Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cookbook Review: Pure Food



I don't usually have allergies but last week, something knocked me down hard. I know it was allergy based because of my symptoms but I think it also went to my sinuses. I was miserable for several days. I'm feeling better but still can't taste or smell 100%. I was very excited to look through the newest cookbook in my collection while I was sick though. It's called Pure Food by Veronica Bosgraaf. Her cookbook is all about eating clean with seasonal, plant-based recipes. She has actually laid her book out in chapters of the months of the year. So it gives you a good idea of what to fix during those months with the seasonal produce that will be available at that time.

This book has many yummy sounding recipes with several pictures of the recipes situated right in the middle of the book. I do wish the pictures accompanied each recipe and that there were more pictures, but I am a picture lover when it comes to cookbooks. I feel with a cookbook, you never can have too many pictures because we eat with our eyes first. Some of the recipes that I am anxious to try are Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions, Cacao Chip Banana Bread, Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies, Garlic and Thyme mashed potatoes, Almond Butter and Cacao Nib smoothie, Green Chile Enchiladas with Avocado Sauce, and more! There's even a recipe to make your own almond milk!

If you're looking to increase your veggie intake and add more plant based recipes to your meals, you really should check out this book. It has so many different recipes and while meat is absent from this cookbook, you could definitely add it in many of the recipes or leave the recipe as is for a meatless meal. I'm really looking forward to making some things out of this book!

Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cookbook Review: Inspiralized



I've mentioned that we have been trying to eat healthier. It's been baby steps but my ultimate goal is very little, if any processed foods. I'm not sure that I will be able to eliminate them completely but the fewer processed items we eat, the better. One idea that has completely intrigued me, is making noodles out of veggies. I'm sure many of you have seen them around in recipes online or cookbooks. The most common seems to be using zucchini as "zoodles" as some refer to them. My youngest won't eat many veggies and I am looking forward to trying zucchini noodles in his spaghetti. If he will eat them, I think most picky eaters will. I will definitely report back when I am able to make them.

With my interest in veggie noodles, I was excited to receive the Inspiralized cookbook by Ali Maffucci. Ms. Maffucci goes into all the ins and outs of spiralizing your veggies. She gives some great pointers and lots of information on what veggies to use. The book has beautiful pictures and the recipes look delicious. I am going to have to wait to try any of them until I order either a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. I thought I already had a julienne peeler, but can't seem to find it anywhere. So hopefully I can make something out of it soon. My main criticism of the book would be that I would have loved to see some step by step photos of the recipes, maybe not all of them but some would have been great. I've never did anything like spiralizing, so it would have been helpful to have some step by step pictures.

Some of the recipes that sounded interesting were Huevos Rancheros, Savoy Cabbage Breakfast Burrito, Lemon Garlic Broccoli with Bacon, Chicken Carrot Noodle Soup, Italian Zucchini Pasta Salad and so many more. I love veggies so this cookbook is right up my alley! So many yummy looking recipes and healthy to boot! If you're looking for a way to up your veggies this would be a great book for you to check out.

Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cookbook Review: Lighten Up, Y'all



I've been trying to eat healthier lately so I was excited when I received my new cookbook Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis. Many of the typical southern favorites aren't always the healthiest, so it was so neat to see a cookbook with the premise of making southern food healthier. I'm all about that!

This book features so many beautiful pictures. Every recipe doesn't have a picture, but many do. There is a recipe for pimento cheese that I am anxious to try. The recipe for grilled potato salad sounds yummy and would be wonderful to try when it gets a bit warmer. There's even a recipe for Summer Squash Lasagna! That sounds really good. Flipping through this book definitely gets me excited about the warmer months and the yummy produce that follows, especially at the farmer's market. I can't wait!

One recipe that I would like to make soon that would be good for these colder months is the Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy. Good comfort food! And the Vegetable Corn Bread looks absolutely delicious to serve with some yummy soup! Hopefully I get to make something out of the book soon and will definitely share it when I do! If you like southern food, but are trying to be healthier in your food preparation, this would be a great book for you to check out.

Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cookbook Review: The Soup Club Cookbook



This time of year, there is nothing better than some home cooked soup. It's good year around, but just even better in the winter. My newest cookbook to my collection is all about soups, so I was excited to look through and see what all there was. What is so neat about this book is that this group of ladies actually decided to form a soup club. Hence the name, The Soup Club Cookbook by Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, and Julie Peacock. On page 11, they explain a bit more about how it works...."What we do is simple: We take turns cooking big pots of soup, enough to feed our four families. We drop off the soup, along with sides and garnishes, at the homes of our three other club members. This happens once a week, which means that we each cook our big pot of soup once a month. The other three weeks, we are treats to one another's home cooking". What a great idea!

This book is full of so many different yummy soups! Soups like Lentil soup, Egg Drop Soup, Roasted Broccoli Soup, Spiced Pumpkin Soup, Winter Minestrone, Senegalese Peanut Soup, and more. They also give instructions on how to make basic broths. There are also recipes for toppings for your soups, as well as sides and breads to go along with it. Including a recipe Kale Chips! Hopefully I can make something out of this book soon. There are so many options, I'm not sure which one to pick first!

