Friday, July 3, 2015

My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season Cookbook Review

I received this book free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

You may know Sarah Britton (BFA, CNP) from her extremely popular foodie blog, My New Roots, which focuses on healthy recipes that are plant-based natural whole foods. Sarah Britton is the Copenhagen based holistic nutritionist, writer, and photographer behind both her blog and cookbook that shares the same name. She is also a seasonal eater and lover of organic and super foods. She has won many accolades and awards for her work, been on TED talks and featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, Bon App├ętit, and Whole Living. If you've seen her blog you have seen her fantastic wholesome recipes gorgeously presented with photographs that she herself took. If you've seen her TED talks (you can on YouTube if you haven't) you have seen her lovely infectious spirit and enthusiasm for nutritious food. She is, in my opinion, a vegetarian culinary goddess.

In her newly released and very first cookbook she takes inspiration from her blog by creating brand new recipes that also are plant-based natural whole foods. The book is divided into seasonal chapters: Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer, Autumn, and Winter which then are each divided into recipe groups: Mornings, Small Measures, Mains, and Sweets. In the Introduction, before the recipes start, she introduces herself, her blog, her food philosophy, why eating in the rhythm of the seasons and connecting with the cycles of nature makes so much sense, and the use of symbols in the book. After the Introduction and before the recipes she shares Essential Techniques of cooking dried legumes, cooking grains, making ghee, making seed and nut milks and butters, growing sprouts, and flavoring food with the use of salt (sea salt, Himalayan rock salt, soy sauce, tamari, miso), sugar (raw honey, pure maple syrup, barley malt, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, dates, fruit juice, applesauce), and acid (citrus juice, vinegar - raw organic apple cider vinegar is healthiest).

This cookbook has whole foods, super foods, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free recipes inside. Sarah Britton does use goat/sheep/cow cheese/yogurt, ghee (which in most cases can be substituted with coconut oil), honey (although she says you can substitute with maple syrup), bee pollen, and eggs in some of her recipes, so this book is not completely vegan, but it does have quite a few recipes that are and they are clearly marked with a v at the top of the page under the recipe title. Besides the v symbol for vegan, there is a gf  symbol for gluten-free, a clock symbol for when the recipes need planning ahead, and a moon symbol for when it will take 8 hours or longer to do a task that is required (like soaking legumes, fermenting, etc.) in the recipe. Some of these recipes are great for paleo and raw food diets as well.

The layout of each recipe is quite simple. At the top of each recipe includes the title, serving sizes or how much it makes in both US standard and metric units, and symbols. Each recipe also has a small paragraph where the author introduces it. I love her down to earth tone and kindred spirit feel of her writing as well. Then she has listed ingredients and detailed directions to each. Sometimes you see a paragraph within the picture or pages to give more information, facts, or background about an ingredient or a note, tips, and tricks to help you in the recipe process.

Just thumbing through the pages in this cookbook is so satisfying to me. There are things in My New Roots that are revolutionary in my opinion. I wouldn't have thought on my own to make "bacon" from coconut, try celeriac, or poach radishes. I can tell you that I couldn't help but drool a bit when looking through the My New Roots cookbook. What I love about this, verses other cookbooks that I have on my shelf, is that just about every recipe in this cookbook has a photo of the finished dish to go with it. The photos are beautiful and mouth watering just all by themselves!

At the end of the My New Roots cookbook there is a section on stocking the pantry, a gratitude section where she thanks people, and an index to help you find things easier. I love that with the section on stocking the pantry you can get the ingredients in your kitchen closer to healthier and more holistic.

For me the My New Roots cookbook is fantastic! I love the presentation and everything looks and sounds so delicious! I cannot wait to dig into this deeper and try all the food and drinks within. I recommend this to vegetarians or anyone willing to try the lifestyle that need inspiring and motivated cooks who would like to be a little adventuresome with their palate.

Watch for a sneak peek of her cookbook...

