Category: Cookbook Reviews

Food, Family and Tradition Review & Giveaway

I have to confess that while I love to collect cookbooks, I don’t really read them. I prefer to browse through the pictures, take a mental note of the good-looking recipes, and return them to the bookshelf amid my growing collection. Rarely do I come upon a cookbook that I want to read front to back. Where the food photography doesn’t matter, and the story is what grabs me.

I read Food, Family and Tradition cover to cover. The new book by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro celebrates the resilience and courage of holocaust survivors through food and stories. As the daughter of holocaust survivors, Lynn sought to bring to light the beauty and richness of traditional Jewish life in Czechoslovakia and Hungary before the Holocaust. In the preface to the recipe portion of the cookbook, she paints a vivid picture of her parents’ family life in Eastern Europe. With period photographs, biographies, a family tree and original vignettes, Lynn draws you in to her family history and story of survival. She details their emigration from Europe to the U.S. and how they went on to weave new family traditions while founding Hungarian Kosher Foods, the first all-kosher supermarket in the midwest.

In the second part of the cookbook, Lynn shares 150 family recipes, many of which were prepared for sale in the family’s supermarket. Many of the dishes are highlighted by family stories and remembrances.

There’s nothing fresh and modern about the recipes in Food, Family and Tradition. On the contrary, the book seeks to keep century-old traditions alive through sharing family recipes that celebrate the spirit of Eastern European culture. Some of the heimishe recipes you’ll find include chopped herring, mandel bread, rakott krumpli (potato-egg casserole), blintzes, gefilte fish, brisket, schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, tzimmes, honey cake and so much more.

Growing up in an ashkenazi family with Eastern European roots, so many of the Hungarian dishes in Food, Family and Tradition hit close to home. My bubby would prepare many of the above-mentioned recipes as well as borscht, cheese kugel, chop suey, chicken paprikas, stuffed peppers, sweet and sour tongue, cabbage and noodles and others. Since my bubby is not the measuring type, it’s nice to be able to see these recipes written out in a clear and concise manner. Some of the recipes are accompanied by photos, but most of them are not. I usually find that bothersome, but in this book, it seems to make no difference. Maybe it’s because it’s the story that matters, or because I recognize so many of the dishes from my upbringing, that I don’t need to see them to know what they look like.

All in all, Food, Family and Tradition is about more than just family recipes. It’s about continuing the legacy of Jewish life before the holocaust through food and culture.

I’m giving away a free copy of the Food, Family and Tradition cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below about a traditional family dish that means a lot to you. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 10th, 2014.

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Paleo 30-Day Meal Plan


I can’t believe this day is finally here! Somebody pinch me! I’ve been working on my Paleo meal plan every free minute for the past 2 months. My family has been having elaborate 3 course Whole30 dinners for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited to finally introduce my 30 day meal plan!

Almond curry stuffed sweet potatoes, dinner, Day 18

If you haven’t been following my Whole30 diet journey on Facebook and Instagram, read this blog post for a quick summary of how I’ve been changing my life with the Paleo diet. I could have never imagined how energetic, healthy and happy I would feel eating a sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, legume-free and grain-free diet.

Cabbage and sausage egg roll, breakfast, Day 19

One thing my Whole30 was not – boring! I truly believe that the best way to diet is to eat well. Eating flavorful, satisfying meals curbs cravings and doesn’t make you feel deprived! I believe in this so strongly that I decided to chronicle all of my Paleo recipes in a meal plan and make it available for anyone interested in taking control of their eating habits and living a healthier life.

Cauliflower fried rice, lunch, Day 23

My 30 Day Meal Plan includes 50 pages of more than 100 recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Recipes like my Smoky Braised Chicken & Collards, Pad Thai, Sweet Potato Chili, Cucumber Sushi Rolls, and Nut-Crusted Shnitzel will make you feel like you’re eating anything but “diet” food! I’ve also included basic building block recipes like 5-minute ketchup, homemade mayonnaise, zoodles (zucchini noodles) and cauliflower rice that you’ll be using again and again.

Chicken nuggets with 5-minute ketchup, dinner, Day 29

The menu also includes a section of holiday and weekend recipes, for those wishing to entertain guests. Bonus appetizer, soup and dessert recipes like tropical guacamole, asparagus with mustard vinaigrette, spaghetti squash soup and strawberries with coconut whipped cream will help you round out your meal.

