Posts for Cookbooks Category

A Revolution of Canadian Cookbooks: Mairlyn Smith’s Homegrown

Beef, Cookbooks, Fun, Recipes - Chief Cook - December 3, 2015


A Comedian, a home economist, and a writer – it’s hard to think that a person can be all these things at the same time, but Mairlyn Smith likes to challenge the unimaginable and represents just that. As a renowned food personality in Canada, Mairlyn has captured the attention of Canadian foodies from across the nation with her popular cookbooks such as Healthy Start’s Here!, Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health and The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa

She is going to be delighting her fans once again with the newest addition to her line of recipe books with Homegrown. Smith is on a serious mission to revive good eating, basic culinary skills and, honestly, just general kitchen common sense. Not only does Mairlyn presents an amazing collection of Canadian recipe’s, the book also represents a collection that primarily focuses on Canadian-grown ingredients. The great aspect about her new book is that she highlights the different local products consumers can use for the recipes and especially focuses on the various agricultural products found from the Pacific coastline to the cool shores of PEI. It is evident that her book will classify Canada’s sprawling geography and bring attention to the different and diverse local products Canadians can enjoy.

Officially being released on December 7th, you can preorder your book at Chapters Indigo here. Now you can enjoy over 160 authentic Canadian recipes with locally produced ingredients such as Gluten-Free PEI Potato Lasagna, Red Lentil Waffles with Pear Sauce, and Asian-Style Nova Scotia Scallops with Miso Glaze. She also has some of our FAVORITE beef recipes made with homegrown Canadian Beef –  because Canada’s the perfect place for raising beef!


Continue Reading

No Need to Feel Left Out If You’re Not Irish Year-Round

Beverages, Cookbooks - Jennifer - March 7, 2011

I know St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until next week, but I’ve been helping put together a big party for this weekend, so I’m in the spirit already.  Or should I say I’m in the “spirits” already, having participated in a marathon jello-shot-making afternoon (we made over 700 shots in 8 varieties)!  So I dug out my old Clancy Brothers/Tommy Makem cassette tapes (recorded off of the LPs of my childhood), dusted off the old boom box, and started surfing the Kobo site for further inspiration.  There I found The Best Irish Drinks by Ray Foley, publisher of Bartender magazine.  Who would know the best Irish drinks better than an Irish bartender?

Typically, I’m a beer girl, and my favorite variety is stout, the darker the better.  But with over 300 Irish cocktail recipes at my fingertips, I’m ready to branch out.  The book features entire chapters devoted to Irish whiskey, Irish creams, beers, cocktails, and Irish coffees.  And once you’ve mastered the libations, there’s a chapter on toasts and wisdoms to round out your education.  I like this one: 

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!

Continue Reading

Pizza, How Do I Love Thee? For Breakfast, Lunch AND Dinner!

Cookbooks, Dinner, Pizza, Tasty Travels - Jennifer - March 1, 2011

Just the other day, I said to my husband that I thought I could eat pizza for three meals a day and be perfectly happy.  Then we inherited a ton of leftovers from a pizza party, and I’ve had the opportunity to put that theory to the test.  And the result is, yes, yes I can eat pizza for three meals a day and enjoy it!  But eating the same pizza over and over is getting a little tiresome, so I thought I’d look for some ideas to add some variety to my “dream” diet.

American Pie:  My Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart is more than just a pizza cookbook.  Sure, there are recipes aplenty, but the book is also a comprehensive travelogue, as master breadmaker Reinhart visits influential pizza meccas in Italy and the US, including Florence, Rome, Naples, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, among others.  He discovers pizza’s roots and delves into its evolution, compares the different styles of pizzamaking, and develops his own.  Now if we can just finish all those leftovers, I’ll be ready to start tossing dough!

Also grabbing my attention by Peter Reinhart is Artisan Breads Every Day:  Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads.  Bread making is something I haven’t attempted beyond throwing the ingredients in the automatic breakmaker and letting it do the rest.  I’m thinking this could be our next rainy day project.  Thanks, Peter!

Continue Reading

Hey, A Girl Can Dream, Can’t She?

Beverages, Cookbooks, Recipes - Jennifer - February 21, 2011

I’ve never really been one to appreciate extremes. Politically, I like to think of myself as a middle-of-the-roadie. I don’t like to finish last, but I don’t over-exert myself to finish first, either. And I generally prefer the transitional seasons of spring and fall to the too, too wintery winter and the too, too summery summer. But in the midst of this overly long, cold and snowy winter, I find myself longing to skip over the chilly spring and dive headfirst into the sultry days of summer. I’m cold all of the time, people!

So as I browse the Kobo cookbook collection looking for inspiration, I’m drawn to the warm and colorful covers of the summer-themed titles like these:

Simply Summer, designed around smaller appliances that won’t heat up your kitchen.

Mediterranean Grilling, full of fresh ideas for when we tire of the usual burgers and dogs.

