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Sweets & Treats With Six Sisters’ Stuff

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 176 pgs.
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Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 100+ Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family is a fun book for the sweet-tooth in your family or for those gatherings, like book club, where you’re sick of making the same old treats.  The Six Sisters are masters at combining ready-made products in the grocery store with original recipes, as well as creating recipes from scratch.

When I got this book out of the library, we went through and selected recipes we all wanted to try.  My husband chose Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches for a gather we had with several kids, and the kids loved making them.  I’d recommend this for hot summer days when you have cookies and ice cream on hand or you could make your own cookies.  I chose to make Oatmeal Scotchie Blondies, which we shared with our daughter’s preschool class, since it made more than a dozen.  These were more like bars and something happened with the recipe that made these harder than expected.  Perhaps it was because I had to substitute some brown sugar for white sugar.  I’m not a culinary expert.

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The final recipe we made, and one we’ll likely make again, was shared with book club in June.  Mint Oreo Brownies were easy to make, using brownie mixes and Oreo cookies, as well as marshmallow creme.  The recipe called for food coloring and mint extract to make a light green colored marshmallow and frosting.  These were such a hit with book club that we only had two left, and I also cut the recipe down to one box of brownie mix.

Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 100+ Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family has recipes that are so easy to use, and as long as, users know how many people they are feeding, the recipes can be adjusted.  The cookbook includes recipes for other brownies, cakes, cookies, and bars, as well as pies, no-bake treats, and ice cream.  It’s definitely a cookbook to keep on hand.

RATING: Cinquain

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Fingerprint Monsters and Dragons: Fun Art with Fingers Thumbs and Paint – And 100 Other Adventurous Creatures – Amazing Art for Hands-on Fun by Ilona Molnar

Source: Quarry Books
Paperback, 160 pgs.
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Fingerprint Monsters and Dragons: Fun Art with Fingers Thumbs and Paint – And 100 Other Adventurous Creatures – Amazing Art for Hands-on Fun by Ilona Molnar will keep the little artists in your family very busy in the book and outside of it making monsters, trolls, bandits, dinosaurs, and more all with just their fingers and paint.  The quick instructions at the beginning make it clear that this is a book to set kids on their creative way, although they can reference the book if they choose to make something specific and don’t know where to begin.

From one of the pages in the book: The Monster Closet

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Using an ink pad or finger paints, kids can color one or all of their fingers to make a multitude of characters in the scenes within the book or on their own art supplies.  Once the fingerprints are dried, they can then use their markers, pens, pencils, and stickers to create even more hilarious situations and actors.  My daughter loved creating these fingerprint monsters, but we had to make a number of them at one time so that the first ones would dry enough for her to decorate them.  It’s hard for kids her age to wait, but creating more makes it even more fun when they are all dry.

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In this one, you can see some of her faces are hilarious, and there’s even a disabled spider (her words, not mine).  My guess is that he had a run in with the person who owns this closet.

Fingerprint Monsters and Dragons: Fun Art with Fingers Thumbs and Paint – And 100 Other Adventurous Creatures – Amazing Art for Hands-on Fun by Ilona Molnar is a book that we’ll use more and more as she takes time over the summer to have fun before her fresh start in Kindergarten.  I cannot wait to see what creations she comes up with next.  These are even fun for adults, and would be a great addition to classrooms, preschools, and summer camps.

The Tao of Book Publicity by Paula Margulies

Source: Paula Margulies
Paperback, 156 pgs.
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The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion by Paula Margulies uses the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu as a loose framework for this beginning guide to book publicity, reminding new authors that grasping for things that are not in the cards is folly.  “The clients who end up having the most success are often those who listen to suggestions about how to proceed, embrace the process we agree to undertake, and open their hearts to new ideas and ways of doing things,” she says.

