Friday, September 25, 2015

Amazingly Fun Stuffed Animal Vet Doctor Book/Set

Teddy Bear Doctor:  A Let's Make and Play Book

Today this book arrived in the mail and my girls were so excited to get started playing.  In my middle daughter's words, "MOM, this book is Amazing!"  She absolutely loves it.  It's a ready made vet/stuffed animal doctor set up in a book.  There were stickers and punchouts in the book.  Paper animal x-rays, directions on how to assemble and make things, ideas for play, sticker bandaids, and other stickers to use.

My girls set to work making their bedroom and the bathroom into a vet hospital and examining room.  The results can be seen in these pictures...

Please sign in!

The kit works for American Girl dolls as well as stuffed animals.

My oldest daughter made the second sign and the first sign is from the book.

The pet vet kit sticker is from the book and there are xrays (hidden from view) in the box.

I would highly recommend this kit for girls 6-10 years old who love to play with their stuffed animals and/or American Girl Dolls.  We've purchased several AG doll books and kits (which are all very well made and constructed), but this book was so much simpler for my girls to go right to work on playing with.  This book by Deanna Cook is a gem!  My girls both give it a huge thumbs up!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Storey Publishing.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Attempt at Baked Beans

This morning I decided to make baked beans for our church picnic.  After perusing the internet and looking at several recipes, I came up with my own.  It turned out well and my family and friends seemed to like it!

Baked Beans
8 oz. chopped ham or bacon, cooked
        I had put a ham in the crock pot yesterday for our dinner and used some of this.
3/4-1 medium onion, diced
3 large cans baked beans (I used a brown sugar/bacon flavor baked beans from Aldi)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used Trader Joe's BBQ sauce)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard/deli mustard
1 Tbsp ketchup

1.  Saute onion in 1 Tbsp of canola oil.
2.  Place baked beans in crock pot.
3.  Add sauteed onion and all other ingredients.  Stir well.
4.  Cook in 4 qt crock pot on high for 6 hours.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

All-in-One Cookbook Book!

I love cookbooks.  They make me want to cook!  I have many friends who love to look for recipes on the internet.  But, I'm a print person.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  Somehow, it's easier for my eyes to focus on a page in front of me than on a computer screen without all the ads surrounding what I'm trying to look at.

But, there is only so much room on my shelf. So, new additions to my cookbook shelves are few and far between.  Every once in a while, though, I come across a book that I'm really excited about!  This is the case of the cookbook that's sitting in front of me on my desk right now.

This is a new cookbook, of sorts, by Andrea Chesman (published by Storey Publishing).  Ms. Chesman has been writing cookbooks for over 30 years.  This book seems to be an updated version of a book that was published five years ago called Back to Basics Traditional Kitchen Wisdom, which Ms. Chesman wrote, and covered similar topics.  But, that book was half the length of this one.  

I love the way Storey formats books.  The font, pictures, columns, bold type--all make it easier to read their books.  This book is divided into 3 sections:  1. Harvesting and storing fresh foods, 2. Food Preservation, and 3. Homestead Cooking.  

This is an all-in-one kind of book.  I love books like this that help me conserve space on my shelves!  The first section is exactly what I want.  It goes through a list of vegetables and lists when to harvest, how to fix (cooking times) and preserve them.  Then, it goes through the fruits (in alphabetical order which is very helpful) as well.  She follows that up with a recipe for sourdough starter and no-knead sourdough bread.  I can't wait to try this!  I need to get a baguette pan first, though, and a big jar for the starter.  I've been very disappointed in the baguettes we've bought over the past few months so I have wanted to make my own.  This book makes it sound very doable to make my own sourdough starter and make the baguettes.  I've read many directions on how to make baguettes over the years and I haven't found any of them that sounded as doable to me as the ones in this book!

In general, I found her directions on making cheese, veggie chips, and other dishes very understandable.  What I think I was most surprised by was the dishes she chose to include.  She included interesting and simple ethnic dishes like tzatiziki and Mujaddara.  I look forward to trying the lentil dishes she included and her recipe for Saag Paneer.  I regret that my school year is in full swing now and it is going to be some time before I get to sit down and make these recipes.  But, I have worked a few of them into my menu for next month.  So, I can't personally vouch for how good the recipes are---yet.  I will update this review once I've made the starter and baguettes and other recipes that I am intending to try.  But, I've never cooked from a Storey cookbook yet that I haven't liked.  

One thing that was very interesting to me was how Ms. Chesman expressed her opinions.  She did share her opinions about things such as raw milk, but I felt that she made it clear that they are her opinions.  I read one review of the book which remarked about her tone in another passage of the book.  I guess she just sounded to me like many women I've met in my life--opinionated, a bit outspoken, weathered, aware that everyone isn't the same and that life isn't as cut and dried as many think it is.  

If you're in the market for an all in one food preserving/storing/recipe type of cookbook, this one is definitely worth looking into (especially if you have a large garden and are mini-homesteading of sorts and keep chickens!)  

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Storey Publishing.