I love the cover of this book because those jars of soup are so nice looking! There are several pictures throughout the book, but not one for every recipe. I would have definitely loved to see more pictures. They are fun to look at as you go through a cookbook. There's definitely something for everyone in this book. If you love soups, I definitely recommend you check it out. Maybe you'll even start your own Soup Club! Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cookbook Review: Supermarket Healthy



My latest cookbook to review is Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D'Arabian. If you watch the Food Network, you may remember her from the Next Food Network Star competition. I loved the feel of the book and the beautiful pictures right away.

There are plenty of healthy recipes in this book. You'll find things like Morning Glory Muffins, Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce, Creamy Cauliflower "Baked Potato" Soup, Poached Chicken Puttanesca, and more! There aren't pictures for every recipe, but many do have pictures. The food looks very yummy!

One of my favorite parts of the book is where Melissa gives you a blueprint to customize dishes how you like them. For instance, on page 36-37, there is a blueprint to customize your own frittata. I think this would be a great help from those cooks who want to start learning to come up with their own recipes. It's kind of a stepping stone to take to learn how ingredients work together. I think it was a great idea to add that to the cookbook.

Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf



Do you buy ground beef or have your meat gound up fresh? I love to have ours ground up fresh. It's the only way I buy it. I usually use sirloin tip or london broil, and have used a couple of other cuts before too. I just watch for it to go on sale. Sirloin tip was on sale this time and I decided to make meatloaf again. I wanted something different for this one, so I thought why not stuff it with smoked gouda cheese! This was really good. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf

2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of ketchup (I used just a tad less than ½ cup)
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 eggs
2 pounds of ground beef
1/3 pound of smoked gouda, cut into sticks (like cheese sticks only smaller)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and then add the diced onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic, allowing it to cook for a minute or two. Set aside, sprinkle the tsp of thyme over the mixture and let cool.

Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion mixture, and ketchup. Mix the meatloaf mixture with your hands until everything is mixed well.

Now you’re ready to form your meatloaf and place it in a pan. I chose to use a sheet pan and free form my loaf. I like this way the best. Take a little over half of the mixture and pat it out in the pan to make the bottom of your loaf. In the middle of the loaf, add the smoked gouda cheese sticks. Take the rest of the meat mixture and cover the cheese sticks forming a loaf, making sure to completely cover the cheese. Bake for an hour and a half.

I tasted this and decided not to put ketchup on it as it was really good. However, I am sure it would be tasty with ketchup as well. If you choose to do so, top the meatloaf with ketchup and allow it to bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Handy Tip #1: I advise you to check any meats you cook with a meat thermometer just to be extra safe. Fully cooked according to this website that I found online here is 160 degrees.

Handy Tip #2: Use parchment paper on your sheet pan for easy clean up.

Handy Tip #3: Feel free to add more salt to this recipe as I didn’t really add any extra salt. You could also use a bit more cheese if you’d like. I found mine at the Kroger deli. I just had them slice two large hunks of cheese. It ended up being 1/3 of a pound. I trimmed the rind off and cut them into cheese sticks. Worked great!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup



There is a take and bake place in town that has the most amazing lemon chicken artichoke soup. I decided to try to make a copy of it at home. This soup isn’t exactly like the one at the local shop here, but it’s close. This recipe is so good and highly addictive! I encourage you to try it as soon as you can!

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup

Ingredients:
½ stick of butter
1 tbsp oilive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, diced
2 12oz jars of quartered artichoke hearts in water (drained, rinsed and diced)
2-3 lemons
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 tsp of dried oregano
8 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups of half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 5-6 qt. stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic and then cook for a minute more. Add the artichoke hearts and salt and pepper if desired and cook for 3-5 minutes. Next, add your chicken stock. Allow this to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half & half and the juice of the first two lemons, bring to a simmer and taste everything here. I added the juice of another lemon for a total of three in my recipe. However, lemons can vary in how much juice they give, so try it after 2 and see if you would like more in the soup. Also adjust for salt and pepper at this point as well. Continue simmering for 30 minutes. Then add diced chicken and oregano. Allow to simmer for 15 more minutes. Then enjoy!

Some notes: I didn’t add any extra salt to this recipe at all and it was plenty salty for me. Also more pepper or oregano can always be added. It’s very important to taste as you go along to see what you’d like to add more of. Want more of a kick? Increase the black pepper. Don’t like oregano? Just leave it out. It will still be delicious. Want more chicken? Add 3 cups instead of 2. It's really a flexible recipe. This soup is amazing. I hope you will try it soon! By the way, I found the artichoke hearts at Aldi for a good price. Check them out if you have one close by.

Also, I used chicken breast I had cooked using a wonderful method I discovered on a blog and then froze it. You can find her method here. I used the Tuscan Garlic seasoning from Tones (found at Sam’s) as my seasoning for the chicken. This way of cooking chicken is amazing, not to mention how she has you refrigerate the chicken, then dice it. It makes for perfect little cubes of chicken!