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Meet Me at the Farmers Market–fun event for kids

Meet Me at the Farmers Market

written by Lisa Pelto

illustrated by Paula S. Wallace

Meet Me at the Farmers MarketSophia is seven years old and one of her favorite things to do is to go to the local Farmers Market every weekend with her mom—regardless of the weather and even if they are on vacation. Meet Me at the Farmers Market has appealing, colorful line art created by Paula S. Wallace. Author Lisa Pelto has tapped into the current revived interest in buying local and organic and entertainingly walks children through what it is like to go to a farmers’ market. Sophia meets her friends there, and it is a community event complete with pets and musicians. There are fun things for kids like face painting, balloon animals, and delicious food snacks. Sophia and her mom buy fresh seasonal vegetables, eggs and meat.

This is a fast and easy read that children can enjoy as a read aloud and later read by themselves. It offers many possibilities for discussion about families, friends, community and eating clean and local.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Reading is Key Publishing  (Concierge Marketing) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Children’s Fiction, Food

Notes: 

1. Age Range: 3-7 years

    Grades: K-3

2. I wonder if it is typical for animals (besides service animals) to be allowed at a Farmers Market.

Publication:   June 8, 2018—Reading is Key Publishing  (Concierge Marketing)

Memorable Lines:

Mom always tells Farmer Dan, “Your eggs are the freshest, and that’s no yolk!”  Farmer Dan says, “You crack me up! See you next week.”

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Mountain Motorcycling Picnic

IMG_6385Recently my husband and I decided to go on a ride on our dual-sport bikes into the New Mexico mountains between Chama and Tres Piedras. Perfect distance–not too long, not too short.IMG_6389

My husband is famous for transporting unlikely things by motorcycle. Like the time he brought me a dozen red roses in a vase inside his motorcycle jacket. So, while I envisioned a couple of sandwiches, some fruit and water, he prepared barbecued ribs, roasted corn, deviled eggs, bolillos, and watermelon. It was a delicious picnic with an awesome view of the mountains and valley below.IMG_6393

It was a little breezy and cool on top, but really a perfect ride. This is a great destination  for those suffering from the August heat.  When done, we decided to venture further and found a great backcountry road in the Carson National Forest. It was warmer there, the road was in great shape, and peace and solitude abounded. This is an area we plan to return to.IMG_6394IMG_6397

A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and Book Lovers Everywhere

A Literary Tea Party

by Alison Walsh

A Literary Tea Party2A Literary Tea Party, subtitled Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and Book Lovers Everywhere, is a delightful book tantalizing the senses with beautiful color photos and delicious themed recipes. The Table of Contents categorizes the recipes into Savories, Bread and Muffins, Sweets, Homemade Tea Blends, and Tea Alternatives. Each recipe is then listed by its themed name and the book or author associated with it. For example, Savories includes Poetical Egg Salad Sandwich referring to Anne of Green Gables.

Although many of the books referenced are childhood favorites, this is not a children’s recipe book. The recipes are of various difficulty levels and although they generally are aimed at sophisticated tastes, the whole tea party atmosphere is so special it would entice children to sample something a little different. Most recipes include a photograph, a quote tying in the literary reference, a note about the recipe, a listing of ingredients, and clear directions followed by a serving note that again references the literary work. Sometimes important cooking notes are added and highlighted. For some recipes a tea pairing is included. There is also a section of the book which gathers five or six recipes together into a theme for a tea party. Some draw on recipes that refer to one book. Some refer to a theme such as murder and draw from a variety of authors.

The author, Alison Walsh, displays her creativity and artistic skills in the various dishes she shares as well as her photography. Walsh is a self-taught food blogger (Alison’s Wonderland Recipes) who also loves books. In the process of writing A Literary Tea Party, Walsh researched the science behind cooking and devoted herself to developing her culinary skills. The result is a beautiful book that any food lover or book lover would  appreciate; it is a magnificent combination of culinary and literary interests immersed in a refined, but fun, atmosphere only achievable in a tea party setting.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Skyhorse Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Cooking and Food

Publication:   June 5, 2018—Skyhorse Publishing

Memorable Lines:

Note that accompanied “Candied Nuts with Meadowcream” from The Legend of Luke: A Tale of Redwall by Brian Jacques: Most Redwall recipes are simple, rustic dishes, and dessert is no exception. In fact, sugar doesn’t even make an appearance in this recipe. Instead, lightly honeyed spiced walnuts are the star of this dish, accompanied by a generous helping of Redwall’s famous meadowcream. This dessert’s cozy flavors and homey feel make it a perfect Redwall dish!

