Posts for ebooks

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!

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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!

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Win Free Stuff!

Uncategorized - Jennifer - January 21, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a shesconnected community manager, working on a Kobo project.  Since I began using the Kobo ereader, my reading habits have completely changed for the better.  As much as I love to read, with four kids sucking up all of my energy, I was finding the only time I could actually do it was after I had gone to bed.  We all know what happens then, right?  Yes, 10-15 minutes, and I would be out cold with a book on my chest.  If I was lucky, I’d wake up to turn out the light before my hands fell asleep and the book hit the floor!

But since I got my Kobo, I’m reading tons more because it’s always with me.  It’s so light and portable, it has a home in my purse instead of on my bedside table.  I never miss an opportunity to read, whether it’s in the carpool line, waiting for an appointment, or hanging out in the kitchen while making dinner (one of the only times everyone seems to leave me alone at home!).

This week, something very exciting happened for Kobo.  My little friend had a featured role in NBC’s The Office, when Darryl resoved to read more, but then felt like he had to hide his paperless ereader from everyone, since he works for a paper company.  As usual, the show was hilarious, and Kobo got lots of great exposure.  In case you missed it, you can see the entire episode, “The Ultimatum” here.

Well everyone enjoyed watching Darryl sneak around with his Kobo so much, that the concept of a contest tied to the idea was born!  You could win one of four Kobo ereaders or 10 free ebooks by visiting Kobo’s facebook page and commenting on the post, “What are you ereading in the Office?”  If you’re feeling REALLY creative, take a picture of yourself hard at work in your office, and submit it under the Photo Contest tab.  Soon, you could be sneaking around your own office with your own Kobo! 

(This post in no way endorses slacking off at work.  Proceed with such risky and possibly career jeopardizing behavior at your own risk!)

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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!

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