Margulies carefully outlines what an author platform is and how to best utilize the back cover space, which can be especially helpful for self-published authors.  As the world of book publishing evolves in light of social media’s pervasiveness, some of the advice is timeless, such as the need to promote a new book in the first 6-8 months after its release and the best times for book signings in book stores and other locations.  For social media, she provides a rough guide on the times posts are most effective in Facebook, Twitter, and on blogs.  However, blog readership may be waning, as least there are less comments than there have been in the past.  Busy lives often lead to less time for blog interaction.

The Tao of Book Publicity: A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion by Paula Margulies is a good beginners guide for authors who know very little about publicity or social media and blogging.  It offers great tips about maintaining a “living” biography, how to interact with bloggers and offer giveaways — as well as why they are important — and tips on how to best utilize social media tools without becoming overwhelmed.  While there is little discussion of the overwhelming changes in the publicity space, there are good tips for navigating changes and many can be adapted over time, if authors become savvy enough and know their own platforms well.

***This book provides information about a range of publicity methods, both traditional and online, but Fauzia Burke‘s focuses on online marketing only and offers a step-by-step guide for that.  Depending on what you need, either of these books would be helpful for those starting out or in need of a little more help.***

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Paula Margulies is the owner of Paula Margulies Communications, a public relations firm for authors and artists. She has received numerous awards for her short stories, essays, and novels, including her nonfiction handbook, The Tao of Book Publicity, her historical novel, Favorite Daughter, Part One, her debut novel, Coyote Heart, and her short story collection, Face Value: Collected Stories. Paula is a contributor to Author Magazine, the San Diego Examiner, and The Writers Edge.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 400 pgs.
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The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond is another great cookbook with easy to follow ingredient lists and steps.  My favorite part of these cookbooks is the step-by-step photos she adds for each part of the process.  One thing I would love, that doesn’t seem to be in these cookbooks, is a guide on how to pare down the ingredients and recipes to meet the food needs of a smaller family.  While my family will eat leftovers, there is a limit to how long they will keep and how much my family can eat.

For this cookbook, we had our daughter choose the recipes of what looked good to her, and we tried them out.  Among the recipes we tried were the Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (a dish similar to a spicy Portuguese soup I make and the Oliver Garden Zuppa Toscana soup); the Red, White, and Green Stuffed Shells; Shrimp Scampi; and the Pasta Puttanesca.

The soup was the easiest to make and the leftovers went quickly, mostly because I love soup.  Her recipe was very close to the Olive Garden version, so if you love that soup, this is a recipe for you to try at home.  The stuffed shells are also easy to make, though they can take a lot of time because the stuffing process will depend on the flexibility of your shells — which you don’t want too flexible because they’ll be mushy.  My daughter and husband really enjoyed these, which is a win for me since they both hate spinach.

Shrimp Scampi is probably the easiest of the recipes, next to the soup, but this one was not liked by either my husband or daughter for some reason.  Since eating this, which has wine in it and a lot of garlic, my daughter has refused to eat shrimp, something she normally loves.  In my case, I had to eat all the leftovers, but got sick of eating them because there was just too much.  Pasta Puttanesca is another recipe that did not go over as well as the first two, even though I eliminated the anchovies and olives, both of which are not liked here.  I love olives, but the other family members do not.  To me, without those ingredients, or at least something to replace them, the pasta was bland tasting.  My daughter, however, loved the tomatoes.  She ate those right up.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond is another cookbook I’ll have to buy at some point to try the recipes, since this one has to head back to the library.  I could just take it out again, but I like to make notations in my cookbooks about changes I make or things I substitute.

RATING: Quatrain

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About the Author:

Ree Drummond began blogging in 2006 and has built an award-winning website, where she shares recipes, showcases her photography, and documents her hilarious transition from city life to ranch wife. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, with her husband, Ladd; their four kids; their beloved basset hound; and lots of other animals.

National Geographic Kids: Farm Animals and Rascally Rabbits!

Source: Media Masters Publicity
Board Book, Paperback, 24 pgs., 112 pgs.
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National Geographic Kids: Farm Animals Look & Learn and National Geographic Kids: Rascally Rabbits! are two books focused on animals. In the board book, the authors are teaching younger readers about animals, their sounds, and their habitats. In the paperback, chapter book, kids will learn about animal behaviors — some good, some not so good.

