book review, Cookbook Review

Comfort Food Makeovers

comfort food

Hello Dear Reader,

I want to buy this cookbook! Granted, I love cookbooks, any kind of cookbook: church, rotary, vegetarian, BBQ, cakes, whatever. And I always enjoy reading them just for fun. But when one comes along I actually want to use: that’s the one I’m going to buy.

The first time my soon-to-be sweetie made me his ‘favorite dish’ I was horrified:

  •   1 can un-drained corn
  •   2 cups white rice
  •   1 stick butter
  •    God knows how much salt

I tried not to balk-to Sweetie, it was a childhood favorite. Since the rice & corn obviously meant so much to him I ate it, but like his version of Red Beans and Rice, I have considerably lightened up his ‘just like my grandma made it’ home recipes. The poor guy continues to fall victim to my desire to cook delicious Southern recipes without all the extra fat, sugar, and white stuff.

This cookbook, by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen fits the bill. It’s got the great comfort foods we love, but the meals are lightened up in such an inspired way, you’d never guess. Really. The editors even state as much in the introduction to Comfort Food Makeover: All Your Favorites Made Lighter,

If you think ‘recipe makeovers’ means tofu lasagna or carob-chip cookies, think again- our recipes had to taste good and stay as true to the original as possible. If a revamped recipe didn’t hew closely to the full-fat original and didn’t cut it with our taster, then that dish didn’t make it into the book. Period.’

Think Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, and Philly Cheesesteaks. Think Mac and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie. Think New York Cheesecake and Tiramisu.  How do they do it?

Well they’ve made smart switches: baking not frying of course, but they’ve added things like panko bread crumbs to keep the crunch. In the Tiramisu recipe for example, it’s been lightened from 530 calories to 350 calories simply by switching out the high fat mascarpone for light cottage cheese, and 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel). When you whip them in your blender or food processor the texture becomes similar to mascarpone. And it’s good Tiramisu. Promise.

Comfort Food Makeovers includes plenty of the ‘goodies’ you get from the America’s Test Kitchen shows like top makeover techniques, and product brand testing as well as tips for calculating nutritional information for each recipe. But read it for the eats. Grab a copy Dear Reader, and make your own delicious, healthier comfort food!

3 daises

Reviewer: Leigh

leigh 2

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Comfort Food Makeovers – All Your Favorites Made Lighter
By the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
Photography by Daniel J. van Ackere
Additional Photography by Carl Tremblay

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book review, Thriller Review

One Kick


one kick.png

Hello Dear Reader,

Thrillers are one of my very guilty pleasures.

And I do have my favorite authors, for whom I willingly put aside daily chores to immerse myself in the worlds of their creation; to gleefully discover what’s happening in the life of my favorite dudes. But let’s face it- and be truthful here. There are plenty of male protagonists in thriller/suspense/espionage genres but where are the smart, tough, irreverent women solving crimes and saving the world?

For example, where are the women in the world of Harry Bosch or Elvis Cole?

Waiting to be helped or rescued. Granted Bosch, as written by Michael Connelly, has a strong police captain who is female, but usually in both his world and that of Cole, as written by Robert Crais, the women are loving these guys (I totally do too) and or waiting to be rescued.

Not so in One Kick by Chelsea Cain. While there are plenty of strong female characters in the mystery genre who are smart and fun, few possess the skills needed and depth of character to do whatever it takes to send the bad guy, if necessary, into the next world. Kick Lannigan in One Kick is just such a person. Only two others can compare: Lisbeth Salandar in Steig Larson’s Dragon Tattoo series, and Vanessa Michael Munroe in The Informationist by Taylor Stevens.   Their life experiences make them who they are.

And who they are is tough.  They don’t give up. No matter what.

From the moment the story begins Chelsea Cain draws you into Kick’s world. There’s a sense of being on the edge, a sinking feeling in your stomach. You aren’t sure you want to read this, but you just can’t stop. After a horrific childhood in captivity Kick Lannigan trains to become an expert marksman and knife fighter, as well as a master in martial arts combat.  Kick and her reclusive brother dedicate their lives to searching for those in need, when a tough sexy man, Bishop, hires her for a project of his own.

As Kick Lannigan forces her way through a web of darkness and lies, One Kick kept me gripped on a rollercoaster of excitement, fear, and admiration after which left me wanting another ride. And for that Dear Reader, I give this book four daisies.

daisy 4daisy 4daisy 4daisy 4

Reviewer: Leigh

leigh 2

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One Kick
Chelsea Cain
Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 1476749876