Category Archives: Reviews

“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

Make a Photo Book with Blurb

blurb photo-book
*Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links however, as always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own. See full disclosure.

It is about time that I unloaded my photos from my computer and put them into books I think!

I have about three years worth of pictures just sitting in files, and to be totally honest… My kids are like:

“Mommy- why is this book say 2015? Isn’t it 2017?”

blurb photo-book

I want to say:

“Yes. Yes it is my little love-buckets. It says on the photo-book, “2015” and since I had you, I have had no time to myself, let alone, to put pictures of you into cutesy little books. I only could do that for your sisters who were born first (Back when they couldn’t walk and just napped and napped) sigh.”

But I don’t say that. I just sigh again, and start trying to get these pics in order with Blurb!

How I Organized Before I Even Started

      1. I am trying to get all these pics in order first on my computer, so I put all my photos into files first, by year.
      2. After I have year folders made, I create month folders within each year. That way I have a little bit of a sense of what was happening in those folders (birthdays, vacations, or whatever).
      3. I decided what  book I wanted to make: On the website, select the area for making Photo Books- they have some other products. Then they prompt you for choosing the size. Do that. Then choose the cover- you can change this later, but know I did the hardcover with dust jacket, but the photo-wrap is nice too, since dust jackets can get torn or removed.
      4. Next you install BookWright, their software with templates and fonts and all kinds of design fun, to put the book in the order and way that makes it unique to you. I don’t get too fancy, as I have more pictures than space, so I sort of jam them all in there. I loved the various layouts that they offer here. Now I didn’t intend to put ALL the photos in there, but I sort of just decided to put a page (or two) per month. Birthday months and Christmas time had more pictures, so we needed more pages for those months. You upload what photos you want and will fit to your format.
      5. Once your pages are done, you are done and you can proof it and order your book!

I have used lots of other photo book makers before, and I like them a lot in general- I am constantly switching around the companies to get the best deal and the highest quality. Blurb is not very well known I don’t think, and until I started with them, I probably would still be making my same old option without all the customization. But I am not very up to date on photo-apps I guess, I just realized last week that the Blurb app is built into my husband’s phone and I didn’t even know it until I started working with them.

Here’s what I like:

      • The book quality is awesome
      • The options for upgrading are plentiful: hardcover, hardcover with jacket, nice paper or really nice paper. The Blurb concept rewards you for ordering in quantity too, so say you are getting married or having a baby and want to share a book with all your loved ones…that is an awesome idea by the way, and I wish I had done that(!), you can order a bunch, send them out and save some cash. Sweet!
      • They are constantly sending me coupons for great discounts (sometimes up to 50% off!)
      • There are really nice fonts, sizes, and ideas for making your most unique book ever. Mine was boring, but EASY with their online templates but you are more creative than me no doubt and will love the BookWright or InDesign features! My next book is going to rock it! LOL!

Blurb is actually a company for making books of all kinds, not just photo books. If you are a great photographer and say you want to showcase a whole book of pictures (maybe of your favorite island vacation), you can then create a travel photobook with lots of text options- not just a generic text box, and you have your new book ready to go- It might make a great present for a new baby visit or engagement party too! You can even sell your book on Amazon when you’re done. Just saying. Not that I did, but you could. You so could! Make your own book with Blurb!

Have you used Blurb before? What do you use for photo-books if you don’t use them? Are you as bad as I am at getting books made of your pictures?!


*Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links however, as always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own. See full disclosure.

 

Easy, Healthy Meals with Noodles & a Thai Peanut Noodle Recipe

Look what I just made in 10 minutes:

Thai Peanut Noodles

This is an easy Thai Peanut Noodle dish that took me all of 10 minutes and a handful of ingredients.

Disclosure: I received samples of product from Fortune Noodles in order to review them for you here on the blog. As always I only give you my 100% honest opinion. See my full disclosures here.

Do you love noodles? I am not talking pasta. I am talking about the ramen-style noodles that you ate every day once you moved out of your parent’s house!  Honestly, I pack them in my kids’ lunches every week, and they are just about the only lunch that comes back totally eaten! We love it around here, and for a  hot meal, it is a great way to feed my kids fast!  I love that I can serve them alone with seasoning, or amp them up with lots of veggies or meat- and depending on what I put on them, my meal changes completely.

My kids love either plain buttered noodles, or instant soup Yakisoba style noodles (the thin, long, kind), but my husband and I love Thai sauces over rice noodles (flat, long) or Udon style (the round, wheat) noodles with teriaki or curry sauces.

Here’s a quick description of each kind that I got to sample from Fortune Noodles:

Yakisoba

Teriyaki SG Fortune Noodles

Udon

7_Chkn_Udon_3D_Pkg Fortune Noodles

Rice

7_Chkn_Udon_3D_Pkg Fortune Noodles

I love keeping “easy” food that is healthy on hand to make for easy meals in our busy schedules to make my life so much easier. These noodles are awesome. Unlike the dried up kind that sits in the cupboard, the Fortune Brand noodles are fresh, so you keep them refrigerated. They use no-GMO oils, natural colors, and no MSG. I love that their ingredients are 100% natural.

For my Thai Peanut Noodles, here’s what I did:

Thai Peanut Noodles

Thai Peanut Noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 package Fortune Thai Peanut Rice Noodles
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 1 Tsp.oil
  • 1 cup broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 2 TBSP peanuts
  • *Squeeze of lime, and sprinkle of cilantro or chives optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium/high heat. Meanwhile drain and cut the tofu into cubes. Layer it between 4 paper towels and press to absorb the extra water. Place the cubes into the hot oil. Flip to brown both sides.
  2. Add the vegetables and cover for 2 minutes.
  3. Open the Fortune Rice Noodles and puncture the bag- heat in the microwave for one minute to loosen the noodles (or you can run them under hot water).
  4. Add the noodles, 1/2 cup of water and the seasoning bag to the skillet and mix it all together. Cover and continue to cook 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and add your chopped peanuts and cilantro or chives if desired. Squeeze a little lime over the top, and serve.
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http://hardlyagoddess.com/thaipeanutnoodles/

I literally could eat noodles every day, as I sit here now dreaming of my favorite Thai places to eat and slurp up my noodles like they were running out of them. Back in the day (before kids!) and I had no food in my house at all, I would still find enough money to go out with my sister in law to our favorite Pho or Thai places just to get our fix on some noodles drenched in hot broth or yummy sauce! It was always worth it and crave-worthy. When I got married and then pregnant, my cravings were always for Thai rice noodles with peanut sauce. always. And so now, I still love noodles, but I can’t go out all the time- Making it myself is easier and usually healthier, but can be time consuming. I love that I can get a healthy, pre-packaged meal that is halfway homemade, but still gets me my craving indulgence!

The Fortune Noodles website has some great recipes too for making their packaged noodles and complete meal with added vegetables and meat (or tofu). Check them out here:

Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Make this, I know you will love it!

Thai Peanut Noodles2

Disclosure: I received samples of product from Fortune Noodles in order to review them for you here on the blog. As always I only give you my 100% honest opinion. See my full disclosures here.

Linking up this week with Deborah & Sarah for Meatless Monday along withFood, Pleasure and Health and The Fit Foodie Mama for another ALL veggie link-up! Great way to start the week! Come by and check them out!