Note that accompanied “Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Lavender Truffles” from “The Naval Treaty” by Arthur Conan Doyle: There’s nothing more British than Earl Grey tea or Sherlock Holmes, so why not bring them together? These dark chocolate truffles use cream steeped in tea to get that distinct Earl Grey flavor.

Note that accompanied “ Fairy Dust Star Cookies” from Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie: This imaginative take on the linzer cookie features a raspberry jam center and silver sprinkles. Delicately sweet with an otherworldly twinkle, they’re a dessert even Tinker Bell couldn’t resist.

Who Moved My Goat Cheese?–starting a new restaurant

Who Moved My Goat Cheese?

by Lynn Cahoon

Who Moved My Goat CheeseI am delighted to share a new cozy mystery series created by an established author, Lynn Cahoon. Who Moved My Goat Cheese? introduces Angie Turner, a chef who returns to her hometown in the Treasure Valley of Idaho after the death of her grandmother. She, along with fellow culinary expert and best friend Felicia, is opening a new restaurant, The County Seat.

Angie skillfully negotiates the ins and outs of starting a new enterprise in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Just as she begins to progress in lining up suppliers of fresh food at the local farmer’s market, one of the suppliers dies. As Angie is one of the last people to see him, she is considered a suspect. She has a soft spot for the elderly victim, however, and although she prefers cooking, she feels forced at least temporarily into the role of Nancy Drew.

Who Moved My Goat Cheese? is an interesting cozy with just the right amount of romantic interest, investigations, and excitement. The author obviously has a love of food and animals and while these are major elements throughout the book, they are not overemphasized. I’m looking forward to Cahoon’s next book in this series.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1.  #1 in the Farm-to-Fork Mystery Series

2.  A recipe for Lynn Cahoon’s favorite comfort food, a family version of potato soup, is included.

Publication:   March 6, 2018—Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press)

Memorable Lines:

You developed bonds with the people you worked with in the trenches day in and day out. Those were the people you trusted.

Her day was planned. What could go wrong?

Instead of worrying about it, she went to her kitchen and did what she always did when the world didn’t make sense. She cooked.

Hummus and Homicide–mystery with a side of hummus

Hummus and Homicide

by Tina Kashian

Hummus and HomicideI read and reviewed more nonfiction books in February than I usually do. While I enjoyed most of them, I emerged from the month a little drained. Just as the month was ending, however, I read a review written by prolific book blogger Betty of Hummus and Homicide. Her review made this cozy mystery appealing, and I was able to request it as an ARC shortly before the deadline. It was just the relaxing break I needed. You can go to Betty’s blog to see her review by clicking here:

MYSTERIES GALORE AND PHOTOS

Now, on to my review:

Hummus and Homicide is the tale of patent attorney Lucy Berberian’s return from Philadelphia to her hometown Ocean Crest, New Jersey. For eight years she had devoted her life to her career but had hit her head on the metaphorical glass ceiling for women. She bounces back to her family’s Mediterranean restaurant in the small New Jersey beach town. Unfortunately, a former classmate meets an unfortunate demise after Lucy serves her food at the restaurant, making Lucy a prime suspect.

To save her parents’ restaurant from closure and herself from jail, Lucy sets out to discover the killer. There are many possibilities including rival restaurant owners, a famous author, and the boss of a crime family. Along with solving the mystery, Lucy has some personal romantic entanglements to resolve as well as decisions about her career choice to make. Hummus and Homicide is a fun, relaxing read that moves quickly and has interesting, likable characters.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. This is the first book in the new Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series.

 2. There are recipes included at the end of the book.

Publication:   February 27, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

If curiosity killed the cat, what would it do to an out-of-work lawyer sticking her nose where it didn’t belong?

Her eyes slid shut as she bit into the hot pastry. the crunch of the thin layers of buttered pastry, the sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts, blended together in a sweet ballet.

She knew how fast news traveled in town. The Internet had nothing on Ocean Crest when it came to the information superhighway.

Naturally Thin–Lasting Weight Loss without Dieting

Naturally Thin

by Jean Antonello, RN, BSN

Naturally ThinAs both the holiday eating season and 2017 draw to a close, sharing a book on losing weight seems appropriate. So many of us focus on resolutions at this time of year, especially health related issues.

