400 Calories or Less with Our Best Bites

Product Details400 Calories or Less with Our Best Bites
By Sara Wells & Kate Jones
Shadow Mountain
Retail Price: $21.99
Amazon Price: $16.12

Book Descriptions:

From the bestselling authors of Our Best Bites and Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites comes a unique cookbook for healthy eating. Inspired by the authors’ personal weight loss journeys, these healthy recipes, all under 400 calories, provide a wealth of ingredient option substitutions for comfort food main dishes, flavorful side dishes and yummy desserts.

Each recipe includes mouthwatering photography, easy-to-follow instructions for swapping out healthy, low-calorie ingredient substitutions, and complete nutritional information including fat content, carbs and sugar and salt intake. Features vegetarian and gluten-free choices and tips for stocking a healthy pantry from ordinary grocery store options plus advice for making the best choices at the salad bar.


I have all the Best Bite cookbooks and have never been disappointed, so I grabbed a copy of this one hoping for the same quality.  I was not disappointed.  As usual, the recipes are easy to put together for a weeknight dinner while keeping the calories down. Plus, love the “comfort food” factor! Every recipe I tried was so delicious and always a hit with my family.  I’ve been watching my weight and cooking meals from this cookbook have helped me to stay on track.

~Reviewed by Allie B.

Rose Water & Orange Blossoms

Product Details

Rose Water & Orange Blossoms
By Maureen Abood
Running Press
Retail Price $30.00
Amazon Price: $20.26

Book Description:

Pomegranates and pistachios. Floral waters and cinnamon. Bulgur wheat, lentils, and succulent lamb. These lush flavors of Maureen Abood’s childhood, growing up as a Lebanese-American in Michigan, inspired Maureen to launch her award-winning blog, Rose Water & Orange Blossoms. Here she revisits the recipes she was reared on, exploring her heritage through its most-beloved foods and chronicling her riffs on traditional cuisine. Her colorful culinary guides, from grandparents to parents, cousins, and aunts, come alive in her stories like the heady aromas of the dishes passed from their hands to hers.

Taking an ingredient-focused approach that makes the most of every season’s bounty, Maureen presents more than 100 irresistible recipes that will delight readers with their evocative flavors: Spiced Lamb Kofta Burgers, Avocado Tabbouleh in Little Gems, and Pomegranate Rose Sorbet. Weaved throughout are the stories of Maureen’s Lebanese-American upbringing, the path that led her to culinary school and to launch her blog, and life in Harbor Springs, her lakeside Michigan town.


I am familiar with food from this region and was really excited about trying out some of the recipes in this cookbook and was very satisfied with the outcome.  The cookbook itself is  beautiful, filled with wonderful recipes that cover a large range of middle eastern cooking  along with mouth watering photographs of the finished dishes.  While some of the ingredients used have to be purchased in a specialty shop or online,  they are worth the effort.   An added perk to this cookbook is the family stories that are included, giving you the back story on many of the recipes.  This is a gem that you will want to have in your collection.

~Reviewed by Gina A.

100 Buttercream Flowers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Piping Flowers in Buttercream Icing


Product Details

100 Buttercream Flowers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Piping
Flowers in Buttercream Icing
By Valeri Valeriano and Christina Ong
David & Charle
Retail Price $24.99
Amazon Price: $17.99

Book Description:

Learn to pipe 100 different buttercream flowers to showcase on your cakes with this complete visual reference to piping flowers – each flower is demonstrated on a cupcake, with five full scale projects to show you how to combine your flowers into a masterpiece cake.

Described by Chef Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes as “hugely aspirational yet completely approachable,” the authors demonstrate how to build up each flower using simple piping techniques that even the novice cake decorator will be able to achieve!

All the basics are covered to get you started – how to make stable buttercream icing, advice on coloring and flavor as well as essentials such as how to fill a piping bag and the basic techniques you need.

Valerie & Christina then demonstrate in step-by-step photographic detail how to create each flower and how to use your new found skills to create stunning cake designs. The flowers are presented through the color spectrum so when you look through the book you’ll see the lovely rainbow effect.

Written by the world’s leading lights in buttercream art with an international following and over 60,000 Facebook fans!


I love baking and am the official cake maker in my family for all holidays.  Because of this I own a lot of cake decorating books and consider myself a fairly decent cake artist. This book is the best book on decorating buttercream icing that I own…That is saying a lot right there.There is a lot of photographs and illustrations for each technique/flower.  The step by step directions make sure there is no guessing as to how to do each flower that is illustrated.  The authors also provide several projects to get your feet wet.  Some I have done my self in the past and went to decorating classes to learn but this was a good refresher. Someone new to decorating will find a wealth of ideas here as will the seasoned cake decorator.  I really do recommend this book for anyone who wants to make beautiful cakes with buttercream.  In my opinion a good cake decorator should be able to work in a variety of icing mediums and because buttercream can be difficult to work with, I find that if you can work with buttercream you can learn how to decorate in any cake medium if you really want to.  So delighted with this book; it is a real gem!

