Little Women Cookbook
October 4th, 2019 by diane92345

With over 50 recipes, every food event in Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women is replicated using modern ingredients and cooking methods in the Little Women Cookbook.

From simple lemonade and hot chocolate to fruit trifles and Jo’s corned beef, the book has recipes for all skill levels. Many of the recipes are vegetarian like the garden pot pie. There are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes but the emphasis is on desserts. Or that just may be me. Many are little remembered now like apple slump and jellyroll cake.

I enjoyed the Little Women Cookbook. It was fun to see recipes that I had read about but had no idea how they were made. This a fun gift for the reader in your life. The only downside is there no nutritional information provided. 4 stars!

Thanks to Harvard Common Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: ,

Super Low-Carb Snacks
August 11th, 2019 by diane92345

This beautifully photographed cookbook contains 100 Super Low-Carb Snacks.

By lowering the carbs, something has to go up. I was hoping it would be the protein but most of these self-described “fat bombs” are well over 50% fat. In addition, most of the recipes have high calorie counts due to this excessive fat. If you are keto and trying to keep below 50 net carbs, just two snacks may use that up leaving nothing for your meals.

However, there is good news. The food looks delicious in full color pictures. Almost every recipe has its own picture. All the recipes are gluten-free and indicate when they are also nut, dairy and/or egg-free. The nutritional information includes carbs, protein, and fat by weight and percentage. It also shows calories and fiber.

While there are many fat bombs of nut butters and cheese balls, there are also crackers, snack bars, and candy. But my favorite is Green Deviled Eggs & Bacon, which are kind of avocado toast for grain-free folks. 68% fat but at only 164 calories for two halves, it’s not too bad a hit especially with 10 grams of protein.

Overall, Super Low-Carb Snacks may, or may not, work for your diet—only you can decide. Regardless, the beautiful photographs, clear instructions, and comprehensive nutritional information makes this a 4 star cookbook.

Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for a wished for copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Everyday Keto Baking
July 31st, 2019 by diane92345

Marketed for keto fans, Everyday Keto Baking is also perfect for those sensitive to gluten, eggs, nuts, or dairy. Each recipe is clearly labeled with calories and amounts of protein, carbs, and fats. Almost all the recipes include a picture making deciding what to make first the hardest part.

The best thing about Everyday Keto Baking is that it only requires two types of flour: almond and coconut. Everyone knows that if they see a gluten-free label on bread or cakes (even mixes), the price will be at least double of one made with wheat flour. This cookbook has recipes for all those expensive products like waffles, pancakes, muffins, sandwich rolls, and cakes. But it also has items rarely seen in stores like donuts, crepes, popovers, and tiramisu.

Most of the recipes have many ingredients that you will already have in your pantry. Along with the sweets and breads are about twelve main dishes like salmon croquettes and coconut shrimp. Everything looks yummy, easy to make, and inexpensive so 5 stars!

Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Essential Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook
June 22nd, 2019 by diane92345

Seventy-five yummy recipes are included in Essential Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook.

I’ve had an air fryer for years that I have used solely for potato and carrot fries. However, the recipes in this cookbook might make me leave the air fryer on the counter. There is something here for all tastes.

Forty-six breakfasts, sides, and entrees including:

  • Blueberry breakfast cobbler
  • Donut holes
  • Banana chia bread
  • Mung bean “quiches”
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Buffalo cauliflower
  • Pakoras (fritters)
  • Spring rolls
  • Indian wrap
  • Lasagna
  • BBQ jackfruit nachos
  • Chimichangas
  • Taquitos
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Tamale pie
  • Asian bowl
  • Curry bowl

There are three recipes for fried tofu, four for sauces, one each for tempeh and chutney. The sauces and the chutney are not cooked with the air fryer but go well with other recipes presented here.

Instructions for using an air fryer are included. A convenient chart with vegan cooking instructions including cooking times and temperatures for common fruits and vegetables are provided too.

But don’t forget dessert! The twelve scrumptious recipes include:

  • Chocolate cake
  • Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies
  • Caramelized apples
  • Apple or strawberry puffs
  • Raspberry lemon streusel cake
  • Pineapple upside-down cake
  • Blackberry peach cobbler

The Essential Vegan Air Fryer Cookbook is the perfect cookbook for the newly vegan or gluten-free cook, and/or owners of an air fryer. Many of the recipes are ideal for parties and office potlucks too. The only negative is that there is not a picture for every recipe. Other than that, it clearly deserves 5 stars!

Thanks to Rockridge Press/Callisto Media and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection
April 26th, 2019 by diane92345

The Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection is a huge assortment of both gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. Note that each recipe is both. They may also be nut, soy, and egg free as well as vegetarian and vegan.

The recipes look both tasty and gorgeous. However, most take at least an hour to prepare and contain expensive gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients. If you are only avoiding one ingredient, there are better cookbooks available. However, the Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Collection is a boon for those avoiding both.

