Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cookbook review: French Roots by Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle

French Roots by Jean-Pierre and Denise Moulle

''A narratively rich cookbook of French and Californian recipes from longtime Chez Panisse executive chef Jean-Pierre Moulle and his wife, Denise Moulle.''

  Having French roots myself (my father is French-Canadian), I am always fascinated by cookbooks featuring French cooking and culture. This one is what I would call ''French country cooking'', if you understand what I mean. It is not Parisian. And although I like the latter, this country style is charming and elegant in its own way. The husband-and-wife team who authored this book did a marvelous job creating dishes in the the French style which you can master yourself! Imagine capturing the essence of French living right in your own kitchen! I believe that such cookbooks as these are excellent for Americans wishing to learn new culinary skills because the authors meld two different cultures: European with American.  Thus you will not be intimidated by the beautiful dishes presented in this large hardback cookbook. I must throw in a comment here about the photographs. As in most of Ten Speed Press's delightful cookbooks, this one yet again presents enjoyable pictures; I would say every other or every third recipe has a picture to inspire you. From fig salad with goat cheese to Summer Vegetables in Terra-Cotta to Porcini Omelet to several kinds of appealing  cakes such as almond tea cake with orange peels, this book is a real delight. I would sum up the recipes in this book as...French! Simple yet elegant, not overbearing yet a pleasure to the eyes! Delight your family and guests with the recipes in this new book. And even if you don't have much time to cook...the stories and histories in this book are worth the read. A real glimpse into the countryside of France!

About the authors:
Jean-Pierre and Denise MoullĂ© met on a street corner in Berkeley, California, in 1980; six months later they were married. French Roots is the story of their lives told through the food they cook—beginning with the dishes of old-world France, the couple’s birthplace, and focusing on the simple, pared-down preparations of French food common in the postwar period. The story then travels to the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s, where Jean-Pierre was appointed executive chef at Chez Panisse when California cuisine was just emerging as a distinctive and important style, and where Denise began importing French wine. Finally, the journey follows the couple to their homes in Sonoma, California, and Bordeaux to revisit the classic dishes of the MoullĂ©s’ native country and hone the forgotten skills of foraging, hunting, and preserving. 

Exquisitely written, with recipes that are innovative and timeless, insights on cooking and thinking like a chef, and an insider’s guide to the wines of Bordeaux, French Roots is much more than a cookbook—it’s a guide to living the good life.

The Home Team: God's Game Plan for the Family by Clint Archer

I will begin my review of this book by Clint Archer by saying that it was one of the most interesting and applicable books I've read this year! It's not just another book about family. Using illustrations from the sports world, the author captures the reader's attention in a whole new way! I was engrossed in this 152-page paperback from the first page! I actually read the first half straight through, last Sunday afternoon. The second half was just as easy to read! Most importantly, the lessons and truths presented in this book published by Shepherd Press are wonderful and Biblical. There is enough for each of you, whether a father, mother, or child. I appreciated how the author also spoke to singles! No one is left out, because after all we each belong to that God-created institution, the family! I highly recommend this book for every family, no matter how big or small you may be, and no matter where you are in your Spiritual walk. I trust that God will use this book mightily in your life! 
Author Clint Archer focuses on many different areas important in the lives of families. He speaks of course about the Biblical basis for family. He talks about the God-given roles for men and women. He addresses parenting and many more subjects. All in all, I found this a very balanced perspective. Biblical but not presumptuous- Mr. Archer didn't press his views but instead spoke to the heart of the different, sometimes controversial matters. 
Read this book and pray through the chapters, alone or with your family and see what God can do if you are willing to follow His word!

More about the book...
Using illustrations and analogies from the world of sports, The Home Team by Clint Archer presents the Christian family as a team. He highlights the one-flesh union of husband and wife as the fundamental team for God’s design of society, the family, and marriage. Facing challenges together this cohesive team must not allow division to weaken their union. As children are added, Mom and Dad play their unique and essential roles to strengthen the expanding team. The family must close ranks on opponents to God’s design, tackle obstacles, and fortify the bonds in their huddle. In the unity and synergy of teamwork each player is uniquely positioned to advance the team’s objective. The goal is to give God glory, and enjoy the blessings and joy that come with obedience.
“Clint Archer sounds the Biblical call for the Christian family to pursue Christ as a team. Like an experienced coach, Archer directs each member of the family how to play his or her position according to the rule-book of Holy Scripture.”
-Dr. Joel R. Beeke – President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Vine-Ripened Life by Stanley Gale

A Vine-Ripened Life:Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ
by Stanley D. Gale

A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ Book Cover  This book, another small paperback published by Reformation Heritage Books, has as its subject one of the most important passages from the Bible for the believer, John 15.

