Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook...Review

This cookbook is quite simply fun. I found it in a used bookstore several weeks ago. Sure, some of the recipes are interesting, but more than that, it's a terrific commentary about food and the evolution of cooking. Along with recipes, there are informative stories about the creation of food products like gelatin and the ability to flash freeze food, which was perfected by Clarence Birdseye.

The photos are vintage, as are the recipes. Some are appealing, such as "Orange Bread" and "Baked Pork Chops with Apples". "Beet Aspic" doesn't sound very good, but it was "up-to-date" in 1928!

I love the little excerpts and anecdotes sprinkled through out the book. They share things like this gem from 1895, To keep vegetables fresh, place them in a deep dish in about two inches of cold water. Take a piece of linen, soak it in water and spread over all, letting the corners dip into the water to keep the cloth moist. Place dish in a window where the the air can blow over it.

If you can track down a copy, this is just a fun book to read. That there are good recipes in it is simply a bonus.

Personal copy, but you can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Sugarless Plum...Review

About the book:
It started as the perfect story. Zippora Karz was a member of the famed
New York City Ballet by the age of eighteen. By twenty she was starring as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, dancing roles created by Jerome Robbins, and traveling the world.

It was the stuff dreams are made of until, at age twenty-one, Karz became exhausted, dizzy and excessively thirsty. Heavy pancake makeup covered the sores under her arms that would not heal, but she neglected to go to the doctor. When she finally did, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and learned that if she continued to ignore her symptoms, she risked heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of her toes, feet and legs. She struggled to get the correct diagnosis and treatment, first thinking she had Type-2 diabetes, when in fact she had Type 1, juvenile diabetes. Once placed on an insulin regimen to regulate her blood sugar, she would inject herself with unsafe doses before going on stage in misguided attempts to obtain peak performance. The potentially fatal result of Karz's self-experimentation became all too real when she nearly lost consciousness. Her weight dropped and she became dangerously ill.

Balancing ballet and her blood sugar would be a long and difficult struggle for Karz, but eventually she learned to value her body and work with it, rather than rage at its limitations. In
The Sugarless Plum, Karz shares her journey from denial, shame and miseducation about her illness to how she led an active, balanced and satisfying life as an insulin-dependent diabetic and soloist with one of the world's most famous ballet companies. Through her fascinating story, those struggling with diabetes and other serious illnesses can find encouragement and inspiration as well as practical advice on achieving physical and emotional wellness.

After sixteen years with the New York City Ballet, Karz retired and took her passion and skills into a whole new arena as a diabetes educator and advocate, where today she inspires people to not just manage their illness, but to thrive and fulfill their passions.
The Sugarless Plum takes readers deep into the heart and soul of a young dancer, and is a remarkable testament to determination and perseverance.

This was a memoir I thoroughly enjoyed. I love ballet and while it's not a "tell all" book, the insiders look into the world of the New York City Ballet was fascinating. Zippora's account of the perseverance it took to become a prima ballerina is inspiring: the hard work and hours of practice; the pressure to not only excel, but succeed to the expectations of greats like George Balanchine.

Zippora's story is honest and unembellished. As she reaches her professional goals, her health declines and she finds herself not only striving to dance while sick, but unable to find out why she was sick. I found the story of her struggle with diabetes interesting. Diabetes isn't something I've dealt with personally, but is a disease that is very prevalent in the world today. It's also easy to make judgment calls and say that she should have asked for second opinions or even demanded more from her doctors. However, I think she did the best with what she had and could do at the time, and it's fortunate that she was able to find answers and ways of dealing with her diabetes before it was too late.

While not a book specifically about diabetes, Zippora nevertheless shares her knowledge and insights about diabetes and treating it.

Thanks to Caitlin Price of FSB Associates for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Zippora Karz here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

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3/5 Stars

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Choice...Review

About the book:
One moment Carrie Weaver was looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Riehl--plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next moment she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But, will this opportunity be all she hoped? Or will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

A tender story of love, forgiveness, and looking below the surface,
The Choice uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world--and shows that it's never too late to find your way back to God.