The Farm Animals book has photographs of real animals, like cows and chickens, and the text explains the sounds they make and what role they play.  Mostly that cows give us milk and stuff of that nature, and it tells you some interesting trivia facts about each.  What’s sad, however, is that these animals are only talked about in terms of what they are used for by humans.

Rascally Rabbits!, on the other hand, includes stories of rabbits that run away, escape to the great outdoors, leaving their owners — usually kids — wondering where their pets have gone.  Some have been found in the barnyard, while others are found by others and returned.  There are some great facts included about the animals, as well as how to protect them — such as the microchip system.

These books offer something for kids of all ages, and parents will enjoy reading the funny tales of escaping pets to their younger readers.

Rating for Farm Animals: Quatrain

Rating for Rascally Rabbits: Tercet

Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer’s Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe, Rob Sheppard

Source: NetGalley
ebook, 288 pgs.
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Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer’s Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe, Rob Sheppard, which will be published in September 2016, is stunning. Wolfe is a clear talent at capturing nature, tribes, and animals and his composition is unique and lively. It’s clear that the equipment he uses and his forethought about the scene enable him to capture even unexpected beauty. Rather than work as a career photojournalist, he has taken a harder, more independent path. While this has left him to be creative and take on projects that others might not, it also has some consequences, such as not being in his home more than he is on the road. However, it is a choice he never regrets, and readers will see why when they view the phenomenal images in this book.

His love of photography is infused in every picture he takes, and it is these pictures that enable us to put ourselves in different locations and view them as they are, without industry and interference from the modern world.  Even photos at a distance are created with composition, lighting, and subject in mind.  It is clear that he loves what he does, and he equally loves the subjects, shining a new light on even the ones most photographed, like penguins.  Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer’s Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe, Rob Sheppard is a book that everyone will want to have in hardcover to cherish Wolfe’s art — to hold it, to view it up close, and to reach inside and experience the world through his eyes.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Photographer:

The son of commercial artists, Art Wolfe was born in 1951 in Seattle, Washington, and still calls the city home. He graduated from the University of Washington with Bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and art education in 1975. His photography career has spanned five decades, a remarkable testament to the durability and demand for his images, his expertise, and his passionate advocacy for the environment and indigenous culture. During that time he has worked on every continent, in hundreds of locations, and on a dazzling array of projects. You can view his stunning photographs online and buy.

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide by Fauzia Burke

Source: FSB Associates
Paperback, 168 pgs.
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Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide by Fauzia Burke offers new authors and busy authors who know little about online marketing a step-by-step guide that will minimize missteps.  Like when plotting a story, authors will have to do some legwork, creating a marketing outline of sorts.  First of all, books are like an extension of an author’s brand; so an author will want to examine what their goals and dreams are, as well understand who the readers of a particular book are.  Are they young women? Are they older, college-educated men?  You get the idea.  Burke includes some worksheets to help authors get started outlining their personal and professional goals and dreams, and how their books play into that process.

Authors also can use this form to identify their audience, which will later help determine which social media channels will be the best marketing tools, cutting down on wasted efforts on channels that the identified audience doesn’t use as often or at all.  The goal is to be able to tell a room full of people in just a few sentences what their book is about and how it fits with the audience it targets.  With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and many other social networks to monitor in addition to traditional marketing techniques, authors may wonder when they’ll find time to write another book.  Burke’s no-nonsense style will speak to busy authors because she makes the task of online marketing seem less daunting, especially for those who feel overwhelmed by the process.

Burke also notes that the most successful authors are those that know their brand, their audience, and target their time toward those things, as well as their secondary goals, which may include building relationships with readers, helping a specific group, or calling attention to a specific cause.  In addition to the pre-marketing research, Burke offers a priority list for authors, and one of the items on the list may surprise some.

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide by Fauzia Burke is a great place to start with learning how to market a book online.  It not only will educate authors about themselves and their books, but their audience as well.  When done right, these authors will build a fan base that will happily help them market their books to others, turn out for events, and more.  But it can’t just be about marketing.  She reminds authors that social networks are about building relationships that last.

