Sunday, 23 February 2014

Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats

Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats
120 All-New Recipes,
All Under 350 Calories,
All Under 30 Minutes

By Bobby Deen

Paperback, 224 pages

Bobby Deen, part of the famous Southern Deen Family (think Paula, et al) and raised in the food world, has come out with an easy, no-nonsense book featuring quick and healthy meals that will keep you out of the takeout line without adding drudgery to your life.

Each recipe comes with nutritional counts and the book is loaded with full colour photos as well as tips and tricks to getting healthy and delicious food on the table without breaking a sweat. 

Bobby and family have been focusing on eating healthier and getting more active, and now it's your turn to join in!

Contents include:
Salad Meals
Soup Suppers
Meatless Mains
Fire up the Grill
Seasonal Sides
Good for you Grains
Sweet Dreams
as well as Pantry Ideas, Dining Out Smart, 
and A Week of Menus Under 1,500 calories a day.

From the back flap:

Beloved food personality and #1 New York Times bestselling author Bobby Deen is back with 120 new, simple, mouthwatering recipes—all under 350 calories—that can be prepared from start to finish in under 30 minutes.

Bobby Deen’s life has always revolved around food—especially good Southern fare. But he knows that with a busy lifestyle in and out of the kitchen, finding the time to make delicious, nourishing meals can be tough. Just because your schedule is overstuffed doesn’t mean your belly has to be. Now, in Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats, Bobby helps you get a tasty and good-for-you dinner on the table in no time flat, with dozens of delectable recipes all under 350 calories and all prepared in less than 30 minutes.

Whether it’s salads and soups that make hearty suppers, lip-smacking dishes for midweek grilling, meatless main courses for watching your waistline, scrumptious sides for every season, or reduced-calorie sweet treats to cap off your meals, Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats includes such satisfying recipes as

• Light and Easy Scallops and Grits • Deviled Egg Salad • Lightened-Up Beer Cheese Soup • Peachy Pulled BBQ Chicken • Mustard-Rubbed Flank Steak • Grilled Whole-Wheat Flatbreads • Shrimp Coconut Curry • Cajun Ratatouille Bake • Creamy Spinach Polenta • Hot Roasted Green Beans with Sweet Chili • Zucchini Corn Fritters • Strawberry Angel Food Cake • Lighter Chocolate-Mint Shakes • and so much more!

Bobby also serves up time- and money-saving tips for stocking your fridge and pantry, ideas for watching your calories when you go out to eat, and a weekly 1500-calorie-a-day menu plan that helps you pull it all together. He even includes nutritional information for each and every recipe. Bobby Deen’s Everyday Eats is the cookbook you’ll reach for night after night for meals that are quick, delicious, and best of all … good for you.

Photo credit: Robert Jacobs
Bobby Deen

Jamie and Bobby Deen grew up in Georgia—first in Albany and then in Savannah—and, like many Southerners, they have always considered cooking and food a big part of their lives. When their mother, Paula Deen, started a sandwich delivery business in 1989, the boys took charge of deliveries. As the business grew into The Lady restaurant, they continued to help. Then, in 1996, the trio opened The Lady & Sons Restaurant to resounding success. They haven't looked back since. They regularly appear on ABC's Good Morning America and had their own Food Network show, Road Tasted.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Bread Baking Babes make Rgaïf!

Happy Sixth Anniversary to The Bread Baking Babes! 

This fun and exclusive baking team have had quite the fun time these last six years. We balance baking with friendship, camaraderie and genuine affection that spans the globe. Since we have met, none of us have felt alone because there is always someone to chat with about the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives.
See what can happen when you bond in the kitchen? Even online. It's an incredible thing.

Some have gone and some are new, but the core of the group remains the same. As does the joy of sharing bread recipes and challenges with bread baking buddies who bake along with us.

This month is no exception. Ever wanted to bake Rgaïf? I thought so.

Rgaïf is a Moroccan crepe-like bread that is folded into an envelope of sorts and pan-baked or fried.

The bread is often served with sweet condiments like honey or jam, but you can use savoury accents if you prefer.

I am all about the savoury so I did some spiced onions inside, sprinkled the tops with zata'ar and sumac, and served them with chopped lime pickle and yogurt.

I was leaning towards Middle Eastern and Indian flavours and was definitely convinced when BBB Aparna was thinking the same thing - see her post here.

The bread was fairly simple to make, and I am surprised how strong the dough was when I stretched it. I loved the warm, spiced bread with the pickle and yogurt - great for snacking! I'll definitely be making this again and again, playing with the seasonings.

You can have fun with this recipe and if you'd like to bake along with us as a Bread Baking Buddy, here is a message from Lien - our Kitchen Hostess of the Month! 
"Wanna have a go? Become our Bread Baking Buddy, stretch, fold, bake, taste, eat and let us know all about it, by sending your details and results to me (Lien). 
Mail me your name, blog url, post url and attach your favorite picture of the recipe. Send it to notitievanlien(at)gmail(polkadot)com. Deadline is the 29th of this month. You'll be added to the round up somewhere in the first week of March and of course receive a wonderful Bread Baking Buddy Badge to add to your own post. 
I'll be happy to see your entries come in!!"

(about 10)
500 g flour
5,5 g dry yeast
½ tsp salt
± 250 ml water
50 ml olive oil

Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.

Kneading by machine: Add water and start kneading with the dough hook, adding more water as necessary. Knead until the dough is very elastic and doesn’t stick to the sides anymore.

