Taste of the Town

Taste of the Town

By Todd Blackledge

 Taste of the Town

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  Hachette Book Group  supplied me with one bag each of  for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  14+

 

Review

 

I would be lying if I told you I am a huge fan of college football.  I’m not.  I don’t have my DVR set to record the next big game and I certainly don’t pay extra on my TV bill every month to get an all access pass to college sports.  But, I am a fan.  I always root for my alma mater (go Louisville Cards!) and I will always root for University of Kentucky to lose no matter who they are playing.  I follow the game fairly well, thanks in part to my husband’s love of playing Madden on our Play Station.

 

That being said, I really enjoyed this cookbook.  It was really neat to read about the eateries associated with some of the biggest teams in college football.  The book is filled with stories and told in such a way that you almost forget you are reading a cookbook.  I like that Blackledge tells you about restaurants even if a recipe is not featured.  In that way, the book is part cookbook and part travel guide.  I’ve already made a note to visit Ye Old Steakhouse next time I am in Knoxville, TN.  But, until then, I have a lot of recipes to try out in my own kitchen!

 travels Cookbook

I chose to make Chandler’s Meat Loaf from Chandler’s Deli in  Knoxville, TN.  As I prepared the dish, I was glad to have some background on who created it and where it originated.  The meatloaf reminded me of a dish my mom used to make when I was a little girl; it was delightful!  I can’t wait to try out other recipes from this fabulous collection.  I think Ursula’s Catering’s Chicken Etouffee is next in line…

 

Who would like this gift?

I would recommend this book to any fan of Mr. Blackledge’s Taste of the Town segment on ESPN.  I also recommend this for any fan of college football… especially if they travel for games!

Where to Buy

You can purchase a copy of this cookbook  by visiting Taste of the Town

Or, you can shop online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, Indie Bound, Powell’s Books or Indigo.

Muy Bueno

Muy Bueno

Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor

By:  Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith & Evangelina Soza

 Muy Bueno

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  PR by the Book graciously supplied me with one copy of Muy Bueno for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  14+

 

Review

I am ashamed to admit it, but, until this cookbook graced my door, I did not own a Mexican food cookbook.  I LOVE Mexican food, but have been a bit timid to jump off into the world of homemade tortillas and anything involving tripe.  But, more importantly, I did not have a teacher to teach me the ropes of Mexican cuisine.

 

That changed when I read this book.  The stories and teachings this book offer are excellent.  I felt like I was sitting down with a cup of tea for a good chat with an old friend.  I read stories of their memories and experiences and learned quite a bit about old-world northern Mexican cuisine, south of the border home-style dishes, and Latin fusion.  I also love that each recipe has a silhouette that denotes which generation the recipe came from.

 

I had a hard time choosing which recipe to try first.  Old-fashioned Mexican Oatmeal sounded warm and cozy, Stacked Red Enchiladas sounded like a nice challenge…  I decided that the Lentil Soup was calling to me the loudest.  And, I am soooo glad that I prepared this dish!

 muy Bueno Soup

            I love lentil soup.  It really is a classic dish.  I will come clean and tell you that I have always used canned lentils and have never cooked fresh or dried lentils.  I know, I know, tsk tsk on me.  The ingredients listed were simple and the directions easy to follow.  Like every other recipe in the book, there was a gorgeous color photograph telling me what I could expect as my end result.

 

I greatly enjoyed settling down for a movie with my son and a big bowl of this delicious soup.  My son, who is a soup lover, enjoyed his cup and asked for more.  I love it when I make a nutritious recipe that he will eat a second helping of!  I enjoyed that we had enough left over for two additional meals!

 

Who would like this gift?

 

Anyone who enjoys flavors of the Mexico will like this cookbook.

 

Where to Buy

Muy Bueno is currently available on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, or Indie Bound .

The New Southwest

The New Southwest

By:  Meagan Micozzi of ScarlettaBakes.com

The New Southwest 

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  PR by the Book graciously supplied me with one copy of The New Southwest for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  14+

 

Review

My husband and I are fans of Mexican food.  We vacation there as often as possible.  But, the American versions we have tried all rely heavily on cilantro.  I don’t mind, but my husband finds cilantro to taste “soapy.”  He hates it so much that he has actually researched why it tastes soapy to him.

 

My husband looked through this cookbook expecting to automatically exclude half of them due to the use of cilantro.  He was quite surprised, and happy, to find that Micozzi does not rely on cilantro.  She uses parsley in its place because she too has found cilantro to be a divisive herb.

 

I had to wait quite a while to look the cookbook over myself.  My husband handed it to me and said “I want to make everything in here.”  After looking it over, I have to agree.  Every recipe looks amazing.  And, the variety in the recipes is exceptional.  Salsas, Sauces, Breads, Tortillas, Main Dishes, Grilled Items, Desserts, etc.

 

I chose to make Chile-Rubbed Pork Chops.  I have never made a pork chop quite like this.  I’m much more of a sauce covered pork chop kinda girl.  Or, I make sure to cook them with a fruit of some stripe.  These are not saucy or sweet.  They are dry rubbed with a chile based spice mix.  With it being freezing here in my part of the USA, I used my indoor grill plate.  I was nervous the entire time I grilled them.  Would I like them?  Would my husband like them?

