This Bookworm’s Christmas Acquisitions

Christmas isn’t just about the gifts, but I thought I’d share some of my gifts that I’m excited to dig into.

givethemgrace Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson. This has been on my to-read list for awhile – it’s officially now on my 2014 Books To Read List.



DehydratorBible_800 The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer Mackenzie, Jay Nutt, & Don Mercer. We love using our dehydrator, but I thought I could use more ideas of things to do with it. The thing I love about this book is that has a variety of recipes, including things to give as gifts, and just-add-water mixes that would be perfect for camping or backpacking.




babyknits  Baby Knits Made Easy by DK. Yes, I’m learning how to knit. I think I should have another hobby besides reading, right? I’m excited to try some of these projects. Technically, most of the things can be made larger so they’d fit David as well. I love how the patterns are cute, but not super elaborate.  There’s a variety of patterns, too, from stuffed toys to blankets to clothing.



quilling  Thrilling Quilling by Elizabeth Moad. Ever since I borrowed a quilling book from the library, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it. But, I told myself I’d put a book and the supplies on my Christmas wishlist and see what happened. Well, I’m all set to go now once David takes a nap and I have my other work done!




I’ve never included magazines on this blog before, but I received a subscription to Mother Earth News, and I’m excited to read it.  And sometimes as a stay-at-home-Mom, getting the mail is the highlight of my day. Josiah and I are into gardening, cooking, and “homesteading” type things, so it’s a good fit for both of us.


Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Argentina to Zambia

A month or so, I was really struggling with motivation in the kitchen. I wanted to eat, but I didn’t want to make anything. And I kept wanting to eat Asian food. AND David had started eating everything in our cupboards. Then I remembered a favorite cookbook of mine- Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Argentina to Zambia. I decided I was going to try and cook through it, just as I had done with Simply in Season. (Well, I’m about 10 recipes short from having cooked everything, but I cooked most of the ones that looked appetizing.)

ExtendTable_ST_0  Extending the Table contains recipes, stories, and proverbs from all around the world.  I’ve had so much fun in the past couple of weeks. In one meal, I’ve served soup from Venezuela and bread from Botswana. And yes, I’ve been finding some fun Chinese and Filipino recipes to satisfy my Asian cravings. This book has great organization – you can search by ingredient or country.

Emily Welty has blogged about her experience in cooking through Extending the Table:  I also just discovered that a new edition is coming out in May 2014 – wahoo!

What are your favorite cookbooks?

Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze, or Dry Almost Anything

I thought I’d write a quick post while my tomatoes are in the canner. (85 minutes is just way too long for something to be in the canner when I am trying to do more than one batch!)

saving-the-seasons-cookbookThis is my guide for canning, freezing, and drying: Saving the Seasons by Mary Clemens Meyer & Susana Meyer (same publisher as Simply in Season). The authors have included the basics – like how to make applesauce – and also more exotic things like hot peach chutney and barbecued beef jerky. (No, I haven’t made either of those things. Yet.)

It is great for the beginner (me!) – it does not assume a whole lot of background knowledge. My only complaint: it won’t stay open!  I would suggest a spiral-bound version for the next go-round.

Book Review: The Cook’s Herb Garden

cook'sherbgarden copy

Photo credit: suzettesuzette / / CC BY

My in-laws gave me The Cook’s Herb Garden for my birthday. (Thanks guys!)  I’ve enjoyed skimming through it. I’m excited for warmer weather and the chance to work in my herb bed.

Organization and Features

The book contains four main sections: choose, grow, harvest & store, and cook. The choose section features an herb catalog with photos and information. For each herb, the authors include information for growing, harvesting, and cooking. If you are new to gardening, the grow section will help you get started without feeling overwhelmed. The harvesting and cooking sections were of course my favorites. I want to try rosemary oil and oregano butter.  At the back of the book, the authors included some charts of foods and what herbs you can partner with the foods. For example, pair figs with cilantro or lavender, or grapes with cilantro or lemon.

Something I learned

Jonathunder / / CC BY-SA

I learned something new. You can freeze garlic by separating into cloves, shaping in a roll and covering in plastic wrap. You don’t need to include water or oil. I will have to try that. I am very lazy when it comes to garlic.  I frequently use garlic powder so I don’t have to deal with peeling and mincing.