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser.Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 
If  you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 

The author carefully draws from the different aspects of this important chapter, creating thought-provoking and heart-searching chapters in his small paperback book. The book is separated into thirteen chapters: 
1. Fruit of the Vine
2. My Father, the Gardener
3. No Ordinary Love
4. Joy Inexpressible
5. Peace beyond Understanding
6. The Leaven of Patience
7. Not-So-Random Kindness
8. Gracious Goodness
9. A Great Faithfulness
10. Gentle Strength
11. Self-Control or Willpower?
12. Potent Humility
13. Grace Grown
I personally was delighted with this book. It was so easy to concentrate on and give my full attention to. Not only were the chapters of reasonable length, but the author also has a way of writing which engages the reader's full mind. The chapters were not dry or above the reader's head. Instead, they went straight to the heart. To mine at least. The author, Mr. Gale also writes with many illustrations including stories from his own life which especially help the reader apply the lessons.
I highly recommend this book! It is perfect to give as a gift to Christian friends, and its small size makes it wonderful for reading on travels. 

''We must abide in Christ so that the fruit of character change in our lives is not the product of self-will or best effort. Such efforts at love or joy or patience will be meager and short-lived....We want the fruit of a changed life to grow from the inside out by the hand of our God. ''
Click HERE to read more reviews about this book!

I was pleased to receive this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Game Changer: Faith, Football & Finding your way by Kirk Cousins

Game Changer: Faith, Football, & Finding Your Way
Game Changer: Faith, Football & Finding your way by Kirk Cousins

This little auto-biography is filled with faith! As I read this small paperback, I was inspired by this famous record-setting quarterback's obvious deep faith in Christ. This is the kind of book your sons need to read! A well-written story of an athlete who doesn't live just for the game, but for his Saviour! Mothers and sisters will be happy to know they can give this book to their sons/brothers...even husbands resting assured that it will inspire them in their manly walk with God!
Even as a woman, I found this an enjoyable and inspiring read! Even though I didn't understand much of the football terminology. (and even despite the fact that I'm not even interested in sports!) Kirk Cousins does a wonderful job with writing this autobiography. It is easy to comprehend, well-planned and delivers a fantastic message of faith.
A great gift for the men in your life!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

More about the book....
Record-setting quarterback for Michigan State University and draft pick of the NFL's Washington Redskins, Kirk Cousins pens an accessible and compelling collection of life principles for readers young and old. With engaging stories from his award-winning career, Cousins illustrates core biblical concepts while encouraging good choices, and, in the process, readers get an inside look at high-stakes football as well as the personal and highly motivating reflections of a much-respected athlete.
Now in softcover, Game Changer is a great pick for parents, coaches, athletes, camps, FCA groups, and family explorations. It is not a self-glorifying biography or a sterile collection of dos and don'ts, but rather a dispatch from a real Christian life-with all its ups and downs-lived under the bright lights of college and professional football.
  • Personal stories and struggles of a competitive Christian athlete
  • Truthful discussion of media hype and modern sports culture
  • Reflections on honesty, humility, hard work, and privilege

Biblical Portraits of Creation by Kaiser and Little

Biblical Portraits Of Creation
Biblical Portraits of Creation 

 Weaver Book Company
   This 176-page paperback book by Walter Kaiser and Dorington Little is an in-depth study of Creation. It requires more than a little attention as it plunges beneath the surface and attempts to bring God all glory for His marvelous creation. I found this book rather difficult to get through, although I am quite the reader and usually have the ability to speed read! I would recommend the reader of Biblical Portraits of Creation take his time with each chapter, so as to be better able to digest every truth presented. It also seemed more geared towards men. Of course this is personal opinion, and every reader may differ. The book's goal is to parallel creation and redemption; therefore the authors use text from Genesis, Psalms, Job, Isaiah, Proverbs as well as the New Testament. The reader can tell the author invested much time and thought in this work.