Price and/or time prevented me from trying any of these recipes (though the Tomato Tart looked particular yummy). The more than 200 recipes are categorized by meal (breakfast, lunch, weeknight dinner) and type (side dishes and desserts). There is a comprehensive index. But it is not sorted by diet type making this cookbook difficult to use quickly for those avoiding other ingredients. All recipes include a key defining their diet restriction, servings, and prep/cook time. Most have full color pictures. Unfortunately, none have calories or other nutritional information.

Overall, this cookbook is best for gluten-free and dairy-free cooks with at least an intermediate skill in the kitchen, time to cook, and a substantial food budget. 3 stars.

Thanks to Nourish and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Gluten Free Instant Pot Cookbook--Revised
March 31st, 2019 by diane92345

Containing a hundred delicious sounding recipes, the Gluten-free Instant Pot Cookbook—Revised is both a flavor booster and time saver for gluten-free cooks.

Beginning with a cheesy poblano frittata breakfast, savory creamy polenta and various soups like spicy butternut squash, this cookbook has a bit of everything. Who knew you could make gluten-free meatloaf in an instant pot? Or saffron risotto( no more endless stirring)? The dessert chapter sounds particularly yummy filled with tasty treats like rice and bread pudding plus a to-die-for double chocolate fudge cheesecake. There are also easy bone broths for the paleo fans.

Recipes are clearly labeled with other common allergens like dairy, egg, soy and nut. There are vegan and vegetarian recipes included too. The only issue I have is the total lack of nutritional information.

The recipes are surprisingly innovative. For example, the Shrimp and Grits uses the Pot’s sauté function to cook the aromatics first. The sauce is then covered with a trivet and bowl to cook the grits. After a short time, the grits are removed and the shrimp is added to the sauce for heating. It is very innovative to cook everything in one instant pot making this a perfect gift for a college student with an instant pot but little else to cook with in a dorm room.

The recipes are worth 5 stars. However, the complete lack of nutritional information brings my rating of Gluten-free Instant Pot Cookbook—Revised down to 4 stars.

Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Keto in an Instant
January 1st, 2019 by diane92345

Whether you follow a keto or gluten-free diet, Keto in an Instant has spectacular recipes you will want to eat.

After a short introduction to the keto diet and the Instant Pot, the book has a multitude of recipes for breakfast, dinners, soups, stews, sides, salads, snacks, appetizers and desserts. Most of your momma’s comfort foods are here. Meatloaf, chili, carrot cake, and beef stew are just a few examples. Your favorite snacks like buffalo wings, poppers, and artichoke dip are also included. My personal favorite is the Cheesy Garlic Cauliflower Flatbread that looks exactly like real bread but has only 135 calories and 2 net carbs per serving. The author suggests using the flatbread for pizza crust too.

Due to the low carb count in these recipes, none have more than 500 calories per serving with most less than 300. Most of the recipes take less than an hour to make and much of that time is when the Instant Pot is cooking by itself. There are full calorie, protein, net carb and fat counts for each recipe. For those people also avoiding dairy or soy, there are easy options to substitute ingredients. Best of all every recipe has a full-color picture to drool over.

Keto in an Instant is great for Instant Pot owners who are also keto, gluten-free or just want to eat healthier while losing some weight. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Alpha, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Nightmare Before Dinner
October 31st, 2018 by diane92345

The Nightmare before Dinner includes recipes used in the famous Beetle House restaurants in New York and Los Angeles.

There are chapters for sauces, appetizers, soups/salads, entrees, and desserts. Most look more tasty than scary though they do have clever names like Edward Burger Hands, Silence of the Lamb Chops, and Bloodbath Cobbler. The best part is the cocktail recipes that look both scary and tasty like the bubbling This is Halloween. Also included are menu and decor suggestions for four different dinner parties.

I wish the food recipes included nutritional information. However, they all seemed simple to make with mostly easily acquired ingredients. The drinks looked delicious. I can’t wait to try The Beetle’s Juice with tequila, blackberry schnapps, lime juice, bitters, and simple syrup. Yum!

The Nightmare Before Dinner is recommended for hosts who want something different for their next party. 3 stars.

Thanks to Race Point Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Simply Bento
October 11th, 2018 by diane92345

All kinds of lunches, dinners and holiday meals are included in Simply Bento.

This cookbook includes Japanese, sandwich, noodle, rice and sushi bento recipes. It has a full chapter featuring vegan bento recipes and another for low carb bento. Each entree’s recipe comes with suggestions for side dishes and a make-ahead plan. Most recipes include a beautiful full color picture.

