Andrews McMeel Publishing

Ready or Not! – 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam, Henry Fong.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Well, I have to start by saying this is a very different cook book to the ones I am used to reading and reviewing and, for a while, I wasn’t too sure if I was finding it refreshingly different or just a little too off centre for my liking. So, yeah, mixed feelings about the layout and formatting, but we will get to that later.

What I did love about ‘Ready or Not!’ is that it is my sort of paleo. I am a whole foods, make from scratch but nobody’s perfect sort of person… In fact I am known for calling myself perfectly imperfect and sometimes just eat cereal for dinner (gluten free and in activated almond milk but still cereal)!

And I really do find the term ‘Paleo’ has been given a really bad name in recent years as it’s gone from a generic term for just plain and simple whole food eating to anti this and ban that and “it’s all meat and you must hunt it yourself or you’re not a Paleo”…. I hate labels. And so refuse to call myself paleo due to all this negativity. It’s not a cult people! It’s a suggestion on how to eat food!

Which is why I loved ‘Ready or Not!’ as it not only seems to follow a similar perfectly imperfect lifestyle, but also seems to have gone back to the old style, far more flexible approach to paleo and so I am not ashamed to say I have read it… Or now follow ‘Nom Nom Paleo – Michelle Tan’ on Facebook. What can I say? Her food looks amazing and the recipes are simple and very easy to follow.

I will state here and now that my own personal food allergies and intolerances (recapping for those who don’t know me – wheat, allium, seafood, dairy to name a few) mean that not all recipes were suitable for me… while some could be fine-tuned to suit my needs and others were perfect to just go with… I’m looking at you Pina Colada Tapioca pudding!

So another reason to have mixed emotions as not every recipe in ‘Ready or Not!’ could be made in my house. And so as much as the book tempts and excites me with its differences… I am also disappointed it is yet another cook book that is hit and miss for my diet. Won’t anyone think of the allium intolerant? 😉

Okay, back to the layout and formatting of ‘Ready or Not!’ and me stating it’s very different to the norm. I mean, my 12 year old daughter loves it, but she is really into Manga and graphic novels – as well as inheriting my cook book addiction. It is indeed rather… unique being set out like a manga book but then again I think our modern new home cooks would like it as it has the set by set pictures and instructions, it has the smiley faces and constant chatter of making it like a one on one cooking conversation and would give them that feeling instant gratification the younger generation seems to need.

But for me? And my love of 100 year old (and then some) cook books that consist of a paragraph or two and the belief the reader knows their way around a kitchen and doesn’t need to be spoon fed each ingredient… yeah, I can’t say I enjoyed the manga style that much. A little too dumbed down and babyish for me.

Oh, and it is written for an American audience so uses imperial measurements and the American names for foods – such a cilantro rather than coriander. This may be a stumbling block for some new cooks here in Australia but who knows? Do Aussie kids still say capsicum rather than peppers? Maybe I am just outdated again. 😉

However! What I did love about the layout was how the recipes were broken down into different “are you ready?” sections… Hence the name ‘Ready or Not!’ I guess.

There is the intro that tells you all about how the book is laid out, then then prep section for sauces and other basics. Then we hit the section where you have all the time in the world to cook. The section for having some time to cook and the section on having no time and just wanting a wholesome family meal ASAP. This was great as I have days like this where I either have all the time in the world, a little time or none at all and so the idea of having a go to recipe idea for each time limit was great. Again, not all the recipes in any of these sections suited my personal dietary restrictions, but I really did love that layout as I honestly feel it a great way to encourage more people to skip the instant meals and take away and try their hand at some simple but tasty whole food home cooked meals.

So, yeah, a bit of a like/ unlike relationship happening here. 😀 I love the passion, enthusiasm and talent shown by Ms Tan and her family and I do love the styles of meals as Cantonese food – via Darwin – is my childhood comfort food. And so there was some definite connection there that has made this book somewhat appealing despite my also dislike of it. Oh dear, I am getting a split personality over it! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

You know, I think I would. But I would be recommending it to the younger generations. I can’t see myself or my mother wanting to race out and buy it… but I can see myself buying it for my daughter to add to her slowing increasing cook book collection.
It is a good cook book, but just one meant more for the modern generation rather than an old fuddy duddy like me. 😉

Would I buy this book for myself?

Ummm, I MIGHT sneak an electronic copy onto my tablet as a “just in case” as there were some really appealing recipes in ‘Ready or Not!’ or I might buy a paper version for my daughter and pinch it from time to time. I really can’t be sure… it interests me and I love the vibe Ms Tan has created… but manga cook books just go against my grain. 😉

In summary: a great cook book for the next generation of whole food home cooks.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book is great. So funny, so real, so… ME! I am often complaining about not wanting to have to adult today and there were AT LEAST a dozen comic strips (pages) from this book I wanted to share on social media. Especially any to do with hairy legs. 😉 I’ve had a rod shoved somewhere for too long when it comes to hairy legs and I’m only just now having it removed… so those cartoons were more an affirmation than a snort tea out my nose giggle. There were a few snort tea out my nose moments too though.

