Cookbook Review: Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix

Kitchen Matrix

About Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix from

Bestselling author Mark Bittman anthologizes his popular Matrix series in a boldly graphic new cookbook that emphasizes creativity, improvisation, and simplicity as the keys to varied cooking.

For years, Mark Bittman has shared his formulas, recipes, and kitchen improvisations in his popular New York Times Eat column, in which an ingredient or essential technique is presented in different variations in a bold matrix. Accompanied by striking photographs and brief, straightforward instructions, these thematic matrices show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in a master recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious. In Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix, Mark’s matrices come together to create a collection of over 400 flexible recipes covering vegetables, fruits, meats and chicken, and even desserts.  Whether you’re cooking up soup (creamy, brothy, earthy, or hearty), freezing ice pops (in fruity, savory, creamy, or boozy varieties), or preparing asparagus (steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or grilled), following Mark’s approach to culinary improvisation will deliver stand-out results.

About the Author

When Mark Bittman writes and talks about food, America listens. In his weekly New York Times food column, his monthly New York Times travel features, his bestselling cookbooks, and his award-winning public television series, Bittman grabs our attention–and keeps it.

Bittman’s bible of cooking, How to Cook Everything, has sold over a million copies. Dubbed “the new, hip Joy of Cooking” by the Washington Post and winner of both the Julia Child and the James Beard Awards (plus several others), it’s a must-have book for every American Kitchen, the favorite of millions of American cooks. In 2005 Broadway Books published his eagerly awaited follow-up: The Best Recipes in the World.

His weekly cooking column, The Minimalist, is followed by more than two million readers, including home cooks and professionals, and has profoundly influenced American cooking since its inception. (Three award-winning cookbooks have resulted from his column: The Minimalist Cooks at Home; The Minimalist Cooks Dinner; and The Minimalist Entertains. These three will be published in an omnibus paperback edition in the spring of 2007, entitled Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times.)

And when Bittman branches out, his fans follow: his recent New York Times piece on the best of Tuscan food was the paper’s travel section’s best-read article ever, reaching nearly three million readers.

In the late ’90s, Bittman formed a best-selling collaboration with the internationally celebrated chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Their classic book, Jean-George: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef, won a James Beard award and is widely considered to be among the most accessible chef’s cookbooks ever published. That was followed in 2000 with Simple to Spectacular, the groundbreaking cookbook that shows readers how to master a basic recipe then take it in almost limitless directions.

Bittman’s PBS series, Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs, was awarded the Best National TV Cooking Series of 2005 by the James Beard Foundation. In April ’07 his second series, The Best Recipes in the World, will premiere. In the fall of ’07 Wiley will publish the groundbreaking How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and Bittman is currently completing the revision of How to Cook Everything, to be published in fall 2008, the tenth anniversary of the original.

A regular on NBC’s The Today Show and NPR’s All Things Considered, Bittman has been profiled in newspapers and magazines including Food & Wine, Real Simple, People, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News and more.

Mark Bittman is working on his first novel, and is a licensed pilot who continues to humbly cook dinner for friends and family several times a week.

Season to Taste How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by: Molly Birnbaum

Season to Taste.jpg  Another #NONFICTIONNOVEMBER read!

I found this book on and decided to get it.  The synopsis of Molly’s story intrigued me.

An aspiring student of the Culinary Institute of America, Molly has landed a job working in a restaurant and training with a chef.  She was told that she would start out as a dishwasher and work her way up, learning as she went.  Everyday she cleaned pots and pans, plates and dishes and was able to help with the preparation of the herbs and vegetables.  Each day she was tested on the smells and tastes of different varieties of herbs so that she would become accustomed to them.  One morning, very close to the first day of classes, she was out running and hit by a car.  She was badly injured but her bones would heal.

Due to some head trauma, she lost her sense of smell which of course affected her taste.  She could not smell anything and she could barely tell the textures of the food that she put into her mouth.  Doctors were unsure if her sense of smell would ever return.

This story had a very interesting beginning.  It was written well and I wanted to know about what would happen to Molly.  Unfortunately, it took a very scientific turn and I struggled to get through those parts.  There were bits of the story woven in, so I did finish this book, but for me, there was too much scientific data and research.

I gave this book 3 crowns because there was enough of a story to enjoy.


Blood, Bones & Butter The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by: Gabrielle Hamilton

blood bones butter  I have inadvertently participated in #NONFICTIONNOVEMBER by reading a few Non-Fiction books.

