Sneaky Blends? I have to admit I was intrigued and quite taken with the title. I have three kids. Two of which are extremely picky eaters. I’ve been sneaking vegetables into their food for awhile. Sometimes they catch it and sometimes they don’t. Smoothies have been a hit and miss. With spaghetti sauce, I can and have hidden a lot of nutritious things for them to eat. But we don’t eat spaghetti sauce all the time and I was needing new “blends” to work with to incorporate into more than just meals but snacks too.
Meals in a Jar Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes
By Julie Languille covers what one would need to know about preparedness and long term food storage. Now I will have to state the cover is a bit misleading. Most of the recipes in this book are to be storedin mylar bags, tote bags, or vacuums bags while only a fourth or so of the recipes can be compiled in just jars like pictured. Aside from that quirk, this book does have much to offer someone whether they are cooking for a large family or stocking up their pantry for any number of reasons.
The Mason Jar Salads and More: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go cookbook has changed the way we do things around my home! A book that not only gives on the proper mindset but also the will to dive in is quite something that one doesn’t come by often. Everything you’d want to know about creating salads in a mason jar is covered but it gos beyond in providing recipes for snacks, breakfasts, vinaigrettes, dips and lunches that contain more than just the general green stuff. I was assuming there’d just be your green salads with veggies thrown in but there’s pastas, fried rices, and other delicious combinations to compile that are something to brag about!
I grew up eating what most consider junk food but since I’ve been committed to living a healthier lifestyle I haven’t in many years. I won’t deny that I do still get cravings for those snacks. Maybe it’s more nostalgic in being tied to fun childhood memories than the actual taste of the snack that I recall. Though there’s no way I would ever go back to eating them now. At least that was the case until I discovered Casey Barber’s cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch – 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats.
Intrigued and delighted, knowing that I as well as my family could re-create these snacks all-naturally without the addition of artificial flavors and undesirable ingredients, I was sold! Instead of telling my kids (myself as well) no we won’t be purchasing those snacks at the grocery store, I can now let them know I’m taking the action of making them ourselves thanks to this book!
The classic snack categories are Cookies, Cakey Treats, Cheesy Snacks, Salty Snacks, Ice Cream Treats, Sweets & Candies, Fruit Filled Treats, Fried & Frozen Snacks, and ending with Dips & Spreads. A few of the treat recipes include those for Oreos, Nutter Butters® cookies, Pop-Tarts, Cheetos®, Twinkies, & Jalapeño Poppers to name just a few. Truly many of the recipes covered are known by many Americans.
The book layout is easy to navigate and instructions clear and concise. The beginning of the book has an introduction followed by a Useful Tools & Ingredients section. This area I found beneficial to make ones self familiar with before getting started. It’s not completely necessary but I believe you should read it if you want to take advantage of all the important information to making the most of your cooking! Near the back, there’s Helpful resources which list links and certain ingredients you may have trouble locating at your local grocery store. I haven’t ran into that issue but I’m so glad it’s included. Techniques is a section that instructs you how to master cooking know how that you may not be comfortable with just yet. There is a conversions chart to become familiar with in the very end.
There are 70 recipes in this book. Throughout the book there are facts and food history as well a full color photographs. I love being able to learn stories behind foods we like! The author introduces each recipe with a few words. I really like the personal touch. Each recipe has a difficulty level from 1-4. One being the easiest to make and four on the more skilled level. I appreciate that the skill level is listed so if aiming to make a snack with my kids, I can pick one with minimal difficulty to make. How long each recipe will keep after made is mentioned for every recipe most lasting a week others a little longer if frozen.
One of our favorite snacks to make from this book is the Caramel Corn! Who know making this classic treat could be so easy. The verdict was that it was even better than the caramel corn we are used to getting from the store. I don’t think we’ve ever had this tasty treat taste so deliciously fresh! I even thought about adding peanuts to the recipe and it would be just like having Cracker Jacks!
I would highly recommend this book! I will say that though it takes more time to make these than to just picking up these snacks, you are going to get a far better version by making these yourself. You can’t beat the freshness and the fact you know every single thing going into them. This would be a great gift for anyone and a fabulous book to use together if you are aiming to get the kids in your life excited about helping in the kitchen!
Interested in Purchasing? Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats is available on Amazon.com in hardcover ($14.85) or digital format($9.99). Prices are subject to change.
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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.
The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr is a extensive guide that both beginner or advanced herb enthusiast will want to add to their book collection. Whether you like using herbs for the cooking, aromatic properties, medicinal use, or decorative purposes this book covers many of these areas in adequate detail. Many known herbs are obviously included as well as many not so known. There are over 900 entries within this 386 paged book. The full color photos make this book fun to look at and even better for identifying specific herbs.
This book is one I’m thrilled to have. It’s extremely easy to navigate and for that I applaud. A book of such a size with so much information can sometimes seem overwhelming but not this one. The table of content lays out the book as follows; Herb Basics, Herbal Preparations, Garden Projects, Kitchen Projects, and Specialty Herbs. In each of those sections, there’s much to learn from growing advice, DIY projects, recipes, preservation, harvesting, and much more. Following the table of contents is the Herbs A to Z page. There are more than 125 listed. If I want to look up Cilantro, I can easily do so using the A to Z page.
Each herb page has helpful lists, sidebars and sometimes a quote. Each sidebar provides information such as category the Herb falls within, its origin, type, height, other names & varieties, how to grow, season, and safety. Each featured herb section is about 2-3 pages in length. There’s usually a brief history, a recipe depending on the herb, as well as other information that will help you get acquainted with what variety you so chose to learn about. There’s always up-close photos to go with each herb as well as the recipes included.
I feel that this book will help me greatly in my gardening and DIY herb projects. There’s so much helpful informational provided in guiding readers no matter what way they intend on using Herbs or growing them indoor or out. I’m eager to try some of the 40 recipes and crafting projects from herbs I manage to grow myself! The harvesting and growing information I found extremely helpful! I would highly recommend this title! It’s a beautifully complied book full of a plethora of information!
Interested in Purchasing? The New American Herbal can be purchased on Amazon.com as well as other book retailers online and in store. Amazon prices are 11.99 for e-book and $20.22 for paperback.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience of the title.
The Great American Slow Cooker Book is a must have if you are looking to get acquainted with your slow cooker and are aiming to expand your horizons to make all sorts of delicious known as well known to you dishes! I like my slow cookers but must admit that I get stuck in the rut of making the same things all the time. I tend to browse around the net for a recipe only to try it out and it comes out horribly wrong as in too soupy or ever so dry. This issue is mainly because most recipes don’t specify which size capacity cooker the recipe is written for. But the authors of The Great America Slow Cooker book took this issue into consideration not offering just a recipe sizing in one format but instead offers three conversions for the most common size crock pots!