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A Homemade Life author Molly Wizenberg

The other night Jess and I went Brookline Booksmith to hear a favorite author, Molly Wizenberg, speak and do a reading from her book A Homemade Life. I read this book within the last year and while I was reading, felt like I was chatting with a good friend in her kitchen over a cup of tea. I would read a few pages before bed and 9 times out of 10 wound up having a dream about food and would wake up hungry! I love how Molly was encouraged to start a food blog (called Orangette) by a friend of hers, back when food blogs were a lot less common, and it spiraled into a best selling book.

Here is a blurb from Amazon.com about her book:

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother’s pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won’t be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.

The bookstore was packed with fans. Jess and I had to stand in the back! Molly read a chapter from her book about her father and potato salad and I remembered reading that chapter, craving a mayo-drenched potato salad. And I hate mayo drenched anything, but Molly makes it sound so mouth watering. She answered great questions about her book, her new restaurant, and her favorite restaurants in Seattle. Afterwards she signed books and I decided to buy one too. This goes to show how much I really loved her book. I rarely buy books (unless it’s a nerdy nutrition book) and I never read a book twice, but this book I plan to. It was that good. Have you read it? Here’s a sneak peak at one of my favorite parts: Molly met her husband through her blog. Awww love at food sight.

My favorite thing that Molly said was that food does not exist in a vacuum. You can’t look at food alone. Food has everything to do with the people you eat with, where you are, how you feel, what you cook, and the experience of it all. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For all you food lovers, this is a must read.


Mushroom Mozzarella Panini

DSC_0021With Passover starting this week, we decided to use up some bread that was taking up space in the freezer. So Sunday night I whipped up some grilled Mushroom Mozzarella Paninis for a quick dinner.

I started by grilling portabella mushrooms on our grill pan for a DSC_0023 few minutes on each side. Next I spread some BBQ sauce on either side of the bread, topped it with some fresh basil leaves, and a thin slice of soy mozzarella. When the mushrooms were  soft and grilled, I placed them in the sandwiched which I then grilled whole for a few minutes. Voila! I enjoyed this sandwich paired with a spinach salad, while Funk ate it in the other room in the midst of his Fantasy Baseball draft. He did yell from the living room, “This is awesome!” Simple success! DSC_0026

I dined while reading Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism book, which was recommended by my friend Nicole. I love Jillian Michaels, but was skeptical because she’s no dietitian, and I haven’t agreed with everything she’s said about food on the Biggest Loser. Here’s a little blurb about her book from Amazon.com:

Michaels (Making the Cut; Winning by Losing), the strength trainer for television’s The Biggest Loser, here addresses the influence that hormone balance—affected by estrogen, insulin, testosterone, cortisol, epinephrine, leptin, and others—has on weight loss. Various internal and external influences can cause hormones to over- or underproduce, resulting in not only weight gain but serious illness. Michaels’s plan emphasizes natural foods, organically grown and unprocessed. She describes which foods affect which hormones and how plastics and pollutants in our air and water and additives in many different products can also cause imbalances. She makes a good case for not using bioidentical hormones.

I’m just about finished the book and it is very informative, blunt and realistic, and has some darn good information about taking the crap out of our diets. It’s made me more aware of all the lurking plastic, hormones, and junk in our diets. Even my whole mushrooms I bought for the sandwich were wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray. Unnecessary! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to clean up your diet, get your hormones in check, and all-around eat better. 

Mark Bittman – Food Matters

I am reading foodie Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters right now. It is a simple, straight-forward guide to conscious eating that is good for your health and the health of the planet. It reminds me a lot of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food – another favorite of mine, but it’s a topic that is worth rereading. Bittman isn’t a dietitian, he’s a food lover, but he manages to love the most nutritious and flavorful foods to make up a sound and healthful diet that tastes great. Here is a customer’s review of the book from amazon.com:

Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating is a guidebook for the typical American eating the typical American diet–heavy laden with meat, animal products, and processed foods. This typical American diet, Bittman points out, is calorie-dense, harmful to the atmosphere, taxing on global resources, and unhealthy. Bittman easily mixes scientific research with his own personal account of needing to lose weight due to high cholesterol and sleep apnea and shows that shifting his diet by emphasizing vegetables, legumes, and beans over meats and processed food helped him reach his weight and health goals without resorting to rigid dieting and calorie-counting. Let me make it clear here that Bittman is not advocating vegetarianism. He allows himself a little meat during his dinner meal and incorporates some meat in the recipe section of his book.

A food journalist and cook book writer divides his book into two sections. The first section, Food Matters, lays down the reasons we need to shift from meat and processed foods to vegetables, fresh produce, legumes and beans. If you’ve already read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma or In Defense of Food, this information won’t be new to you. But it is a good recap of the incremental way the typical American diet has become unhealthy, burdensome to the environment, and “insane.”

Bittman’s recipes read like a good book. They’re easy to follow with lots of swaps and substitutions noted. I’ve been reading this book before bed each night, which is making me incredibly hungry and dream of his recipes! I made his Tofu and Greens when I realized I had tofu and bok choy in the fridge just waiting to be used. It was simple and flavorful.
I’d recommend getting your hands on this book. You’ll have a new outlook on eating and will be armed with great recipes to try. Just don’t read it before bed like I do unless you’re prepared to have sweet…and savory…and salty…and hunger induced dreams.