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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Against the Grain by Nancy Cain

Against the Grain
Extraordinary Gluten Free Recipes Made from Real, All Natural Ingredients
by Nancy Cain

About this Cookbook:

Revolutionary all-natural recipes for gluten-free cooking--from the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet.

Nancy Cain came to gluten-free cooking simply enough: Her teenage son was diagnosed with celiac disease. After trying ready-made baking mixes and finding the results rubbery and tasteless, she pioneered gluten-free foods made entirely from natural ingredients--no xanthan or guar gums or other mystery chemical additives allowed. That led her to adapt many of her family's favorite recipes, including their beloved pizzas, pastas, and more, to this real food technique. In Against the Grain, Nancy finally shares 200 groundbreaking recipes for achieving airy, crisp breads, delicious baked goods, and gluten-free main dishes.

     For any of these cookies, cakes, pies, sandwiches, and casseroles, you use only natural ingredients such as buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Whether you're making Potato Rosemary Bread, iced Red Velvet Cupcakes, Lemon-Thyme-Summer Squash Ravioli, or Rainbow Chard and Kalamata Olive Pizza, you'll be able to use ingredients already in your pantry or easily found at your local supermarket.

     With ample information for gluten-free beginners and 100 colorful photographs, this book is a game changer for gluten-free households everywhere. 

My Thoughts on This Book:

 Are you looking to go gluten free? Looking for yummy gluten free recipes to change up your healthy eating lifestyle? When I saw this cookbook, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I don't need gluten free recipes for our family but I do want to lighten up our diets of wheat. This cookbook gives a fresh start to letting go of wheat food and to welcome new flours for baking and cooking. These recipes do not skimp on flavor or taste. 

Homemade breads, crusts, and desserts are lined within the pages of this cookbook. Each one more delicious than the next. I love making my own bread and now I can't wait to try each and everyone of them in this book. It also gives you the recipe to do a sourdough starter.. Yum! 

The first part of the cookbook is learning about gluten free baking. From learning some basic tools, to stocking your kitchen cupboards with all the necessary ingredients.

The cookbook then is broken down by food categories:
Traditional Breads and Flatbreads
Quick Breads, Breakfast Food, and Muffins
Cookies and Bars
Pies and Desserts
Recipes Using Premade Breads.

Beautifully illustrated, easy to read recipes and completely all natural ingredients. This cookbook is a keeper in my kitchen..

I received a review copy for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Brush With Love by Rachel Hauck


A Brush With Love
by Rachel Hauck
A Year of Weddings Novella

Book Description:

Revealing the beauty in other women might be Ginger Winters’s specialty—but it will take an unexpected kind of love to help Ginger see the beauty in herself.

Ginger Winters drapes her hair over her right shoulder and adjusts the scarf around her neck to cover her scarred, withered skin. She’s had the scars since she was twelve, but she’ll never get used to the ugliness.

The fire changed Ginger’s life, but out of the pain and humiliation of her own disfigurement, one quality unexpectedly emerged: a gift for bringing out the beauty in other women. In a twelve-year ascent from top salon jobs in New York, Atlanta, and Nashville, Ginger traveled the world as personal stylist to country music sensation Tracie Blue. The success was almost enough to make her forget her own appearance.

Almost. Now that she’s opened her own salon in Rosebud after a dozen years away, the truth is staring Ginger in the face again: she’s still that girl, ugly and scarred, forever on the outside looking in. And this weekend she’ll be looking in as “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.

But when high-school crush Tom Wells shows up looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her from love once again . . . despite Tom’s best efforts. Can this professional beauty-maker manage to recognize the beauty in herself, or are some scars too deep to powder over?

My Thoughts on This Book:

 This novella tugged on my heartstrings as Ginger struggles with her self worth. After being burned in a fire at a young age, as an adult she still finds her self unattractive and won't accept any fact that someone of the opposite sex would look at her and call her beautiful, until Tom comes back into town. Tom was someone she was interested in when she was in high school but his family left in the middle of the night without explanation.

He's now back and can these two find common ground to build a relationship and can Ginger find herself beautiful? Great story..

About the Author:

RITA Finalist and Carol Award winner Rachel Hauck was recently chosen by Family Fiction readers as one of the top five romance authors in CBA. She has written more than fifteen novels, including the acclaimed Songbird novels with multi-platinum country singer Sara Evans. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband, and writes from her ivory tower (her office really is in a tower—and it’s painted ivory!).

