Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal

indiaVibrant India is clearly a labor of love. What I liked were family photos and the writing giving the background for the author’s passion for cooking. The old photos of her grandparents and parents were great.

The recipes are clearly written with uncomplicated cooking instructions and ingredients which aren’t hard to find. Don’t you hate it when recipes require specialty items that are either very expensive or extremely hard to locate?

Lentils – I love them!  They are a staple in our pantry so I was happy to see many recipes which feature lentils.  I have also enjoyed learning about the difference in Southern Indian cuisine and the Northern style.

Recently, well… within the last several years…. I have renewed my love of Indian food. We have been to several local restaurants and while I have enjoyed the meals immensely, this book will allow me to learn to cook this cuisine at home.

A beauty of a cookbook if you enjoy Indian food. The title is so appropriate as the word vibrant bursts out in photos and passion.


*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, nice and no-so-nice are my own 🙂

Outlander Kitchen – an exciting cookbook for fans of the Outlander series!


I remember picking up the paperback novel Outlander by Diana Gabaldon from the library’s sale table.  Historical fiction, a bit of time travel and a venue in the  Scottish Highlands had me very interested.  As with many Gabaldon fans, I fell in love with the series.  This was my first book by this author.

The books are great but I must admit I wasn’t a big fan of the TV show.   The actor playing Jamie just isn’t right (for me). Yes, I know I am in the minority regarding the actor playing Jamie but….it just doesn’t work for me.

Still….being a fan of this series I knew I had to check out this new cookbook, Outlander Kitchen by Theresa Carle- Sanders.  I am pleased to say this book is fantastic-  a wonderful gift for the Outlander fan.  Christmas is coming up so, keep that in mind.

Each recipe is preceded by a passage from one of the books (see below) and the photo of the pastry or dish and full recipe. This is enjoyable to read through without a thought to which of these recipes you want to try.


The forward on this book is also interesting to read.  It describes how our author came to find her passion in the kitchen after enduring a series of less-than-satisfying jobs.  Many times I admit to scanning the beginnings with the dedications and thoughts.  This one had me reading each and every paragraph.  Interesting.

This photo was too good for me to exclude.  She has a shiba inu, a breed I adore!  Shibas are certainly not for the first time dog owner, too big a challenge, but I am fascinated with the breed.  We still miss our Kobe who left us too soon but Aja, our 14 year old cream shiba, still rules the house.  Ok, more pup info than I needed to share here….couldn’t resist.


One of the recipes I wanted to try was a simple one, Mrs. FitzGibbons’s Overnight Parritch.  This oatmeal breakfast figures prominently in the books and it seems they have it for breakfast quite a bit.

Tradionally made from oatmeal and stirred with a spurtle (clockwise, to keep the devil away).  Parritch, or porridge, evolved from pottage, a thick vegetable and grain stew that served as the mainstay of the European diet until the seventeenth century.

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Just before you go to bed bring 1 cup water to boil in covered pot.  Stir in the oats and salt, cover the pot, turn off heat, and leave it overnight.  I did this but took the pot off the burner altogether.

In the morning, add the milk and butter and bring to a boil.  Reduce flame to low and simmer gently until tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.


This isn’t an exceptional recipe and one I could have made without the overnight steeping.  It was a great breakfast though.  We added cinnamon and honey to our bowls and had a rib-sticking breakfast.  Perfect for staving off all the sweets everyone brought in to work, I wasn’t the least tempted as I had a good breakfast.


There are scores of other wonderful recipes and of course, excerpts from the books.  This one gets an A+    🙂

To check out the author’s website click HERE.

Adding my review to Goodreads, and linking up with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series as well as Joy for her British Friday series.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

SkinnyTaste: Fast and Slow


Slow cooker recipes can’t be beat.  They are time savers and one of my favorite ways to prepare a good dinner.  Is there anything better than walking in after work and getting hit with the aroma of dinner cooking.

There are 60 recipes for slow cookers as well as recipes that can made in 30 minutes.  This is definitely for the working person when you want dinner to be an easy affair after working all day.  All the recipes call for healthy ingredients so, no junk food to get your dinner on the table quickly. That’s a winner!

There weren’t as many vegetarian recipes as I’d hoped for  but there are some good ones I can adapt for our family.  Plus, since we eat fish, there are so many delectable meals there.  The photography is great.  I plan on the shrimp and avocado meal very soon!

More Info

Author Bio

  • I received this cookbook free of charge from the Blogging for Books program.  I was not compensated and all opinions are my own.

