Monday, October 27, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle review!

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe: Celebratory Menus and Recipes from New York's Premier Plant-Based Restaurants 

Hardcover – September 30, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe: Celebratory Menus and Recipes from New York's Premier Plant-Based Restaurantsby Joy PiersonAngel RamosJorge Pineda 

I was curious to see what kinds of healthy treats this book would hold the key to! The cover depicts such perfectly beautiful holiday appetizers, that I was excited to receive this hardback cookbook from the publisher, Ten Speed Press. There are a variety of easy to make (and eat!) recipes in this Vegan cookbook. This includes Crispy Black Bean Tacos, , Vegan Cheese Plate, Warm Apple Turnovers and Champagne Ice Braised Cranberry Orange Tofu, Christmas Pomegranate Punch, and many many more!
   On a personal note, this cookbook doesn't meet my needs. I am not a Vegan, although I often love using Vegan and especially Paleo recipes as part of my extremely healthy diet!
  From my experience, Vegan cooking is healthy and ''light'' and useful for those days I find myself short on animal products. This Vegan cookbook relies too much on soy (including tofu), a product I avoid. It also incorporates some items which would be difficult to substitute for if you aren't Vegan. Particularly seitan (a meat substitute), butter substitute and a couple others. 
I have a couple specifically Vegan cookbooks which I really love because the recipes incorporate such healthy ingredients as Coconut oil, coconut milk, avacado, beans, etc. Surprisingly, these cookbooks are also packed with gluten-free recipes! On the contrary,  I found that this cookbook isn't really healthy considering that the recipes involve sugar and substitutes so often. 

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

More about the book...
This collection of vegan holiday recipes—the first of its kind from award-winning chefs—elevates plant-based fare to a new level. With fresh, inventive menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Lunar New Year, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine's Day, Passover, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, and Independence Day, this cookbook blends favorite traditions with a modern sensibility. Tantalizing dishes include Sweet Potato Latkes with Almond Crème Fraîche for Passover; Porcini-Crusted Seitan with Glazed Cipollini Onions and Mushroom Gravy for Thanksgiving; and Red, White, and Blue Margaritas for the Fourth of July. 

Now home cooks can entertain in the spirit of New York’s premier vegan restaurants, Candle Cafe, Candle 79, and Candle Cafe West. With forewords by Alicia Silverstone and Laura and Woody Harrelson, plus sumptuous photography throughout, this festive cookbook invites vegans and omnivores alike to gather around the holiday table and enjoy.

Review of Guess Who Noah's Boat

Guess Who Noah's Boat  by 
Guess Who Noah's Boat
This is a colorful book for young children which will be sure to keep them happily occupied for several minutes at a time! Whether an older person reads the text to them or not, children will enjoy flipping through the vibrantly-illustrated pages, lifting the flaps to discover the hiding creatures!
   I recommend this book for very young children. The 10 thick pages are suitable for young ones, and the flaps are easy to open.
   Personally, I don't appreciate the unrealistic illustrating such as this of Noah's ark, and would not want my child growing up with such notions. However, this is a sweet book.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review of it. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Hardest Peace: expecting grace in the midst of life's hard by Kara Tippetts

The Hardest Peace: expecting grace in the midst of life's hard by Kara Tippetts

A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.
Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer.
In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.

   The Hardest Peace was, not surprisingly, one of the most difficult books I've read this year. Yet at the same time it was necessary for me because as I read through Kara's painful story, the problems in my life diminished until they disappeared completely. I cannot imagine going through all the cancer Kara Tippetts has. Yet she has survived all the terrors of not just one cancer spell, but several and her faith is increasing on account of that. Her book The Hardest Peace is without a doubt a tribute- her praise song- to God for His steadfast faithfulness through not only the good times but the darkest of times. As I read this book, I felt like Kara was a friend. I felt like crying with her over the hardest moments of her battles against cancer. And I most definitely will be following her life and praying for her and her brave, supporting family. 
   It seems cruel to say this right now because it is just a side issue,  but I will mention here that the writing style was not my favorite. I found it a little confusing. Yet it can be likened unto Ann Voskamp's style which also confused me as I tried to read her writings. That said, since I know many of you love Ann Voskamp's book and blog, this book by Kara Tippetts (which, in fact is recommended by Mrs. Voskamp) will appeal to you. 
Read this book and let it change your perspective on life!
 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Read more reviews here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya Von Bremzen

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya Von Bremzen
  This is acclaimed author Anya Von Bremzen's newest book! Having enjoyed her cookbook ''Please To the Table'' for years, I was excited to read this one. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is really a honest telling of the author's life growing up in tumultuous Russia. In this auto-biography, Anya writes with unusual flair concerning memories of the food experienced-or not- in Russia.
I personally don't know if the title of the book represents the content completely. Rather, the subtitle reveals what the book is truly about. This is definitely a ''memoir of food and longing''! This account is completely honest, sometimes dubbed ''brutally honest!'' Truly, life in Communist Russia was far from delightful. I thought that since this book painted such a truthful picture of a normal citizen's life in Russia, it would be a good addition to curriculum for a study on Russia.
As for the recipes, there are several at the back of the book. I would not categorize this book as a cookbook; rather as a memoir with accompanying recipes.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Deborah Alcock...a wonderful author!

