Month: September 2015

Book Review: “5 in 5” by Michael Symon and Douglas Trattner


Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 For Every Season promises a lot. Given a well-stocked pantry, Symon provides recipes that only require five ingredients and can cooked very quickly, usually in around five minutes. In his book, gone are the complicated, tedious recipes that have ingredient lists a mile long that I have found to be the norm of celebrity chef cookbooks. Instead, he’s featured recipes for good food that is tasty, simple, and quick. The book is divided into seasonal recipes which will also be helpful in lowering the cost of the dish since a lot of grocery store specials can be found on items in abundance. I found it quite interesting how I was drawn to different seasons more than others since the recipes were grouped in this interesting way. The book has vibrant, uncomplicated pictures of most of the recipes. He gives an extensive example, in list form, of what a well-stocked pantry looks like. I was pleased to see that I had most of what he listed. You see, I love fresh, healthy food that doesn’t require tons of ingredients that I don’t already have on hand or will use more than once. The recipes have a good mix of foods for both simple and sophisticate palates. My only criticism of the book is that it does not provide nutritional facts for the recipes. Overall, I really liked this cookbook. I’m looking forward to trying more of these recipes.

I received this book for free from’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

My personality is as such that I don’t gravitate to things that are new or uncertain. In such situations, I tend to be shy and wary. I’m proud to say that I’ve put myself into just such a situation over the past week and a half and have loved it!

Several weeks ago, I noticed in the church bulletin that they would be holding a women’s Bible study using the book Run for God by Mitchell Hollis. Joining the group intrigued me on several levels: it would be a great way to try to meet some of the ladies at the church we have been visiting, it would be a way to push me back into running/working out, and I was simply curious about what running and God had to do with each other. However, I tried to find a million excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it. First of all, I was scared to face a room full of unfamiliar faces. I worried that an old knee problem would make it impossible to participate. I thought of my son’s music lessons that were at the same time and how could I be in two places at once. There were so many excuses I could use.

At the gentle prodding of my supportive husband, who graciously agreed to go in early to work so he’d be home to take our son to music lessons, I agreed to try it. I emailed the study coordinator who gladly answered my questions. As I drove to the first meeting, I was nervous. I was relieved to have several ladies introduce themselves to meet and start chatting with me. I so excited to see the start of some great friendships blossoming.

I’m also enjoying the running days outside of the group meeting times. I’ve added a new playlist to my phone that has Christian music and really inspires me on those tough running sections. I also am enjoying spending time with my kids on my last two runs. They enjoy being outside and are continuing to develop a love of running. I haven’t put fitness as a priority in quite some time. That has affected not only my health, but also my ability to keep up with the kids. I’ve also been concerned that I’m not modeling the of attitudes towards exercise that may get passed along to them. I’m happy to say that although it will take a lot to change the family’s mindset, we’re on our way.

Of course, there are days when it’s hard and moments when my knees hurt, and I just don’t want to run. However, that is something that was discussed on our first night. Running can be paralleled with a journey of faith. Sometimes it’s hard to get started, sometimes we’re not as strong as we should be, and sometimes we lack to discipline to do what is needed. I thankful that I making a conscious effort to work on this, both in a physical and spiritual way. I pray that you too reach out to the unknown and make yourself better for the glory of God. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is exactly what you need.

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24

Book Review: “Drawing Fire” by Janice Cantore

I just finished reading Drawing Fire by Janice Cantore. It was a intriguing book full of suspenseful twists and turns. It follows the lives of homicide detective Abby Hart and private investigator Luke Murphy. Abby is haunted by the unsolved death of her parents and is consumed with bringing their killer to justice. Luke is also tortured by the death of a family member, his wife. The characters are well developed, and I often found myself feeling sorry for their circumstances while also being in awe of their determination to make a difference in the lives of others. The book also has a romantic angle where Abby feels torn between her missionary fiance and feelings for Luke. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a clean suspense novel. The book left me wanting more, and thankfully I’ll get it. The second book in the Cold Case Justice series is scheduled to be available in the spring of 2016. I’ll be on the lookout for it.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Grill It, Braise It, Broil It” by the American Heart Association

I was drawn to this book in search of healthy recipes since I’m trying to learn to cook for my family in a more healthy way. There are over 175 recipes contained in the book, along with some basic information regarding healthy eating. The book is divided into twelve different techniques (slow cooking, microwaving, blending, grilling, stir-frying, braising, stewing, steaming, poaching, broiling, roasting, and baking). Each section lists the recipes, tips, and tricks associated with that specific cooking method. Being more familiar with some of these techniques than others, I’m looking forward to changing up my cooking methods more often with the help of this book. Each recipe contains a complete nutritional profile and some have really useful cook’s tips (such as how to freeze extra pesto). Another interesting section lists serving recommendations by calorie levels and even includes some sample sizes for specific foods. My only complaint is that there are almost no pictures. I’d love to see what the end result should look like. However, the book seems to be full of scrumptious ideas for healthy foods that are also appetizing.

I received this book for free from’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.