The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell (Blog by Tom B. Richards)

As a child growing up in the 1970’s I was always fascinated by (not to mention downright scared!) by the Soviet Union and the possibility of a nuclear war.  But to be around in the early 1960s, when the world was arguably closest to disaster, was entirely different thing – when a key selling feature of a new home was a bomb shelter!
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In this highly detailed account of an era that those who weren’t around may never understand, Greg Mitchell’s storytelling featuring detailed accounts from those who were there – making you feel as if YOU were actually there!
His research is deeply extensive and rich, providing a full picture of the times from virtually every perspective, painting a rich canvas of detailed account that for the first time, tell the WHOLE story.
What really captured my imagination while reading this book were the stories of those that actually escaped – all were riveting, many inspiring, and some heartbreaking. I was truly fascinated by some of the ingenious ways people were able to escape! The determination and bravery told in the stories by those who survived, and those who put their lives on the line time and time again to assist with the escape effort – some giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. While hundreds may have died in their attempt to escape (or help others escape), over five thousand made it to safety on the other side. Pretty amazing to hear that one of the escapees who was responsible for creating the tunnels went on to participate in the building of the Chunnel between France and England!
What I also found deeply interesting was the level of competition between the various American news reporting agencies to get the story – and even more bizarre to me, what lengths the US government went to suppress them (and makes you wonder how much of that still goes on today – probably a lot!)  That said, Mitchell tells their side of the story too, and you truly get a feel for the urgency of the times to not make tensions between the Soviet Union and the US even worse than they already were.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in 20th century history, particularly around WW2 and The Cold War.  I also think that people who like spy novels and political espionage would find a deep appreciation for this highly engaging and informative book.
Again, I received this book from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review.
Available at Amazon: The Tunnels
Authors Page: Greg Mitchell 

Nourishing Meals

For anyone looking to really change the foods they eat, with the intention of healing and repairing the body through superior guidance, I highly suggest this book!

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Now here is where I begin my blog.

As a child I was so picky about food that I simply chose not to eat most of the time, and I DID survive. In fact, I’m still alive! Seriously, I was raised on whatever the mass society was eating-who knew if I even had a food allergy at the time? We just didn’t recognize stuff like that in our home-it wasn’t in our consciousness. I come from a lineage of MANY different cultures and habits, and I was eventually formed as is. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I really started to branch out and try different kinds of food. I simply let my body and taste buds guide me, still having no idea if I might be allergic to anything!

It now has me wondering if healthy parents that raise their kids within healthy eating simply have that similar DNA already in them. Habits (and allergies) are pretty much already passed on in many ways. Maybe cookbooks like these are also offering information and recipes to the rest of us (even those of us without allergies), to help us create healthy habits we can pass on and to avoid ever potentially forming any allergies at all.

Still, for me and reading this book, I feel all the fun and joy’s of food are pretty much missing (meaning, if I have any allergies to any foods, I’ll adjust and just live with them!)

HEALTHY MINDFUL EATING AS A FAMILY

Currently, I’ve been enthusiastically working on ways to show my kids a world of more exciting, mindful and healthy eating habits through fun recipes and themed family nights, and I was hoping that this book would add to the mix-I guess I misunderstood what the book was really aiming at.

Also, while reading through Nourishing Meals, I was fearful that it may already be too late for this kind lifestyle of eating with my kids-I should have been eating like this while my kids were still in the womb and now they are already past the ages of six and still picky eaters. Note: I know that we all know it’s never too late, but it probably gets a lot harder until you are FULLY ready to make a change, and on a permanent basis.

As a person who received this book with the previous intention explained,  I did feel that this book brought a LOT of fantastic, simple and insightful information about what certain foods can do to our bodies, and what to do to repair and heal, allergies or not.

