Category Archives: Reviews

Cookbook Review: Simple Green Suppers

Simple Green Suppers, by Susie Middleton, and photos by Bandi Baird
Description from NetGalley (thanks to them for my copy):

125 recipes for complete one-dish vegetarian suppers that pair pantry staples with fresh ingredients–perfect for nonvegetarians aspiring to eat a more plant-based diet.

Available on Amazon, April 11th
Paperback, Kindle

Thank You to Roost Publishers and NetGalley for my free e-copy. There are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you click on them, I am compensated. It in no way affects your costs or my opinions. Read my full disclosure.

Can I just say, if I could eat paper, I would eat this book! I love her pictures of beautiful food. I am always trying to eat more vegetables and trying even harder to keep it interesting- I seem to make roasted vegetables over and over, until now I am sort of just done with them! Vegetables can be sort of, well…boring. I needed some inspiration.

This book gave me just that. I love the sound of these recipes of hers:

Broccoli Raab and Creamy Goat Cheese Baked Pasta Gratin…YUMMMM

Quinoa & Bean Salad with Tomato-Nectarine-Curry Dressing…WhaaaT?

Two-Potato Red Onion & Bell Pepper Taco with Lime-Chipotle Sauce….The sauce alone, guys!

The Contents are separated into:

  • Noodles
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Leaves
  • Toast
  • Tortillas
  • Eggs
  • Broth

There is an intro and follow up in each chapter and the book for essential techniques…I didn’t love the overkill on this, as I sort of know how to cook the basics, but if you are a newbie, this would be really helpful information on the “how-to’s” of cooking vegetables and handling ingredients, like “Tips & Strategies for Tortillas.”

Because I am in LOOOOOVE with the toast chapter, I made this ridiculously good avocado toast- Now don’t be dismissive! Avocado toast recipes are a dime a dozen, right now, but this one is special: pickled beets and deliciousness abound. My hubs went crazy for this, and we had to have it two days in a row! So good:

Avocado Toast with Baby Kale, Blue Cheese, Pecans, Quick-Pickled Radishes, and Honey

Simple Green Suppers Avocado Toast

Ridiculous, right?! So freaking good. I don’t think my pics do this justice at all- I was rushing through taking them, so I could stuff this in my mouth! The blue cheese and pecans were deal breakers for me- this is my new toast.

If you need veggie inspiration like I did, then this book is for you. This book is going on my gift list this year for sure! For everyone.

You are welcome- and Thank You to Roost Publishers and NetGalley for my free e-copy. There are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you click on them, I am compensated. It in no way affects your costs. Read my full disclosure.



A Meatloaf in Every Oven: Cookbook Review

Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (February 7, 2017)
Available via Amazon

Summary from Amazon:

[With] 50 killer recipes, from the best classic takes to riffs by world-famous chefs like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali; from Italian polpettone to Middle Eastern kibbe to curried bobotie; from the authors’ own favorites to those of prominent politicians. Bruni and Steinhauer address all the controversies (Ketchup, or no? Sauté the veggies?) surrounding a dish that has legions of enthusiastic disciples and help you to troubleshoot so you never have to suffer a dry loaf again.

*This post may contain affiliate links- see my full disclosure page.

Seriously? A whole book about meatloaf?

Meatloaf seems so straightforward, but in this book, you realize it is anything but boring! The variations on this humble meal, from Alex Guareselli’s mom’s meatloaf to Rep. Paul Ryan’s venison version, will inspire you to make meatloaf a regular mainstay at your table. I just love that I can pick out a recipe depending on whether I want an indulgent (cheeseburger meatloaf) or weekday meal (chicken with sriracha).

The authors are two friends, who have apparently been emailing, texting, and discussing their shared love of meatloaf for years. There is a little dialogue throughout the book between them, bantering about the “best” recipe or an exchange of a recipe for this shared obsession. I love the natural language and humorous play between chapters, and more importantly, I love all the stories behind the recipes; Each is presented with an accompanying little explanation of why the recipe is included in the book.

We are especially fond of the Buffalo-style chicken wing-so fiery, so tangy. And we were determined to reproduce its magic in a meatloaf (Buffalo-Style Chicken Loaf with Blue Cheese).

