August 22, 2017

Everyday Cooking~ A Cookbook for the Everyday Household {Product Review}

Everyday Cooking {Product Review}
I love to cook. I also love cookbooks, cooking magazines, and cooking shows. But what I DON'T like are the zillions of recipes in those that I would never make in my home. They are too fancy, take too much time, contain ingredients I don't have, or use "from the box" ingredients I choose not to keep in my pantry. I love the more "average Jane" recipes--wholesome and healthy--with ingredients I have readily on hand, few packaged ingredients, and easy to make! I was recently given the opportunity to review the Everyday Cooking cookbook from Everyday Homemaking. I hoped that it would be a cookbook to earn its place in my already stuffed cupboard by meeting the criteria that I have!

About Everyday Homemaking

Everyday Homemaking was created to offer practical ideas for busy families. Providing practical ideas and tools--including money and time saving tips, is what they are all about! The goal is help families have the opportunity to live our lives more abundantly as God intended.

Two of the primary products available include:

Everyday Cooking:Includes family favorites, helpful tips, plus pressure cooker basics, low-carb staples, and tips for simple every day cooking with an emphasis on made-from-scratch meals.

The Everyday Family Chore System: Designed by a busy mom of eight and foster mom of over fifty, this book was designed to help you get your family to help out at home. Includes tried and true "how to do it" cards.

Both of these books are available in print and digital versions. The print versions are coil layflat binding for easy use.

We were given the Everyday Cooking book to review over the last few weeks.

My Thoughts on Everyday Cooking

First off, I LOVE the coil binding! I wish all of my cookbooks had this because I always end up breaking the spines to get them to lie flat! When I received this cookbook, I began the way I always do with any new cooking reading material. I just start flipping through it and making little stars by any recipes that catch my attention. I usually mark a variety of recipes--breads, side dishes, casseroles, pasta dishes, main dishes, snacks, and I ALWAYS spend time looking over from-scratch recipes for condiments and mixes!

The cookbook is set up as follows:

●Timesaving Tips
●Breakfast Ideas
●Appetizers and Dressings
●Bread and Grains
●Main Dishes & Soups & Sides
●Desserts & Snacks
●Homemade Vanilla Extract
●Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Pantry Helpers
●Basic Measurements and Helps
●Meal Planning and Shopping Hints
●Sample Menus & Menu Planning Masters
●Basic Cooking Skills Checklist
●Basic Kitchen Accessories
●Kitchen Equipment
●The Tortoise and the Hare
●Pressure Cooker Tips and Favorites
●Index of Recipes
●Index of Practical Tips

Most of these sections are self explanatory. What isn't listed here are all the little tidbits that the author has woven in throughout the cookbook. When I read this cookbook, it's like it was written by a family friend sharing her secret recipes with me.
Personal Stories

Heart to Heart notes with tips
Before I share a few of the recipes we tried, I want to share that if you are a menu planner, then the Meal Planning and Shopping Hints and Sample Menus & Menu Planning Masters will be right up your alley! The author shares tips on how she prepares for meal planning, and includes a sample shopping list. Then she lays out a month long menu for meals from her cookbook. Included in that menu plan are "cheat" days when you go out to eat, or just do delivery or pizza. Because she knows you aren't going to want to cook EVERY day. ;) Next she gives a blank menu for you to fill in yourself. And then a day by day planning menu where she shows how you work in advance to do things the day/night before.

Her menu planning is one of the first that I've looked at and gone "I could actually do this!". I haven't done it yet, but I am going to start with maybe a week at a time and go from there.

Now, let's talk recipes.

There are SOOOO many that I want to try, that I did NOT get to all of them by any means. But I did knock out quite a few. So far they have all (save for one) been wonderful and easy!

One of the first recipes to catch my eye was a Refried Beans recipe using black beans. What made it different from other recipes is that you ground the dried beans to make a fine flour and then used that. It cut the time down to under an hour! I hoped it would work! I don't have a mill, but i have a coffee bean grinder, so I used that until it got super fine.

