If you’re not familiar with The Pioneer Woman, you need to be! This woman is amazing! She’s a ranch wife and manages to maintain an amazing blog, homeIf you’re not familiar with The Pioneer Woman, you need to be! This woman is amazing! She’s a ranch wife and manages to maintain an amazing blog, homeschool four kids, take gorgeous pictures and create a beautiful cookbook.
I was mesmerized by The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond when I got it. In this wonderful cookbook Ree explains how she became The Pioneer Woman, shows a little of ranch life and shares some of her great recipes. The beauty of the recipes is that they’re created from simple ingredients that anyone can find and they’re for dishes your family will really eat. Both Carl and I found lots of recipes that we want to try – sour cream pancakes, Marlboro Man’s favorite sandwich, spicy pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, comfort meatballs, just to name a few. There are only one or two recipes in here that don’t appeal to either one of us.
One of the great things about the recipes in The Pioneer Woman Cooks is all of the pictures – there is a photograph for each step of the recipe. Because of this, I think this cookbook would be great for beginning as well as experienced cooks. Oh, and did I mention that Ree took all of the photographs in this book herself? I was amazed.
Since cheese and olives are the two basic food groups and this recipe looked easy, I decided to fix Olive Cheese Bread first, and I have to tell you this recipe is to die for....more
Confetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss is a beautiful book. The beginning of the book focuses on tools, techniques, baking terms and lots of great tConfetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss is a beautiful book. The beginning of the book focuses on tools, techniques, baking terms and lots of great tips. Following that, you'll find recipes for cakes, cookies, brownies and icings. The last part of the book is filled with gorgeous pictures and directions to make absolutely stunning cakes and cookies. I love to sit and flip through the pages and admire these beauties. I cannot, however, imagine that anything I make would ever look like the cakes in the book. They look like they require hours of work and loads of talent. If I was able to make one of these, I would dare anyone to touch it, let alone eat it.
Elisa Strauss is the founder and head designer of Confetti Cakes, a bakery in New York. She has written one other book, The Confetti Cakes Cookbook....more
One of the most popular paintings in the Getty Museum is View of the Grand Canal by Bernardo Belloto. It is a huge painting (53 x 91 inches) and it deOne of the most popular paintings in the Getty Museum is View of the Grand Canal by Bernardo Belloto. It is a huge painting (53¼ x 91¼ inches) and it depicts a typical day in the Venice of 1740. Seeing Venice: Bellotto's Grand Canal is a small book (both in size and length) dedicated to this beautiful painting. It contains an essay by Mark Doty and close-up views of sections of the canvas. Mark Doty is a poet and memoirist and he does a wonderful job of analyzing and describing the painting. He says:
"And so this must be one of the few three-hundred-year-old canvases in the world which one could place exactly in the spot where it was painted and see, in essence the same space."
Since there isn't a picture of the whole painting in the book, the dust jacket folds out to reveal the entire thing. Reading the essay and seeing the painting makes me want to go to Venice so I would recommend this charming book to lovers of art and Italy....more
Get Positively Beautiful by Carmindy of What Not To Wear fame is a make-up manual that covers every aspect from skin care to what tools to use. She saGet Positively Beautiful by Carmindy of What Not To Wear fame is a make-up manual that covers every aspect from skin care to what tools to use. She says, “I believe looking good starts with feeling good,” and she emphasizes the positives. She goes over how to sustain your look when you travel and through all seasons. There are quite a few makeovers in the back of the book that are fun to look through. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is Carmindy’s attitude. She says we should:
* Drop The Flaw Focus * Kick Away Corrosive Comparisons * Revel in Your Fantastic Features * Embrace the Beauty Ritual * Change the Game and Win Every Time
Carmindy admits that changing your mindset isn’t always easy, but her infectious attitude rubs off on you as you read this book. Throughout the book she stresses forgetting your negatives and accentuating your positives. She says you need to “commit to thinking differently about your beauty.” I think this would be an excellent book for a teen just learning to use make-up....more
Do you love to entertain but need some fresh ideas? Are you afraid to entertain because you think it’s too difficult? If you answered yes to either ofDo you love to entertain but need some fresh ideas? Are you afraid to entertain because you think it’s too difficult? If you answered yes to either of those questions, Katie Brown Celebrates: Simple and Spectacular Parties All Year Round is for you.
In this book, Katie Brown gives you recipes, and ideas for decorating and favors for a party a month. She covers everything from a Spicy Graduation Celebration to A Birthday Valentine to Holiday Brunch. At the back of the book she has included Mix and Match Menus (using the included recipes) to create even more celebrations. There’s also a great picture index in the back.
One of the things I love about this book is that the dishes and decorations don’t look professionally made - they look like something that can be duplicated easily. As an example, I’ve included the picture of the Wafer Cake she made for a Kids’ Day party. The cake is made from a mix and the frosting is from a tub. All you have to do is create the decorations.
I tried out the recipe for Herbed Feta Puffs (from The Welcome Wagon) and they are simple and delicious. I have to admit to “sampling” quite a bit of the filling as I made these....more