Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

What do you get when you combine old-fashioned baked goods in a fun retro location? You get Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, GA. The owners, Cheryl and Griffith Day shared their beloved recipes in their Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.

The cookbook celebrates their 10 year anniversary for their bakery, and contains a foreward by Paula Deen. I really liked this cookbook. It contains everything from cupcakes and bread pudding to savory white bean and bacon soup. Recipe chapters include: Breakfast; Coffee Cakes, Quick Breads, and Sweet Yeast Breads; Cupcakes and Cakes; Pies, Cobblers, Crisps, and Tarts; Puddings and Custards; Cookies; Brownies and Bars; Confections; and Savories. The Method to the Magic contains tips on getting started, and The Baker's Tool Kit contains basic key pieces of equipment to get you started.

My favorite recipes are the Bourbon Bread Pudding (use brioche bread!), Plum Tartlets (more like mini individual cake-like desserts), and the Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds (think of savory shortbread). The two recipes I'm dying to try are the Bacon Jam filling (from the the Bacon-Jam Empanadas) and the Shortcut Piecrust made from melted butter, flour, sugar, and salt which is pressed into the pie pan rather than rolled out. I'm sold if it comes out as great as it sounds.

For delicious homemade recipes that are fuss-free, this would be a great book to give during the holidays.

Book Information:

I'm hosting a Pastry Sampler Giveaway! The giveaway contains a great assortment of sports-themed candy and chocolate molds with the tools needed to fill and decorate them. Swing on by the Pastry Sampler Blog for more information and how to enter. Open to U.S. residents only.

Disclosure: This eGalley was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Feature and Follow: Worst Covers to Good Books

Q: What is the worst cover of a book that you’ve read and loved?

A: I thought the cover for Indian Maidens Bust Loose was a bit strange when I first saw it, but the book ended up being a really great, funny read. I think the worst covers (as a lump sum) end up being the trashy novels that are such quick reads. Most of the time the cover models don't even resemble the characters described inside. :)

Hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog.

F&F: First you leave your name here on this post using the linky tools, grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post, and then visit as many blogs as you want on the list and tell them “hi” in their comments or respond to their question. If someone follows you, it's courtesy to follow back. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

What's your answer?


30-Minute Jewelry Series by Marthe le Van: Earrings, Rings, Bracelets, Necklaces

Creating jewelry should be fun, and if time is limited, projects geared toward that one restriction make it easy to craft. If you have some supplies and 30 minutes to spare, then the 30-Minute book series contains doable projects for now - and not later.

There are four books in the series based on four jewelry types: 30-Minute Rings, 30-Minute Bracelets, 30-Minute Earrings, and 30-Minute Necklaces. And each book contains 60 projects for all levels. Each put together by Marthe Le Van, many different designers contributed their ideas and projects for each book.

Read more about these four different books on Sew Now This blog.

Assassin by Matthew Iden

Matthew Iden has become a go-to writer for me when I'm in the mood for a short story. Most people know that David Morrell (yes, that David Morrell) is one of my all-time favorite writers and his many hardcover action thriller books are part of my nightstand library next to my bed. With my kindle and iPhone though, Matthew Iden trumps Morrell and Iden's Assassin is another reason I recommend him for short story adventure.

This is a fantasy tale, set in a long ago time and between two warring kingdoms. They get together to try to find a resolution, and as with most stories by this author, the ending isn't what you thought it would be. It's written well, but the focus isn't on the actual war (no major battles or bloodshed) but instead focuses on the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was purchased by me and any opinions are my own.

Cookbook of the Week: Vegan Lunch Box

Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love

School is starting again soon for our household and with it the joy /not/ of packing lunches that the kids will actually eat. It's a struggle. If the kids had their way they would like nothing more than a candy bar and chips for lunch. Since that is not about to happen, looking for recipes that are healthy and fun is one of the first things to think about before school actually starts, at least in our household. There is always the option of school-provided lunches, but the novelty of waiting in line lost its appeal long ago.

Read the full review and find the linky for this Cookbook of the Week.

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

Palms are everywhere in landscaping, East to West coast. They can be used as ground covering, for shade trees, or other hard scape items, and can be grown in deserts or in tropical areas. The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms has everything you need to know about cultivated palm trees as well as provide over 200 pages of palm pictures to identify the one growing in your local nursery or backyard.

The content of the book includes: Gallery of Palms (color photos of different palm trees); Palm Descriptions A to Z; Landscape Lists; Internet Sources for Information on Palms; Botanical Gardens and Public Collections with Significant Palm Collections; Glossary; Bibliography; and an Index of Synonyms and Common Names.