I have had this book on my shelf for years.  I remember picking it up once and starting it but I wasn’t interested in it at the time so I never read it.  While searching Overdrive for an audiobook in keeping with my self imposed theme for November, I saw this book.  I decided to give it a chance and get it off my TBR shelf.

The audio version of this book is read by the author and that usually excites me.  I feel that when the author reads their own work, they know the intonations of their story and read it as it was meant to be read.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Gabrielle’s reading.  She has a monotone voice that had no inflection in speech.  I found that I was bored and zoning out frequently.  I held on though, so I could finish the book.

Gabrielle has her MFA in fiction writing so I expected her story to be detailed.  It was very detailed and sometimes it felt as if it was too detailed.  I also felt that this story was “wishy-washy”.  Gabrielle jumped back and forth in time so often that I was confused as to when things were occurring.

She goes from thief to restaurateur; lesbian to married to a man and having his children;  hating the cooking life to living it everyday; back and forth, back and forth, the entire story is set up like this.

I liked this book, but not enough to really recommend it.  I give it 2 crowns.


THE WYNNING WAY by Maisha S. Wynn Book Blast



The Wynning Way by Maisha S. Wynn Release Day Celebration November 18, 2015

THE WYNNING WAY: A GUIDE TO CREATING SUCCESS YOUR WAY Author: Maisha S. Wynn Release Date: November 18th, 2015 Publisher:  Live To Wynn Publishing Genre: Non-Fiction



The Wynning Way: A Guide to Creating Success Your Way is the ultimate go-to guide for personal and professional development!  This powerful book will show you how to develop your own winning lifestyle through exercises that inspire self-reflection and strategies for creating the mindset of a true winner. Throughout the book, Wynn shares her personal journey from tragedy to triumph and offers inspirational nuggets on the power of prayer, the effect of positive thinking plus affirmations to assist you in living a more abundant life! Get ready to transform your existence because your time for “WYNNING” is now!



Amazon page –

Goodreads –

Live To Wynn website purchase page – Book promo to visually get a feel for the book –


The Wynning Way: A Guide to Creating Success Your Way is a winner! Maisha Wynn has not only developed an amazing manual for personal and professional development, but she inspires us all to live our very best lives even in the midst of life’s harrowing circumstances! If you want to win in life, you must read this book!”



“This insightful book shares the author’s infectious enthusiasm to surrender to God’s will and accept themselves as they are and develop a life the way they have imagined. Reading this book will definitely help readers bring positive energy into their lives and make the required changes they are looking for to achieve peaceful and happy lives.”



“It is no coincidence that Maisha’s last name is Wynn. Not only is she winning, she is gracious enough to share her strategies to help others on their journey. Her book is Touching, Timely, and REAL! What I love most about the book is her ability to connect with the reader by holding them accountable for their own existence in this world.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lifestyle specialist, Maisha Wynn, gives credence to the mantra “a changed mind is a made-up mind.” She heads up Live To Wynn, a company that provides aspirational and practical guidance for women and men who desire to live their lives more abundantly. As a former size 20 who now maintains a size 4 through exercise and healthy eating, Wynn knows firsthand how difficult and rewarding it can be to transform your life. She speaks around the nation and provides uplifting editorial content to various media outlets. For more information about Wynn, visit

Website: Facebook: Twitter:

Instagram: Who is Maisha Wynn? – Live To Wynn Lifestyle Series:

VIDEO: FINAL Workplace Wellness



One Winner will get a $10.00 American Express (AMEX) Gift Card

Open Internationally where Amex gift cards can be used| Must be 13+ To Enter Sweeps/Giveaway accounts are ineligible. See Terms & Conditions for more info 




Book Excerpt:  Chapter 9: Your Greater Begins With You

Material items are replaceable, but you are not! When you are great to yourself on a daily basis, you can be good to those around you. Nurturing your temple is an active way of enhancing your quality of life and lifestyle—the way you think, move, sleep, eat and interact with others. It’s more than taking a quick coffee break between a meeting, or going to get your hair done at the salon. It is taking authentic time away from the outside world to restore, replenish and rejuvenate your inner spirit and being.



Cookbook review: Whitney Miller’s New Southern Table

new southern table  This is a beautiful cookbook with some delicious sounding recipes.

Book Description from

MasterChef winner Whitney Miller shares her favorite family recipes with her own unique flair, making them lighter and infusing them with global flavors.