Something I would change

  • Add a list of recommended resources for learning more about herbs – herbs as medicine, more recipes, etc.
  • More recipes – especially recipes that kids would be into (or at least willing to try)

Things I love

  • Awesome photos
  • Organization
  •  Great size, and just the right amount of detail

Do you enjoy growing or using herbs? Any resources that you would recommend?

The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen

The Fresh Egg CookbookPhoto credit: Piasoft / / CC BY-SA

I really want a flock of feathered friends.  I’m not sure when it all started, but there have been several things that have contributed to this desire.  First, Josiah began eating 4 eggs for breakfast every morning. That means that I need to buy about at least 3 dozen eggs a week for our family. That’s a lot of eggs. Second, I went to a chickens seminar at a local pet store, and I was hooked. Third, backyard chickens have become some sort of fad, and we know plenty of people who have them. Unfortunately, we live in a town that does not allow chickens.  Someday. . .

I found The Fresh Egg Cookbook on the new fresheggs book shelf at our library. Actually, I check the new book shelf every week when David and I visit, and I saw the book there each week for about a month. And I said to myself most weeks “Oh, that looks like a neat book, but I have enough egg recipes.”

I was so wrong. I’m not sure what finally persuaded me to take the book off the shelf and take it home with me, but I’m glad I brought the book home. The author, Jennifer Trainer Thompson, shares from her experience of raising backyard chickens. She shares helpful info about caring for chickens as well as fun stories from her family and their flock.

And, I never knew there was so many different ways to use eggs! I usually stick with quiches, breakfast casseroles, frittatas, and an occasional souffle. Now I am inspired to try migas, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce.  I would say she includes at least 100 different recipes using eggs.

To be completely honest, I have not tried any of the recipes yet (I will have to update when I do!), but they look pretty easy and use basic ingredients that I’d generally have on hand.

Do you raise chickens?  Have any egg recipes you want to share?

Cooking Seasonly: Simply in Season

Monado / Foter / CC BY

I’ve really been trying to eat seasonally, in the sense that I try to eat things that are currently being grown or harvested (or I’ve preserved myself). Winter has been hard for me, because there are less seasonal fruits and vegetables (and I have not frozen or dried as much as I had wished).

I thought I’d share my most-turned-to cookbook that has really helped me to know how to prepare fresh and local produce:

Simply in Season Expanded Edition (World Community Cookbook)

Simply in SeasonOrganized by seasons, the recipes include typical things like quiche and muffins, but also new things to me such as Strawberry Souffle and Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread.  I’ve been trying to cook through this over the past couple years. My most turned-to-favorites are the white chili and the potato soup.


Things I like the most:

  • An index of recipes by produce featured. For example, if I have a bumper crop of backyard tomatoes, I can look up tomatoes and find every recipe that contains tomatoes
  • Fruit and vegetable guide. If I am not sure what a rutabaga is, or how to use it, there is a photo guide for produce that includes what season the item will usually be available, and how to select, store, and prepare it.
  • Easily adaptable recipes with possible variations noted. I often use these recipes as a base and then add or subtract from the ingredients based on what I have on hand.

Something I would change:

  • I would love to be able to see photos of completed recipes. I just like visuals.

If you’re interested in some more of the recipes from Simply in Season, check out The Local Cook blog. She featured a lot of the recipes in her quest to cook through the book. And yes, she includes photos!

What about you? What are your most-turned-to cookbooks?


Why nourishing?

When I think of the word nourishing,  I think of something that is nutritious and good for you.  I love reading good books just as much as I enjoy eating good food; I have discovered that for me personally, a healthy diet of books feeds my mind and heart. Some people eat an apple a day for health, I read a book every couple of days for health.

On this blog I will try to share books that have been good for me to read – whether because they were encouraging, thought-provoking, or changed my life and perspective in some way. I am a Christian, so some of the books will feed my faith in a more overtly “Christian” way, and other books will not include the faith component. I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, so I will not limit this blog in that regard.

If for some reason, you read some of the books that I feature, and you cannot stand them, or you have a completely different opinion than me, by all means share your opinion courteously! I look forward to your feedback.

And now, because of my love and interest in food, (and to continue to work through the tutorial that is teaching me how to make posts), here is a video to watch on Nourishing Traditions. This is a recent interest of mine and Susan Godfrey did a good job of explaining.