Incredibly detailed, I found this book to be useful for the home gardener. It contains botanical information with easily understood terminology. The individual palms can be looked up by going through the gallery of photos, or in the Palm Descriptions where you can look them up by scientific name. For anyone wanting to grow palm trees in their yard, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms would make a great go-to guide to narrow down the variety.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This eARC was provided from the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Creating Rain Gardens: Capturing the Rain for Your Own Water-Efficient Garden

With water being as scarce as it is and drought a common word throughout the U.S., using water from natural sources to the best of our ability seems logical. But is collecting rainwater for our own purposes actually doable? Creating Rain Gardens by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher shows how to do just that, with gorgeous ideas for landscaping to boot.

The chapters actually break down the building of rain gardens by steps: A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Rain Garden Planning Guide; Designing Your Rain Garden; Building Your Rain Garden; Planting Your Rain Garden; Maintaining Your Rain Garden; and Your Rain Garden as Part of an Integrative Design. The introduction talks about how rain develops and why you should think about planting a rain garden in the first place. The epilogue focuses on how rain gardens make a positive impact on publicly or group maintained areas.

Multiple charts throughout the book make creating a rain garden easier: What Kind of Rain Garden Do I Want?; The Best Types of Rain Garden Basins for Various Soil Types; Calculating the Fraction of Rain that Runs Off;  How to Read a Rainfall Chart; Step-by-Step Digging Instructions; Calculating Runoff Volume and Rain Garden Dimensions. The case studies throughout the book also invite 'questions to spark the imagination.'

If you have ever thought of trying to capture what nature has given you free in the form of rainfall to helping you water your garden, Creating Rain Gardens would be a very good book to have. The pictures and illustrations provide examples and help you springboard ideas, and the many worksheets make planning and implementation easy.

Book Information:

Disclosure: This ARC galley was provided by the publisher. Any opinions are my own.

Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today's Sweet Tooth

I’ve always had a soft spot for old recipes. Thumbing through dusty piles of vintage cookbooks always brings something new to my baking and usually leads me to explore new flavor combinations or techniques. Julie Richardson brings old recipes to new life in her book Vintage Cakes. Her re-discovered treasure trove of old recipes left by the previous occupants of her Baker and Spice Bakery in Portland, OR, was put to use, as well as collecting books and suggestions from family, friends, and strangers alike.

Read the full review for Vintage Cakes.

Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett

Book trailer:
Lexie Meyers decides there's nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson's perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He's hot, he's hungry, and he's sizing her up like she's the best thing on the menu. But she's been burned in the past and flings just aren't her thing. Too bad Sebastian can't resist a challenge.
Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty "get lost" attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm-including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance-it's now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn't sure whether she's lost her mind . . . or just her heart.
As soon as I found out cooking and a secret cake recipe was involved, I was intrigued. Of the characters in the story, Lexie was a person I identified with and Seb could have been a colleague. Elisabeth Barrett did a great job on kitchen culture. Now for the story - I loved the read, and Barrett is fast becoming a favorite contemporary romance author of mine.

The story has a mystery secret treasure element with it, too, and I'm hoping it continues with the rest of the brother's stories on love. Sebastian (Seb) Grayson is one of four local-boy brothers living in Star Harbor, Massachusetts: Val, Cole, and twins Seb and Theo. All are unattached and so far single, and this story is about big-time chef Sebastian and his love for small-town cafe owner Lexie. Lexie is running away from a previous relationship and has settled in the small seafaring town quite nicely. Until the brothers meet up and return home to pay respects to their father who had died twenty years previous, and she meets Seb.

Their first encounter is at her restaurant and Seb doesn't realize Lexie is the owner, and she sets him in his place after a snarky remark. Throughout the book Lexie deals with her attraction to Seb and her fierce competition, Paige, who lives in another town and who will go to great lengths to find out the secret ingredient to Lexie's famous coconut cake.

With Seb's celebrity status, he is used to other chefs, and other women, worship him and generally cater to him and his needs. He soon finds out that Lexie is the single woman who both challenges him in the kitchen and with her words. I loved their affair as much as coming back to the kitchen in the story. I'm looking forward to the other Grayson brother's stories.

Book Info:

Disclosure: This e-ARC was provided from the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Feature & Follow: Changing Reading Habits Based on Mood

Q: Do your reading habits change based on your mood? Do you read a certain genre if you are feeling depressed or happy?

A: Not really - my personal mood doesn't change the types of books I read, Whether I'm happy or not, in a fit of extreme multi-tasking or just being a bit lazy, I'll probably end up reading the same book. But sometimes I'm in the 'mood' for a particular genre or book. For example, at times I'm in the mood for an old favorite I haven't picked up in a long time. I don't want to figure out the plot, see how different characters relate to each other, or wait to see what happens in the end. Same goes for mystery, or romance, or crime drama - I'll be in mood to read a genre and look for a book that fits it.

Hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog.

F&F: First you leave your name here on this post using the linky tools, grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post, and then visit as many blogs as you want on the list and tell them “hi” in their comments or respond to their question. If someone follows you, it's courtesy to follow back. It's a great way to see what other book bloggers are reading now, and how they feel about the weekly question.

What's your answer?