“Sweet Mornings” Cookbook Review

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“Many of the recipes in this book reflect a time when folks lingered over their breakfast tables, rapt in conversation” Patty Pinner speaks in the introduction of her new book, “Sweet Mornings”. I love this. I have to admit that although I used to hate mornings, I am slowly becoming a morning person. Although I am so extremely exhausted first thing in the morning due to being a new mom all over again, I really look forward to sipping my coffee slowly. In fact my husband constantly teases me for being a really slow coffee drinker. I think part of me secretly does not want my mornings to end.

I love what this cookbook is all about. Family gatherings, reminiscing good times, bringing people together and socializing all over breakfast. These are the kind of cookbooks that genuinely warm my heart.

The beginning of the book takes us to a brief chat about what every baker needs as well as indispensible baking tools, then goes right into recipes (which I love). Recipes are divided into the following chapters:

  • Sweet Beginnings
  • Morning Savories

The Recipes

The recipes are so easy to follow its ridiculous. Not a ton of ingredients listed and definitely suitable for the beginner baker. I love that some recipes also call for some premade stuff. Now I would not have said that say 3 years ago prior to being a Mom, but now time is more precious than ever and some days call for shortcuts! (actually most days really!) You can also expect a ton of homemade recipes as well, which is equally as fantastic. The index is cross-referenced which makes it super easy to find your go to recipes in the book. The only downside…not a ton of pictures. This would normally turn me right off from the entire book but surprisingly it didn’t. Thankfully the recipe names are so delicious that they caught my attention right away, no picture needed! (Trust me on this one!)

Some of my favourite:

  • Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
  • Tuesday Morning Blueberry Loaf
  • Mama’s French Toast Casserole (I can’t wait to try this one)
  • Mama’s Brown Sugar and Pecan Coffee Cake
  • Stuffed Pecan Pie French Toast
  • Morning Apple Crisp
  • Cream Cheese French Toast Bake and soooo many more!!

In our little family of four we have been making an effort to make Saturday mornings fun and memorable. We call Saturday morning breakfasts “Family fun breakfast” and my 3 year old daughter absolutely loves it. We purchase maple breakfast sausages, taters or any kind of frozen hash brown. My husband makes killer scrambled eggs and bacon and slathers toast in tons of butter (I’ll complain to him about having to lose my baby weight but secretly love it). Nothing about our fun breakfasts is really “homemade” but we don’t care. Its fast to make, tastes good and they are so so fun! We all sit there for a long time eating. Or let me rephrase that..my daughter sits there for roughly 2 hours eating..and demanding more.

While I was reviewing this book I was super excited to take over one family fun breakfast on Saturday and I chose to recreate the Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Bun Ring. This recipe included 2 tubes of refrigerated biscuit dough and I was super excited about it. I’ve never really cut corners before but as I mentioned above, it’s about time I do with 2 small children! Let me just say it was perfect. Delicious, fast and easy to make and my daughter loved helping me out.

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Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Bun Ring

Makes 10 Servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons breakfast syrup (I used Maple Syrup)
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (10-count) tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough, separated (I could not find any with buttermilk and purchased Pillsbury biscuit dough)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan with the cooking spray and dust with some flour. Sprinkle the pecans and breakfast syrup into the pan.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/3 of the sugar mixture into the prepared pan.
  3. Split each round of biscuit dough in half and arrange the halves horizontally in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top of the rounds of dough.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the ring is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Invert onto a serving platter and serve warm.

Overall this recipe was fantastic and I would definitely do it all over again. The only little issue I had was time in the oven. I had to keep it in the oven about 3 times longer that the stated time in the recipe. I am not sure why other than perhaps because the biscuit dough I purchased was a little different. I am not sure. Regardless, other than the impatient taste testers waiting, it was super fun, easy and delicious!

Click here to view a special Q & A with author Patty Pinner.

Many thanks to Agate Publishing for sending over this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are 100% my own. You may purchase Sweet Mornings: 125 Sweet & Savory Breakfast and Brunch Recipes” by Patty Pinner on Amazon.ca for the current price of $33.06 CAN. Price is subject to change

Book Review: “Oh Crap! Potty Training” By Jamie Glowacki

This book couldn’t have arrived at my doorstep at a more perfect time in my life! I have a 2 year old daughter who is at the perfect age to be potty trained. It has been on my mind for a while now and I am SO ready to ditch the diapers.