~Reviewed by Jewel S.

Best of the Best from Louisiana III

Best of the Best from Louisiana III
by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley
Quail Ridge Press
Retail Price $18.95
Amazon Price: $17.06

Book Description: 

This new edition is in FULL COLOR! In keeping with the treasured recipes that have been splattered and dog-eared by thousands of devoted fans in Best of the Best from Louisiana I and Best of the Best from Louisiana II, this cookbook is undeniably destined for stardom of its own.



I am from up North and never would have imagined that there were enough special recipes from Louisiana that would fill one cookbook, let alone 3!  Obviously I was wrong!  This series is excellent and gives you quality recipes from all over the state, capturing this truly unique culinary heritage.  This is a well made cookbook that won’t tear and stain and is full of interesting, delicious recipes.  I was glad to add it to my collection.

~Reviewed by Sarah C.


Spice Odyssey

Spice Odyssey
By Paul Merret
Kyle Books
Retail Price $24.95
Amazon Price: $18.27

Book Description: 

Spices are everywhere. From natural remedies, scented candles, perfumes, mulled wine, breakfast cereal and wacky pumpkin-spice lattes, to America’s own chili con carne. Michelin-award winning Chef Paul Merrett includes something for every spicy cook in Spice Odyssey. The beginner need be assured that not all spicy food, by any means, will be mouth-burning hot. Much of the finest spicing is also the most subtle. This book is a collection of recipes that dodges between countries and continents with no apology. There are many classic spicy dishes that aren’t included and some quirky home-invented ones that are. Paul’s aim is to provoke inspiration and exploration, because those two qualities are always apparent in all of the world’s finest cooks. Beginning with a short primer on shopping for spices and tools of the trade, Paul then provides 100 mouth-watering recipes from starters & snack to lunches & dinners, quick & simple meals to spicy desserts. Make your own Homemade Labneh with Sumac, Pomegranate & Basil or Spiced Chicken Skewers with Plantain Chips, Mango & Red Pepper Jam. Surprise your friends with the famous curry dish from Sri Lanka, Meat Rottu Roti or whip together some Asian-spiced Short Ribs. For something different try a Moroccan Lamb Burger with Tomato Chile Jam & Zucchini Tzatiki or a Yogurt & Black Pepper Ice Cream. Beautifully photographed, Spice Odyssey is a perfect cookbook for anyone looking to spice up the kitchen.



Kyle Books has put together a cookbook of many wonderful, spicy dishes from all over the world with recipes ranging from appetizers, main dishes, condiments and sides. The dishes span the globe, so you should be able to find something to whet your appetite. While the main problem is probably going to be finding the ingredients needed, the section on shopping for spices is extremely helpful in tracking down spices locally or online. The instructions are simple and easy to follow, and there’s nice pictures throughout the book. You will find a wide variety of dishes to choose from to spice up your kitchen.

~Reviewed by Dana S.


The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet

Product Details

The Best Green Smoothies
on the Panet
by Tracy Russell and Kathy Patalsky
Retail Price $16.95
Amazon Price: $13.13

Book Description: 

Indulge in these easy, delicious recipes and discover the incredible health benefits of green smoothies!IncredibleSmoothies.com founder Tracy Russell tried just about every fad diet and expensive “superfood” supplement out there, with negligible results. It wasn’t until she discovered green smoothies that she lost 40 pounds, lowered her cholesterol by 50 points, and started running marathons.

In The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet, Russell shares healthy, down-to-earth recipes made with unprocessed whole foods. Packed with fresh fruits and vegetables—particularly leafy greens—that you can find at your neighborhood grocery store or local farmers’ market, every recipe in this book contains nutrition information as well as options for substitutions and variations. Russell reveals optimal flavor pairings (which green goes best with which fruit and which fruits blend best together) and specific health benefits of key ingredients.

Focusing on the many positive effects of drinking green smoothies, including detox and cleansing, natural weight loss, and mood enhancement, Russell offers nutrient-rich recipes with flavorful, fun combinations such as:

Chocolate-Peanut Butter
Nectarine-Goji Berry

With 150 delicious green smoothie favorites (enough smoothies for five whole months!), The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet provides recipes that can accommodate and enhance any individual or family diet. Whether you’re a smoothie veteran or trying something new, these drinks will wow you—with both accessibility and incredible taste.