Broccoli quiche, breakfast, Day 7

As if that’s not enough, I’ve also included a handy calendar that you can print out and post on your fridge. It lists the breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day. A Table of Contents will help you find your daily menu easily.

Moroccan fish, lunch, Day 13

Also included in the Paleo ebook are pantry and fridge staples, helpful tools, resources and tips to help guide you through the 30-Day meal plan.

Asian turkey burger with sauteed cabbage, avocado and Thai almond butter sauce, dinner, Day30

One of the things I tried to incorporate into the meal plan was utilizing leftovers. Nobody wants to sit in the kitchen all day, so meal planning is essential! On several days, I have you set aside some leftovers which are repurposed in another way the next day. Less waste and less work, who doesn’t love that?!

Fajitas with homemade spice mix over cauliflower rice with fried egg, dinner, Day 4

One of the other great features of the Paleo cookbook is that I created the meal plan so that each day’s menu is featured on it’s own page. This way, you can print out the page on it’s own, hang it on your fridge and not have to run to your computer to follow the recipes.

Chicken tortilla-less soup, dinner, Day 23

Now that I’ve whet your appetite with these amazing dishes, I know what you’re thinking….”How do I get my hands on this ebook?!” Well, that’s the easy part!

Inside-out coconut chicken burger , dinner, Day 26

To purchase the ebook, simply click on the “pay now” button below to pay for it via paypal. When I receive your payment, I will email you the ebook. You can print it out, staple it, glue it together – whatever you wish. You just can’t share it :) I spent hours upon hours of hard work preparing this book for sale. I ask that you do not reproduce it in any form (email, photocopy, or sharing the recipes on your own blog). If you love the ebook as much as I do, plug away! Show your love via social media with hashtag #paleoebook, and don’t forget to tag @busyinbrooklyn!

Apple crisp “cereal”, breakfast, Day 12

Order your Paleo 30-Day Meal Plan today! You’ll receive: -50 pages of over 100 recipes -Pantry and Fridge/Freezer Staples -Building Block Recipes -Holiday or Weekend Meal Ideas -30-Day Meal Plan -30 Day Calendar -Dieting Tips

Butternut squash pie, lunch, Day 6

Paleo 30-Day Meal Plan $15
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For more of what’s in the ebook, and for a chance to win  a copy, visit this post! For FAQ’s, check this out!

I would love to hear about the recipes you are making and enjoying! Please post a comment and share! And of course, if you have any questions at all about the ebook, please don’t hesitate to contact me at busyinbrooklyn@gmail.com!

Dairy Made Easy Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Leah Schapira & Victoria Dwek turn out new cookbooks faster than I develop recipes. Their latest addition to the Made Easy series is a fantastic collection of dairy recipes, just in time for Shavuot!

Like Starters & Sides Made Easy, Passover Made Easy, and Kids Cooking Made Easy, the Dairy edition is layed out in the same attractive, easy-to-read style. Even their cookbook-making skills seem made easy. They’ve mastered a template that provides a small soft-cover book that’s beautifully styled, easy to flip through, and filled with tips and tidbits, all without seeming overwhelming. The beautiful pictures draw you in and the down-to-earth recipes make you want to open your pantry right then-and-there to whip up one of their quick and easy dishes.

Besides for 60 easy-to-make recipes, you’ll also find a comprehensive cheese guide, a Make It Light section, a Make it Pareve Guide, and bonus serving ideas. Leah and Victoria fill each page with great tips, like how to measure frozen fruit, how to soften butter quickly or how to bake pizza without a pizza stone. They also share their thought processes and family anecdotes in a fun and friendly way.

What do I not want to make from this cookbook? It’s filled with mouthwatering recipes for breakfast, great starters & sides, soups, salads & sandwiches, and of course pizza, pasta and dessert (hello 180 calorie cheesecake!).

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying are the granola thins, arancini, sweet chili home fries, stuffed sole, French mushroom soup, hasselback baguette, honey pomodoro pizza, cajun creamy penne, cheese buns, peanut butter creme brulee and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, I’m giving away a free copy of the Dairy Made Easy cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Shavuot dish. You can also follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below for an extra entry. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, May 26th, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joy of Kosher Cookbook Review & Giveaway

When Jamie Geller coined herself “the bride who knew nothing” I believed her. In her Quick & Kosher cookbooks series, Jamie shared recipes that were exactly as titled – simple, easy and quick dishes that the most novice of cooks could whip out of their kitchen. Some recipes were as simple as pairing store-bought barbeque sauce with shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken – now who can’t do that?

