Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Blender Girl by Tess Masters

The Blender Girl
Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, 
Desserts, and Drinks
100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes!
By Tess Masters

Trade Paperback, 224 pages

It's Spring!

And that means turning a new page on health, getting ready for warmer days and less clothes - certainly less time inside.

Goodbye starchy winter foods, hello healthy eating and fresh produce.

What better way to start eating healthy than with Tess Masters, The Blender Girl?

These healthy recipes are all healthy, gluten-free and vegan - and delicious!

I know that this will be a well used book for me and came into my life at just the right time. It is positive, uplifting, encouraging and filled with beautiful photos.

Not every recipe is for a drink - the blender (your new best friend) is also used for components of larger meals. But really, I am digging those smoothies, shakes and yes, even cocktails.

Let's get healthy!  

Contents Include:

The Lowdown
  • Love Your Blender
  • Healthy Ideas to Blend In

The Recipes
  • Smoothies and Shakes
  • Appetizers, Snacks, Dips & Spreads
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • The Main Event
  • Desserts
  • Drinks, Juices & Tonics
  • Condiments, Sauces & Creams

There are also resources in the back as well as suggested reading to learn even more about healthy living.

From the Back Flap:

The debut cookbook from the powerhouse blogger behind theblendergirl.com, featuring 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes for smoothies, meals, and more made quickly and easily in a blender.

What’s your perfect blend?

On her wildly popular recipe blog, Tess Masters—aka, The Blender Girl—shares easy plant-based recipes that anyone can whip up fast in a blender. Tess’s lively, down-to-earth approach has attracted legions of fans looking for quick and fun ways to prepare healthy food. In The Blender Girl, Tess’s much-anticipated debut cookbook, she offers 100 whole-food recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, and rely on natural flavors and sweeteners. Many are also raw and nut-, soy-, corn-, and sugar-free.

Smoothies, soups, and spreads are a given in a blender cookbook, but this surprisingly versatile collection also includes appetizers, salads, and main dishes with a blended component, like Fresh Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce, Twisted Caesar Pleaser, Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens, and I-Love-Veggies! Bake. And even though many of Tess’s smoothies and shakes taste like dessert—Apple Pie in a Glass, Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake, or Tastes-Like-Ice- Cream Kale, anyone?—her actual desserts are out-of this-world good, from Chocolate-Chile Banana Spilly to Flourless Triple-Pecan Mousse Pie and Chai Rice Pudding. Best of all, every recipe can easily be adjusted to your personal taste: add an extra squeeze of this, another handful of that, or leave something out altogether— these dishes are super forgiving, so you can’t mess them up.

Details on the benefits of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating; proper food combining; and eating raw, probiotic-rich, and alkaline ingredients round out this nutrient-dense guide. But you don’t have to understand the science of good nutrition to run with The Blender Girl—all you need is a blender and a sense of adventure. So dust off your machine and get ready to find your perfect blend.

Tess Masters

Australian-born Tess Masters is a cook, writer, actor, and voiceover artist. She shares her enthusiasm for plant-based foods at theblendergirl.com.

As a presenter and recipe developer, Tess collaborates with leading food, culinary, and lifestyle brands. She has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Vegetarian Times, and Zeste and on Glamour.com, Chow, Epicurious, and AllRecipes, among other publications and websites. Away from the blender, Tess enjoys a diverse performance career. She has toured internationally with stage productions, worked in film and television, and lent her voice to commercial campaigns, audiobooks, and popular videogame characters.

Tess and her partner, Scott Brick, live in Studio City, California, with their West Highland White Terrier (and blender-cuisine maven), Cookie.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger

A Novel
by Susan Rieger
Hardcover, 480 pages

The Divorce Papers is an epistolary novel by a woman who knows a thing or two about divorce.

Between affidavits, memos, emails, hate mails, and even published articles, we experience the pain and humour of one woman's journey through divorce after 17 years of marriage.

Not only do we learn about Mia and her discovery of self, but of the other players in the game - such as the lawyers.

Deeply original, The Divorce Papers balances loss and love and ordeal with love and humour and compassion. 


