Category Archives: Let’s Talk About Books

Books I want to read, have read, or will read. Let’s talk.

“Food52 Mighty Salads”: A Book Review

Have you been eating salads like crazy with the bounty of veggies from your garden? Then you might be the perfect candidate for the cookbook by Food52 Team called, Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad to Dinner. If you don’t know what Food52 is, I will tell you. It’s a food community site turned website and shop, which shares recipes from their editors and also runs contests for recipe contributions from their readers along with selling products and cookbooks that they put out.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Blogging for Books, and now I want to share with you my take on this not-just-summer cookbook.

What I like:

Being a salad lover, and also very sick of my same old recipes for salads, I am totally inspired by the recipes in the book. Don’t these sound yummy?:

Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions
Shaved Asparagus with Burrata, Radish & Cucumber
Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Endive & Apple
Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad

The contents are depicted by types of salad to make it easy to find a lot of variety:

Leafy Salads
Less-Leafy Salads
Grain & Bean Salads
Pasta & Bread Salads
Fish & Seafood Salads
Meat Salads

There are a lot of dressings recipes which I just loved. Sometimes I just want a new dressing for my salads, and I made this salad {Spicy Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles} specifically because the dressing of Lime-Sriracha sounded so good- and it was good. Not amazing, but very good. I made it with zoodles though and I liked all the textures and color to the dish quite a lot.Spicy Chicken Salad with Lime-Sriracha Dressing

I am a big fan of pictures if the whole book is about one type of meal {salads}. There are lots of pictures of the meals here {all the photos are done by James Ransom}, to give you an idea and some inspiration for what looks great to eat. This leads to:

What Bugs Me:

The pictures are dark. The intention and style of the book is farmhouse-rustic, so they styled the pictures in a way that feels dark and artsy instead of bright and inviting. To my eye, the food looks flat in a way that makes me not want to make it. However…I showed my sister the book and she found lots of recipes that she would make and she loved the darker style of the pictures, so I think this is a preference that I have, over what everyone would feel.

On another layout preference, I thought that overall the font is smallish and the sidebar that lists the ingredients doesn’t separate the salad from the salad dressing as much as I wanted- I was squinting. I don’t wear glasses, but I am sort of old…so that could certainly be it, but for even older, and blinder folks, just keep your glasses nearby!

As far as a peeve about the recipes…they many and varied.  I don’t stock my pantry with more than half of the ingredients, but as I said, my sister was all about the recipes as being up her alley. I found it inspirational but not practical for my everyday cooking. I had a hard time picking a recipe to make with ingredients that I had on hand. I chose the Spicy Chicken Salad because I had 90% of the ingredients on hand. Most of the other recipes, I would have to go out and shop specifically for.

Who Should Get It:

If you are a huge Food52 fan…and I know there are many! Also, if you love salad and need some new  ideas for making your regular old salads into something more of a meal, than there is a lot of great stuff here- Not just for vegetarians, the seafood chapter is super interesting and if you are a meat eater, there is a plentiful chapter for you too.

The Deets:

Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner- and Make-Ahead Lunches, Too
Editors of Food52, Photos by James Ransom
160 pages with photos.
Ten Speed Press, April 2017
Amazon Hardcover: $14


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

Review for Mighty Salads Food52

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for June…er July!

books I am reading this summerA little late to the party, eh?

Well, let’s just say island-time will do that to a person! I have been on va-ca-tion! {atleast mentally!} So I want to lay out my reads for you that I did in June and July. I can do that see, since I haven’t been reading a ton. You’d think that an underemployed librarian would read more, but then, it’s summer vacation and my kids are home. So there is laundry everywhere, crafts taking over my tables, puzzles laying around and general chaos, but not much time to read. This is the reality of my “relaxing” summer!

I want to lay out my 3 books for these months- yes, just three, but they were SO fun!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins

I read this because I loved Girl on the Train- super suspenseful and quick reading. I needed a book that I knew I would get through, and quickly! And I wasn’t disappointed with that part. It is a quick-read and draws you in and through with constant peeling of the layers surrounding a town that mysteriously has a history of women who kill themselves at the water’s edge. Not a coincidence, you think? Me either. That is the story that unfolds. The people involved and their history together. Small towns are funny like that. There are always stories behind the present day I think, and this mysterious book uses that fact to build suspense and intrigue very well. Recommend but not an absolute must-read.