Modern Potluck just wasn’t my cuppa tea

modern potluck

I saw the word Potluck and thought this would have an excellent selection of recipes. It does in fact have many recipes as well as wonderful glossy photos. The statement to give people “foolproof, crowd-pleasing” recipes fell short for me and my household in regard to taste preferences. I see many 4 and 5 star reviews and honestly, I am happy for those folks that this book was a success for them.

For me, the word Potluck inspires casseroles and easy to prepare foods that you know almost everyone wants to sample. You arrive with “the dish” and people say, yesssssssss….I love that or can’t wait to try it!

This wasn’t the mental image that came to mind as I turned page after page trying to find something I would cook. Something we would make over and over. In my opinion, this book is for people who are extremely passionate and adventurous regarding some out of the ordinary ingredients and combinations. An asparagus quiche sounds good but I’m not sure about the rye crust.

Tuna, capers and slow roasted tomatoes would work for me as would the deviled eggs. But I don’t need a cookbook to assist with deviled eggs or to come up with creative combinations to give them some zing. Same goes for the potato salad.

This book is well organized into sections for snacks, dips, drinks, main dishes, etc. Also it caters to a wide variety of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan. There are many recipes for meat eaters too.

It’s a pretty book, it’s just not for me so I will donate this book to the library.

More info

Author Bio

I received a copy of this cookbook through the Blogging for Books program.  All opinions are my own.

Tasting Rome

romeThe Ex-Pat dream… in another country and exploring the food, art and culture. This book isn’t an Italian cookbook. This is a memoir about life in Rome and it’s filled, chock filled, with recipes and history about the dish and the area. The photos are incredibly vibrant and you want to leap into the page, grab one of the savory pies (Tortas) and immerse yourself in the experience.

Of the many things I enjoyed looking through this book is the focus on using fresh and seasonal ingredients. I am a pasta addict and have to limit the number of times I could have it on our dinner table. There are enough pasta recipes to keep me going for a long time. I’ve made cacio e pepe before but never thought to use it as a filling for suppli. What is suppli you may ask? Fried rice formed in balls and filled with mozzarella or mincemeat or the wonderful peppery cacio e pepe. Roman street food. I want some.


Photo credit

The recipes are easy to follow and I love that they are titled in Italian followed by the translation. This book is certainly appealing to both the armchair traveler and those who love to cook. If you have an interest in Rome and the wonderful foods as well as a historical perspective, this is the book for you. It would make a great gift for someone who likes these topics.

I received this from the Blogging for Books Program.  All opinions are mine 🙂


Sweeter Off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season

sweeterYossy Arefi writes a regular column for Food52 and has been featured in Bon Appetit, Sauveur and Modern Farmer. In spite of her fame, I had not heard of her until I received this book.

The recipes are divided by season which is very handy. If you like cooking with ingredients as they are the freshest and in season, this is the cookbook for the dessert lover. The photos are out of this world beautiful. Look at page 125 – it seems you could wipe the water drops off the fruit, it’s that vivid.

For summer you have apricot and berry galette with saffron sugar,coconut cream fool with raspberries and chocolate celebration cake with fresh raspberry buttercream. Are you drooling? I am. Winter offers up blood orange old-fashioned donuts among other delectable sweeties. While the recipes are a bit ambitious for me, they wouldn’t be a problem for an experienced baker.




I received this cookbook from the Blogging for Books program.  All opinions, nice and otherwise, are all my own.

Pioneer Woman Recipes I have tried

I have bought quite a few of Ree Drummond’s cookbooks over the last year. Being one of the cheapest individuals on this planet I have only paid full price for the latest one, Dinnertime. It’s a great book and I have made several meals from it so far.


Besides the great photographs of the ranch, her kids and sexy cowboys you have easy to follow, step-by-step recipes that have always turned out well.

So many of her recipes are incredibly delicious and while they aren’t always low fat, your taste buds will thank you.

Here are a few I have made in these past few months.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad


Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

FullSizeRender (12)

Oven BBQ Roasted Chicken


Lasagna Rollups


By the way, my other Pioneer Woman cookbooks I grabbed from Thrift Books. Have you heard of that site? You can get any sort of book for a fraction of the going rate on Amazon. You can even start a wish list if the book you want is unavailable. Cool, huh?

To be forewarned, 98% of the time these are used books but the condition is described in detail. I am currently awaiting a copy of Tender by Nigel Slater.

Do you use any of The Pioneer Woman’s recipes? Any favorites you could share with me?