Deborah Alcock
   I have only read six of Deborah Alcock's many books, but each was a spectacular work of historically accurate, exciting Christian historical fiction! Can anything get better than that? I highly recommend these books. I have always loved well-written historically accurate books of adventure, intrigue, excitement, with also a little sadness, a little romance....but of such I have rarely found books which also present a strong Christian message!
I don't believe I am overstating when I say that you will love these books. They appeal to a wide group of ages....although I suggest someone pre-read them for children under the age of 11. And although I am sure a younger child could read them, I assure you they are so well-written in the delightful style of the 19th century so as to appeal to young adults as well. Lastly, they are wonderful reads for both boys and girls! Continue reading my thoughts at end of this post. Thank you!
Of interest: Read a full-length biography of Deborah Alcock's life here!

Crushed Yet Conquering  by Deborah Alcock
This tale of Constance and Bohemia will be under our BOHEMIA section at our table (One Covenant, Many Countries) at the Conference; also at the Inheritance Publications booth.

"A gripping story filled with accurate historical facts about John Huss and the Hussite wars.  Hardly any historical novel can be more captivating and edifying than this book."

This, the first Deborah Alcock book I read, has continued to be one of my very favorites of hers. Due to its length and heavy historical content, it is most suited for older children's reading; but all can enjoy it. 

The Spanish Brothers by Deborah Alcock

"He could not die thus for his faith.  On the contrary, it cost him but little to conceal it.  What, then, had they which he had not?  Something that enabled even poor, wild, passionate Gonsalvo to forgive and pray for the murderers of the woman he loved.  What was it?"

This well-written story portrays an intriguing story where two devoted brothers plan to find their long-lost father.  While the one brother, Carlos, went off for training to be a priest, the other, Juan became a soldier.  Read of their adventures and, ever more so, of their faith as they face persecution during the time of Spanish Inquisition. One of the most colorful and dramatic of Deborah Alcock's books, this is my sister Jessie's favorite along with Dr. Adrian (see below). And one of my favorite as well.

Done And Dared In Old France by Deborah Alcock
Inheritance Publication's Huguenot Inheritance Series #7
Read of the faith and courage of 10-year-old Gaspard who flees from France to England.  Captivating, inspiring, and historically accurate, this exciting book tells the story of a young boy of Huguenot family  who, captured by salt-smugglers, attempts to join his family in England. The famous (historic) Claude Brousson plays an important part in the life of (fictional) Gaspard. 

Doctor Adrian:  A Story of Old Holland
Doctor Adrian by Deborah Alcock
Through unexpected circumstances, scholar Doctor Adrian became involved in supporting the Protestant cause.  In this book, you will feel the tragedy of the Seige of Leyden as the Dutch felt it, understand the hope those same citizens experienced when William of Orange (William the Silent) came to succor them, and feel the personal turmoil in the life of the fictional Dr. Adrian....This inspiring, exciting story is a tale of his conversion.  Along with The Spanish Brothers, this is my sister Jessie's favorite. 

The Baron of Salgas; The Cross and The Crown; The Carpenter of Nimes by Deborah Alcock and Sabine Malplach

THE BARON OF THE SALGAS, A True Huguenot Story by Sabine Malplach  AND:
THE CROSS AND THE CROWN & THE CARPENTER OF NIMES, Two Huguenot Stories by Deborah Alcock

Three tales of the the danger faced by the Huguenots of France, involving family relations, imprisonment, and escapes. Although I own this book, I have hardly read it as of looks very good though!

By Far Euphrates: A Tale on Armenia in the 19th Century
By Far Euphrates by Deborah Alcock

This is one of Deborah Alcock's best. It is incredibly moving since it takes place in the 19th century, a time when the majority of the western world was living in ease and prosperity! In writing his, Deborah Alcock studied so in depth the trials of the Armenian christians and heard so many heart-renching stories from a missionary friend who had been there that not only did she sum up the horrors of the massacres in Armenia with this simple sentence in the book: “We will not read about this subject; we will not think of it.  It is too horrible. … We cannot take up this burden in addition to the rest.  It would sink us.”; but she also became very ill from the strain of putting herself in the place mentally of these suffering Armenian Christians. Of all her books, this one touched her life the most deeply since the tragedies had been played out during her lifetime. Her goal with this book in fact was to bring to the light the martyrdom of the Armenian christians, and to raise money for the widows, orphans and mutilated survivors of the massacres! Although this could be an incredibly gruesome book, I think Miss Alcock did a marvelous job of showing only what could be stomached by us weak people of the western world! 

Again....if you like books by G.A.Henty, Ballantyne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Douglas Bond or Lamplighter Publishing books....I trust you will love these just as much. And I totally recommend substituting these  historical fiction books for any non-christian historical fiction or fiction and definitely fantasy books you now have on your shelves!....ENJOY.