In, “Oh Crap! Potty Training”, Jamie Glowacki speaks of every possible potty situation you can imagine and prepares you step by step to train your child to potty train. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jamie or her blog, listen up…she is THE potty training guru! She knows everything about everything and gives you the confidence and the push you need to JUST DO IT! Jamie does this for a living- potty training consulting and if you check out her website, you will see that she is so booked up you cannot even get an appointment with her. Yes, I trust this lady! Link to her blog/website: http://www.jamieglowacki.com

Jamie stresses the importance of progression not perfection and it is an ongoing theme throughout the book. Bringing your child’s awareness from clueless to I peed to I’m peeing to I have to go, each segment taking approximately a day. She speaks of how the media has led us to think that there’s a cookie-cutter version of potty training that will work for every kid. I can’t tell you how many countless pieces of random and often contradicting advice I get from the media and other moms who claim to know THE BEST way just because it worked like a charm with their child. I am SO GLAD she addressed this because I feel like this is a very common issue in this generation.

Jamie’s recommended age to potty train? Between twenty and thirty months. You have a child older than 30 months or you want to train your child before twenty months? She’s got you covered with what to do from start to finish. A couple other important topics she covers throughout the book: Nighttime potty training, day cares and other caregivers, elimination communication, behavior vs. potty training, prior attempts at potty training, special circumstances, a section for common concerns/questions related to potty training and SO much more.

I absolutely ate this book up and if you are pondering whether or not your child is “ready” to potty train, please just read this book. While I found she was repetitive throughout the book (something that normally annoys me) I actually didn’t mind it. It just reminded me of important things to remember and reiterated it in my brain and did I mention she is hilarious? While sitting down to write up this review, I started flipping through the book trying to go back to all the things I highlighted and realized I highlighted pretty much the whole thing. HA! This to me says you just need to read it for yourself. Just amazing.

**All opinions and thoughts in this post are 100% my own. I received a copy of this book from the generous Simon & Schuster Canada to give an honest review. You can purchase this book from chapters.indigo.ca for $18.85 CAN or wherever books are sold. Price is subject to change.

Jamie Glowacki- Social Media

Simon & Schuster- Social Media

 

Book Review: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better”

Book Review: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better” By Monica Heisey

Toronto born writer and comedian Monica Heisey guides women to coping with life in her new book “I can’t believe it’s not better”. Heisey is best known for her regular how-to column, “The Grown-Ass Woman’s Guide “ for Canadian website, She Does the City. If you haven’t already checked it out, you must at some point, it is a guaranteed laugh! (Find it here: http://www.shedoesthecity.com/tag/grown-ass-womans-guide )

I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I really didn’t know what I was reading. Am I reading a memoir? Is this a self-help book? I just wasn’t sure. Some of the short stories really didn’t make sense. Either that or I’m just getting old and don’t get it.  One thing is for sure though…Heisey IS hilarious. A collection of essays, advice, quizzes, diagrams and stories of her life combined with how to deal and cope with common modern issues women have to face. Be warned: This book involves a hand full of gross mentioning’s, some profanity, and a ton of sarcasm. If you are looking for a great book to make you laugh your butt off, I would say this is the perfect read. If you are looking for an Oprah-style self-help book, definitely look elsewhere.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

Food

What’s Going On With Your Body

Werk

It’s Called Manners, Read a Book

On Female friendship, Aka Everything

Fashion: Because for Some Reason We Cant All Be Naked

S-E-X-X-X and Love (zzzzzz)

“Our Modern World”

The grown ass woman’s guide to crying had to be one of my favourite parts of the book. Guiding a woman through knowing your triggers, having no shame, what to do if another lady is crying – “she does not want you to, and she certainly does not want one of those girl-circles to form around her where everyone demands to know immediately what is wrong and who did it and if there is there any way they could be drawing more attention to you at this moment of personal vulnerability”. Just hilarious.

I would recommend this book to the younger (under 25 years of age) single female crowd. It is definitely a certain kind of humour that may appeal to this population. I am in my 30’s, married with a child and I found that while many parts were humorous, a lot of her stories had to do with college roommates, boyfriends, and things that would have been a little more comical to me over 10 years ago. That being said, there is no doubt Heisey is funny in parts of the book and she definitely made me laugh.

