Book Review of A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove

 A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a history of American women told through food, recipes and remembrances. I had actually never flipped through the book to see the layout and writing style before bringing it home to read.  That is the only gamble when ordering with Amazon, really- sometimes there is the Click to See Inside feature which thrills me.  But, I did not do that with this title and I wish I had.

In my mind I had built up a book that read as a diary.  In which women left behind recipes and snippets of stories of how they endured the Civil War or the Great Depression with ration cards. I imagined "grocery lists" from different times. Lists of what the women going west would have considered essential to have to cook for their hungry men and children.
I wanted an easy read in a conversational tone that made history come alive.

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There is a smattering of these things in this book. There are numerous photographs and historical prints. There are recipes and well researched facts.
However, I never found myself drawn into the world of these women whose stories are chronicled here. I wanted to, very much. I found myself skimming the book looking for snip-its that drew me in.

I did enjoy sections about the pioneer women and their long and difficult day on the journey westward. I wish there had been real diary entries here. I enjoyed portions about women during WWII and the Great Depression and how they helped turn the tide. There is a long quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I loved. 
Here is the last line of it: "And I hold it equally true that in this present crisis it is going to be the women who will tip the scales and bring us safely out of it."

 A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove is a well written book. I neither loved it nor disliked it. The book was not what I had in mind when I saw the title and added it to my annual book list.  But I would recommend it to someone doing a report on the kitchen and its role in history.

Book Review of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

I picked up a copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch, because I have been challenged and encouraged by posts on her blog. And because no parent wants to raise a selfish and entitled kid, so I wanted to make sure I was doing the right things.

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Lets talk about the book~  First, the beautiful white cover. I was worried I would have smudgy finger prints or tea stains on it before I made it past the introduction. Somehow I made it cover to white cover with no stains to speak of! I loved the texture-y feel of the book. It is like thick parchment and the gold lettering set it apart from other books on my shelf.

What is inside is even more beautiful. Written in a friendly and conversational manner the author shares her heart and vision for her family. A desire to remove the "is that all" attitude and replace it with gratitude and contentment.
With relatable stories and anecdotes of her family, which she admits is still a work in progress; she explains how serving others takes the focus off oneself and leaves a feeling of joy and gratefulness.

There are tips at the end of each chapter covering the chapters subject.  The suggestions are tailored for toddlers through the teenage years.  The last chapter is set apart for parents.  It is a beautifully written chapter on the relationship you have with your child and is full of encouragement for the journey ahead, which may not always be easy.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World was an inspiring parenting read.

Here are quotes from the book I am still pondering.

~Entitlement didn't start with my kids. It began with me. I entitled them because I was entitled.

~We teach gratitude by living it. We are the example.

~I would love for my kids to one day say they are grateful for their lives because their dad and I were grateful in ours.

 

Tea Kettle or Electric Tea Pot

Do you prefer a whistling tea kettle or an electric tea pot? 

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I always considered myself a whistling tea kettle kind of girl.  I knew when the water was ready because of that recognizable sound. One could hear that whistle rooms away and be lured into the kitchen for a nice cuppa. 

But there were numerous times I turned on the kettle, heard the whistle, picked it up and poured; only to find half a cup of water inside.

A big disappointment.

True tea enthusiasts know that you should pour fresh water into the kettle for each boil.  It has to do with the oxygen content making a better tasting cup of tea.  But life happens and (gasp) I have reboiled water.

One day I was walking through a store and happened upon a glass, see through tea pot.  It immediately caught my eye. 

This see through pot was my solution to the lack-of-water-in-the-kettle blues. 
I would always see how much water was in the pot.  A life changing thing, I know.

I received this wonder pot as a gift and I have used it everyday since. 

When you turn it on, the bottom glows a nautical blue hue. 

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 Wait a few minutes and the rapid boil occurs. Watching it is very therapeutic!

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 This model shuts off automatically, something the kettle on the stove could never boast. 

I adore my electric tea pot. It has seductive powers: auto switches, transparency and portability.

Am I converted away from my whistling kettle.  No.

While I am happy to have my back burner back, there is something idealistic about hearing that kettle sing. 
Both the kettle and the electric pot have space in my kitchen.