As a lover of Japanese culture through manga and anime, I want to create a real bento box for myself. Only three things stand in my way: being gluten free; not having any time to cook anything, even breakfast, in the morning; and not being a great chef. While this cookbook doesn’t provide allergen information, the recipe ingredients can be easily reviewed and substituted if necessary. The second issue means that almost all of these recipes have to wait for the weekend for me (and I assume many others) to have the time to cook them. Many of the cooking techniques require at least a medium skill set. If you are a beginning chef, it’s probably better to start with an easier book.

I loved the instructions for loading up your pantry with Japanese staples. Simply Bento includes instructions to make most of the Japanese sauces, like teriyaki and sweet and sour, from scratch. I also loved the cute side dishes like cherry tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese and Tako (octopus) Sausage made with cocktail franks. Some of the recipes are traditional Japanese and some are Americanized like Taco Rice, Hamburger and Hot Dog Bento.

Love Japanese culture? want to try something different for lunch? Have an extra 30 minutes in the morning and some good knife skills? Simply Bento is highly recommended for you. Unfortunately, due to the lack of nutritional information, I have to take off 1 star leaving Simply Bento with 4 stars.

Thanks to Quarto, Race Point Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

150+ Gluten-free Family Favorites
September 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

If you or a family member lives gluten-free, 150+ Gluten-Free Family Favorites is a useful tool in your cooking shed.

This cookbook includes gluten-free breakfasts, breads, appetizers, entrees, sides, salads, desserts, holiday and kid-friendly recipes. What’s nice is the authors don’t add a bunch of recipes that are already inherently gluten-free. There are no quiches in the breakfast chapter—just yummy scones and cinnamon rolls.

The most confusing part of cooking gluten-free is what flour to use for each recipe. There are basically two kinds of regular flour—all purpose and wheat. But there over 20 different kinds of gluten-free flour that are usually used in combination. 150+ Gluten-Free Family Favorites not only tells exactly which flour to use for each recipe but includes a whole chapter explaining which ones to use for any family recipes that you may want to adapt to your lifestyle.

I love the great variety of recipes and all the information within this cookbook. However, I miss calorie counts and serving sizes. There are also no warnings of other allergens. Worst of all there are no pictures! Looking at the food is the main way I decide if I want to make it. Though I admire the effort, I can’t give this cookbook more than 3 stars.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Taco Tuesday Cookbook
August 27th, 2018 by diane92345

If you love tacos (and who doesn’t), the Taco Tuesday Cookbook is for you!

Filled with 52 taco plus guacamole, salsas, seasonings, beverages and tortilla recipes, this cookbook has something for every taste. Starting with eight easy breakfast tacos, the author includes tacos made with chicken, pork, beef, fish and shrimp. There are also eight vegetarian choices like Blackened Zucchini Tacos and Curried Cauliflower Tacos with Pineapple Salsa. If the thought of eating Mexican tacos every Tuesday for a year doesn’t appeal, don’t worry. There are Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos, Asian Thai Rib Tacos and Philly Cheesesteak Tacos. Skillet Beef Tacos and Food Truck Tacos are available for the traditionalist too. Overall, there is plenty of variety here. Most of the recipes take 20-30 minutes to cook though there are recipes using a slow cooker too.

I picked up the Taco Tuesday Cookbook because I’m gluten-free and corn tortillas are much tastier than most of the gluten-free breads. Even though some of the recipes call for flour tortillas, the author has included a gluten-free “flour” tortilla recipe or store-bought corn tortillas could easily be substituted. All the recipes include pictures that look delicious! The only flaw is no nutritional information is included. Still, this book is recommended for home cooks looking for fast and easy weeknight meals. 4 stars!

Thanks to Fair Winds Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Modern Pressure Canning
June 20th, 2018 by diane92345

Comprehensive guide to Modern Pressure Canning with mouthwatering deliciously photographed recipes.

This cookbook includes an explanation of how pressure canning works, the necessary tools and step-by-step instructions within each recipe. The recipes begin with basic vegetables like carrots, green beans and corn. Next, the author moves onto more advanced vegetables such as pickled cauliflower and pineapple-flavored zucchini. The canned fruit section also includes pie fillings and a concentrated grape drink. The meat section includes pork, beef, poultry and fish plus bacon jam, soups, ground meats, and spaghetti sauce with meatballs. The final chapter includes tomato sauce, ketchup, red/green/peach salsa, chutney, bbq sauce, and poultry/beef/garlic/vegetable broth.

Ideal for gardeners who need to preserve their summer crops and anyone who wants to taste summer farmer’s market flavor in the dead of winter. Modern Pressure Canning is highly recommended for anyone who has a pressure canner. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Quarto Publishing Group/Voyageur Press, and NetGalley for a copy.

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Soul
June 7th, 2018 by diane92345

Soul includes 150 southern soul food recipes that look uniformly delicious thanks to great photographs.