Kneading by hand:Make a well in the centre and add some water, start mixing in the flour where it touches the water. Little by little add more water and keep mixing in the flour. Start kneading, grease your hands with a little oil to prevent sticking. Knead about 20 minutes. Add water if it feels too dry. The dough needs to be very elastic and no dough should stick to your hands.

Shape: Make 10 dough balls. Coat every ball with a little olive oil. Let them rest for about 5 minutes. Flatten the ball with your hand as much as you can. Stretch the dough. Take care to get no (or a little as possible) holes in the dough. You need to stretch the dough until it gets as thin as you can, thinner than paper if possible. It’s best done on a counter top, stretching the dough and sticking it to the surface, so it doesn’t spring back. This is not easy. Now fold the dough in squares by folding the round sides inwards.

Bake the squares in a hot large pan on both sides. Only use more oil if the Rgaïf stick to the pan.
You can also deep fry them (as the do in southern Morocco)

Serve: You can serve them with syrup, (strawberry) jam, chocolate sauce. But also you can use savory things, like thinly slices meat, cheese ecc.
You can also spread some filling in them, before folding and baking them. just keep in mind to make it thin.

(adapted from: “Vrijdag couscousdag” by R. Ahali)

The Bread Baking Babes

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Winter People: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon

A Novel
By Jennifer McMahon
Hardcover, 336 pages

Wow. I just put this down after doing nothing else all day but read. I may still be in my robe - don't judge.

Jennifer McMahon is celebrated as a master of literary suspense and one of the bright new voices in the genre. I think I may have found my new favourite author of spooky suspense!

Not only does she weave a great story, but she does so with intelligence and finesse.

In this novel, which takes place in the present and the past - alternating and weaving them together as time goes on - with spooky woods, spooky little girls, real life puzzles and things that go scritch scratch in the night. 

One caveat - you might not want to read this all alone in the basement, as I did. Best to leave a couple of lights on too.

See the creepy trailer here:

From the back flap:
West Hall has always been a town of strange disappearances and legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who was found murdered in the field behind her house in 1908, a few short months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie, drove her mad. People say that Sara's ghost still walks after dark, and some leave offerings on their doorstep to keep her from entering their homes uninvited.

Now, in present day, Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they remain on the fringes, living off the land without internet or outside interference. But one morning Ruthie wakes up to find that Alice has disappeared without a trace. When she searches the house for clues, she is startled to find a secret compartment beneath the floorboards that contains two objects. One, a gun. And two, a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary.

The story the diary tells is one of a mother skating on the edge of sanity, willing to do whatever she can to bring her daughter back even if it means dabbling in dark and dangerous territory. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's death, she discovers that she's not the only one looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

JENNIFER McMAHON is the author of six novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Island of Lost Girls and Promise Not to Tell. She graduated from Goddard College and studied poetry in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College. She currently lives with her partner and daughter in Montpelier, Vermont.

Her own bio - so much more interesting!

I was born in 1968 and grew up in my grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, where I was convinced a ghost named Virgil lived in the attic. I wrote my first short story in third grade. I graduated with a BA from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College. A poem turned into a story, which turned into a novel, and I decided to take some time to think about whether I wanted to write poetry or fiction. After bouncing around the country, I wound up back in Vermont, living in a cabin with no electricity, running water, or phone with my partner, Drea, while we built our own house. Over the years, I have been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, Easter Bunny, pizza delivery person, homeless shelter staff member, and counselor for adults and kids with mental illness — I quit my last real job in 2000 to work on writing full time. In 2004, I gave birth to our daughter, Zella. These days, we’re living in an old Victorian in Montpelier, Vermont. Some neighbors think it looks like the Addams family house, which brings me immense pleasure.


Friday, 7 February 2014

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

One More Thing 
Stories and Other Stories
By B. J. Novak

Hardcover, 288 pages

I love a good book of short stories. The best ones offer a range of voices and tones and keep surprising you along the way. This is one of those books.

Ranging from one page to several, every vignette offers a look into the multifaceted mind of this actor, writer, director, and executive producer. Funny, introspective, zany, and thoughtful, each story is an original and gets you thinking.

I love that he has included stream of consciousness flights of fancy along with his dry humour and inquisitive thinking. And you will too.  

From the Back Flap:
B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is an endlessly entertaining, surprisingly sensitive, and startlingly original debut that signals the arrival of a brilliant new voice in American fiction.

A boy wins a $100,000 prize in a box of Frosted Flakes—only to discover that claiming the winnings might unravel his family. A woman sets out to seduce motivational speaker Tony Robbins—turning for help to the famed motivator himself. A new arrival in Heaven, overwhelmed with options, procrastinates over a long-ago promise to visit his grandmother. We meet Sophia, the first artificially intelligent being capable of love, who falls for a man who might not be ready for it himself; a vengeance-minded hare, obsessed with scoring a rematch against the tortoise who ruined his life; and post-college friends who try to figure out how to host an intervention in the era of Facebook.  Along the way, we learn why wearing a red T-shirt every day is the key to finding love, how February got its name, and why the stock market is sometimes just . . . down.

Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor, deep heart, sharp eye, inquisitive mind, and altogether electrifying spirit of a writer with a fierce devotion to the entertainment of the reader.

B.J. Novak is a writer and actor best known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office as an actor, writer, director, and executive producer. He is also known for his stand up comedy performances and his roles in motion pictures such as Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in English and Spanish literature.