Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Slow Cooker 101 is a Great Book to Add to Your Cookbook Collection

I love my slow cooker! In fact, I have a couple of slow cookers that I use on a regular basis. Who wouldn’t want to come home to a hot and ready home cooked meal any night of the week? The convenience can’t be beat. When I saw this book on Amazon I debated before downloading it. After all, how much more can I learn about using a slow cooker? It turns out I still had some things to learn and some delicious recipes to try.

Slow Cooker 101 is filled with good advice. Some of it is extremely basic. Things like stocking your kitchen with the proper utensils, etc. Then there was advice that was so simple, yet so helpful I had one of those “now, why didn’t I think of that?” moments. For example, the author suggests creating tin foil handles prior to cooking roasts and poultry in order to facilitate removal later. I admit I haven’t tried this tip yet, and I do have to wonder how well it works on a super moist, falling apart roast or chicken but I’m willing to give it a try.

There are plenty of recipes in this book to appeal to a variety of tastes. Even the kids should enjoy the super simple Sloppy Joes and Cheeseburger Joes recipes. Apparently there’s even a way to make Polenta in your slow cooker (who knew?!) Definitely something I’m planning to try. There are entrees, stews, sauces, dips, puddings, and meats designed to be used for sandwiches, so the recipes are suitable for lunches, casual family suppers and elegant sit-down dinners.

As with almost all recipes, there is a certain amount of prep time beforehand, but this can easily be done the night before. Some of the recipes need a little further finishing up afterwards – things like making gravies from broth, shredding meats, preparing rice as accompaniments and blending to make purees– but the bulk of the recipes can be used by busy families throughout the week.

I would have liked more accompanying photos, but it didn’t take away from the value of the book. This is a good book to have in your cookbook collection.

4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton  

Holiday Recipes Cookbook by Bonnie Scott - This Yummy Holiday Cookbook is Currently FREE on Amazon

Holiday Recipes by Bonnie Scott

Many of us stress over what to give for the holidays. Making your own gifts can be an excellent alternative to purchasing expensive store-bought products that often get little to no use. Why not give something you’ve made yourself, and something the recipient can eat? Holiday entertaining can be a hassle. Coming up with party platter recipes can be a chore. This book is chockfull of ideas for holiday gift-giving and party-planning.

Whether you’re searching for gift ideas for acquaintances (mail carriers, teachers, neighbors, etc.) or even for close friends and family members, this book has plenty of options to choose from. Opening with a wonderful selection of breads and closing with pies, there’s something for everyone within the pages of this book. The candy selection is fantastic. The sweet and savory recipes (dips, cheese balls, appetizers and more)…are yummy! Reuben Dip? Genius! There are also plenty of recipes for everyone’s favorite – cookies. What’s really great about this book is that the recipes are easy, quick and simple to follow. Who doesn’t appreciate that at holiday time?

The author gives plenty of packaging ideas to dress these delicious gifts up for the holidays. Whether you’re looking for a rustic, homespun look or a more fancy, elegant look, readers will find inspiration here. The author has also kindly included several links to sites where readers can go to print labels and gift tags.

I would highly recommend Holiday Recipes: 150 Easy Recipes and Gifts From Your Kitchen to anyone who loves giving gifts created by hand!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton


Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review of The Blue Wooden Horse by Orly Assa

I absolutely love children’s books that tell a story that can be used as jumping off points for discussions with children. The Blue Wooden Horse accomplishes this and goes a few steps further. One, it’s poetry and two, it contains several stories in one colorful, engaging book.

This book is filled with imaginative and charming free-form poetry that is sure to delight readers of any age. The poems can all be read in one sitting or one at a time, to be used as topics of conversation with even the smallest children. As examples, the “carousel” and “swing” poems are excellent opportunities to talk with children about feeling safe and comforted whenever they’re out of their comfort zone. The “big, orangey fish” poem would be a good way to broach the sensitive subject of the death of a pet.

The illustrations are superbly colorful and eye-catching, and each one complements each story nicely. As a mother, a grandmother and former early childhood educator, I am very impressed with The Blue Wooden Horse. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for unique books to share with the children in their life.