From the back flap:
Witty and wonderful, sparkling and sophisticated, this debut romantic comedy brilliantly tells the story of one very messy, very high-profile divorce, and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

Debut novelist Susan Rieger doesn’t leave a word out of place in this hilarious and expertly crafted debut that shines with the power and pleasure of storytelling. Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself. Much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Divorce Papers will have you laughing aloud and thanking the literature gods for this incredible, fresh new voice in fiction.

SUSAN RIEGER is a graduate of Columbia Law School. She has worked as a residential college dean at Yale and an associate provost at Columbia. She has taught law to undergraduates at both schools and written frequently about the law for newspapers and magazines. She lives in New York City with her husband. The Divorce Papers is her first novel.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Healthy Slow Cooker

The Healthy Slow Cooker
135 Gluten-Free Recipes 
for Health and Wellness
by Judith Finlayson 
paperback, 352 pages

Evolution. We all take part in it. Some of us faster than others. Some of us slower. And life evolves and the times evolve. And eating trends and health concerns evolve. 

In the eighties everyone was fat-free (you know, 'cept chubby ole me). Now we know a certain amount of "good fat" is good for you. That we need some carbs and starches to live. That protein is essential. And how to balance proteins and how to read a nutritional guide. 

Also allergies and intolerances are on the rise. Food-wise. And that is what hits home the most. That food can hurt.

The Healthy Slow Cooker second edition focuses on the modern demands of somewhat restricted diets as well as the people that want to concentrate on eating healthy while avoiding triggering foods as well as dealing with time constraints.

Contents Include:
Nutrient Analysis
Using Your Slow Cooker
Starters and Snacks
Fish and Seafood
Beef and Veal
Pork and Lamb
Vegetarian Mains
Sides and Sauces
Diabetes Food Values
Selected Resource

Creamy Morning Millet with Apples, page 20, Breakfast, Vegetarian

If you’re tired of the same old breakfast, perk up your taste buds and expand your nutritional range by enjoying millet as a cereal. This recipe provides fiber and is a good way to start your day if you are looking to increase your intake of this nutrient, among others. It is also a good source of vitamin B12, which is difficult to obtain from food if you are a vegan. Don’t worry about making more than you need. You can refrigerate leftovers for up to two days and reheat by portions in the microwave.

•    Small to medium (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker
•    Lightly greased slow cooker stoneware

1 cup    millet (see Tips)    250 mL
3 to    fortified rice milk or organic soy milk     750 mL
4 cups    (see Tips)    to 1 L
3    apples, peeled, cored and chopped    3
1⁄4 tsp    sea salt    1 mL
    Chopped pitted dates, fresh berries
    and toasted nuts, optional

1.    In prepared slow cooker stoneware, combine millet, rice milk, apples and salt. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or on Low for 8 hours or overnight. Stir well, spoon into bowls and sprinkle with fruit and/or nuts, if using.

Use plain or vanilla-flavored rice milk. Vary the quantity of rice milk to suit your preference. Three cups (750 mL) produces a firmer result. If you like your cereal to be creamy, use the larger quantity. If using soy milk, be sure to purchase an organic version. Otherwise it is likely to be made from genetically modified soy beans.
Don’t pass on sprinkling your cereal with nuts (see Mindful Morsels, right) because you’re counting calories. About one‑third of the calories in nuts (and seeds) are provided by resistant starch, which means they are not absorbed into your bloodstream.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Can Be Halved (see Tips, below)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Thai-Style Coconut Fish Curry, page 52, Seafood

This luscious dish has everything going for it: a centerpiece of succulent fish, a sauce of creamy coconut accented with zesty Asian flavors and an abundance of tasty vegetables to complement the mix. Serve this over brown basmati rice to add nutrients and fiber and complete the meal.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

1 tbsp    olive or extra virgin coconut oil    15 mL
2    onions, finely chopped    2
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1 tbsp    minced gingerroot    15 mL
1 tsp    finely grated lime zest    5 mL
1 cup    vegetable stock    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    fish stock     125 mL
2 tbsp    freshly squeezed lime juice    30 mL
2 tsp    Thai green curry paste (see Tips)    10 mL
1 cup    coconut milk    250 mL
2 tbsp    gluten-free fish sauce    30 mL
2 lbs    firm white fish, such as snapper,     1 kg
    skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces, if desired
2 cups    drained rinsed canned bamboo     500 mL
    shoot strips
2 cups    sweet green peas, thawed if frozen    500 mL
1    red bell pepper, diced    1
1⁄2 cup    finely chopped cilantro leaves    125 mL
    Toasted sesame seeds, optional

1.    In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and lime zest and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vegetable and fish stock and stir well. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.