**I received this book compliments of Red Deer Press to give an honest review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. For more information on this book including an excerpt, review quotes and to purchase, please visit the following link: http://www.reddeerpress.com/Detail/0889955352 Purchase price is $19.95. Prices subject to change.

SOCIAL MEDIA-Monica Heisey

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Website: http://monicaheisey.tumblr.com

SOCIAL MEDIA- Red Deer Press

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/RedDeerPress

Website: http://www.reddeerpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RedDeerPress

YOU are a BADASS Book Review

“YOU are a BADASS: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life”. By Jen Sincero

I am a self-confessed self-help book hoarder. I feel like I just can’t get enough of them. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself, my ways of thinking, and the way I go about my day. I always want to be better, stronger, happier, and more successful. I feel like this book is the ultimate of self-help books. Author Jen Sincero combines her knowledge of self helps into this all in one fantastic book, and if you’re not much of a self-help book type person, this is definitely the book to read. She has an awesome way of engaging her audience with her humor and wit. She swears, is unapologetic, sometimes slightly mean, honest and straightforward, and it’s hilarious.

The book is divided into 5 parts:

1.) How you got this way,

2.) How to embrace your inner badass

3.) How to tap into the motherload,

4.) How to get over your B.S. already

5.) How to kick some ass.

Throughout the book, Jen makes reference to “The Universe”. This can be whatever you want it to be depending on your personal beliefs. “God, Goddess, The Big Guy, Source Energy, Higher Power, gut, intuition, …”etc. Based on my personal beliefs, I replaced “The Universe” with “God” and this made all the difference as I read on.

Jen has a no bullshit mentality. You want something…go for it. Throughout the book she has super easy exercises for you to complete and get your mind going. I have to admit that I didn’t actually do them. (Except maybe one) But I did do them in my head. So when she gives you a task say for example in chapter 24 she says “Write a mantra that you can run over and over in your mind to help you manifest the money you desire” I did this in my head, however I do strongly believe writing them down would be much more effective. I promise you, none of the exercises are annoying and the main reason I didn’t actually complete them all is because I have a toddler next to me 24/7 that likes to take my pen and color all over her face and tear apart the pages of my notebooks. (Truth!) Ok maybe I was just a bit lazy. But hear me out, these exercises are short and to the point and very beneficial. You can essentially do them in your head as I did with most of them however, if you actually write them down you can look back at them, re-read them to yourself once you have finished the book and keep your mind refreshed. I don’t know about you but once I’m done a self-help book (even awesome ones) I forget every damn thing I read. So do yourself a favour and grab a pen. Write them on post in notes and place them throughout your house. It will be a win win situation too if your partner/husband/wife or whoever reads them.

You will like this book if:

  • You want to make money and don’t know where to start.
  • You’re a procrastinator
  • You have self-sabotaging beliefs
  • You want to love yourself
  • You want to love your life
  • You want to understand why you are the way you are
  • You want to understand who you are
  • You want to release your inner badass (cause you know you have it)

Some of my favourite quotes:

Most people are living an illusion based on someone else’s beliefs” (21)

“The people you surround yourself with are excellent mirrors for who you are and how much or how little you love yourself” (177)

“It’s about respecting yourself, instead of catering to your insecure need to be liked” (Sincero on being liked.)(182)

“We all know someone who does not take shit from anyone. Ever.” (182)

“By becoming aware of what we do, we can investigate why we do it and then chose to keep it or drop it, instead of blindly reacting through habit (182)

“So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable” (192)

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” (193)

“Nobody gets to the top of the mountain without falling on his face over and over again” (194)

“The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information” (195)

“In order to change your life and start living a new one that you’ve never lived before, your faith in miracles, and yourself, must be greater that your fear” (200)

“Instead of being in reaction mode, it’s about being in action mode. It’s about no longer acting like a victim (letting your circumstances control your life) and instead acting like a superhero. (Creating a life that has you waking up in giddy disbelief that you get to be you.)” (220)

“Your faith in The Universe must be stronger than your fear of not getting what you want” (225)

“Your life is your party. You get to choose how you invite people and experiences and things into it” (227)

“Surrendering is the free-falling backwards into the unknown and trusting that The Universe will catch you. And this cant be done from a place of lack or a place of mistrust” (229)

A great tip that I took away from this book was to read a self-help book each day. I’m not talking about reading the entire book all in one shot but reading a minimum of 30 minutes each day to keep your mind fresh with inspiration and motivation. I thought this was such a great tip. I’m constantly reading books of all sorts, especially being a book blogger and as I mentioned above I am quickly forgetting what I read, especially once I’m onto a new book. Jen recommends two great books that she’s constantly reading, “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, and “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles.