The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck

I find that there is no shortage of WWII novels every year, and several are bestsellers and super popular. This year, Lilac Girls and Nightingale were on my list to read, but my TBB bookclub, June-partner, picked Women in the Castle as a suggested book. I am so glad that this was on the list. I just loved the perspective of three very different German women in the war. It has always been so hard for me to understand how if you lived in Germany during the war, you actually didn’t see how bad things were for people around you. How could this happen? How come they just swept in under the rug when it was over, like it didn’t happen? This book was a little window into explaining some of this, and it was told so beautifully and had a wonderful example of the fragility and beauty of women-friendships. Recommend highly for those who enjoy historical fiction.

The Brutal Telling, by Louise Penny

This is #5 of the Inspector  Armand Gamache novels that take place in the fictional, Three Pines, Quebec.  I love the town, the people, the fact that no crime happens in this small town except murder…too funny! This one features an unknown (to the town) person who is murdered inside their beloved cafe. But is he really unknown? Bits are revealed to tell us and I am midstream in finding out who and how the victim is intertwined with these lives. The characters are so fun and continue in the series, so you feel that you get to know them all a little bit. You must read these in order for the best telling of the story, so I would recommend that. I am working my way through slowly but surely and they are consistently good.

What are you reading? I’d love to know- Lemme’ know in the comments!!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient along with the Blended Blog Virtual Book Club!


Just so you know: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

What’s on Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for May

nightstand may

Ack! What am I reading?!

I am SO behind in my To-Be-Read (TBR) pile(s)!

My friend, Julie lent me books 5, 6, 7, & 8 of the Louise Penny series (13 total), so I can try to binge-catch up on those wonderful reads, but to be honest, I am slacking…as in way behind and mid-way through about 5 books! Here’s a recap at both, what I finished and am still in the middle of~

*This post contains affiliate links, where if you click on them and make a purchase, I make a small percentage. I include them so that you can find what I am referencing and loving!*

What I listened to:

Finished:

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
This was the one of four choices that I could read for my “The Blended Book Club” reads. I thought it might be sort of boring, so I opted to listen to audio and I was unfortunately right. Several of us in the group found the story quite jumpy in places and the characters a bit under developed. I did learn a lot about Marconi the inventor (or not) of the telegraph, being the first way to send a message over long distances and the ocean. Interesting since Marconi Beach on Cape Cod is somewhere that I have been and never knew the history of…so that was the positive. If you love  literal non-fiction, there is a good book here, but fiction readers might not love the dry narrative-non-fiction take that Larson presents. I found his other book, The Devil in the White City similar in this way, so if you like that one, you may enjoy this.

Still listening:

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
This has been such a good listen! It is all about witches, vampires, and demons…and humans too! So not what I usually read, but fun and so compelling with the storyline of a reluctant witch and taboo-love between a reluctant witch and a hunky vampire…sounds super cheesy, I know, but I have to say it  isn’t written that way and it’s sort of nerd-brainy with all the literary references and academic setting. I am liking this a ton and good news! It’s a series of 3 books so I can keep loving this for two more stories!

Reviewing:

Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders
Loving this but just did not finish- I really can’t read books on my kindle or iPad as fast at all- I just don’t want to read off a screen after being on one all day for work! Paper has my heart!

Reading Now:

Mindset by Carol Dweck
This is sort of a professional development and parenting book for me. I love the concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset set forth in this book- the idea that a person isn’t inherently good at something, but works to be better at it…is just such a great lesson for kids and for the similar concept of “grit” in learning. Thinking that people are just born being the next great athlete or master piano player, and don’t have to work at it is just crazy and limiting…the book is pretty much occupying most of my brain space- I find that I relate everything to it. Very highly recommend!

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Who is Robert Galbraith? The Pen name for J.K. Rowling of course! You know…the woman who wrote Harry Potter!? You probably know that by now, but some people don’t, and no wonder since this 3rd book of the Cormoran Strike series is a far cry from youth and magic- these books are quite grizzly and for crime fans, super reads. I love the characters in these books: a nice and put-upon young twenty something secretary, and her boss, an ex-military, son of a groupie who is the star dectective- our unlikely hero.  I love the setting of London and the weirdness of all the crimes, but they can be a lot of graphic crime…I have to be in a good place before I read one of these and then I always need a break afterwards to read something more uplifting! I am having fun with this one right now though, and since it’s an older book (2013) you can find it easily in the library!

You know that I am reading 5 other books still, but I will have to catch you up later. This is just getting out of hand, and I have to finish some of these up soon! Happy Reading & Doing whatever it is that you ENJOY!

What are you reading? I’d love to know- Lemme’ know in the comments!!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient along with the Blended Blog Virtual Book Club on Thursday!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.