Yearly Archives: 2018

Cookbook review (Giveaway closed): The Complete Month of Meals Collection

The winner of the giveaway is comment #5–Melanie! Congrats! Thanks everyone for participating!

I recently received a copy of The Complete Month of Meals Collection to review. I was especially pumped to review it because I’m able to offer a giveaway to one of YOU! And I love doing that. (to skip to that part, just leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered!)

Here’s the skinny: it’s a diabetes-friendly and family-friendly cookbook. It has that classic (à la Betty Crocker) spiral bound thing going on–and the recipes inside also reminded me of Betty Crocker, slightly updated.

Which I don’t mean as a negative thing–we keep our Betty handy and reference her frequently. She has very handy diagrams of cow parts. Most recently, I whipped Betty out to make our yearly Christmas Angel Food Cake. So I’m not hating on Betty. However, if you’re looking for innovative recipes with a more global or cutting-edge feel, this cookbook is probably not the one.

And if you’re looking to curl up in bed with a cookbook and read all night about the author’s life story and why making meatballs by hand is her therapy, this is also not the one–it gets straight to the point, so no extra reading is within its pages.

However, if you want to make classic Betty-type recipes like Cucumbers with Dill Dressing, Potato Salad, Smothered Chicken or Broccoli Corn Chowder, it is the one. Or this very interesting-looking raisin bread, mmm.

What might you find in its pages? Think traditional American fare (and Americanized international-inspired fare), like stuffed peppers, but revamped to be healthier, with ingredient substitutions and so forth.

And there are numbers. Lots of nutritional numbers. So if you care about things like saturated fats, carbs, sodium, cholesterol and the like, you’re in luck! This book has got you covered.

The coolest feature is that it has this funky split-page section that I’ve never seen before in a cookbook. I’ll show you:

Basically, for all you calorie counters out there, it enables you to mix-and-match recipes in order to plan three meals in a day and see very quickly what your calorie count is between all of them.

There are pretty much no pictures (cue sad face), except to headline the various sections, but the pages have that nice, glossy Betty feel to them.

Also, the Seafood Gumbo looks delish.

One of my complaints is that it has no introductory statement about its recipes. So I’m leafing through a section on Dressings, Salsas and Sauces, see a recipe called “Mastokhiar,” and I have no idea what it is. I see the ingredients. I see the instructions, but . . . what is it, please? And do I serve it with chips?

My other complaint is that the ingredients that make it diabetes-friendly are presented with no alternative. For example, I’m seeing “1/4 cup egg substitute” in an ingredient list. What if I’m making this for a non-diabetic, like myself? I’d like to know if that equates to one egg, or what. I’m guessing the answer is two eggs? Ish? Still, it would be nice if it listed options.

Positive things: the recipes, overall, are easy. The ingredient lists are low-maintenance–there’s nothing I saw you’d have trouble finding at your regular old grocery store. And there’s a cool introduction with tons of information about what foods to seek out and what foods to avoid (and why). This intro includes lots of coo lists–Diabetes Superfoods (mmm–citrus fruits!), starchy versus non-starchy vegetables, foods that contain healthy fats, a seafood guide (“Best Choices” versus “Good Choices” versus “Choices to Avoid”), etc. This was my favorite part of the cookbook.

If you’d like to sample a couple recipes, these links will take you to printer-friendly versions of two that caught my eye:

Spanish Omelet

Chicken Kale Meatballs

If you think this cookbook might fit nicely into your cooking habits (or your friend’s, or your friend’s mother’s cousin’s ex), or help you (or any other of those people) create new ones, then you’ve come to the right place! Because I get to give one away.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below (anything! Like, “Snurgh.” Or, “Bikini.”) before 9am on Monday January 15th. I’ll use the random number generator to choose a winner, and the cookbook will zoom your way.

And if you want to purchase it, here’s a link to the oh-so-convenient Amazon.

Good luck!




Total contentment

New Year’s Eve, we stayed in. Me, my husband and our three sleeping kiddos.

Except one was not sleeping. That would be Alice, our five-year-old with the lion’s mane of golden hair and the disposition of a saint.

A running, leaping, laughing, shy, fearless, popcorn-eating saint.

And, just a side note, don’t underestimate the power of the static zap produced by the running and leaping in the dead of winter. When I see that blond head of hair standing on end as she hurtles towards me, I run. You’d run too.

Anyway, instead of sleeping, she was listening through her cracked bedroom door to the music we had on, playing with her new Christmas presents, and winding her music box.

When Adam and I had finished our dinner of scallops, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, and a Julia Childs sauce that had three sticks of butter in it (heavens help us), little lion-mane came peeping around the door.

Adam went in.

“Dad,” she said, “I like everything. I like sleeping. I like eating. I like playing. I just like everything.”

Hearing that was an arrow to the heart. One of those piercing feelings you get when something is so beautiful, and so fleeting, and so precious, and so fragile all at the same time.

One of Adam’s biggest fears when we decided to take the leap and see if we could have kiddos was that our kiddos would be unhappy. So the fact that for five years Alice has been so happy is, to me, so beautiful and wonderful, and a gift to him as much as to her.

My mother’s heart can’t help but ache at the thought that it can’t last. No one’s life is 100% happy. Eventually, there will be something she doesn’t like–a teacher. A kid at school. A job. Who knows. But I pray that the joyful contentment she has now will last through it all. That it will be a strong foundation in her spirit. That she will be unshakable, because her feet are planted on the One who gives the gift of joy.

Shine on, little Lion Mane.