Category Archives: Recipes

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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Together at the Table by Hillary Lodge

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the book:

Three months ago, Juliette D’Alisa’s world changed.

In a bittersweet series of events, her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. Juliette and her brother opened their restaurant together to rave reviews, but her romance with Memphis immunologist Neil McLaren ended in anger and tears.

As autumn sweeps into the Pacific Northwest, Juliette feels that she’s finally on the cusp of equilibrium. The restaurant continues to thrive, and her family is closer than ever. She and sous-chef Adrien are seeing each other, both in and out of the kitchen. Just when she thinks her world might stop spinning, a trip to the waterfront lands a familiar face into her path.

But even Juliette can’t outrun the man who stole her heart. As she finally uncovers the truth about her family history, what will it mean for her own chances at lasting love?

My Review:

She did it again! I loved the redemption of this beautiful series, which will make you want to spend time cooking and baking. You cannot read this book and not get hungry.

I loved the letters sprinkled throughout as you work to solve the mystery from the past with her, as well as the love story that comes to a close finally in this conclusion of the series. Who will she choose?
You can’t miss this if you have read the previous two.

You can find them for purchase here.

A Table by the Window 

Reservations for Two 

Together at the Table

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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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Thanksgiving was a challenge this year to get to.

I had decided that on top of our normal busy schedule with basketball, school and other baking, I would add extra baking to earn a little for some extra expenses.

It took some extra work, as on the day I decided to bake, we also got a small storm. That would have been fine, but everyone had been busy and we discovered too late, that the tires I had for winter, didn’t fit. All day Tuesday, besides baking, we went through all our tires. Then I found a pair that looked like they would work. The roads were ice covered and there was no way to drive to my mom’s without snow tires safely.

I juggled tires, and then bought a pair that looked great. The rims were universal and should have fit, but alas. They were not universal for my car. I had called tire places and everyone was booked up to put tires on, which is what I was trying to avoid. As I was about to give up hope, a friend with a tire shop called and said that he had an opening. I hurried over, tires and a pan of cinnamon rolls in hand. We were on the road soon after leaving the shop. I forgot a bunch of things on my list, but we were on our way.

On the way up, we passed my sister and her husband on the side of the road. Their tire on their travel trailer had shredded and the jack in their borrowed truck was no where to be found. Thankfully, my little Honda jack worked for them and we followed them into town where we helped my mom prepare and serve a meal to thirty youth and leaders, besides the twenty that were of our family. She made a delicious meal of Stuffed Shells, Baked Ziti, salad, garlic bread and pie. All the younger children helped serve it.

We were exhausted when we got to the house with aching feet, but I finished up my writing for the day anyway.

I was reminded of my friend, Tiffany, whose passing has left me somewhat stunted this month. She came for Thanksgiving quite a few years back now. We had an exciting trip to  my mom’s house that year too!

I mulled over my memories, cried a little and have been moving forward. It has not been easy though. The loss of my friend and my grandfather this year has left tears hovering just below the surface more times than ever in my life.

On Thanksgiving day, most of the work has been done previously. I work very hard on Tuesday to make sure of that. I put together my breakfast casserole the night before with shredded potatoes, eggs, cheese, sausage and vegetables and put it in the oven in the morning to feed the horde. I served it with cinnamon rolls and salsa this year.

The stuffed turkeys were placed in bags and roasting while everyone ate breakfast. The peeled potatoes were waiting to be cut and mashed, and sweet potatoes roasted along side the turkey.

Everything was done and ready to eat at the right time and tasted wonderful. We were trying to be better about how many pies we made this year, and ended up with about 21 or 22. There was also a crisp and a cheesecake as well. It was a good amount. There was plenty for pie for breakfast the next morning for the children, lots of sugar free desserts for those on that plan and everyone was happy.

We were missing a few people, which was hard, but over all, it was a very nice Thanksgiving!


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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

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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A Table by the Window by Hilary Lodge

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko


About the Book: (From the back cover)
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

My Review:
There are times you want a fast paced romantic story, and other times you want one that digs deeper. This is one of those books that digs a little deeper. Juliette seemed so down to earth to me, I could relate to her family as well. I loved how it showed her love for her family, yet her frustration with them at the same time.
The details in here on the old family recipes was one of the best parts of this book. It might have been the recipes that made the book slower to read and digest, but throughly enjoyable. The food descriptions were so well done, you felt you could almost smell and taste them through the page.

The family mystery was understated, but woven through the story, in an effort to keep that question always coming up. You always know that families have secrets, but this one was not as dramatically done, but done well. It is for sure not suspense.

The book is more a woven book of word pictures, of a close family that loves cooking for people. I think this was one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much. While our family does not own a restaurant, we have always spent time cooking for others, large groups and really enjoyed it as a whole. I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes in the book.

One of the other things I honestly enjoyed about this, was Juliette loved to write about food as well, and she was good at it. That sparked all kinds of ideas for me.

This book was given to me for review from Blogging For Books. The opinions contained herein are solely my own.


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My exciting menu for the week…..

That sounds much better than just menu for the week, right? I know, I do the most boring titles, but basically….our food is pretty just food. It goes by way too fast!

Wednesday: Cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, coleslaw

Thursday: Queso Taco Pasta bake, salad

Friday: Potato soup, Raspberry Orange muffins 

Saturday: Grilled orange chicken, broccoli, rice

Sunday: Leftovers, Fried rice, popcorn

Monday: Steak salad with balsamic vinaigrette, baked potatoes.

Tuesday: 5 ingredient Pizza I am hoping to make the crusts myself ahead of time. Salad

Life is going to be hectic the next couple of weeks!

Any great bake sale ideas?


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Menu for the week



This is often what morning looks like when we have to leave the house lately, so I have been trying to come up with healthy snacks and lunches to take out of the house as well as healthy, filling breakfasts too. 


Monday:  Leftovers/Fried potatoes and vegetables

Tuesday: Potato Ham chowder  (I left the corn out, but it would have been yummy. I used homemade chicken broth and changed a couple of other things too). 

Wednesday:  Scalloped potatoes and ham, green beans, applesauce 

Thursday: Skillet Enchiladas, salad 

Friday:  Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo, salad 

Saturday:  Shepherds Pie, dessert/cookies for sports day

Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn

Monday: Beef Lo-Mein (Probably make it with venison)

Tuesday: Chicken spaghetti, salad

Now, the hard part is just sticking to it!!!


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