I received this ebook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.. No other compensation was given.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The First Principle by Marissa Shrock

The First Principle
by Marissa Shrock

About This Book:

In the not-too-distant future, the United Regions of America has formed. Governors hold territories instead of states, and while Washington, DC, is gone, the government has more control than ever before. For fifteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins, the daughter of a governor, this is life as usual. High school seems pretty much the same--until one day, that controlling power steps right through the door during study hall.

When Vivica speaks out to defend her pregnant friend against the harsh treatment of Population Management Officer Marina Ward, she has no idea she's sowing the seeds of a revolution in her own life. But it isn't long before she discovers her own illegal pregnancy. Now she has to decide whether to get the mandatory abortion--or follow her heart, try to keep the baby, and possibly ruin her mother's chances at becoming president.

A rebel group called the Emancipation Warriors, who are fighting to restore freedoms once held unalienable, offer her asylum. Can Vivica trust these rebels to help her or will they bring everything crashing down around her? Accepting their help may come with consequences she isn't ready to face.

Marissa Shrock's debut novel crafts a chilling story of what may be to come if we allow the economic and moral crises currently facing our country to change the foundations on which we built our independence--and of the difference one person can make when they choose to trust God's lead.

My Thoughts on This Book:

I was intrigued to read this book after skimming the back cover. I follow politics, and when I saw this book discuss a futuristic approach to America I knew I wanted to read it. At first, I was struck by the background story of the possible future of America and the realistic structure of what really could be our future..

After getting past the details of our country in the story, the characters came to life for me. Vivica finding herself pregnant, knowing the government will force her to terminate due to the law that requires mandatory terminations in underage girls. She realizes she wants her child to live but it's not that easy when your mother is a governor for 1/3 of America and wants to run for President.

 This past paced story, brings adventure, and a little realistic background description of the possibilities America may face if our government continues to work in the ways they are now. I felt that part of the story was a little too close to the truth.. I loved it all.. I was hooked from page one!

This book is cataloged for young adult but could definitely be a story that anyone young and old would enjoy!

Interested in reading this story/book? You can purchase an e-book copy February 10-15 for only $1.99. Get it HERE
Marissa Shrock is a writer and language arts teacher who enjoys working with her fun seventh grade students. She is a graduate of Taylor University and has completed the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman courses. She is  a member of ACFW.
Marissa has written articles for teens and adults in Evangel and Encounter. The First Principle is her debut novel.
In her spare time Marissa loves spending time with family and friends, shopping for cute clothes, traveling, baking, and playing golf.
- See more at:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 5- Unprocessed Kitchen Series

 photo 14weeksunprocessed1.jpg 

 Welcome to our fifth week of the 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen.

Have you already started your unprocessed journey or are you new to this? 
This is a great place to start by taking 14 weeks to getting yourself on track for healthy living. 

You can find Week 1's post HERE
You can find Week 2's post HERE
You can find Week 3's post HERE
You can find Week 4's post HERE 

This week I'd like to touch base on another item you may have in your kitchen cupboard: 

Although vegetable shortening can be helpful for cooking, that doesn't mean it's a healthy food. Vegetable shortening offers little more than a large dose of fat with few other nutrients. Shortening undergoes a chemical process, called hydrogenation, to make it solid at room temperature, and this process leads to the generation of trans fats. Trans fat is the most harmful type of fat you can consume. It boosts your harmful blood cholesterol levels while reducing the level of good cholesterol in your bloodstream.

So what can we use in replace of Crisco, shortening in our baking and cooking?

My go to is Organic Coconut Oil. 1 to 1 substitution for any recipe that calls for shortening. This not only allows a better taste for your food, but gives you the benefits of coconut in your daily diet. 

You can also use applesauce as a replacement for shortening if you don't like coconut oil or maybe allergic to it. Substitute 1 cup of shortening with ½ cup of applesauce.

The other option is 'real' butter. Not margarine. Organic butter is the best. When using butter as a substitute, you should use 1 cup of butter—or 2 tbsp more than a cup—for every 1 cup of shortening needed for the recipe. When using butter as a substitute for shortening, use less salt in your recipe or choose no salt butter.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this week's post. Please stop by for Week 6 of 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen next Monday.. Until then...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Clean Slate-A Cookbook and Guide


Clean Slate- A Cookbook and Guide
From the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

About This Book:
Clean Slate provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You'll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, anti-oxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3 day cleanse and a 21 day whole body detox, with easy to follow tips and strategies for staying on track.

