Friday, May 23, 2014

Snack Girl to the Rescue! by Lisa Cain

I am in a cooking rut!  I picked up this book because I needed some inspiration to eat better, and get some new ideas on what to fix.  Was Snack Girl able to help me?  Read on to find out...

Lisa Cain has a website devoted to sharing the information she has learned and encouraging others to eat healthy while on a budget.  She understands that time and money often limit our cooking choices, and that some people haven't received good culinary training.  That's what the first section of this book is all about.  She explains what a healthy weight is and her experiences with various diets.  She instructs on some easy cooking techniques and warns women of common temptations and emotional eating habits.  She focuses on the impact of exercise.  And she breaks down nutritional labels, explaining how to make good choices at the grocery store. 

This section definitely makes me want to eat better!  I learned some new information and plan to make some small changes in my eating habits.  The only discouraging chapter was about nutritional labels.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss, right?  I am now aware of how much added sugar and salt is in the processed food we regularly eat, but I feel too overwhelmed to make any changes.  Ugh.  Be aware that your eyes will be opened!  I decided that it's most beneficial to focus on one small change (such as increasing portions of fruits and veggies while decreasing portions of meat) than to try to change everything all at once.  And I think Snack Girl would agree.  One step at a time...

The 2nd section in this book contains many recipes to try!  I really like how each recipe starts out with some dialogue.  For example, the recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts starts out like this, "This recipe is a game changer for me.  My dad boiled Brussels sprouts into smelly, mushy, ugly blobs.  No wonder I used to hate Brussels sprouts; now I love them..."  This is followed by some tips on how to serve them, a detailed recipe, and nutritional information.  I myself have not had good experiences with this vegetable.  But....I may try cooking them this way once before writing them off for good :)

I enjoyed this book because it was down-to-earth, informative, and encouraging.  The recipes use ingredients that I have actually heard of (at least most of them), and could afford to make.  I won't be making a total 180 in my diet, but I will make some better choices and experiment with some of these recipes to prepare some healthy meals and snacks for my family.

Stay tuned...if I find a really good one, I'll post it on this blog!

*Blogging For Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lost & Found by Sarah Jakes

Some people may assume that growing up in a Christian home with a well-known preacher as a father would guarantee life is easy.  In her new book, Sarah Jakes reveals that struggles and insecurities hit us all - no matter who your family is.  She is very vulnerable in sharing her own struggles (including a teen pregnancy and poor relationship choices) in order to give other women hope that they too can be found.

What I liked:  Sarah is very open with her struggles and takes responsibility for her choices.  Throughout the book she is continually sharing what she "wished she had known" at the time.  Those words of wisdom may be just what some young woman needs to hear.  Her story also reminded me of how we as the church need to be accepting and show grace to those who mess up.   She found more acceptance and less judgment and condemnation outside the walls of the church...and so that's where she went looking for fulfillment.   Jesus came to save the lost, heal the sick, and free the prisoners.  May our churches become places where the wounded come to for healing instead of running the opposite direction.

What I didn't:  I felt like the majority of the book detailed her dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend/husband.  Someone in a similar situation may find this helpful.  However, I would have liked to hear less about "Robert" and more about other areas of her life, such as her relationship with her son or her faith journey. 

It takes courage for anyone to share their story, especially when sharing things they are not proud of.  I think it's inspiring that Sarah risked judgment in order to help others.  If you know a young women who appears to be wandering, especially in regards to relationships with men, she may find hope in Sarah's story.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.