Aside from a great story for each recipe, my favorite component of a good cookbook is the index or the contents. This book did not disappoint. The contents includes a clear list of recipes broken down in a very useful manner:

  • Chapter 1: Classics
  • Two: Around the World
  • Three: Lamb
  • Four: CluckCluck Gobble Gobble (a bit of humor like this runs throughout the book)
  • Five: Meatless
  • Six: Guilty Pleasures
  • Seven: Political Postscript (Politician recipes!)
  • Eight: Sides
  • *Index

There was some discussion in the book on whether or not to include “sides” or recipes that were not only meatloaf recipes. I am glad they decided to keep these. I am always looking for great new sides, and these are accompaniments from some of the greatest chefs like Alex Guarnascelli or Bobby Flay.

But all the recipes look great-I of course have to try making a recipe or two, and I did. I made the Spicy Turkey Meatloaf. Although since I don’t like ground turkey, I made it will ground chicken. It was spicy for sure, but not too much so, and the sriacha glaze on top was SO good! So good, a couple of my kids ate it- Whoohoot! (they don’t usually eat meatloaf, so this was big).

spicy meatloaf

Main Take:

Excellent cookbook! I made a chicken meatloaf with sriracha glaze that was super delicious and my kids loved it.  There are lots of offerings from chefs like Alex Guarnaschelli to Paul Ryan (the politician!) mixed in here- but all of the recipes are easy enough for a home cook- plus they added some great side dish offerings so it’s not all meat…you get the potato part and some veg too! Highly Recommend.

As a book reviewer, I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher or author to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and as always my review and opinion is 100% my own. This post may contain affiliate links- see my full disclosure page.

Cookbook Review: Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites

I love cookbooks. Old ones, out of date ones, full of pictures, or no pictures at all. I love them. I love especially, cookbooks that tell a story like these:

old cookbooks, review of Anthony Bourdain's Appetites

Yes, they are spiral bound. Yes, they may only have 1 or 2 recipes that I love. But they introduce most recipes or at least the chapters with a story.

Here are two newer ones that are particularly chatty:

old cookbooks, review of Anthony Bourdain's Appetites

These two, pictured above, are not only dog-eared for all the recipes that are so unique, and have turned out awesome, they also create a story around the food that makes me just want to make it.

That is why I LOVE Anthony Bourdain’s newest cookbook. Surprisingly, he’s kind of chatty.

I received a free e-copy to review, but I will be getting a print version on my own for sure. He is a master story-teller besides being an awesome cook. While Bourdain can be abrasive in his personality, his food is masterful. He spent 28 years as a professional chef, and then wrote Kitchen Confidential (2000) a tell-all about the “back of the house” in the restaurants we all adored. His shows on CNN, both No Reservations and Parts Unknown, which take viewers on an awesome foodie-ride across food cultures around the world show us his personality. And as we have seen it change all these years on TV, his manner has become less “drugs and rock & roll” and more “dysfunctional family-guy.”

Enter this newest cookbook, Appetites. In it, Bourdain gives us story after story, often about his family life, with each dish he creates. From macaroni and cheese or meatloaf, to a masterful Thanksgiving plan from A-Z, and ranging to Korean specialties like Budae Jigae. He is doing it all, and although he knows chef-techniques, this is a home-cookbook. He is clear in the instruction, and minimal in the necessary ingredients lists. I love that. I love that he is no-nonsense and gives it to us straight. He says in the book about making Thanksgiving:

“Preparing a holiday meal can be a stressful affair. It’s not mystery why murder rates spike between November and late December…No need…the key to a relatively easy, smooth-running, violence-free Thanksgiving is to adopt the following three-day strategy…” (p.185)

And then he does. He lays out a three day prep-ahead plan for a stress-free holiday meal. I love it. Seriously, love this.  There is so much packed in this book full of narrative, fun, clearly instructed meals along with more involved recipes: Examples of the “Poultry” chapter are Chicken Pot Pie, Korean Fried Chicken, Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken, Roasted Quail with Polenta, or Thanksgiving as I mentioned). All of it is easy to find with a great table of contents (not to be underrated) and index (always underrated, but super important in a cookbook!).

He is quirky and irreverant in his story telling, but also a superb chef and cookbook author. I may not always agree with his opinions on life, but in cooking, I am totally a fan.

Appetites: A Cookbook

By: Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever
Synopsis: Recommend Highly
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 304 including illustrations, index
Sale Date: October 25, 2016