Follow Sarah Britton and My New Roots
Her Blog
Twitter: @mynewroots


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Blogging For Books for sending me this book for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers Review

My family had the privilege of trying SmartKidz Media SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

SmartKidz Media SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is a subscription based online streaming digital media learning library that hosts family-friendly educational programs for your family to watch, listen to and interact with. This is perfectly made for homeschoolers as the name suggests and since it is family-friendly it is all safe and appropriate content that you can let your child watch without having to worry. The site covers a broad spectrum of different subjects with an emphasis on the animal kingdom, history, science, social studies, world cultures, the fine arts, sports, and health. SmartKidz Media can be used on any device: TV, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Tablet, mobile phone, and Roku. It has cloud storage so SmartKidz Media can be streamed any where, at any time. The library is ever growing and expanding. They have over 1000 educational videos, flash animated eBooks, fine arts music, interactive study guides, etc. They will be adding even more titles over the summer.

Menu bar tabs are across the top for easy navigation. Some have a pull down menu as well.

Navigation through the site is easy and straightforward. After you log in you will be brought to the main landing page. The main landing page looks like a bunch of images of media titles in a horizontal line that you can scroll through with the arrows on either side. If you mouse over any one of these images it will give you a synopsis of the video and how long it is, with an option to click it and "Watch Now". On the main landing page you can see different menu bar tabs across the top of the page under two sections: Family Media and Reading & Learning Center. If you mouse over a tab under the Family Media section it will bring up a pull down menu with links to all the different titles within that specific group.

Synopsis of programs are revealed when they are moused over.

There are two groups of menu tabs under Family Media: World of Discovery, and Music & Fine Arts. You can go to these individually or just stay on the main landing page to have access to all of them all on the same page. In the World of Discovery groups we have subjects in: Animals & Wildlife, Action Sports (coming soon), Documentaries & Culture, Health & Fitness, History, Lifestyles & Cuisine, Science, Travel & Adventure. In the Music & Fine Arts groups we have subjects in: Fine Arts, Classical Music, Cultural Music, Jazz & Blues Classics, and Relaxation Music.

Besides the Family Media section there are tabs at the top of the main landing page to go to the Reading and Learning Center section. This section has videos, flash-animated eBooks, interactive study guides, music, games & activities, and printable media. The tabs in the menu bar under this section are: Mighty E-Book Collection (flash animated eBooks that your child can read along to), Baby Signs Program (baby sign language videos and songs to help teach the pre-verbal to communicate), My Animal Family (video storybooks about animals that teaches values and respect), Quick Find Study Guides (clickable study guides for learning definitions, rules, and examples in language arts, math, science, social studies, accounting, and foreign language), Learning Special Needs (teaches personal, social, and coping skills to special needs in "Hear the Book" & "Interactive" media and printable supplementary teaching materials in PDF format), Living Skills Program (coming soon: teaches children how to live responsibly), Ready Set Sing (Karaoke and sing-along songs for kids), and Fun Zone (educational games and activities).

Part of the Quick Find Study Guides.

How We Are Using SmartKidz Media:

I received a full year subscription to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers. In exploring the site we found all sorts of neat things to watch, listen to, play, and read about. We used this subscription as a supplement with our homeschool curriculum. We don't normally homeschool in the summer, but we do like to unschool and this is perfect for this too. I have found it invaluable to our learning because of the vastness of it all. There are so many subjects and topics covered that we can pretty much find something to go with what we are studying for the week.

SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers is great for the whole family, but I have found that it has a lot of programs that are typically geared towards ages 2-8 years. My teenage boys (13 and 14) were a bit bored with some of the media offered because they thought that it was juvenile. My younger girls aged 4 and 7 were excited about it all.