Okay, so I’m a mum of three who’s about to turn 40. One of my kids is ‘special needs’, the other two are just kids fully into exploring and learning about the world around us – so all in all a handful. It is my job in life right now to wrangle them and guide them through life. I’m also an extroverted introvert – meaning I’ve worked customer service type roles for half my life and know how to pretend to be happy and confident and all that out there dealing with people stuff… when all I really want to do is stay in bed in my pjs  – alone – and read. So yeah, besides the kids bit, this book is really suited for someone like me.

It is funny, witty (you can be one without the other) and tap dances just far away from the norm to show how ridiculous said norm actually is.  Loved it. Being a ‘breeder’ though, I couldn’t give it the full marks. We cop enough flack as it is okay? 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. In fact, I have been doing so already and have been asked to stop as it’s not released until early March and can I please stop being such a tease about it. But I will keep recommending it as it’s a really good, lift your mood, read.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Possibly. It is still in the realms of library book (for those who follow my reviews) but I do really enjoy the comic strips and have liked ‘Sarah’s Scribbles Collection’ on Facebook just to get a daily dose. So, yes, definitely a fan.

In summary: You don’t have to be an introvert, heck you don’t even have to be an actual ADULT – as I shared some comic moments with my girls (8 and 11) and said ‘this is you’ and they agreed – you just need to know how to GET sarcasm and irony and be amused by it. Seriously good read to help lighten your mood and show you’re not alone in this whole ‘anti-adulting’ feeling.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review – Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough by Ella Leche.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Andrews McMeel Publishing for a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

A fantastic book! Just exactly the sort of thing someone like me wants in a cook book. Sadly, thanks to allium intolerances and allergies in my family (which no cook book seem to take into mind) I couldn’t give it top marks as I still need to skip or majorly modify some recipes… BUT! I love this book, I have it in my online bookstore shopping cart and will be OWNING this book very shortly so please excuse any constructive criticism I may give below as it’s just me providing open and honest feedback.

Okay, so where to start? I mean, wow! It is rare for me to find a modern cook book where there are just so many recipes I want to try them all, on my family, TODAY! We’re about to head back into the school year here and so I’ve been looking around for ways to liven up breakfast, packed lunches, snacks and dinners while sticking to simple, homemade, dairy free, refined sugar free and wheat/ grain free cooking… as that is what we do. So ‘Cut the sugar, you’re sweet enough’ has landed on my laptop just in time.

Gorgeous pictures, basic ingredients and clear and easy to follow instructions make it a welcoming and desirable book.

Yes I would have to modify anything containing the allium family (onion, garlic, chives, etc.), yes I would have to modify any of the sweet recipes that use Stevia (causes headaches or tastes bitter to some family members) and yes I would have to convert to Australian measurements and temperatures… but you know what? This book is WORTH that, and there is seriously very little of the above I would need to do! The positives and benefits of owning and using this cook book far outweigh these minor niggles. Plus there is a fantastic conversion page at the back of the book so those who need to convert and don’t have the tools in place – you won’t need them as the book helps you do it!

The only other minor niggle, and this is just me being overly picky, is I’m not a fan of pre-made pasta sauce. So when suggesting people use a jar of marinara sauce – and not provide a detailed recipe for a homemade option – yeah, I was a little disappointed in that. There IS a past sauce recipe in another recipe… but I don’t remember a recipe just to help make your own. But, as I’ve been making my own napoletana sauce for years, can easily sub. It’s just a shame there is such a basic sauce listed and suggested the reader buy it pre-made. Especially as the pre-mades can be filled with all sorts of things we wouldn’t normally eat.

Okay, that is just a pet peeve of mine – the dreaded pre-made! I do apologise for bringing it up, and it won’t stop me proudly owning and using this book, it’s just meant as a little constructive criticism.

Would I recommend this book for others?

Yes I would. And I would do so loud and proud as it is well worth it. I’ve already been singing its praises on social media and recommending it to people I know there who have similar diets to my own.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes, a very big yes. As said at the beginning of this review, I plan on placing it in an order in the next few days and cannot wait for the copy to arrive. I do prefer my cook books in paper form rather than eBook and so can’t wait to thumb through the paper version!

In summary: For anyone with dietary restrictions on wheat/ grain, dairy and sugars – this is definitely a book for you. Quick, easy and tasty look recipes I’m sure the whole family would love. Grab a copy as soon as you can!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO