Monday, October 24, 2016

Nourishing Meals Delivers

This book is a godsend to folks who have dietary concerns which affect their health. Many people are looking for options which include dairy-free, gluten-free or soy-free dishes to provide optimal nutrition for their families.

This book is FULL of helpful tips, background information, and research. The best part is that it doesn't simply offer readers a small handful of recipes. We are talking about 484 pages filled with 365 easy-to-follow, delicious recipes you can start using on day one! And good news . . . you can find most of the ingredients at your local grocery store without having to find any specialty shops or mail-order sources. (Although on the off-chance you live on a secluded island accessible only by sea plane, online shopping sources are also included among the inclusive appendix at the back of the book.)

My thanks to Blogging For Books for the free copy I received in exchange for this honest review. From the Publisher . . .

It can be daunting to live a whole foods lifestyle in today’s busy world—even more so to prepare plant-rich, allergen-free meals that’ll get the whole family around the table. Popular blogger Ali Segersten and functional medicine expert Tom Malttere are a team devoted to teaching their children—and readers—the importance of living a whole foods lifestyle. Nourishing Meals makes it easy and fun with dishes that burst with flavor, such as their Cherry Pecan Salad, Butternut Squash and Pinto Bean Enchiladas, Chipotle-Lime Roasted Chicken, and Banana Coconut Cream Pie.

Every recipe in the book is free of the most common allergens: gluten, soy, eggs, and dairy, as well as refined sugar. And these dishes are designed to appeal to everyone, including vegan, vegetarian, seafood, and meat-eaters. In addition to wonderful food, Ali and Tom offer easy, doable steps to help you change your family’s health, tips for making the transition easier, and ways to get the kids excited about wholesome foods. They map out the best foods and recipes for every stage of having a family, from pre-conception and pregnancy through each year of a child’s life. And they explain in accessible terms what makes their recipes so effective for achieving optimal health. Originally self-published with an avid following, this edition will feature more than 30 new recipes, and many of the original recipes have been updated. This new edition will also include 100 beautiful all-new food photos featured in two inserts.

With an easy, tasty recipe for every day of the year, it’s never been simpler to adopt a healthy, whole foods lifestyle!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Natural Color Is Amazing

As someone who loves working with fiber via spinning and knitting, I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Sasha Duerr's Natural Color. What an invaluable resource for anyone who loves natural products, color, and care of the environment!

Duerr provides readers with a great introduction to the world of natural dying. The book is structured around the seasons, which makes sense since the plants used to make the dye come into their prime at different times throughout the growing season. I find it interesting also that natural dye colors will vary depending on the specific soil and climate so that different regions and areas will have different color pallets.

I learned several things from reading this book. I really had very little sense of just how many natural plant sources provide such an array of color! I did not realize that one could, in several cases, alter the color outcome of the dye pot by adding different ingredients into the pot. I found it amazing that there are several sources of natural color that don't need anything added to the dye pot to make them colorfast. Nature is amazing!

Along with the various plants to gather seasonally, Duerr offers readers preparation instructions for getting your fabrics and fibers ready to be dyed. In each seasonal section of the book, there are a handful of "recipes"--hands on projects with instructions for dying anything from place mats and napkins to curtains, shirts and even a hat! Duerr provides tips within the recipes and in the introduction to each section's natural dye materials as to which will work the best for dying plant based fibers (cotton, linen, etc.) versus animal fibers (wool, alpaca, silk, etc.).

As someone who plans to keep this book and reference it often for upcoming fun with natural dying of yarns for truly unique projects, the one thing I recognize I am going to need by way of additional reading material to make the best use of Natural Color, is a field guide to plants in my area. Duerr's book does not offer a lot of help in identifying the specific plants by sight if you want to go out and gather some materials. It is important to have said guide so that you can avoid any "look alike" plants which may be poisonous. (For instance, where I live there is a plant which resembles Queen Anne's Lace which can leave blisters where it comes into contact with skin.)

If you are interested in natural dying and the colors produced by nature's pallet, you will definitely want to get a copy of Natural Color. My thanks to Blogging For Books for the free copy I received in exchange for this honest review.

From the Publisher . . .

A beautiful book of seasonal projects for using the brilliant spectrum of colors derived from plants to naturally dye your clothing and home textiles.

Organized by season, Natural Color is a beautifully photographed guide to the full range of plant dyes available, drawn from commonly found fruits, flowers, trees, and herbs, with accompanying projects. Using sustainable methods and artisanal techniques, designer, artist, and professor Sasha Duerr details achievable ways to apply these limitless color possibilties to your home and wardrobe. Whether you are new to dyeing or more practiced, Duerr’s clear and simple ingredients lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed breakouts on techniques such as shibori, dip-dye, and block printing will ensure beautiful results. With recipes to dye everything from dresses and sweaters to rugs and napkins, Natural Color will inspire fashion enthusiasts, home decorators, textile lovers, and everyone else who wants to bring more color into their life.

About the Author . . .

SASHA DUERR is an artist, designer, and advocate for the slow fashion movement who works with organic dyes, alternative fibers, and the creative reuse of materials. She is a professor at the California College of the Arts with a joint appointment in textiles and fine arts. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States and abroad. In 2007 Duerr founded the Permacouture Institute with the Trust for Conservation Innovation to encourage the exploration of fashion and textiles from the ground up. Her extensive work with plant-based dyes and ecological principles through local land-based sources and community has been featured in the New York Times, American Craft Magazine, Selvedge, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper

I loved this charming, intimate story of life in the wake of the loss of a spouse and coming to terms with memories of your loved one versus new-found facts of the life lived before you. Wonderful!

You can find a bit more details about the plot of this delightful tome below in the "From the Publisher" section. I found it to be a fresh and surprising tale which was surprisingly easy to identify with. You live with an intimate partner for all of your adult life, but may never know fully who that person was before they met you. You may have inklings, snapshots, and traces...but not having been a part of that time/place, you will always have only the perspective of an outsider looking in.

The writing is so well done, I had complete visions of each character drawn in detail in my mind's eye. How I chuckled when Arthur was dodging his neighbor's knock on the door! And the sight of him stuffed into the back of the neighbor kid's car zooming along on a trip he's not sure he really wanted to be on! These genuinely funny moments are matched by more serious, contemplative, even poignant moments of reflection, grief, and personal growth which are all a part of Arthur's journey in the book. It is truly excellent!

From the Publisher . . .

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same grey slacks and mustard tank top, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the story behind each of the charms – and the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met. It’s a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

About the Author . . .

Phaedra qualified firstly as a stained glass artist before gaining her professional Marketing qualifications. She has worked as a waitress, stained glass designer, film festival organiser and communications manager.

She enjoyed her first real writing success when she entered and won several short story competitions, and she now writes full time.

Phaedra lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son, where she enjoys walking, eating chocolate, and arts and crafts. Her idea for The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper emerged as she showed her own childhood charm bracelet to her young son and told him the stories behind each of the charms.