Lucky Rice by Danielle Chang

9780804186681“If we are what we eat, then we are all part Asian.”

I love Asian cuisine because it is rich with culture, heritage, and history; it is probably the one cuisine I tend to find cultural similarities with Southern cuisine. In Lucky Rice, author Danielle Chang is nice enough to divulge a variety of Asian dishes, both traditional and commercial, that are easy to prepare at home; reminding us of how blessed we are to have the nearest Asian restaurant located down the street.

Like Asian cookbook, I have to come to realize they are not books to be flipped through solely for the recipes, but to be read like a fairy tale story with the recipes as the prince or princess of the take. In order to successfully recreate the dishes found in Lucky Rice, I had to make quite a few trips down to the local Asian market, and the employees were nice enough to educate me on all the ingredients I needed and their uses.

Chang is like a tour guide in this book, and she takes you on both a culinary and cultural journey with both her headnotes and recipes. The pictures are amazing and are adorned with thorough and detailed recipe instructions. There recipes are easy to prepare and I would highly suggest avoiding using any substitutions because it would be like substituting a perfectly grilled T-bone steak for McDonalds. No offense McDonalds. Substituting the ingredients in this book simply takes away the authenticity of such a flavorful and unique culinary experience.

Although I enjoyed recreating the recipes in Lucky Rice, I recommend cooks of all levels to try the U.S. Army Stew because it is a melting pot of flavors.

Life Changing Magic by Marie Kondo

9780804189095For the past couple of month or so, I have been contemplating buying a journal for the New Year; however, unbeknownst to me, I have been practicing the laws of attraction because I was able to get my hands on a free copy of Life Changing Magic journal by Marie Kondo.

I had no idea who Marie Kondo was until I started researching and reading reviews on her previously published book. Kondo is an expert organizer, and her previous books were based on organizing your home and workspace, and how to apply these principles to your everyday life.

Life Changing Magic journal is about 400 pages long, which covers about two to three years of journaling. Throughout the book are inspirational quotes about life and the theme of the journal which is stated on the back cover: Does it spark joy?

I like the journal, however, I wish the writing lines were longer than four or five because that amount of space is only enough to capture a few sentences. Therefore, what I ended up doing was using the entire page to write about my day.

Life Changing Magic journal is great for people starting their first journal or for those simply wanting to write down quick thoughts of the day which filled their day with joy. Also, because the space to write is limited, the journal would be perfect as a gratitude journal.