Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sweet Potatoes

Book Summary:

Sweet Potatoes is a cookbook with recipes just for those that love the delicious taste of sweet potatoes. You will learn to do wonderful things with this little cookbook filled with information about the sweet potato and around 60 recipes.

My Thoughts:

I have always been a fan of the sweet potato. From a young age, a common side dish was baked sweet potato with a little butter or pepper and salt. I will admit to feeling slightly horrified the first time I ate sweet potatoes and discovered the normally delicious taste of the sweet potato to be smothered by marshmallows and brown sugar. I have since moved on to enjoying sweet potato in a variety of dishes I make. Imagine my delight with the disclaimer in the introduction that stated no marshmallows had been harmed in the making of these dishes.

This cookbook is perfect for a person who already loves the sweet potato or one who is looking to explore what can be done with one. I enjoyed the introduction to the sweet potato. We are introduced to the different varieties, how to pick out a good sweet potato at the store, knowing what size you need, and how they are grown. All of this is of great help when preparing to make these tantalizing dishes.

I had a difficult time picking just a few recipes to try out. I decided to start with the Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, The Sweet Potato Big Macs, and the Sweet Potato Trail Mix Cookie. I have to say all three were amazing!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes fresh from the oven.


Twice Baked Sweet Potato after adding toppings.

 The first recipe I tried was the Twice Baked Sweet Potato. I really liked this meal. It was filling and left a lot of room for customization. I used a lot of the suggested toppings. I switched sour cream for greek yogurt as that is my preference.

The one recommendation I would have is to closely follow the direction to leave some potato. The skin gets really thin and you can easily break it when working with it.

I would definitely make this dish again.

Sweet Potato Big Mac
 Next I tried the Sweet Potato Big Mac. As you can see from the picture, I did not do the two patties and extra bun. I found it to be tall enough that for me personally, it would have been difficult to eat if it was taller. Again, I used the recommended toppings. I switched out iceberg lettuce from mixed greens as personal preference.

Make sure you make the sauce that goes with it. It was incredible. This was my favorite of the recipes tried and I cannot wait to make it again. There was a lot of flavor and I did not miss the meat at all. If you like vegetarian recipes this is a must! I hope to try it on some vegetarian friends soon.

Sweet Potato Trail Mix Cookie.

I was excited to make a dessert with sweet potato. I made these cookies for a co-worker's last day party. I was not sure how "sweet potato" cookies would be received. They were a huge hit. I took a whole bunch in, and none came home with me. Everyone was raving about the cookies. They are also one of my new favorite cookies and I will be making them often. There is a lot of flavor and they stay moist.

Some recipes I am looking forward to trying are: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll, Sweet Potato Rolls, Sweet Potato Fries, and the Sweet Potato and Raspberry Muffins. Honestly, I want to make all the recipes, but those are some at the top of the list.

This tiny cookbook has moved to the top of my list. I found the recipes easy to make, the flavors incredible, and a good variety of recipes. I am recommending this cookbook to everyone! Enjoy the flavors and please let me know what recipes you try and like.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or one I would not have heard about otherwise.

The Essex Serpent

Book Summary:

Cora Seaborne and Will Ransom are two extraordinary people who fall for each other in an unusual way. Cora is a well to do widow from London who moves to Essex parish where Will is the local Vicar. The village is engulfed in rumors about a giant serpent in the marshes. It is said it slithers about devouring people. Cora, who is a naturalist, is intrigued by the serpent and wants to find out more about it. Will sees it as a sign that his Parish has lost their way. Cora and Will find themselves drawn to each other, yet separated by their different views.

My Thoughts:

I found myself identifying with Cora at the start of this novel. I wanted to learn more about this mysterious serpent that everyone was so obsessed with. I wanted to know if it was something to fear or be astounded by. While this story had great potential, I found myself wondering when something was going to happen. There was so much potential between the mysterious serpent and the undertones of romance that as a reader, I felt sure meant anything could happen on the next page. I did not ever find the gripping tale that I expected to.

I appreciated the strong female lead character that is determined to follow her own interests after denying them for so long. I wanted her to succeed and find a character I could love. I never fell in love with the characters and near the end hoped the serpent would come and eat the lot of them simply for something interesting to happen. I thought there was a lot more potential with the set up than was met.

