end.

Another notable difference from other business books is the candor with which the authors present their information. The section on hiring people talks about not one but two mistakes they made in hiring people for their company. How refreshing to hear that even top business owners are human as well.

Filled with 52 bite sized lessons, Black and White Strike Gold is the type of book you want to keep around to constantly remind you not only of what can happen when you are a business owner but also of what you can do about it.

Sandi Webster is one of the principals of Consultants 2 Go. She has spent years advising clients on the latest trends and strategies in marketing. She has over 20 years of experience and has managed all facets of new product launches, created and executed national mail campaigns, website launches and telemarketing programs.

Peggy McHale is also a principal of Consultants 2 Go and is a marketing guru acquiring her extensive senior management experience starting in telecommunications at AT&T, and ending an impressive corporate career as a vice president at American Express. She has developed marketing campaigns with wireless companies, credit card issuers, banks, insurance firms, and deregulated energy companies.

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Book Review: Mrs. Nosy – A Composting Story by Lily A. Goldman

Title: Mrs. Nosy – A Composting Story

Author and Illustrator: Lily A. Goldman

ISBN: 978-2-9811384-0-8 (English)

978-2-9811384-1-5 (French)

Mrs. Nosy – A Composting Story is a humorously delightful and beautifully illustrated story of the magic that can happen when one composts.

Mrs. Nosy is envious of her neighbor’s garden and when she is told it occurs through the help of a good fairy who sprinkles magic dust at night, she plots to stay awake and catch the fairy in the act. The neighbors have fun fooling Mrs. Nosy until they laughingly confess that the magic in the gardens enabling the flowers to grow so well is actually compost made from kitchen scraps.

Mrs. Nosy is a gentle, clever story that teaches youngsters about the value of composting and how it can be used to better everyone’s lives. The relationship between Mrs. Nosy and her neighbor’s daughter Sooz is charming and is one of mischievous respect for each other. At the end, Sooz willingly shares her compost “fairy magic” so that Mrs. Nosy’s garden could flourish.

The text is accompanied by beautiful brightly-hued and inventive watercolor illustrations depicting gardens in full bloom and the compost (complete with bugs, worms, and discarded apple cores). The final picture in the book depicting a young child skipping through the butterflies while a pair of hands embraces a flower is simply stunning.

Mrs. Nosy is a wonderful and charming book that introduces even the youngest readers to the magic of composting.

Lily A. Goldman is a Montreal artist and author, and book reviewer for children and adult books for www.bookpleasures.com. She was born in Egypt, lived in Paris for awhile and moved to Montreal many years ago. Her other books include: Kaliky and Jojo, A Greyhound Story, Nofret’s Magic Hair and the Lucky Scarab (about the discovery of hieroglyphs in Egypt), and Farmer Norm (another composting story).  Goldman has also illustrated The Potter and the Painted Lady by K. Frey.

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