A little personal history: In the late 80’s I read the first book by Jean Antonello, RN, BSN, entitled How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More. I remember successfully following the principles. Fast forward to a lengthy period during which, due to health problems, my concern was being underweight. Fast forward again to better health, but also to some life changes which resulted in an undesired weight gain. Recently I wanted to lose that weight, and I did lose some with a low carb diet, but then I hit a plateau for well over a month despite adherence to the diet and increased exercise.

In the back of my mind I remembered reading a book about eating, with a blue cover, written by a nurse, but that was not enough information for Google to help me locate it. As a book reviewer for NetGalley, I have an incredible number of books that I can request to review. Almost unbelievably, Jean Antonello’s new book popped up on my screen as I was seeking out answers for the plateau. Immediately I knew this was the same author. Naturally Thin_oldWhile I was waiting for my request to be approved, with names now in hand, I was able to find not only the new book, but also a picture of my original book which is now tucked away in a box in NM while I am in Mexico. I felt like I had just found the Mother Lode!

So what do I think of Jean Antonello’s theories and her revised book about 30 years later? It makes so much sense to my personal situation, and she has backed it up with years of research, working with clients, and eating according to the principles herself. She advocates listening to your body’s signals for hunger and for being full. She calls for eating real food and plenty of it. This is not a diet. You are encouraged to eat good foods and never let yourself get hungry which then results in bingeing. She refers to the season of adaptation a former yo-yo dieter needs to go through as “recovery.” You are in charge of your own eating for a change. The plan is based on the feast and famine physiology of our bodies. Dieting is counterintuitive to your body because when you hold back good food, then your body perceives a famine and does not want to let go of the fat. It also slows down the metabolism to protect us from starvation. Both of these things explain my plateau.

There is so much more theory and research in her book, which is written in a very user friendly style. The approach is not complicated, but it does require commitment, not to hunger as in a diet, but to listening to your body’s signals and not thinking like a dieter any more. Antonello debunks lots of dieting myths such as the blame game that is put on overweight people that they are lazy, have psychological problems, and lack will power. She does not guarantee the fast weight loss most diets promise. She does offer freedom from obsession with food and something that rarely happens with diets—you will eat like a naturally thin person and you will not regain the weight.

Obviously I am impressed with the book. I am going to implement the mindset changes, and I anticipate that this will be a gradual process. Will it work? I don’t know. This blog is primarily about education, books, and Mexico. I only occasionally insert personal posts, but I promise to follow up this one with information on my progress or lack of it. According to Naturally Thin, I can’t put a time table on that because everyone’s body is different. I like that viewpoint, and I like that she recognizes people as individuals.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Heartland Book Company for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Health, Nonfiction (Adult)

Notes: The Appendix includes a 31-Day Quick Start plan. These are motivational readings that reinforce the principles and help you make the mental changes necessary after years of being subjected to the dieting industry’s mantra of eating less. There is also a Reader’s Guide of questions for each chapter to help you focus on the principles in that chapter and apply them to your situation.

Publication:   July 11, 2017—Heartland Book Company

Memorable Lines: (I probably highlighted half of this book in my efforts to absorb the plan. I have just cited a few portions here.)

When they diet, they force their bodies to quickly burn fat and at the same time create an increased need for fat for the future. This is why dieters always go off their diets—for the necessary restoration of the fat they’ve lost during the diet.

Just like going hungry regularly, eating a lot of poor quality food triggers the body’s survival response. Lousy food doesn’t satisfy the body’s need for nutrients.

…typically people eat too much and all the wrong stuff because they aren’t eating enough of the right stuff—at the right time.

Probably the most challenging aspect of recovery is the patience required for weight loss.

Guacamole–perfect for a fiesta or an everyday treat

title_croppedAlthough various regions claim to be the “avocado capital,” I can attest that Michoacán, México, deserves the title! Not only was the oldest evidence of the tree found in México, but you only have to take the highway to Uruapan to be surrounded by hectares of avocado orchards and warehouses. We are talking big business and a delicious and healthy product.

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Basic guacamole topped with tomatoes, onion, and cilantro

I make guacamole a number of different ways, depending on my mood and available ingredients. It is so easy. Just combine the ingredients, mash with a fork, and serve.  For me the staples of guacamole are: avocado, lime juice (preferably fresh), and salt. Other tasty additions in any combination you desire are diced onion or tomato, fresh cilantro, and powdered cumin or coriander. I love it best with salted tortilla chips, known in México as “totopos,” but it is also good with fresh veggies, as a salad on a bed of lettuce,  or as a side, topping, or garnish with anything Mexican. How do you like your guacamole?

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The basics–ready to go!

 

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New avocado trees getting their start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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