Being a fan of Jamie’s spunky personality and can-do attitude, I owned both of her cookbooks and was familiar with all the recipes from the bride who knew nothing. Which is precisely why the Joy of Kosher cookbook swept me right off my feet. That clueless young bride that could not make a pot of chicken soup evolved into a sophisticated cook with innovative recipes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are on the palate.

I know that because I was lucky enough to attend Jamie’s cookbook launch party where I sampled many of the dishes in the book including ktzizot (Israeli mini burgers), Meditteranean lamb skewers, cilantro corn cakes, mini slow cooker turkey spinach meatloaf, BBQ short rib sliders, fudge brownies, caramel apples with crushed candy and kiddie candy bark.  I was literally blown away by the amazing flavor in each and every dish. The cocktail meatballs with sweet and sour sauce were some of the most tender meatballs I’d ever had, and the carrot honey cake was an eye-opening experience for a honey-cake-purist like myself.

Recipes from the bride who knew nothing? Not anymore.

Browsing through Jamie’s book, you’ll find that she shares a lot more than just stellar recipes. She shares of piece of herself. With each chapter, Ms. Geller opens another door to her life and home, drawing you in like you’re part of the family. An adorable one, I might add. As a food photographer, I don’t know which I like more – the expertly styled food photos that jump off the page, or the out-of-this-world moments captured of her precious clan of five.

Aside from beautiful photos and mouthwatering recipes, Joy of Kosher packs it all in by offering a dressed up an dressed down version of each recipe. That means you can whip it up real fast for family, or polish it up for Shabbat or holiday meals. A handy holiday menu guide and Passover conversion table complete the book, making it perfect for year-round use.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, I’m giving away a free copy of the Joy of Kosher cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Passover dish. You can also follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below for an extra entry. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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SAMPLE PASSOVER RECIPES FROM THE JOY OF KOSHER COOKBOOK:

Jamie Geller and I at the Joy of Kosher Cookbook Launch Party

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Starters & Sides Made Easy Review & Giveaway

Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek know a thing or two about food. Leah is the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com, and Victoria is the managing editor of Whisk Magazine. The pair are always surrounded by good food, so they decided to join forces and write a cookbook together. Passover Made Easy was their first collection of favorite triple-tested recipes, and now, the two have done it again. They have moved on to create a series of “Made Easy” cookbooks including Starters & Sides as well as Kids Cooking (review coming soon).

There’s something nice about a cookbook series. It’s familiar and you know what you’re gonna get. In the case of the “Made Easy” series, that’s great graphics, building block recipes, plating ideas and great kitchen tips. I especially love the friendly “conversations” that Leah & Victoria have throughout the book. They are set out in speech bubbles, making you feel as if you’re standing in the kitchen with two friends.

Starters & Sides Made Easy starts out with an elaborate spice guide to help guide you through the different herbs, spices and blends. It continues with building block recipes and chapters on vegetables, grains, meat & chicken, fish, dairy and sweet. The book finishes with ideas on how to convert some of the dishes from starters to mains. Each recipe is accompanied by a beautifully composed photo of the dish.

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying, include broccoli stuffed artichokes, sticky red potatoes, Yemenite yellow orzo rice, crispy beef, falafel cigars,  silan chicken salad, tangy tilapia nuggets, parmesan sticks, and whiskey sweet potatoes.

My only issue with this book is the size. I know it sounds weird but it sticks out of my cookbook shelf because it’s wider than most cookbooks.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Busy In Brooklyn is giving a copy of Starters & Sides Made Easy! To enter the giveaway, you must:

1. Share you favorite Chanukah dish in the comments below.
2. Follow Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook, Twitter. Pinterest, and/or Instagram (one entry per media channel you follow – please specify which ones you follow in the comments).

Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, December 4th, 8:00 PM.

BONUS RECIPES FROM STARTERS & SIDES MADE EASY:

RELATED POSTS: Passover Made Easy Cookbook Review

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