Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cookbook Review ~ Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West

I’m not going to lie, when I was asked if I would review Eat Yourself Pregnant by Zita West I was a little hesitant, because to be honest I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to broadcast on my blog that we are trying to get pregnant, but then I thought why not because it’s not exactly a secret, even if I don’t talk about it that much. The reality is that my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for the last 3 years and are dealing with Secondary Infertility. I’m not going to get into all of the specifics with you but it’s a long, emotional and very difficult journey that we never saw coming and so I will take any advice I can (within reason!), so considering  that I love food, cooking and cookbooks and I am trying to get pregnant I decided why not?!

Zita West is a fertility expert and midwife based in the UK. During her career she has also worked as a nutritional advisor and then as an acupuncturist so she is more than qualified to be writing this book! The recipes however come courtesy of Christine Bailey an award-winning nutritionist, food and health consultant, chef and cookery teacher.

The 160 paged paperback is packed with information about getting your body ready for pregnancy as well as 65 healthy recipes to ensure you get all of the vital nutrients required for conception in your diet. There are questions to help you assess your overall health such as ‘How healthy is your digestion?’ ‘How toxic are you?’ and ‘How stable is your blood sugar?’ and a recommended fertility cleanse if you think you need it. As it turned out everything seemed good for us so I skipped the fertility cleanse and opted to pick and choose my own recipes from the book (the fertility detox is just a detailed meal plan with all recipes taken from the book).

The recipes are divided into chapters including ‘Boosters & Breakfasts’, ‘Light Meals’ and ‘Main Meals’ and the majority are accompanied by beautiful photographs. They literally all sounded so good so I really had a hard time narrowing down which ones to test and in the end have so far managed to test 6 recipes (with more made outside of the testing and more to come!). Since I did test so many I’m keeping the information about the recipes shorter so that I don’t have a novel on my hands!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cookbook Review ~ Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau

The second Southern Cookbook to be added to my collection, Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau is a treasure of recipes and stories that celebrate local, seasonal food with family and friends.

What started off as a couple of friends wanting to get together once a month to share good food and company turned into a hugely successful monthly gathering and a cookbook to boot! The book features just over 150 recipes (taken from their monthly potlucks) and the chapters are divided into months which I know I have said before but I personally love! There are quite a lot of photographs throughout the book however a lot of them are for ingredients rather than the recipes which is worth noting. The theme is potluck but this is no ordinary potluck….Instead it is a group of friends getting together to celebrate the local bounty with new and innovative dishes. What each guest brings is a total surprise as there is no RSVP, no assigned dishes and absolutely no rules!

Quite honestly I didn’t even know where to start with this book because I bookmarked SO many recipes (the book was literally a sea of yellow post-it notes!!), however I finally managed to narrow things down and in the end I tested 4 recipes.

Tested Recipes:

Silky Butternut Squash Bisque
Fresh Dill-Feta Quick Bread
Cara Cara Cashew Chicken
Italian Meatballs in Hearty Italian Tomato Sauce

The first recipe to be put to the test was the Silky Butternut Squash Bisque since it looked delicious and I love Butternut Soup. The recipe was straightforward and I really liked the idea of roasting the vegetables first which added another level of flavour. I tasted the soup after each stage (and each new addition of the final ingredients) and I’ll be honest, for me it tasted best before the Greek Yogurt and Vanilla was added. I was definitely hesitant about the vanilla and in all honesty I wouldn’t do it again. It was a nice soup, definitely a bit different from any type of squash soup I have made before but I didn’t love it. It’s unlikely that I would make it again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Shopping with Ten Thousand Villages

Unless you are one of the super organised, chances are you, like me, are trying to get organised for Christmas! I still can’t believe that we’re already in December and the official countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun, but it has!

I’m always on the lookout for something different for presents and so I was delighted when I was asked if I would review some food products from Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organisation and is the oldest and largest Fair Trade organization in North America. The website is packed full of beautiful artisan gifts, home d├ęcor, jewellery, stationery and of course my favourite - food products. But it’s not only an online store, Ten Thousand Villages Canada has many shops across the country. What really makes it stand out however, is the fact that the mission behind Ten Thousand Villages is “to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair-trading relationships”.

The products I was sent included a bottle of Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Palestine, a bag of Za’tar spice mix and a beautiful square serving plate which could be used for multiple purposes. Both the Olive Oil and the Za’tar came from a company called Zatoun which is a volunteer-run organisation that provides marketing aid to olive farmers in Palestine.

Photographs courtesy of Ten Thousand Villages
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