   I would like to bring to attention a fact that I was not aware of until mid-way into the book. This book is endorsed by Hugh Ross, who does uphold the ''old age'' creationist viewpoint. In 2006, he and unfortunately author Walter Kaiser had a debate with Ken Ham and Dr. Jason Lisle. Although Kaiser's position is not overwhelmingly pushed forth in Biblical Portraits of Creation, and although I know the authors of this book were trying to glorify our Creator despite their distorted take on creation, I cannot recommend this book, neither do I feel the need to own it or re-read it. Answers in Genesis offers a wealth of material on the subject of Creation which I know I can trust as Biblically-sound.
Therefore, I state that despite the fact that this book has some good points, I cannot endorse it or the authors.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion of it.
Authors' bios: 
Walter C. Kaiser Jr. is president emeritus and Colman Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has written numerous articles more than 30 books, including Recovering the Unity of the Bible  (Zondervan), Toward an Exegetical Theology  (Baker), and Hard Sayings of the Old Testament  (IVP). http://www.walterckaiserjr.com
Dorington G. Little is the Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Hamilton, MA. Prior to moving to Boston in 1997, he pastored in Boone, Iowa. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 

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Starting at the Finish Line: The Gospel of Grace for Mormons by John B Wallace

Starting At The Finish Line

Starting at the Finish Line: the gospel of grace for Mormons by John B Wallace
“Christianity is the only religion (although I hate to use that word) that starts at the finish line. Salvation is guaranteed up front! And every bit of obedience and good work flows from that salvation as opposed to the LDS teaching, which is that obedience and good works are necessary for salvation.”

This book by former Mormon John Wallace is really wonderful. Coming from his background as an extremely religious Latter-Day Saint, he especially excels in expounding the gospel for Mormons. On the other hand I was able to benefit greatly from this well-written and Biblically-sound book. First, I thought this book provided a very good explanation of the beliefs of Mormonism. John Wallace writes bravely and passionately, yet the reader will find that he has love for his former people, just as the apostle Paul felt love and longing for his people the Jews to come to saving faith.
On page 97, he writes, “The fact is, you have never been righteous, and you never will be, not when held up to the standard of God’s righteousness. I know, tough love, but it’s true.''
    On a personal note, the author is so on fire with faith that most of the book was wonderful for me, raised in the Christian faith to read! The author shared so many convicting portions. I do recommend this book for any readers! I think re-reading a Biblically-sound explanation of the gospel is important for all believers.
Lastly, I did disagree with some points the author made concerning the doctrine of salvation. But nothing big enough to mar the remainder of my reading of the book.

About the author:
Dr. John Wallace was an active member of the LDS church for two decades but in the last twenty years has come to see the beauty of simply being a follower of Jesus Christ.  A practicing dentist in Southern California, John is also director of Singles Ministry at his home church, Calvary Chapel Westgrove.  Reaching out to transitioning Mormons remains the primary focus of his personal ministry.

Read more reviews about this book here! Specifically, here is a really well-written review which I enjoyed reading and agree with.

Review of Knockout Knits by Laura Nelkin

As an avid knitter inheriting my love for this craft from my Irish grandmother, I am always intrigued by books full of ideas and patterns for beautiful creations.
Knockout Knits is a lovely paperback book devoted to new and unique patterns for accessories. Every pattern in the book would make a delightful gift; I am so excited to start sharing these warm expressions of love with my family and friends. The author is especially talented in creating lacy patterns. The book is full of instructions for hats, gloves, leg warmers, light-weight shawls and more. The photographs make the reader excited to try the patterns. The clothing is depicted in pretty spring-toned shades. As an aside, with the colors the knits are shown completed in along with the light-weight look of the shawls, I would say these accessories are perfect for springtime. 
I suppose I would call myself an intermediate/advanced knitter and I found these instructions and ideas do-able! So excited about this lovely book. 
I was pleased to receive this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

More about the book....
An abundance of knitted luxuries--summery lace shawls, warm and woolly hats, a trio of cool knitted bracelets, and stunning beaded gloves--designed to grow your skills.

Who doesn't love to knit accessories? They're fast, often require only a skein or two of yarn, and make amazingly versatile gifts for friends and family. Small knits are also the perfect way to try something new--an unusual stitch pattern, wild multi-colored yarn, or even a touch of sparkle. Laura Nelkin is well-known for designing these fun-to-knit little projects introducing her students and fans to advanced techniques with her signature "You can do it!" enthusiasm. In her first book, she shares her 3 favorite types of knitting using wrapped stitches, lacework, and beads. Each chapter begins with a quick knitted cuff to lay the foundations, then gradually ramps up to more complicated designs. The result is an all-new collection of wearable, feminine knits with a slightly rustic aesthetic. Give them as gifts, stockpile for a chilly day, or dress up a casual outfit--these are knockout projects to enjoy knitting again and again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review of Promises for God's Princesses