The Ultimate Guide to Pitcher Drinks:  Cool Cocktails for a Crowd, featuring more than 150 recipes for summery libations to help your sizzling celebrations chill.

So, are these thoughts of summer’s heat taking the edge off of my perpetual wintery discomfort?  Not really.  Maybe it’s time for a return to browsing the cold-weather dishes!

Continue Reading

FlyLady Saved My Sanity; Now Leanne Saves Dinner

Cookbooks - Jennifer - February 8, 2011

Six years ago when we decided it was time to move, I had three little boys, ages 4, 2 and 9 months. As you know, babies require tons of equipment. Plus, my husband and I had each owned our own homes before we were married, so we brought many possessions to the union (well, at least I did!), and we had a LOT of stuff crammed into our little place. The prospect of going through all of that stuff, packing it up, and unpacking it at the new house was so daunting, I didn’t know where to start.

At the time, I belonged to a moms’ group, and a couple of the other girls had discovered the home organization system put forth by FlyLady Marla Cilley in her book, Sink Reflections. The FlyLady overcame her own domestic disorganization by taking “babysteps,” adopting routines, and loving herself unconditionally.  I read the book, and I was hooked.  I signed up for daily missions, knowing that I could accomplish anything if I just worked at it 15 minutes at a time.  I “27 Fling-Boogied” my way toward getting out from under.  I released the things that were no longer blessing me, so that they could go bless someone else.  And I moved us from one house to another, minus a ton of the clutter that was bringing me down!

Along the way, I came to know FlyLady’s partner in crime, Leanne Ely, author of the Saving Dinner series of cookbooks.  Together with FlyLady, Leanne reached out to those challenged homemakers who also had trouble in the kitchen.  Her book, Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table, fits perfectly with FlyLady’s philosophy of planning and routine.  The book is divided by season, and each season is broken down by week, with the titular menus, recipes and shopping lists included for each.  Look at that; no thinking involved at all!  Just a simple roadmap, and a weekly shopping trip.  I think now would be a good time for me to delve into some of Ely’s other books, particularly Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way.  Her additional titles include Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way, Saving Dinner Basics: How to Cook Even if You Don’t Know How, and Saving Dinner for the Holidays.

Continue Reading

Kobo Reading Life Gives Me the Validation I Crave!

Cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, Product Reviews, Tips & Tricks - Jennifer - February 1, 2011

I never thought an eReader would become such an integral part of my life.  But since I acquired it, I have been happily using the Kobo eReader app on my iPhone to help with a particular domestic problem of mine.  I’ve mentioned before that my husband is the primary grocery shopper in our household due to my, ahem, impulsive shopping habits.  Add to that my general failure to bring make a list, and I’m not the most efficient shopper out there.  Further, I often used to find myself guessing at recipes when inspiration would strike and then racking up some unnecessary expenses.  But with Kobo on my iPhone, right in the middle of the store I’m able to consult those very cookbooks that would normally be standing ineffectually at home on a shelf.  I can buy what I need and get out of there!

And now I can take it a step further with Kobo Reading Life.  Launched back in December for the iPad, Kobo Reading Life is an app that enables users to do all of the following:

∙ Connect your Reading Life with friends on Facebook
∙ Discover and share your favorite books, passages, characters and places
∙ Celebrate reading and earn fun & exciting awards
∙ Track your personal reading history, and learn about your own reading habits

Well, as of today, the Reading Life app is available for iPhones and iPod Touch devices.  So when I’m standing in that grocery store, bursting with pride over getting everything I need (and nothing I don’t) to make Rick Rodger’s Pear Coffee Cake with Streusel Crust, I can post that recipe instantly to Facebook, and give myself an “award.”  I can even check my personal stats.  Ahh, I thrive on validation!

Continue Reading

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Beverages, Cookbooks, Desserts, Recipes - Jennifer - January 31, 2011

With the very real threat of nearly two feet of snow being dumped on my community over the next two days, I’m settling in for the duration.  The kids will likely be home from school, and they can play in the snow all they want.  We have a huge yard, and I have a great view from the kitchen patio door.  I will happily make hot cocoa for them, but I’m planning something a bit more interesting for myself!  This could be a lengthy hibernation, so I’ve armed myself with two books of warm deliciousness by renowned chef and cookbook author Rick Rodgers: Tea And Cookies: Enjoy The Perfect Cup Of Tea–With Dozens Of Delectable Recipes For Teatime Treats and Coffee And Cake: Enjoy The Perfect Cup Of Coffee–With Dozens Of Delectable Recipes For Cafe Treats.

Tea And Cookies features 13 teas and 9 cookie recipes, while Coffee And Cake offers up 11 coffees and 10 cakes, so we’ll have no shortage of combinations to try while riding out the storm.  And when the snow stops flying, I can look ahead with Rodgers’ Spring Gatherings: Casual Food To Enjoy With Family And Friends!