2.    In a bowl, combine lime juice and curry paste. Add to slow cooker stoneware and stir well. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, fish, bamboo shoots, green peas and red pepper. Cover and cook on High for 20 to 30 minutes, until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork and mixture is hot. Garnish with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds, if using.

If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
Check the label to make sure your curry paste does not contain unwanted additives, such as gluten.

Makes 8 servings

Can Be Halved

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Moroccan-Style Lamb with Raisins and Apricots, page 227, Lamb

This classic tagine-style recipe, in which lamb is braised in spices and honey, is an appetizing combination of savory and sweet. I like to serve it with gluten-free quinoa, which adds a new world twist to this Middle Eastern dish.

•    Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker

1 to 2 tbsp olive oil    15 to 30 mL
2 lbs    trimmed stewing lamb, cut into     1 kg
    1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1    onion, finely chopped    1
1 tbsp    minced gingerroot    15 mL
1 tbsp    ground cumin    15 mL
1 tsp    ground coriander    5 mL
1 tsp    grated lemon zest    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    salt    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    cracked black peppercorns (approx.) (see Tip)    2 mL
1    piece (1 inch/2.5 cm) cinnamon stick    1
1⁄2 cup    chicken stock    125 mL
1 tbsp    freshly squeezed lemon juice    15 mL
1 tbsp    liquid honey    15 mL
    Salt, optional
1 cup    dried apricots, chopped    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    raisins    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    finely chopped cilantro leaves    125 mL

1.    In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb, in batches, and cook, stirring, adding more oil if necessary, until browned, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

2.    Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add ginger, cumin, coriander, lemon zest, salt, peppercorns and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil.

3.    Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Stir well. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until lamb is tender. Add lemon juice and honey and stir well. Season to taste with salt, if using. Stir in apricots and raisins. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until fruit is warmed through. Garnish with cilantro. Discard cinnamon stick.

If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (11⁄2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
I prefer a peppery base in this dish to balance the sweetness of the apricots and raisins, so I usually use a whole teaspoon (5 mL) of cracked black peppercorns in this recipe. But I’m a pepper lover, so use your own judgment.

Makes 8 servings

Can Be Halved

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Accident: a Novel by Chris Pavone

By Chris Pavone
Hardcover, 400 pages

Hold on to your hats, book lovers and mystery lovers! This combines both.

A breakneck-paced murderous mystery novel that centers around the publishing industry - and what has become of it since the internet age.

Nobody is safe in this game of hot potato with a scandalous exposé written by an anonymous author. The only things we know for sure - that it would ruin one of the most powerful men in the world, that it may or may not be true, that anyone who publishes it could make millions. And that everyone who reads the manuscript is in peril.

Publish? Perish? Both?

Cancel your plans for the weekend, it's time to dig in to this book-lover's breathless chase in The Accident.

From the back flap:
From the author of the New York Times-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning The Expats

As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

Over the course of one long, desperate, increasingly perilous day, these lives collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril.  The rich cast of characters—in publishing and film, politics and espionage—are all forced to confront the consequences of their ambitions, the schisms between their ideal selves and the people they actually became.

The action rockets around Europe and across America, with an intricate web of duplicities stretching back a quarter-century to a dark winding road in upstate New York, where the shocking truth about the accident itself is buried.

Gripping, sophisticated, layered, and impossible to put down, The Accident proves once again that Chris Pavone is a true master of suspense.

About the Author  

Chris Pavone is the author of the New York Times-bestselling The Expats, winner of the Edgar Award. 
He was a book editor for nearly two decades and lives in New York City with his family.