My Thoughts About This Book:

Are you looking to eat cleaner, healthier meals. Taking unprocessed food out of your diet but don't know where to start? You will find just what you need within the pages of this awesome cookbook. This isn't your ordinary cookbook either. With beautifully photographed recipes throughout, with delicious recipes for your entire family, and a wonderful section on how to get started. 

Part One is all about "Reset".. With 11 "Golden Rules" to set you up for success such as How to choose whole foods over processed foods establishing smart meal plan habits to name a couple. Discussing everything from what is processed foods, to taking the steps to eating clean . This book also includes a 3 day detox cleanse by giving you a 3 day action plan as well as a 21 day action plan.

Part Two is all about the recipes... Every easy to follow recipe includes a bright attractive photo so you can see what you are making. I love cookbooks that show me what I'm eating. No surprises.. I love that! Each recipe also includes nutritional information per serving. - Calories -Fat -Satuarated Fat -Cholesterol -Carbohydrates -Protein and -Fiber

Each recipe also tells you how many it will serve so you can make appropriate adjustments if you need more or less. Another feature I love in a recipe. Takes the guess work on whether you have enough or too much..

In the very back of the book you will find a very handy Recipe Index labeling all the recipes by categories including Breakfast, Drinks, Soups & Stews, Salads, Main Dishes, Snacks and Desserts.

This cookbook is now a part of my permanent cookbook collection....

I received a free softcover copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 4- Unprocessed Kitchen Series

 photo 14weeksunprocessed1.jpg 

 Welcome to our fourth week of the 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen.

Have you already started your unprocessed journey or are you new to this? 
This is a great place to start by taking 14 weeks to getting yourself on track for healthy living. 

You can find Week 1's post HERE
You can find Week 2's post HERE
You can find Week 3's post HERE

This week I'd like to touch base on another commonly used staple in your kitchen cupboard: 
Corn Syrup, and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is used in a lot of baking recipes and you can find these two ingredients in over 80% of all packaged foods at the store. If you are seeking a healthy kitchen then these two items need to go. 

Corn Syrup

Over 90% of all corn products in the U.S are genetically modified. To help in maintaining a healthy unprocessed lifestyle, we need to eliminate all food products that are genetically altered. This includes corn.
For the reasons of corn syrup being genetically modified and highly processed is why my family won't use it in our home.

Some healthy substitutes for using corn syrup:

Organic Brown Rice Syrup
Organic Agave Nectar
Pure, Raw Honey
100% Pure Maple Syrup

Each gives a different flavor to your food and all are perfect substitutes to any corn products for all your baking and cooking needs. Use them the same as you would corn syrup: 1 to 1 in your recipes..
High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a man-made sweetener that’s found in a wide range of processed foods. Completely chemically processed. H.F.C.S is not good for you at all. No matter what the mainstream media is trying to portray with this ingredient. Your body DOES know the difference. We live in a country where our food is tainted with this ingredient and we are terribly deprived of nutrients.

The good news is that you can't just go to the store and purchase high fructose corn syrup and place it in your food to eat. It's an additive in the prepackaged food you buy in the store. So to eliminate this ingredient you need to read labels

The tricky part is that High Fructose Corn Syrup is also disguised in your labels under different names. 

Not only do you see the words High Fructose Corn Syrup but you will also see words:

High Maltose Corn Syrup  
Maize Syrup
Tapioca Syrup

Glucose/Fructose syrup
 Glucose Syrup
 Dahlia Syrup and Crystalline Glucose

All of these above are the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup so it's really important to read labels on everything you purchase. To have an unprocessed kitchen the goal is to eliminate the products that would contain these ingredients because they are in all processed foods you buy in the store. The more unprocessed you get, the chances of you running into these ingredients get smaller.. That's great news!

This week was all about eliminating all corn syrup products from our kitchens. I challenge you this week to read all the labels of products you have in your kitchen and find out how many have any of these ingredients labeled.. To also find an alternative ingredient to use in replace of your corn syrup..

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this week's post. Please stop by for Week 5 of 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen next Monday.. Until then...