Continue Reading

Who’s the Boss? You or the Cake?

Cookbooks, Desserts - Jennifer - January 26, 2011

I have a fondness for fun cakes.  I tried to do something special for each of my kids’ first birthdays, even though I sometimes took the easy way out, skipping the baking step and using frozen pound cakes for my medium.  But I have a genuine appreciation for fun, pretty, or inventive cakes, which is why I enjoy TLC’s Cake Boss  so much.  Here are some of my own attempts:


Pound cake regatta


Pound cake fire engine


Sheet cake Larry the Cucumber (Veggie Tales)

Sheetcake graveyard with the Scooby Gang

They’re not perfect, but the kids completely loved them, and that’s what is important to me.  Ever striving to improve my techniques, I thought I’d turn to the Master Baker himself, Buddy Valastro, so I consulted his book  Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia for inspiration.  And inspiration is what I found!  A fourth-generation baker, Valastro tells his tale by way of his parents’ stories and the traditions passed down to him, literally and lovingly, by “hand.”  He rounds out his narrative with plenty of recipes and photos.  I know I’ll never achieve Cake Boss perfection, but it sure is fun to try!

Continue Reading

Superfoods for Super People

Cookbooks - Jennifer - January 17, 2011

A very dear friend of mine had cancer long before I ever knew her.  She had a complete hysterectomy at 35 and some kind of recurrence in her 50s.  I can see that it pains her to remember, so I’ve never asked for specifics.  But one subject on which she speaks freely and with great enthusiasm is the diet that she feels has kept her healthy ever since.  She cut out all meat and processed foods, and very rarely indulges in the wonderful baked goods that she still regularly turns out for family and friends.  She also looks for ways to incorporate superfoods into her everyday routine, and drinks some of the vilest looking concoctions I’ve ever seen.  So when I stumbled across SuperFoods Rx by Steven G. Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews, I couldn’t help but take a look to see what they have to offer on the subject.

I was under the misconception that super foods were hard to find, exotic produce that could only be purchased in specialty stores or sent away for from faraway lands.  So I was very happy to find that Dr. Pratt’s list includes many foods I already eat and actually enjoy:  apples, avocados, beans, blueberries, broccoli, cinnamon, dark chocolate (yay!), dried super fruits, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, honey, kiwi, low-fat yogurt, oats, onions, oranges, pomegranates, pumpkin, soy, spinich, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and wild salmon.  

SuperFoods Rx  examines how each of the superfoods acts as a “nutritional powerhouse” to help reduce your chances of developing certain common ailments, letting you know what to eat to prevent such things as osteoporosis, cardiac ailments, obesity, high cholesterol, and cataracts, among others.  The book also includes superfoods recipes created by Chef Michel Stroot of the Golden Door Spa.  I’m currently checking out one that will make my friend’s Superfood Smoothies more palatable (or at least not so gray/green and chunky looking!).

Continue Reading

What Do You Mean I’d Only Need to Cook Once a Month?

Cookbooks, Product Reviews, Timesavers, Tips & Tricks - Jennifer - January 6, 2011

Who only cooks once a month?  Someone with a personal chef?  A person who works in a restaurant?  Certainly not a busy mother of four Bottomless Petes who routinely insist that I, you know, feed them!  Well Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson insist that it can be done.  According to them, you can grocery shop one time, do all your prep work at once, and stock your pantry and freeze enough to feed your family every day for an entire month.

Does anyone else remember those meal prep places that were all the rage a few years back?  I went a couple of times, and it was pretty neat.  You’d gather a bunch of friends, choose from several menu selections, and read off of a recipe card as you dumped ingredients into plastic bags and containers to take home and freeze for future consumption.  Everything was prepped and ready for you to assemble.  My friends and I discussed the possibility of getting together on our own to do something like this, maybe once a month. How great it would be, we imagined, to have a ready supply of pre-made meals to draw from on those crazy evenings when baseball practice, Cub Scouts, and gymnastics all seemed to converge at once, resulting in exotic dinners of peanut butter and canned soup!  Alas, we never figured out how to do it.

But now I’ve discovered Once-a-Month Cooking:  Family Favorites, and I’m newly inspired!   The aforementioned Lagerborg and Wilson have even trademarked their Once-a-Month Cooking system, so it must work, right?  I’m learning all about their cycle method, whereby you shop for either monthly, bi-weekly or seasonal cycles, do all your prep in one day, and voila!  A freezer full of well-planned and balanced meals!  I can’t wait to get started.  The way I see it, buying in bulk for these mass prep sessions will not only save us money because we’re buying in bulk, but also because we won’t be making gratuitous trips to the grocery store, where we’re naturally tempted by all kinds of costly impulse items.  But the absolutely best part is that I don’t have to figure out how to do any of this on my own, because I have the book to lead me, every step of the way. Who’s with me?  C’mon!

Continue Reading