Book reviews, Christmas, cooking

Home Made Christmas by Yvette Van Boven

4/5 stars

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I am like a big kid when it comes to Christmas!  I love absolutely everything about it–the decorations, making food, getting together with family and friends, the lights, the tree, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, the plays, the books, the music, the movies, the cartoons…I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS!!

So when I saw this book in August, I got excited to add a little Christmas cheer to my summer!  I have to say the photos were perfect for a Christmas book and really set the tone for this book in such a good way!

There are meat recipes in here and I don’t eat meat, but there are A LOT of vegetarian soup and salad recipes that look delicious like a Warm Bean Salad with Cashew and Kale Pesto and Oven Roasted Beets Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Dates and Celery.  And, of course, the dessert recipes were all vegetarian.  I didn’t see any unfamiliar or exotic ingredients – I get turned off by ingredients that I have never heard of or are hard to find or you can only get online and shipping is ridiculous and you have never heard of this ingredient so should you even bother?  This cookbook had interesting recipes that used ingredients found in most grocery stores.

I would like to thank Abrams Press and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

5 star reviews, Book reviews, Christmas, cooking

Cooking with Nonna: A Year of Italian Holidays by Rosella Rago

5/5 stars

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetYou have no idea how excited I am to have this cookbook!  I normally review healthy vegan or plant-based cookbooks and this is not that.  But I am Italian and I could relate so well to Rosella Rago’s intro, getting all the family together, the tablecloths didn’t have to match, you could eat on paper plates, all that mattered was that the family was together and the family ate the family recipes.

I do eat healthy, but I still make my family’s marinara and we have that for dinner several times a month.  The one big reason why I don’t think I will ever be 100% vegan: I will not give up The Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.  I may only eat fish a few times during the year so that my body can digest it on Christmas Eve, but I want to be the Nonna one day and have my grandchildren come to my house for the family recipes of scungilli salad and baccala, because that is how I keep my Nonna alive.  One bite of those foods and it’s like she’s sitting next to me again!  (I’ve been known to break down in tears at the smell of certain Italian food cooking because the good memories of a time long gone come rushing back).

I was THRILLED to find vegan recipes like Savory Scallion Pie, Genovese-Style Focaccia with Onions, Fritters with Black Olives and Escarole Pie.

The Lamb and Potatoes recipe looks identical to what my Nonna used to make.  I won’t eat lamb, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if my husband made this one Sunday.

And if you have ever wanted the best Easter dish ever – there is a recipe for Pizza Rustica in here (some call it Pizza Chiena “stuffed pizza) but our family, and Rosella Rago’s family, always called it Pizza Rustica.

The photo of the Soft Easter Bread brought back so many memories!

The Thanksgiving stuffing sounds just like my Nonna’s with rice and sausage and ground beef.

And Cardoons!  I had forgotten all about cardoons and my family also went to Arthur Avenue to get those and my Nonna used a similar recipe!

I actually got tears in my eyes about the Egg Drop Chicken Soup–my Nonna used to make it for me all year.  She thought I needed more protein and it was nourishing.