**For bloggers looking to grow their presence on the Internet, there are some great tips that could translate really well.**

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Fauzia Burke has been a leader in online marketing and digital branding for authors and others for nearly twenty years, now integrating publicity, branding, social media, and websites to establish clients online.

 

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel

Source: Penguin Random House
Paperback, 128 pgs.
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Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel is an interactive book that will require its readers to use the pages, fill them in. From what 10 places you wish to visit to what things make you happy, Patel is asking us to look deeply into our dreams and desires. But this journal does not stop there. Readers also will have to delve into losses and failures to learn the lessons they teach. These are the lessons that guide us through life, keeping us aware of what we truly want out of life and what things we’ve tried that are not right for us.

“The hardest questions are the ones that open doors.  Every spread in this book features a universal life lesson paired with an exercise.  These exercises, often taking the form of a chart, list, or written prompt, are designed to help you apply the sentiments behind each lesson to your life.” (pg. 1)

Patel pairs famous quotes with a variety of activities for readers to dig deep into themselves.  Two of my favorites from the book: “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken” from Oscar Wilde and “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known” from Carl Sagan.  If the activities do not inspire readers, the quotes surely will.  Readers will want to take a few moments to think about each activity, especially ones that require determine which four possessions they would be unable to do without.  Others may not require as much contemplation.

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel is a book that will require readers to interact with it and to engage in deeper thinking than when the next appointment in the day is or what they’re having for dinner.  In this modern world, it is often hard to look beyond the daily schedule of activities to think about one’s life without becoming distracted.

Rating: Quatrain

About the Author:

Meera Lee Patel is a self-taught artist raised by the New Jersey shore, where she swam the bright waters and climbed cherry blossom trees until she grew old enough to draw them. Her illustrations are inspired by the magical mysteries of nature, the quiet stories that lace through everyday life, and the bold colors of her native India. Her first book, DAILY ZEN, was published by Ulysses Press in October 2014. Her second book, START WHERE YOU ARE, will be published in Fall 2015 by Perigee (Penguin USA). Meera lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 224 pgs.
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō, translated by Cathy Hirano, provides a step-by-step process for her KonMari Method of tidying, which she says should bring you joy and possibly lead to other life-changing moments.  The first step is to discard, and when she says discard, she means get rid of everything that does not bring you joy or has no use.  Discarding should be undertaken by category of items not by room, as many homes stash lotions and hair clips and other items in multiple rooms.  These may sound like daunting tasks, but if the entire household participates, it might take less time.  She says the entire process for tidying the house can take up to six months or more.  Crazy!

Sentimental items like letters from loved ones and photos should be kept for last, because these will be the hardest items to part with and sort through.  All of our clothes should be collected from the various places throughout the house — drawers, closets, linen closets, coat closets, etc. — and placed in piles sorted by tops, bottoms, coats, dresses, etc.  Once they are sorted, you should hold them in your hands, and think about whether they bring joy when you wear them.  They also should be examined for any wear that cannot be repaired and tossed if they cannot be repaired.  This is just one example.  Placing everything in one category into a pile on the floor ensures that you visually see how much stuff you have.  I recently did this with clothes on my own and felt much better once everything was sorted and discarded, but I did this without the help of this book.  Once everything that is to be kept is identified, it needs to be put into its place and when used, it must be put back into its rightful place.

Kondō’s method is very detailed and deliberate.  Each item is held to ensure that the person understands what the item is, what its purpose is, and whether it brings joy.  Some clothes, for example, looked great in the store but not on you when they got home — so these should be discarded.  One piece of advice about lounge wear and that women should wear elegant nightwear to bed struck me as an old-fashioned idea, given that I’ve always found those kinds of bedtime wear uncomfortable to sleep in.  But I may be out of the norm on that one, preferring my t-shirts and shorts or t-shirts and flannel pj bottoms.

