Book Review: Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry

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★ ★ ★ ★

While I am pretty savvy when it comes to budgeting, I only know the basics. It is important to know all you can with finances, but I admit it has always overwhelmed me, so I was looking forward to reading this and gaining more insight and knowledge. Broke Millennial is a good read for cash-strapped 20 or 30-somethings, ready to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck and tackle those financial difficulties and situations. Broken down into 18 chapters and an epilogue, Lowry offers practical input on everything from budgeting to getting out of debt, to investments and retirement. You can either read from front-to-back, or skip ahead to sections that are best suited for your current situation. Each chapter ended in a brief, bullet-point breakdown to make sure you read everything that was covered.

As someone who has yet to graduate college, but is already thinking ahead, I found Lowry’s advice and guidance to be realistic and smart– without any condescending tones, it was like chatting with a friend who wanted to offer the best way to go about financial planning. I’ve already recommended this book to a few friends, and share bits of information whenever it happens to come up in a conversation. This was a lighthearted and at times funny, easy-to-maneuver financial self-help guide that removed the stress surrounded by finances– it is a great introduction with approachable steps at gaining control of your money.

Synopsis 

Broke Millennial shows step-by-step how-to guide to go from flat-broke to financial badass. Unlike most personal finance books out there, it doesn’t just cover boring stuff like credit card debt, investing, and dealing with the dreaded “B” word (budgeting). Financial expert Erin Lowry goes beyond the basics to tackle tricky money matters and situations most of us face #IRL, including:

• Understanding your relationship with moolah: do you treat it like a Tinder date or marriage material?
• Managing student loans without having a full-on panic attack
• What to do when you’re out with your crew and can’t afford to split the bill evenly
• How to get “financially naked” with your partner and find out his or her “number” (debt number, of course)…and much more.
Packed with refreshingly simple advice and hilarious true stories, Broke Millennial is the essential roadmap every financially clueless millennial needs to become a money master. So what are you waiting for? Let’s #GYFLT!

Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Tarcherperigee

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I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

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★ ★ ★ ★

My mother and I adore Ree Drummond; we watch her on the Food Network, check out her blog, and like numerous social media pages because she is a phenomenal cook, but also such a genuine, relatable person. This is the first Pioneer Woman cookbook that I own, so I was anticipating it’s arrival to check out what is inside, and get cooking in the kitchen. In this cookbook, there are over 125 simple, step-by-step recipes for delicious meals that the whole family will love, and want again!

There are eleven sections in this cookbook, which consist of Breakfast for Dinner; Salad for Dinner; Soup for Dinner; Freezer Food; 16-Minute Meals; Pasta Pronto; Comfort Classics; New Favorites; Veggie Sides; Starchy Sides; Quick Dinners. Before getting into the different recipes sections, there is an Introduction just like all cookbooks, but what I love comes after that, which includes A Typical Week, Prep Tips, and Stocking Up.

In Typical Week it is self-explanatory, but I know that anyone who adores Ree loves to hear from her point-of-view, or just about her day because she makes it enjoyable, and it’s nice to have the creator open up, and let those of us readers or foodie’s see a peek into their world, but also speaking about the recipes found within the cookbook. The Prep Tips and Stocking Up are two sections that I appreciate because as someone cooking in the kitchen, you can never have enough tips, insight, and guidance!

Each recipe includes serving size, step-by-step instructions with photos, along with make ahead tips, variations, and what can be served with the recipe. Prior to the ingredients and instructions, there are little paragraphs by Ree, which I could not help but reading in her voice, and it was a great start before getting into each recipe. When it comes to the recipes, I loved that there are a variety that anyone in the family can enjoy, but also easy-to-follow, and photos are included as a way to check and make sure you’re following the recipe right.

I have to say that my favorite recipe sections are Breakfast for Dinner, Soup for Dinner, and Quick Dinner. But there are so many to choose from, and this is a cookbook that can be used year around because it isn’t just for one season, and the variations note that includes different ways to serve the particular meal. I tried numerous recipes over the past week, and every dish was a hit in this household, with many more to be prepared over the week to come.

Synopsis

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime is a beloved collection of all the scrumptious supper recipes that make their way through my kitchen in regular rotation, from main dish salads to satisfying soups to hearty casseroles to comfort food classics . . . and everything in between. I lay out all the different ways I tackle dinner in my house, from super-quick 16-Minute Meals to make-ahead Freezer Food to irresistible pastas and a bundle of brand-new favorites of my crew.

You’ll want to immediately dive into surefire hits like Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Baked Ziti, and Shrimp Scampi. But just wait till you try the Cashew Chicken, French Dip Sandwiches, Chicken Marsala, and Beef Stroganoff. And don’t even get me started on the Tomato Tart, Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce, and Pan-Fried Pork Chops. You’ll have a very tough time deciding on a favorite!

To take away the guesswork, I made sure to include all the step-by-step recipe photos I love to share, and I packed as much deliciousness into each chapter as possible. My hope is that you will turn to this book regularly to solve your dinnertime dilemmas, and that you will use these recipes to feed your family time and time again. The more stains, smudges, and smears on the pages, the better!

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by William Morrow Cookbooks

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I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Stirring Up Fun with Food by Sarah Michelle Gellar

dcd0a2cf0c9575475984233c59896bf0★ ★ ★

As a longtime fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar from back in her Buffy the Vampire days, I was thrilled to receive a copy of her newest cookbook, Stirring Up Fun with Food, published by Grand Central Life & Style. I love her enthusiasm when it comes to being in the kitchen as a family, and introducing her children to food in creative ways while keeping it healthy and simple. Organized by month, there are recipes for every occasion and theme, so the possibilities are endless and kid-friendly.

In January’s section, you’ll find quiche cupcakes that are light and flavorful, perfect for on-the-go during the busy week. March offers a delicious recipe for veggie egg rolls to make-at-home rather than ordering take-out—a little more involved, but a good way to get kids in the kitchen. In June, you can prepare coconut chicken fingers that not only the little ones will love, but adults will, too—paired well with a red pepper jelly or sweet chili sauce.

Each recipe includes ingredients, directions, serving size, and small blurb. While some recipes require as little as 5 ingredients and little prep time, it makes for fun and accessibility for everyone involved. I found some recipes better than others, while some weren’t clearly focused on fun and creativity—but overall it offers a great selection of projects and recipes for a family to enjoy. It was well crafted with time and quality, and Sarah and Gia did a wonderful job. It’s creative and cheerful, a cookbook that anyone with children would love to have in their home.

Synopsis

Why stop with making basic brownies? Why not put them on a stick and decorate them? Why not take boring broccoli and turn it into a yummy cheese muffin instead? Sarah Michelle Gellar learned quickly that to get her kids to be adventurous with food, she had to involve them in preparing it. She wanted that process to be fun and help them develop self-confidence, creative thinking, and even math skills! So Sarah and co-author Gia Russo came up with more than 100 fun food-crafting ideas that take basic food preparation to a surprising new level.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Grand Central Life & Style

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I received a copy in exchange for an unbiased review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.