This is a very informative book for those who are trying to improve their health and/or lose weight.  If you’ve never tried smoothies before, this book is good for beginners as it gradually teaches you to add different fruits, veggies, proteins, and many other healthy products to your smoothies.  The recipes show you how to incorporate arugula, kale, collards, other greens and make digestible, nutrient filled and tasty smoothies that can add buckets of vegetables with all their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your daily diet.  This book truly does offer something for everyone. Whether you are looking for recipes to support you in weight loss, energy boosting, or overall healthiness, you will find the recipes for you. It will become one of your favorite kitchen staples.  I recommend this book for anyone seeking variety in one place – variety in recipes including a variety of vegetables, fruits, tastes and textures.

~Reviewed by Allie B.


If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address



By Jeffrey Weiss
Agate Surrey
Retail Price $39.95
Amazon Price: $26.63

Book Description: 

Charcutería: The Soul of Spain is the first book to introduce authentic Spanish butchering and meat-curing techniques to the American market. Included are more than 100 traditional Spanish recipes, straightforward illustrations providing easy-to-follow steps for amateur and professional butchers, and gorgeous full-color photography of savory dishes, Iberian countrysides, and centuries-old Spanish cityscapes.

Author Jeffrey Weiss has written an entertaining, extravagantly detailed guide on Spain’s unique cuisine and its history of charcutería, which is deservedly becoming more celebrated on the global stage. While Spain stands cheek-to-jowl with other great cured-meat-producing nations like Italy and France, the charcuterie traditions of Spain are perhaps the least understood of this trifecta. Americans have most likely never tasted the sheer eye-rolling deliciousness that is cured Spanish meats: chorizo, the garlic-and-pimentón-spiked ambassador of Spanish cuisine; morcilla, the family of blood sausages flavoring regional cuisine from Barcelona to Badajoz; and jamón, the acorn-scented, modern-day crown jewel of Spain’s charcutería legacy.

Charcutería: The Soul of Spain is a collection of delicious recipes, uproarious anecdotes, and time-honored Spanish culinary traditions. The author has amassed years of experience working with the cured meat traditions of Spain, and this book will surely become a standard guide for both professional and home cooks.


Charcuterie is a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and prosciutto. It is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking, and drying. This book focuses on Spanish butchering and curing techniques.  There are step-by-step directions and helpful illustrations as well as some wonderful recipes.  Little has been published for the home cook regarding this topic and the author goes the extra mile with this book.  The author not only discusses the techniques of preserving and preparing animals for butchering, but also shows you how to improvise if you don’t have the correct equipment.  He also gives you the technical information without overwhelming you.  This book is a great place to begin if you are a novice, but it also has much for the experienced butcher.


~Reviewed by Pat K.

Giveaway Contest

If you would like to win a copy of this book, please send your name, address, name of the book and your favorite Ethnic Dish to us at Red Kettle Cook.

Real Life Paleo

Real Life Paleo
by Stacy Toth and Matt mcCarry
Victory Belt Publishing
Retail Price $39.95
Amazon Price: $25.98

Book Description: 

You’ve heard great things, you’ve read the success stories, and you’re ready to try the Paleo lifestyle–but in a world filled with bread, pizza, and cookies, it can be hard to get started and easy to fall off the wagon. What you need is a guide to help you transition, a three-step plan for sticking with Paleo, and a cookbook with easy, everyday Paleo recipes. What you need is Real Life Paleo.

Real Life Paleo takes a practical approach to going Paleo with three simple steps that Stacy Toth and Matt McCarry, creators of the popular blog Paleo Parents, used to lose a combined 200 pounds and improve the health of their whole family. The “Swap, Remove, Heal” method is easy for anyone to follow, no matter where you are in your journey: first, swap healthier versions of the worst offenders; then remove unhealthy foods entirely; and finally, add healing, nutritious foods to your diet.

Stacy and Matt also provide you with all the tools you need to make the switch to a Paleo lifestyle for good:

Over 175 Delicious Recipes:
With so many Paleo-friendly recipes, figuring out what to eat will never be a problem. Plus, the fully photographed meal plans and ideas help you turn the individual recipes into balanced meals for your Paleo table. From holiday menu ideas to on-the-go snack ideas, Real Life Paleo ensures that every food choice can be a delicious, healthy one.

Handy How-To Section: With practical tips aimed at providing real-life solutions to common concerns, the how-tos make it easy to replace allergens in recipes, find substitutes for unhealthy staples such as pasta and bread, and make everyday cooking quick, easy, and affordable.

3-Phased Approach: Overhauling your diet and giving up foods you love might seem like an impossible feat. Rather than ask you to make the leap all at once, Real Life Paleo offers a three-phased approach: first swap in healthier alternatives to processed foods, then remove unhealthy foods entirely, and finally add healing, nutrient-dense foods to your diet.

Guides to Long-Term Success: Informative guides to stocking a Paleo pantry, ordering in restaurants, pursuing better health as a family, and much more help you stick with your new Paleo lifestyle.