~ 5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Are you interested in purchasing this book? Well, you're in luck! This book is currently FREE on Amazon for a limited time only, so grab it while you can. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Life Lessons Can We Learn from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens?

52 Lessons from A Christmas Carol by Bob Welch

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has always been one of my favorite stories of all time. Who wouldn’t like to be comforted by the notion that anyone can change at any point in their life? Even a grumpy curmudgeon like Ebenezer Scrooge is capable of seeing the error of his ways and of making a miraculous transition with the assistance of four sage and caring spirits.

Bob Welch has taken the basis of A Christmas Carol to insightfully list 52 inspirational lessons readers can learn from this charming classic. There’s something for everyone in the pages of this book. Regardless of what you might be struggling with in your life at any given moment, I’m certain just about anyone will find value in Mr. Welch’s “lessons”.

52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol is most definitely a faith-based book. The author refers to Biblical scripture throughout, when laying out his lessons. Therefore, I would consider this book a Christian devotional, suitable for anyone looking to get closer to God, and to live a happier and more Christian-based life. It would make for wonderful church group literature, to be used by adults and children. Families should appreciate reading this together during the Christmas season or at anytime throughout the year. Highly recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review of Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous by Gita V. Reddy

Bala-Gala lives among a variety of animals in the forest. Some of these animals are dangerous and Bala-Gala must find a way to avoid being eaten. Morphing into dangerous and brave animals is Bala-Gala’s specialty and readers will enjoy following the changes.

  Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous

This was an imaginative and entertaining story. Readers will think the tale is going one way, but in the end, there’s a lovely surprise. Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous should hold the attention of even the smallest children, as they wait to see what happens. The illustrations are vivid, colorful and eye-catching. I could see this book being enjoyed not only at bedtime, but at anytime. Recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

*Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous by Gita V. Reddy is FREE today and tomorrow (November 17 and 18) only, so grab it while you can :) 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review of Semi Serious by Charlotte Stone

Charlotte Stone had been a teacher for almost two decades when she decided to make a sudden and dramatic career change. After a casual conversation with her truck driver son-in-law, Charlotte spontaneously decided to go into the trucking business as well. After enrolling in training school and getting hired on by a company, Charlotte found that her new life provided a great deal of quiet time – time that she used to reflect on life, and to get closer to God and her faith. In Semi Serious, Ms. Stone talks about just some of what she learned while out on the road.

Semi Serious is a short book, yet it’s packed with a variety of uplifting, engaging and encouraging content. The author tells of her life on the road in a practical and easygoing style, which I enjoyed. She adds a great deal of interesting information about what it’s like to be a female long-haul trucker in a male-dominated industry. Ms. Stone also adds some lovely poetry, photos, scripture and devotionals. But at the heart of this book is the importance of finding and keeping one’s faith, regardless of the roadblocks that might be put in front of us.

It’s clear that Charlotte Stone is a devout woman of faith. However, I didn’t find Semi Serious to be preachy or overly “religious” at all. Ms. Stone reminds us of the importance of keeping our hearts and minds open to God daily, no matter how challenging and unexpected things may seem at the time. It’s all part of His individual plan for us.

Some of the stories included in this book touched my heart and spoke to me and for that, I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to read it. Semi Serious is a beautiful testimony of one woman’s strong faith and personal walk with Jesus, but with a definite unique twist to be sure. I highly recommend it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Friday, November 13, 2015

Enter the Pokergeist Book Tour Giveaway

The My Book Tour virtual book tour for Michael Phillip Cash's paranormal novel, "Pokergeist" begins Monday, November 16th, but the giveaway has started! Up for grabs is a $25 Amazon Gift Card and FIVE SIGNED COPIES of "Pokergeist".


Sometimes life, as well as death, is about second chances. Luckless Telly Martin doesn't have a clue. An awful gambler trying to scrape by as a professional poker player, he becomes the protégé of world famous poker champion Clutch Henderson. The only catch…Clutch is a ghost. Telly and Clutch must navigate the seedy gambling underbelly of Las Vegas learning to trust each other in order to win the elusive International Series of Poker, repair their shattered personal relationships and find redemption in this life and the hereafter.

Enter for a chance to win:

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