My Month Long Experience with Detox and Clean Eating

Once upon a time, I did a detox of clean eating for a full one month (it felt like three!). This book would have really come in handy, during that time! Still, through that experience, I grew extremely heavy, emotionally. I felt it was way too much work and effort, especially without understanding enough what it was all for, but I DID have a great takeaway…

READ ABOUT MY Month-Long DETOX HERE: 

***I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.***

Find Nourishing Meals and so much more at their beautiful website http://www.nourishingmeals.com/

Available NOW on Amazon.com: Nourishing Meals

a modern way to cook (Anna Jones) – Review

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My taste testing videoYoutube 

*a modern way to cook, 150+ vegetarian recipes for quick, flavor-packed meals.*

Quick, being that if you have the mindset of the author’s prepping and cooking “practice” in place along with the proper equipment, yes-you CAN make quick flavor-packed meals!

I come from a traditional upbringing of cooking-meaning brought up in the seventies but raised from the influence of the sixties. The new “modern” ways of cooking is something I’m still catching up with.

I love the idea of cooking using fresh and healthy ingredients, I just don’t like having to go to the store all the time for them.

So, coming from a person like me, here goes my review.

The book itself is lovely in a farm-fresh/french countryside way.

I loved sitting down with this book The author writes and explains how this book will work for the reader. How the ingredients of her recipes will affect us and our lives.

A couple things I really loved about this book:

The author includes a nice paragraph before each recipe – like the history of where each recipe came from and how she has changed it in to something new, healthy and modern.

My other favorite highlights throughout this book are her pairings-like her 10 pairings of omelet fillings. She puts each pairing in six categories: Main Vegetable, Backup Vegetable, Accent Flavor, Backup Flavor, and Richness.

I also appreciate that even though the author uses a lot of healthy and fresh ingredients, you WILL still find some “fun” ingredients like sourdough bread and actual ….cheese! (NOTE: There are a few ingredients the author will suggest substitutions for, like for dairy, grains, etc.).

For me, I personally probably will not be using this book to cook from much. I like it more for reading and educating myself with. (Again, I’m still coming from traditional habits that I actually like.)

I did attempt a recipe from this book, for blogging purposes.

SMOKY PEPPER AND WHITE BEAN QUESADILLAS

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I chose this recipe because I personally love ALL quesadillas, and this one would only take 10 minutes! Well, prep alone (for me) took about 20 minutes and then cooking it and dishing it took a few more-but then I probably move slower than most.

As far as the ingredients went, the green onions, smoked paprika, roasted red peppers, lemon, parsley, and cherry tomatoes were no problem to obtain from my local store. What I DID end up having to substitute were the cooked white beans (SUBSTITUTED for red kidney beans), whole wheat or seeded tortillas (SUBSTITUTED Ezekial sprouted grain tortillas), and Manchego cheese (SUBSTITUTED sharp white cheddar cheese with hints of Parmesan).

The parsley that I bought at the store were truly a huge bunch but the packaging DID say that it was “technically” a bunch at 3oz. and so I used half of that bunch. It still seemed like an awful lot, but I trusted and proceeded anyway.

NOTE: the only parsley I could find for this recipe was the rougher “curly leaf” kind and not the Italian “flat leaf” kind. The recipe only called for …parsley.

So my taste tester and I found the recipe to be pretty good-he rated it at a 6, and I agreed. I LOVED the cheese I used and the beans seemed to make it a “meatier” kind of experience. The parsley was a bit rough, though.

This recipe was probably more trouble for me for the end result I got. Even if I had used a different or “softer” tortilla and less -or a different kind- of parsley, I’d still probably simplify this recipe, while in the back of my mind always remembering the initial recipe that inspired me! 😉

So to sum up my review of A Modern Way to Cook: the book is a beautiful read. It’s beautiful to look through and a GREAT cookbook to learn from-this coming from someone who is still used to cooking and eating the “old” way!

Thank you so much for reading my review of A Modern Way To Cook.

Available at Amazon.com

Authors Website: http://annajones.co.uk/

***I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.***

Modern Potluck! (Kristin Donnelly) Review

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Wow! A Modern Potluck cookbook! Well yeah, bring it on!

This book caught my eye and really inspired me to maybe break that habit and think about making future gatherings as a co-created event….with an inspirational recipe from this cookbook, allowing me to still be the highlight (hehe).

At my first reading through this book, I found it right off the bat to be elegant, artsy, and creative. The author’s intention feels approachable and definitely fits the place for those of us who want to “up” our usual tried and true (and sometimes less healthy) potluck dishes for something more memorable and unique that truly has the potential to stand out in a crowd.

