Category Archives: Bargain Dinners

The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook by

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:


(From the back cover)


One of the most sought out food destinations in New York City sits at the end of the number 7 train in Flushing, Queens, where adventurous eaters trek for the best Chinese dumplings. Now you can easily make them at home with recipes for the classic and unexpected fillings and folds along with dipping sauces, salads and other dim sum.

My Review:

Looking for a cute little cookbook to add to your repertoire? This is a great one to pick up. I remember when I first made my own dumpling wrappers, simply because I was too poor to buy them. I was introduced to a new world! This little cookbook will have your mouth watering. The recipes are easy and so simple you will wonder why you ever purchased pot stickers or wonton wrappers at the grocery store before. If you are a healthier eater, this book has healthy recipes that you will enjoy as well.

I loved the photos throughout the book and the stories  in the introduction. You will love this lovely little book as well.

You can purchase your own copy here. “The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook” 

Blogging for books provided me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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Happy Cooking:Make Every Meal Count by Giada De Laurentiis


Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book:

Giada De Laurentiis, one of the most recognizable faces on the Food Network lineup, invites readers to get to know her as never before. The celebrity chef is back with nearly 200 new recipes and helpful advice on everything from hosting a potluck or open house to what to pack along for lunch every day. Drawing on the time-saving tips and healthy eating strategies that keep her functioning at the highest possible level in her roles as working mom, restaurateur, and tv personality, she has assembled a year-round roadmap to vibrant good health and delicious eating. Readers will be inspired to try new ingredients, new wellness practices, and create a wholesome balance between peak nutrition – and the occasional decadent indulgence. Featuring her New Year’s cleanse, homemade Christmas gifts, and ideas for every holiday, special occasion, and casual weekend in between, this is Giada’s 365-approach to cooking up a happy life.

My Review:

A good cookbook is not unlike a good novel. In this novel, we have illustrations, descriptions to touch your senses, and explanations that will make you think you are eating healthy. =) Giada has the taste of Italian food, from snacks to desserts, with healthier options, without sacrificing the taste. This cookbook will fit into a lifestyle that likes a more whole food diet, but also has a love for real, tasty food as well.

This book was provided for me for review by Blogging for Books. The opinions contained herein are my own.

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Trim and Healthy Mama Cookbook

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


Book Description:

In their debut cookbook, the Trim Healthy Mama’s share hundreds of delicious, healthy recipes to help readers successfully slim down while eating well. This companion cookbook to the bestselling Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just what readers have been waiting for. It features simple, mouthwatering, recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner—including slow cooker and one-pot meals, hearty soups and salads, omelets and waffles, pizzas, breads and more. No Trim Healthy Mama should be deprived, so there are also favorite snacks, delectable desserts, and the smoothies, sippers and teas fans love. With pantry-stocking advice, time-saving tips, and information on how to cook for the entire family, the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook offers a delicious and nutritious way to make trim and healthy meals with less stress—so you have more time with your loved ones.

My Review:

This cookbook is a spin off of the popular Trim and Healthy Mama book which a lifestyle plan. Unlike many diet plans, it is one that many people can stick to without feeling like they lost their life a long with the weight.

However, this cookbook is not good just for those following the plan. This book would be good for anyone on an alternative diet plan as many of the recipes meet some of the strict food guidelines that are commonly recommended today.

I read one complaint that the book was filled with “mixes” and “fake sugars”. Stevia is highly recommended, but in the beginning, all the ingredients are broken down, explained and alternatives are given. I don’t use stevia, but found that it would be simple to use most of the recipes with my own alternatives. If you visit their FB groups or websites, there are also alternative recipes for making your own baking blends etc. It is not hard to figure out. But make sure you read the entire first part of the book.

If you are not used to eating low sugar foods, some of the desserts will not taste very good to you. However, if you are, they are fairly good. I have had several of the recipes and was pleased with how they tasted. Roasted radishes are really good, they taste like a cross between a potato and a Brussel sprout when roasted.

Mostly, this book gives you great alternative recipes for alternative diets, simplified. It is not for everyone, but for those that need it, this is a great resource. The full color pictures and the authors sense of humor make it a fun read as well.

This book was provided to me by Blogging for Books. The opinions contained herein are my own.

You can purchase a copy here on Amazon Trim and Healthy Mama Cookbook 

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Menu for the week


Whenever I ask the boys what to make for dinner, I generally can expect two replies! “Lasagna!!” and then when I tell them I don’t have the stuff for it, the next on the list is “Pizza!!” Homemade pizza is always a hit, although I have to make a few more to fill them up for the night. So, this week, we will put Lasagna on the menu. I got some lasagna noodles cheap, so maybe we can swing the rest. It is always fun creating a menu on a budget. Limited resources, high food costs (which I am hoping will drop with gas prices) and hungry boys are an interesting combo for a tight budget. This week, I will be looking to stretch it a bit, but be creative!