While readers will see the points she is trying to make — and it may just be the translation — there are times when the book is too repetitive, which can become bothersome.  Also, there is a mindfulness here that may not translate into American culture like it does in Japanese culture.  Thanking items for serving their purpose, caressing items to ensure they are alive before you take them out of storage, that kind of thing might appear a bit wacky to some.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō, translated by Cathy Hirano, has some great ideas about what papers should be saved, how clothes should be folded to maximize space, and how to rethink about the items we keep.  Attachment is something Buddhists talk about letting go of, and in many ways, Kondō is suggesting something similar in they way she focuses on discarding items.

About the Author:

Marie Kondo (近藤 麻理恵) is a Japanese organizing consultant and author. Kondo’s method of organizing is known as the KonMari Method, and one of the main principles is keeping only possessions which “spark joy.”  Kondo’s best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been published in more than 30 countries.  She was listed as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2015.

MasterClass: James Patterson Teaches Writing

JamesPattersonMC1MasterClass contacted me about their James Patterson writing course in June 2015.

James Patterson is a best-selling author in the crime, children’s, and other genres, and many critics have said that his books are more plot than characterization in recent years, while others have decried his use of co-authors.  This is a review of the course, not Mr. Patterson’s writing (just so we’re clear).

The course has 22 videos ranging in topics from passion and habit, outlining, first lines, suspense, and his personal story, as well as collaborating with co-authors.  Along with the videos, there are accompanying lesson plan PDFs and a discussion section for the students taking the course.  This allows you to get feedback from other students on the lesson and to share ideas.

There are two versions of the class workbook — one has the full outline for his book Honeymoon, so you can see how he outlines. This was a very helpful document for me because I haven’t written an outline of anything since high school.  This is not your high school outline with Roman numerals, etc.  It is much more detailed, and when he discusses why he outlines, you’ll understand the level of detail and why it is needed.

Patterson also holds office hours in which questions are submitted by students on video, and they answered by the author in the same manner.  He also offers critiques on raw ideas, research assignments, character development, and other topics from students.  The videos and the coursebooks were helpful, and I think his advice about agents, editors, selling books to Hollywood, and other points about writing are well expressed and should provide enough direction for writing students.  He stresses the need for an economy of words, no wasted moments, and clipping out the excess.  He’s amusing and self-deprecating.

MasterClass courses are an affordable $90, but their true worth will be in how dedicated you are to the lessons and the actual work.  One thing to keep in mind as a writer, is that if you are writing about something in science fiction, for instance, Patterson might not be the best mentor/teacher for you.  So, as you look for affordable writing classes to take, think about what kind of feedback and how much help you’ll need.

MasterClass also has offerings in photography, the art of performance, acting, and singing, and these courses are taught by big names like Dustin Hoffman, Usher, Serena Williams, Kevin Spacey, and more. 

The 5-Minute Brain Workout for Kids by Kim Chamberlain

Source: Sky Pony Press
Paperback, 416 pgs.
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The 5 Minute Brain Workout for Kids by Kim Chamberlain, illustrated by Jon Chamberlain, is a great activity book for kids ages 7 and older, and includes games, puzzles, and teasers that will keep kids brains active and developing outside the classroom.  But what’s great is these activities don’t feel like school work, even though they will be learning new words and how to spell them, learning how to concentrate, and establish their own goals.  However, the book also can be used as a fun additional activity in the classroom and with family.  From alliteration to spelling and definitions, kids will learn new words and how to use them and when.   As kids, parents, and teachers move through the levels (1-10) in the book, the games and puzzles will get harder.

Puzzles in the book are those with specific answers, while games are those activities that may have more than one “right” answer, allowing users to be creative and to do games more than once.  The book contains 37 types of exercises and three bonus puzzles at the end, and the answers are in the back of the book to help parents and teachers.  Throughout the book, kids will notice a blue-tongued lizard named Ra, which is based on the authors’ pet lizard at home.