The “modern” in this book focuses greatly in the time we are in now-more veggies, healthier locations for meats, dairy and eggs, with more adventurous ingredients and spices here and there. The author is also including being conscious of diet restrictions that may be among your guests.

I also found this book giving a lot of great tips and suggestions, like adding salt throughout a recipe, rather than all at once-it actually matters! Garnishing and finishing dishes and lots of “potluck” rules are also highlights for me in this cookbook.

Every recipe includes a “potluck tip”-a tip for the pre and post serving of each dish. The author is also very detailed with her recipes and guides which are better served with it’s appropriate season. That’s pretty cool!

My particular favorite chapters are the Baked & Savory, Seasonal Deviled Eggs, New Crudites, Potato Salads for Four Seasons and Roasting Vegetables.

I will most likely be using this book for exactly what it’s intended for-a modern potluck, but it really is also a great read for tips and suggestions that is for any time!

Now available at Amazon.com
About the Author: kristindonnelly.com

***I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.***

The Naked Cookbook (Tess Ward) – Review

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I feel that themed cookbooks really have a knack for taking the reader away, regardless if they bother trying to create one or more recipes from it.

Low in carbs, free from processed anything, and no refined sugars. It’s not vegetarian, it’s not gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan. It’s about stripped down and naked ingredients.

This book as a whole didn’t really inspire me to want to re-create anything from it. For my lifestyle I’m looking for something I’m more aligned with that doesn’t involve tea soaked raisins (although it sounds great), and I suppose it’s slightly more challenging level makes sense because in the back of the book it’s noted that this author is a blogger herself and a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who has spent time in kitchens of River Cottage and The Ritz.

To me, these recipes seem better fit for special occasions like trying to impress my best girlfriends with, as opposed to every day cooking for me or my family. Also, it seemed like every recipe I considered making would be something I’d need to buy more than a few ingredients at a time for.

As a whole, and for the love and interest of cookbooks, I praise this book for it’s elegance, freshness, funky-feel of ingredients that bare all within pages of very beautiful photos. I also really like the “card-boardy” cover and simple design of this book-I think it would look great on a coffee table!

It’s my own opinion here, but if you love the art of slower cooking (not “slow cooking with a slow cooker”!) and eating clean, this could be a perfect book to add to your collection or to gift to a good friend.

Available now on Amazon/TheNakedCookbook

To see more of what Tess Ward writes and cooks about, here is her beautiful website:
http://www.tessward.net/

***I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.***

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches (Tyler Kord) – Review

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WATCH MY VIDEO TASTE TEST HERE: My Taste Test Youtube Video

This book has opened a creative part of me. It’s shown me something new. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves food and has a good sense of humor.

I’m just going to say it. I don’t like cooking difficult food. I’m a California girl who thinks East Coast food is kind of strange. I’m not a “sub” or heavy sandwich “sandwich” kind of person of any kind, but I LOVED the title of this book and felt very excited to blog about it!

When I first began reading through A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, I found myself not feeling very good physically (I suppose my stomach was feeling a bit heavy and “upset” from the recipes, just like the book promised). But I really enjoyed the stories throughout this book, from the get go. Just be prepared for a bit of strong language here and there.

The recipes start heavy with meat, although the creator’s love is truly broccoli. The book goes through meats to vegetables and all the way to a veggie burger! He covers sauces, pickling, and….did I mention frying? Oh yes-that’s there! Each recipe also comes with either a fun story or something that was going on in the author’s mind. Are you feeling adventurous yet?

As far as making a sandwich from this book, the recipes seem time consuming to me. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe the author wants us to know these are the kinds of sandwiches you’d want to visit the No.7 sandwich shop for. The author might want us to realize how much work and love really do go into his creations.

All in all, I think this book makes an excellent gift and is really fun to read to friends. It’s genuinely funny and the recipes are real! I actually got the nerve to make the Zucchini Parm sandwich, with ingredients I could find. The end result? A little bit of work but the taste was actually quite “miam.”

More about the author: http://no7sub.com/about/
Now available on Amazon

***I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.***