Which do you prefer?

Steeped with PG Tips

A well known English tea, but relatively new to me is PG Tips.

This black tea quickly became a must have in my tea stash.

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I had my first taste of PG Tips while sipping tea from a darling tea pot in a local tea room.  I had ordered a pot of black tea….my usual when I am not feeling decisive or spontaneous.
The tea that was served was a perfect.  I had to know what brand of tea it was. 

A few minutes of chatting with the owner of the shop, I learned she hailed from England and served the English brand PG Tips as her "house blend".  She did not have any boxes to sell, but she assured me that I could find it in a larger grocery store in our area.

Taking tea at home is not always an over the top experience like it is in a tea room. But with PG Tips it can be close!

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The shape of the tea bag could be what sets PG Tips apart from other teas.  The pyramid shape is said to allow the tea to expand and infuse more effectively than a round tea bag. 
I am no expert on tea bag shape but I do know that this small pyramid shaped tea bag carries a big punch!

PG Tips brews into a delicious and bracing cup of tea with a shorter steep time than other black tea brands that I use.  The end color is a beautiful amber and tastes just as tea is meant to- with that slightly bitter tea bite at the end.

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I look forward to tasting all the many flavors of tea by PG Tips.  That's right, there is a world even beyond black tea, & I mean to sip and savor many!
I will let you know what I discover!

A little Monday humor for you.

Step Aside copy

Have you tried PG Tips?

The Afternoon Tea Collection

The The Afternoon Tea Collection has won me over and I have not even prepared one recipe yet!

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This book is a must have for anyone who enjoys tea time treats and needs creative ideas that do not sound overwhelming to prepare.

Brimming with beautiful color photographs, this book thrilled my visual senses and had me drooling over the treat selections.
How do people get their food to turn out like this?! 
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Everything looks scrumptious!

The book is divided into sections based on food type.  Recipes include sandwiches and tarts to savory and sweets.

The only challenge is deciding what to prepare first!

The Afternoon Tea Collection is a fantastic book choice for any tea time enthusiast.

 

 

Booksipper Bulletin – January Edition

Hello fellow Booksippers!

The first month of 2016 is coming to a close. 

The days seemed to turn almost as quickly as the pages in my favorite book of the month.  Keep reading to find out what that book was!

 I picked up a number of books this month that I just couldn't get into.  I had to remind myself that I am not in high school anymore, and I do not have to finish a book just because it has good reviews. 
I encourage you to put down whatever book you are forcing yourself to get through, because-

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~In Readable News~

January kick started my Annual Non-Fiction Booklist for 2016.  I am looking forward to reading all of these books and sharing my thoughts with you.
I have finished one of the titles and wrote about it here: http://bit.ly/realfoodwhattoeatandwhy

Now for my favorite fiction read of the month! 
Without a doubt it was – Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati.  This book is a sweeping romantic saga set in the wilds of upper New York in the 1700's.
Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/intothewildernessreview

 ~In Sippable News~

The month of January was National Hot Tea month.  I enjoyed having a reason to drink even more of my favorite beverage!  I purchased tea online for the first time with the Republic of Tea.  I wrote all about my experience here: http://bit.ly/1nu6eby

 January 2016 has been filled with good books and steaming cups of hot tea.
Thanks for reading and sipping along with me.

~Booksipper Candice

Book Review of Real Food What to Eat and Why

Real Food What to Eat and Why, kicked off my nonfiction reading for 2016. 
This title is from my annual reading list and was chosen because we are what we eat….or so they say.

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I generally eat pretty healthy. But after indulging during the holidays I needed a little inspiration to get back on track. 
This book dives into the science and reasoning of why eating real food is so important.  For those who are not familiar with the thoughts of Weston Price, Joel Salatin and the teachings of Nourishing Traditions, this book may seem a tad "out there" and against the norm.

The author shares her story in the first chapter, of growing up on real food and how she deviated from this and into "health crazes" and then journeyed back to real food again.

The other chapters are broken into food categories- dairy, produce, meat, etc. Each chapter delves into how our food used to be grown or raised and how the more modern methods of production are lowering the nutritional benefits of our food.
There is a lot of information on these pages, so this title is not a binge read in one setting, more of a let it sit and digest, kind of thing. 