Simply enjoyable. This is truly a story that shows how each choice you make carries a consequence. Sometimes those consequences are good and sometimes they are filled with sorrow and regret. While she loves her Amish world, Carrie's life hasn't been easy with a prickly step mother and a father and brother who suffer from hemophilia. But, when she falls in love with Sol, nothing else matters.

After heartbreak and disappointment, however, she chooses a different path; one that keeps her within the Amish community and her faith. Daniel is a good man and I found myself anxious for them to finally, honestly communicate. Several events in the book were unexpected and while filled with heartache, this isn't a sad story. It's a story of a woman's strength and faith in God.

An enjoyable, easy read. I liked these characters and can't wait for the next in the series.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Suzanne Woods Fisher here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Strictly Sundays...Review

About the book:
Joe Fitzpatrick's been working wonders in the kitchen and on the grill for decades. Now you, oh lucky one, can share his secret powers and wow friends and family alike. Serve real food that fills the belly, satisfies the soul, and wins the day. Not just Sundays.

I prepare dinner and my family sits down together nearly every night of the week to eat together. Even so, Sunday dinner is often a bit more special and something I like to spend more time preparing. Strictly Sundays is a beautiful little cookbook with just that premise. Many of the recipes aren't simple: they take some work and preparation, but the end result is a dish your family can enjoy together on a day that is just a little more special.

For those who don't cook with alcohol, be aware that many of these recipes call for wine, so you will want to find substitutes. For inexperienced cooks, many of these recipes could also be a little intimidating at first. However, nothing is out of reach or experience.

The book doesn't include any bread or dessert dishes. I also wish, just like I do with most cookbooks, that there was a photo for every recipe and that the binding was spiral so that it would lay flat. The photography, however, is gorgeous and perfect for a book that is more gourmet than ordinary.

Thanks to Bostick Communications for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Joe Fitzpatrick here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Becoming Lucy...Review

About the book:
After her parents' deaths, 17-year-old heiress Lucinda Bishop takes refuge on her aunt and uncle's ranch in Barton Creek, Oklahoma. If it weren't for ranch hand Jake Starnes, the genteel young woman wouldn't survive the backbreaking work. But a dark secret torments him. Can Jake face his past before somebody claims Lucinda's hand---or her life?

Some books you just connect with, and others you don't. This one sounded very promising and the cover just invites you to pick it up. Becoming Lucy was a historical novel that just fell flat for me. Oh, I liked Lucinda well enough, although she and her family were just a bit too perfect. Jake was a nice guy, but his story was predictable. Some of the characters are a bit colorful, which helps. The conflict between Lucinda and her uncle was washed over and wrapped up too neatly. I think the premise held a lot of potential, but delivered little. My copy is an ARC and I found many inconsistencies and annoying editing details that I hope are cleaned up in the final version.

Clean, Christian romance that will appeal to many, just not to me this time.

Thanks to First Wildcard and LeAnn Hamby of Strang Book Group for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Martha Rogers here. You can read the first chapter here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

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2/5 Stars

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dinosaurs for Kids...Review

About the book:
A powerful new children's book from Answers in Genesis president and founder Ken Ham!

Dinosaurs are a fascination for children - and a wonderful opportunity to share biblical history! Ken presents an easy to understand timeline for youngsters in helping to put these amazing creatures into a realistic perspective! With seven "Fs" to guide the way, Ken shares the true story of these amazing creatures and how they fit perfectly into the study of history, Genesis, the flood of Noah, and their discovery in modern times.My dinosaur-obsessed 9 year old loves it, mostly for the terrific graphics. I found it educational and fascinating for the non-evolutionary stand it takes and the biblical examples and scriptural references used.

While parts are a bit preachy, the book is well written for a child's level. The language is simple, but rich and the graphics and illustrations are beautiful. Ken Ham even provides discussion points for those who might disagree with the perspective of dinosaurs and the Creation.

Overall, a refreshing look at the unique world of dinosaurs from a unique perspective. I think it is a book that definitely needs to be read together as parent and child, because of the potential for discussions and lessons learned.

Thanks to First Wildcard and Robert Parrish of New Leaf Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can read the first chapter here. You can learn more about Ken Ham here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/10

* * *
3/5 Stars