Friday, January 14, 2011

Good Reads

How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book. 
- Henry David Thoreau

Wrapped in my cable-knit wool blanket (that I dragged home from the Aran Islands), I ordered myself a few new cookbooks from the comfort of my love seat early last week. Oh, how I love buying used books online. The only downside? I could really do without the wait. Thanks to Mother Nature, my books sat in Atlanta for daaaaaays. They were so close, yet so far away! Finally, my prayers were answered. When I got home from work today, I was greeted not only by the husband and dog man but also a brand-new-to-me cookbook. Ah, my week is now complete!

Honestly, if you were to give me a month, I wouldn't be able to name all of the books I've read. I was an English major, so I've read my fair share of books - voluntarily and involuntarily. And most of those books changed my life in one way or another. (That was a disgusting cliche, I know, but it's true.) But it wasn't until recently that I realized how much health and wellness articles - and cookbooks in general - could change my life.

Last summer, I was dieting and working out like a maniac in preparation of our wedding. I was - and still am - completely in love with my wedding dress and was determined to look as amazing in it as possible. But I had one major problem: I was starving all the time. I was eating, but I was eating a lot of fat-free, low-cal meals, and I never felt satisfied. 

Thank you, A, for introducing me to Christine Avanti. During a long phone conversation with one of my bridesmaids, Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads came up and my life hasn't been the same since. A explained to me how this book showed her how to plan meals and balance protein and carbs. I bought the book and read it cover to cover immediately. It taught me how to eat smaller, more-satisfying meals and never feel deprived - or hungry. This book seriously helped keep me from going crazy and chewing my arm off right before walking down the aisle. Oh, and it helped me fit into that amazing dress.

The husband and I registered for this cookbook and I was, I mean, we were so excited when we received it after the wedding. I love how the book is divided by season, making it easy for me to plan meals that use fresh produce. I also love that it includes the nutritional info for reach recipe. Sometimes I get so tired figuring that out by myself! Overall, cookbook makes my life easier. And it's filled with ideas on how to use leftovers and cook as environmentally friendly as possible. How could I not love a cookbook that tells me to use half a 12-ounce beer in a batch of chili and drink the rest while I cook?

And with all of the vegetarian-friendly recipes in this book, I'm definitely looking forward to putting this book to more use as we commit to Meatless Mondays in 2011. I'm so glad I put, I mean, we put this on our wedding registry.

If I got up off the couch and flipped to the front of this cookbook, I could tell you what year I received this for Christmas. But since I worked all day, I'm just going to sit right here and say that it was probably 2004 that I received this book from my momma. And to be honest with you, it took me a couple of years to really understand this book's value. It's huge. So, as a young undergrad, this book was a bit overwhelming. 

Once I got into this book, though, and really started reading, I learned so much. Yes, the recipes are great; they aren't necessarily basic. This book is filled with staple recipes I've used time and time again - and I know I'll continue to use for years. But aside from the recipes, this book is filled with tips and the explanations are extremely valuable. I never knew so much about meat until I read through this book. My parents served all sorts of cuts of meat while I was growing up, but once on my own, I realized I had no idea what to buy or how to cook it. Enter "The New Basics Cookbook," and my confusion dissolved. 

I'm not really sure what the husband would be eating - or what I'd be eating to keep myself full every day - if I didn't have those books. It's amazing how much joy and knowledge those books have brought to my kitchen. I can't wait to see what the newest additions to my collection hold. 

* Disclaimer: Yes, I have an Amazon Associates account. But honestly, even if you click on those books and order them, it's only going to earn me about a penny. I've really only posted those pics and links because they added nice visuals. It's cold; I didn't feel like getting out from under my blanket on the couch and photographing my books.


  1. I bet there are supposed to be pictures of different cookbooks between each paragraph aren't there? I can't see them, but I enjoyed reading how each has impacted your life.

  2. Just wait until I bring you "With a jug of Wine"! You'll get a big kick out of that. Found it in the attic!


Thanks for taking the time out of your day to show my space a little love.


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