I had also hoped that the tale might be more gothic as it was described to have gothic undertones.  Or perhaps it would be a book geared more for adults similar to The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. But it was not either of these. I think some people might enjoy this book, but for me it was too slow and never reached stated purpose.

*I received a free copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or one I would not have heard about otherwise.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Many Sparrows

Book Summary:

Clare Inglesby is widowed while crossing the mountains to a new settlement in the late 1700s. She wakes to find herself in labor and shortly after to discover her five year old son missing. It appears that he has been captured by Shawnees. She is determined to do anything she can to find him. She joins with frontiersman Jeremiah Ring to go deep into the wilderness to find him. Clare discovers that her son has already been adopted by Jeremiah's Shawnee sister who does not want to give him up.

My Thoughts:

I am a fan of early American historical fiction so I was ready to settle in and read this book. I found this to be an easy read. To me, the most attractive qualities of the story and characters were when they learned to view another person's perspective on a personal and cultural level. I think balancing a story set in this time period can be difficult. The author did try to put in perspectives from both cultures as she navigated this difficult line.

While I thought there could have been a little more depth to the story, it was an easy read that showed how the main character Clare was willing to challenge her own views over time to meet her goal of getting her son back. I think because the book was not very long, is why it felt rushed to me. A lot happened in the story in what felt like a short amount of time.

I would note for readers that this is a Christian Historical Fiction book, so there are mentions of personal belief from the characters, and that is a focus at times in the story. I only mention this as some readers care more than others if that is present.

If you are looking for a quick historical fiction read set in early American history, this one might interest you.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

Book Summary:

Paula Poundstone starts with the question: is there a secret to happiness? She begins a quest trying different things that are suppose to bring a person happiness in life. She offers up her experiences and results for us to peruse. Filled with humor as she honestly tells what happened to her, the results, and if she intends to continue pursuing that activity. She also tells us the reactions of her children, friends, and people around her in a way that will have you laughing.

My Thoughts:

I've been a fan of Paula Poundstone's for a while. I've listened to NPR for a long time, and always enjoy when she comes one Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. She has a great sense of humor and I was very excited to find out how she is in written form. I was not disappointed. She is not afraid to laugh at herself when her experiments go awry, and it makes her search for happiness seem very relatable. It also provides encouragement to try new things and just discover where events will take you.

While some parts of the book could seem repetitive as she had multiple experiments in the book, I think overall there was still humor to be found in each section. Some of the experiments were more hilarious than others. And some were more relatable which made them more interesting to me, but I still think despite a few spots where it lagged for me it was a fun book.

If you are looking for a completely serious approach to a search for happiness this book is not for you. If you like honestly with a lot of humor, than give this book a try.

*I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book sooner than I would have gotten to it or one I might not have heard about otherwise.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Book Of Greens

Book Summary:

This is an encyclopedia of greens combined with over 150 recipes to use the greens described in the book. Great for the experienced cook and the beginner, the recipes range in difficulty. This book is meant to inspire you to eat more greens in a variety of ways.

The book is organized alphabetically by the type of green and gives a little bit of information about the green such as: seasonality, nutrition, what it pares well with, prep, and storage. After the information follows a couple of recipes for that type of green.

 My Thoughts:

I was absolutely delighted with this cookbook. The information is presented in an easy to find manner. It is presented in a very clear manner and I loved how there was some information about the type of green before each group of recipes. I think it is very helpful when buying, storing, and cooking to have some knowledge of the ingredients you are using to make the dish taste wonderful.

The book is filled with beautiful pictures that will make you want to try all the recipes in the book. Whether you are a big greens eater or new to a lot of these plants you will find inspiration in this cookbook.

I tried several recipes from this book and found them all to be very tasty. While I normally like greens and try to eat a lot of them, this is a very high recommendation because I while trying these recipes I was having difficulties eating greens due to morning sickness. I found the flavors worked well for me and I was able to eat some of the recipes in this book. I still did not eat large quantities, but I was able to enjoy some greens despite my issues.

This is a cookbook that I will continue to use. I enjoyed the information presented and the variety of recipes. I am particularly looking forward to using greens I have never used before. I found The Book Of Greens to be an inspiration in my everyday cooking. I am also pleased that it is a beautiful addition to my cookbook library.

If you like greens or are looking for recipes to try I highly recommend using this cookbook.

**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.**

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a book I would not have gotten to as soon or heard about otherwise.