Recipe Indexes: Looking for a dish you can make in under 30 minutes? Or a one-pot recipe?  Or maybe a recipe with fewer than 5 ingredients? The recipe indexes have you covered. Real Life Paleo will give you the confidence and tools to set your table with delicious and healthy foods to nourish those you love.

Real Life Paleo will give you the confidence and tools to set your table with delicious and healthy foods to nourish those you love.


The authors of this cookbook have done their best to ensure a wide range of Paleo diet recipes with different ingredients to maintain health. Many times, vegetarians fail to enjoy the nutritious and protein-based Paleo foods.  Readers can entertain their guests or enjoy time with friends and family members during the holidays using these recipes.   In order to fulfill the requirements as well as avoid health problems faced by food lovers, this book is an introduction to suitable and tasty Paleo-based breakfast recipes, snacks and other items. Readers will find many recipes simple and easy to prepare by following the guidelines mentioned in the cookbook. You don’t need to be a whiz in the kitchen to pull off delicious paleo meals when you have this on hand. There’s soups, entrees, desserts, and more for you to make, and all of them are paleo friendly.

~Reviewed by Chris R.

Mexico: The Cookbook

Mexico: The Cookbook
by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
Retail Price $49.95
Amazon Price: $33.71

Book Description: 

The first truly comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking, written by a living culinary legend, Mexico: The Cookbook features an unprecedented 700 recipes from across the entire country, showcasing the rich diversity and flavors of Mexican cuisine. Author Margarita Carrillo Arronte has dedicated 30 years to researching, teaching, and cooking Mexican food, resulting in this impressive collection of Snacks and Street Food, Starters and Salads, Eggs, Soups, Fish, Meat, Vegetables, Accompaniments, Rice and Beans, Breads and Pastries, and Drinks and Desserts.Beautifully illustrated with 200 full‐color photographs, the book includes dishes such as Acapulco‐style ceviche, Barbacoa de Pollo from Hidalgo, classic Salsa Ranchera, and the ultimate Pastel Tres Leches, each with notes on recipe origins, ingredients, and techniques, along with contributions from top chefs such as Enrique Olvera and Hugo Ortega.


I love the quote by Eva Longoria about this book as it is so true!

“All my life I have wanted to travel through Mexico to learn authentic recipes from each region and now I don’t have to – Margarita has done it for me!”

I live in Southern California surrounded by countless Mexican Restaurants of all levels of quality. Sadly most are sub par greasy cheese and dry rice joints. The recipes I have prepared in this book make the countless combo-number-whatever’s pale in comparison.  What consistently jumps at me in this book is the author’s passion for Mexican cuisine. She hits at the heart of the real Mexican food culture and makes a clear distinction between Americanized Mexican and the traditional, authentic dishes of various regions in Mexico.   This is the best book on Mexican cuisine I have ever come across.  The recipes are as authentic as eating them in Mexico!

~Reviewed by Denisse A.

Nick Malgeri’s Pastry

Nick Malgieri’s Pastry
By Nick Malgieri 
Kyle Books
Retail Price $29.95
Amazon Price: $19.31

Book Description: 

Over the years master baker Nick Malgieri has shared many pastry dough recipes, from ridiculously easy (mix with a fork and press into the pan) to quite elaborate (classic puff pastry, croissants, etc.). In this book, he gives you a range of all types of doughs, step-by-step photos (and videos on his website) about how to prepare them and also how to roll them, shape them, and bake them. If you have a bad case of “fear of pastry” or “fear of rolling” he can promise you that if you follow the simple instructions here you’ll be able to tackle any pastry project you like. Starting off as usual with a quick tutorial on ingredients and equipment, Nick then delves into sweet tarts and tartlets; sweet pies, cobblers and crisps; savory pies and tarts; strudels, puff pastries, including those with cream, and brioche. So whether you’re looking for a Summer Vegetable Lattice Pie, Salted Cashew Caramel Chocolate Tartlets, Petit Choux aux Cafe, a Raspberry Brioche Shortcake, or a French Lemon Meringue Tart, Nick promises you perfect results every time. With over 125 recipes, including a tutorial on Turkish pastries and Viennese strudels, and beautifully photographed by former Gourmet magazine photographer Romulo Yanes with former Gourmet magazine food stylist Paul Grimes, Nick Malgieri’s Pastry is the new definitive pastry bible.


I am very impressed with this book and highly recommend it. The recipes are varied, from basic cookies to quick breads to impressive plated desserts. It is not for someone who wants to spend no more than 15 minutes, mix a few ingredients and get a dozen cookies (although some recipes are very quick and easy) , but it is perfect for me, an adventurous home baker who frequently needs to double or quadruple batches to obtain the quantities I need.

There are several things explained that I may never do, but was very interested in reading how they are done. Less “professional” options are often included.

All in all, this is my new favorite cookbook, both for actual baking and for curling up and reading. It has given me lots of inspiration and I can hardly wait to get cooking!