We skipped around on the main landing page first. We watched Animal Journeys series and learned about migration of different animals and the Mysteries from Ancient Times series to explore some fascinating archeological mysteries. These videos are roughly 5-30 minutes long. Some of the health and fitness ones are longer than 30 minutes. They have fitness videos that are for adults, pregnant women, mamas with babies, and kids. I want to check out the Pilates videos in the future. We also had fun listening to and dancing to some of their Cultural Music and Relaxation Music selections. I loved the music from India and the Nature Impressions: Celtic Journey the most. The music is great to listen to while I am cooking or doing laundry. Teela and Zari did some puzzles and games in the game section too. There is so much to see and listen to in this library that we couldn't get to it all, but we plan on doing more of it this summer.

Purchase a $10 a Month (Membership is billed monthly) or pay $99 a year (Best Value! Prepay for the entire year and save $20)! Each membership plan includes a 14 day free trial before billing begins.

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Read other reviews for the SmartKidz Media...
SmartKidz Media Review

Crew Disclaimer

Michael W. Smith Sovereign Album Review and Giveaway

I received this CD free from FlyBy Promotions to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Michael W. Smith is a great Christian artist that I remember from the 80's, singing with Amy Grant. He is a three time Grammy award winner and has thirty-one #1 hit songs, among so many other significant accomplishments. He has also been an actor in two Christian films and published 13 books. He has stayed faithful to his Christian roots and never strayed. I have always been a fan of his ever evolving style. He has done Christian: pop, rock, praise & worship, instrumental, and Christmas music in the past. I especially love the duets he has done with numerous other artists. Smitty is so very talented.

Weeks ago I gave you a exclusive sneak peek of the Music Video of Sky Spills Over, a single on Michael W. Smith's Sovereign. Sovereign is Smitty's first studio worship album and the first album of his released through Capitol Records after leaving his long-time label Reunion Records in 2013. This album like many of Smitty's previous albums is a beautiful compilation of praise and worship songs. The majority of these songs are written or co-written by Michael W. Smith, himself. This album has depth and is filled with imagery. I love that this is the type of music I can listen to when I need uplifting and destressing. This music fills the heart and soul with deep messages of Christ. I love Sky Spills Over for the beautiful lyrics and All Arise for being a perfect praise and worship song. The Same Power is a great Easter song because it is about the Savior's resurrection. I love The One That Really Matters as well because it is a duet with Kari Jobe. She compliments his voice very well. This album is music that speaks to the listener from the heart with its powerful messages. I love the whole album, Sovereign! I could listen to it over and over again. I recommend this for anyone wanting to draw closer to God with music.

Track Listings
  1. You Won't Let Go 
  2. Heaven Come Down 
  3. Miracle 
  4. Sky Spills Over 
  5. All Arise 
  6. You Are The Fire 
  7. Christ Be All Around Me 
  8. Sovereign Over Us 
  9. Hide Myself 
  10. The Same Power 
  11. I Lay Me Down 
  12. The One That Really Matters [feat. Kari Jobe]

Follow Michael W. Smith
Official Michael W. Smith Website:
Twitter: @michaelwsmith


Win a copy of the Michael W. Smith Sovereign Album!

Please click on this post link if you do not see the script for Rafflecopter below. Also, if there is anything that is wrong with it let me know by emailing me: finamoon AT gmail DOT com I will try my best at fixing it. Thanks for being awesome readers!

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DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER:  (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for posting this blog app and giveaway. This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well Cookbook Review

I received this book free to facilitate this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.

Maria Speck is an expert when it comes to cooking with grains. Her Greek and Germanic background gives her an edge with Mediterranean food that one can only get by actually being immersed in the culture and food. Her two cookbooks focus on Mediterranean flavors and cooking styles while creating delicious meals with whole grains and seeds that cook up like grains. Simply Ancient Grains is her second cookbook.

Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well by Maria Speck is a collection of delicious recipes that use grains. These recipes are arranged in a hardcover book that is 272 pages long. This cookbook shares a lot of tips and tricks to get nutritious whole grains on the table quickly so you can enjoy them without all the time spent and fuss. Simply Ancient Grains also shows you how to make delicious complete meals: breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even desserts with grains. The ingredients Maria uses are chosen in their most natural state to enhance the nutrition and flavor of each recipe. She introduces a two-step method for cooking grains, a simple yet effective approach that helps take the stress out of everyday cooking with grains.