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I particularly liked the tips in the Real Fruit and Vegetables chapter on how to get more vegetables into your body. One tip was to have a salad at every meal, (while I could not handle this at breakfast), this would help me get that vege count up throughout the day.  The other tip I thought feasible was to eat the salad at the start of the meal, before filling up on the carbs.

The only negative I had with the book is the constant reference to the earth and our species being millions of years old. I am from the thought that it is more in the thousands of years, but this difference in opinion did not change my thoughts on the healthy eating information.

Real Food: What to Eat and Why is a wonderful book for those looking to find a way back to eating real food or those in need of helpful reminders.

 

 

Sipping Chocolate in the Snow

It is SNOWING here on the east coast!  It will take us days to shovel our way out of this doozy of a snow storm.  Where I am from, when snow is even forecasted there is a mad rush to stockpile eggs, milk and bread. 
That is all well and good…I too have several loaves of bread sitting in the kitchen. 

But what is vitally important is reading material and hot chocolate!

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Bag of books…check                                      Hot Chocolate…check

 

This snow day seemed like the perfect time to try out this canister of sipping chocolate that I picked up at Trader Joe's.

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Here are my thoughts on Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate.

I sipped and expected it to taste like the store brand hot chocolate of childhood snow days.  It did not….but the canister did say that this mix was not quite a hot cocoa. 
It has a bitter sweet, real chocolate taste.  This is an okay thing, if you are prepared for it.  I was not.  So now you know.

I made it through the first mug with mixed opinions.  My children do not want this bitter brown drink to be served ever again.

I have come to the realization that I like my tea to be on the unsweet and bitter side, not my hot cocoa.
So for the second mug I made some adjustments that pleased my sweet needing palette.

I used sweetened almond milk and loaded on the marshmallows!

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Now I am happily sipping chocolate in the snow!

What is your favorite hot chocolate?

 

Vintage

Vintage – the ideal name for a clothing store of unique and classic pieces.
I need a Vintage store in my area.  I am in search of gloves for tea time.

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This novel by Susan Gloss, is about a girl who never really fit in back in her small town.  Violet moves to a bigger and more open minded city to open her own clothing shop called Vintage.
Violet specializes in seeing the treasure in old things and in people too.
As customers come in with items to sell, unlikely friendships and bonds are formed. Three fragile women will become strong and whole again.

The characters in this book are likable and relatable. Their stories weave together smoothly.
Vintage was a pleasure to read and is just the title for a stay at home in comfies selection.

A paraphrased line from the book, that may become my life motto is- 
"Better a little something exceptional than a lot of something mediocre."

 

 

 

Review of Into the Wilderness

The novel, Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati, was my first fiction read for the new year.
I choose this title from a so you liked Outlander, you may like…. kind of list. Anytime you line up a new book with an all time favorite, it is a risky thing. It is a lot of pressure to put on an unsuspecting book. 

But the wild book reading person that I am started reading…..and didn't want the book to end!

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This book was amazing. 
The characters are well written and well developed.  One thing that I loved is that the main character, Elizabeth, does not fit the typical beautiful and all perfect heroine.

The story starts off with the judge going to pick up his spinster daughter, Elizabeth, who has come to the colonies to teach school. The current becomes electric when Elizabeth and Nathaniel meet.  Nathaniel is a white man who is part of a family of Indians who want to purchase a mountain of land, called Hidden Wolf.
But the judge plans to deed this mountain to Elizabeth when she marries… and he already has someone in mind, someone who knows of his debts and is willing to pay the debts in return for the land. 

Elizabeth is determined to remain unmarried and finds her heart torn between the man she comes to love and her independent spirit. 

What I loved most about this book was the gasp-out-loud moment that I had.  Something that I had never encountered before; a mention of characters from a different book interacting within the book I am reading. 

That sounded confusing….so to sum it up-
Outlander fans…three of our favorite characters are mentioned in this book!  Yep, a certain red-haired Scot and his wife and one other! ( I will let you read it to find out who)

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Long winter days and lengthy books go hand in hand.  So don't let the 800+ pages intimidate you.  The story progresses at a good speed and is captivating once you get going.

Pour yourself a hot cup of tea and enjoy the adventure.