Unfortunately, even after following the recipe, it just didn't turn out. They just weren't cooked all the way and were very bitter. I wrote the author asking if I had done something wrong--but she didn't know as this method worked for her. I would probably cook them for even longer or make the flour even finer. Maybe that would work. I haven't given up on the recipe...I will try it again!

Another recipe that we tried and enjoyed was the Spaghetti Sauce! The only change I made was to use tomato sauce all around. I don't like watery sauce, so I enjoy using the tomato sauce instead of canned tomatoes.
The recipe was easy and almost identical to one I use regularly. This is a simple recipe for someone to have a superb and flavorful easy to make sauce.

My funny story comes from trying the Chocolate No-Bakes.This recipe made the most PERFECT No-bakes! They set perfectly and held their shape. I was super impressed. So the funny part---while these were setting up, I had left the oats container out on the counter. When my family came back in after dinner to enjoy them--we noticed the oats container was CRAWLING with weevils! Apparently, because of the organic oats being at room temperature, they had hatched! (something common in organic grains) and were rampant in my oats! We all looked at it in horror--then turned at looked at the table laden with perfectly made No-Bake cookies...all with oats in them. These oats. One by one the family started saying "EEWWWWW~ Bug cookies! Gross!"
Perfectly set!
And so my 3 dozen perfect cookies were thrown out...but not before my youngest snatched two unconvinced there were any bugs. He ate them and said they were still delicious.

And so, I was determined to try these cookies again--so I made a second batch with BRAND NEW oats two days later. Once again, they set up perfectly! And unlike many other recipes for similar cookies--even being in warm temps didn't cause them to lose their shape! So definitely a win! 

Upcoming recipes in my kitchen will be the tortilla soup, chicken and mushroom bake, some of the bread recipes--and whatever else catches my fancy!

This cookbook is a win because it uses real ingredients--very few canned or packaged ingredients. An added bonus is that the author includes FROM SCRATCH versions of several packaged ingredients for those who want to go more healthy. I have many of these saved on Pinterest--so to have them here in this cookbook is fabulous!

All of the directions are easy. Nothing weird or unusual. The recipes are hearty, and most make about 4 servings. Nearly all the ingredients are standard ones found in any pantry/fridge. There are tips all throughout the cookbook to make things even easier--some are just simply cooking "hacks" to save time. 

I am confident that even my 11 and 7 year old boys would be able to fix most of these recipes, with little to no direction from me. Few of my other cookbooks have this benefit. 

I think this would be a GREAT cookbook for a young adult going out on their own--or as a wedding gift. The recipes are all practical food! I think it's definitely worth the $19.99 print price and just $15.99 for a digital version. I think this cookbook will be getting very dirty as I continue to try the different recipes! ;)

**And I have a note from the author about a SALE! She is offering 10% off The Everyday Family Chore System and/or Everyday Cooking (print or e-book) through Labor Day (Sept 4, 2017)! The code you will need is TOS10books --you can apply it to as many books in their cart as you'd like, but you do need to shop first, apply the 10% discount code last.**

As one last note, my mom eagerly checked out the cookbook and agrees. It's a "no-nonsense" cookbook for the average family. That is high praise from her indeed! LOL

Want to Know More?

For the last several weeks, we have been trying recipes from the Everyday Cooking cookbook from Everyday Homemaking. You have seen what we've tried and how much I've liked it--but what recipes did other families make? And what about the The Everyday Family Chore System? Come and read some more reviews! 
Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

You can stay up to date on the latest news and blog posts from the author of Everyday Homemaking via her Facebook page!

I absolutely recommend this cookbook to anyone just wanting a one-size fits all book for the average cook. It contains anything you would want--simple short recipes for condiments and sauces, to full meal dishes and casseroles to desserts! This book did indeed earn its place in my cupboard with my other favorite cooking resources!

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