 Southwest Cookbook Porkchops

The answer to both of these questions was a resounding “Yes!”  My husband told me that these are the best pork chops he has EVER had.  I have been instructed to not only make these again, but to also start cooking every recipe in this cookbook!

 

Who would like this gift?

 

Anyone who enjoys flavors of the Southwest will like this cookbook.  If you know someone who enjoys Mexican food and complains about the cost of eating out, or someone who likes flavors of California cuisine and can’t find a restaurant that specializes in it… this is definitely the book for them!

Where to Buy

The New Southwest is currently available on Amazon.comBarnes & Noble’s BN.com or IndieBound.

A Century of Restaurants

 A Century of Restaurants

Stories and Recipes from 100 of America’s Most Historic and Successful Restaurants

By:  Rick Browne

 A Century of Restaurants

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  Andrews McMell Publishing, LLC graciously supplied me with one copy of A Century of Restaurants for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  16+

 

Review

My husband and I love to travel to places with a rich history.  It’s pretty awe inspiring to sit in a building where someone famous once sat, or eat a dish that was served over a hundred years go.  We have really enjoyed reading A Century of Restaurants.  It features 100 restaurants, each of which have been in existence for over 100 years.  The oldest restaurant in this book opened in 1673 and the youngest in 1911.

 

TV personality Rick Browne took on a big challenge when he began the journey to create this cookbook.  It took him 3 years, 2 months and 12 hours.  He logged 46,066 miles by car and airplane.  It had to have been very taxing.  But, I am so happy that he finished the task.

 

Full of color photographs and stories, Browne takes the reader on a journey through America.  The restaurants are alphabetized by the state in which they are located.  You start in Alabama and end in Wyoming.  But, if you have a certain state you are curious about, you can jump in wherever you like.  There is even a map in the back of the book showing you the routes he took on his journey, so you can read the book in that order as well!

 

As great as reading about the history of American restaurants is, and it is fascinating, this is a cookbook at heart.  I felt nostalgic when I picked my recipe to test.  You see, I graduated from the University of Louisville.  And, I haven’t had a Hot Brown since I left Kentucky many years ago.  When I saw The Old Talbott Tavern from Bardstown, KY not only made the book, but also contributed their Old Hot Brown recipe I knew exactly what I was going to make!

A Century of Restaurants Hot Brown

I was not disappointed.  Although I didn’t have individual  large ramekins to cook the hot browns in, I was able to make the dish in a large casserole dish.  My husband and I were immediately transported back to Kentucky.  We spent the whole meal talking about our college adventures, bourbon, our wedding (in Louisville), and how much we can’t wait to go back to visit friends and some of our favorite restaurants in the world.

 

Who would like this gift?

A Century of Restaurants would be an excellent gift for cookbook lovers, history buffs, and anyone who has an interest in time tested recipes.

 

Where to Buy

With a list price of $40, A Century of Restaurants can be purchased at most major bookstores (many of which are having great sales on cookbooks this time of year!).  Or, you can order a copy from Amazon!

 

 

What Are You Doing for Lunch?

What Are You Doing for Lunch?

Not Just a Cookbook

A Friendly Guide to Brown Bagging as a Better Way to Lunch

By: Mona Meighan, Ed.D.

What Are You Doing fo Lunch 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  18+

 

Review

I wish I had this cookbook a few years ago when I was working an 8-4 at a large insurance agency.  I cannot tell you how many salads I ate during my tenure there.  Or, how many times my lunch plans (salad) did not sound appealing and I went out for lunch.

 

What Are You Doing for Lunch? addresses many aspects of brown bagging it:  Cost, Health, and Convenience.  Meighan gives you 8 steps to planning a week of lunches.  If you aren’t quite ready to dive into planning your menu yet, this book also gives you 20 days of Lunches for you to try.

 

The best part is that no recipe in What Are You Doing for Lunch? takes longer than 20 minutes to prepare.  And, for the budget conscious, no recipe costs more than $5 per serving – many cost a dollar per serving!

 

I chose to try out What Are You Doing for Lunch? by cooking the Homemade Meatballs.  I was skeptical.  The prep was easy.  The ingredients simple.  And, my husband is picky.  I decided to kick it up a notch and toss the meatballs in a homemade marinara.

Lunch Meatballs Cooking

Then, I decided to recreate one of my favorite dining out lunches.  I turned them into a meatball sandwich with provolone cheese and a side of potato chips.

Lunch Meatball Sandwich

It was delicious.  We had enough meatballs for 2 adults and 1 child.  My son decided to eat his without the bun.

Lunch Meatballs for Kids

And, there were enough leftovers to feed 2 more adults and 1 child.  Basically, it was two lunches for a family of 3.  This mama was very happy.

 

Who would like this gift?

 

I think this cookbook would be great for the new college graduate, the cubicle worker, office temp, budget conscious executive, or homemakers who need some new ideas for ways to jazz up their lunches.

 

Where to Buy

For $13.46  you can purchase this cookbook at Amazon.

 

For More Information

You can visit Cherie Kimmons’ Website .

 

Reviewed by: Nicole

 Note:  News & Experts graciously supplied me with a copy of What Are You Doing for Lunch?  for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com