Following her great-grandmothers’ examples of creatively stretching meals during the Great Depression, Whitney Miller transforms recipes from her Southern roots, preserving flavors of traditional family dishes while offering the excitement of her own special touches. She offers a taste of her family table with dishes like Southern Horchata, PB&J Chicken Satay, Dehydrated Okra Chips, Sweet Corn Grit Tamales, Peach Bread Pudding with Sweet Tea Rum Sauce, and much more. Using new techniques and cooking methods, Miller reimagines classic recipes and experiments with flavors from around the world, inspired by her travels since winning MasterChef.

About the Author

Whitney Miller, winner at twenty-two of MasterChef , has been featured across the globe in Southern cuisine cooking promotions and as a judge in food competitions, including the 2013 World Food Championship. Her recipes and articles have appeared in People, Women’s Health, Masterchef, Clean Eating, and Cooking Light magazines, and her cooking demonstrations have been featured in the MasterChef app. She lives in Plant City, Florida.

My Review:  The images in this cookbook are stunning.  I am practically drooling as I turn each page.  I can’t wait to try her recipe for Steamed Biscuit Buns and pair them with Pulled Pork or Sliced Smoked Brisket.  Most of the recipes seem easy enough to create even if some may take a while but to me, that is part of the fun of trying something new especially with loved ones.  When I think of Southern Cooking, my first thought is family.

I did see a few recipes that I don’t think I will ever make, like the Buttermilk Ricotta Cheese (I may be too lazy for that) and one recipe that cracks me up ever time I open that page…Gluten-Free Skillet Toast.  Yes, you read that right, a recipe for toast; not to bake the bread just how to toast it.

I can’t wait to get into this book more with my husband and family helping in the kitchen.

I give this 4 crowns.


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <>

The Dinner by: Herman Koch

the dinner

I have decided to dedicate November to reading books that involve food or food related situations.  My very first read was Herman Koch’s The Dinner.

About The Dinner- from

“A European Gone Girl.” —The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

My Review:  I absolutely loved this book.  It is setup so that the story takes place over the period of one dinner out with flashbacks that help fill in the details.  I thought the setup of the story was brilliant.  I enjoyed the way in which the book as a whole was separated into each part of a meal.  The scenario itself was a tough one to swallow (pun intended) as a parent myself.  It is hard to imagine how I would react if the tables were turned on me and I was in that situation.  I thought the dynamic between the two families were very true to life and relatable.

To be honest, now that I’m thinking about it, I think the ending was a bit abrupt in a way, even though the situation was “resolved”.  I want to know more about the families but I am satisfied with the ending.  I really enjoyed Herman Koch’s writing style and would not hesitate to pick up his other works.  Here is a link to his author page on Penguin Random House:

I give this book 5 crowns and would definitely recommend this for a book club or reading group.  There is plenty to discuss and debate.


Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  However, these thoughts are my own and I was not persuaded to write either a positive or negative review.

The Looking Glass Wars A trilogy by: Frank Beddor


I had the pleasure of meeting Frank Beddor at NYCC 2015 in October.  My husband and I were walking around all of the booths and knowing how much I love Alice in Wonderland, he stopped me at Frank’s booth.  It was the best stop I made that day.  Frank is an endearing man who can describe his series in 1 minute flat.  From the moment he started describing this twist on Wonderland, I was hooked.  I grabbed all 3 novels and had them signed.  I devoured these in the month of October.

The Looking Glass Wars is the first book in this trilogy and it begins with Alyss Heart and her life in and out of Wonderland.  I really do not want to go into detail about these books as it will ruin the stories.  Seeing Redd is the second installment and its’ focus is mostly on Alyss’ Aunt Redd and her reign in Wonderland.  Arch Enemy is the final installment of the trilogy and includes a new enemy character King Arch.

I absolutely loved these books and the twists that each story gives.  I will admit that when I first started the first book, it took some time to get into the world where the characters that we know and love had different names and personalities.  Once I got over that though, it was fast paced and attention grabbing.

In an interesting twist, Frank has created a series of graphic novels that explain what happens to Hatter Madigan in the 13 years he is not in Wonderland.  I have included a link to a video in which you can see Frank’s explanation from the View.

Confession time:  I do not like graphic novels or comic books.  I never really got into them but Frank Beddor’s stories will make me get the graphic novels of Hatter Madigan.  In fact, they are on my Christmas wish list!

I gave each book in this series 5 crowns.  What a fun series!