Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Everyday Cooking

I'm involved in something new.  Econobusters is a website I've subscribed to for quite some time.  "Molly" runs that site, and along with Midge, dispenses all kinds of practical advice.  Stuff about keeping a home, cooking, cleaning, camping, you name it.  The idea is to do things frugally, and to build up your family in the process.

Well, now there is a Molly Team -- a group of people who receive and review products that relate to areas that Molly talks about.

So here it is.  The first Molly Team review.  For a company called Everyday Homemaking.

Everyday Homemaking is run by Vicki Bentley, a mom of eight and foster mom of around fifty.  Here is a quote from their website, and this is the perfect first review for the Molly Team:

"Everyday Homemaking is jam-packed with practical ideas and tools to help you better manage your household and time. Practical ideas, time- and money-saving tips, useful products, links to our favorite sites--family resources that God has used to enable us to live our lives more abundantly. Everyday Homemaking--practical ideas for busy families, like yours!"

This review is going to focus on the book Everyday Cooking, which we have been using in our home for the past few weeks.

Now, if I were more together, I'd be filling this review with all kinds of photos of yummy food and my happy family.  Unfortunately, I'm just always lousy at getting pictures taken, so I'm taking a more minimalistic approach here.

This cookbook is a hundred pages, spiral bound (which means it lays flat), and is black-and-white.  What this cookbook is NOT?  It is not a beautiful coffee-table book filled with stunning photos of frou-frou food.

Can you tell already that this is my kind of book?  Practical.  Real.  No-nonsense.

When I got the book, I started flipping through it, and I just knew this was totally a book for me.

The book contains:
  • Introductory materials -- this includes practical ideas for meal preparation, and ideas for breakfasts. Loved some of the suggestions.
  • Appetizers & Dressings -- dips, mixes, salad dressings.  Just a couple of pages.
  • Bread and Grains -- breads, coffee cakes, biscuits, pizza dough, etc.  We loved the muffin recipe, and the baked oatmeal has become a weekly breakfast.  Yum.
  • Main Dishes & Soups & Sides -- the biggest section of the book.  We've tried the Un-Stuffed Cabbage, Hamburger Gravy, Dorito Casserole, Mexican Casserole, Chili, Chili Pie, Fish Chowder, and Cole Slaw. 
  • Desserts & Snacks -- which all look amazing.
  • Some appendix types of things -- and this section contains my favorite bit, a checklist of basic cooking skills that I will be using (with a bit of modification to include more "male" things like grilling) for home ec credit for my sons.
I love this cookbook.  Vicki cooks the way I do.  Some of the recipes are prefaced with statements like, "I never measure any of this, so this is a guesstimate."  Some of the recipes give you several choices.  Most of the recipes just scream out (at me anyway) that the idea is to use this as a base and adapt based on what my family likes and what I happen to have around.

Most of the recipes use real foods.  But it isn't some crazy out-there thing.  I actually already own almost every ingredient, unlike many cookbooks I've tried to use.  And it isn't like she is too much of purist to use something like Doritos (and that Dorito Casserole was G-O-O-D!) on occasion.

Now, there are a couple of cons.  For one thing, there isn't always information on how many servings a recipe will make.  Not a huge deal for me, mostly.  I eyeball the ingredient list and decide if it sounds like enough.  And sometimes it is nice to have a picture or two (and there are a couple in here, but not many).

But for the price of the cookbook ($17.99) and the fact that this mostly uses low-cost ingredients in recipes that don't take a lot of time, well, I can guess at servings and make my own notes.  The best cookbooks are ones I've written all over anyway.

Go check out some of the other reviews though, of this and of Everyday Family Chore System, by heading to the Crew Blog.

Disclaimer:  As part of the Molly Team, I did receive products as mentioned above for the purposes of a review.  All opinions are my own.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Well, I'll certainly have to go back through and be sure to add quantities on the few I missed--thanks! Right off the bat, I can tell you the muffins recipes are for 12. :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipes. Thank you for your review!