Looking for reviews on some of the latest books about home, gardens, cooking, and more? Here are my reviews on some books that arrived in my mailbox during the month of October.
October Book Reviews
If you are looking for something new to read, here are my quick reviews of some new release books related to home, gardening, cooking, simplifying, or anything else that I found interesting! Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the post to enter to win a giveaway for some of these titles!
Sweet Maple: Backyard Sugarmaking from Tap to Table – Michelle Visser
Sweet Maple: Backyard Sugarmaking from Tap to Table is an instructional book on backyard sugarmaking that’s also the story of the family’s connection to the past on a small New England sugar farm. Throughout its pages, Michelle guides readers through every step of all-natural syrup production, with directions for tapping one tree or hundreds, while detailing the life-changing benefits of using maple syrup in the kitchen. Interspersed with sugaring techniques, tips, sidebars, and storytelling, Michelle shares more than 30 of her family’s tried-and-true maple recipes—from scones to salads.
Merissa’s Thoughts – If your family loves everything to do with maple syrup (like ours does!) you must have this book! Not only is it an instruction manual on how to make maple syrup but it also features so many beautiful, easy, and delicious recipes using maple syrup. There are also some other sections of the book such as how to make lilac syrup that I found so interesting. This will be a book that stays on my shelf!
The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep – Erin Romeo
Meal prep is the key component to any diet- whether you’re keto, paleo, vegetarian, low carb, or just trying to eat healthy! If you don’t plan to eat, then you plan to fail! With the Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep: Recipes and Techniques to Get Organized, Save Time, and Eat Healthier, you’ll learn short cuts to prep to refuce your time in the kitchen, budget-friendly meal prep ideas, and how to pack your food. Learn how to shop, get the steps for prepping each of the meal plans, start to finish, complete grocery lists for quick trips to the market, how to prep and cut your food, and the best containers to maximize your food prep pantry. In this highly visual guide, you’ll also get more than 75 recipe ideas for healthy meal prep, complete with photos to make your prep work quick and easy. So skip the unhealthy take out food and save money and time with the shortcuts in this essential healthy living companion, with tips and tricks for all of your food planning needs.
Merissa’s Thoughts – With busier days when we have more going on with our ministry, I’ve been turning to more meal prep to make sure that we can come home to good, healthy meals even when we’ve had events all day. I enjoyed reading the Easy Guide to Meal Prep. It has so many recipes that I plan on making for our family and I love that it’s the “visual guide”. Perfect for those of us that like a clear picture of what we are working towards!
Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food & Medicine – Kim Pezza
The latest book in our Backyard Farming series of easy-to-use guides to help anyone turn their home into a homestead is Growing Herbs for Food & Medicine. It is an all-in-one resource for helping people start planting and tending herbs, right in their own backyard. Herb gardens are the traditional starting point for first-time gardeners and homesteading beginners, providing a wide variety of benefits with minimal investment of time and available space. With Growing Herbs, people will learn practical tips for creating the best possible gardening set-up for their space, discover the wide variety of herbs available for cultivation, determine which types of herbs are best suited for their area and climate, find a complete directory of herbs and their medical benefits, learn to locate herbs growing wild in their area with sustainable foraging techniques, and many more tips to help best achieve success.
Merissa’s Thoughts – My children have been getting quite into herbs and identifying plants lately so I loved looking through this book for information. It’s a great simplistic collection of all of the major herbs, what they are good for, where they are found, and sometimes the history of the uses for the herb as well. It’s a nice sized book to keep on hand for information.
New York Christmas Baking – Lisa Nieschlag & Lars Wentrup
Christmas in New York is a dream! Take a stroll in snow-covered Central Park, go shopping in Manhattan with the streets dressed in their festive finest, and, of course, indulge in the city’s world-famous delicacies. New York Christmas Baking is filled with enticing recipes for cakes, cookies, and treats for the most wonderful time of the year, in the most magical city in the world. With sweet dreams straight from New York, Christmas has never tasted better. New York Christmas Baking is a cookbook of New York’s best baking recipes for the Christmas season. Enjoy your sour cream snowflakes, gingerbread cookie cups, apple crumble muffins and much more.
Merissa’s Thoughts – I was a little worried that this book would contain “fancy” recipes with hard to find ingredients but it was not so! Each of the yummy recipes are no more complicated than those in any other cookbook and all of them are perfect for making during the Christmas season (or other times of year too!). I was particularly intrigued by the Grape Pie. I’m going to have to try that one!
Incredible Plant-Based Desserts – Anthea Cheng
In Incredible Plant-Based Desserts, you’ll find a collection of simple to sophisticated vegan desserts with plenty of gluten-free, sugar-free and allergy-friendly options such as raspberry and white chocolate cookies, chocolate cupcakes with rainbow cashew buttercream, baklava custard tart, black forest cake and more! Whether you are an eager home cook or a more experienced chef, you’ll love the over-the-top vegan sweet treats. Anthea has carefully selected ingredients to ensure you won’t accumulate odd, once-used stuff in your pantry and shows you that sponge cakes can still be fluffy and moist and pastry can still melt in your mouth without animal-derived ingredients. All of the recipes have been tested and approved by vegans and non-vegans alike.
Merissa’s Thoughts – My initial thought when paging through this book was that the recipes are SO beautiful! Full of vibrant colors, the foods created by the recipes in this book would be perfect for pickier eaters that need a little extra pizzaz in their foods to help them enjoy it. All of the recipes in the book are plant-based and the beautiful colors are all naturally derived. Amazing!
Meal and a Spiel – Elana Horwich
Imagine yourself feeling so confident in the kitchen that cooking was like a sensual dance. What if you could open your fridge and just whip up a succulent sauce as if you were an Italian in Tuscany or on the Riviera? What if you could feed friends and family a decadent yet healthy feast without stressing out about it and without even following a recipe? Named after her popular LA-based business Meal and a Spiel, Elana Horwich (GoodDayLA, KCAL, KNBC, Real Simple, Huffington Post) uses her signature Jewish sense of humor to take the fear out of learning to cook. With experiences from teaching high school to performing standup comedy, Horwich, who lived for years in Italy, shares her unabashed memoir and practical wisdom to teach intuitive cooking. Horwich shows you how to have more dolce vita in your life. The recipes are friendly for all diets―Gluten-Free, Paleo, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Low-Sugar, or just healthy and delicious.
Merissa’s Thoughts – This is a BIG book, full of delicious Italian inspired recipes. With all cookbooks, I look to see if the recipes are simple or if they contain ingredients that are easy to find and this book hit both categories on my checklist. I was particularly drawn to the vegetable section, some of the side dish recipes were so easy!
Want to win these books? I’m giving away a copy of
- Sweet Maple: Backyard Sugarmaking from Tap to Table
- The Visual Guide to Easy Meal Prep
- Backyard Farming: Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine
- New York Christmas Baking
- Incredible Plant-Based Desserts
- Meal and a Spiel
to one winner! ($154.87 prize value!) Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered to win all of these books to add to your personal collection. Good luck!
**Please note: I will email the giveaway winner as soon as the giveaway has ended. The winner has 72 hours to respond to the email and claim the prize. If there is no response, all books will be donated to my local library. Please add [email protected] to your email contacts to help ensure email delivery.**
Have you read any of these books? Which one do you think interests you?
Are you an author or publishing house that wants me to review your book? Send an email with the information to [email protected]