The layout of the book is fairly straightforward. Contents of this book start with the acknowledgements, an introduction, and an ancient grains 101 section which lists grains from A to Z and describes them, tells how to cook and bake with them, what equipment is needed, a grain cooking table, and menu inspirations for the week ahead with "Pick Your Grains". Then the middle of the cookbook has chapters that are filled with the scrumptious recipes.

Here is the chapter layout:
  • CHAPTER 1 breakfast Warming Bowls for Busy Mornings 
  • CHAPTER 2 slow mornings Brunch, Lunch, and Breakfast-for-Dinner 
  • CHAPTER 3 salads and sides For Every Day and for Holidays 
  • CHAPTER 4 soups and stews For Busy Nights and Slow Weekends 
  • CHAPTER 5 pasta From Ancient Grains to Modern Heirlooms 
  • CHAPTER 6 simply mains For Busy Nights and Slow Weekends 
  • CHAPTER 7 simple and sweet Desserts for Every Day and for the Holidays

The recipes are easy to prepare and have ingredients that even the novice cook can cook with. A lot of the recipes have lentils and beans, vegetables and greens, grains and nuts with small portions of meat or fish, if any meat/fish is present at all. The recipe starts with the title at the top of the page with a story as to why the recipe was picked under that. It also states if the recipe is truly gluten free or has an option to be. Then down further on the page is the directions with the ingredients, serving size/amount and how many it serves on the side. Lastly on the page there are "fine points" which are indented and tell you tips, tricks, variations, and substitutions you can try. Sometimes the "fine points" are in the side bar of the page under the serving amounts and they might also have things to do ahead of time to make the recipe even easier, so I recommend reading this section first, even though it is last. There are also pages with text surrounded by a box. This is extra information that you may have not known and is good information to have. I do wish that all of the recipes were accompanied by the photograph of the completed dish, but not all of them are. Some instead have pictures of one ingredient or no pictures at all. I am a visual person so the completed pictures help me know what the end result is supposed to look like. All the photographs in this cookbook look fabulous and mouth watering. My favorite yummy sounding recipes in this book are: Burgundy Bulgur with Blueberries and Orange Blossom Water, Baked Feta Fingers in Saffron Quinoa with Tomatoes, Minted Summer Couscous with Watermelon and Feta, Chicken Stew with Honey-Balsamic Squash and Farro, My Mac and Cheese with Greek Yogurt and Leeks, Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Hazelnut Buckwheat Stuffing, and Light Lemon Custard with Blackberries and Pomegranate Molasses.

At the end of the book is Ingredients and Techniques, Sources, Bibliography, and an Index. The Ingredients and Techniques section gives ingredient descriptions and techniques that a novice cook might not have heard of or tried. The Sources section gives you a list and description of companies and products that you should familiarize yourself with while using this cookbook and cooking with grains in general. The Bibliography gives you other books and sources that you can read to enhance your experiences with grains. The Index is very helpful with helping you find your way around this book. There is also handy Measurement Conversion Charts to help you with volume, temperature, length, and weight.

Even though I am familiar with quinoa, barley, couscous, bulgur, rice, etc. and keep some of these in my kitchen pantry, I find that a lot of people don't know about these yummy ancient grains. Although, they are getting more and more recognized as time passes, especially to the health conscious. I love that there is still even more about grains for me to learn and the Simply Ancient Grains cookbook is definitely a great start for anyone willing. Before this cookbook I had never heard of Freekeh, Teff, or Farro and even though I had heard of Amaranth and Kamut, I have yet to try them. I am excited to try all the nutritious recipes and the new ingredients for myself within Simply Ancient Grains. I am sure they will become staples in my home as I lovingly dogear the pages of this cookbook.


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: Thanks to Blogging For Books for sending me this book for free to review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. Affiliate links may be in this posting. Thanks for supporting my blog.