There are very few…VERY FEW books that I classify under the “I would read this one again” category and I would have to say this is one of them. It motivated me the way a self-help book should and I would recommend reading it. If you pick up this book, don’t forget to check out the end, which contains an awesome list of self-help books that she highly recommends. (Thanks Jen! Love it!)

Happy Reading! XO

**I borrowed this book from the good old trusted Toronto Public Library. All opinions in this post are 100% my own. “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and start living an awesome life” by Jen Sincero can be purchased off amazon.ca or chapters.indigo.ca for $16.46. (Prices are subject to change)

 

the life-changing magic of tidying up- the japanese art of decluttering and organizing.

This book is written by Japenese decluttering guru, Marie Kondo.  Marie is a decluttering expert and has helped thousands of people in transforming their lives. She calls her method the “KonMari Method”. This method of decluttering is so effective, she currently has a 3 month waiting list in which she physically goes to people’s houses to assist them in decluttering. In my opinion, this book is so effective at getting her point across of how to declutter, I wouldn’t even need Marie (sorry Marie!) In addition to the long wait for her services, none of Marie’s clients have lapsed into decluttering ever. This is powerful!

I think a lot of us to some degree have cluttering issues. I certainly have and let me tell you as I was reading this book, I became slightly obsessive over decluttering my condo. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning just throwing stuff out.  I love things. I love keeping things, I love receiving things and I find it hard to throw stuff out. My husband absolutely hates clutter and sees how different of a person I am now that I have read this book. Any time we are trying to figure out where a certain item should go whether its new or old my husband now says to me “Well…what would Marie do??” or “What would Marie say to this?” I love it. Marie is now an imaginary character in my home.

Here are some chapters and subtitles of what you can expect if you pick up this book (note: I have only included the first 2 chapters):

Chapter 1: Why can’t I keep my house in order?

  • You can’t tidy if you’ve never learned how
  • Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever
  • The moment you start you reset your life
  • Storage experts are hoarders –(LOL)
  • Sort by category, not by location

Chapter 2: Finish discarding first

  • Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely
  • Selection criterion: does it spark joy?
  • One category at a time
  • Starting with mementos spells certain failure
  • Don’t let your family see
  • If your mad at your family, your room may be the cause
  • What you don’t need, your family doesn’t either
  • What to do when you cant throw something away

What I got from this book: The only way this method will work is if you do it her way and she has good resasons supporting this to which I strongly agree. I myself have tidied my place only to keep tidying the same areas over and over and it becomes a never ending stressful cycle of “my home is never clean” The issue is that I have too much stuff. You can organize all you want but you will still have the same volume of items. Things need to be thrown out. I know this can be hard for some people but as you read the book, you will become more comfortable doing so as Marie puts things into perspective. Each item that you decide “sparks joy” as Marie says, has to have a home. When items don’t have homes, they end up in piles. These piles become disasters and this is how clutter is born.

A couple of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I have only two rules: store all items of the same type in the same place and don’t scatter storage space.” P.138

When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house” p.144

The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered” p.178

letting go is even more important than adding” p.177

But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future” p.181

In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their posessions, and the house they live in.” p.190

It’s a very strange phenomenon, but when we reduce what we own and essentially “detox” our house, it has a detox effect on our bodies as well”. p.193  **towards the end of the book, Marie discusses the effect decluttering has had on her clients. People have lost weight, found jobs, found new passions in life. Just amazing.**

And these are only just a few. There are so many more that were great.

This book completely changed the way I think about every single thing in my life.  I think twice about buying something new. I think twice about what the purpose of each item I own is to me in my life, and best of all, I am now enjoying experiences more than materialistic things. Marie’s words of wisdom have put my life into perspective and they will for you too, I promise. Even if you are not a self-help book type of person, I promise you will love this book, you’ll never look back and you will thank me and Marie later.

One thing I’ll never get rid of…my collection of cookbooks. Sorry Marie, they spark too much joy.

**I purchased this book from Amazon.ca for $15. All opinions are my own.