Category Archives: Good Reads

Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis

Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis is a fun, beautiful, inspiring, and informative gardening cookbook I recently bought.

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I pre-ordered this book and I never pre-order a book.  I like to read the reviews and have the book be out for a while to see what people think of it before I get it. But the name of this book got me hooked – Harvest!  What a lovely name for a gardening book.  Harvest speaks volumes just by the meaning of the word – the feel good images it conjures of fields and farms, of flowers and nature.

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I ordered the book not knowing if I would like it, but that’s the beauty of Amazon. I figured if the book didn’t live up to my expectations I could easily return it. I finally got a copy of Harvest in the mail about a month ago, and with an open mind started perusing this book.  Let me give you just a few of the many reasons why this is a wonderful book to add to your gardening and cookbook collection. Continue reading Harvest. Unexpected Projects Using Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis

Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s new book Portraits of Courage. A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors is an artist and former President’s salute to the armed forces -to the men and women who serve selflessly to protect the freedoms that we hold so dear.

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I am a big fan of artists. All types- pottery, fashion, sculptures, and paintings. My favorite style of paintings is impressionist.  I love Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Manet, you get the picture.  I always assumed art is something that you have in you as part of your DNA – either you have it or you don’t, or you have a little. But I never imagined that one could take up art at the age of 66 and become not only a professional painter but also an outstanding one at that. This is what our 43rd President George W. Bush has accomplished. His paintings are amazing. They speak volumes, they communicate a story, and most of all they look like any of the impressionist painters out there. I have to say, it’s very impressive.

Portraits of Courage is a collection of portraits painted by George W. Bush of service men and women who have overcome immense personal combat injuries to live life to the fullest and some even continue to serve in the armed forces. Continue reading Portraits of Courage by George W. Bush

A Craving for Flowers. Fun Few Books on Flowers

I love flowers. Love, love, love them. If I could, I would eat flowers for dessert and live in a greenhouse surrounded by them. Sometimes I actually crave flowers. A craving for their lovely colors, textures, fragrance, and myriad flowerfull  beauty. I especially crave flowers in the winter and early spring when my garden is still half-dormant. When I get a flower craving what I turn to are my books on flowers and gardening. Continue reading A Craving for Flowers. Fun Few Books on Flowers

Herbal Transformations. Ancient Wisdom Revealed for Health and Longevity by Uma Swaminathan

Herbal Transformations: Ancient Wisdom Revealed for Health and Longevity Using Herbs and Spices, Yoga, Hygiene and Spirituality. The title says it all. My aunt Uma Swaminathan is the author of this wonderful book that gives you valuable information about Indian spices and herbs and also shows you how to use them to enhance the positive aspects of those spices and herbs. Continue reading Herbal Transformations. Ancient Wisdom Revealed for Health and Longevity by Uma Swaminathan

Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann

Have you heard of FIKA? I hadn’t. Not until a few months ago that is, when I was catching up on my daily world news on BBC.com. I came across an article that read  Why Are Swedish Workers So Happy?.  This article was about FIKA, the Swedish workplace tradition of taking a coffee break with sweet treats and chatting. In many companies in Sweden this coffee break is not only encouraged but in some offices it is actually  mandatory.  Research has shown that taking a work-place coffee break leads to happier and more productive employees.

I know it’s silly of me, but when I read that people take a coffee break every day with a sweet pastry or two, all I could think of is, “Why aren’t Swedish people overweight?”  Eating that much sweet treats every day must have some negative impact on the body. Right?

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The quest for the answer to this question is how I came upon this cookbook Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann. Continue reading Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann

Dark Chocolate Brownies With Salted Carmel

My friend Rose made these outstanding dark chocolate brownies a while back, and they were perfect little bites of pure chocolate joy. These brownies were gooey, chocolaty, and moist with a hint of espresso and they were not teeth-tingling sweet. Why am I surprised these brownies were so good? Rose is an amazing baker – just amazing. Her baked goods can win awards. If only she would open a bakeshop, her goodies would sell out for sure. Rose shared her recipe for these gooey brownies, which she got from trEATs by April Carter. Here is the recipe with a few of Rose’s own tweaks. Continue reading Dark Chocolate Brownies With Salted Carmel

Planting the Seed for Sweet Peas

It’s fall and now is the perfect time to sow sweet pea seeds in our gardens. I know it’s hard to think of planting seeds for flowers that won’t bloom for another 6 months, but spring flowering bulbs and seeds like to be planted in fall so they can develop strong roots and get established before spring arrives when they produce their buxom blooms. In this case it’s sweet pea seeds, which give the lushest blooms when planted in the fall timeframe.

Continue reading Planting the Seed for Sweet Peas