With chapters focusing on a single ingredient, each chapter in Soul progresses from simple to complex recipes.  The chapters include: Collards, Onions, Berries, Lamb, Seafood, Corn, Tomatoes, Melons, Stone Fruit, Eggs and Poultry, Pork and Beef, Beans and Rice, and Roots.

Soul includes menus and playlists plus wine and beer pairings. It includes simple traditional soul food fused with other cuisines like Fried Green Tomatoes made with tomatillos and ancho chili BBQ sauce and Chicken and Waffles with sweet potato waffles. Some are ideas I have never seen before like zucchini slaw. Since the book doesn’t contain nutritional information, I have to take off one star leaving it at 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Southern Living, and NetGalley for a copy.

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Fix Freeze Feast
May 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Extremely comprehensive family cookbook that includes both freezable meals and meals to be eaten immediately after preparation.

Fix Freeze Feast has a huge variety of recipes.  It has 84 meat-based main dishes: 37 with chicken, 23 with beef and 24 with pork. There are 24 seafood and vegetable main and side dishes.  25 sauces and 16 breakfast, snacks and sweets finish up the book.  Most of the recipes are family-sized but a few are for only two servings.  It would be easy to scale up or down any of the recipes to fit any size of household.  It was also easy to make most of recipes gluten-free by just using gluten-free flours, thickeners (like arrowroot), and breadcrumbs.

I tried the Chicken-Broccoli Bake, Vegetable Lasagna (small pan), Basic Red Sauce (small batch) and the Mama’s Pizza Sauce.  I used the red sauce for the lasagna as suggested. The results for all of the recipes were outstanding. The best part of this book is the clear directions for how to package for the freezer and how to reheat the food. Packaging varies depending on the item being packaged.  Most use either plastic freezer zipper bags or baking dishes.  The author has a great idea to buy foil baking pans for no clean up after the meal is reheated.  This works especially well when the item will be taken to a potluck or party.

About a tenth of the recipes are labeled with “Feast Tonight” and don’t contain a freezing step.  While I was fine with those being included, I wish they were all located at the end of each section to make them easier to find. In addition, I would have liked nutritional information including calories to be provided.

Overall, this is a good book for people trying to cook weekday meals in advance.  It would definitely be good for the family budget especially if shopping is done at Costco or Sam’s Club. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Storey Publishing LLC, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook
December 4th, 2017 by diane92345

Filled with 200 recipes from breakfast to dinner to dessert, who knew cooking with an Instant Pot could be so simple.

The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook is a great resource for those people lucky enough to own an Instant Pot or other brand of electric pressure cooker. The author explains that the recipes can also be easily adapted for a stove top pressure cooker too. The recipes are easy to follow and include only ingredients most pantries will have on hand. The introduction includes a very nice discussion about how the appliance works. The best part, of course, are the recipes. Who can resist trying Triple Chocolate Cheesecake, Coq au Vin or Beef Stroganoff made quicker and easier within an Instant Pot? Or cooking dried beans for truly homemade Red Beans and Rice in only an hour? Yum!

The recipes all sound delicious. Having the index organized by main ingredient (i.e., beef, chocolate, zucchini) makes it easy to see what options are available based on what the reader has on hand. Their are many vegetarian and gluten-free recipe options though there is no labeling of the recipes. The only drawbacks are there is no nutritional information provided and pictures are infrequent. 

I tried a few of the recipes (Corned Beef and Cabbage, Red Beans and Rice, Quick Turkey Chili) with excellent results. I highly recommend this cookbook for both experienced electric pressure cooker users and newbies like myself. 

Thanks to the publisher, Quarto Books-Harvard Common Books, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy.

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The Vegan Cookbook
November 4th, 2017 by diane92345

Pretty pictures but recipes are less than awe-inspiring.

Readers have abundant choices for vegan cookbooks.  Most can be separated into quick and easy or complex and expensive.  The Vegan Cookbook falls into the second category.  It has mouthwatering pictures of the completed recipes. However, all the recipes include a multitude of ingredients.  Many are exotic spices that would be expensive to buy for a single recipe. Several would require a special trip to a health food store or Whole Foods rather than a neighborhood grocery store. It was particularly disappointing to not see any nutritional information—not even calories—for a single recipe. Also there was no indication which allergens were in each recipe without reading the entire ingredient list.  A nice soy-free or gluten-free icon would have made it easier for the allergic to find recipes.

Usually when I receive a review copy of a cookbook, I prepare at least a few of the recipes.  Within The Vegan Cookbook, I couldn’t find a single recipe where I had all the ingredients in my kitchen. I admit that I am not organized enough to add recipe ingredients on my weekly shopping list, bring them home and still feel like cooking the recipe many days later. Some readers are and will appreciate the recipes within this vegan cookbook.  However, it rates only 3 stars from me.

Thanks to the publisher, Nourish, and Netgalley for a review copy.

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