Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis

9780804187923Giada De Laurentiis is one of my favorite chefs on Food Network because her cooking embodies the feeling of home and welcoming. I have been wanting to purchase her cookbooks, however, the opportunity to do so has always passed me by until I had the opportunity to review Happy Cooking for free.

Happy Cooking is essentially a healthy—or clean eating—cookbook which presents a lot of healthy recipes without the loss of flavor. The recipes are mainly built on ingredients that provide nutritious benefits as well as make you full longer. The thing I love about this cookbook is that all the recipes—even though they are considered healthy—are actually appetizing and worth serving to my family as well as dinner guest. Another pro to this book is that the recipes can be used all year long, instead of just during the summer or the fall which tends to be the two most popular cooking seasons.

One of the things I love best about this book are the beautiful illustrations. I am definitely someone who eats with their eyes, and overall I just love recreating recipes from cookbooks that have pictures for each recipe just because I want to make sure the finished product is made correctly. The food photography alone are enough to make you want to go out and purchase yourself a copy.

Another great thing about this book is that even though the book sticks to the healthy theme, Giada makes sure to get you a lot of food choices outside the typical vegetables and salads that are usually accompanied with the term clean eating. For example, she has an amazing chicken and roasted potatoes with leeks recipe that is full of flavor, but made with simple, fresh ingredients and low sodium broth. So don’t be fooled by the term healthy because there are plenty of hearty recipes in the book, just made with better nutritious ingredients.

I am so glad I was able to get a copy because of this book because it has become my November cooking project. Hopefully I can master Giada’s recipes while creating and reinventing a few of my own.


Kitchen Matrix by Mark Bittman

9780804188012Mark Bittman, in my opinion, is the Godfather of cookbooks. I was so excited to see he had a new cookbook because he’s a great teacher to learn from, his recipes are simple, easy, and foolproof, and he brings out the joy in me as a home cook.

Kitchen Matrix is the basic blueprint for cooks to expand upon basic recipes they have mastered. Within the 304 pages there are over 700 recipes based on basic recipes that are mixed in a variety of ways so that you can get more out of one dish. For example, Bittman illustrates 12 ways to use tomatoes in a dish ranging from appetizers such as tomatoes, ricotta cheese, and mint, to fancy tomato soups as the main course. All in which are made with simple, fresh ingredients.

Bittman is a great storyteller which is why I am always enveloped in his headnotes for recipes. I am obsessed with reading the headnotes as much as I am making the recipes because I know there will be a great story from which the recipe originated, and it gives me inspiration for my own recipe development.

The recipes in the Kitchen Matrix covers the usual categories: Drinks, appetizers, soups, sandwiches, meat, vegetables, etc. No dish is left unturned, and Bittman provides you with plenty of options to put a spin on any classic dish.

I enjoyed all the recipes, even those ones where I was unfamiliar with the ingredient. The majority of the recipes are 30 minutes or less to prepare, while there are some they may take up to 1 hour to prepare. The ingredients used in the book are readily available in your home pantry or at your local grocery store.

Overall, I highly recommend buying a copy of Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix. It’s great for mastering basic dishes as well as inspiration for future dishes.

Classic Human Anatomy In Motion by Valerie L. Winslow

2Disclaimer: I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow is the perfect learning tool for those wanting to develop life drawing skills. With her four decades of drawing and teaching at prestigious colleges, you will definitely want to take the time to thoroughly absorb the information she shares within her book.

I was so excited to receive this book because I have been wanting to expand my drawing skills. The majority of the book basically deals with the human body: skeletons, joints, muscles and tendons. Everything you need to understand about the human body to help you realistically bring it to life on paper.

Winslow helps you understand how the parts of the human body come together and function individually as well as together in order for you to enhance realistic movement to your drawing. With each lesson, they are accompanied with hundreds of detailed illustrations to help you see how to effectively apply each technique.

The end of the book, which wasn’t much in my opinion, was dedicated to drawing exercises to help reinforce what you have learned by having the exercises bases on each lesson covered in the book. For as much anatomy information and drawing techniques in the book, I was hoping the exercise section was just as large as those sections.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert artist or a novice because Winslow starts everyone on the same level: beginners. I found this book to be the most in-depth when it comes to life drawing, and the author really took her time to make sure that by the end of the book you have the necessary knowledge and tools to successfully start life drawing. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in drawing as either a hobby or profession.