                                                   Promises for God's Princesses
Promises for God's Princesses
   Having younger sisters, I was looking forward to this book from Tyndale publishers! I read through the entire book quite quickly and was pleased at the absence of shallow content. Too often in books for young believers, Christian values and doctrines are so weak they hardly exist. This book has the perfect balance, I think. It presents important lessons and things for young girls to ponder, yet the page-long devotions will not go over their heads. I gave it to my 8-year old sister to read. It would be good for older girls as well, but some of the references are younger and best for...ages 7-10 I would say!
   Of course if your daughter (or younger sister!) isn't saved, be sure to carefully explain to her that although she is created in God's image, she is not His princess yet. Therefore, she shouldn't take for granted that every promise and assuring word is meant for her as an unredeemed little girl! Nevertheless, I would still recommend this book for all readers, no matter what their Spiritual state. This book could even be the means to draw your young reader to Christ!
Every chapter/devotion begins with a verse and the following text explains or draws from that Bible verse.
A very good book which would also be helpful in training little girls to continue doing daily devotions!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

This gift book for young girls is the perfect next step in the Tyndale princess line. As young girls grow and leave behind some of the fully illustrated picture books, they still want to feel special, and they still need to know they are loved as God’s daughters. This is the book to share with them. This devotional book is full of Scriptures about God’s love, protection, and promises. The book’s 100 devotions tie in the Scriptures to help young girls apply them to their lives. This diary-style book will attract the growing girl while still making her feel like a princess, a special child of God.

Review of book Gospel Assurance and Warnings by Paul Washer

Image 1Gospel Assurance and Warnings by Paul Washer

This third book in the author's 'Recovering the Gospel' series is full of Biblically-sound truths! Chapter after chapter, I was amazed at the soundness and depth of doctrine. This book covers the entire doctrine of salvation, making it a must-read for all. Whether an unbeliever or a saved person, and whatever point you might be in in your seeking salvation, or living out your faith, this book is important to read.  As many know, Paul Washer is a wonderful evangelist. He understands the true doctrine of saving faith, and he also shows Jesus' love to people!
I quote the author:
''How is it impossible for a person to have an encounter with even the smallest vehicle without being dramatically changed, and yet it is possible to have an encounter with the living God without even so much as a dent or a paint scrape on a person's character? How is it that so many people claim to have had an encounter with God, yet show so little evidence to back their claim?'' (chapt. 18)

Personally, this was one of the most impacting (no pun intended) quotes from Paul Washer. This goes for those in conservative groups as well! And you can't blame everything on ''sanctification''. I encourage everyone to examine his heart while reading this book. 

Another example of the wisdom this book is full of...
   Christianity is not about us trying to be something that we are not. Although doing righteousness is still contrary to our fallen flesh, it is not contrary to our new natures or adverse to our affections. (Galatians 5:17) We are new creations, recreated in the image of God in our true righteousness and holiness. We do righteousness because we love righteousness and loathe ourselves when we deviate from it. Although our complete transformation will be consummated at the resurrection, it began on the day of our conversion. Through the new birth, we became new creatures in the fullest sense of the term. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Paul Washer in Gospel Assurance and Warnings chapter 18

   I hate to be even slightly negative about such a fundamental work, but I will warn you that it takes some time to get through. Personally, I felt like each chapter could have been published as a separate book! That is how thorough Gospel Assurance and Warnings is.
In short, this book is a wonderful book for any individual or family. I suggest reading each chapter slowly, taking time to really meditate on the Biblical truths contained. Everything in this book is based completely on the Bible. Paul Washer doesn't add his own opinions or unusual ideas.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review! Thank you.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The New Indian Slow Cooker- a cookbook by Neela Paniz

The New Indian Slow Cooker: Recipes for Curries, Dals, Chutneys, Masalas, Biryani, and More
Welcome to a new method of creating your favourite Indian dishes! I love Indian food and was excited to get this book. Although I don't mind spending hours creating the authentic meals of that country, I knew it would be useful to know how to assemble them faster and with less supervision and kitchen clean-up!
This is a large but thin paperback cookbook. In the tradition of Ten Speed Press, the tasty recipes are accentuated by beautiful and appealing photographs of the meals. There are about 60 recipes, along with recipes on the unique spice mixtures which make Indian cuisine so enticing! This is a wonderful first step to learning Indian cuisine. I recommend it!

The newest book in Ten Speed's best-selling slow cooker series, featuring more than 60 fix-it-and-forget-it recipes for Indian favorites. 