Monday: French Dip, salad and carrots

Tuesday: Fried Rice, homemade potstickers, cabbage salad

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas, rice, salad

Thursday: Lasagna, salad

Friday: Sloppy Joes, carrot sticks

Saturday: Biscuits and gravy, with green beans

Sunday: Biscuit sandwiches, Popcorn, leftovers, salad

Monday: Easy Creamy Vegetable soup (i am going to try this in the crock pot), biscuits (set aside and hidden)

Tuesday: Cheesy pesto rice pilaf with chicken, salad

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Menu Plan


Saturday: Cranberry muffins,

Sunday: Baked potatoes, popcorn, salad

Monday: Wild Rice Soup, muffins

Tuesday: Crock pot Lasagna bake, salad

Wednesday: Sloppy Joes, coleslaw

Thursday: Crock pot Burrito bowls (make rice in rice cooker, chili type beans etc. in crock pot to eat in bowls)

Friday: Pizza, carrots

Saturday: Enchiladas, rice, salad

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Scalloped potatoes and turkey ham

Tuesday: Teriyaki meatballs with Quinoa, Asian cabbage salad

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Menu Plan

I am planning out dinners for the next two weeks, to hopefully help me get on track, plus give me more free time to write. That is the plan, as of now.

Tuesday: Orange Chicken, rice, broccoli

Wednesday: Roast chicken, green beans, biscuits

Thursday: Chicken soup, bread

Friday: Tortilla soup, corn bread

Saturday: Pizza, salad

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn, zucchini bread

Monday: Slow- Cooker Chicken chili, corn bread

Tuesday: Enchiladas,  salad

Wednesday: Tator-tot casserole, green beans

Thursday: Indian Curry, rice, pita breads

Friday:  Chicken greek wraps

Saturday: Spaghetti, salad

Sunday: Hummus, pita chips, leftovers, popcorn, quick breads, sandwiches

Monday: Slow- Cooked layered dinner

Tuesday: Beef (venison) Stroganoff, egg noodles, salad

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Menu Planning for the week


B: Cold cereal

L: Sandwiches, tortilla chips and salsa

D: Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob.


B: Cold Cereal or Oatmeal

L: Leftovers from Saturday

D: Pizza, Popcorn, Banana bread, Cantaloupe


B: Oatmeal with flax seeds, scrambled eggs

L: Sandwiches, baby carrots

D: Shepherd’s Pie, salad


B: French Toast, canned fruit

L:  Bean Taquitos, salsa

D: Taco salad


B: Cold Cereal and scrambled egg

L: Grilled Cheese sandwiches, Tomato soup

D: Spaghetti, meatballs and salad


B: Oatmeal with fruit and toast

L: Bean Taquitos, salsa and sour cream

D:  BBQ meatballs, Creamy Mac and cheese, green beans


B: Muffins and scrambled eggs

L:  Homemade energy bites, Corn tortilla quesadillas with meat and cheese

D: Enchiladas, spanish rice, salad


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Menu Plan

Wednesday: Biscuits, gravy, green beans

Thursday: Stir fry, rice

Friday: Dinner with Family- Pesto pasta, chicken and caesar salad.

Saturday: Pasta

Sunday: Leftovers…clean out the fridge…

Monday: Gone

Tuesday: Gone


Now, all I have to do is get all the food, keep it around for the meals and clean out the fridge.

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Menu for the Week

Monday: Sausage, homemade sauce, pasta, and salad

Tuesday: Chicken, broccoli cheddar pasta. (I took a chicken breast, browned it with some spices, added lots of fresh broccoli, homemade cheese sauce and cooked pasta together)

Wednesday: Baked potatoes, salad

Thursday: Chili, cornbread

Friday: Venison Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday: Bierocks, Vegetable soup, zucchini bread

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Rice pilaf with meat chunks, pita bread

Tuesday:  Goulash, corn,  salad


This week is more like the week of….”I spent too much because we had to eat sandwiches for dinner for two weeks, so eat out of the freezer week.” It isn’t too bad, but I am once again reminded of how much I hate meat and how I need to buy more salad stuff.

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Menu for the week/School week

I will be away from home for dinner every night this week, so we are planning on eating a lot of sandwiches, fruit and vegetables while out. However, I am going to try to have something at home for the boys to eat when they get home as I know they will be hungry otherwise.


Monday– Leftover Sloppy Joes, carrots

Tuesday– Rice pilaf with steak chunks and vegetables (I am planning on browning some meat chunks and putting in the rice cooker with some vegetables and spices)

Wednesday– Pita bread pizzas

Thursday– Broccoli soup

Friday– Eating out

Saturday– Crock pot meal to bring with….


The school week is interesting and will look different. Last week, we did testing and school around it. This week is filled with music, drama and dancing practice. I am promoting lots of sleep, exercise and healthy food hopefully with history, science and other subjects mixed in!

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