Although this book is aimed at kids older than my daughter, we had fund giving some of the games and puzzles in level 1 a try.  One of her favorites was the “Word Line” where she was given a saying from Kermit the Frog to follow in the word jumble using only 1 line.  It was fun to teach her how to look at the phrase and look for each letter in each word and follow it to the end.  She liked how it made a “snake line.”  The simple anagrams were tough for her, as she’s only learned how to recognize a few words.  We did the train words together, and she seemed to enjoy discovering new animal words in the jumbles.

The 5 Minute Brain Workout for Kids by Kim Chamberlain, illustrated by Jon Chamberlain, is a book I’ll be holding on to for her when she’s in Kindergarten this fall.  We’ll start again, and as she goes through school, I’m sure she’ll be doing more of these puzzles on her own.  It will be a good way to see how she’s developing.

About the Author:

Kim Chamberlain has been writing and creating activities, games, and puzzles since childhood. The author of Five-Minute Brain Workout as well as communication skills and activity books, she has a master’s in linguistics. She worked with teenagers for many years and is a volunteer reader/writer for college students. She is an award-winning international professional speaker and was founding president of a professional speaker’s association chapter. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her husband, Jon, their two children, and their pet lizard.

About the Illustrator:

Jon Chamberlain has been drawing for a long time, collaborating with his wife on several book projects and for his own enjoyment. He worked exclusively in inks and watercolor until recently, when he acquired a drawing tablet and consequently relearned how to create digitally. He is a professional IT geek, comic book aficionado, and collector of old science fiction novels. He resides in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 293 pgs.
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The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond, which was a February book club pick, is a fantastic cookbook for novice cooks and those with a little more experience.  This cookbook not only provides step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow, uses items that are pre-prepared (such as Pillsbury Crescent Rolls), and offers alternative ingredients, but it also tells a story of frontier life and gives step-by-step photos to show what recipes look like throughout the process to ensure that those following along are doing things as close to her instructions as possible.  I found the instructions and pictures of each step very helpful; they kept me on track, which I need with a 4-year-old helping in the kitchen who tends to get me easily distracted and missing steps.

For Thanksgiving week, I made the Peach-Whiskey Chicken using chicken legs, but you can use breasts and other types of pairings and types of chicken.  The directions were easy to follow with the measurements laid out, though the times for cooking in each step were approximate depending on your stove type and some steps could take longer.  We thoroughly enjoyed these messy chicken legs, and while I had a hard time finding peaches — I ended up using frozen peaches — it was good to make something so tasty from scratch.  This was the recipe that took me the longest time to prepare.

For the actual Thanksgiving dinner, I made the Whiskey-Glazed Carrots — are you sensing a theme here? — which was a relatively simple recipe to follow, though it took me a bit to find the skillet I have that has a lid — many of my pans do not have lids.  There’s something I do each Thanksgiving — I make different types of carrots with the hope that I can get Anna‘s daughter to eat them.  She doesn’t like carrots very much.  So far, I’ve gotten 2 okays in the last couple of years.  I’ll take it.  Next year, I’ll find another recipe for carrots.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a day off to do some editing and decided to take a break and make Apple Dumplings using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Cutting the apples was the hardest part because I don’t own an apple corer for some reason, so I had to cut the apples into 8 pieces — no they were not the same size — and core them once I cut the apple.  The rest of the recipe was a breeze, though I didn’t use Mt. Dew as the recipe indicated.  I used the variation of ginger ale, and I think they came out really well.  I don’t often eat ice cream, but I bet these would taste delicious with some vanilla bean ice cream.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond is delightful cookbook, filled with great recipes, anecdotes about frontier life, and advice on alternative recipes and pairings.  This is a cookbook I would recommend to anyone who wants to try something new but wants it kept simple.  I love that there are a variety of meals from spicy to mild, and the desserts in this book look so good just from the pictures.

About the Author:

Ree Drummond began blogging in 2006 and has built an award-winning website, where she shares recipes, showcases her photography, and documents her hilarious transition from city life to ranch wife. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, with her husband, Ladd; their four kids; their beloved basset hound; and lots of other animals.