The rich and complex flavors of classic Indian dishes like Lamb Biryani, Palak Paneer, and chicken in a creamy tomato-butter sauce can take hours to develop through such techniques as extended braising and low simmering. In The New Indian Slow Cooker, veteran cooking teacher and chef Neela Paniz revolutionizes the long, slow approach to making Indian cuisine by rethinking its traditional recipes for the slow cooker.

She showcases the best regional curries, dals made with lentils and beans, vegetable and rice sides, as well as key accompaniments like chutneys, flatbreads, raita, and fresh Indian cheese. Using this fix-it-and-forget-it approach, you can produce complete and authentic Indian meals that taste like they came from Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore, or your favorite Indian restaurant.

Featuring both classic and innovative recipes such as Pork Vindaloo, Kashmiri Potato Curry, Date and Tamarind Chutney, and Curried Chickpeas, these full-flavor, no-fuss dishes are perfect for busy cooks any day of the week

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book review of ''Joyful'' by Shelley Shepherd Gray

 Joyful by Shelley Shepherd Gray
Here I am reviewing another Amish fiction story! My knowledge of Amish romances is not the best; I have only read The Guardian by Beverly Lewis, Forever Amish by Kate Lloyd and perhaps a couple more.
Joyful (Return to Sugarcreek #3)In this third novel in author Shelley Shepard Gray's Sugarcreek series, Amish girl Elizabeth Nolt must face unexpected changes to her supposedly perfect future! The book begins with Elizabeth's beau Randall Beiler announcing his devastating decision to Elizabeth that their courtship cease as he believes his young siblings are his priority. Follow Elizabeth through the book as she learns to deal with her emotions- even in the most unusual circumstances. Time after time she and Randall are thrown together in different situations and both must learn to cope with their emotions. They must learn to quell their interest in each other- or should they? Perhaps they were meant for each other after all?
The author is well-known for her Amish romances. She has received honor from the NYTimes and USAToday
  Now comes my personal opinion of the book. To be honest, I did not think it spectacular. The story was weak. I couldn't sympathize with the heroine, and I felt like the whole book was a waste of time since it starts with the couple's relationship being broken, but almost straightaway they come into contact with eachother. In one way, that is realistic since they lived in a close-knit Amish community.
I think the author made a serious blunder in the substories included in this book. Every few chapters focuses on characters other than Elizabeth and Randall, leaving the reader confused. I am hoping the author plans on incorporating those characters into her future books in the series, because I didn't think they helped this book flow.
Speaking of these characters, I didn't care for the restaurant owner ''Pippa'' who finds love in her ex-husband's best friend. Odd twist to include in an Amish story, even if ''Pippa'' isn't Amish.
This book just lacked point. The main characters do learn lessons about pride and such but they are vague lessons which don't stick with the reader after she has finished the book.
This book doesn't hold a candle to Beverly Lewis's works!

I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher and expected to state my honest opinion, whether positive or negative. 
Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 
Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The VB6 Cookbook- a review

The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at NightThe VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman
   This is an interesting cookbook published by Potter.
   As Mark Bittman makes a point in the preface, the VB6 (Vegan before 6, meaning keeping all meals before 6 pm. light and easy on the body) method is not simply a new diet. Instead of being just another diet to try for a month and then discard, the VB6 method is a lifestyle. A lifestyle to help you find your maximum vitality!
   I thought the recipes very fresh, tasty and interesting. Nothing boring about Mark Bittman's style of vegetarian! I loved how eating vegetarian isn't his...idol. He allows himself a real meal for dinner, and occasionally even allows himself a big breakfast as a treat! That reminds me of my eating lifestyle. Now, personally I don't agree with eating vegetarian. What Mark Bittman has overlooked is that meats, dairy and nuts are high in necessary nutrients for our bodies! We were meant to be omnivores. On the other hand, we rarely get enough vegetables into our diet so I appreciate all the vibrant and delicious recipes provided in this book! Although I include meat in my diet on purpose, I don't eat it at every meal and sometimes I do purposely decide on a vegetarian cleanse, therefore I am excited that this book includes such recipes as ''eggplant meatballs''.
To conclude, although I don't agree with the VB6 lifestyle, most of the recipes in this book are great for me, and that means anyone who wants more creativity in the realm of vegetables!


Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known, most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times magazine. He is regularly featured on the Today Show in How To Cook Everything Today cooking segments. For 13 years he wrote "The Minimalist" column and now a "Minimalist" cooking show is featured on the Cooking Channel. The How to Cook Everything series is highly respected: the first edition of the flagship book How to Cook Everything won both the IACP and James Beard Awards, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian won the 2008 IACP award. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.